Sunday, October 30, 2011

Know your Heart

Know your Heart….

One day a young man was standing in the middle of town proclaiming he had
the most beautiful heart in the whole valley.
A large crowd gathered and they all admired his heart for it was perfect.
There was not a mark or a flaw in it.
Yes, they all agreed it truly was the most beautiful heart they had ever
seen. The young man was very proud and boasted loudly about his beautiful

Suddenly, an old man appeared at the front of the crowd and Said, “Why your
heart is not nearly as beautiful as mine.”
The crowd and the young man looked at the old man’s heart. It was beating
strongly, but full of scars, it had places where pieces had been removed
and other pieces put in, but they didn’t fit quite right and there were
several jagged edges. In fact, in some places there were deep gouges where
whole pieces were missing.
The people stared — “How can he say his heart is more beautiful,” they

The young man looked at the old man’s heart and saw its state and laughed.
“You must be joking,” he said. “Compare your heart with mine, mine is
perfect and yours is a mess of scars and tears.”

“Yes,” said the old man, “yours is perfect looking but I would never trade
with you.
You see, every scar represents a person to whom I have given my
love — I tear out a piece of my heart and give it to them, and often they
give me a piece of their heart which fits into the empty place in my
heart, but because the pieces aren’t exact, I have some rough edges, which
I cherish, because they remind me of the love we shared.

Sometimes I have given pieces of my heart away, and the other person
hasn’t returned a piece of his heart to me. These are the empty gouges –
giving love is taking a chance. Although these gouges are painful, they
stay open, reminding me of the love I have for these people too, and I
hope someday they may return and fill the space I have waiting. So now do
you see what true beauty really is?

The young man stood silently with tears running down his cheeks. He walked
up to the old man, reached into his perfect young and most beautiful
heart, and ripped a piece out. He offered it to the old man with trembling
The old man took his offering, placed it in his heart and then took a
piece from his old scarred heart and placed it in the wound in the young
man’s heart.
It fit, but not perfectly, as there were some jagged edges.
The young man looked at his heart, not perfect anymore but more beautiful
than ever, since love from the old man’s heart flowed into his.
They embraced and walked away side by side saying “Only God” can make a
Beautiful Heart!

Bible Verses on “Heart”

Psalm 51:10 ESV
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Ezekiel 36:26 ESV
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Jeremiah 17:9 ESV
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Jeremiah 17:10 ESV
“I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

Romans 2:5 ESV
But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

Where is your heart today??? Be Blessed and filled with His Love. Give a piece away. It won’t hurt, and the reward is from Him..


Friday, October 28, 2011

Life of Faith

Life of Faith

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Hebrews 11: 1

How do I live life of faith?

Trust in God and His attributes

He is the maker of all goodness

He is the loving father

He can do all things

Wise in His actions and wants goodness for you

All of this gives you peace in your heart

Trust in His Honesty promises

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28: 20

Look at His almighty, and not at your surrounding circumstances.

Read stories of faith to strengthen your faith.



From all nations -
Performed by St Marks Praise Team.

St Marks Coptic Orthodox Cathedral,
Arncliffe, Sydney
NSW 2205


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Quotes of Pope Shenouda III

Quotes of Pope Shenouda III

Paul the Apostle says: Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
Romans 12: 9

Love without hypocrisy is feelings that comes from heart. Just as in speech and communications, also in confronting and backbiting.

The true love is what John the Apostle says : Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

From the words of His Holiness Pope Shenouda III


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Condemn Not

Condemn Not

How do I train myself not to judge others?

Try not to listen to evil about others. Do not even believe what you hear about other people's
mistakes. Even if it's all true, what business is it of mine?

Treat condemnation with love.

Seek an excuse for others.

Train yourself not to think evil of others and judge not them quickly.

Remember that everyone has virtues.

Do not forget that the Lord Is merciful to your sins.

Luke 6: 27-38

Love for Enemies

27 But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.

29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.

30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.

31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

32 If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.

33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.

34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount.

35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Judging Others

37 Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.


Psalm 15

Who Shall Dwell on Your Holy Hill?

A Psalm of David.

1 O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
Who shall dwell on your holy hill?

2 He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
and speaks truth in his heart;

3 who does not slander with his tongue
and does no evil to his neighbor,
nor takes up a reproach against his friend;

4 in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
but who honors those who fear the Lord;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;

5 who does not put out his money at interest
and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.


Verses and Fathers Saying

"I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people."
(Leviticus 26:12)

Through virtue man can enter into the presence
of God, as Moses did in the thick cloud, where
God was. But through wickedness, man would
exit from His presence, as did Cain, when
he killed his brother, and his soul got disturbed.

St. Athanasius the Apostolic


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Group Warns of Cover-up in Egypt Christian Deaths

Group Warns of Cover-up in Egypt Christian Deaths

By MAGGIE MICHAEL Associated Press
CAIRO October 25, 2011 (AP)

An international rights group warned Tuesday that Egypt's ruling generals may try to cover up the circumstances surrounding the killings of more than 20 Coptic Christian demonstrators when the military broke up their protest by force earlier this month.

Egypt's ruling military council, which took power after the February ouster of Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising, have portrayed the Oct. 9 protest and the ensuing bloodshed as the work of provocateurs. The could shield the soldiers from blame.

The violence and the military's handling of the aftermath have fueled criticism that Egypt's new rulers are not implementing reforms that would lead to an open, democratic regime.

"The military has already tried to control the media narrative, and it should not be allowed to cover up what happened on October 9," said New-York based Human Rights Watch spokesman Joe Stork.

The clashes left 27 people dead, at least 21 of them Christians, the deadliest single incident since Mubarak's ouster. After months of growing tensions between the youthful protesters that spearheaded the uprising and the ruling military, the killings brought relations between the two sides to a new low. Activists accuse the ruling military council of behaving like the old regime. The generals have been pressing for an end to street protests.

The Christian minority, about 10 percent of Egypt's mostly Muslim population, has long complained of discrimination. Attacks on Christians have significantly increased since the uprising.

The violence on Oct. 9 began when about 1,000 Christians tried to stage a peaceful sit-in outside the state television building. The protesters said they were attacked by "thugs" with sticks, and the violence spiraled out of control after a speeding military vehicle jumped onto a sidewalk and crushed some Christians to death.

At a news conference after the clashes, the military tried to exonerate itself, blaming the Christians and "hidden hands" for starting the violence. They denied troops shot any protesters or intentionally ran them over.

The ruling council put military prosecutors in charge of investigating the killings.

HRW urged authorities to transfer investigation of the case from military to civilian prosecutors.

"The only hope for justice for the victims is an independent, civilian-led investigation that the army fully cooperates with and cannot control and that leads to the prosecution of those responsible," the HRW statement said. If the military maintains control, it said, that would "ensure that no serious investigation occurs."

HRW also urged an investigation into whether the military manipulated the media and the state television coverage on Oct. 9 which "may have amounted to incitement to violence."

As protesters marched toward the TV building, state television called on viewers to rush to the army's rescue, casting the Christians as a mob seeking to undermine unity between the people and the military.

Activists fear that an army-controlled investigation may seek to make scapegoats of some of the protesters. Some 28 people were arrested in the aftermath of the killings, most of them Christians. There has been no word of soldiers arrested.

Those fears have been heightened by a prosecutorial summons for a young blogger critical of the military. Alaa Seif, the son of one of a prominent human rights lawyer, has been attacked on television by pro-military activists who claim that they have a video recording of him throwing rocks at Christians during the clashes.

His sister Mona, a campaigner against military tribunals for civilians, said Tuesday that the blogger had been called for questioning. Alaa is abroad.

The brother of another military critic, Maikel Nabil Sanad, said Tuesday that the young blogger has been moved to a mental hospital.

Marc Sanad said that he visited his brother at Cairo's Abbasiya mental hospital on Monday, 63 days after Maikel began a hunger strike to protest his conviction for "insulting the military." He said that Maikel's health was poor.

Basma Abdel Aziz, a health official said Monday that her ministry had no information of Maikel's consignment to a mental hospital, but that if he is confined in Abbasiya, the precedent would be "very dangerous and unacceptable."

Also Tuesday, hundreds of police officers stormed the regional security office in the Red Sea town of Hurghada, about 300 miles (500 kilometers) southeast of Cairo. They broke down doors, shattering windows and sending the building's employees fleeing. Soldiers removed them from the building. No injuries were reported.

Thousands of low-ranking police officers have launched protests in front of local security offices across the country, calling for higher wages and a purge of former regime officers from top security posts. The police say the sit-in, launched Monday, will continue until their demands are met.


Additional reporting by Ben Hubbard in Cairo.


Solidarity for Christians killed

People have gathered to mourn Coptic Christians who were recently killed in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

I Will Follow Jesus now and forever

"Trust in God." - Jesus in John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me."

"Have faith in God." - Jesus in Mark 11:22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered.

"Love the Lord your God." - Jesus in Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”


Holy Chat of The Glorified Lord

Holy Chat of The Glorified Lord

In this holy chat we see;

Too much pain

They lay their hands upon you unjustly persecute you, they will put you out of their synagogues to block the word of God. They will hand you over to prisons from parents and siblings.

Abundance of comforts

I will give you the mouth and the wisdom no one could resist. One hair of your head will not perish, all this will be added to you as a witness of glory.

Luke 21: 12 - 19

12 But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name.

13 And so you will bear testimony to me.

14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.

15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.

16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death.

17 Everyone will hate you because of me.

18 But not a hair of your head will perish.

19 Stand firm, and you will win life.


Protest in Sydney over Egypt violence

Protest in Sydney over Egypt violence
October 23, 2011

Violence targeting Coptic Christians in Egypt is an "outrage", federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says.

Mr Abbott's comments came after sectarian clashes in Cairo have reportedly killed 25 people, mostly Christian Copts, and injured about 300.

"It is an outrage what has happened to your community, it is an outrage which should cry out to heaven for rectification," Mr Abbott told a crowd of over a thousand Coptic Christians in Sydney on Sunday.

"May the people of Egypt come to see the tragedy the other week not just as a crime against Christians but as a crime against Islam too - no true religion can contemplate this kind of horror."

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, who also attended the protest in Sydney's CBD, extended the government's condolences to the Coptic community.

"We stand with you ... we share your grief, we share your upset, we share your concerns," Mr Bowen said.

"All members of the Egyptian community, be they Coptic or non-Coptic, should be able to look to the government of Egypt and the army of Egypt in times of trouble for protection."

The federal government previously said it would consider visa extensions for Egyptians affected by the violence, which is the worst the country has seen since a popular uprising early this year.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

The scars

Some years ago, on a hot summer day in south Florida, a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house.In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went.
He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore.

His father working in the yard saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, he ran toward the water, yelling to his son as loudly as he could. Hearing his voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his father.

It was too late. Just as he reached his father, the alligator reached him. From the dock, the father grabbed his little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs.
That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the father, but the father was much too passionate to let go.

A farmer happened to drive by, heard his screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator. Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal. And, on his arms, were deep scratches where his father's fingernails dug into his flesh in his effort to hang on to the son he loved.

The newspaper reporter who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, "But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my Dad wouldn't let go." You and I can identify with that little boy.

We have scars, too. No, not from an alligator, but the scars of a painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep regret. But, some wounds, my friend, are because God has refused to let go.
In the midst of your struggle, He's been there holding on to you. The Scripture teaches that God loves you.

You are a child of God. He wants to protect you and provide for you in every way But sometimes we foolishly wade into dangerous situations, not knowing what lies ahead. The swimming hole of life is filled with peril - and we forget that the enemy is waiting to attack. That's when the tug-of-war begins - and if you have the scars of His love on your arms, be very, very grateful. He did not and will not ever let you go.

When you are scared or confused
and you don't know what to do
and you don't know where to turn,
always remember this:
Sorrow looks back,
Worry looks around, Faith looks up.

Holy Spirit, I ask You to Minister to our spirit at this very moment.
Where there is pain, Give us Your peace and Mercy.
Where there is self-doubt, release a renewed confidence through Your grace.
Where there is a need, I ask You to Heal the wounded;
Bless our homes, families,our goings and our comings. AMEN.


You are the light of the world

You are the light of the world

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5: 14

You are invited by God to be a light of the world, to light up with your pure heart good behavior and your chaste words, so you conquer the world’s darkness and corruption.
But know that holiness does not come from emptiness: and inner purity does not come from air. It is rather the result of the work of the Holy Spirit with self serious soul and honest heart in the struggle against sin and evil's work of the world.

Matthew 5: 14

Jesus Heals the Sick

23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.

25 Large crowd from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.

Matthew 5: 1-16

Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount

1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him,

2 and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes

He said:

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you

Salt and Light

13 You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.


Friday, October 21, 2011

The Good Shepherd

We have to remember that the good Shepherd does not lead the sheep to green pastures only, but sometimes He calls us to their shearing or slaughter.

Therefore, we must trust in the hands of God that leads us to tests and trials for purification.
We are ready to sacrifice everything for the love of God.

For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
Romans 8: 36


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Shine Jesus Shine (worship video w/ lyrics)


Egypt: State Media Implicated In Violence Against Christian Demonstrators

Egypt’s State Media Implicated In Violence Against Christian Demonstrators

By Mary Abdelmassih

Assyrian International News Agency

(AINA) — Egyptian state television has been accused of spreading false information and inciting violence against Christians protesting in front of the TV building in Maspero on October 9. Calls have been made for the Information Minister Osama Heikal to resign. Egyptian lawyer Hamdi el-Assuiti filed a complaint with the Prosecutor General against the Minister of Information and TV presenter Rasha Magdi, accusing them of “deliberate broadcast of false news, information and rumors, which disturbed public security, causing terror among the public, and harming public interest.”

While the event of the attack on the Copts was ongoing, news presenters called on Egyptians to come to the aid of their armed forces, which were being attacked by “armed Coptic protesters, killing three military personnel and wounding many,” said broadcaster Rasha Magdi. The news bar read the same for over three hours.

Angry Muslim young men from the neighbouring Boulak, Sabtiya and Ezbet el Safih in Ramsis, hurried to the help the army, chanting anti-Christian slogans and intercepting Copts in the streets and assaulting them with stones, clubs, and firearms, before going to Maspero to join the military police attack on the peaceful protesters.

Dr. Emad Gad, head of strategic studies at Al Ahram Organization, called on the Minister to resign, saying the State television’s coverage “could have led to wide-scale massacres, or even civil war. I know Copts who did not go to work for two days, afraid to leave their homes.”

“This was devastating to the Muslim-Christian relationship,” said Nabil Sharaf-eldin, Muslim liberal and head of El-Azma electronic news wire, who attended the Maspero candle vigil before being joined by the 150,000 Christians arriving from Shubra district. He said on his way back home he heard Muslim comments against Christians, adding “it caused a spiritual divorce between them that will never heal.”

The Information Minister denied that military armored vehicles were crushing protesters alive. He denied it an interview with Al-Arabiya TV, only to be embarrassed by video footage showing army vehicles indiscriminately driving into crowds of Coptic protesters (Al-Arabiya video).

The State television issued a correction in the morning after the protest, saying no army personnel were killed and it was the fault of the “nervous” TV presenter.

Presenter Rasha Magdi appeared on an independent TV channel and said that she was given the text to read by a “big TV official” and was unaware of the clashes taking place outside the TV building. She admitted to being unprofessional by not mentioning how many Copts were killed.

Hundreds of journalists, broadcasters and public media figures marched today from Sahafa (Press) Street to the State-run TV building in Maspero to denounce the “Sectarianism of the media,” calling for the resignation of the Information Minister and a clean-up of the Egyptian State TV, accusing it of igniting sectarian strife.

The demonstrators held the military council and the Minister of Information responsible for the bloody clashes, which took place on Sunday night in front of the Maspero. They held Egyptian flags with the cross and the crescent (the symbol of Islam) on it and banners reading “Osama Haikal set Egypt on fire by the television’s coverage.”

Two days ago, Major Atman of the Supreme Council of the Armend Forces (SCAF) complimented the Egyptian state TV on its coverage of the Maspero incident.

Mary Abdelmassih

Assyrian International News Agency

Please visit Assyrian International News Agency at for more reports and articles related to the Middle East, Christian persecution, human rights and news related to Assyrians.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011



Why Pain? Matthew 7: 13.. “Enter through the narrow gate.” Is divine

Why Pain? Matthew 10: 24.. “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master.” Like LORD Jesus

Why Pain? Matthew 10: 38.. “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” Following Jesus

Why Pain? John 12: 24.. “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” Death leads to life


Do Not Reject Tribulation

Do Not Reject Tribulation

Branches of vine trees do not grow, diverge and boasts unless trimmed. Also musical instruments do not give tunes unless strings pulled well and hit by fingers, as well as diamonds, must be cut and shaped

All Saints suffered difficulties and pains. Our LORD and Savior was called: "He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem."
(Isaiah 53: 3)

Do not refuse tribulation or get board when intensification, but hand your trouble to the LORD and let Him do whatever He wants.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Psalm 14

The Fool Says, There Is No God

To the choirmaster. Of David.

1 The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
there is none who does good.

2 The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man,
to see if there are any who understand,
who seek after God.

3 They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good,
not even one.

4 Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers
who eat up my people as they eat bread
and do not call upon the Lord?

5 There they are in great terror,
for God is with the generation of the righteous.

6 You would shame the plans of the poor,
but the Lord is his refuge.

7 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.


Tests and Trials

Tests and Trials

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds. James 1: 2

Tests and trials are two sides of one coin, One Greek word express both ideas.
James mentioned: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds. James 1: 2
We're asked to rejoice in variety trials.

James tell us: When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone. James 1: 13

Alexander Maclaren, in a sermon entitled “Faith Tested and Crowned,” distinguished between being tempted and being tested or tried.

He said that “the former word conveys the idea of appealing to the worst part of man, with the wish that he may yield and do the wrong. The latter means an appeal to the better part of man, with the desire that he should stand.”

Maclaren added, Temptation says, `Do this pleasant thing; do not be hindered by the fact that it is wrong.' Trial or proving says, `Do this right and noble thing; do not be hindered by the fact that it is painful.'

Satan tempts us to bring out the worst in us, but God tests us to bring out the best in us.


Verses and Fathers Saying

Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble, and He
brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm,
so that its waves are still.
(Ps.107: 28 - 29)

Bear disgrace and affliction in the Name of Jesus with
humility and a troubled heart; and show before Him your
feebleness, and He will become unto thee might.

(The Strong St. Moses the Black)


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Christians of the Nile


BEHIND its high walls, the courtyard of the nunnery of el-Mohareb in the scruffy desert near the Valley of the Kings is empty but for old pews, barrels and discarded junk.

The nuns are hiding from an unkind sun in their beehive-domed cells. They are praying for mankind among the snakes and the scorpions. Only the flies are lively.

Then Sister Sabla arrives from around the corner in a grubby habit, still chewing her lunch, to let us into the 11th-century church. "There are no flies inside," she says. "They know it is a holy place." And indeed there are not. Egypt appears to have observant flies.

The Copts are the Christians of the Nile, about 10 per cent of Egypt's estimated population of 80 million. Their history dates back to the very beginnings of Christianity, emerging from under the last of the pharaohs in a tangle of paganism and the new faith brought to Alexandria by the apostle Mark.

It is usually Egypt's pyramids that attract attention, but this ancient Christian culture boasts a legacy of historic churches and fortress monasteries in cities and deserts, of historic churches and rich icons, that has few equals. The historic churches, still used in the four-hour liturgy, derives from that used in Cleopatra's day.

There have been times of terrible strife down the years but multicultural Egypt's Christians, Jews and Muslims have also rubbed along for centuries, as side-by-side churches, mosques and synagogues in Cairo testify. Islamic extremism and the deposed Mubarak regime's divide-and-rule tactics have, though, taken their toll in recent decades, with more than one Coptic church attacked and burned.

How long the Copts have been here can be gauged by visiting the Hanging Church in Old Cairo. The capital's Coptic enclave pre-dates the Islamic city. The church, just opposite the St George metro station, is suspended 10m above the old street level on top of a Roman fort. This giddy construction is visible through slots in the floor of the church.

Enter via a courtyard lined with images of Coptic popes (Yousab II sports natty Elton John-style sunnies) and enter a nave heavy with incense where Coptic families, and some Muslim women, come to pray in front of the saints' icons and relics. One of the 15 marble columns (Jesus, apostles and disciples) of the medieval pulpit is black, to mark Judas's betrayal. Lebanese-cedar screens inlaid with patterns of Sudanese ebony and ivory Coptic crosses separate the sanctuaries.

Nearby, through a 12th-century iron-studded gate, is a sunken walled lane leading to more of the 14 churches that huddle together in the area. Glimpsed through another gate is the Convent of St George; if visitors are lucky the nuns will agree to open their chapel, with its chains that were used to bind the saint at his martyrdom.

Coptic tradition emphasises the Holy Family's flight from Herod into Egypt. At least 42 religious sites mark their stay. Around the corner is the 5th-century Church of St Sergius, with its Islamic-influenced decoration and columns recycled from a Roman temple. The crypt underneath is believed to be among the places where the family once sheltered. Next door is the Ben Ezra Synagogue, a former church bought by the Jewish community from the Copts and restored in the 12th century, and traditionally considered the site where Moses was found in the bulrushes.

Religious art can be seen in the refurbished Coptic Museum behind the Hanging Church. It is here that the emergence of Christianity from paganism is lucidly illustrated. Early Coptic sculptures, fine textiles and paintings are full of references to the old gods -- Aphrodite emerging from her shell, a drunken Dionysus clutching a glass of wine -- while an image of Mary breastfeeding Jesus is derived from depictions of Isis suckling Horus.

The airy museum has expanses of this fascinating syncretism that makes you ponder the common roots of many of the world's religions. Even the Coptic cross may be derived from the ancient Egyptian ankh.

Copts date their calendar from the Era of the Martyrs, when thousands of Christians were murdered by the Romans, and it wasn't until Constantine liberated them and closed the pagan temples in 313 that Coptic sacred art fully flowered. The iconography is instantly recognisable by its wide-eyed figures with dark circles around each orb. The church broke away from Eastern Orthodoxy after some heavy-duty nitpicking over the divine or human nature of Jesus, and it was Egypt's religion until the Arab conquest ushered in Islam.

The Copts have survived, their fortunes waning, waxing and waning again until, in the late 20th century, a spirit of renewal prevailed. One of the strangest manifestations, if you are willing to take a particularly smelly journey, is found in the Muqattam Hills on the edge of central Cairo. Though the Copts may be best known for their presence in the professional classes, they are the Egyptian capital's rubbish collectors and live in Garbage City, an indescribably filthy slum where the city's refuse is recycled. Whole families are at work, separating wiring, paper and bottles into huge piles. In the cliffs above is the Monastery of St Simon the Tanner, a complex of massive cave churches, the largest of which holds thousands of worshippers.

To appreciate the full panoply of Coptic life, however, you have to head out to the deserts. Fortress monasteries across Egypt were the model for Christian monastic life worldwide. The monks no longer talk to lions or survive only on dates and morning dew like the hermits of old, but they still wear the black robes, with Coptic crosses embroidered on the hood and tattooed on their hands.

The easiest to reach are just off the highway to Alexandria, clustered together at Wadi Natrun oasis. Behind high walls peep chapels and forts where in centuries past the unarmed orders could pull up the drawbridge to withstand long sieges by fearsome Berber marauders from the west.

Each is fascinating but the Syrian Monastery has the best art. Dutch restorers are still uncovering the most exquisite 7th-century wall paintings. There is also a tiny rock chapel with a hook in the ceiling to which a monk would attach his pigtail to prevent himself from nodding off during devotions. The flies are more agnostic here, buzzing in and out of the churches without so much as genuflecting.

Nearby at St Bishoi Monastery, a wisecracking priest leads a lightning tour of its treasures, practically high-fiving pilgrims who step forward to kiss his hand.

At St Macarius, meanwhile, are techno-monks, experts in agriculture and engineering who make the desert bloom. All this while fasting for almost six months each year (on and off) and guarding the head of John the Baptist.

The further you reach into the wildernesses of middle Egypt, where monasteries are hidden in valleys or perched on cliffs, the more the sense of ancient isolation enfolds you.

You can visit the most splendid of these but somehow Sister Sabla, selling el-Mohareb honey from her decrepit nunnery, feels more humbly real. Although the church was founded in the 4th century by empress Helena, there are no towers, famous body parts or icons to attract tourist buses -- just plastic chairs, ancient arches and silence. You need only follow a line of electricity pylons down a dirt track off the road to Tutankhamen's tomb to find her.

Robert Bevan
From: The Australian
October 01, 2011 12:00AM


Psalm 13

How Long, O Lord?

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

1 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?

2 How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,

4 lest my enemy say, "I have prevailed over him,"
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

6 I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Christians Copts Genocide by Egyptian Army

English Report:Christians Copts Genocide by Muslim Egyptian Army,Run over them with Army tanks.Sunday 9/10/2011

Marshal Tantawi orders the Egyptian army to runs over Christians in Maspero demonstrators with tanks and killed 39 Christian Copts - Martyred
Bodies of Christian martyrs cut to pieces in the streets and on bridges in pools of blood.
"Mass murder and genocide of Christians in Egypt (genocide)"


Thursday, October 13, 2011

CNN - Egyptian Army Attack Pro-Christians Protesters in Maspiro

Maspero - Sunday 9 October 2011

CNN - Egyptian Army Attack Coptic Protesters in Maspiro Oct. 10th 2011


Sectarian tensions on rise in Egypt Breaking News CNN

Sectarian tensions on rise in Egypt Breaking News CNN


Australian Parliament calls for an end to Coptic persecution in Egypt


Australian Parliament calls for an end to Coptic persecution in Egypt

Today, the House of Representatives honored Australia’s commitment to religious freedom with a clear endorsement of a historic private member’s bill addressing the ongoing persecution of the Coptic Christians of Egypt.

On 19 September, Mr Craig Kelly MP, Liberal Federal Member for Hughes moved the following:

That this House:

(1) recognises that Coptic Christians in Egypt are suffering ongoing and increasing persecution;

(2) condemns the recent attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt;

(3) expresses its sympathy for Coptic Christians who have been victims of recent attacks in Egypt; and

(4) calls on the Government to:

(a) issue a public statement condemning the ongoing attacks against the Coptic Christian minority in Egypt;

(b) make immediate representations to the United Nations to end the persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt; and

(c) strongly urge the Egyptian Government to provide equal rights and protection for all Egyptian citizens regardless of race or religion.

Speaking to his private member’s bill, Mr Kelly noted that Egypt “is currently experiencing a period of unprecedented transition, the success of which hinges on full respect for the rule of law and compliance with international human rights standards including freedom of religion”.

At 10:00am today, Mr Kelly’s motion was passed by all members of the House.

With approximately 30 Coptic Christians observing proceedings from the Gallery, Mr Kelly acknowledged the presence of His Grace Bishop Suriel, Rev. Father Jonathan Ishak, Rev. Father Ghobrial Yassa and former Sutherland Shire Councillor Magdi Mikhail.

In his statement to the House, following the passing of his motion, Mr Kelly referred to the brutal military violence against Coptic Christian demonstrators on 9 October 2011, which left at least 24 dead and at least 270 injured. He stated the motion just passed could not have been more timely. He was right.

Mr Kelly urged members of the House to view videos demonstrating armoured military vehicles ploughing into unarmed Christian protestors, “although graphic and horrific.. to understand the gravity of the situation.”

In an emotional recount of a young Christian woman’s testimony, the House heard of how Miss Vivian Magi, tried to protect her dead fiancé’s body from soldiers after he was run-over an armoured vehicle. She told Egyptian TV:

“His body was in the middle of the wheels. His legs were torn. His head hit the pavement, breaking his skull. Soldiers gathered around us and started to beat him up. I begged them to leave him.. Then a soldier with a red cap came, shouting, cursing and hitting me with a stick then tried to beat him up. I threw my body on him (her fiance) … and the soldier said to me: ‘You infidel, why are you here?’”

Mr Kelly condemned the violence of the military, the very body that was meant to be protecting its civilians. He said that on that fateful day, the army had committed “mass murder” in Cairo. He also referred to the role that Egyptian State television played by instigating the violence, calling on so-called “honest Egyptians” to rush to the defence of the military who were under the attack of Coptic protestors, when in reality, it was the Copts who were being gunned down and beaten.

He spoke to the role of the international community, stating:

“Now is not the time for silence or appeasement from the international community, for as the Copts go so may go the entire Middle East. If a Christian minority cannot live in a country with a Muslim majority population without suffering persecution and institutionalised discrimination our future looks bleak.

…The moderate voices in Egypt must be put on notice in the strongest terms to root out any anti-Christian element in the army and to give equal rights to all Coptic Christians and to ensure their protection.”

The Australian Coptic Movement (ACM) thanks Mr Kelly for voicing the concerns of Australian Coptic Christians and for bringing the plight of the persecuted Christian minority of Egypt to the attention of the Australian Government. After attending a protest held by the ACM earlier this year, Mr Kelly did more than appreciate the extent of ongoing persecution that the Coptic Christians have suffered for decades. He did more than just offer words of sympathy. It is because of his tireless efforts that the result of today’s vote in that Chamber went the way it did.

The ACM also thanks each member of the House of Representatives today for doing the right thing by passing the motion.

The House of Representative’s endorsement of Mr Kelly’s motion sends a clear message to the Egyptian caretaker Government and indeed the world, that Australia does not and will not stand by in silence, whilst innocent Christians are being persecuted for their faith.

The Australian Coptic Movement
Sydney, Australia



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Egypt's ruling military council denies killing Coptic Christians

Egypt ruling's military council, facing its worst crisis since the fall of ex-President Hosni Mubarak, was on Wednesday forced into an extraordinary denial of claims it was responsible for violence in which at least 25 people, mostly Coptic Christians, died at the weekend.

By Richard Spencer, Middle East Correspondent

4:42PM BST 12 Oct 2011

Under mounting pressure to explain the deaths of so many members of an often beleaguered minority, two generals spoke publicly to claim that the army was attacked by protesting Christians with swords and Molotov cocktails.

They denied numerous eye witness accounts and the testimony of hospitals that many of those who died were either shot by soldiers or run over by speeding army vehicles.

"This cannot be attributed to the armed forces, and this cannot be recorded in history, that the armed forces ran over people," said Gen. Adel Umara. He also denied that the soldiers had been issued with live bullets.

The violence broke out at the end of a march to Cairo's central television station by Christians protesting against attacks on churches by radical Islamists in the south of the country. But the fallout has given rise to claims that the army are deliberately inciting unrest to justify maintaining a grip on the country.

State television broadcast calls for Muslims to rally to the defence of the army, which it claimed was under attack from Christian mobs. But activists posted film online showing the army wading into apparently peaceful marchers.

Several videos showed armoured personnel carriers driving into the crowd at speed, and one showed a soldier firing into the crowd from the back of a van.

Some of the Christian activists involved also took part in the demonstrations which toppled Mr Mubarak in March, and have pointed to the similarity of the authorities' response. Like then, the army yesterday tried to blame the unrest on "third parties" – usually a reference to a foreign, particularly Israeli, conspiracy.

"The basic fact is there are enemies of the country who take advantage of the protests to infiltrate and realise destructive roles," the second general, Mahmoud Hegazi, said. "We should all be aware."

But the army council received a stern warning from the United States, which has provided extensive aid to the Egyptian military.

Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, warned the government "to ensure that the fundamental rights of all Egyptians are respected, including the rights of religious freedom, peaceful assembly and the end of military trials for civilians, and that efforts be made to address sectarian tensions".


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