Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Our first beginning and our last end

He is the truth, the absolute good, and the soul's goodness comes from that same source which has made it; the soul's perfecting in goodness comes from the conforming of its will to its nature, when it turns in love towards that good to which it owes its very existence - an existence which cannot be lost even if the will turns away from its creator. 

This good is not far from any of us, for 'in him we live and move and have our being'. But we must cleave in love to it so that we may enjoy the presence of him from whom we have our being. 

The apostle says we walk by faith as yet, and not by sight. But unless we already love him, we shall never see him. How can we love what we do not know?  To know God is to perceive him with the assured grasp of the mind, and to see and apprehend him is given to the pure in heart. Our hearts however cannot be made pure to see him unless we love him in faith. 

Faith, hope and charity are the virtues for whose building the whole scaffolding of Scripture is set up. The soul which believes what it does not yet see, hopes in and loves that which it believes - that is why we can love God if we believe, even before we know him.   

St Augustine --- The Heart at Rest 


Friday, October 9, 2015

The Fruitful Zeal

Look at the giants in the Kingdom of God, and earnestly desire to follow their road. Ask yourself every day: "What have I done for the Kingdom of God? Am I faithful in my service and in developing all the talents which God has given me? And have I responded to all those souls whom God wanted me to serve? And on the last day, shall I hear his tender voice saying to me: "Well done, good and faithful servant! you were faithful over a few things; I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord!" (Matt. 25:21) 

I always marvel at that clever servant who said to his master: "Master, your mina has earned ten minas". (Luke 19:16). This is the zeal that is real and fruitful in the Kingdom of God. In taking this as a standard for comparison, we might perhaps ask ourselves what we have done for our generation.

For that is what has been entrusted to us, and for which we are responsible before God and before the next generations! What practical use has our zeal been to save it?! Has it contributed to the saving of the church? Or have we taken a look and found our lives barren, worthless and unproductive?!

What have we done for a generation of widely spread permissiveness, materialism and abandoning of the faith; in which it has become a duty for all the children of God to be shining lights on a dark mountain?

H.H Pope Shenouda III


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Cutting Off The Head Of John The Baptist

Give me here on a dish the head of John the Baptist, she said. The request was abominable, but she persuaded him, and he gave the order to curb John's holy tongue. But even up to now it speaks out, for each day, or rather in every church, you hear John crying aloud through the Gospels and saying: It is not lawful for thee to have the wife of thy brother Philip. He cut of the head but he did not cut off the voice; he curbed the tongue but he did not curb the accusation.

Hence, God has surrounded the tongue with a double wall - with the barrier of the teeth and the fence of the lips - in order that it may not easily and heedlessly utter words it should not speak. Keep it curbed within your mouth. Suppose it does not stand for this treatment. Punish it with the teeth just as if you were giving its body over to the public executioner to be bitten. For it is better that it be bitten now when it sins than that hereafter, when it is parched and seeking a drop of water, it be deprived of that consolation.

From the writings of St. John Chrysostom

The Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist - Synaxarium


Thursday, August 27, 2015

St. Mary The Model of Virgins

Mary was a pure virgin, with a harmonious disposition. She loved good works...

She did not want to be seen by men; but she asked God to examine her...

She remained continually at home, living a retired life and imitating a honey-bee...

She generously distributed to the poor what was left over from the work of her hands....

She prayed solitarily to God, for two things: not to let a bad thought take root in her heart, and to grow neither bold nor hard of heart.....

Her speech was calm and her voice was low...

She wanted to make progress everyday; and she did so.

When she rose in the morning, she endeavoured to make her works more new than those she had already done....

She was not afraid of death, but rather was sad, and sighted everyday that she had not yet crossed the threshold of heaven. 

St. Athanasius the Great


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Virgin Mother

God the Father arranged the nuptials for God, His Son, when, in the womb of the Virgin, He united Him to humanity, when He willed that He who is God before all the ages, become Man.

He united the Holy Church to Him, through the mystery of the incarnation.

Now, the bridal chamber of this Bridegroom was the womb of the Virgin Mother. That is why the Psalmist says, "He has set His tabernacle in the sun: and He is as a Bridegroom coming out of His bridal chamber" Ps. 18:6 (DRA). And it was as a Bridegroom is in fact that He came forth from His bridal chamber, because to unite the Church to Himself, the Incarnate God went forth from the inviolate womb of the Virgin.

Pope Gregory The Great


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Why Water?

But if any one wishes to know why the grace is given by water and not by a different element, let him take up the Divine Scriptures and he shall learn. For water is a grand thing, and the noblest of the four visible elements of the world. 

Heaven is the dwelling place of Angels, but the heavens are from the waters: the earth is the place of men, but the earth is from the waters: and before the whole six days' formation of the things that were made, the Spirit of God moves upon the face of the water.  

The water was the beginning of the world, and Jordan the beginning of the Gospel tidings: for Israel deliverance from Pharaoh was through the sea, and for the world deliverance from sins by the washing of water with the word of God. 

Where a covenant is made with any, there is water also. After the flood, a covenant was made with Noah: a covenant for Israel from Mount Sinai, but with water, and scarlet wool and hyssop. 

Elias is taken up, but not apart from water: for first he crosses the Jordan, then in a chariot mounts the heaven. The high-priest is first washed, then offers incense; for Aaron first washed, then was made high-priest: for how could one who had not yet been purified by water pray for the rest? Also as a symbol of Baptism there was a laver set apart within the Tabernacle.

St. Augustine


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Fishers of Men

But here, having heard one brief call, they both followed immediately. When they earlier had seen that John was in prison and that Jesus was withdrawing, it would not have been unnatural for them to return again to their own craft, fishing, having followed Him at the beginning and then later having left Him to fish.

Accordingly, you now see that Jesus finds them actively fishing. But He neither resisted them at first when they desired to withdraw from Him, nor having withdrawn themselves, did He let them go altogether. He gave way when they moved aside from Him and came again to win them back. This, after all, is exactly what fishing is all about.

St. John Chrysostom


Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Living Water of The Holy Spirit

The water I shall give him will become in him a fountain of living water, welling up into eternal life. This is a new kind of water, a living, leaping water, welling up for those who are worthy. But why did Christ call the grace of the Spirit water? Because all things are dependent on water; plants and animals have their origin in water. Water comes down from heaven as rain, and although it is always the same in itself, it produces many different effects, one in the palm tree, another in the vine, and so on throughout the whole of creation. It does not come down, now as one thing, now as another, but while remaining essentially the same, it adapts itself to the needs of every creature that receives it.

In the same way the Holy Spirit, whose nature is always the same, simple and indivisible, apportions grace to each man as he wills. Like a dry tree which puts forth shoots when watered, the soul bears the fruit of holiness when repentance has made it worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit. Although the Spirit never changes, the effects of his action, by the will of God and in the name of Christ, are both many and marvelous.

The Spirit makes one man a teacher of divine truth, inspires another to prophesy, gives another the power of casting out devils, enables another to interpret holy Scripture. The Spirit strengthens one man’s self-control, shows another how to help the poor, teaches another to fast and lead a life of asceticism, makes another oblivious to the needs of the body, trains another for martyrdom. His action is different in different people, but the Spirit himself is always the same. In each person, Scripture says, the Spirit reveals his presence in a particular way for the common good.

The Spirit comes gently and makes himself known by his fragrance. He is not felt as a burden, for he is light, very light. Rays of light and knowledge stream before him as he approaches. The Spirit comes with the tenderness of a true friend and protector to save, to heal, to teach, to counsel, to strengthen, to console. The Spirit comes to enlighten the mind first of the one who receives him, and then, through him, the minds of others as well.

As light strikes the eyes of a man who comes out of darkness into the sunshine and enables him to see clearly things he could not discern before, so light floods the soul of the man counted worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit and enables him to see things beyond the range of human vision, things hitherto undreamed of.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem


Monday, May 11, 2015


Many people when they are first converted are fervent in prayer, but afterwards pray languidly, coldly, and then without paying attention; this because they feel secure. The enemy keeps watch and you are asleep.

Just think for a moment, brethren, how easily you say of a certain man, 'He is an evil-doer, a scoundrel'. Look into your own heart in case you see wickedness there. Are you not prepared to do yourself what you condemn in another?

Return to your heart, there you will be alone with him who sees all things. Hate sin, so that you may please God. Don't cherish it, don't think it over, rather despise it and turn away from it.

Temptation will suggest that sin can make you happy, it will threaten sorrow to tempt you to evil; but all this is emptiness, and will pass away. Wicked suggestions can come by thoughts or by evil conversations, and right living is easily corrupted. Wherever they came from, throw them out of your heart, don't pay attention to them, don't cherish them.

But don't add up your merits: we don't come to Christ from righteousness, we have all sinned, and it is by his inspiration that we accomplish the good he has given us. We must remember what he commanded in his Gospel, 'Pray without ceasing', and if you do not give up prayer you may be sure he will not forget his mercy.

St Augustine --- The Heart at Rest 



Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Why The Delay in His Resurrection?

But why are our death, burial, and resurrection all at the same time, for we do arise at the same moment that we are buried at baptism, whereas our Master's resurrection was delayed? He arose after three days. Why, then, does our resurrection come at once and His come more slowly?

The truth is that He did so to help us to understand that weakness is not the reason for the delay. Surely He Who could make His servant arise in an instant of time was all the more able to raise up Himself. Why, then, the delay? Why the three days in the tomb? So that the fact of His resurrection after a death which was slow in coming might, because of this delay, be established by a proof beyond all dispute.

Even now, after such strong proof, there are men who say that He only appeared to suffer. What would these men have said if there had not been such a delay in His resurrection?

St. John Chrysostom


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Verses And Fathers Sayings - The Body And Blood

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and
broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat;
this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks,
and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For
this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many
for the remission of sins.
(Matt. 26 – 28)


Up till now, Christ who set the table, is sanctifying it Himself;
No man changes the bread and wine into the body and blood
of Christ, but Christ Himself who was crucified for us. The
priest utters the words, but the, sanctification
occurs through the power of God, and His grace; through
His words, ‘This is My body, and this is My blood’,
they are sanctified.

 St. John Chrysostom


Monday, March 30, 2015

The Born Blind Receives Sight

John 9:1-41 (NKJV)

A Man Born Blind Receives Sight

9 Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. 4 I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

6 When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. 7 And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam”. So he went and washed, and came back seeing.

8 Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, “Is not this he who sat and begged?”
9 Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.” 
He said, “I am he.”

10 Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?”
11 He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.”
12 Then they said to him, “Where is He?”
He said, “I do not know.”

The Pharisees Excommunicate the Healed Man

13 They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. 14 Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. 15 Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.”
16 Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.”
Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them.
17 They said to the blind man again, “What do you say about Him because He opened your eyes?”
He said, “He is a prophet.”

18 But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and received his sight, until they called the parents of him who had received his sight. 19 And they asked them, saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?”
20 His parents answered them and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 but by what means he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him. He will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
24 So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.”

25 He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”
26 Then they said to him again, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?”
27 He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?”
28 Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. 29 We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.”

30 The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! 31 Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. 32 Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. 33 If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.”
34 They answered and said to him, “You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?” And they cast him out.

True Vision and True Blindness

35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?”
36 He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?”
37 And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.”
38 Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him.
39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.”
40 Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?”
41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.

John 9:1-41 (NKJV)

Sayings of The Fathers

We have just heard that Jesus gave sight to the man who was blind from birth. Do you wonder? Jesus is the Savior. He did something in keeping with His name, for by His kindness He restored what He had given to a lesser degree in the womb. Now when He made his eyes less powerful, surely He did not make a mistake, but He deferred it for the miracle. 

The blindness was not due to the sin of his parents or due to the sin of the blind man, but in order that the glory of God might be made manifest in him. That blind man was prepared as a salve for the human race. He was bodily restored to light, in order that by considering his miracle we might be enlightened in heart.

St Caesarius of Arles


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Prodigal Son

Only the gospel of Christ fully knows the mystery of sin and the problem of sin and everything which hides within it. The prodigal son of the Gospel is the perfect example of the repentant sinner. The Gospel shows us that man, through his free will, can share his life with Earth and with Heaven, with Satan and with God, with paradise and with hell. Sin gradually strips man of everything divine in him, paralyzes his every divine inclination and desire, until it finally throws him into the bosom of Satan. And then man reaches the plight of grazing the swine of his master, the Devil. The swine are passions, which are always greedy and gluttonous. In such a life, the unfortunate man is nothing more than insane.

In a shocking parable of the Gospel, the Lord says about the prodigal son, ‘he came to himself,’ (Luke 15:17) How did he come to himself? He came to himself through repentance. Through sin, man becomes mad, insane. Every sin, even the most seemingly insignificant one, is always an insanity of the soul. Through repentance, man comes to his senses becomes complete again, comes to himself. Then he cries out loud to God, runs to Him, and cries towards Heaven, ‘Father, I have sinned against Heaven, and in thy sight’ (Luke 15:21). And what is the heavenly Father doing? He is always infinitely merciful upon seeing His child in a state of repentance. He has compassion for him, runs, embraces him, and kisses him. He orders His heavenly hosts, the holy angels: ‘Bring forth the best robe and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this is My son who was dead, and is alive again; and he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.’ (Luke 16:22-24)

And this is taking place for each and every one of us, and for the sake of every sinner who repents. Namely, joy and happiness is taking place in the heaven of the All-merciful Lord and God, and together with Him, all of the holy angels.

St. Justin Popovich


Friday, February 6, 2015

The Resemblance Between Jonah And Jesus

And when we examine the story of Jonah, great is the force of the resemblance. Jesus was sent to ‎preach repentance; Jonah also was sent: but whereas the one fled, not knowing what should come to pass; ‎the other came willingly, to give repentance unto salvation. 

Jonah was asleep in the ship, and snoring ‎amidst the stormy sea; while Jesus also slept, the sea, according to God’s providence, began to rise, to show ‎in the sequel the might of Him who slept. 

To the one they said, “Why are you sleeping? Arise, call ‎your God, that God may save us;” but in the other case they say unto the Master, “Lord, save us.” Then ‎they said, "Call upon thy God"; here they say, "save Thou". 

But the one says, "Take me, and cast me into the ‎sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you"; the other, Himself rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a ‎great calm. 

The one was cast into a whale’s belly: but the other of His own accord went down, where the ‎invisible whale of death is. And He went down of His own accord, that death might cast up those whom he ‎had devoured, according to that which is written, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; and from ‎the hand of death I will redeem them".

St. Cyril of Jerusalem


Friday, January 23, 2015

Miracle beyond the Senses Manifests the Power of God

This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
John 2: 11

On the wedding day in Galilee, Water was made wine. Do we have appropriate words or senses to ascertain what methods produced the change by which the tastelessness of water disappeared and was replaced by the full naval' of wine? It was not a mixing; it was a creation, and a creation that was not a beginning but a transformation. A weaker liquid was not obtained by admixture of a stronger element; an existing entity perished, and a new entity came into being. The bridegroom was anxious, the household in confusion, the harmony of the marriage feast imperiled. Jesus is asked for help. He does not get up or busy himself. He does the work without any effort. Water is poured into the vessels, wine drawn out in the cups. The evidence of the senses of the pourer contradicts that of the one who draws it out. Those who poured expected water to be drawn; those who draw out think that wine must have been poured in. The intervening time cannot account for any gain or loss of character in the liquid. The mode of action baffles sight and sense, but the power of God is manifest in the result achieved.

St. Hilary of Poitiers 


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Carry Sins Of Others

The one who is without sin, carried sin for our sake. He did not feel ashamed to walk forward with the sinners and ask His servant, John, to baptize Him. When the great prophet became shy of the situation, He gently said to him, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Matthew 3:15

By doing this He gave us a practical lesson. He gave us a lesson to carry the sins of others, to happily pay the price on their behalf.

H.H. Pope Shenouda III


Monday, January 12, 2015

Ethiopian Patriarch Visits Egypt

This is not just a visit to our Church, but rather to our hearts

HH Pope Tawadros II 

H. H. Pope Tawadros on the visit of the Patriarch of Ethiopia: It is not just a visit to our Church but rather to our hearts.

In his meeting with His Holiness Abune Matthias I, Patriarch of Ethiopia, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria, in his speech expressed his happiness and the Holy Synod by this visit, referring to the historical relationship between the two Churches: I want to express my happiness at receiving Abune Matthias I, Patriarch of Ethiopia on behalf of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church, the first visit of an Ethiopian Patriarch was in the 1982.

The Bible spoke of Egypt in the Old Testament in the book of Isaiah, about the coming of Jesus Christ into the land of Egypt, where He blessed many places. There is a strong historical ties between our two Churches began since Pope Athanasius of Alexandria from 328 to 373 B.C., when he enthroned Bishop Salama (Saint Frumentius - ፍሬምናጦስ) the first Bishop of Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Church has many Ancient Churches, Monasteries and many Saints, including St. Takla Haimanot which our Church in Alexandria is built in his name.

The relationship between our two Churches is geographically linked by the Nile River. We also have strong ties in recent years.  Bishop Bemen, from The Coptic Holy Synod,  is the coordinator of relations between the two Churches. This is not just a visit to our Church, but rather to our hearts. 
We welcome His Holiness once again to Egypt.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Holy Nativity

This Nativity night 
bestowed peace on the whole world;

So let no one threaten;
This is the night of the Most Gentle One – Let no one be cruel;
This is the night of the Humble One – Let no one be proud.
Now is the day of joy – Let us not revenge;
Now is the day of Good Will – Let us not be mean.
In this Day of Peace – Let us not be conquered by anger.
Today the Bountiful impoverished Himself for our sake;
So, rich one, invite the poor to your table.
Today we receive a Gift for which we did not ask;
So let us give alms to those who implore and beg us.
This present Day cast open the heavenly doors to our prayers;
Let us open our door to those who ask our forgiveness.
Today the DIVINE BEING took upon Himself the seal of our humanity,
In order for humanity to be decorated by the Seal of DIVINITY.

 St. Isaac The Syrian
Nativity Sermon


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