Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior
The Coptic Orthodox Church
The term “Coptic” is derived from the Greek “Aigyptos” meaning “Egyptian”. When the Arabs arrived in Egypt in the seventh century, they called the Egyptians “qibt”. Thus the Arabic word “qipt” came to mean both “Egyptians” and “Christians”.
The term “Orthodoxy” here refers to the preservation of the “Original Faith” by the Copts who, throughout the ages, defended the Old Creed against the numerous attacks aimed at it.
The Coptic Church was established in the name of Jesus Christ by St. Mark the Evangelist in the city of Alexandria around 43 A.D. The church adheres to the Nicene Creed. St. Athanasius (296-373 A.D.), the twentieth Pope of the Coptic Church effectively defended the Doctrine of Christ’s Divinity at the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. His affirmation of the doctrine earned him the title; “Father of Orthodoxy” and St. Athanasius “the Apostolic”.
The Coptic Orthodox Church believes that the Holy Trinity: God The Father, God The Son, and God The Holy Spirit, are equal to each other in one unity; and that Jesus Christ is the only Savior of the world. Less changes have taken place in the Coptic Church than in any other church whether in the ritual or doctrine aspects and that the succession of the Coptic Patriarchs, Bishops, priests and Deacons has been continuous.
The Coptic Orthodox Church recognizes the Seven Sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion (Eucharist), Penance, Marriage, Unction of the Sick and Holy Orders.
The Copts pride themselves on the Apostolicity of their church and on the fact that Egypt is the only land in the world to be honored and blessed by the visit by the Holy Family. The Copts also pride themselves on their Egyptian saints, theologians and scholars, who are counted among the most distinguished figures of the Christian Churches such as Origen in 185 A.D.; St. Clement 211; St. Antony the Great 250; St. Pachomius 290; St. Athanasius 296; St. Macarius 300; St. Cyril 377 just to mention a few.
The Coptic Church has always felt a mandate to reconcile “semantic differences” between all Christian churches”. This is aptly expressed by H. H., Pope Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark when he said, “To the Coptic Church, faith is more important than anything. People must know that semantics and terminology are of little importance to us”.
Since the middle of this century, the Coptic Church has played an important role in the ecumenical movement. The Coptic Church is one of the founders of the “World Council of Churches”. The Coptic Church is also a member of the African Council of Churches and the Middle East Council of Churches.
The number of the Coptic Church members in Egypt alone is approximately 10,000,000 members. There are around 1.5 million Coptic immigrants living in The United States, Canada, Australia, Europe, Africa and Asia.
In the Holy Scriptures there are many names and titles which are applied to our Lord and saviour, Jesus. He is said to be the Word. He is called Wisdom. Light and Power, right hand and angel, man and lamb and sheep and priest. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, a vine. Justice and Redemption, bread, a stone and doctor, a fount of living water, peace and judge and door. Yet for all these names which are to help us grasp the nature and range of His power, there is but one and the same Son of God who is our God. These many names and titles belong to one Lord. Take courage, therefore. . . . and plant your hope firmly in Him. If you would learn of the Father, listen to this Word.
If you would be wise, ask Him Who is Wisdom. When it is too dark for you to see, seek Christ for He is the Light. Are you sick? Have recourse to Him Who is both doctor and healer. Would you know by whom the world was made and all things are sustained? Believe in Him for He is the arm and right hand. Are you afraid of this or that? Remember He will stand beside you like an angel. If you are innocent like a lamb He will join your company. If you are saddened by persecution, take courage. Remember that He Himself went like a lamb to the slaughter, and, priest that He is. He will offer you up as a victim to the Father. If you do not know the way of salvation, look for Christ, for He is the road for souls. If it is truth that you want, listen to Him, for He is the truth. Have no fear whatever of death, for Christ is the life of those who believe.
And thou shalt call his name Jesus ( MATT 1:21)
Prince of Peace, Mighty God, Wonderful Counselor(ISA 9:6)
Holy One (Mk 1:24), Lamb of God (John 1:29)
Prince of Life (Acts 3:15), Lord God Almighty (Rev 15:3)
Lion of Judah (Rev 5:5), Root of David (Rev 22:16)
Word of Life (1John 1:1), Author & Finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2)
Advocate (1Jn 2:1), The Way (John 14:6), Dayspring (Lk 1:78), Lord of All (Acts 10:36), I AM (John 8:24, 8:58), Son of God (John 1:24), Shepherd & Bishop of our Souls (1Pet 2:25), Messiah (John 1:41), The Truth (John 14:6), Saviour (1Pet 2:20), Chief Cornerstone (Eph 2:20), King of Kings (Rev 19:16), Righteous Judge (2Tim 4:8), Light of the world (John 8:12, 12:46), Head of the Church (Eph 1:22), Morning Star (Rev 22:16), Sun of Righteousness (Mal 4:2), Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 15:11), Chief Shepherd (1 Pet 5:4), Resurrection & Life (John 11:25), Horn of Salvation (Lk 1:69), Emmanuel (Matt 1:23, ISA 7:14)
Lord of Sabaoth (Rom 9:29, James 5:4)
Governor (Matt 2:6), THE ALPHA & OMEGA (Rev 1:8)
How Gracious Is The Risen Lord
When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, “bring some of the fish you just caught.” John 21:9-10
One is awed by the graciousness of our risen Lord Jesus. These men really let him down, fled from him in his time of need, even though he had repeatedly pleaded with them to be with him. He tends so gently to their needs to be brought into the mystery of a risen Lord and to be reconciled with him whom they have betrayed. First, he reassures them with the familiar miracle-familiar to them, associated with their calling-of a wondrous catch of fish after a fruitless night. Then with his own hands, he prepared a breakfast for them, he the Risen Lord and Master. And then he invites them to add to it what they themselves have caught-by his grace. He is not an overbearing Lord, he ever respects us and invites us freely to be part of his plan. Finally, he gives Peter the opportunity to redeem his three denials with three affirmations, before going to prophesy the ultimate triumph of Peter’s love. When our God bends so low to reach to us, how can we fail to respond to such humble love? May we like Peter again and again profess our love and go all the way to prove it.
Jesus Can Do A Lot With A Little
Here is a boy who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many? John 6:9
In the hands of Jesus, five barley loaves and two fish are more than adequate to feed the huge crowd gathered around him. There will even be leftovers. Jesus can do a lot with a little, and that is good news for us when we become discouraged by our meager resources. The miracle shows what happens when we put our meager resources into the hands of Jesus. We experience his power, energizing us with a strength we could never have by ourselves, enabling us to do more than we thought possible.
The miracle also tells us much about him. He is a hospitable God: he sees a crowd and immediately concerned about setting out a meal for them. He is a gracious God: he condescends to us with a gentle sensitivity. Rather than making a meal materialize out of his domain, he takes the little we have-five loaves and two fishes-and makes them do. And he is a God of abundance: the only thing that limits what He will give us is how willing we are to receive. Each one could have all he or she wanted. Indeed, there were twelve baskets full of left over.
Lord, expand my heart by the wonder of your goodness so that I might receive more and more of your love.
My Faith Is Vital In Helping Others
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,” Child, your sins are forgiven.” Mark2:5
Listen to the tenderness of this statement: “Child, your sins are forgiven.” Jesus is calling an adult, “child”, a word that implies a certain dependence, an innocence. Like a child, this man is being carried to Jesus. Not able to get there on his own, he has faith in his friends. He trusts them in their extravagant manner of bringing him to Jesus. Lowering someone down through the roof certainly
is not the common way of gaining entrance to a house!
Obviously the four who are carrying the man to Jesus are faith- filled people. Their love for their friend leads them to act foolishly on his behalf. Jesus is touched by their faith, a faith that appears to be instrumental in bringing about his healing.
Perhaps Jesus is trying to teach us that we are coworkers with him. Our faith matters. think about your faith today. Where has it come from? Who has been instrumental in nurturing it? How are you living it?
Jesus, increase my faith. Enable me to act lovingly on behalf of others even if, in the eyes of the world, I appear to be foolish.
God’s Grace Has No Limits
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him. John 2 :11
What Jesus does at the marriage feast is the symbol of what he will later accomplish through his passion, death and resurrection. The water stored in the jars is the symbol of old Adam, of solidarity in human incompletion and sin. Jesus takes this water and transforms it into wine not just into new water, but into something totally new! The sparkling, heady character of wine is the symbol of the experience of refreshment, enthusiasm and exhilaration that characterize the fruits of the Spirit.
The jars of water were required for purification according to Jewish custom, before, during and after the meal. Notice that each jar contained twenty to thirty gallons when filled to the brim. This is about a thousand quarts. After the miracle, there was enough wine to satisfy an army! The implication is that there is no limit to the new wine of the Gospel.
Who are the guests? You and I, of course.
Lord, may I be grateful today for the overflowing riches of your gifts of redemption.
Beware Of Being The ‘Living Dead’
The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. John 11:44
Lazarus stumbling from the tomb must have made quite a spectacle. Wrapped in the bindings of death, he probably looked both comical and macabre as he stepped out in the brilliant sunshine. Weak and dazed, trailing burial cloths behind him, he may have a hard time standing, let alone placing one foot in front of the other. Those who witnessed his resurrection must have been terrified; only later would they be able to reflect on the other emotions his appearance conjured up for them.
The comic and macabre are not mutually exclusive. When we allow ourselves to be bound by sin and by all that is destructive, we become caricatures of ourselves: the light within diminishes, reducing us to “ghosts.” In effect, we have become the living dead. Like Lazarus, we are immobilized until the Word of Life calls us forth. Then, stripped of all that binds us, we can give vent to the laughter of relief, the laughter of gratitude.
Unbind us, O God of life, that we may sing your praise.