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Coptic Orthodox Church
Why Oriental Orthodoxy?
edited May 8
I would like to hear your stories of why you chose the O.O church over the E.O church.
Your question directs us to a choice. There was for me, but that it was with the Roman Catholic church and the Coptic church.
My story starts as far as church is concerned; that when I went to the Catholic church to do bible study, after being invited from a friend at work, that in some of the passages I would get an epithine (a moment of truth), which our Lord was calling me concerning my life. So the gap between when I went to a Methodist Church when I was young till the time Jesus called me was many years in sin. The timing is such that my paren't were to pass away. My father first, in which after my mother cleaned our garage, only a book was left on the ground. It was the book containing the twenty-third Psalm. A book I received for excellence at the Sunday school. At the Catholic bible study, we did Luke, Acts and Revelation. After that, another friend at my workplace asked me to visit the Coptic church.
As I went in, I felt the very presence of God. I felt all that was good and even though I was looking for the remission of sin by attending the Catholic Church, it wasn't until I felt God's presense in fullness at the Coptic church. Every chance I got I had to be there, even in the bible study where I would listen and read out the verses in english. Abouna in the service would get me to read the Catholicon, but this time it wasn't like the Catholic Church where my epithines were concerning me being called back to God, they were much stronger as the messages I read or received related directly with what was going on in my life. I cried everytime I read it. I understood that the closer I was becoming to God the more He gave me glimpses of salvation. Because that's what you get, glimpses. The most important one was when on my mother's death bed, Abouna prayed for her and put oil on her forehead and wrist. Awhile after she passed away, she came to me in a vision when I was sleeping. It scared me, but I didn't open my eyes. She talked to me and she knew me better than I knew myself. Also, she passed away at age eighty, but she was young in the vision and I had never seen her like that before as I'm adopted. An Abouna asked me if she was in white, I couldn't remember as it didn't matter because I was shocked and so happy at the same time.
I want to be where she is upon my own death. This is through the church. That it's path has not changed and for each schism, was a pulling away from the path that is already set. Not that the Coptic church has changed a tradition. We have different Apostleship, so it is like one Apostle disagreeing with his brother were Christ is the unified factor.
edited May 8
Thank you for sharing your excellent story.
edited May 10
I was born in the OO church, so my answer could be biased. But after studying the historical origins of the Chalcedonian schism, I will say I tend to be more sympathetic to my OO tradition than to the the EO one, but that does not mean I neglect the EO tradition. I think they are complementary in every way and we can learn a lot from their spirituality, BUT we need to also develop a Renaissance where we start translating and publishing our own OO fathers more than ever as the EOs did this past century and a half.
And people who convert to EO tend to have this bias that the OO tradition is "lacking" or "backwards" in comparison to the EO tradition, which I find is an unfortunately misguided view based on what I call a "victor scholarship", where as the saying goes, "history is written by the victor". In this case the West is overwhelmingly the source of most scholarship, without an objective analysis of Oriental ancient theology and spirituality. And many people who do join our OO Church realize this and want to be a part of an OO theological renaissance.
In fact, a century and a half ago, people who join Roman Catholics tended to also think EOs were "primitive" and "simple" and "backwards" compared to the explosion of Western literature, especially in the Latin Church. The EOs later improved and now people are saying the same about OOs today. (A couple of months ago, I heard an Ancient Faith Radio podcast of a Coptic guy from Brooklyn who after years of abuse and falling off the path, returned to Christianity through EO sources, which lead him to think the Coptic Church was the "wrong" Church for these lack of spiritual resources...but given the recent posts, perhaps I rejoice this Brooklyn Copt is in an infinitely better place than the Coptic Apostate we have recently). I have faith the tide is turning soon.
Thank you very much Minasoliman!
Could you please tell me what you mean by "Coptic apostate".
It's a username of a guy who became an atheist in another thread in this site.
"In fact, a century and a half ago, people who join Roman Catholics tended to also think EOs were "primitive" and "simple" and "backwards" compared to the explosion of Western literature, especially in the Latin Church. The EOs later improved and now people are saying the same about OOs today."
Additionally with gleaming irony, the EO criticize the Roman Catholics for being too legalistic and scholastic. I just picked up my copy of Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy and this is the very first complaint about the Roman Catholic Church. It seem that in addition to the EO pushing for a more scholastic and academic paradigm, they are simultaneously pushing for a simplistic and mystical paradigm. It's not an accident that EO scholars enjoy Fr Matta al Maskeen because of his approach to academia, but also because he is a mystical and simple monk who speaks more often about mystical encounters in simple and primitive language than philosophical deductions. Sooner or later many "enlightened" Copts who left the Coptic Church for "advanced education", will follow the path of EO's criticism of "advanced education" only to realize the simple and the primitive are just as capable of entering the Kingdom of God.