Baptism Conditions

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  • [quote author=QT_PA_2T link=topic=6835.msg92183#msg92183 date=1215028110]
    Why did Maged the admin guy ask me to stop creating pointless threads? I don't get it. This stuff is really important to know.




    well he wasn't takling about this one, but about others. also another problem is how you just refuse to accept what was proven right. and you keep repeating the same question in the same post over and over again.......dude, ven with answers from Iqbal....
  • [quote author=minagir link=topic=6835.msg92184#msg92184 date=1215028741]
    [quote author=QT_PA_2T link=topic=6835.msg92183#msg92183 date=1215028110]
    Why did Maged the admin guy ask me to stop creating pointless threads? I don't get it. This stuff is really important to know.




    well he wasn't takling about this one, but about others. also another problem is how you just refuse to accept what was proven right. and you keep repeating the same question in the same post over and over again.......dude, ven with answers from Iqbal....


    You mean on atonement?
  • [quote author=QT_PA_2T link=topic=6835.msg92186#msg92186 date=1215029626]
    [quote author=minagir link=topic=6835.msg92184#msg92184 date=1215028741]
    [quote author=QT_PA_2T link=topic=6835.msg92183#msg92183 date=1215028110]
    Why did Maged the admin guy ask me to stop creating pointless threads? I don't get it. This stuff is really important to know.




    well he wasn't takling about this one, but about others. also another problem is how you just refuse to accept what was proven right. and you keep repeating the same question in the same post over and over again.......dude, ven with answers from Iqbal....


    You mean on atonement?



    not only....many others.
  • Hey, I know I'm 'reviving' an old topic (I thought since we're in the period of Lent, it's a fitting word lol) but I don't understand this completely, but I wish to

    [quote author=minagir link=topic=6835.msg92181#msg92181 date=1215026772]
    A full valid answer from H.G. Bishop Youssef:

    "As you mentioned, the source is Leviticus 12. It is inclusive of the rites of circumcision of every male child as a seal of God's covenant with Abraham reflected by His promise of many descendants. The physiology of the mother following child birth and the postpartum secretions and hemorrhaging usually ceases in forty days. The doubling of the periods when a female is born is a reminder that the woman first transgressed against God's commands and then led Adam to sin as well. Therefore, just as her sin was doubled, her purification period is also doubled. "For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control (1 Tim 2:13-15)."


    What does the underlined part really mean?

    in my understanding, it seems as if it implies the woman carries dubble the 'portion' (if you will) of sin as man.. and therefore needs dubble the purification.. but then that would mean it's the baby girl who would need this extra purification, and not the mother! right? Please explain..


    I also never understood the meaning of the verse in Timothy which is also included above: why is the fact that Eve sinned first of any importance?
    What would be different if it was Adam who was tempted and fell first, and not Eve?

    Thanks in advance
    God bless
    Please pray for my weakness
  • I have to say that St Severus says that no person can be held guilty of the sin of Adam and Eve. I can understand the benefit of meditating on the sin of Adam and Eve and of considering that Eve fell first, but I am not sure that we should apply the fact of Eve sinning first to all women in a negative sense. Indeed I have always considered that Adam was at greater fault as the head of his marriage and of all creation.

    If my wife and children fall into sin am I not to be blamed for that?

    I think it is interesting to consider which aspects of the Old Testament ritual law are a shadow of the reality which we now enjoy, which parts are ancient cultural elements which bore a spiritual meaning that is less clear and less applicable now in a different cultural context, and which parts are universally applicable.

    It is the case, for instance, (and without wishing to head off into a discussion of this topic in particular), that the Fathers understood the case of a women receiving communion in her time of flow differently from that which is the practice in the COC today. The Apostolic Constitutions, that ancient set of instructions which contain the Apostolic tradition, teach that a woman might receive at any time without censure. Indeed it would seem that some Eastern cultures viewed and still view the issue of bodily fluids differently to others. I mean that the Syrian tradition seems different to the Alexandrian.

    We need to be a little cautious then in concluding that everything which has meaning in the context of the Coptic tradition is absolutely equivalent with a divine command, since other ancient Orthodox communities do deal with some of these things differently.

    The different length of time before participating in society after a male and a female birth are certainly rooted in ancient cultural beliefs, but are we liberated from these ancient and often negative views of women now that we live in the Light of Christ and the grace of the Holy Spirit?

    I would be interested in reading any clinical evidence that there are significant differences in the physiology of the mother during a female or male gestation. If it is the case then it would support the ancient cultural practice, but my wife, who works in that area has never mentioned such a fact, or during her 3 pregnancies. I would have thought that such a case would have meant that it would be relatively easy for ancient midwives to be aware of whether the mother carried a boy or girl. I am certainly willing to be convinced. I must say that it had always rather seemed to be part of the ancient negative view of women and girl children which Christ saves us from.

    It would be very useful to have an audit of all the Fathers who address this issue, and perhaps I'll have a look now.

    In Christ

    Father Peter
  • [quote author=peterfarrington link=topic=6835.msg100486#msg100486 date=1235506920]

    It is the case, for instance, (and without wishing to head off into a discussion of this topic in particular), that the Fathers understood the case of a women receiving communion in her time of flow differently from that which is the practice in the COC today. The Apostolic Constitutions, that ancient set of instructions which contain the Apostolic tradition, teach that a woman might receive at any time without censure. Indeed it would seem that some Eastern cultures viewed and still view the issue of bodily fluids differently to others. I mean that the Syrian tradition seems different to the Alexandrian.



    Thanks for responding,

    I don't wish to go into a discussion about this, but could you please clarify what you mean?
    Do I understand you correctly when I say: in some EO churches, and in the time of the apostles, women were allowed to commune during their period?

    God bless
    Please pray for my weakness
  • I think that it is necessary that we submit to the teaching of our bishops, who for their part as spiritual fathers will also respond kindly and sensitively to the questions and concerns of their flocks. I mean that if my bishop says 'This is how I wish us to interpret the Tradition in my jurisdiction', then that is how I will act. I will certainly discuss many matters with him, as will other clergy and faithful, and this will involve our common reading of the Fathers, but in the end he is the spiritual father and there is a greater blessing in obedience than in me being right.

    But, just as a matter of fact, I will post some passages from the Didaskalia, the Apostolic Constitutions and from Pope Gregory the Great, representing one aspect of the Tradition. Clearly there are many other Fathers who speak as though it is clear that women should not receive at this time. The Didaskalia and Apostolic Constitutions represent very ancient Christian tradition that is considered to go back to the Apostles.

    What do I do in such a case? I turn to my bishop and ask him how he wants me to act as a priest. How should we all act? We should submit to the spiritual shepherds placed over us. This is how we will be saved.

    Here are the passages. All from very important Orthodox texts.

    From the Didaskalia

    For if thou think, O woman, that in the seven days of thy flux thou art void of the Holy Spirit; if thou die in those days, thou wilt depart empty and without hope. But if the Holy Spirit is always in thee, without (just) impediment dost thou keep thyself from prayer and from the Scriptures and from the Eucharist. For consider and see, that prayer also is heard through the Holy Spirit, and the Eucharist through the Holy Spirit is accepted and sanctified, and the Scriptures are the words of the Holy Spirit, and are holy. For if the Holy Spirit is in thee, why dost thou keep thyself from approaching to the works of the Holy Spirit ?

    And this is from the Apostolic Constitutions, another immensely important sources of Orthodox teaching, and very clear on this issue:

    Now if any persons keep to the Jewish customs and observances concerning the natural emission and nocturnal pollutions, and the lawful conjugal acts, let them tell us whether in those hours or days, when they undergo any such thing, they observe not to pray, or to touch a Bible, or to partake of the Eucharist? And if they own it to be so, it is plain they are void of the Holy Spirit, which always continues with the faithful.

    The Apostolic Constitutions refer to the Old Testament references to women's uncleanness but comprehensively reject that view as being anti-Christian.

    And Pope Gregory representing an ancient Western view.

    But that woman, thou wilt say, was compelled by infirmity; but these are held of their accustomed sicknesses. Yet consider, dearest brother, how all that we suffer in this mortal flesh is of infirmity of nature, ordained after guilt by the fitting judgment of God. For to hunger and to thirst, to be hot, to be cold, to be weary, is of infirmity of nature. And to seek food against hunger, and drink against thirst, and cool air against heat, and clothing against cold, and rest against weariness, what is it but to search out certain healing appliances against sicknesses? For in females also the menstruous flow of their blood is a sickness. If therefore she presumed well who in her state of feebleness touched the Lord's garment, why should not what is granted to one person in infirmity be granted to all women who through defect of their nature are in infirmity?

    Further, she ought not to be prohibited during these same days from receiving the mystery of holy communion. If, however, out of great reverence, she does not presume to receive, she is to be commended; but, if she should receive, she is not to be judged.


    Now these first documents do seem to have been transmitted especially in the Syriac context and therefore may represent a Syriac view of this issue as compared to an Egyptian one. What is clear is that significant, unimpeachable Orthodox texts do have a difference of understanding on this matter and therefore, as I said earlier, though it is right that we should turn to our own priests and bishops for instruction as to how we should act, we should not be too quick to assume that our practice is the only possible Orthodox practice, or even that our practice must be understood as a universal Divine law. Indeed it is always best for us to judge ourselves for our own failures to live out the advice of our spiritual fathers, and leave others to the keeping of their own bishops and priests.

    In Christ

    Father Peter
  • thanks father peter  :)
    your post encourages me as i only found out about these communion rules 4 months after joining the coptic church  ;)
    back to baptism; my sunday school teacher friend believes that the flow after the birth of a girl is usually longer. her other friends who are mums and one friend who is a nurse who visits new mums say the same.
    i realise this is not a randomised double-blind prospective trial (apologies to the non-scientists!) but it seems there is some truth in it.
    i like the idea about it being so the new mum gets more help though!
    may God make us worthy to partake of his holy body and precious blood as we turn to Him in repentance this lent
  • [quote author=peterfarrington link=topic=6835.msg100489#msg100489 date=1235509197]
    I think that it is necessary that we submit to the teaching of our bishops, who for their part as spiritual fathers will also respond kindly and sensitively to the questions and concerns of their flocks. I mean that if my bishop says 'This is how I wish us to interpret the Tradition in my jurisdiction', then that is how I will act. I will certainly discuss many matters with him, as will other clergy and faithful, and this will involve our common reading of the Fathers, but in the end he is the spiritual father and there is a greater blessing in obedience than in me being right.

    But, just as a matter of fact, I will post some passages from the Didaskalia, the Apostolic Constitutions and from Pope Gregory the Great, representing one aspect of the Tradition. Clearly there are many other Fathers who speak as though it is clear that women should not receive at this time. The Didaskalia and Apostolic Constitutions represent very ancient Christian tradition that is considered to go back to the Apostles.

    What do I do in such a case? I turn to my bishop and ask him how he wants me to act as a priest. How should we all act? We should submit to the spiritual shepherds placed over us. This is how we will be saved.

    Here are the passages. All from very important Orthodox texts.

    From the Didaskalia

    For if thou think, O woman, that in the seven days of thy flux thou art void of the Holy Spirit; if thou die in those days, thou wilt depart empty and without hope. But if the Holy Spirit is always in thee, without (just) impediment dost thou keep thyself from prayer and from the Scriptures and from the Eucharist. For consider and see, that prayer also is heard through the Holy Spirit, and the Eucharist through the Holy Spirit is accepted and sanctified, and the Scriptures are the words of the Holy Spirit, and are holy. For if the Holy Spirit is in thee, why dost thou keep thyself from approaching to the works of the Holy Spirit ?

    And this is from the Apostolic Constitutions, another immensely important sources of Orthodox teaching, and very clear on this issue:

    Now if any persons keep to the Jewish customs and observances concerning the natural emission and nocturnal pollutions, and the lawful conjugal acts, let them tell us whether in those hours or days, when they undergo any such thing, they observe not to pray, or to touch a Bible, or to partake of the Eucharist? And if they own it to be so, it is plain they are void of the Holy Spirit, which always continues with the faithful.

    The Apostolic Constitutions refer to the Old Testament references to women's uncleanness but comprehensively reject that view as being anti-Christian.

    And Pope Gregory representing an ancient Western view.

    But that woman, thou wilt say, was compelled by infirmity; but these are held of their accustomed sicknesses. Yet consider, dearest brother, how all that we suffer in this mortal flesh is of infirmity of nature, ordained after guilt by the fitting judgment of God. For to hunger and to thirst, to be hot, to be cold, to be weary, is of infirmity of nature. And to seek food against hunger, and drink against thirst, and cool air against heat, and clothing against cold, and rest against weariness, what is it but to search out certain healing appliances against sicknesses? For in females also the menstruous flow of their blood is a sickness. If therefore she presumed well who in her state of feebleness touched the Lord's garment, why should not what is granted to one person in infirmity be granted to all women who through defect of their nature are in infirmity?

    Further, she ought not to be prohibited during these same days from receiving the mystery of holy communion. If, however, out of great reverence, she does not presume to receive, she is to be commended; but, if she should receive, she is not to be judged.


    Now these first documents do seem to have been transmitted especially in the Syriac context and therefore may represent a Syriac view of this issue as compared to an Egyptian one. What is clear is that significant, unimpeachable Orthodox texts do have a difference of understanding on this matter and therefore, as I said earlier, though it is right that we should turn to our own priests and bishops for instruction as to how we should act, we should not be too quick to assume that our practice is the only possible Orthodox practice, or even that our practice must be understood as a universal Divine law. Indeed it is always best for us to judge ourselves for our own failures to live out the advice of our spiritual fathers, and leave others to the keeping of their own bishops and priests.

    In Christ

    Father Peter


    Thank you father..

    God bless
    Please pray for my weakness
  • my sunday school teacher friend also said the main reason a woman shouldn't take communion during her periods was because she shouldn't fast during this time because it could be hard for her to not eat and drink if she is bleeding. that is why the church 'lightens' the load for her by making it clear she should not abstain from food or drink and therefore would not take communion.
    i think its good to discuss/debate this, and also good to follow the bishops' teaching, as father peter says  :)
  • [quote author=mabsoota link=topic=6835.msg100592#msg100592 date=1235864202]
    my sunday school teacher friend also said the main reason a woman shouldn't take communion during her periods was because she shouldn't fast during this time because it could be hard for her to not eat and drink if she is bleeding. that is why the church 'lightens' the load for her by making it clear she should not abstain from food or drink and therefore would not take communion.
    i think its good to discuss/debate this, and also good to follow the bishops' teaching, as father peter says  :)


    With all due respect to your friend, but I don't like that explanation for two reasons:

    1) saying she HAS TO abstain from taking communion is not like saying she MAY abstain
    2) most liturgies are in the morning and require a person to be fasting a minimum of 9 hours and/or from 12 AM onwards... so she wouldn't normally be eating in these periods anyway..

  • edited February 6
    Doesn't adherence to Levitical laws of ritual purification kind of undermine the work of Christ to purify and sanctify us? Does His sacrifice suddenly not apply to me if I am menstruating? If I die while menstruating or shortly after giving birth will I be sent to hell? Would Christ ever turn away a woman who was menstruating or who had just given birth? 

    It really bothers me to see priests say things like "You should never go more than 40 days without receiving the Eucharist. It is damaging to your spiritual life." and know that if I were to give birth to a boy, I'd be barred for exactly that amount of time, and a girl for DOUBLE the time that would be damaging to my soul. Why would anyone ever subject a woman, or anyone, to the possibility of spiritual damage for the sake of old covenant laws of purification? How can we justify barring anyone from the Holy Mysteries for nearly 3 MONTHS, almost 1/4 of a year, when she has only allowed her body to do what God created it to do: give birth. Why should it be necessary to "remind" us of who sinned first? What spiritual benefit does it have to think about and remember who was the "first to fall"? I fail to understand this. 

    There are jurisdictions, even within Oriental Orthodoxy that do not maintain these restrictions for menstruation, and for post birth, it seems unique to us to maintain a distinction between a male and a female child, whereas most practice 40 for all. I do not see why, then, we seem to see it as essential to our Orthodoxy to maintain this. Males are no more "worthy" than females. Nor are males "more important". Nor are they more holy. Nor are they more "clean". There is not one instance in the Gospel wherein Christ turned someone away due to their state of "ritual purity". Why then does the Church insist that we must do this? 

    The Eucharist is not merely a "form of worship" the Eucharist is Life. How is it merciful and just to bar someone from Life for a state that is totally out of her control? I can't just stop my menstrual cycle, and I can't stop myself from giving birth except by artificial means.   
  • @Lovejoypeace_

    This is one of those subjects where you find no argument from me against your concerns.  I too am baffled by these rules.  I see historical precedence for it from writings of some fathers, but there are also other ancient writings that speak against it.  So the rigidity by which our Coptic Church continues to uphold these menstrual and birthing rules is something that I do not have much theological appreciation for.  At the same time, I do not consider it the most serious concern of our Church either.  Additionally, some Coptic priests might in fact not follow this rule, but they will not be public about it.

    I say have a good relationship with your father of confession, be obedient, be patient, and continue in your spiritual practices.

    Concerning the idea that we should not go more than 40 days without communion, I think this is somewhat of an arbitrary number.  There are cases where someone is required not to take communion for months or even years in the ancient Church and other cases where it is recommended you must immediately take communion as frequent as possible.  So, I think it is a good GUIDELINE to follow the 40 day rule when there is NOTHING ELSE going on in your spiritual life that could either hinder or make necessary the Eucharist for your life and again this all depends on your relationship with your confession father.

    God bless.
  • @minasoliman

    Didn't Christ even say "Unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you have no life in you"

    I understand what you are saying about the guideline. And I know I'm still pretty young to be worried about having kids or even getting married, but this rule has actually made me really not want to have a girl only because I am not spiritually strong enough to go nearly 3 months (or barely even slightly over 1 month it would be with a boy) without receiving His Holy and Precious Body and Blood. I literally don't think my soul could handle it. :(
  • That is true, Christ did say that, and we take it very seriously.  With that said, there are some cases in which the Church does advice staying away from the Eucharist for the time being as a form of penance.  For example, there is the case in which a soldier who comes back from war must go through a period of, I think 3 years, without communion because of the violence and killing he went through.  Since this is a traumatic period, St. Basil the Great advised a period of penance, which does not necessary mean a period of purification from guilt, but also a period of healing, as someone went through a traumatic period.

    Again, these are guidelines, and this does not mean that every single soldier follows this rule to the T.  But it does mean that a spiritual father must be wary of psychological and spiritual ailments of someone's mind and heart and to be able to discern what is a proper healing.

    And so when Christ says "Unless you eat of the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you have no life in you," we also balance this with what Paul says, "He who eats and drinks unworthily eats and drinks judgment upon himself."

    With that said, never think your gender is something to be avoided or lamented.  I think that is a terrible mistake to read that into the rules of the Church.  The Church fathers are very clear, male and female are equal under the eyes of Christ because we share the same equal human nature and the same equal image of God in us.  No one is less than the other.  Being female is a precious gift that you should embrace.

    For your personal battles with being away from the Eucharist, again, this is something you share with your priest.  If he find that indeed, you cannot be away from the Eucharist for a long time, he can work with you on this.  In the meantime, there will be situations (like being overseas for school for example in my case in the past), where you might not be able to have communion for a semester!  Build yourself up now and continue to develop that spiritual relationship with your confession father.

    God bless.
  • But then there are excerpts like this from On the Trinity that say the image of God is not in me unless I am joined to a husband, but in man the image of God is complete even if he is not joined to a wife.

    "Unless, forsooth, according to that which I have said already, when I was treating of the nature of the human mind, that the woman together with her own husband is the image of God, so that that whole substance may be one image; but when she is referred separately to her quality of help-meet, which regards the woman herself alone, then she is not the image of God; but as regards the man alone, he is the image of God as fully and completely as when the woman too is joined with him in one."

    And when the whole burden of sin is continuously pushed on us, even after the Holy and undeserved sacrifice of our Lord, when we are consistently referred to as "stumbling blocks", when the salvation of men is emphasized when a woman acts immodestly, and her own salvation not even mentioned, when we need to be "reminded" that woman fell first, when I am called disobedient/rebellious/prideful for raising concerns, when i voice this as a problem that should be rectified and am accused of calling our Lord a liar and saying that the gates of hell have prevailed, it is kind of hard not to occationally feel worthless in the eyes of the Church.

    And yes. We revere St. Mary above even the highest angels. And yes she is a woman. But I am not St. Mary. To say that the Church respects women as a whole because we respect and honor St. Mary isn't really true. For even some of the most intense criminals respect their own mothers. Now The Church is by no means anywhere close to criminal. The Church is Holy and True and is a source of comfort and Life in our Lord. It just seems sometimes that this comfort and Life gets extended more to men than to women, especially with laws and regulations like those being discussed here.
  • edited February 7
    I think you’re taking that quote out of context. I have not personally read Augustine’s “On the Trinity”, but if that quote sums up his thoughts (which I don’t think it is), he is clearly wrong given other Patristic testimonies (and Augustine is wrong on many theological issues, or at best not clear). Otherwise, we wouldn’t have celibate and monastic women who would be great spiritual guides for all of us.

    Did you read all of Augustin’s “On the Trinity”? I am sure he said more on the subject than that quote.

    Sure none us is St. Mary, but Christ did not say “be perfect as my mother is perfect.” He said something far more drastic than that ;)

    Ever hear of the story of the people who were more perfect than St. Macarius?

    Finally, I’d like to point out that the whole disobedience and stumbling block issue should go both ways. I think if men point a finger on women, that’s wrong. Each and every person must point a finger on himself first. I always ask, “did I do something immodestly”? Sometimes, this can be misunderstood when women and men are separated in class and are taught to consider themselves and blame themselves. Men are also taught that they are fully responsible for any wrongdoing done on their sisters (sisters in a broad sense) even if they (men) did no wrong. It’s part of the gender role of looking out for each other and for self-judgment in complimentary ways. One of the mistakes Adam did is saying to God “that woman you gave me!” Cain also gave the same sentiment “am I my brother’s keeper?” This is equally wrong. I should always be responsible for my neighbor even if I am not. That’s an important quality of the second greatest commandment.
  • If I may add, according to the research by Robin Darling Young on the cathedral homilies of St. Severus of Antioch confirms the idea that male and female are equal in regards to the image of God, but even further St. Severus takes the position that women tend to have a stronger image of God, and tend to be more prone to deification than men, in his experience.
  • edited February 7
    "Sure none us is St. Mary, but Christ did not say “be perfect as my mother is perfect.” He said something far more drastic than that" oh yes He did. I'll need a lot of His help and grace and mercy for that one. ❤

    I honestly haven't heard the story of these saints. Where can I find It?

    With the pointing fingers thing, I was referring less to Sunday school classes being separated and us being told to self-examine and more to things like physical modesty talks directed only or mostly at women. Or virginity being explained to women as "Losing it contaminates you and diminishes your value and no one will want to marry you" (Yes this is essentially how I was taught virginity in Youth meeting) instaed of in the way that emphasizes the beauty of Husband and Wife coming together exclusively, and how it represents the exclusive intimacy of the True Bridegroom Our Lord Jesus Christ with His Bride The Church.
    But I think these types of things have more to do with the modern Egyptian culture than the Church. (That doesn't mean it's not a problem though, because we should strive to remove ANY aspects of culture that conflict with the values of the Church in any capacity)

    And I totally agree that we should all be responsible for edifying and strengthening one another. That's what unity in the Body of Christ is about. :)

    Oh, and I definitely don't think women are a stronger image of God. We are no greater and no less than men.


    Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me about this. It had been making me feel very frustrated.

    God bless you :)
  • What I think Severus meant by “stronger”, is he believed women exercise it better than men in his experience, especially within a married couple. It’s like a muscle. Some people are stronger than others by “working out” more.

    For the story of St. Macarius and the two devout laywomen, check this link out:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=oyrS90wH8xcC&lpg=PA35&ots=bDoNA0fhYw&dq=coptic life of macarius&pg=PA75#v=onepage&q&f=false

    This should take you to saying number 33, pages 75-76

    Moral of the story: perfection knows no gender, marital status, or hierarchy.
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