Researching for Thesis -- Hello!

edited December 1969 in Introductions
Hi all --

I'm very excited to have found this community and hope you won't mind me hanging around, learning, and asking questions in an attempt to understand the Coptic Orthodox faith.

I am completing an MFA in architectural history, where my primary interest is in both vernacular and non-western architecture. I've become particularly fascinated with the marriage of these two interests in Coptic and Ethiopian Orthodox church forms in the United States. The crux of my research interest is discerning how these church forms are manifest in the U.S, generally, as well as any adaptations required for interior and exterior spaces in cases where buildings are re-purposed to house a church.

Of course, fundamental to understanding the use of space is understanding the religion and, I must confess, I don't even know what I don't know about the Coptic church! I'm hoping that spending some time around the online community will help me realize what research questions I need to ask myself and, to that end, I really do hope that you don't mind a lurker who's fascinated by the religion and the architecture!

Looking forward to learning!


  • Here is a link that may help you understand more about the coptic church:

  • Welcome!! You will enjoy this site and learn much i'm sure.
  • Thank you for the link and the welcome!
  • Welcome, I hope you get as addicted to this site as I have :D
  • WELCOME!!!!

    you will find the answer to almost ALL ur questions here!
  • Welcome! :) :) :) :D :D :D
  • I recall you saying that you are doing some research in the church architecture, correct? I found a website that might be helpful if you are interested.

    God Bless
  • ^^ Fantastic link! Thank you!

    There is so much wonderful information here -- and people too!  :)
  • Kelley, here is a link about architecture in Ethiopian churches and castles.

    click on the links on the right side under " Stone architecture in 17th Century Ethiopia".

    Here is wikipedia:

  • Welcome
    i dont do as much stuff as u, but i am a big time musician at 13 years old. im new too, so we have something in common. :) Hope u enjoy the wbsite as i do
    God Bless
    Coptic Orthodox Musician
  • WELCOME!!!!! ;D ;D ;D ;D

    +mahraeel+ :D
  • Welcome!!!

    We'll all be happy to answer whatever questions you may have! Just ask :)

  • Welcome to the site  ;)

    pray for me

  • Hello! Have you ever been to these churchs Kelley?
  • Hi everyone --

    Thank you all so much for the warm welcome! I've not yet been to a service, however I will attend my first this coming Saturday and am very much looking forward to attending, as well as getting back to my research in general after a hiatus to finish coursework.
  • mabrook!
    this is arabic for congratulations, congratulations on attending church
    do u usually go to church?
    if you find anything strange/ interesting about the service, just ask us :)
    btw, you may need to take a notebook with you in order to remember all the strange/ interesting things  ;)
    little tip ( u probably know this already) but it is currently lent so stick to vagetarian conversation!
    may God bless you
  • Thanks for the lenten heads-up, mabsoota!  ;)

    I was tenuously raised Catholic, but have never attended church regularly despite having been fascinated by church buildings -- and religion in general -- my whole life. I love being *in* a church, though, and am very excited to experience the Coptic church as a community, as opposed to the "sitting down and getting a talking to", which is how my adolescent mind always interpreted Catholic services.

    In the limited book research I've done thus far, it seems like there's much more of an . . . immersion, I guess . . . and I'm anxious to see how architectural surroundings are involved and transformed. Although I'm eventually going to be expected to produce a hopelessly dry paper  :P , I really don't want this to be a purely intellectual exercise. I think I'd miss many very large points if I allowed it to be so.

  • hi kelly,
    i recommend you ask a lady (most churches ladies and men sit different sides) if it's ok to sit near her and then she can fill u in on what's happening if you get lost. hopefully the church will have a projector so you can follow what's going on. don't worry if there are 2 things going on at once, this is normal.
    the only time you really have to stand up is for the reading of the gospel (as in catholic churches) and when the priest brings the Holy Communion from the alter (in some churches the people go up behind the screen so this part may not apply), otherwise we generally expect visitors to sit for most of it. kneeling down is also optional.
    if you want to join in, just learn 'kyrie eleison' (lord have mercy). when the people are all mumbling something in unison it's either the Lord's prayer (the 'our father' this is the short mumble repeated several times) or the creed ('i believe in one God...' this is the long mumble)
    half way through, people greet those around them by kissing their fingers and then touching hands (you'll see what i mean) and after the service it's more or less mandatory  ;) to stay for a cup of tea and perhaps a sandwich. in larger churches, there is food for sale, in smaller ones, most people bring food, so you never know, you could end up with a free lunch!  :)
    usually the priest or deacons have plenty of time to chat to visitors, and don't worry about kissing the priest's hand, it's not expected of visitors, they usually shake hands.
    any more questions feel free to ask, my first coptic service was nearly 4 years ago now, but i can remember what it looks like from the outside  :) i'm off to bed as in a different time zone and also have church tomorrow.
    i hope your research goes well and may God bless you
  • :)Welcome, Kelley...

    Would you mind me asking where you would happen to live?
    It is just to have an idea of exactly where you would be attending a service, and what kind of services for non- Egyptian people this church has.
Sign In or Register to comment.