Pray for Lands of Immigration Conference

Please Join Us in Praying for the Guidance of the Holy Spirit at the Historic Lands of Immigration Conference

As has been previously announced on this site, next week the Coptic Orthodox Church will convene a historic “Lands of Immigration Conference” which will determine the course the Coptic Orthodox Church will chart in the English-speaking West for the next 50 years. A number of presentations will be given by clergy and laity serving in the West on topics such as:

-Whether or not the calendar should be adjusted so that the Coptic Church celebrates the Nativity and the Resurrection with Western heterodox confessions with which she is not in communion, in the process falling out of sync with the celebrations of those feasts by her sister churches in the See of St. Mark: the Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Churches

-How the Orthodox Faith might be culturally contextualized in the West, including discussions on whether or not heterodox (specifically Evangelical Protestant) practices, materials, and modes of worship (such as so-called “praise & worship” or “Contemporary Christian Music”) can be “baptized” into the life of the Church at our youth meetings and at other times

-Whether or not it is appropriate to sing such songs during the Holy Liturgy, specifically after the chanting of Psalm 150 during the time at which the faithful receive the Holy Body and Precious Blood of Christ

Although some churches presently utilize Evangelical Protestant songs and materials as described above in an unofficial way – in contradiction to the decisions of the Holy Synod as described here: and without the express approval of the hierarchy – if the Church should officially endorse such practices it would be catastrophic and very hard to undo, and this generation would go down in history as the generation that dropped the baton and allowed for the incorporation of heteropraxis into the Divine Liturgy and the daily life of the Church, a situation that will surely be reversed by those who come after us since the gates of hell shall not prevail against God’s Church (St. Matthew 16:18) and such a change could only be a temporary and much lamented aberration.

Because this conference is so important, the St. Jacob Baradaeus Orthodox Christian Fellowship asks you to join us (with the permission of your Father of Confession) in praying three times daily – during the Third Hour (9 AM), the Sixth Hour (12 PM), and Compline (9 PM) – for the cessation and reversal of Evangelical and Charismatic influence in the Coptic Orthodox Church and the triumph of Orthodoxy and orthopraxis at the “Lands of Immigration” conference. We will be praying in this way for the duration of the Conference, from May 18 to May 24, 2015, and will also be praying at all liturgical services we attend during that time. We are doing so with the permission of our Fathers of Confession, many of whom – along with other priests – have indicated that they will join their prayers to ours during this time and are praying that God will bless and accept our petitions.

Pray for the peace of the one holy catholic and apostolic Orthodox church of God. Confirm her in her in the foundation of faith and practice imparted unto her by the Holy Apostle St. Mark. The oneness of heart in love and faith, may it be rooted in her, in all of her priests, and in all of us. Let the righteousness of faith grow; straighten for us the path of godliness. The shepherds do Thou control; and those whom they shepherd confirm. The elders confirm in Orthodoxy; the youth instruct in Orthodoxy. The unbelievers restore; let the schisms of the Church come to an end. Strip the vanity of the heretics; and count us all in the unity of righteousness. All offences and their instigators, abolish. May all dissensions and corrupt heresies cease. Bring them to naught, O Lord.



  • When was this conference announced? Who announced it?
    Where is the agenda of the conference with the alleged discussion points? Changing the calendar and introducing songs in the liturgy seems far fetched.

    Make sure you are not praying for a phantom conference.
  • The conference is real. I know of several priests who are attending and are catching their flights TODAY.
  • It's also happening next door to St. Paul's Monastery, Red Sea. Maybe he could help them in not making insane decisions.
  • It is getting even more doubtful. There is nothing Coptic next door to the monastery of St. Paul, except St Anthony monastery. There are only exotic 7 stars resorts next to the monastery. Probably your local priests are just taking a vacation in Egypt. They do not have to make up a conference to conceal a vacation.

    Conferences do not happen out of nowhere. There must be an announcement and some kind of preparation for it.

    In the absence of an official announcement, it is fair to assume this is just a joke.
  • Lol @Kahan

    If you don't want to believe the conference exists it's up to you, but just ask any American/Australian priest and they'll confirm its existence to you.

    Changing the calendar is not far fetched, the Diocese of Mississauga conducted a survey on the matter, and Pope Tawadros is on the record suggesting we move the Feast of the Resurrection to the 3rd/4th Sunday in April in an effort to synchronise our calendar with the Roman Catholics.

    Introducing charismatic/Evangelical Protestant songs into the Divine Liturgy is also not far fetched, it already happens in some places.
  • @qawe

    If it is universal knowledge except in my tiny church, there must be online material to back it up.

    Kindly refer me to any official announcements and to this alleged recording of His Holiness The Pope.
  • edited May 2015
    The first interview HH did with the 3 Coptic correspondents from different Coptic channels. I think it's called "Questions of the People". If you can google it in Arabic, you'll find it.
  • This @Kahan guy is hilarious.
  • @ Khepra

    Happy you found a bit of amusement in my posts, because I found none in yours.

    I asked for some background information about this conference because the discussion points are surprising to me. I cannot believe the church is discussing a calendar change for no good reason or contemplating the use of foreign songs in the liturgy. I do not know your level of faith but this is no laughing matter. Before reacting I wanted to make sure it is not a confusion or a joke.

    I was hoping that any of the posters would post a direct link to explain more about this conference because searching Arabic interviews and articles are not so easy for me.

    But as many of you seem confident in confirming this conference, may I ask about your own impression or opinion regarding the conference?
  • @Kahan, the conference is real but news about it was not spread as much as it should of...which is fine since it's not open for many people...only a limited number of bishops, priests and servants from the diaspora. 

    Knowing just a little bit about @Khepra's aggressiveness and inconsideration to others through his opinions, I am giving a warning with whatever comes out next from him. 
  • edited May 2015
    Hello Khepra
    Yes, when an opinion is expressed we try to talk in acknowledgement of the others comments. When it's not it becomes a power struggle with egos not giving in not learning what we're communicatng together.
  • @minatasgeel I was going to let it go so we can stay on topic, but have you got any examples of my aggressiveness? How is it my fault that I can't convey tone through the medium of anonymous text?
  • @ minatasgeel

    Thank you for your intervention.

    I must say that I am disappointed that a conference of such importance has been intentionally under publicized, in many areas in North America and in Egypt, and that it has taken place to begin with to entertain a calendar change and official introduction of foreign songs.

    What is this conference going to do with Nicaea? Just abrogate it?

    I miss the great Pope Shenouda. Why only after his repose are we having these proposals?

    Lord have mercy.
  • It's very interesting that mission and evangelism seems to be a pressing topic at the conference. I wonder if there will be discussion on compassion and works of mercy.

    "Houses of hospitality must be built for the poor in every city of every diocese"

    Canon LXX of The Captions of the Arabic Canons Attributed to the Council of Nicea
  • edited May 2015
    cyril said:

    It's very interesting that mission and evangelism seems to be a pressing topic at the conference. I wonder if there will be discussion on compassion and works of mercy.

    "Houses of hospitality must be built for the poor in every city of every diocese"

    Canon LXX of The Captions of the Arabic Canons Attributed to the Council of Nicea

    But that's boring. 'Outreach nights' with guitars and fiery sermons are much more fun.

    If you insist on 'compassion', we can do the exact same thing in Africa (Kenya) and call it a "mission trip".
  • edited May 2015
    My suggestion for the defenders of the faith at the conference:

    "Praise bands must be established for the youth by every Sunday School of every diocese"

    Canon LXX of The Captions of the English Canons Attributed to the Council of St Paul's Monastery, Red Sea
  • There's another temptation though even with houses of hospitality. If they are implemented with a "top down" or "entitled to poor" approach or if mission is rooted in the desire to proselytize and convert people by our charity.

    "Unless you love, the poor will never forgive you for the bread you give them."  

    St. Vincent de Paul, quoted in Fr Walter J. Burghardt's "Love is a Flame of the Lord: More Homilies on the Just Word" (Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1995) 139.
  • edited May 2015
    I found the interview where HH Pope Tawadros shares his views on the date of Easter.

    The discussion on this issue starts around the 46th minute.
  • @MinaSoliman

    Any chance you could post a summary or rough translation of the views of His Holiness on the matter? I speak and comprehend zero Arabic :(
  • No problem!  It's very simple.  Basically, he put forward an idea that he said was started by His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy of Demiatta.  He shared that he wishes to standardize the formula of Easter into something simpler, and said that the second or third Sunday of April could work.  He rationalizes it by saying it follows three Nicene conditions:

    1.  It's on a Sunday
    2.  It's after the equinox
    3.  It's after Passover

    Another idea is to possibly allow the Orthodox churches of the immigration lands to have their feast days with the Western Christians, rather than having them separately.
  • Mina, Thank you so much for taking the time summarize that for me.
  • There is a problem with HH Pope Tawadros' formula for the 2nd or 3rd Sunday of April. Sooner or later, one of those 3 Nicene conditions will be violated by keeping Easter on the 2nd or 3rd Sunday of April.

    In 2016,
    Condition 1:
    This condition will never be a problem. There is no more Quatrodecimanism any more. (Quatrodecimanists believed Easter has to be Nisan 14 regardless of what day of the week.) In reality, Nicaea never argued over Quatrodecimanism. Rather it argued that the calculation of Sunday Easter should not follow "blind Jewish customs" (i.e., Jewish paschal full moon/lunar calculations) but Christianity should calculate Easter based on Christian (Julian Solar calendar) formulae.  

    This does reflect a misunderstanding of Nicaea. The actual Nicene condition is not that Easter must be on a Sunday. Rather it must be on the Sunday after the full moon that falls after the Jewish Passover according to the civil (Julian) calendar. And of course, this means we don't celebrate Easter after the second full moon. Thus Easter must fall within a date range, between the first full moon and the second full moon. 

    Condition  2:
    The Spring (astronomical) equinox will be March 20 (depending on which time zone and hemisphere you live in). No problems here. 
    This also reflects a paradigm shift from the Jewish lunar calendar and the Julian solar calendar. Since Jewish passover could occur before the solar equinox in one year and after in the next year, and since the many parts of the world celebrated New Year by the solar equinox, it was possible that the Jewish Passover would occur twice in one solar year. From all the Nicene calendar conditions, this one is the most culturally bound. We don't celebrate New Year on the Spring equinox any more (and we also now know that the Spring equinox does not necessarily have the same duration of day and night in a single day. This was the original reason to celebrate New Years on the spring equinox. And it is scientifically not the equinox.)

    Condition 3: 
    The Jewish Passover (according to Jewish calendar calculation) is from Nisan 15-22. This translates into April 22-30, 2016. 

    Thus the only way to celebrate Easter the second or third week of April is to celebrate Easter BEFORE the Passover.

    His other idea is not going to work either. In 2016, the Catholic/West Easter is March 27, which violates Nicene condition 3. The way the West gets around this is to consider Passover one day (a Sabbath/Saturday) and not a full week as it is stated in Leviticus. This is why Orthodox Easter is May 1 2016. In other words, the second proposal ignores or marginalizes Nicene condition altogether. 

  • I think the Catholics would defend themselves by saying that the present day Jewish calculations are incorrect. Furthermore, as you pointed out, we never even relied on Jewish calculations to begin with. Therefore the West would demonstrate that they "updated" the proper time of the spring equinox with astronomical accuracy.

    The dating issues are somewhat a bit over my head at the moment, but I do agree with you that HH suggestions are not wise and I would go further and say that he is wasting his time and our's even mentioning when we have other more vexing issues at the moment.
  • Does anyone know what the final findings of the lands of immigration conference were? Any recordings?
  • i heard a lot of useful discussion went on. everything i heard was very strictly orthodox.
    i think we have to wait and see what they say later, and pray.
    i am confident we are not going to see some new liberalism with fasting and prayer being optional...
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