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Naming Parishes after Feasts or Persons of the Trinity
  • We have plenty of examples from Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox where parishes may be named after the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Cross, or feasts, like Resurrection, Ascension, Nativity, Pentecost, etc.

    Are there any Coptic parishes that are named with anything like that other than saints' names?
  • I know that in St Antony's monastery in the red sea,they have a church called the church of the Resurrection. I dont know of any others but i wouldn't be suprised if there were.
    PFM
  • The church in Austin, Texas is the Holy Cross Coptic Orthodox Church.  :)
  • Does that mean they commemorate the Feast of the Cross/Resurrection every day in their church? Like in the doxologies, or at least hetennis, etc?
  • Yea i am so curious about that 
  • In the LA Diocese alone, there are parishes named after: Annunciation, Resurrection, Transfiguration, and Holy Cross.

    Historically, we know of at least two parishes in Alexandria not named after saints: The Angelion, a large cathedral predating the reign of Theodosius (6th cent), and Church of the Savior, built in the 8th century. I am sure there are more examples in the rest of Egypt.
  • Here in Boston, we have a parish name Holy Family Coptic Orthodox Church. I haven't figured out the right the best Coptic translation from "Holy Family". We use the doxologies and hymns for St Joseph the Carpenter and of course St Mary. 

    And my last presentation at the Coptic Society argued against a theory of a Coptic church called "The Lady who did not experience marriage" Church. This is actually quite common in the Greek tradition. 
  • @RamezM do you know whether these churches you listed that are named after feasts say the doxologies for those feasts everyday?
  •  "The Lady who did not experience marriage" Church?  That's a very very odd name, even for a Greek Church!
  • It's not popular nowadays but I think it was popular in patristic writing and possibly in ancient Greek churches. Despina apeirogamos is popular title for the Virgin Mary. Think of it more as an alias. In essence they are still calling it St Mary Church but with an alias. Like the Roman Catholic church name "Lady of Perpetual Hope" for example. 
  • Rem,

    The term apeirogamos is indeed common in liturgical texts...it is basically synonymous with calling St. Mary νύμφη ανύμφευτε, or "unwedded bride" a beautiful contradiction in terms, which gives titles of St. Mary almost an apophatic character in a way.

    But naming a church that way is not something I've seen or heard of before. Yes, naming churches or icons "Our lady...." is common, but not this specific adjective to my casual knowledge of Byzantine naming customs.
  • There is a new Coptic parish now, guided by Fr. Tadros Malaty in NJ.  It's called "Queen Mary and Prince Tadros" Church.  When would titles for a saint cross the line into oddity?  And another question, would something like "Our Lady of Zeitoun" be a plausible name for a Church, considering we venerating this event?
  • Mina,

    What's necessarily odd about the first example?....Mary as a queen is a perfectly normal title...and Prince Tadros is just the folksy name of Theodore Stratelates...I agree the combination put together as queen and prince maybe a bit funny.

    As for your second example, there is already a small chapel inside the church of Ss. Peter and Paul in Santa Monica, CA dedicated to Our Lady of Zeitun....it's already done :)
  • I didn't mean my first example as "odd", but the example given by Rem was odd.  But then again, the summarized version: "Church of the Unwed Bride" does not sound odd, perhaps, and it just reminded me of the "Queen Mary and Prince Tadros" example that I wanted to give.  I don't know.  But of course, I'm speaking culturally here, as I am not familiar with what is correct to name a Church or not.  So far it seems whatever is commemorated or celebrated liturgically in our calendar or tasbeha is fair game for nomenclature.

    Heck, the other day, I was listening to a lecture by HG Bishop David who did not know the etiquette of nomenclature either.  When a group of people in NJ wanted to name their parish after St. Karas, HG wondered if it is also possible to name a church after an Old Testament prophet (particularly the Prophet David due to St. Karas' story of conversing with the soul of the prophet), which I thought was a no brainer, but he went and asked HH Pope Shenouda if it was permitted, and indeed HH answered the affirmative.  So the Church is now called "Prophet David and St. Karas Church."
  • You are correct! It's not so much that there is a "naming rulebook" of some sort. Very often the name is originally that of an icon, and only secondarily attributed to the whole place....I am sure you are familiar with the multitude of names of icons of St. Mary (Hodegetria, Zoodochos Pigi, Platytera.....etc) I suppose any temple associated with a particular icon of this name can easily acquire the name of the icon.

    All this is a beautiful example of the popular character of veneration in our church. It is not some rule book or hierarchical decision that decrees these things, it is the people's piety and local traditions ascribing names to places and objects of veneration for various reasons.

    How about the Caesareum of Alexandria, said to have been the main cathedral of St. Cyril in the early 5th cent? It was initially a pagan temple erected by Cleopatra to commemorate Julius Caesar, was later converted to a church, but remained known as the Caesareum. I am sure the altar was dedicated to something Christian, but it is still known in history as the church of the Caesareum....so really nothing surprises me :)


  • Reminds me of the name of the Coptic monastery in Jerusalem as "al Sultan"
  • @RamezM do you know whether these churches you listed that are named after feasts say the doxologies for those feasts everyday?
  • they have an alter for the transfiguration in saint shenoudas monastery in rochester new york



Memorial for HH Pope Shenouda

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