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spinster issue
  • When I was younger, the church kids and teens weren't very nice to me, and I was excluded from most things. It's not just simply that they ignored me but they were deliberately mean to me on many occasions. I spent many nights crying to the lord, asking him why he would let this happen to me (I was a good, faithful child). This bullying was also the cause of many arguments with my dad who just did not understand the level of torment and humiliation I was experiencing in that church and why I did not want to go anymore. Note that this is the only coptic orthodox church for hundreds of miles. Slowly, I distanced myself from the church to the point where I did not go for several years. But again slowly, I have returned to the church. Unfortunately, I am now a 26 year old female (which is nearing spinster age in Egyptians' eyes) and already I have heard the comments being said about me (that I've passed the marriable age meaning that I will basically be alone forever) and I am trying really hard not to let it push me out of church again. But at the same time, I would like to marry a coptic orthodox person but my church barely has anyone available. I know that the lord puts us through trials and even though I've come back to the church from my trial, I can't help but think that it has changed the course of my life forever because I missed out on all of those young adult conventions and activities where most people who are now my age, have already met their partners. I would appreciate any advice on this matter.  
  • Ann,

    First of all, it is unacceptable for any type of torture or bullying. God be swift with His justice on everyone who hurt you. 
    Second, all those many nights crying to the Lord did not go to waste. You are coming back to the Orthodox Church and I would call you the new St Monica "for fervent tears and prayers will not go unheard" (Based on Bishop Ambrose's response to St Monica)
    Third, do not let a misplaced, backward, unChristian cultural belief distract you from your calling to sainthood in Christ. There is no such thing as a "spinster age". Do you not remember Sarah and Abraham, Elizabeth and Zachariah. Do not conform to evil thoughts but be transformed in Christ. If marriage is your calling from Christ, then don't let these comments hurt you. If you are called for monasticism, then these comments also mean nothing. 
    Fourth, It is the work of the devil to make you think "what if". Did Joseph ever once say "I wonder how the course of my life would have changed if I did not wear that coat. I would not have wasted 14 years in prison." No. When you have faith in the Lord, it will be said of you, "The Lord was with Ann, and Ann was a successful woman" (Based on Genesis 39:2).
    Finally, concerning marrying a Coptic Orthodox man, do not look at it like men, but like God. Jesse and Samuel thought Jesse had plenty of children qualified to become king of Israel. The child that was chosen was the one who wasn't even present when Samuel visited Jesse. Even if there are no potential husbands that you see, don't dismiss the fact that God will provide - whether within the Coptic Church you currently go to or another church or not a Coptic parishioner at all (maybe a convert is the one God called for you). 

    We all pray that the King of Peace give you the peace you are looking for. Remember, it is the Holy Spirit whom we seek in the sacrament of marriage that the King of Peace sends to us.
  • I am very sorry to hear about your problem and I would like to mention that this is not the first time I hear about this type of problem.

    When someone uses a word like "failure" to bully another person with it, if this person is not strong enough, they will slowly believe this about themselves and "failure" will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    It hurts me that you would have it in you to describe yourself as a spinster because a group of people bullied you to the point where you think this low of yourself.

    You need to open your eyes and see the flaws of the culture; a sexist primitive culture which dictates a woman's life to be invalid past a certain age if you do not belong to a male from their group. Do you see it?
    Why are so many women succumbing to the men's opinion of what you should be. Your life is yours, not anyone else's. They have no right to tell you what you should be doing.

    Are you trying to tell me that in heaven there will only be coptic Christian males? All other Christian makes will go to hell? Most Egyptian men are brought up in a way that makes them at least slightly sexist. The flaws of the culture continue to be passed on even to those born abroad. It takes a strong person to think laterally and explore and assess their behaviour. Not everyone has these qualities.

    To be very frank with you, from what you are describing, it is extremely unlikely that you will find someone from your church community. If you will never consider someone who isn't coptic, you are going to need to actively do something. Move to a different city and go to another church. Be realistic, no one is going to magically appear. Unless you are waiting for a miracle, you are old enough and strong enough to have your own life. You have been surrounded by a culture that slowly makes you falsely think that you are weak, vulnerable, alone and desperate. I am sorry this sounds harsh but I was not going to sugar-coat it.

    In the western culture, people are getting married in their thirties, yet the Egyptian culture has you mourning the end of your life at the young age of 26. Please wake up before you biologically do become old and don't fall for their bullying.

    Most people are imprisoned by their own minds and nothing more.

    Remnkemi, I know this is irrelevant for this topic but I just wanted to raise another point for how the Egyptian sexist culture is now permanently part of the coptic church.
  • Dear Ann,

    Only 26! You have until at least 40 to have children! I don't know where you live, but in the USA, very few women marry below 35 or even later. A woman of only 26 should never be considered a "spinster". It is a very large planet and I'm certain you will capture a husband either in Egypt or somewhere else in the world. (I'm over twice your age and have never been married!). You have every reason to be hopeful. Like Pope Shenouda said, "the more you smile, the more likely you will get your mate". He was right, as usual.
  • mnc_hnn,
    Yes, the Egyptian culture is sexist. To a certain degree, so is Western culture. But the Orthodox Church and the Coptic Church is not. The Orthodox Church is the gospel and apostolic message of Christ: God loved us that He gave up His only Son that we may be united and return to the image we were created in. Christ came for unity and reconciliation. Our lex orandi is our lex credendi. "Our worship is our law of life", or put in another way, "As we pray so we believe". St Gregory's liturgy states, "You united the heavenly with the earthly and made the two into one." In the Syrian fraction, it says,"Through the blood of his Cross, He established the reconciliation of the heavenly with the earthly, and united the people with the peoples and the soul with the body."  "united the people with the peoples" means "united divergent nations", "uniting the individual with the community", and to a degree "uniting men and women" This is based on Galatians 3:28, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." This is what we pray. This is what we believe. Period. If then we are all one in Christ Jesus, and this is the message of the Orthodox Church, then one cannot claim the Orthodox Church is sexist or seeks divisions based on sex, location, culture, or any other distinction. 
  • What is the "coptic church"? Are you talking about the building and paper documents?
    If most of the congregation makes a certain mistake, then it beccomes the church's mistake. The church is the people, so if the people aren't good...
  • Dear Ann,

    Thanks for posting your problem. I'm sorry to hear about that. Don't feel disheartened, you are not alone. The Coptic Church, as a Community outside of Egypt, can be extremely frightening. Its not known for being inclusive at all.

    Of course you would want to marry from that Church, or from that community, but you don't know what God has in store for you.

    Have you tried to visit the other Orthodox Churches around?? (OO, EO churches)?

    Why not come to Europe for a bit? Or travel? I'm sure you'll meet someone here. 

    Dont feel disheartened at all. God will definitely bless you with a spouse; even if He doesn't then He does have other plans for you. 

    God bless

  • Do what everyone does!

    Go to a convention or on one of the famous retreats!


Memorial for HH Pope Shenouda

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