PRIVILEGES DISTINGUISHING THE COPTIC CHURCH FROM OTHER CHURCHES OF THE WORLD In fact our Coptic Church has certain privileges distinguishing her from other churches of the world, which privileges are demonstrated in the Holy Scriptures and in history. The following is a demonstration of all this based on concrete facts:
1. A Prophecy Concerning the Coptic Church:
The church of Egypt is the only one among the churches of the nations on which a prophecy has been given in the Old Testament concerning her foundation. This prophecy has been recorded in the Book of Isaiah the Prophet. The divine inspiration, speaking about the foundation of our church, says, " In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border. And it will befor a sign and for a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt ???? Then the Lord will be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the Lord in that day, and will make sacrifice and offering." (Isaiah 19:19-21)
This altar mentioned in the above prophecy is not a pagan altar, for it is an altar to the Lord; nor a Jewish altar, for the Jews were not allowed to sacrifice outside Jerusalem.
It is then the Christian altar on which the Egyptians offered sacrifice to the Lord when the knew the Lord and He became known to Egypt. And it is a sign and a witness to the Lord according to the Prophecy in the Book of Isaiah the prophet But for the importance of this altar, no prophecy would have been given on it However, the altar is denied in general by the Protestants, and we used to say to them: Many indeed are the biblical texts proving the existence of the altar in Christianity. But even if there is no altar in any Christian country, suffice at least that the Scriptures mention the altar in the land of Egypt to the Lord according to the prophecy of Isaiah. And the Lord blessed Egypt for this.The divine inspiration concludes this chapter of the Book of Isaiah with the words of the Lord, "Blessed is Egypt My people" (Isa.19: 25). What beautiful words are these "My People"! These words refute the claim of the Jews that they -alone- are God's people, whereas the Lord of hosts blesses Egypt, saying, " Blessed is Egypt My people ".But of course God does not bless the people of Egypt in their paganism, but in their faith. He blesses the Church of Egypt; the Coptic Church. Now we conclude this part highlighting the fact that the prophecy is not confined to the foundation of the Church of Egypt, but extends to the blessing given her by the Lord.
2. The Holy Family's Visit to Egypt: The only country visited by the Lord Christ ? other than the country where He has been
born ? is the land of Egypt Certainly there is some wisdom behind this, and a spiritual purpose as well. For there were other neighbor countries in the same continent, but the Lord chose Egypt in particular to have analtar to Him therein; a sign and a witness to the Lord. This visit has been recorded in the Gospel according to St. Matthew The visit took place in compliance with the divine command given by the Angel of the Lord to
Joseph in a dream, commanding him to take the Child Jesus and flee to Egypt, and to staythere
till he receives word from the Lord (Mt. 2: 13).
And the Child stayed there until the death of Herod, then He returned so that the prophecy might
be fulfilled: "Out of Egypt I called My Son" (Mt. 2:14).
Furthermore, the Lord's coming to Egypt fulfilled another prophecy in the same chapter in theBook of Isaiah, which said: "Behold, the Lord rides on a Swift Cloud, and will come into Egypt" (Isa.19: 1)
These words are directly followed by a prophecy mentioned by the divine inspiration about the eradication of paganism from Egypt; which said, "The idols of Egypt will totter at His presence, and the heart of Egypt will melt in its midst".This literally happened throughout the holy family's visit, as whenever the Lord entered a country,the idols fell and the holy family were dismissed and moved to another country, thus many places
in Egypt were sanctified.
In Egypt, the holy Virgin Mary, and St. Joseph the carpenter were with the Lord.Have any country, other than Egypt, enjoyed such a visit by the holy Virgin? It is a visit mentioned by the Holy Scriptures, and recorded in the history, which also named the places visited by the holy family where churches have been built afterwards and which tourists come to visit from the far ends of the earth.
Can any other church pride herself in that which distinguishes the Church of Egypt?
Can we say that the holy Virgin has perhaps longed to visit the land of Egypt again, so she appeared on the domes of the church in Zeitoun in 1968, then in the Church in Babadoblo -Shoubra twenty years later? Or is it that God willed the prophecy of Isaiah would continue or b remembered by the people that He may utter the words we love much, "Blessed is Egypt My people", "Out of Egypt I called My Son".
you make some excellent points in ur essay. In your last paragraph you mention the verse from Isaiah "Blessed is Egypt, my people." It is ironic that you brought this up because just a few days ago, I was reading about a miracle that happened several several years ago involving that line. It was a Sunday, after mass, in Egypt and some deacons were outside the Church. Dusk had fallen and as the deacons were sitting there near the Nile, a opened Bible came floating down the river. When one of the deacons came to pick it up out of the water, it was turned to Isaiah's verse "Blessed is Egypt My People." Indeed, we are blessed and privileged to call ourselves Copts. :)