our religion

edited December 1969 in Faith Issues
hey guys i have a problem
i have a friend in my school who is egyptian but hes a protestant and the topic religion came up some how
im sure most of u know how protestants are diff
so he said
- whats the point to confessing to a priest if u can go straight to god and same about saints (he believes in them but he doesnt believe that he can pray to them)
- also he said that the 7 sacrements of the church are not the basic rules of our christianity
his argument was that if a person doesnt take communion will he not go to heaven
he believes that the belief is that u first belief in god and then u read and study the bible and that will strenthen ur religion

another thing is that he said that he thinks that the protestant religion is the right one bec it comes straight from the bible and he claims that catholics and orthodox add to much stuff to the religion

help guys i know that hes wrong but i just cant explain that well


  • first of all our religion came straight from the apostles...which help wrote the bible....and ortodox stands for "original" meaning that we follow the ways that the apostles did...with a few changes like tha candle that will never melt because it has the metal thing on top...saves us money...lol... :) :)
    my sunday teacher once told me the
    0 + 8 on its side which is the symbol for infinity = 8 on its side

    the 0 is us, the + is our middle person a priest, and the 8 on the side is GOD. How could that equation work without the + sign.

    You also need a priest to confess to because sometimes we look at God as a friend more than a God...so when we confess to a person who has high authority that represents God you feel more guilt, which is good in ways since you will realize not sin. (at least not as much) and most importantly a priest gives u advice...when he heres the situation you have put yourself in he as a better chance of helping you

    Communion is one of the most important things in our religion.....Christ died for us so he could give us these gifts... he wants us to be renewed through baptism... bee united with him Him through Holy COmmunion... Rewnewed with his promises through repentance...etc...We than, with the grace of God working in us, and with the Spirit of God abiding within us, penetrate into the spiritual world, for because of these gifts our minds are not under judgement (because of defilement, corruption, and bodily sin), but we have the mind of Christ.

    we pray to the saints not worship them...meaning they serve as our intercessors.....helping God listen carefully to each of our prayers from the request of his well pleasing saints...because in our intercessors we find " a cloud of witness... we are surrounded with" (Heb. 12:1)

    They are a cloud that is:
    white to symbolize purity.
    high above to indicate sublimness.
    near to show tenderness...i lyk that part :)
    raining to show that they give good things

    i noe the words that were written are amazing... :)...that is beacuse they are from "The Characteristics of Orthodox Teaching"
    by H.G. Bishop Moussa...this book has been helping me all day...lol... :) :) :)
  • yes but he brings to me alot of verses from the bible and he claimes that it doesnt say in the bible about confessing to a priest
    and i toold him that the seven sacraments are in the bible and he said that this was not the basis of our religion
    i am not defending him
    i want to prove my point to him but its hard to do
  • It is important to understand that Christians from the Protestant tradition practice Sola Scriptura; what is written in the canonized version of the Holy Scriptures is what is practiced. Unfortunately, many Protestants are not aware of the writings of the Desert Fathers or Apostolic Fathers. Being a Christian who is part of Protestant tradition, I too find it unfortunate that these writings are not considered.

    What I have found in my time as a Christian, is not always errors, but more a lack of understanding of how things are articulated to describe what we believe. As a Christian in the Protestant tradition, we do practice the 7-Sacraments, however, in I would say that in some ways we place a different emphasis/or emphasize in another way. However, when speaking with the Christian of the Protestant tradition, it helps to understand their worldview--they have not incorporated in it the writings that you are so familiar with in your Christian experience. However, in that understanding, it might help you to (if you will) to have some constructive dialogue. I believe that the Holy Spirit, together with the teachings of the Church, will help you to share the additional richness you experience in the Orthodox tradition.

    (7) sacraments:

    #1 Baptism - Since we all understand that the word means immersion, trust that I as a Christian who ministers in the Protestant tradition do indeed practice Baptism in the name of the Father/Son and the Holy Spirit. That baptism acknowledges our oneness with God and His church.

    #2 Chrismation which is the practice of the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit. We absolutely
    believe in this practice, and many have received the Holy Spirit this way. We also acknowledge some interesting verses of scripture: "And I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give ahim a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will be offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how o give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him." The ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of every believers: He comes to regenerate; indwell; anoint; guide; empower; sanctify; bear witness;help; give joy; give discernment; bear fruit and give gifts. We recognize it will take the ministry of the Holy Spirit to live out the Christian life.

    #3 Holy Eucharist - Commonly called Communion in our tradition. Now I will admit that far too often the elements are seen as symbols, but I have to admit that I too receive them as Christ's body and blood. We however, recognize that Communion (Holy Eucharist) unites man with God, and since we are united with God, we are also united with one another, for St. Paul stated: "because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the One Bread"
    (1 Cor. 10:17)

    I too long to see others recognize the true broken body and shed blood of Jesus in the Eucharist. When opportunity permits through the leading of the Holy Spirit, I am often led to share the truth of the Eucharist.

    #4 Repentance & Confession - As a Christian in a Protestant tradition I do practice this differently than you. "If you confess your sins, I am faithful & just to forgive you and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness." & also "Therefore, confess your sins one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man an accomplish much." (James 5:16). Personally when I spend time in prayer, I also spend time searching my heart -- for all sin I acknowledge before God, seek His forgiveness and the cleansing by the blood of Jesus Christ. There have been some sins that the Lord has prompted me to share with another--usually someone who is in ministry (i.e. pastor/or another elder). When I am prompted I do so, and the prayer of forgiveness is offered.

    As a Orthodox Christian, you practice confession to the priest (pastor if you will), and through that sacrament receive the forgiveness you need. Just a thought, suppose you were in an isolated situation, and no priest (pastor) was around, and you cried out to God for forgiveness, would He forgive you or would He not forgive because there was no priest (pastor) around for absolution? Not to change your practice, for I feel that the sacrament of confession to a priest/pastor brings with it an added dimension to forgiveness, and keeps us in community one with another.

    #5 Holy Priesthood. According to Orthodox tradition this sacrament was established by Christ with the calling of His disciples, giving them the authority to loose & bind the sins of the people, and sending the Holy Spirit upon them on the day of Pentecost.

    We differ here, in that the authority to loose & bind can be practiced not just by those in the ministry (pastor/elder/bishop/ordained minister/
    deacon/deaconess). Matthew 18 speaks to the disciples, not just the apostles, and Christ addresses the issue of binding/loosening as seen in Matt. 18:18-20.

    #6 Matrimony. This is absolutely a Protestant sacrament, which was established by God. My marriage was performed by the Pastor of the church, and thereby binding. It ended with my husband's death. Know that those who might have divorced in the church and remarried, were not necessarily remarried by the Pastor of the church, for many pastors have declined remarrying people because the grounds that Christ spoke of was not part of the issue. I would like to see more pastors spends more quality time doing thorough pre-martial counseling & prayer, for I believe that with that many more pastors would not be involved in some of these marriages.

    # 7 Holy Unction. Protestants also practice this sacrament. This sacrament is to anoint, sharing of the Word of God and pray for the sick for healing. This sacrament does not replace repentance & confession. Forgi veness of sins comes through faith in God, confession of sin, and sincere repentance. I have practiced this sacrament many times, and have seen the Lord raise many from their death beds to healing, wholeness and a renewed dedication to follow Christ. I have also witnessed the Lord raise two patients whose
    hearts had stopped on the operating table to recover as I was impressed of the Lord to pray and intercede on their behalf.

    I know my response is rather long, but I felt it important to address the concerns expressed. Know that the Lord God is moving in the hearts of all true believers, thereby making us one in Christ Jesus. I am not the apologists, but I have tried to answer to the best of my ability.

    God's blessings to all!

  • [glow=red,2,300]In the Name of the Father + and the Son + and the Holy Spirit +. One God. Amen. [/glow]

    God bless you Coptic Angel for sharing with us this awesome opportunity to share the Holy Orthodox Faith! I will share with you a bit of the biblical principles of what you asked for but take heed: it will not be enuff for them becuase they believe in what they THINK the Bible says. However here goes for the glory of God ;D.

    In the Old Testament the people went to the temple to sacrifice animals for moral sins and breaking of the Mosaic Law (Leviticus chapters 1-7 is a virtual handbook on the different sacrifices prescribed by God). This shows 2 things:
    1) Animals took the place of the person in the sacrifice
    2) People went to the temple to be declared forgiven and ceremonially clean to be accepted back to Jewish society

    What does this have to do with Confession? Well, in the same way God prescribed priests, in the Old Testament, to offer sacrifices and gifts for the people, God also prescribed priests (presbyters-elders/priests) to offer the One Eternal Sacrifice offered once and for all thru Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus rounded up the 12 Aposltes and empowered them with the Holy Spirit to forgive sins (John 20:22-23) and the Bible tells us that we should confess our sins to one another (James 5:16). If St James tells the Church to confess our sins to one another its becuase we are empowered to forgive them in God's Name! This is how we exercise our priesthood in Christ by having our priests pray for us (and we must truly repent) and absolve us and we together with the priest offer ourselves to God thru the offerings of the Holy Eucharist (the Ultimate Sacrifice)!

    Now here we go into the nitty-gritty (;D). The Lord jesus tells us in the Gospel according to St John:

    [glow=red,2,300]John 6
    53Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
    © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

    [glow=red,2,300]John 6
    55For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.
    © Copyright [/glow]

    This shows how important eating and drinking the Lord's Holy Body and Blood in the Most Holy Eucharist is for our salvation. Now for incase he says the Lord Jesus didn't literally mean His Flesh and Blood here's 2 important points:

    1) Usually when the Lord Jesus spoke in parables he would explain the meaning afterwards like the parable of the seeds falling on sand, rock, etc. The Lord Jesus didnt bother to explain nor clarify anything when this happened:

    [glow=red,2,300] John 6
    66From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.[/glow]

    The Lord lost many disciples after He said his discourse on the Eucharist in John 6! But the Holy Apostles remained with Him and literally believed in the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ as more than just symbols!

    2) St Paul teaches the Holy Eucharist is the Real Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ: 1 Corinthians 11:26-30

    [glow=red,2,300]Examine Yourself
    27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 30For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.[/glow]© Copyright 1982 by Thomas

    How can a person be guilty of a symbol? How can a symbol make people sick physically unless it is really the Lord Jesus we are receiving?

    Lastly there are many patristic writings backing up the literal significance and importance of the Holy Eucharist since the early Church Fathers were direct disciples of the Holy Apostles. Hope this helps ;D!

    Very interesting statement that was made: Jehovah Witnesses considered Christian! I hate to disappoint you, but they do not consider themselves a part of Christendom. First then deny the divinity of Christ; and their philosophy considers Him to be Michael the archangel. To be a Christian means to be a "disciple of Christ", and since they deny the divinity of Christ, they do not follow Him in the sense that a true believer does.


    Maybe we can speak about scripture references:

    A. Matt 12:46-50
    B. Mark 3:31:35
    C. Luke 8:18-21

    Scripture does tell us "that in the mouth of two or three witnesses, let every fact be established." We see (3) of the Gospel accounts that address the issue of a mother and brothers. Some have said that these were step-brothers. I firmly believe in Mary and will honor her as scripture tells us, but I have to be very careful not to give the honor that is due to Christ Jesus--the Savior--the Redeemer--to Mary His mother. It is unfortunate that in Roman catholicism, that she is called the Co-Redemptrix. Only Christ Jesus was in the Garden of Gathsemane, and only Christ Jesus hung on the cross to pay the price for sin for all mankind.

    Now, for those who mention the writings of the early Fathers, I would much appreciate if you would be kind enough to list which writings and which Fathers, so that we too can search out this information.

    God's continued blessings be with all who call upon the name of Jesus Christ.
  • [glow=red,2,300]In the Name of the Father + and the Son + and the Holy Spirit +. One God. Amen.[/glow]

    Brother Iqbal, God bless your knowledge and passion for the Lord Jesus Christ and Holy Orthodoxy! May God grant you many years ;D! You have been doing a fantastic job in defending the Faith, but lets remember that these non-Orthodox Christians are misinterpreting the True Faith due to their ignorance. Lets share us follow the Apostle Peter's advice as we share the true Faith with them:
    [glow=red,2,300]1 Peter 3
    15But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear[/glow];

    I know the feeling of letting our zeal take over and dealing with superficial commnetaries but let us win over people with Love as well as knowledge. I do not mean this to be a judgement on u (since ur blessed with such profound knowledge of the Faith :)) but more as a constructive criticism from a caring brother in the Faith.

    But HKelly touched upon someone whom after the Lord Jesus Christ I love very dearly: the Holy Theotokos- EVER-VIRGIN Mary.

    HKelly, please permit me to share this with you. We Orthodox in no way or form worship nor adore the Ever-Virign Mary! We worship God alone who is Trinity and ever deserving of all worship and praise! There are 2 important terms that may help clarify this: Latreia and Dulia.

    Latreia means adoration and this we Christians give to [glow=red,2,300]GOD ALONE [/glow]. If u read the Nicene Creed it can be seen how we Orthodox view the Most Holy Trinity.

    Dulia means veneration and this we do to all of God's children who have, like St Paul, have won the race:

    [glow=red,2,300] Philippians 3
    14My eyes are on the prize. I want to win the race and get the prize of God's call from heaven through Christ Jesus. [/glow]

    And we know St Paul won the "race". This goes with the ancient Christian teaching of the Communion of Saints. The Communion of Saints are all those people of the Church, living and departed, who are in constant communion and fellowshipwith each other in faith and prayers. They constitute the Body of Christ, the Church. If a member of the Church dies ( after living a holy life especially) do they cease being part of the Body of Christ? Think about it. Someone whom you loved very much and lived a holy life died, did they cease being part of the Church or are they still part of the Body of Christ? The Holy Scriptures are deep are meant to be explored but if we are not careful we may drown without good guides to help us. Even during the days of the Aposltes the Holy scriptures warn us:

    [glow=red,2,300]2 Peter 1
    20knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,
    2 Peter 3
    16 in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.[/glow]

    So please think. Do they cease being members of the Body of Christ just becuase they departed? Isn't the Lord the God of the Living not of the dead?

    [glow=red,2,300] Matthew 22
    32"I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."[/glow]
    1Corinthians 12:
    15If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? 16And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? 17If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19And if they were all one member, where would the body be? [/glow]
  • In the Name of the Father + and the Son + and the Holy Spiri +. One God . Amen.

    Now the verses HKelly quoted doesn't deny the perpetual virginity of St Mary Theotokos. What the Lord is emphasizing is Spiritual family. This is what the Communion of Saints is all about. The Church is the Family of God where living and departed members are remembered and loved in Christ Jesus! By the way, if The Virgin Mary had more children of her own the Lord Jesus would not have given St John the Evangelist custody of her (John 19:26-27) since according to Mosaic Law the next eldest son would had done so ( Genesis43:33, Deut. 21:17).

    Now where in the Bible it says to venerate the Ever-Virgin Mary? Brother Iqbal mentioned some important verses. But the Boom shaka laka ( ;D) is in Luke 1:26-48!
    26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary.[/glow]

    Wow! The Saviour of mankind is being announced to a virgin who is betrothed to a descendant of King David! Already we see the Holy Theotokos connection with royalty but not just ANY royalty but that of Israel's greatest King! St Gabriel arrives to announce the Good News to her since angels are meant to help people close to God :
    Hebrews 1
    14Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?[/glow]

    This is further shown by the salutation St gabriel gives her:

    [glow=red,2,300]28And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!" [/glow]

    The statement "Highly favored one" in Koine Greek is "charitoo" which can be also translated "full of grace". She was very pleasing to God more so than the usual person! Why so? One word:JESUS!!!!!! In historicaL TIME SHE GAVE BIRTH TO OUR GREAT AND LORD JESUS CHRIST! He is the reason! She lived a pure and holy life before the Annunciation thus she was found "full of grace" and "Highly favored"!

    Now we Orthodox don't make St Mary a "4th member" of the Most Holy Trinity by calling her "Co redemptrix" or the Immaculate Conception ( meaning conceived without Original Sin). Oh No! In the Eastern Orthodox Church we cal her "Panagia" or all holy. Why? Becuase she lived a holy and pleasing life living out God's commandments. She is a daughter of Adam and Eve like you and I needing a Saviour since she was born Original Sin but kept a pure sinless life. In orthodoxy we also call her the tabernacle of our God. Why? Two reasons:

    In the Old Testament The Holy Spirit overshadowed the Tent where the Holy of Holies was kept :

    [glow=red,2,300]Exodus 40

    The Cloud and the Glory
    34 Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.[/glow]

    Check out what St gabriel tells the Theotokos:
    35And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.[/glow]

    Theotokos means "Godbearer" or "Mother of God" since we cannot say she just gave birth to Jesus the Man and not the Word Incarnate since that would be saying there were 2 Jesus and not one! St. Mary gave birth to the God-man: John 1:14

    [glow=red,2,300]The Word Becomes Flesh
    14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth[/glow]

    The Apostles walked with the God- Man not just the man thus St Mary is Theotokos, Mother of God. The Bible calls her this too:

    [glow=red,2,300]Luke 1
    43But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?[/glow]

    Notice the very reverent sentiment St Elizabeth, St Mary's cousin, addresses her and calls her Mother of my Lord ( God is Lord: Exodus 20:2).

    Lastly, St. Mary filled with the Holy Spirit prophecies by saying:

    [glow=red,2,300]The Song of Mary
    46 And Mary said:

    "My soul magnifies the Lord,
    47And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
    48For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
    For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. [/glow]

    The Bible tells us to call her blessed thus we do . Its not just saying how nice she was but realize how important she is to her Son ( John 19:26-27) and how important she is to us as a perfect example to of what it means to be a true disciple of Christ!

    St Mary Theotokos pray for us! ;D ;D

  • Just wanted to share an awesome post from an Eastern Orthodox website that shows a very extensive explanation of the Holy Theotokos with sources. It even shows how the founders of the Protestant Reformation venerated and looked up to her!


    Thank you :)
  • People believed the world was flat for thousands of years but that didnt make it true...jfranklin you said that before...sorry i dont no how to do that blue box thing... :) sorry if this is off topic but there was something to would tell them it was true that would be the bible...although the Holy Bible is not a scentific book, it was the first to state was that the world is a sphere,for it says: " It is he who sits on the circle of the earth" (Is. 40:22) so all they had to do is read the bible...lol... ;D ;D
  • People believed the world was flat for thousands of years but that didnt make it true...jfranklin you said that before...sorry i dont no how to do that blue box thing... sorry if this is off topic but there was something to would tell them it was true that would be the bible...although the Holy Bible is not a scentific book, it was the first to state was that the world is a sphere,for it says: " It is he who sits on the circle of the earth" (Is. 40:22) so all they had to do is read the bible...lol...

    Thanks for sharing that scripture verse!It's just another proof,among myriads and myriads,that our Holy Bible is true!

    If you ever want to quote someone{use the blue box}just use your mouse to highlight the words you want to quote{the words will turn blue],then click your right mouse button and select"copy".Then go to the tab bar and select the icon,"quotes"{a square,or bubble with what looks like words in it}.There should now be two parethesis bars;put your mouse pointer right in the middle and click your right mouse button again and select,"paste".Thats all there is to it!
  • thanks so much i just realized there was a quote thing on top of every1s message...lol....but i wouldnt be surprised if it didnt work with me....am a dork when it comes to these things...lol...but thanks for ur help... ;D ;D
  • thanks so much i just realized there was a quote thing on top of every1s message...lol....but i wouldnt be surprised if it didnt work with me....am a dork when it comes to these things...lol...but thanks for ur help...

    I did'nt even realize there was a quote tab on everyone's
    message;I must have been blind not to see it.Thanks for pointing that out.The quote icon I was refering to was the one located above the little yellow smiley faces.The one you pointed out will probably make it easier to quote someone, much better than the way I suggested!It just goes to show that a person can always learn something new!...lol
  • yea...its funny how we ended helping each other out.... ;D ;D
  • Boricua:

    Thank you for your response and the considerations you shared. You gave me some scriptural quotes to support your position, but the Mary issue still remains unanswered. Since the canonized version of scripture does not address the Mother of Christ in those terms, could you please forward me the names and writings of either the Desert Fathers or Apostolic Fathers (let's say within the first 300 years of the Church age) to support your position. With that information then I to an go to the source to discover what you appear to be familiar with. Share the wealth of the richness that you possess in Orthodoxy.

    Thanks for your time and your kindness.

    May the Lord continue to bless you,

  • In response to your address to me, the following statement was made.

    But HKelly touched upon someone whom after the Lord Jesus Christ I love very dearly: the Holy Theotokos- EVER-VIRGIN Mary.

    HKelly, please permit me to share this with you. We Orthodox in no way or form worship nor adore the Ever-Virign Mary! We worship God alone who is Trinity and ever deserving of all worship and praise! There are 2 important terms that may help clarify this: Latreia and Dulia.

    As a Christian who fellowships in the Protestant tradition, you and I are really on one accord in that we worship and praise God alone! As with you we recognize the Trinity--the Father/Son and Holy Spirit.
    My concern was regarding the teaching that Mary remained a virgin, and that the "brothers" mentioned were step-brothers. Now I think we can both admit that scripture does not address the issue that these were step brothers, but "your mother and your brothers." If indeed these are true brothers, then we have to address another issue. I was hoping that you might be able to supply the names of some of the early Desert Fathers or early Apostolic fathers within the first 300-years of the Church Age, which speaks to the issue of Mary remaining a virgin.

    Regarding honor--absolutely. God selected her to birth the Christ child. Scripture speaks to the issue that all would call her Blessed, and that she surely was, and if you believe in the communion of saints, "is." So if you would be so gracious as to supply the necessary information, I will take the time to do further research on the subject.

    Again, thanks for your help!

    God's peace & grace rest & rule with you this day!
  • Thanks for your speedy response. Spent a period of time doing my homework, looking at Origen, St. Clement and St. Ignatius of Antioch. (WOW). I did however come across something interesting. When time permits take a quick look and share with me your insights.

    Shows how the Marian theology formulated in the early church up to the Reformation and beyond.

    Website: http://members.aol.com/tombecket/ts_mary.htm

    Does share some interesting thoughts. I often think of the scripture that tells us "give an account for what you believe in." Through the study of scripture, research of the Hebrew, Koine Greek and Latin, plus periodic readings from the Patristic Fathers, it does bring a richness in our understanding and love for the Father/Son and Holy Spirit and His Kingdom.

    Await your input! Was blessed to print out Origen's commentary on the Gospel of John and the Gospel of Matthew. (About 80 pages - Had to order another toner cartridge with all of this studying :)

    The peace of God be with you,

  • Iqbal:

    Just an additional note to add to the brother/sister issue regarding Christ Jesus. The Koine Greek words used for brothers is "adelphos" and sister "adelphe". A dear friend of mine is an expert in reading and interpreting Koine Greek, with a Masters in Divinity. She also authored several commentaries, two major ones: Romans & Hebrews.

    According to students of the Koine Greek, there are no instances of "adelphos" in the NT that bear the meaning of relations, except where the reference is to biological siblings.

    If you have any additional information for me to study out, please drop me a line.

    In His Service,
  • Dear Hkelley

    Regarding the term adelphos and its feminine adelphe: I would have to disagree with the technical observation you have made; however, before I argue as to why, let's consider some other issues first.

    1) There is no denying that the definition of the term adelphos is in fact broad, taking on both a literal and figurative connotation. The term is so loose that even according to Strong's Number 80 definition #2, the term denotes, "having the same national ancestor, belonging to the same people, or countryman".

    2) We know that there is no greek term for the word "step-brothers"; even the greek word for the term "cousin" has a rather loose definition according to the lexicons. Therefore, if you can assume for argument's sake that they were step-brothers, than you would have to acknowledge that the only way of expressing this relationship in the greek would be via the term adelphos.

    3) It is well known that in the Hebrew-Aramaic tradition, the word brothers would commonly be used even to extend to cousin relationships. This is the case also in Greek and Slavic languages and cultures to this day.

    4) The authors of the New testemant employed the common Septuagint usage of adelphos, calling cousins and relatives "brothers" since there was only one word available in Hebrew. The Septuagint and the New Testemant followed this. So there IS in fact precedent in the Old Testamant for the broad usage of the term adelphos (which therefore clearly shows that the term can be used, and in fact was used in a broader sense), which can be found in Genesis 13:8 and Genesis 14:14, where Abraham calls his brothers son Lot, his "brother", Genesis 29:15 where Laban uses the same term for his son-in-law, and Genesis 29:10-12 where Jacob calls his uncle his brother.

    4)  In John 19:25, Mary the mother of Jesus is identified as being the sister of “Mary the wife of Clopas” the virgin Mary’s sister; however, we know from tradition that Mary was a single child of Saints Joakhim and Anna. Taking this into account, how can the word “adelphos” (or “adelphe” in the feminine) be taken literally? Even if you wish to deny tradition, what does common sense say about parents naming both their two daughters Mary?

    So in conclusion, taking into account the lexical definition of the term, its precedent usage in the Septuagint (which is where the New Testemant authors quoted from), its precedent in the New Testemant in relation to St Mary's "sister", and its historical context, we very well have strong support for the fact the term was used in relation to Christ's step-brothers.

  • [glow=red,2,300]In the Name of the Father + and the Son + and the Holy Spirit+ .One True God. Amen.[/glow]

    It gladdens my heart to see brethren reconciled and it gives glory to God! Now that we have more open hearts that when we first entered this thread it would be a blessing to more about the Holy Theotokos since this fills my soul with so much peace and love for Jesus Christ! Lets begin shall we?

    In the Holy Council of Ephesus (431 A.D.) Nestorius the heretic was refuted for denying the Hypostatic Nature of Jesus Christ being fully God and fully Man. He refused calling the Ever-Virgin Mary, "Theotokos"or God bearer" translated in english as Mother of God. Instead, he said she cna be called "Christokos" or "Christ-bearer", Mother of Christ. This of course was wrong because it implied that she gave birth to a mere man and the the Word Incarnate :
    [glow=red,2,300]14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

    St John's Gospel verse easily refuted that. The Word became FLESH. This is the whole premise which our Holy Christian Faith is based upon! To call St Mary, "Christokos" is to say that she was the mother of TWO Jesus not one Word Incarnate! Many Protestant Christians feel calling her that is just too much, bordering on "Mariolatry". But they fail to realize two things:

    1) St Mary did give birth to the Word (John1:14,Luke 1:35,42,43) and not just a man.
    2) Protestants need to get over their Roman Catholic prejudices. As I mentioned in a earlier post we(Orthodox) don't make her into a 4th member of the Most Hly Trinity.

    In this Council there were many Church Fathers who obviously defended the title "Theotokos" and it falls within the 300 years HKelly asked for ;). Also St Ignatius of Antioch who was a direct disciple of St Polycarp of Smyrna (who was a direct disciple of St john the Evangelist) calls St Mary indirectly Mother of God just read for yourself:

    Chapter XVIII.-The Glory of the Cross.

    Let my spirit be counted as nothing122 for the sake of the cross, which is a stumbling-block123 to those that do not believe, but to us salvation and life eternal. "Where is the wise man? where the disputer? "124 Where is the boasting of those who are styled prudent? For our [glow=red,2,300]God, Jesus Christ[/glow], was, according to the appointment125 of God, [glow=red,2,300]conceived in the womb by Mary[/glow], of the seed of David, but by the Holy Ghost. He was born and baptized, that by His passion He might purify the water.http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-01/anf01-16.htm#P1316_238899

    Jesus Christ is called God and he was conceived in the womb of St Mary. What does that make her? Not Christokos but THEOTOKOS. It doesn't mean she is not human nor she existed before Jesus Christ; only that she conceived Him who is uncontainable, Him who is the Burning Bush and yet she was not consumed! But someone may say she is still not DIRECTLY called Theotokos! For some people it must be handed to them on a silver platter I guess ;D. But lets cite more Church Fathers.

    That macdaddy of 2nd century Apologists St Irenaus wrote in his masterpiece Against Heresies this:

    But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth (Chap 3:4). Just to prove St Polycarp's Apostolic credentials :0.

    There is therefore one and the same God, the Father of our Lord, who also promised, through the prophets, that He would send His forerunner; and His salvation-that is, His Word-He caused to be made visible to all flesh, [glow=red,2,300][the Word] Himself being made incarnate[/glow], that in all things their King might become manifest. (http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-01/anf01-60.htm#P7297_1937859)

    Plus St Mary was even seen as the Second Eve to the Lord being the Second Adam:

    For Eve, a virgin and undefiled, conceived the word of the serpent, and bore disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy when the angel Gabriel announced to her the glad tidings that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her, for which reason the Holy One being born of her is the Son of God. And she replied: Be it done it done unto me according to thy word (Luke 1:38)." - Dialogue with Trypho the Jew (!55 A.D.)

  • In the Name of the Father + and the Son + and the Holy Spirit +. One True God. Amen.

    The last post's patristic quotations of St mary was not exhaustive only my mind was...lol. Brother Iqbal will do a better job than this old gamuz (water buffalo in arabic)..lol.
    I will share now the biblical meaning of "Firstborn". It has a deep religious connotation in Jewish life even if its an ONLY Son.

    In memory of the death of Egypt's firstborn and the divine protection of Israel's firstborn in connection with the EXODUS, God placed a special claim on the firstborn of man and beast (Exodus 13:11-13). This meant that the nation of Israel attached an unusual value to the eldest son and assigned special privileges and responsibilities to him.

    Becuase of God's claimon the first offspring, the first born sons of the Hebrews were presented to the Lord when they were a month old. Since the first born was regarded as God's property, it was necessary for the father to redeem or buy back, the child from the priest. the redemption price, established by the priest, could not exceed more than 5 shekels (Numbers 18:16).

    The firstborn son was loved in a special way by his parents and inherited special rights and privileges. His birthright was a double portion of the estate and the leadership of the family.As head of the home after his father's death, the eldest son customarly cared for his mother until her death, and provided for his unmarried sister until their marriage. He was the family's spritual head and served as its priest.

    So as we see even if it was an ONLY son it would stil be called FIRSTBORN becuase of its legal connections. plus if St Mary had more children the Lord Jesus would not had given St John the Evangelist custody over her but a sibling (the next in line).

    Plus you never hear the Church Fathers saying she had other children from her womb besides Jesus Christ. Brother Iqbal's quotation of the Prophet Ezekiel and the gate explains this part well.

    Yawn! Time to hit the hay for this fiorstborn son as well ...wink wink.

    God less you all!
  • Boricua:

    In follow up to our dialogue on the "ever virgin Mary". To deal with the subject from a more theological vantage point as we spoke on the Greek words adelphos/adelphe.

    Fribert Lexicon definitions:

    414 00414 avdelfo,j, ou/, o` brother; (1) literally, male sibling with at least one parent in common (JN 1.41); figuratively, members of the Christian community, and of associates in religious work (spiritual) brother, fellow Christian, fellow believer (RO 8.29); (2) in Jewish usage fellow countryman (AC 3.22); (3) of one of equal rank and dignity (MT 23.8); (4) of a neighbor or member of one's in-group brother, friend (MT 5.22)

    415 00415 avdelfo,j N-NM-S avdelfo,j

    416 00416 avdelfo,thj, htoj, h` literally, as a group of people united for a common purpose brotherhood; figuratively, as a group of fellow believers brotherhood, community of believers (1P 2.17)

    United Bible Society:

    82 00082 avdelfo,j , ou/ m brother; fellow believer; fellow countryman, fellowman

    Louw-Nida Lexicon:

    10.49 avdelfo,j, ou/ m: a male having the same father and mother as the reference person - 'brother.' ei=den du,o avdelfou,j, Si,mwna to.n lego,menon Pe,tron kai. VAndre,an to.n avdelfo.n auvtou/ 'he saw two brothers, Simon, called Peter, and his brother Andrew' Mt 4.18. In a number of languages it is necessary to indicate the difference between older and younger brothers, and this can usually be done on the basis of Semitic usage, since the older brother was normally named first. Therefore, in Mt 4.18 one may translate 'Simon and his younger brother Andrew.'

    The interpretation of avdelfo,j in such passages as Mt 12.46; Mk 3.31; and Jn 2.12 as meaning 'cousins' (on the basis of a corresponding Hebrew term, which is used in certain cases to designate masculine relatives of various degrees) is not attested in Greek nor affirmed in the Greek-English lexicon edited by Arndt, Gingrich, and Danker. Such an interpretation depends primarily on ecclesiastical tradition.

    Though the plural of avdelfo,j (namely, avdelfoi,) can mean both 'brothers and sisters,' there is no reason to believe that in Mt 12.46; Mk 3.31; Jn 2.12; 7.3, 5; and Ac 1.14 the reference is to both brothers and sisters.

    In Lk 8.21 (mh,thr mou kai. avdelfoi, mou ou-toi, eivsin oi` to.n lo,gon tou/ qeou/ avkou,ontej kai. poiou/ntej 'my mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act accordingly') avdelfoi, is used figuratively as a qualification of Jesus' followers. In some languages, however, it is necessary to make more evident the qualifying relationship, for example, 'those who hear the word and act accordingly are my mother and my brothers' or '... are just like a mother and brothers to me.'

    Littel Scott Lexicon:

    502 00502 avdelfo,j

    avdelfo,j Îa±Ð, (a copul., delfu,j; cf. Lat. co-uterinus), so that avdelfoi, are properly sons of the same mother:

    I. as Subst., avdelfo,j( o`, voc. a;delfe (not &fe,), Ion. avdelfeo,j, Ep. &eio,j:-a brother, or generally, a near kinsman, avdelfoi, brother and sister, like Lat. fratres, Eur.; avdelfeoi. avpV avmfote,rwn brothers by both parents, i.e. not half-brothers, Hdt.2. a brother (as a fellow Christian), N.T.II. Adj., avdelfo,j( h,( o,n, brotherly or sisterly, Trag., Plat.2. like Lat. geminus, gemellus, of anything in pairs, twin, Xen.:-then, just like, c. gen. or dat., avdelfa. tw/nde( avdelfa. tou,toisi Soph.

    Thayers Lexicon:

    83 00083 avdelfo,j

    avdelfo,j, &ou/, o` (from a= copulative and delfu,j, from the same womb; cf. avga,stwr) (from Homer down);

    1. a brother (whether born of the same two parents, or only of the same father or the same mother): Matt. 1:2; 4:18, and often. That `the brethren of Jesus,' Matt. 12:46,47 (but WH only in marginal reading); 13:55f; Mark 6:3 (in the last two passages also sisters); Luke 8:19f; John 2:12; 7:3; Acts 1:14; Gal. 1:19; 1 Cor. 9:5, are neither sons of Joseph by a wife married before Mary (which is the account in the Apocryphal Gospels (cf. Thilo, Cod. Apocr. N. T. i. 362f)), nor cousins, the children of Alphaeus or Cleophas (i. e. Clopas) and Mary a sister of the mother of Jesus (the current opinion among the doctors of the church since Jerome and Augustine (cf. Lightfoot's Commentary on Galatians, diss. ii.)), according to that use of language by which avdelfo,j like the Hebrew xa' denotes any blood-relation or kinsman (Gen. 14:16; 1 Sam. 20:29; 2 Kings 10:13; 1 Chr. 23:2, etc.), but own brothers, born after Jesus, is clear principally from Matt. 1:25 (only in R G); Luke 2:7 -- where, had Mary borne no other children after Jesus, instead of ui`o,n prwto,tokon, the expression ui`o,n monogenh/ would have been used, as well as from Acts 1:14, cf. John 7:5, where the Lord's brethren are distinguished from the apostles. See further on this point under VIa,kwboj, 3. (Cf. B. D. under the word Brother; Andrews, Life of our Lord, pp. 104-116; Bib. Sacr. for 1864, pp. 855-869; for 1869, pp. 745-758; Laurent, N. T. Studien, pp. 153-193; McClellan, note on Matt. 13:55.)

    2. according to a Hebrew use of xa' (Exo. 2:11; 4:18, etc.), hardly to be met with in secular authors, having the same national ancestor, belonging to the same people, countryman; so the Jews (as the spe,rma VAbraa,m, ui`oi, VIsrah,l, cf. Acts 13:26; (in Deut. 15:3 opposed to o` avllo,trioj, cf. Acts 17:15; 15:12; Philo de septen. sec. 9 at the beginning)) are called avdelfoi,: Matt. 5:47; Acts 3:22 (Deut. 18:15); 7:23; 22:5; 28:15,21; Rom. 9:3; in address, Acts 2:29; 3:17; 23:1; Heb. 7:5.

    3. just as in Lev. 19:17 the word xa' is used interchangeably with [:re; (but, as Lev. 19:16,18 show, in speaking of Israelites), so in the sayings of Christ, Matt. 5:22,24; 7:3ff, avdelfo,j is used for o` plhsi,on to denote (as appears from Luke 10:29ff) any fellow-man -- as having one and the same father with others, viz. God (Heb. 2:11), and as descended from the same first ancestor (Acts 17:26); cf. Epictetus diss. 1, 13, 3.

    4. a fellow-believer, united to another by the bond of affection; so most frequently of Christians, constituting as it were but a single family: Matt. 23:8; John 21:23; Acts 6:3 (Lachmann omits); 9:30; 11:1; Gal. 1:2; 1 Cor. 5:11; Phil. 1:14, etc.; in courteous address, Rom. 1:13; 7:1; 1 Cor. 1:10; 1 John 2:7 Rec., and often elsewhere; yet in the phraseology of John it has reference to the new life unto which men are begotten again by the efficiency of a common father, even God: 1 John 2:9ff; 3:10, 14; etc., cf. 1 John 5:1.

    5. an associate in employment or office: 1 Cor. 1:1; 2 Cor. 1:1; 2:13(12); Eph. 6:21; Col. 1:1.

    6. brethren of Christ is used of, a. his brothers by blood; see 1 above. b. all men: Matt. 25:40 (Lachmann brackets); Heb. 2:11f (others refer these examples to d.) c. apostles: Matt. 28:10; John 20:17. d. Christians, as those who are destined to be exalted to the same heavenly do,xa (which see, III. 4 b.) which he enjoys: Rom. 8:29.

    I find that in the studying of Scripture we must be mindful to understand the difference
    between "eisegesis" as oppossed to exegesis. The word "eis" means into, using the Scriptures to affirm our conclusions, rather than allowing the "ex (ek) - out" to allow the Scripture to illuminate us.

    It is also necessary not to us OT syntax to confirm NT usage. It's not valid. The Greek LXX (Septuagint) is a translation from the Hebrew whereas the NT was actually written in Greek.

    Though I may differ in my understanding of the "brothers of Christ", I trust that we can still have some constructive dialogue; for I am enjoying the journey into Orthodoxy.

    God's Peace be with you.
  • Dear Hkelley

    You pasted a few lexical definitions of the term which affirmed the fact that it has a literal connotation to it, yet you haven't proven that the text itself necessitates a literal interpretation.


    6. brethren of Christ is used of, a. his brothers by blood; see 1 above.


    Again this is a mere assertion, and "1. above" to which that quote refers to, merely asserts also. So again, you really haven't really given us any substantive or logically necessary argument as to why the context compels us to interpret the term literally. You also have yet to prove that there is in fact a more appropriate word in the greek to describe a step-brother relationship (i.e. prove the step-brother theory wrong by ad absurdum: assume for argument's sake that they were indeed step-brothers, and then go on to prove that there was some other more suitable term or way of explicating such a relationship).

    It is also necessary not to us OT syntax to confirm NT usage. It's not valid. The Greek LXX (Septuagint) is a translation from the Hebrew whereas the NT was actually written in Greek.

    The Greek New Testemant is a translation also. Remember that Christ primarily spoke Hebrew/Aramaic. You would have to give me some logical argument as to why the translation process would necessarily differ when it is done so from speech. Secondly, Matthew's gospel was originally written in Hebrew/aramaic as affirmed by some early Christian writers including Polycarp. Secondly, the Septugint was the text the New Testemant authors primarily quoted from; the very text describes all sorts of relationships using the term adelphos/adelphei, because as we know there is no sufficient word in either Hebrew or Greek to describe the sort of relationships that were spoken of.

    I find that in the studying of Scripture we must be mindful to understand the difference
    between "eisegesis" as oppossed to exegesis. The word "eis" means into, using the Scriptures to affirm our conclusions, rather than allowing the "ex (ek) - out" to allow the Scripture to illuminate us.

    I'm very well aware of these two terms, which is why I implore you to consider the following points which you have yet to consider:

    1) In John 19:25, Mary the mother of Jesus is identified as being the sister of “Mary the wife of Clopas” the virgin Mary’s sister; however, we know from tradition that Mary was a single child of Saints Joakhim and Anna. Therefore, taking this into account the word “adelphos” (or “adelphe” in the feminine) cannot thus be taken literally. Even if you wish to deny tradition, what does common sense say about parents naming both their two daughters Mary?

    2) Mary's life-long virginity was allegorically prophesied in the Old Testament. In Ezekiel 44:2-3 we read: "And he said to me, This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it; for the Lord, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut. Only the prince may sit in it to eat bread before the Lord; he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gate, and shall go out by the same way." Placing this passage in its prophetic context, i.e. its secondary meaning, the gate refers to Mary's womb. We are told that it shall remain shut, and only the Lord may enter through it. Only Jesus may sit in it. The Perpetual Virginity of Mary, then, is prophesied here.

    3) St Mary's response in Luke 1:34 strongly implies (and confirms tradition) that she had in fact taken a long-life vow to virginity. Considering this statement was said whilst St Mary was betrothed to Joseph, then it is only logical that Joseph was well aware of this. In reference to Luke 1:34 the great St Augustine says: "Surely she would not say that, unless she had previously vowed her virginity to God and intended to keep it".

    4) It is not logical that the Lord Christ on the cross would entrust His mother St Mary to His disciple St John if she had other children. If St Mary had other children it would be they who would have been responsible for looking after her.

  • Id like to conclude that post with a quote from the great Origen when he says:"No one whose opinion on Mary is sound would claim that she had any child save Jesus".
  • Iqbal:

    I like that quote from Origen. This study has been interesting for sure. The Lexicon study came about because of a previous remark made re: the perpetual virginity of Mary. As with many people on the journey, some things takes time to assimiliate into our understanding. I will always honor Mary (Theotokos); for our heavenly Father chose to use her in a glorious way, and as a result of her obedience and willingness, the way to salvation was assured for all who would believe on Christ Jesus.

    In my natural mother's lifetime I held her in high esteem; even more so the Mother of God. Her yieldedness; obedience and willingness continues to be an example for me in my Christian walk. May the Lord hear me say: "Be it done to me according to your Word." And I pray that I hear Him say: "well done thy good and faithful servant".

    May our journey continue to cause us to draw closer to God the Father; giving praise to Christ the Son; and being led by the Holy Spirit.

    "to leave the things of time for those of eternity
    to choose the things of heaven for the goods of earth
    to receive the hundred-fold in place of one
    and to possess a blessed & eternal life"

    Clare of Assisi


  • [glow=red,2,300]In the Name of the Father + and the Son + and the Holy Spirit +. One True God. Amen.[/glow]

    Tis' indeed a wonderful study. Plus we all learn thru polite and loving dialog these wonderful truths of the Faith.Certain interpretations are not only ecclesiatical but of HOLY TRADITION since Orthodoxy is not a "Bible- Alone" Faith! Holy Tradition is as valid as the Bible since the Bible came from it!

    "The meaning of Holy Tradition in the early Christian Fathers refers to the Revelation made by God and delivered to His faithful people through the mouths of His prophets and apostles. Thus it does not mean something 'handed down' but delivered, 'handed over'. The Greek word for tradition [paradosis], or its corresponding verb, is in a similiar way used in the New Testament and applied in the same manner to the betrayal of Christ by Judas to the Jews [paradidomi, Strong's Concordance -3860] and to the delivery [paradosis] of Christian teaching by St Paul to his converts.

    The Tradition was called 'Apostolic' becuase it was delivered by the Apostles to the Churches which they founded. It was later called also 'ecclesiatic' because it was delivered again in each generationby the Church's leaders to their people.Its substance was was considered to consist of the central facts and beliefs crystallized in the Creeds of the gread Orthodox Bishoprics. In early Christian literature, there are references to an 'unwritten tradition' left by the Apostles. This, however, does not appear to refer to any body of information independent of Scripture but rather to the evidence of primitive Christian institutions and customs which confirm Biblical teachings.

    Thus the perpetual virginity of the Theotokos is something that has been 'handed over' since antiquity as attested by the Holy Fathers and implicitly alluded to by the Holy Scriptures. It is something many Christians coming from non-catholic (universal definition) backgrounds have a tough time with but once accpeted discover a warm, wonderful Mother waitng with arms outstretched ;D!
  • Copts observe seven canonical sacraments: Baptism, Christmation (Confirmation), Eucharist, Confession (Penance), Orders, Matrimony, and Unction of the sick. Baptism is performed few weeks after birth by immersing the whole body of the newborn into especially consecrated water three times. Confirmation is performed immediately after Baptism. Regular confession with a personal priest, called the father of confession, is necessary to receive the Eucharist. It is customary for a whole family to pick the same priest as a father of confession, thus, making of that priest a family counselor. Of all seven sacrements, only Matrimony cannot be performed during a fasting season. Polygamy is illegal, even if recognized by the civil law of the land. Divorce is not allowed except in the case of adultery, annulment due to bigamy, or other extreme circumstances, which must be reviewed by a special council of Bishops. Divorce can be requested by either husband or wife. Civil divorce is not recognized by the Church. The Coptic Orthodox Church does not have and does not mind any civil law of the land as long as it does not interfere with the Church's sacraments. The Church does not have (and actually refuses to canonize) an official position vis-a-vis some controversial issues (e.g. abortion). While the church has clear teachings about such matters (e.g. abortion interfers with God's will), it is the position of the Church that such matters are better resolved on a case-by-case basis by the father of confession, as opposed to having a blanket canon that makes a sin of such practices.

    The worship of Saints is expressly forbidden by the Church; however, asking for their intercessions (e.g. Marian Praise) is central in any Coptic service. Any Coptic Church is named after a Patron Saint. Among all Saints, the Virgin Saint Mary (Theotokos) occupies a special place in the heart of all Copts. Her repeated daily appearances in a small Church in Elzaytoun district of Cairo for over a month in April of 1968 was wittnessed by thousands of Egyptians, both Copts and Muslims and was even broadcast on International TV. Copts celebrate seven major Holy feasts and seven minor Holy feasts. The major feasts commemorate Annunciation, Christmas, Theophany, Palm Sunday, Easter, Ascension, and the Pentecost. Christmas is celebrated on January 7th. The Coptic Church emphasizes the Resurrection of Christ (Easter) as much as His Advent (Christmas), if not more. Easter is usually on the second Sunday after the first full moon in Spring. The Coptic Calendar of Martyrs is full of other feasts usually commemorating the martyrdom of popular Saints (e.g. Saint Mark, Saint Mena, Saint George, Saint Barbara) from Coptic History.

    The Coptic Orthodox Church's clergy is headed by the Pope of Alexandria and includes Bishops who oversee the priests ordained in their dioceses. Both the Pope and the Bishops must be monks; they are all members of the Coptic Orthodox Holy Synod (Council), which meets regularly to oversee matters of faith and pastorship in the Church. The Pope of the Coptic Church, although highly regarded by all Copts, does not enjoy any state of supremacy or infallibility. Today, there are over 60 Coptic Bishops governing dioceses inside Egypt as well as dioceses outside Egypt, such as in Jerusalem, Sudan, Western Africa, France, England, and the United States. The direct pastoral responsibility of Coptic congregations in any of these dioceses falls on Priests, who must be married and must attend the Catechetical School before being ordained.

    source: http://pharos.bu.edu/
  • Though a Christian in a Protestant tradition, St. Antony of Egypt is dear to me.

    God has me on a journey during this time in my Christian walk. I am so very thankful for the opportunity He has given me to dialogue with those in the Orthodox Church. I anticipate visiting one in my area soon (as ministry time permits). There is a Coptic Orthodox Church in White Plains, NY, and an Antiochian Orthodox Church in Brooklyn, NY. There is much in Orthodoxy that ministers to me personally and spiritually.

    "Lord, order my steps in this walk with Thee!"
  • [glow=red,2,300]In the Name of the Father + and the Son + and the Holy Spirit+ . The One True God. Amen.[/glow]

    Amen HKelly! When i was a Roman Catholic i discovered Orthodoxy was everything i ever wanted ;D! As a Roman Catholic i loved the the Bible and the Holy Fathers sooo much but the Roman Mass wasn't feeding me anymore. This became more acute after visitng Orthodox Churches, attending Holy Liturgy and observing the sincere piety of the people AND the priest! I felt sooo drawn to the much gentler explanation of Original Sin and what the Lord Jesus incarnated, died and risen did for us!

    The Holy Liturgy is saturated with the Holy Scriptures and the icons reminds me soo much that in worship we (Saints departed, angels, the righteous, and us in Liturgy) are in "Heaven on earth" together adoring the Most Holy Trinity as the Body of Christ!!!! That the Holy Spirit has changed (and continues to do so) lives for 2,000yrs and have written testimonmies of God's Love and Power thru the lives of the Saints and their writings like St. Anthony the great who u mentioned :D just gives glory to God!

    The Bible is the word of God and it is an Icon of His Holy Presence among us. This is why the Gospel book is encased in gold to remind us about the beauty of God and His words! The priest incenses the icons but he also incenses us-the People of God- since we also are made in God's Image (Eikonos- "Image" in Greek) thus we too are Holy because of it.

    I can keep on and on...lol.... but I am soooo fulfilled as an Orthodox Christian becuase I have found the FULLNESS of the One True Apostolic Faith! I am home in God's household- the ground and pillar of the Truth (1 Timothy 3:15)!

    Glory to the Father + and to the Son + and to the Holy Spirit + . The One true God. Amen! [/glow]
  • Boricua:

    Being a part of God's covenant family is that which brings true fulfillment! I sense your love for God, His Word and the Church. I thank God for the zeal and passion for Christ you express. Not only is the Church the pillar and keeper of God's truth, but it is also a reflection of the Kingdom of God as each of the members of the Body manifest Christ to the world around them.
    What a precious privilege we are given to share Christ with others, and to be in community with each other.

    I thank God for the opportunity to share in the dialogue expressed in these forums. The Holy Spirit is utilizing this time to help me to see the fullness of the Body of Christ--from every tribe, tongue and nation of people; with each one serving as the Lord has destined from the very foundations of the earth.

    Yes God is soooo good, and I love Him. I live, move and have by being in Him, and Christ is the source of the joy I experience daily; the hope that overcomes the challenges I face in life; and the promise that I will one day behold Him face-to-face.

    God's continued blessings be with you in your walk of faith.

    "As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving."
    Colossians 2:6-7

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