• A voice of reason..
  • I'm dressing up as a jet pilot. Top Gun :)

  • edited October 2014
    Lol are you really dressing up?

    We're not allowed to at church, but I guess if you're going to a Halloween social, that's different. 
  • @copticstrength don't you read his posts? His church doesn't care if he dresses up, as Long as it makes the people think church is cool

  • i agree with most of his 'ten things i won't do':

    but i think that it's not actually useful for us as Christians to encourage interest in the 'paranormal'.
    nor is it a good idea (the other extreme) to go around 'casting out spirits' of every toffee apple!

    it can be used, however, to open discussion with friends, neighbours and colleagues about the darker side of human nature and what they think of spirits etc.
    then we can explain that only God has conquered evil, so, if we hang out with Him, we are in safe hands.
  • I feel like a right idiot! This parent, whose son goes to the same school as my son, came on halloween day with 5 / 6 kids asking for sweets. I wanted to tell her: "I don't believe or condone this nonsense" - but i was too scared, like a right chump, to offend her - so I gave the kids some sweets; and to make myself feel like a right moron, I wished them a happy halloween.

    I wish i had read this article earlier... darn!! 

    What can we do to overcome this??

    What could I have said to this STUPID woman bringing kids to my door at 8 pm?? 

  • edited November 2014
    I'm confused as to the tone of your message.  I'm trying to read and reread it to make sure I haven't made a mistake in my reading of it.

    In any case, I will say this.  I support the general tone of John Sanidopolous' research and message about Halloween.  I think we might be making a bigger deal out of it than is necessary.

    So if I was in your position, I'd be thrilled to give whatever little children that comes to my door candy and say "have a happy halloween".  Teens?  Not so much.  I think they need to learn to grow up.  Once you reach 11 or 12 years of age, I don't think they should trick or treat.

    Halloween should be treated like any secular, non-religious holiday, like 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Pi Day (yes, I celebrate Pi Day, lol).  By treating it as a cultural phenomenon, not as this pagan story we seem to create out of conjecture.  
  • edited November 2014

     I'm trying to read and reread it to make sure I haven't made a mistake in my reading of it.

    Haha mina ;)

    What's so bad about giving kids candy? I dont see how that symbolizes into anything. Sure, maybe it implies that [you agree with the idea behind halloween], but the way I see it is,  if kids ask you for candy, you give them candy and that's it. Where's the problem in that?
  • @minasoliman

    Sorry if my writing wasn't clear. Why do you have to re read it for? I'm obviously upset at myself for not closing the door on this stupid lady searching for sweets at 8 pm with some kids.

  • ummm...which article did you read exactly?  John Sanidopolous would probably tell you, "she's not stupid, and you did nothing wrong".  There's nothing to be upset about.
  • if you stay in for halloween, it is probably a good idea to keep a stash of sweets and little pictures (like of mary magdalene washing Jesus' feet for example) to give to the kids, so they have a nice picture with the sweets.
  •  I'm trying to read and reread it to make sure I haven't made a mistake in my reading of it.

    Haha mina ;)

  • mabsoota said:

    if you stay in for halloween, it is probably a good idea to keep a stash of sweets and little pictures (like of mary magdalene washing Jesus' feet for example) to give to the kids, so they have a nice picture with the sweets.

    That's a cute idea :)
  • My Dear Brethren,

    The peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

    As October 31st draws near, I want to make all uninformed Christians in our Diocese aware of certain traditions celebrated in the United States on this day. The "Halloween" celebration pays tribute to Satan. Every act revolving around Halloween is in honor of false gods. False gods are spirits in the Satanic realm.

    "We only do this for fun", some say. "We do not actually practice witchcraft", others repeat. I often wonder how one justifies the celebration of Halloween, the day Satanists have set aside as their "holy day". I am told that children "dress up" as witches, goblins, ghosts and little devils. Let me think about this for a moment, a small child dressed to resemble Satan's darkness. Also, I am told of games played at Halloween festivals that promote fear in children as they are ushered through horror houses and rooms decorated with skeletons, black cats, and bats. Does this representation of death and darkness seem like fun? Certainly not to me, I am told that pumpkins designed with faces are "cute ways" to denote the present day meaning of Halloweenthe literature purports that pumpkin faces are symbolic of skulls. Also around Halloween I am told of theatre movies which celebrate the cult of death...Somehow I still have not found fun within all of this...Have you? Have your children? To me, this sounds more like fixation with death and mental illness to me...

    Many attempt to compromise on the celebrating of Halloween. Many think the meaning behind Halloween has become obscure today. The fact of the matter is, the actual methodology of witchcraft survives until today. When our children are taught it is "alright" to celebrate heathen practices such as "Halloween" it does not give them the repulsion and resistance they need to stand against greater Satanic involvement. When celebrations such as these are taken lightly, it sets a precedence for our children to accept evil rather than resist it.

    Many have asked me, "What is the harm?" My answer to this question is that occultism can be seen as a threatening storm brewing on the religious horizon gredually becoming very strong. More specifically, let's contemplate a moment on the origin of "Halloween," begun as a day to give tribute and praise to the dark forces of Satan. "Halloween" is derived from the word "Samhain (Sa-ween)." Samhain, the lord of the dead, called together all the wicked souls who had died within the past year and were destined to inhabit animals. The celebration of the dead honored the god of the dead on this particular night, October 31st. Bonfires were lit high on mountaintops so the spirits of the dead could find their way. Suitable food and shelter were provided for these evil spirits or they would inflict havoc, cast spells, steal infants, destroy crops, kill farm animals, and instill terror as they haunted the living. This is where "trick or treat" is derived. To worship evil spirits and false gods is against scripture.
  • If one knows the Lord Jesus Christ before death, their spirit will be with the Lord. St Paul tells us that to be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord Christ. If one is an unbeliever at death, the scripture says there is no second chance as "it is appointed unto man once to die and after that judgment". Therefore, prayer for the satanic is in opposition to God's Word and a pagan practice cannot become "Christianized." We must make a decision to be for or against Christ. Our Christian practices must display our beliefs and be an example to the others.

    Furthermore, Ephesians 5:6-12 states, "Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret."

    It is at this point I want the reader to stop and think about October 31st. Do we find "All Saints Day" in the Coptic Synaxarium? My Synaxarium does not contain this celebration. Please let me know if yours does. I would certainly like to read this. I was under the impression we celebrated Coptic Saints throughout the ENTIRE year, not on one particular day. While you were searching in your Coptic Synaxarium did you happen to notice two very important feasts, which occur on October 31st, and another the following day? Did you know that the Commemoration of St Mary and the Feast of Anba Roewis occur on October 31st? I am quite sure these feasts were more familiar to you as Copts than the pagan celebration of "Halloween". Am I correct? The following day is the Feast Day of the Great Evangelist St Luke. I am quite sure you also knew this. Am I again correct?

    I do not believe it is in Christian fellowship to celebrate Halloween. I do NOT encourage our children to dress in costumes. Costumes on this night are symbolic of celebrating Halloween. The same holds true for the acceptance of candy. Please think about the following pointsWhy do we not greet one another during the Holy Passion Week from Wednesday until Saturday morning? It is because we do not want to do anything symbolic of Judas kiss. Another thought to coincide with this thought is, on Holy Thursday we must complete the Divine Liturgy, according to Church Canons, before sunset. There is a reason for this. The Coptic Church does not want to have fellowship with the Jews eating during the Passover. Therefore, any day not set aside for Halloween; any day in which these practices are not symbolic of Satanic practices is alright for eating candy and wearing appropriate costumes. There exists 364 days in which one can eat candy and wear costumes. Only one day in which one cannot.
  • Attend Church, the Vespers, and the Exaltation of the Saints on October 31st. Create plays and skits for the great saints St. Mary, St. Roewis, and St. Luke. The Mother of God, the poor layman who sold salt, and the Gospel writer's life can teach us so much! Reflect upon their lives. Spiritually meet together, and then enjoy the social atmosphere of Christian fellowship, Saints' plays and Agape meal. Let's all give thanks to God for a true Christian reason to celebrate this day!

    I want to close with one final thought. Using witchcraft to foretell the future was against God's Law and caused King Saul of Israel to lose his life. I Samuel 28:7-8 says, "Then Saul said to his servants, 'Find me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.' And his servants said to him, 'In fact, there is a woman who is a medium at En Dor.' So Saul disguised himself and put on other clothes, and he went, and two men with him; and they came to the woman by night. And he said, 'Please conduct a sance for me, and bring up for me the one I shall name to you'." (It should be noted that familiar spirits are nothing more than demons). Has anyone ever told you about the psychic phone lines and readings offered on television? I have been told of these things and am appalled that anyone would use these whether in jest or seriously. Foretelling the future by psychics is clearly addressed here. Read further to discover what happened to King Saul and his involvement with "familiar spirits".

    The Lord Pronounced His sever punishment upon Saul that very night; "And the LORD has done for Himself as He spoke by me. For the LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. Because you did not obey the voice of the LORD nor execute His fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore the LORD has done this thing to you this day" (I Samuel 28:17-18).

    The Bible clearly warns us to flee from the occult practices. It delineates the consequences making it forbidden to mankind. I did not find one reference to "only doing this for fun." How can one derive "fun" from celebrating darkness and honoring the "lord of the dead"?

    Satan worship is prevalent today in middle schools and high schools. We address this issue frequently in our youth meetings. Literature searches have revealed that at least 100 million Americans practice some form of the occult. We know that using witchcraft to foretell the future was a crime that cost King Saul his life. What will the price we will have to pay "for just having fun" be?

    Let us pray that God will grant us wisdom to abstain from this dark celebration, and in all things bring honor to His Holy Name.

    Bishop Youssef
    Bishop, Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
  • edited November 2014
    Yup, that's why the churches here in His Grace's diocese always have great activities at church on Halloween Day, and we don't dress up. Then on Sunday, we hand out bags of candy. But he made awesome references as to why it's considered as a pagan holiday.
  • I read that article.  There's so many problems with that article by HG Bishop Youssef, it looks like as if it was influenced by chick.com theology.  For instance, Halloween derived from "Sa-ween" is very sloppy research.

    But it's forgiven.  Hopefully, over time, people will realize the truth and find out that we made a big deal out of it.
  • Is that all you got out of Bishop Youssef's message? Even if we want to accept Halloween does not have pagan origins (whether Saween, Druids, child sacrifices, etc), what His Grace said about being children of the Light is the ultimate message. Unless one is celebrating Halloween to show Christ's light and correct all these people celebrating death and darkness, then what possible spiritual benefit is there for such celebrations? Seeing no one has ever claimed they are celebrating Halloween as a missionary act, then someone please show me what good, spiritual benefit will come out of Halloween.

    The fact of the matter is costumes are masks. Christianity teaches us to remove hidden masks and reveal yourself in confession. Honestly speaking, why would anyone wear a mask (even if it is for fun)? At some point, the physical mask is a manifestation of the unconsciousness' desire to hide (Jungian psychology). Christ teaches us that those who abide in darkness (and we can add under masks) do not want their sins revealed. While no one thinks a Spiderman mask or a Cinderella mask is physical manifestation of the unconsciousness, it is later on in life - after spending years with physical and spiritual masks - that the person cannot spiritually take off masks. This is all well documented in psychology, marital theology, and general religious studies. 

    I also have a problem with John Sandiopoulos' conjectures. There are 3 conclusions he makes that are wrong in my opinion.
    1. Contrary historical evidence lessens the credibility Christian opposition of Halloween or the need to remove Halloween. 
    2. There is no demonic or Satanic understanding of Halloween that can be proven.
    3. Hyper-religiosity is a sign of inferior religion which nearly all Christians are guilty of concerning Halloween.

    All three of these conclusions can be addressed in a quote from Timbe, "A Liturgical procession in the desert of Apa Shenoute". (Keep in mind, unlike Sandiopoulos, I am actually giving references. This is in fact another issue I have with Sandiopoulos).

    Just because there may or may not be historical evidence on a custom, it doesn't meant that the custom has developed in the society's mind in a certain way that merits removal (or acceptance). Previous evidence holds marginal influence on an intelligent decision to keep or remove that custom. Rejecting a custom based on a the society's view that the custom is demonic is not hyper-religiosity. (That's a claim I would expect from Bill Maher, not an Orthodox Christian). The Orthodox world has acknowledged the role of Satan in society. To claim otherwise, is to say Christ was lying when he addressed Satan as "The prince of this world". Or St Paul was gravely mistaken in Ephesians 6:12 when he spoke of "spiritual hosts of wickedness".

    In addition, what does it say when one wants to dress up as a demon? Think about that for a moment. If the answer is "just to have fun", then the demonic power of Satan has already infiltrated the common sense of the Christian. The only way one can argue dressing up as a demon is ok is if one does not believe in demons. If such is the case, then the power of the devil has already succeeded to defeat Christians. That is why Bishop Youssef's warning, which people tend to gloss over as hyper-religiosity, is imperative. "[Halloween] does not give them the repulsion and resistance they need to stand against greater Satanic involvement."

    Now let’s talk about Sandiopoulos’ evidence. Since he didn’t actually give us references, we must cautiously view it as evidence. But let’s suppose his evidence can be verified. His conclusion is not warranted. Quoting anti-Christian pagans to show the hyper-religiosity of Christians draws a conclusion that is not accurate. Even if pagans claimed Christians were falsely hyper-religious, and Christians are against Halloween, then Christians are falsely hyper-religious against Halloween cannot be a valid conclusion. The corpus of evidence on Christian behavior against demonic warfare has shown a strong reaction against anything demonic. This cannot be concluded as hyper-religiosity, but normal Christian behavior, in spite of contrary “evidence”. 

  • edited November 2014
    Now let’s turn to St Shenoute’s remarks. There is evidence that St. Shenoute the Archimandrite condemned pilgrimages and extravagant celebrations. Timbe paraphrases St Shenoute’s writings. "Christians are obsessed with the hunt for the bones of martyrs. When they found the bones, even if the martyr connection was uncertain, they wanted to put them in the churches or build a separate chapel or shrine to house the bones. This is the work of demons, in Shenoute's view, since the "fathers" who are recently deceased ordered us not to search for their burial sites, and there is no scriptural basis for devotion to relics. And apart from the wrongdoing involved in building a martyr’s shire, further sins are committed in worship at the shrine. According to Shenoute, singing, eating, drinking to excess that leads to fornication and even murder, are some of the acts that take place at shrines. "Oh, if the martyr lived now with us, we would know how angry he is at us." “

    1. One could consider St Shenoute’s message as evidence against ritual worship and intercession theology. But the mind of the Church and the corpus of patristic and practical theology has shown us that linking St Shenoute’s evidence as evidence against intercessions is plain wrong. Even the corpus of St Shenoute’s writings show the importance of intercessions.

    2. What St Shenoute warns against is not intercessions or relics. But the behavior of Christians and the pseudo-Christian interpretations around these events make the even wrong. So even if Halloween is not pagan, the behavior of Christians calls into question their interpretation of scripture and this makes the even wrong. Even benign acts in Halloween, such as begging for a treat under the threat of a trick, leads to a greater of demonic behavior over a Christian.

    3. As Sandiopolous’ evidence suggests, Halloween was already in existence as a Christian feast for all saints. This, I believe, all will agree as true fact. However, what Halloween has become (even if you want to deny the existence of demons) is not a testimony of all saints that are supposed to be commemorated. “Oh, if all the saints lived now with us, we would know how angry they are at us for” what their feast has become.

    4. Like it or not, any behavior that is not found in the gospel IS the work of demons. Like it or not, demons exists. Like it or not, demons want us to turn away from God’s light and celebrate wickedness and darkness. Like it or not, even holy actions like building a shrine or church can be a plot or snare of the demons. How much more can simple Spiderman or Cinderella customs be a snare of the demons. How much more can explicit costumes of demons, witches and death be a snare of the demons. Like it or not, “simple fun” or "making a big deal out of nothing" are not justifications of any action that is contrary to the message of the Gospel.

  • Yup, that's why the churches here in His Grace's diocese always have great activities at church on Halloween Day, and we don't dress up. Then on Sunday, we hand out bags of candy. But he made awesome references as to why it's considered as a pagan holiday.

    Every church in North America does this and it's wrong. From a medical and dental standpoint, look at it this way: "Let's give free candy to a population where obesity, diabetes, dental caries are more epidemic than ebola or the plague ever was or will be as a reward for knocking door to door partaking in secular, demonic activities or showing up to church instead of partaking in secular, demonic activities. What a great idea!!"  I hope you can recognize that was sarcasm (although the epidemic statistic is accurate). 

    The true reward for doing what a Christian is supposed to do is dwelling in the house of God, not materialism. Most people can't recognize this. As economy, the Church tried proactive solutions instead of ignoring the problem. Now our solution has become the problem. Sooner or later, God will fix this Halloween issue His way. 
  • edited November 2014

    What's so bad about giving kids candy? I dont see how that symbolizes into anything. Sure, maybe it implies that [you agree with the idea behind halloween], but the way I see it is,  if kids ask you for candy, you give them candy and that's it. Where's the problem in that?

    If kids ask you for a knife, give them a knife and that's it. Where's the problem in that?

    We all know kids ask for things that can potentially hurt them. That is the problem.

    If an adult wants to hurt himself with candy, we are not guilty of any problem since he chose the action. It's another thing if an adult randomly knocks on strangers' doors looking for a candy fix and we willingly give it to him without considering the repercussion. We would be guilty of a problem. We wouldn't be giving candy to strange adults on any day, including Halloween. We would be liable of any harm done to this adult. But somehow, people think giving candy to strange children on Halloween removes all liability. How? Why should we be more negligent of the general well-being of children than adults, especially knowing that children usually cannot consider the repercussion of their request? 

    In addition, giving candy is usually a momentary reward for good behavior. Take away the reward concept, and take away the good behavior that was the reason for the reward, we are left with an action that is nothing more than enabling personal satisfaction at the expense of someone else. 
  • Based on the above logic and reasoning from all the posts, would it be considered wrong for the Pope, Bishops and Priests to celebrate Ramadan in Egypt with the Sheikhs?  This is something I have seen with my own eyes. They say things like ramadan kereem and go the the ramadan celebrations with their local muslim leaders. In coptic point of view is it different to say happy halloween and get candy vs ramadan kereem then celebrate with a feast?
  • edited November 2014
    You would have to ask the Pope, bishops and priests themselves. My opinion of their actions is not their view, nor is it the Coptic Orthodox point of view (which I already alluded to).

    But I will tell you why I think this a comparison of apples and oranges. My personal opinion is that Coptic clergy have an extra obligation to interact with Muslim leaders that the regular Coptic layperson does not have. What these clergy are doing is simply an acknowledgement of peace on their feast. It is a missionary act. It might include an agape meal on Ramadan but it is not participating in Islam.  It would be a different story if these Coptic clergy are fasting Ramadan to Allah and then binge eating at a Ramadan celebration. Halloween is different because it is antithetical to Christianity. There is nothing Christian in what Halloween has become. Yet Christians want to make it their own feast without considering the meaning of the feast at all. Celebrating Halloween has nothing to do with giving Christ's message of peace. Like I said, no one ever claimed Halloween was a missionary act. 
  • edited November 2014
    Sorry to deviate from the seriousness of what you just wrote, but I literally laughed at that :D 

    First and foremost, I think the approach we're taking here in America is something like this: we can't ban the kids/teens from having fun, so we bring the fun to church, and so far we've been successful in that. Well yeah, there are other factors that we're not taking into consideration like the health of the kids and such, but still - the focus is on the spirituality. For example, which is better? To say, "Alright kids, you're not allowed to celebrate Halloween," then risk having a few rebels going against it and bring others down with them or provide an alternative? Besides, when the coptic kids see the other kids having fun and they don't get to engage in it,  they'll be like, "That's not fair, howcome we can't do that?" But having activities at church totally eliminates that.  

    And the knife thing, hahah... I think common sense is a beautiful gift from God for reasons like this :)

    But I totally see where you're coming from, and these are very valid points you mentioned 
  • Its not just the clergy, actually many laymen do the same, which I should have pointed out. So according to what you said, they are wrong then because they, as laymen, dont have that extra obligation?

    Most Christians are not celebrating Halloween, just as the clergy and laymen arent celebrating ramadan.

    Don't you think Islam is antithetical to Christianity too, or is it just halloween?

    Do you have kids? Do you allow them to wear a costume on halloween to school? Maybe an angel, maybe a fireman or doctor? I would hardly call this celebrating halloween. It is good for kids to be involved in their schools. Maybe one dresses his or her children as an angel in school as a subtle yet simple way to remind people of Christ and the heavenly things. So the child is there, in his own way, not celebrating the darker aspects, but showing people better things.

    One can expound in this and see the similarity to Copts participating in the muslim celebrations, they do it as you said to be a missionary or celebrate peace, but according to Christianity, its just another pagan celebration. So the child is pointing to heaven with an angel outfit, and the copt is pointing to heaven by being a peacemaker and congratulating the Muslims.

    Its not so different as apples and oranges. Maybe green apples and red apples if anything.
  • @CopticStrength,
    Thanks for the comments. A few more comments.

    You wrote,
    "we can't ban the kids/teens from having fun, so we bring the fun to church, and so far we've been successful in that."
    Again, this is for economy. This is, I think, a temporary solution. We can never forget the Church is NOT the place for fun. The Church's purpose is NOT to make sure the kids/teens are having fun instead of sinning. The Church IS the place "for the forgiveness of sins" (as we say in the psalmody). The Church's purpose IS to make sure kids/teens have salvation. 

    You wrote, "the focus is on the spirituality."
    I would have to disagree that "Halloween" celebrations (I feel sick to my stomach for even writing or mentioning this ridiculous oxymoron) in church focuses on spirituality. If the focus was spirituality, then there is no need to bribe kids/teens with anything, whether materialism like candy or esthetics like catchy, Protestant music. If the focus is on spirituality, then there should be a procession of faith - which is what we do on the Coptic "Halloween" (i.e., Nayrouz or the celebration of All martyrs). 

    You wrote, "Besides, when the coptic kids see the other kids having fun and they don't get to engage in it,  they'll be like, "That's not fair, how come we can't do that?""
    If Halloween celebrated as it is today was actually seen as the abomination because it really does cause desolation as spoken by Daniel the prophet, then no one would say "how come we can't do that?" Just like the knife thing. Giving a knife to a child who ask for it is considered an abomination that causes desolation. Even if the child says "How come we can't have knives?", you wouldn't justify an answer much less actually consider giving them an alternative to knives. No you would continue to give them what you know is holy. In reality, if every Christian saw Halloween for the abomination that it is, then no one would even see the need for an alternative. 

  • You wrote, "But having activities at church totally eliminates that."
    No it doesn't and it never will. I have been to a lot of these Church Halloween events. There are fun activities, but then there is mayhem. A lot of it. People literally fight for candy. I have seen a bunch simply steal the candy from servants. The noise level is way beyond any legal limit. And on occasion, some parent still manages to think they can bring their child dressed in costume. Did having these activities on this night prevent people from going trick or treating? Just look at Facebook where all these parents dressed up their kids and went trickortreating and not Church. I even saw a priest's child dressed in a costume. It's true more people went to Church than those who didn't. But we didn't eliminate anything. I don't think we even put a dent in the problem. We simply replaced one problem for another, instead of using the solution that has worked for thousands of years: prayer, fasting, fellowship in theology. 

    You wrote, "But I totally see where you're coming from, and these are very valid points you mentioned"
    Good. I hope I showed that Sandiopoulos' article is nothing more than a moderate's attempt to skew the importance of taking an immobile stand against anti-Christian behavior and feasts. This is more important than the discussion on finding alternatives for Halloween.
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