Monday, May 7, 2018

How to memorize the Gospel of St. Mark by heart

I asked the girl in our Church who memorized it to write me the steps she followed in order to learn it by heart.

I put for you the famous video of Alec McCowen who firstly performed it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oOaIeythFw&t=1s

then it was put into drama by Max McLean, memorizing from his heart https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Un3gSYkd0ds

Finally it was read by David Suchet

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjOgcMQXvSc&t=1820s


Saturday, January 6, 2018

Christmas Tree and Burning Bush


 My mom "Wedad" few years back when she came to the US in a visit, she looked to our Christmas Tree and said to me, the tree is there to remind us with the burning bush. I looked to her and said that Mom that is very deep Theological meaning. It is my first time to link the Tree to the Burning Bush. Yes the theologian is the person who knows how to pray. On the same token I have heard some beautiful meditation about the Nativity Feast: the gifts to represent the gifts of the Magi, and the gift of God the Father to the world, His Only Begotten Son. " The Only  Begotten of The Father, was Incarnate from the Virgin" I like our children to learn this refrain, to know the reality of the eternal Birth of The Son from The Father, lest they will only comprehend Christmas as the "Baby Jesus" was born. I symbolizes to our children in a simple way, if I switched off the light in my room, are there any electricity running in the wires? the answer yes but I can not see it, once I turn on the switch, then I can see the Incarnate Electricity took the form of light.

Singing the hymns the Angels said " Glory to God in the Highest, Peace On Earth and goodwill toward men" I hope this will be our greeting instead of saying Merry Christmas, or Happy Feast of Nativity.

My Friend Tamer Yassa, sent me a greeting this morning, not a picture, not a clip, not part of recorded video but two verses from Tuesday Psali for the Feast of Nativity, you can hear him here https://soundcloud.com/rishoyamie/whatsapp-audio-2018-01-06-at-13059-am

And the translation



"Jesus, our Savior is born to us today, in Bethlehem of Judah
 There was great joy when the Sun of Righteousness shone and gave us light."

Other Theotokia (Glorification or Veneration for the Mother of God) Refrains in our Coptic Orthodox Pslamody book 

On Mondays, "He shone in the flesh, taken from the Virgin, without the seed of of man, in order to save us."
On Tuesdays, "For of His own will, and the pleasure of His Father, and the Holy Spirit, He came and saved us."
On Wednesdays, "The Father looked from heaven, and found no one like you, He sent His Only-Begotten, Who came and took flesh from you."
On Thursdays, "He did not cease to be divine, He came and became the Son of Man, for He is the true God, Who came and saved us."
On Fridays, "He took what is ours, and gave us what is His, we praise Him and glorify Him, and exalt Him."
On Saturdays, "Hail to you O full of grace. Hail to you, who has found grace. Hail to you, who has given birth to Christ. The Lord is with you." 


When our Feasts take this beautiful praises and prayer form, it turns Earth to Heaven, By His Birth He made our world to be a Heaven and each one of us to be a Temple Carrying Him always to witness"Emmanuel God With us" Matthew 1:23 to fulfill what came in Isaiah 7:14 "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."


Friday, August 18, 2017

I Am He: St. Mary Vesper or Revival

I Am He: St. Mary Vesper or Revival: St. Mary Vesper or Revival I announced that we will pray Vespers of St. Mary, later I was asked by a person when is the Revival of St. Ma...

Thursday, August 17, 2017

St. Mary Vesper or Revival

St. Mary Vesper or Revival

I announced that we will pray Vespers of St. Mary, later I was asked by a person when is the Revival of St. Mary so I answered the Vespers will be in the time I mentioned. My answer was not satisfactory. It triggers me to analyse what is our expectation about the period of the fast asking the intercession of St. Mary. What components are there in the expectation of the people for the revival of St. Mary. Is the Vesper prayer recognised as a deep liturgical prayers, not only in st. Mary but the rest of the year?

Revival:
Is it only the case during some periods of time during the year? or is it what we should do everyday?

Expectation: 
Is our expectation about st. Mary period to be: Glorification ( in which many songs found its place, lacking a deep theological meaning, connecting st. Mary to the mystery of Incarnation,like the Theotokia of every day) and sermons?

Would it be still fine if we prayed the Vesper followed by the Theotokia of the day, and teaching it to our children. especially its refrains :

Saturday Refrain of the Theotokia
Hail to you O full of grace, hail to you who has found grace, hail to you who has given birth to Christ, the Lord is with you.

Monday Refrain of the Theotokia 
He shone in the flesh, taken from the Virgin, without the seed of man, in order to save us.

Tuesday Refrain of the Theotokia
For of His own will, and the pleasure of His Father, and the Holy Spirit, He came and saved us.

Wednesday Refrain of the Theotokia
The Father looked from heaven, and found no one like you, He sent His only-begotten, who came and took flesh from you

Thursday Refrain of the Theotokia
He did not cease to be divine, He came and became the Son of Man, for He is the true God, who came and saved us.

Friday Refrain of the Theotokia
He took what is ours, and gave us what is His, we praise and glorify Him, and exalt Him.

I enjoyed the children praying the Theotokia of the day and I wish to see it happening in many places, this is how our Church Fathers praised St. Mary. Please listen to the file below, the Theotokia of Wednesday

It is another call to revive the Vesper prayers, that what really wants revival, HH Pope Kyrillos started to bring the attention to the Vesper and Mid Night Prayers. Hope our congregation attend every Saturday the Vesper prayers.

A last call, St. Mary wants us to follow her virtuous life: Meekness, Humility, silence, service etc.Let us ask her intercession during this fast and let us live in these virtues.

Also I hope our Children can memories the Theotokia by heart. Here our Children are praying Wednesday Theotokia.

The words of this Theotokia Wednesday Theotokia


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Our Children During the Summer



Our Children During the Summer


I am so sorry that I delayed writing this blog to this time, as we are half way through the summer, but I felt that I need to address this issue as soon. What do our children plan for the summer?

The first answer, will be for vacation, watching, hanging out, gym and sports.

How about we plan for the summer, by creating agenda, I will suggest some topics to be discussed with your children.
A weekly agenda can include: Daily Bible Reading, Daily Book Reading, Daily Prayer, writing psalms in order to learn it

 Writing verses in order to learn it
 attending liturgies, vespers, Mid Night Psalmody, learning parts in Agypia, Bible, Hymns, Coptic teachinghttp://www.copticplace.com/coptic_languge/coptic.html, http://www.stmarkdc.org/ctresources, stories from the Old Testament ( not the ordinary known ones like Joseph, David) Could be the story of the Maccabees family in II Maccabees 7.
These activities to be done at home, parents should plan and help and spend time in the Christian education of their children, not only trusting that the children will go to the summer activities, El Keraza festivals, or any competitions.
The agenda should include, visiting museums, green areas (nature), Libraries, bookstore, workshops for children, reading to each other, watching news ( to get to know the rest of the world ( you can use a map).
Reading for them Church History, teaching them to pain an icon, Iota Coptic Art https://www.behance.net/gallery/32856713/Iota-Coptic-Cross-Design , volunteering in a community organization, helping in food drive for homeless ( our church in Manhattan do it https://www.stmarystmarkmanhattan.com/ , organizing their rooms, helping in cleaning the house ( not everyday or they will get bored easily), Weekly movie night ( If you want a list of recommended movie, please request), my favorite for the older is the reluctant saint https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXxOLNRBdXw Parents should implement the agenda and should stay with their children.
I would personally suggest that their waking hour in the summer to be the same as the winter, or else they will perceive the school as a wrathful place, why not they wake up at the same time, pray and play.
Spend time to chat with them, and walk with them. An equal proportion from each point mentioned above will help in the development of their personality and mentality. I wish if you started to apply, to share with me your experience. I will value if you can complete the above list.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Coptic Community reaction to Tanta and Alexandria events.

Lesson we learn
1-   Deacons in the Church of St. George in Tanta were praying the Liturgy of the Word in the feast of Palm Sunday. They were saying the hymns of Εγλοςιμενοσ, you can find the words for this hymn here http://tasbeha.org/hymn_library/index.php?msg=&a=view&id=142 they were praying the part which says Hosanna to the King of Israel; and then they continued the hymn in heaven. Here is the last seen before explosion happens , no worry no graphic scenes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMPKFyNtLJk
2-   Our Coptic Orthodox Church, lives the Pascha week as Egeria explained by the end of the fourth century, so after Palm Sunday we have the Pscha hours of the eve of Monday. This was the turn out in one of the churches (Thanks to Caroline Moawad for the pictures)




3-   Is it an image of people who hate life, the above Church is located in an area where people are highly educated and have prosperous jobs. What you see is simple “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21. This reminds me with What St. Justin the martyr said in his first apology, that these people are not fearing death.
4-   His Holliness Pope Tawadross put for us example, instead of receiving congratulations on the day of the feast of Resurrection, he went to visit the families of the martyrs (pictures from US-International Coptic Media Center's post.)





Visiting Tanta families 


Visiting the sick and the orphans in the day of the feast is sharing with our Lord as He said “[35] for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 
[36] I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' 
[37] Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? 
[38] And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? 
[39] And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?' 
[40] And the King will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.' Matthew 25.
5-   During the Pascha week services, I was so touched when a girl in high school, asked me if she can give me some money for the families of the martyrs. I was so moved by her feeling the One Body, “[26] If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. “ I Corinthians 12. This sense of responsibility is what we need to put in the hearts of our children.

- -The Church planned to pray the liturgy of the feast in the hospitals where the injuried out of these events are residing. 
From http://www.youm7.com/story/2017/4/16/%D8%B5%D9%81%D8%AD%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%83%D9%86%D9%8A%D8%B3%D8%A9-%D8%AA%D9%86%D8%B4%D8%B1-%D8%B5%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D9%84%D9%82%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B3-%D8%B9%D9%8A%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%82%D9%8A%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%A9-%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B5%D8%A7%D8%A8%D9%89-%D8%AA%D9%81%D8%AC%D9%8A%D8%B1-%D8%B7%D9%86%D8%B7%D8%A7/3192221