Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ

Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ

Coptic Month of Mesore, Day  13

Every year, during the fast of Transfiguration we are celebrating the feast of Transfiguration, where we can read about this feast:
Matthew 17:1-9
Mark 9:2-9
Luke 9:28-37
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart.

[2] And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light.
[3] And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Eli'jah, talking with him.
[4] And Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish, I will make three booths here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli'jah."
[5] He was still speaking, when lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him."
[6] When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces, and were filled with awe.
[7] But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and have no fear."
[8] And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, "Tell no one the vision, until the Son of man is raised from the dead."

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them,

[3] and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
[4] And there appeared to them Eli'jah with Moses; and they were talking to Jesus.
[5] And Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli'jah."
[6] For he did not know what to say, for they were exceedingly afraid.
[7] And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is my beloved Son; listen to him."
[8] And suddenly looking around they no longer saw any one with them but Jesus only.
And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of man should have risen from the dead.

Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.

[29] And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white.
[30] And behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Eli'jah,
[31] who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem.
[32] Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, and when they wakened they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.
[33] And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli'jah" -- not knowing what he said.
[34] As he said this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.
[35] And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!"
[36] And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silence and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.
On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him.

Testimony of St. Peter: ( 2 Peter 1: 16-18)

[16]For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

[17] For when he received honor and glory from God the Father and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,"
[18] we heard this voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 
Doxology of Transfiguration
Let us praise Christ our God, the Co-essential with the Father, who created through His divinity, the living and the dead.
+ Jesus Christ the only-begotten, ascended to the peak of Mount Tabor, and took His disciples with Him, Peter and James and John.
And He was transfigured before them, His face shone more than the sun, His clothes were like snow, and two prophets appeared to Him.
+ Elijah and Moses the strong ones, saw His clothes upon Mount Tabor, a cloud of light passed, over the disciples.
And there was the voice from heaven, of God the Father saying, "This is My beloved Son, He has done My will hear Him."
+ We praise and glorify Him, and exalt Him above all, as a good One and Lover of man, have mercy upon us according to Your great mercy.
Alleluia Alleluia, Alleluia Alleluia, Jesus Christ the Son of God, was transfigured upon Mount Tabor.
+ This is He who is worthy of glory, with His good Father, and the Holy Spirit, both now and forever.

-          Transfiguration is the theophany or manifestation of God. The Father says from heaven “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." The Son is transfigured, the Holy Spirit like a “ a bright cloud overshadowed them”.
-          Transfiguration was a fulfillment for our Lord Jesus Christ promise “[28] Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." Matthew16: 18 , Mark9:1 and  Luke9:27.
-          “In Mark's account (9:2-10) one of the most notable features of the Transfiguration is the curious way the evangelist speaks of the arrival of Moses and Elijah. Whereas Matthew and Luke say simply, "Moses and Elijah appeared" on the scene, Mark lays a special stress on Elijah. He writes, "Elijah appeared to them with Moses." Not only does Mark mention Elijah before Moses, but the verb he uses, "appeared" (ophthe), is singular, not plural. His is an account of the arrival of Elijah, Moses playing a rather secondary role.”[1]

-          It is a fulfillment of another prophecy came in Deut. 18: 18 “[18] I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.” So Moses appeared to witness and says This whom I prophesied about.

-          It is also a remarkable sign that the comapasionate heart of our Lord Jesus Christ who said to Moses “[4] And the LORD said to him, "This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, `I will give it to your descendants.' I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there." Deut. 48:4 although Moses died and he did not enter it by his body but his soul visited it on the Transfiguration.

-          The “reference to the booths could imply that this occurred during the time of the Feast of Tabernacles when the Jews would be camping out in the fields for the grape harvest; for this Feast had acquired other associations in the course of its history, including the memory of the wanderings in the wilderness recorded in the Old Testament book of Exodus.”[2]

-          It also reminds us with the verse came in Revelation 21:3 “[3] and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them;” The dwelling or the tabernacle. Where it shows us the scene of heaven.  

-          The Lord Himself said to Moses  “[26] And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God said to him, `I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'?” Mark 12:26. So we see two departed with our Lord and the three disciples.

-          Transfiguration is not the end it is the Penultimate not the ultimate, the Lord said to Moses we still have to come down there is fighting with the demon, see the narrative of St. Matthew which transfiguration “ The son who was an epileptic and falls into fire and water, “[18] And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly” Matthew 17:18. And also we still have the Golgotha to see this image of transfiguration.

To be continued Tomorrow :)

[1] Fr.  Patrick Reardonhttp://www.antiochian.org/node/16379
[2] http://www.goarch.org/special/listen_learn_share/transfiguration/index_html

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rising of the Water of the Rivers

On the 12th of the Coptic Month of Baouna there is the feast of Archangel Michael . It is an ancient feast from the Pharaoh time. The church baptized this feast, during that time the church prays for the Rising of the water, so it can water the dry land during the harvest season in the summer. It is also the spiritual harvest which started in the day of Pentecost when God commissioned the holy Disciples and apostles to become fisher of men. The same theme we find it in the Sunday readings in which the church reads the miracles of Our Lord Jesus Christ as he delivered it to the Disciples. ""Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father." Jn. 14:12 . 

In these pictures below as it is accustomed from year 1834 AD there was a noticeable decease in the water level so Mohamed Aly Basha the Sultan of Egypt asked the Late Patriarch Peter VII (El Gawly) to pray, after he asked other religious leaders, the Pope prayed the liturgy on the river and at the end he poured the water of the washing of the holy Paten and Chalice into the Nile followed by throwing a holy bread from the (blessings bread) , after that the water started to rise, to a degree that they started to run quickly from the place as the place was flooded with water. three days ago the priests in St. George Church in Aswan (Upper Egypt) is following the same custom.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Late Metropolitan Maximus of Qalyubia

The Late Metropolitan Maximus of Qalyubia

1- Was born in April 1911, departed in May 1992. 

2- Joined the monastery when he was 21 years old. His mother saw a revelation that an angel is standing behind him so the family finally blessed the choice. His name was monk Angelos (Angel ) el Almuharraqe (the monastery of Almuharraq http://www.almuharraqmonastery.com/en/) in Asuit. 

3- In 1961 was he first priest sent to the Gulf area in Kuwait, which had the first church in the immigration land. 

4- One known story about him is that once the people in the church were fighting and the next day was a liturgy of Palm Sunday. He refused to pray the liturgy until they reconciled. 

5- In 1963 the Late Saint Pope Kyrillos the VI, met with the people in Qalyubia, in order to nominate for them Fr. Angelos to become a bishop. The people said "we do not have money to pay him" so Pope Kyrillos said "I am sending you a monk , a sandwich by three pences will feed him." He had no car so he would rent a carriage to visit the Christian homes. At the beginning, he had no place to stay, so he lived in a room in St. Mary Church in Banha (Qalyubia). 

6- Once a priest complained about three elderly men who sit together and gossip with a loud voice all the day, so he asked the priest if he could to see them. Metropolitan Maximus greeted them and said to them I have a project, can you help me to do it? They said "yes." He said I want an audio recording for the books of the Bible (at that time, there was no audio recording for the Bible) so they liked the idea and they started to record it, after a year they stopped gossiping. He was "containing" the people as Bishop Maximus who came after him said about him. 

7- He used to open his door at 6 am, and ask the bishop who is serving with him as assistant to read him the Bible, he would finish chapters and book, without stopping. If there were any visitors, he would welcome them, then ask them to read. 

8- The people would see him always mumbling by his lips praying all the day. 

9- He would ask a newly ordained priest , whom he ordained, to come and accept his confession, when the newly ordained priest would refuse by saying I am your son, I can not listen to your confession, he would insist and humbly ask the priest to accept his confession and then ask the priest to pray the absolution and to tell him " May God absolve you." He would not leave a sin inside him even a few minutes by doing that. 

10- In addition to all of these spiritual gifts he was speaking many languages and was very well educated. 

11- In 1992 he started to say "I want to go to my cell above," later he departed and the people understood that he was waiting to go to the heavenly places above. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Why Christ Ascended to the Heavens?

St. Cyril of Alexandria in his commentary on the gospel of Luke, Chapter 24, says

"Having blessed them, and gone a little in advance, He was carried up to heaven, that He might share the Father's throne even with the flesh that was united to Him. And this new pathway the Word made for us when He appeared in human form: and hereafter in due time He will come again in the glory of His Father with the angels, and will take us up to be with Him.
Let us glorify therefore Him Who being God the Word became man for our sakes: Who suffered willingly in the flesh, and arose from the dead, and abolished corruption: Who was taken up, and hereafter shall come with great glory to judge the living and the dead, and to give to every one according to his deeds: by Whom and with Whom to God the Father be glory and power with the Spirit for ever and ever. Amen."

Source :http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/cyril_on_luke_14_sermons_146_156.htm

What does it mean?

As He is one with the Father, so He did not leave the bosom of the Father, then when we say He is ascended, it is for the reason that He took our humanity with Him after our humanity were exiled from the paradise, so He returned it after abolishing the death by His Death. (The life giving death) the death which leads to life. So He opened for us the way to Eternity, Let us glorify Him  and exalt His Name As He did with us mercy according to His Great Mercy.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Passover of Jonah

 “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. “ Matt. 12: 40

The gospel of the liturgy of the Passover of Jonah according to the ritual of the Holy Orthodox Coptic Church, describes how our Lord refuses the temple which was made by the hands Jn. 2: 12-25, instead he wanted His Spirit to dwell in us by Baptism and the Eucharist, that is why the response of the Liturgy “O our Lord Jesus Christ, make in us a sanctuary, for Your Holy Spirit, ever-glorifying You.” He wants us to be His Chosen and dwelling place. That is why the church called it Passover of Jonah, it is a Passover from “darkness, unto the true and wonderful light; and from error and vanity of idols unto the knowledge of  truth.” As we say in the Baptismal Liturgy. Let it be our prayers “O our Lord Jesus Christ, make in us a sanctuary, for Your Holy Spirit, ever-glorifying You.”

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Books about St. Mary suggested by Very Rev. Fr. Athanasuis Farag

Books about St. Mary suggested by Very Rev. Fr. Athanasuis Farag 

1- The Holy Virgin Saint Mary by H.H. Pope Shenouda III  -  Free online at: http://www.orthodoxebooks.org/node/204

2- St. Mary in the Orthodox Concept by Fr. Tadros Malaty  -  Free online at: http://saint-mary.net/books/Saint%20Mary%20in%20the%20Orthodox%20Concept.pdf

3- On the Mother of God by Jacob of Serug

4- The Harp of Glory: Enzira Sebhat : an Alphabetical Hymn of Praise for the Ever-blessed Virgin Mary from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (Saint Vladimir's Seminary Press)

5- On the Blessedness of the Theotokos - Homily XIV of St. Severus of Antioch

6- Mary and the Fathers of the Church: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought By Luigi Gambero

7- Before Our Eyes The Virgin Mary Zeitun Egypt by Pearl Zaki

8- Mary: Mirror of the Church By Raniero Cantalamessa

9- Mary Mother of God - Her Life in Icons and Scripture edited by Giovanna Parravicini

10- Mary Mother Of All Christians - Primary Source Edition by Max Thurian -   Free online at: https://archive.org/details/marymotherofallc013235mbp

11- Celebration of Faith: The Virgin Mary by Alexander Schmemann

12- “Mary and the Church,” by Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann  Found as an audio here https://www.svots.edu/audio/mary-and-church-protopresbyter-alexander-schmemann

13- Mary in the New Testament  edited by Raymond Edward Brown, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Karl Paul Donfried

14- Symbols of St. Mary in the Old Testament by Fr. Matthias F. Wahba. Can by bought from http://www.orthodoxbookstore.org/symbolsofstmaryintheoldtestament.aspx 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hymn “Through The Cross” by Late Metropolitan Athanasuis of Beni Suef.

Thanks to the FB Page of "Those who love Anba Athanasius Metropolitan of Beni Suef and Bahnasa" ( Arabic Page for providing me with the Arabic wording for this hymn for this great teacher and scholar Metropolitan Athanasius 

Hymn “Through The Cross”[1]
by  Late Metropolitan Athanasuis of Beni Suef.[2]
Through the Cross my Lord Redeemed me … Through His Resurrection, He raised me and gave me life
Through the Cross He restored to me my entity… He opened to me the door of the paradise
Come let us see visibly… Our God in the human nature
Loving, kind, maker of good… He broke from us the trap pf the Satan.
He wore the nature of the sons of Adam… and became a sacrifice for the world
He saved by his Cross all transgressions … he removed from us all verdicts
Through the Cross we reconciled with the Father … And the Son opened before us the door
After the hostility we became lovers… the reconciliation happened and the dividing wall was broken.
Through the cross He crushed Satan … And He forgave us from every sin.
And the deeds were erased and He defeated powers… And He grants us victory and freedom.
On the Cross  compassion Transfigured… And the supreme Love and the Forgiveness
Thus the Saviour opening his bosom…Wants the Salvation of every human.

[1] Translated by Fr. Bishoy Lamie, edited by Phoebe Farag
[2] Prayed using the tone of Palm Sunday