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 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Sayings of abba Moses from the Sayings of Desert Fathers by Sister Benedicta Ward, SLG

Special Thanks to Donna Rizk 

Moses, called the Robber or the Negro, was a released slave who lived as a robber in Nitria; late in life he became a monk and was trained by Isidore the Priest. He was ordained priest and became one of the great fathers of Scetis. On the advice of Macarius he retired to Petra; he was martyred with seven others by barbarian invaders.

1-      It happened that Abba Moses was struggling with the temptation of fornication. Unable to stay any longer in the cell, he went and told Abba Isidore. The old man exhorted him to return to his cell. But he refused, saying, 'Abba, I cannot.' Then Abba Isidore took Moses out onto the terrace and said to him, 'Look towards the west.' He looked and saw hordes of demons flying about and mak­ing a noise before launching an attack. Then Abba Isidore said to him, 'Look towards the east.' He turned and saw an innumerable multitude of holy angels shining with glory. Abba Isidore said, 'See, these are sent by the Lord to the saints to bring them help, while those in the west fight against them. Those who are with us are more in number than they are.' Then Abba Moses, gave thanks to God, plucked up courage and returned to his cell.

2-      A brother at Scetis committed a fault. A council was called to which Abba Moses was invited, but he refused to go to it. Then the priest sent someone to say to him, 'Come, for everyone is waiting for you.' So he got up and went. He took a leaking jug, filled it with water and carried it with him. The others came out to meet him and said to him, 'What is this, Father?' The old man said to them, 'My sins run out behind me, and I do not see them, and today I am coming to judge the errors of another.' When they heard that they said no more to the brother but forgave him.

3-      Another day when a council was being held in Scetis, the Fathers treated Moses with contempt in order to test him, saying, 'Why does this black man come among us?' When he heard this he kept silence. When the council was dismissed, they said to him, 'Abba, did that not grieve you at all?' He said to them, 'I was grieved, but I kept silence.'

4-      It was said of Abba Moses that he was ordained and the ephod was placed upon him. The archbishop said to him, 'See, Abba Moses, now you are entirely white.' The old man said to him, 'It is true of the outside, lord and father, but what about Him who sees the inside?' Wishing to test him the archbishop said to the priests, 'When Abba Moses comes into the sanctuary, drive him out, and go with him to hear what he says.' So the old man came in and they covered him with abuse, and drove him out, saying, 'Outside, black man!' Going out, he said to himself, 'They have acted rightly con­cerning you, for your skin is as black as ashes. You are not a man, so why should you be allowed to meet men?'

5-      Once the order was given at Scetis, 'Fast this week.' Now it happened that some brothers came from Egypt to visit Abba Moses and he cooked something for them. Seeing some smoke, the neigh­bours said to the ministers, 'Look, Moses has broken the command­ment and has cooked something in his cell.' The ministers said, 'When he comes, we will speak to him ourselves.' When the Satur­day came, since they knew Abba Moses' remarkable way of life, the ministers said to him in front of everyone, 'O Abba Moses, you did not keep the commandment of men, but it was so that you might keep the commandment of God.'

6-      A brother came to Scetis to visit Abba Moses and asked him for a word. The old man said to him, 'Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything.'

7-      Abba Moses said, 'The man who flees and lives in solitude is like a bunch of grapes ripened by the sun, but he who remains amongst men is like an unripe grape.'

8-      The magistrate heard about Abba Moses one day and he went to Scetis to see him. They told the old man. He got up and fled to the marsh. Some people met him and said to him, 'Old man, tell us where the cell of Abba Moses is.' He said to them, 'What do you want with him? He is a fool.' So the magistrate went back to the church and said to the ministers, 'I heard people talk about Abba Moses and I went to see him, but there was an old man going into Egypt who crossed our path and we asked him where Abba Moses' cell is, and he said to us, "What do you want with him? He is a fool."' When they heard this, the clergy were offended and said, 'What kind of an old man was it who spoke like that about the holy man to you?' He said, 'An old man wearing old clothes, a big black man.' They said, 'It was Abba Moses himself and it was in order not to meet you that he said that.' The magistrate went away greatly edified.

9-      At Scetis Abba Moses used to say, 'If we keep the commandments of our Fathers, I will answer for it on God's behalf that the barbarians will not come here. But if we do not keep the command­ments of God, this place will be devastated.'

10-   One day, when the brethren were sitting beside him, he said to them, 'Look, the barbarians are coming to Scetis today; get up and flee.' They said to him, 'Abba, won't you flee too?' He said to them, 'As for me, I have been waiting for this day for many years, that the word of the Lord Christ may be fulfilled which says, "All who take the sword will perish by the sword." ' (Matt. 26.52) They said to him, 'We will not flee either, but we will die with you.' He said to them: 'That is nothing to do with me; let everyone decide for himself whether he stops or not.' Now there were seven broth­ers there and he said to them, 'Look, the barbarians are drawing near to the door.' They came in and slew them. But one fled and hid under the cover of a pile of rope and he saw seven crowns descending and crowning them.

11-   A brother questioned Abba Moses saying, 'I see something in front of me and I am not able to grasp it.' The old man said to him, 'If you do not become dead like those who are in the tomb, you will not be able to grasp it.'

12-   Abba Poemen said that a brother asked Abba Moses how someone could consider himself as dead towards his neighbour. The old man said to him, 'If a man does not think in his heart that he is already three days dead and in the tomb, he cannot attain this saying.'

13-   It was said of Abba Moses at Scetis that when he had arranged to go to Petra, he grew tired in the course of the journey and said to himself, 'How can I find the water I need there?' Then a voice said to him, 'Go, and do not be anxious about anything.' So he went. Some Fathers came to see him and he had only a small bottle of water. He used it all up in cooking lentils for them. The old man was worried, so he went in and came out of his cell, and he prayed to God, and a cloud of rain came to Petra and filled all the cisterns. After this, the visitors said to the old man, 'Tell us why you went in and out.' The old man said to them, 'I was arguing with God, saying, "You brought me here and now I have no water for your servants." This is why I was going in and out; I was going on at God till he sent us some water.'

Seven instructions which Abba Moses sent to Abba Poemen. He who puts them into practice will escape all punishment and will live in peace, whether he dwells in the desert or in the midst of brethren.

1-      The monk must die to his neighbour and never judge him at all, in any way whatever.
2-      The monk must die to everything before leaving the body, in order not to harm anyone.
3-      If the monk does not think in his heart that he is a sinner, God will not hear him. The brother said, 'What does that mean, to think in his heart that he is a sinner?' Then the old man said, 'When someone is occupied with his own faults, he does not see those of his neighbour.'
4-      If a man's deeds are not in harmony with his prayer, he labours in vain. The brother said, 'What is this harmony between practice and prayer?' The old man said, 'We should no longer do those things against which we pray. For when a man gives up his own will, then God is reconciled with him and accepts his prayers.' The brother asked, 'In all the affliction which the monk gives himself, what helps him?' The old man said, 'It is written, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."' (Ps.46.1)
5-      The old man was asked, 'What is the good of the fasts and watchings which a man imposes on himself?' and he replied, 'They make the soul humble. For it is written, "Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins." (Ps.25.18) So if the soul gives itself all this hardship, God will have mercy on it.'
6-      The old man was asked, 'What should a man do in all the temptations and evil thoughts that come upon him?' The old man said to him, 'He should weep and implore the goodness of God to come to his aid, and he will obtain peace if he prays with discern­ment. For it is written, "With the Lord on my side I do not fear. What can man do to me?" ' (Ps. 118.6)

7-      A brother asked the old man, 'Here is a man who beats his servant because of a fault he has committed; what will the servant say?' The old man said, 'If the servant is good, he should say, "For­give me, I have sinned." ' The brother said to him, 'Nothing else?' The old man said, 'No, for from the moment he takes upon himself responsibility for the affair and says, "I have sinned," immediately the Lord will have mercy on him. The aim in all these things is not to judge one's neighbour. For truly, when the hand of the Lord caused all the first-born in the land of Egypt to die, no house was without its dead.' The brother said, 'What does that mean?' The old man said, 'If we are on the watch to see our own faults, we shall not see those of our neighbour. It is folly for a man who has a dead person in his house to leave him there and go to weep over his neighbour's dead. To die to one's neighbour is this: To bear your own faults and not to pay attention to anyone else wondering whether they are good or bad. Do no harm to anyone, do not think anything bad in your heart towards anyone, do not scorn the man who does evil, do not put confidence in him who does wrong to his neighbour, do not rejoice with him who injures his neighbour. This is what dying to one's neighbour means. Do not rail against anyone, but rather say, "God knows each one." Do not agree with him who slanders, do not rejoice at his slander and do not hate him who slanders his neighbour. This is what it means not to judge. Do not have hostile feelings towards anyone and do not let dislike dominate your heart; do not hate him who hates his neighbour. This is what peace is: Encourage yourself with this thought, "Affliction lasts but a short time, while peace is for ever, by the grace of God the Word. Amen."'