Coptic

Coptic Saints

The Saints are dear brothers who have struggled like us and have departed to Paradise. They are not dead, but are sleeping, as our Lord said (Jn 11:11) and as St. Paul called them (1 Thess 4:13).

Our early fathers spoke clearly and in detail about our relationship with Saints. The Saints in Paradise are the triumphant members of the same one church in which we are militant members. We, the triumphant and militants, are members of the Church, which is the one Body of our Lord Jesus Christ. The triumphant become invisible members because of the death of their bodies, and then militants are the visible ones. This is man's point of view, but in God's sight, we are all a visible holy family.

They departed from earth, but did not leave the church; their love toward their brothers did not cease by their departure and dwelling in Paradise. The death of their bodies does not sever the bond of mutual love between them and us; on the contrary it increases in depth and strength. Their prayers for the salvation of the entire world never cease. They pray for us, and we venerate them as they are our holy and dear friends.

We venerate the icons of saints and put them on the iconstasis. Church walls and doors are hung with icons, also our homes, etc., as a sign of our communion with them in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Monastic Movement

The Coptic Church is known by her ascetic attitudes, not only because it was there the monastic movements started, but because these attitudes represent characteristics of her life of worship. These attitudes have an evangelic base:

"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?..." (Mt 16:26)

"...Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor...and come, follow Me." (Lk 18:22)

"But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified." (1 Cor 9:27)

Asecticism, in the Coptic Church, is not a goal in itself that believers desire to attain, but it is a practical response to divine love. Our Lord gave Himself on our behalf, and we in turn long to give ourselves a long-sacrifice for God's sake. We abstain from temporary pleasures as a sign of our internal desire to enjoy the divine delight through the new life in our Lord Jesus Christ. Believers, especially monks, have one purpose; to attain the inner heavenly Kingdom as a pledge to their hope for eternal life and meeting with God.

In Egpyt, all monastic forms started in the fourth century to reattract the heart of the Church to the inner life, after the country had accepted Christianity and the Emperor had opened his door to bishops and priest.

St. Antony, the father of monks, was the first Christian to live a life of consecrated solitude. As a hermit in the desert, he lived a long and saintly life that influenced countless people both in his time and for generations thereafter, even to this day.

Patrology

As we believe that the Coptic Orthodox Church is the Holy and Sacred Body of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we also believe that there is a direct and strong connection between our Coptic Church's Fathers, our holy Apostles, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

Therefore, the Faith, which was submitted by our Lord Jesus Christ to His holy Apostles, was the same faith submitted to their holy successors who preserved it and submitted it unchanged to their children throughout all the generations of Coptic Christianity. Without the Apostolic Fathers and those holy Fathers who followed in their footsteps we would not have the blessings of "the authentic and unchanged faith" in which we have today.


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Coptic Liturgy

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Coptic Calendar

All historians have agreed that the Egyptians were the first to calculate time. They divided the year into 12 months, according in their knowledge of the stars. They later discovered the solar year, and became dependent upon it. Each of the 12 months was 30 days long and they added five more days, which they called the small month. Therefore, their year became 365 days long. The final stage of rectifying the calendar, in 238 BC was to add a sixth day to the small month every four years. The beginning of their year was on the first day of the month of Thout, which is the first month of the Coptic year.

The Egyptians named their months after their gods, and chose their names according to the season of the climatic changes for agriculture. They divided the year into 3 main seasons:

  1. The season of the flood of the Nile (Thout to Koiahk)
  2. The season of vegetation (Tobi to Paremoude)
  3. The season of reaping and harvesting (Pachons to Mesori) The small month was a chance for feasts and festivals.

The Coptic months are, in order:

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