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A Series On the Perception of the Church: Size Doesn't Matter (Part IV)

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Many are concerned with a church’s size; however, the more critical factor is its mobility. A church’s ability to move quickly in a difficult situation or to come together swiftly for a function is a significant indication that the church has energy. This life of a church doesn’t come from an empty source but rather from the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the members of the church and brings them all together as one living body. Without a doubt, the church is a living being. In her dwells the fullness of God, as St. Paul says, “that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19).

In death, sickness, marriage, and other myriad life situations, when small groups of church members or the church at large come together quickly, it is evidence that the church has life and has it abundantly. When a congregation, large or small, moves together rapidly, it is a sign that the church is filled with life. When words of comfort and consolation are uttered from a compassionate heart, i…

A Series On the Perception of the Church: The Convenient Church (Part III)

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In the last two issues, the church was presented as the Pillar of Truth. The church ought to speak the truth in love without discrimination, prejudice, political correctness, or compromise. This spoken truth might cause some to be uncomfortable or annoyed or to even leave the church in search of a more convenient church. It has been noticed that the request for a more convenient church has been getting more and more popular. Statementslike “I don’t find myself in this church anymore,” “The priest is great, but I don’t have anyone in my age group,” “The church demographics have changed,” “It’s all different people now!”, “The pastor at the other church speaks to me,” “Their main service is on Saturday night, and that leaves me Sunday with the family,” and “I go to the church near my house now; after all, we worship the same Jesus!” are only part of a short list of reasons for searching for a convenient church. No one denies that these issues are important; nonetheless, when these are t…

A Series On the Perception of the Church: The Pillar and Ground of the Truth (Part II)

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In the last issue, the church was defined as the pillar and ground of truth. This truth was described as the revelation of the person of the Lord Christ Himself in John 14:6: “I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” The conclusion was that every claimed fact, preacher, book, scientific theory, prophet, law, or thought is determined to be true or false based on its agreement with this one fact. It is the Orthodox Church with her ancient tradition traced back to the Lord and the Apostles, with her comprehensive understanding of the Scriptures and the revelation of God in Christ, and entrusted with the faith that was handed down until the current time to be considered the pillar and ground of truth. This means that the church, her life, her tradition, and her books are the proclamation of the truth and the measure by which one may determine if something is true or false. It is the Orthodox Church that carries in her teaching the complete revelation of the beauty of the purpose of creatio…

A Series On the Perception of the Church: The Pillar and Ground of the Truth (Part I)

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People have different perceptions of the church. Some claim it is a hospital for the sick, while others, in the early centuries of the church, declared it was a resort for the saints. Some claim that the church should be a comfortable place, while others argue comfort isn’t a concern at all. Yet others claim that the most important element of the church is its creed and that all other factors are irrelevant.
Paul, in his first letter to Timothy, describes the church as “the pillar and ground of the truth” since she supports and raises the truth. In very confused and disturbed times like we live in now, one ought to define what truth is. Philosophically, one would argue whether the truth is subjective or objective. If one claims that the truth is subjective, then this very fact—that the truth is subjective—is in itself subjective, which leaves room for the truth to be objective. If the truth is objective, then it has to always be valid.
However, for Christians, truth is not a concept, …

The Departure of My Previous Father of Confession

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Father Makary Abd-Allah, Ph.D., the only Coptic priest who taught at a university as a priest, departed in the hope of resurrection.

As a young man, Adeeb Abd-Allah was the model of a Christian young man who was successful in his spiritual life as well as his secular life.

He joined the School of Science, Department of Mathematics, Cairo University. As the top of his class, he was hired as a teacher assistant. He then traveled to Germany to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Gottingen in mathematics in the subject of several complex variables in 1962.
He was hired by Cairo University as a professor in 1962.
He then earned a national award in mathematics in 1968 and the Highest Achievement Science Medal in 1970.

He had a close relationship with Pope Kirollos VI, who approached him to ordain him as a priest.

He turned in his resignation to the university, which was rejected because of his rare mathematics specialty. He explained to the school that he would be ordained as a priest, hopin…

An opinion on natural disasters - Part 2

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The last blog covered an opinion on natural disasters solely by St. John Chrysostom. This post covers the final section of this series. Let’s continue finding answers to many of our questions regarding these natural events.
Why, then, does the bible call these calamities evil, as in Amos 3:6 & Isaiah 45:7? St. John Chrysostom says:
“He calls them by the name of evil the affliction, which arises from our punishment; thus naming it not in regard to its own nature, but according to that view which men take of it. For since we are accustomed to calling by the name of evil, not only thefts and adulteries but also calamities; so he has called the matter, according to the estimate of mankind.”
To help us understand his point of view, St. John gives us a very practical example:

"For the physician is not only to be commended when he leads forth the patient into gardens and meadows, nor even into baths and pools of water, nor yet when he sets before him a well-furnished table, but when he…

An opinion on natural disasters - Part 1

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This blog was published in a newsletter a few weeks ago while hurricane Maria category-5 was closing on the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Then a powerful earthquake shook Mexico City killing at least 225 people, and now wildfires are raging in Northern California. As you read this I ask you to be assured of the love of God, His wisdom, and His redeeming power which surpasses our time and lead us into eternity.
Once hurricane season starts, an earthquake shakes, a tsunami strikes, a tornado hits, a wildfire starts or any natural disaster takes place, immediately God is put on trial. Why does He allow it? Is He in control? If He is in control, why didn’t He stop it? Could there have been another method to speak to us? Before we answer any of these questions, let’s first correct few things. We describe these events as “natural”, yet we blame God for them, we name them “disasters”, while they are good for our souls. Below is the answer to some of these questions by St. John Chrysostom.
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