"Unseen Warfare: The Great Victory" Winter Youth Retreat 2016

This year’s retreat focused on the hidden or unseen warfare of the devil and the greatness of the victory we have in our Lord Jesus Christ. 

His Grace Bishop Paul spoke to us on Friday night about Moses’ encounter with God when he received the commandments and when the people sinned. His Grace highlighted to us how it was strange that Moses asked the Lord to see His glory when he just spent 40 days with God, in His glory! H.G. went on to explore why Moses did this and how Moses dealt with the people.

In our first talk on Saturday we read the story of the healing of the man who was possessed by a legion of evil spirits. This was a deeply touching talk as this story relates to us and H.G. pointed out that when we invite any sin into our lives, it always comes with its demon which in turn brings with it more demons which fits with the quick progression of a temptation to a sin and a sin to way of life.  We were then put into workshop groups to discuss this in our everyday life, how the Lord wants to free us and that the true fight is with God for Him to defeat Satan for me.

After lunch, our second topic of the day was about the victory. And the character we examined with H.G. was Joseph the Righteous. His story is famously known as one of purity but H.G. made it clear for us that the underlying theme here is really spiritual maturity. H.G. took us from the very start of Joseph’s story, from when he was a foolish, spoilt boy with no real identity (except that of his tunic) to a mature man of God who knew his identity in God, who could see the deception in the world around him and who became an instrument for God’s glory.

In the evening, His Grace gave us a short presentation on the mission work that is taking place in Africa and then showed us a movie. As the first weekend of the Month of Kiahk, quite a few were very keen for the Kiahk Psalmody. This was a lovely experience of praise to end the evening. 

It was nice to be able to pray altogether as one on Sunday during the Liturgy, although we all came from different places. We settled down for our last talk of the weekend after we’d finished breakfast (or for some us after we’d been baptised in breakfast); this was about the blessing. His Grace took us through four aspects of God’s blessings before studying the story of how Jacob became blessed - If you want to be blessed, you have to accept to be broken.

Thanks must go to our Lord for blessing this weekend and to His servants who worked and prayed for it to happen.

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Press Release Regarding the Bombimg

The Pariarchate has issued the following statement:

One of our ancient churches, St. Peter’s church of Al Abbaseya in Cairo, suffered a cowardly and despicable terrorist attack on the morning of Sunday December 11, 2016. This led to the martyrdom and injury of many.

We regret this violence and terrorism which targeted peaceful congregants. We pray for those who were martyred as well as those who were injured. The Egyptian Church ensures preserving the national unity that brings together all Egyptians in the blessed land of Egypt.

We also pray for the attackers to return to their senses because they will meet their just divine judge before Whom all is exposed. May we be all comforted.

Kiahk 2, 1733 A.M.
December 11, 2016 A.D.

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Coptic Hymns Concert 2016

We were very happy and blessed that George Kirollos and his team performed hymns for us on the 29th October 2016 with members of the congregations from across the diocese. 

This was a truly unique concert in that David Ensemble not only performed for us but also trained our own to perform with them. This was also the first time in the history of the diocese for a choir to be put together including members from different churches, further establishing the unity within the diocese. 

The concert proved to be very successful and many people witnessed the excellent and professional manner in which the members of our Church blended with the professional David Ensemble choir. 

There was a mix of traditional coptic hymns sung in Coptic and English and spiritual hymns composed by David Ensemble sung in Arabic. The programme included: Eparthenos, Ni Sherobim, Shere ne Maria (Milisma), O Mary (Ya Mim reh ya mim), Ni Savev Tiro, My Coptic Church, Ooniato, Je nain nan, Hail to Mary, Erepo esmo, Psalm 150 along with Psam 56, Konta Ma3y (You are with me), Thabeton Kalby (My heart is steadfast), Psalm 8 and Psalm 24.

Overall it proved to be a big hit, with many members of the congregation asking for extra hymns to be sung after the concert had ended, which gained several encores from the choir. 

May God bless everyone involved and make it more fruitful and make it grow and expand.  

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"Understanding The Liturgy" Festival 2016

We were very blessed to serve alongside Peter, Monika, Maha and Edward (David Ensemble members) to explain the richness of our Coptic liturgy to our angels in primary school.

This was a unique experience for us and the kids. The retreat included diverse talks and lots of fun games and activities. The talks involved topics such as; the meaning of the liturgy, how to be prepared, church vestments, altar tools, church readings and many more.

The servants also led various workshops with an aim to explain the Coptic Church’s liturgy and prayer books as well as the sacred altar tools. The kids rotated around the workshops where two of them were on church books and the other two were focused on the altar tools. The servants have displayed lots of church books and explained to the children how and when it is used in the Coptic Church. Also, the servants explained to the children what the altar tools look like, what we call them, and why the priest uses them in the liturgy.

In addition, we had lots of outdoor and indoor games revolving around the theme. These helped the kids to gain more understanding of the theme while having lots of fun. Games were related to ideas such as; how to be prepared for the liturgy, how to follow the voice of Christ, team spirit and many others.

The children also enjoyed the lovely song Monika taught them. It is called “God’s love is like a circle”.  They were all singing it and doing all the actions. We did too! It was amazing!

The children also loved Uncle Edward’s charming violin. Did you know that Edward’s violin can talk and imitate all sounds made by the children? The children were overwhelmed and kept talking to the violin!

Thanks to Monika and Peter, all the children received two booklets; a coloured booklet, which included all the topics covered in the retreat and another one for colouring.

It was a fantastic retreat. We all had a blast.

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"Uniting With The Lord" Conference 2016

We were honoured to welcome to the Coptic Centre on Friday 21st October Eng. George Kyrillos, Maha, Edward, Peter and Monika for a conference on “Uniting With The Lord.” Now, one may be forgiven for questioning the link or relevance of hymnology to unity with God; however, if there is one thing that this team showed us, it was that they have everything to do with each other.

We were shown the great depth and riches of our Church, especially within its hymns, which are often taken for granted and dismissed as mere tradition. Throughout the weekend we were guided through a selection of hymns which were dissected into five dimensions: Theology, History, Ritual, Lyrics and Music! Without knowing the words, you can often understand what the hymn is about purely from the music. The melodies are so delicately composed that they hide in them elements of our doctrine. For example, When we sing the hymn “Ni Sherobim” we say “Agios, Agios, Agios” which is “Holy” three times, with the tune repeated in the exact same way each time - representing the equalness of the Holy Trinity.

The first hymn we looked at was “vol evol” - also known as the hymn of the group confession for any type of sin. 

We started Saturday with a fun interactive game where Edward would play for us a hymn on the violin and we would attempt to name the hymn and be able to identify the occasions in which it is said. Afterwards, we took a plunge into the hymn “Kata Ni Khoros” which is said in the Feast of the Resurrection and the 39 days that follow it. We also were schooled in the distribution hymn, Psalm 150, praising God for His tender mercies  and “Ton Sina” which is said in the Feast of the Resurrection and the Holy Fifty Days. We were taught that when we say this hymn, we should ask ourselves: Am I risen? Am I grateful? And am I joyful?

On Sunday we prayed the Divine Liturgy; it was truly uplifting to pray together as one voice and one body that understands and prays from the heart. Afterwards, Monika gave us a demonstration on our relationship with God - how we cannot concentrate and prioritise these treasures of our Church without Christ. Christ must come first, He must be the end to which they are a means and we cannot let ourselves be distracted from that. 

The hymn “Eso Panagios” is said just before the confession in the Divine Liturgy in response to the Priest saying “The Holies are for the Holy”. The Hymn means to say that we are unworthy and that only God is Holy. The final hymn we looked at was “Erepo Esmo” or “May their Holy Blessings”, said after the commemoration of the saints. 

The Church is often accused and criticised for having unnecessary rituals and tradition. What we must realise is what we have inherited, we have inherited for a reason. Our inheritance, which has been passed down to us by blood and suffering, aims to touch our souls, help us focus, unify us as the body of Christ, preserve our faith and praise God. Yes, we must not be distracted by the very things that aim to bring us closer to God, but we also must not neglect them as by them we can find ourselves inside Him.

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