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St John Chrysostom: A Homily for the New Year (On the Kalends of January)

[Translated by Seumas Macdonald], an excerpt…

[…]  The whole year will be fortunate for you, not if you are drunk on the new-moon [New Year’ Day], but if both on the new-moon [January 1st], and each day, you do those things approved by God. For days come wicked and good, not from their own nature; for a day differs nothing from another day, but from our zeal and sluggishness. If you perform righteousness, then the day becomes good to you; if you perform sin, then it will be evil and full of retribution. If you contemplate these things, and are so disposed, you will consider the whole year favorable, performing prayers and charity every day; but if you are careless of virtue for yourself, and you entrust the contentment of your soul to beginnings of months and numbers of days, you will be desolate of everything good unto yourself. […]

Strong drink does not produce delight, but spiritual prayer; not wine, but a learned word. Wine effects a storm, but the Word [of God] effects calm; the former transports in an uproar, the latter expels disturbance; the former darkens the understanding, the latter lightens the darkened; the former imports despondencies that are non-existent, the latter drives away those there were [1]. For nothing is so accustomed to produce contentment and delight, as the teachings of [our] philosophy [wisdom]: [which is] to despise present affairs, to yearn for the things to come, to consider nothing of human affairs to be secure, and if you behold some rich man not to be bitten with envy, and if you fall into poverty not to be downcast by that poverty. Thus you are always able to celebrate festivals. (more…)

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02. Jan, 2012
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The Glorious Feast of Nativity: 7 January? 29 Kiahk? 25 December?

Written by: Fr. John Ramzy

The first Church did not celebrate the birth of Christ. And the actual date of his birth was and still is unknown. The earliest known indication to such a celebration comes in a passing Statement by St. Clement of Alexandria who mentions that the Egyptians of his time celebrated the Lord’s birth on May 20. At the end of the 3rd century, the Western Churches celebrated it in the winter, and this was only accepted in Rome in the middle of the 4th century.

Around that time it was agreed by the Church all over the world to celebrate the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ on 25 December (29 Kiahk in the Coptic calendar), most probably to take the place of a pagan feast that even Christians continued to celebrate until then.

At that time, and until the sixteenth century, the civil calendar in use the world over was the Julian calendar, introduced by Julius Caesar in the year 46 B.C. This calendar considered the year to be 365.25 days 4 and thus had a leap year every four years, just like the Coptic calendar. Therefore, until the sixteenth century, 25 December coincided with 29 Kiahk, as the date of the celebration of the Lord’s nativity. (more…)

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27. Dec, 2011
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St. Mary’s Fast

The church celebrates the fast of Saint Mary from August 7 – 21 to commemorate the Dormition of her body to heaven.

Our Mother The Saint Virgin Mary
by: H.H. Pope Shenouda

There is no woman about whom the prophets prophesied, and about whom the Holy Bible cared, like the Virgin Mary…….There are numerous symbols about her in the Old Testament. In the New Testament also, there are her biography, her praise, and the miracles.

(more…)

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09. Aug, 2011
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The Feast of the Cross

Because of its power and holiness, the Coptic Orthodox Church celebrates two separate Feasts of the Cross in its liturgical year. The first, on Thout 17 (September 27 or 28), commemorates the discovery of the Holy Cross by the Empress Helen, mother of the first Christian Roman emperor, Constantine. Through her diligent search and efforts, the Holy Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ was recovered from under the rubble at Golgotha. The second Feast, on Paramhotep 10 (March 19), commemorates the manifestation of the Holy Cross in the seventh century during the reign of the Roman emperor Heraclius. After he had defeated the Persian army, one of the Persian princes stole the Holy Cross while en route to Persia. When Heraclius heard of this, he gathered the Roman army and marched to Persia where he recovered the Holy Cross and returned it to Constantinople in 629 A.D. (more…)

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28. Sep, 2010
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The Feast of Nayrouz

The Coptic New Year is the very first calendar ever known by man on planet earth! It goes back 4241 BC. The word “Nayrouz” is of Coptic origin. The stem is niiaro-oo meaning: “the rivers.” The suffex “ouz” is Greek, thus, the word “Niiaroouz.” Mid September is usually where the waters of the Nile river rises, so the prayers are lifted to God for the rising of the waters of the rivers for irrigation and ask for His blessings at the beginning (crown) of the Coptic Calendar year. (more…)

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10. Sep, 2010
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Apostles Fast

We celebrate the “Feast of the Apostles.” In preparation for this feast I would like to share some thoughts concerning the apostles and the establishment of the early church. It is my prayer that all will draw closer to God, to an understanding of the apostles, and to those who received instruction from disciples of the apostles. (more…)

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25. May, 2010
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The Holy Spirit in the Church of the Apostles

by H.H. Pope Shenouda III
The descending of the Holy Spirit was the beginning of the work of the Christian Church. The Lord Jesus Christ started forming the Church when He chose the twelve apostles and sent them out (Matthew 10:1-16). He also appointed seventy others whom He also sent out (Luke 10:1-20), with separate groups of His beloved ones and disciples. (more…)

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16. Apr, 2010
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The Joy of the Resurrection

by H.H. Pope Shenouda III
As much as the day of the crucifixion was painful emotionally, it was a day of salvation. However, people did not see Christ opening the doors of paradise, they only saw the suffering, insults and nails. As much as the disciples were disturbed and sad on Friday, they were very joyful on Sunday. The promise of the Lord to them was fulfilled when He said, “But I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you” (John 16:22). (more…)

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16. Apr, 2010
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Palm Sunday, Saint Cyril of Alexandria

He rides on a donkey and a young colt; not a chariot. You have a unique sign of the King who came. Jesus was the only king Who sat upon an unyoked foal, entering into Jerusalem with acclamations as a king. And when this king comes, what does He do??He sits upon a foal to give us a sign, where the King that enters shall stand. And He gives this sign not far from the city, that it may not be unknown to us. He gave a sign plain before our eyes, so that even if we are in the city, we may behold the place of the King. And the prophet again makes answer saying: ?And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives which faces Jerusalem on the east?? (Zech. 14:4) Does any one standing within the city fail to behold the place?

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26. Mar, 2010
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Emmanuel/Christmas

When the Walt Disney Company planned a yearlong celebration marking the 100th anniversary of Walt Disney’s birth, they encountered a unique problem. A survey of visitors at Walt Disney World in Florida found that many of the park’s guests under the age of 15 did not know Walt Disney was a real person. Those young people thought “Disney” was just another company name. After the discovery the company made a special effort to highlight the life and impact of the real Walt Disney. (more…)

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08. Jan, 2010