God’s ultimate sacrifice

The-Ultimate-SacrificeAs you know, Lent is here. During this holy time of contemplating God’s ultimate sacrifice, we see that the season is specifically geared toward sacrifice. It is within Christ’s sacrifice that our sacrifices are made complete and meaningful.

The Church, through its wisdom, has determined to sacrifice collectively and communally through a universal fast. Fasting is not only comprehensive, it is also collective–when we fast during the period of Lent, we do it together, as a Church, and we fast for the whole world who God loves and for whom He “gave His only begotten Son,” (John 3:16), for whose resurrection we are preparing during this very period.

It is important for us to make sacrifices in order to bring our bodies into subjection (1 Corinthians 9:27) and prepare ourselves for the feast of the Resurrection. Because of this intention, we may focus entirely on our fasting from certain foods and attend only and specifically to what goes into our mouths and stomachs. This sort of fast, where each person only focuses on his or her mind, body and soul, is an incomplete fast. And since we are fasting together as a Church, we should fast the way that God and His Church intend.
We read about true fasting in Isaiah: “Is this not the fast that I have chosen… Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him… If you extend your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul… The Lord will guide you continually…” (Isaiah 58:6-11). It is clear that during this time, as we abstain from certain foods and focus on the strengthening of our souls, it is of the utmost importance that we attend to the the most needy amongst us: the hungry, the lonely, the sick.
In abstaining, when we would usually indulge, we should instead give to the poor. Abstaining is not only based on sacrifice, but the importance of fasting is seen most vividly in the transforming of that sacrifice for the greater good: “Be generous with these brothers and sisters, victims of misfortune. Give to the hungry from what you deprive your own stomach” (Gregory of Nyssa).

With this in mind, we cannot truthfully say we are fasting if the Lord’s brethren do not have a place in our hearts, prayers, and also our almsgiving. We must remember the question that St. James has put forth to all of us: “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” (James 2:16).
So what good is our fasting, if it only disciplines our bodies without effectuating real lasting change in our world–even if that world means taking the time we would have spent at the movies and spent it visiting an elderly person in a nursing home or taking the money we would have spent on lunch and giving it to someone more needy than us? God wants, and the world needs, us to fast the way the Lord has chosen. May the Lord of this Blessed season conform in us a fast that is both acceptable to Him and effective to His world.

By: Ann Marie Toss

The Fast of Ninevah (Jonah’s Fast) | February 10–12

Jonah-and-whale-Coptic-IconGod welling St. Peter & St. Andrew church will have late Liturgy during Jonah’s Fast.

Monday: 5:00pm -7:00pm
Tuesday: 5:00pm -7:00pm
Wednesday: 5:00pm -7:00pm

May The Lord accept your prayers and fasting.

The Story of Jonah

Jonah was a prophet of the Lord, a man of God. We know about Jonah that He was the son of Amittai, and from Gath-Hepher (2Kings 14:25). Scholars tell us that Jonah, is also the son of the widow of Zarrapeth whom Elijah raised from dead (1Kings 17) Jonah followed Elijah, served him and received the grace of prophesying. (more…)

Saint Mary Spiritual Revival’s Sermons 2013

Fr. Moussa Makram
(St. Abraam Church, Long Island, NY)
God Promises Eternal Life

Ralph Toss
(St. Peter & St. Andrew, Stamford, CT)
God’s Promise of Victory

Fr. Maxim Kobasuk
(St. Basil Seminary, Spiritual Director, Stamford, CT)
God’s Promise of Joy

Christ is risen!

Easter_Christ_is_risenChrist is risen! Hallelujah! Hallelujah to the Source of our hope and the Example of what our future holds! Hallelujah to the “the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20). As the first-fruits, Christ demonstrated our future to us; He is the first and only example of what the resurrection of the dead will be. St. Paul teaches us that “what you sow is not made alive unless it dies” (1 Cor. 15:36). For this reason Christ took on the limitations of the flesh, and the mortality of humanity, so that he could overcome that death and resurrect in a glorified body. In so doing, Christ transformed humanity and allowed us to be sown and resurrect as the self-same but glorified bodies. Selfsame in this way: after the resurrection Christ ate as we do presently (Luke 24; John 21; Acts 1); glorified in this way: we also know that he appeared in rooms without the use of doors (John 20). The transformative result of the union of the humanity and divinity of Christ allows us, in dying, to be “sown in dishonor… raised in glory… sown in weakness… raised in power” (1 Cor. 15:43). He is the first and only reason that humanity has come to be immortal for “the first Adam was made into a living soul, the last Adam was made a life-giving spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45). It is us to whom Christ gives life so that “just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, we will also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Cor. 15:45). Thus we too shall emerge, by the power of God, in beautiful bodies which will reflect the glory of God alongside the rest of creation. So, in celebrating the resurrection of Christ, we celebrate the act of love that allows us to see God in the flesh even after our skin has been destroyed (Job 19:26). We celebrate the glorious future that has been bestowed upon us by grace. We will share in the Lord’s glory (Rom. 8:17) and become able to know Him fully and to see him face to face (1 Cor. 13:12). Hallelujah!

By: Ann Marie Toss

Jonah’s Preaching

Jonah and whale Coptic IconBy: H.H. Pope Shenouda

The Holy Bible did not record for us the deep admonishing speech which led one hundred and twenty thousand persons to repentance with that wonderful contrition of heart. O that it supplied us with this excellent part in which concentrates all Jonah’s greatness!

All that, the Holy Bible records for us in this respect does not exceed one phrase in which was mentioned that Jonah entered the city and cried out, saying: “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” (Jon. 3:4).

Could it be that Jonah said only this single sentence? Was it sufficient to save the city and cause that tremendous effect?

Previously, Lot had said of Sodom: “The Lord will destroy this city!” (Gen. 19:14), yet no one was affected and no one repented. The people heard of the Flood that was going to destroy the whole earth, and saw the Arc being built before their very eyes, yet no one repented and they were all destroyed. Many a time did the warning of death fail! Adam himself heard the warning: “you shall surely die”, yet that warning did not prevent him from sinning.

What was the secret behind the repentance of Nineveh and its salvation?

Was it the thirst of Jonah’s preaching and its deep effect on the souls of the Ninevite? Or was it due to the strong inner readiness of the heart so that every Divine word brought about an effect because the heart was ready to hear, the will ready to put into action and the soil good for sowing? At heart I lean towards this second opinion.

I would say that the repentance of the people of Nineveh was mainly due to the readiness of their hearts. (more…)

Homosexuality And The Church By: Pope Shenouda III

Saint Peter and Saint Andrew Coptic Orthodox Church in Stamford ConnecticutDefinition

“Homosexuality is a predominant, persistent and exclusive psychosexual attraction toward members of the same sex. A homosexual person is one who feels a sexual desire for and a sexual responsiveness to persons of the same sex and who seeks or would like to seek actual sexual fulfillment of this desire by sexual acts with a person of the same sex.”


Homosexuality is almost as old as man. The first mention in recorded history concerns Lot and the well known history of Sodom and Gomorra, which took place over 4000 years ago. Throughout all those years, homosexuality has never been accepted as a normal behavior and people have never been open about it comfortably. (more…)

Meditations upon the Glorious Feast of the Epiphany

feast of epiphanyThe month of January brings to us several feasts: the beginning of the new year, the Nativity, the Circumcision, the Epiphany.
We thank God who gave us the blessing and the efficiency of all these feasts, in our lives. While we celebrate the glorious feast of the Ephiphany, we are glad to stop sometime for meditation:

The feast of Epiphany is the feast of Baptism …… This feast is also called the feast of the divine manifestation (the Theophania).
Because the Holy Trinity appeared in it: The Son is baptised, The Father says from heaven: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”, and The Holy Spirit appears “like of a dove” (Matt. 3: 16-17). Hence the baptism of the Lord Christ shows the creed of the Holy Trinity.

Thus the baptism is always in the Name of the Holy Trinity
According to the word of the Lord to His disciples before His Ascension: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). He did not say in the names, because the three are one, as it was mentioned in (1 John 5:7): “For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one”.

The First Christmas Liturgy celebrated by H.H. Pope Tawadros II

Pope TawadrsI congratulate you my dear beloved children on this blessed Christmas, wishing you the blessings of joy, richness and peace in your life, work, and families from the Holy Born Baby in the manger – blessings. May all Christmas celebrations find you filled with peace in spirit and good health. (H.H. Pope Tawadros II)

El-Keraza (December 2012)

[gview file=”http://www.fromallnations.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/El-Keraza-12-14-2012.pdf” height=”800″ width=”625″ save=”1″]

His Holiness Pope Tawadros II Feast of Nativity Message 2013

Pope TawadrsHis Holiness Pope Tawadros II Message for the Feast of Nativity (7th January 2013)

Click on the link to download the Papal Message-Christmas 2013-Arabic-English

I congratulate you my dear beloved children on this blessed Christmas, wishing you the blessings of joy, richness and peace in your life, work, and families from the Holy Born Baby in the manger – blessings. May all Christmas celebrations find you filled with peace in spirit and good health.

The Precious Event 

The incarnation and birth of our Lord Jesus Christ is one of the most precious events in the history of mankind. In this event we meet various aspects of God’s creation. For example:

  • Individuals: Joseph, Herod, Mary, Elizabeth and Simeon.
  • Groups: Jewish shepherds, foreign Magi and children.
  • Animals: in the manger and also in the temple offerings.
  • Heavenly hosts: angels, and the Archangel’s annunciation of the Birth of Christ
  • Towns: small towns such as Bethlehem, large cities such Jerusalem, and countries such as Egypt
  • Different titles: the carpenter, the king, the Virgin, the prophetess, the elder, and Emmanuel

It is indeed a very precious event, but we will choose three elements only:

  • First: The New Name, Emmanuel
  • Second: The New Reality, the Incarnation
  • Third: The New Depth, Love

Click on the link to download the Papal Message-Christmas 2013-Arabic-English

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