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 Cross in the Lives of the Saints

The disciples of Christ also placed the Cross before their eyes. They preached continually……. and said about that: “but we preach Christ crucified” although He is “to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness” (1 Cor. 1:23).

The apostle saint Paul said: “For I determined not to know anyting among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). He rather boasted in the Cross saying: “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14). Even the angel who announced the Resurrection, used this expression ” Jesus who was crucified”. He said to the two Mariam: “I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. he is not here; for He is risen, as He said” (Matt. 28:5). Thus he called Him “Jesus who was crucified” although He was already risen. The expression ” who was crucified” remained attached to him, and our fathers the apostles used it and concentrated their predication on it. As saint Peter said to the Jews “know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). (more…)

The Lord Christ & The Cross

The Church celebrates the feast of the Cross on the 17th of Tot, (27th or 28th of September), the day of the apparition of the Cross to the Emperor Constantine, and on the 10th of Baramhat (19th of March), the day when the Empress Helen found the wood of the Holy Cross.

We want to -day to speak about the spiritual meaning of the Cross, and about the importance and benediction of the Cross, in our lives. The Cross is every difficulty which we suffer in view of our love for God, or for our love for people, for the Kingdom of God in general.

The Lord Christ & The Cross:
The Lord invited to bear the Cross and said: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24) (Mark 8:34). And He said to the rich young man: “Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, ……. and come, take up the cross, and follow Me” (Mark 10:21). He made the bearing of the Cross a condition for the discipleship to Him. He said: “And whoever does n ot bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:27). He Himself, during all the period of His Incarnation on earth, lived bearing the Cross.

Since His Nativity, Herod wanted to kill Him, and He run away with His mother to Egypt. When He began his mission, he suffered the fatigue of the service, and had “nowhere to lay His head” (Luke 9: 58). He lived a life of pain, so that Isaiah said about Him that He is: “A Man of sorrow and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). He was bitterly persecuted by the Jews. Once they “took up stones again to stone Him” (John 10:31). Another time they wanted to “throw Him down over the cliff” (Luke 4:29). As for their insults and their accusation of Him, they are very numerous. All these are crosses which are other than the Cross on which He was crucified……..

By: H.H. Pope Sehnouda III

The Coptic New Year 1728 A.M

From September 11, 2012 (Thout 1) to September 27 (Thout 17), the Coptic Orthodox Church celebrates the Feast of Nayrouz, which is the feast of the new year in the Coptic calendar, 1728 A.M.

The designation “A.M.” at the end of the Coptic year refers to “Anno Martyrii,” which is Latin for “Year of the Martyrs.” The reason years in the Coptic calendar are called “years of the martyrs” is the fact that the calendar itself starts with the beginning of the terrible persecution of Christians by the Roman emperor Diocletian in the year 284 A.D. When Diocletian came to power, the land of Egypt was under the control of the Roman Empire. Diocletian outlawed Christianity and mercilessly killed those who remained strong in the faith. Some estimate that approximately 800,000 Copts were martyred during his reign. One of the Church Fathers writes, “If the martyrs of the whole world were put on one arm of the balance and the martyrs of Egypt on the other, the balance would tilt in favor of the Egyptians.” In light of this era of persecution, Copts adjusted their calendar to begin with his reign in 284 A.D. This reign was considered a golden era in which the church in Egypt offered true witnesses to Christ as the martyrs were steadfast in their faith.


The Apostles Feast

The Church celebrates the memory of the martyrdom of St. Peter and St. Paul on the 5th of Abib, which is the 12th of July. This feast is called in ur Church by the name of “the Feast of the Apostles”. Its date is unchanged in every year.

The Church venerates these two apostles very profoundly; and raises them and honors them exceedingly; especially in the prayer of the partition” or “the division” which pertains to the fast of the apostles nd to the feast of the apostles, which we pray during the holy mass.

These two saints represent two distinguished kinds as regards the ersonality, the mission, and the style. Each one of them has distinct characteristics.


Feast of the Entry into Egypt

The Church celebrates the Feast of our Lord’s Entry into Egypt o­n the 24th day of the month of Pashons. This feast is among the Seven Minor Feasts of the Lord. As the Holy Family entered the land of Egypt, St. Mary the Virgin mother carried the child Jesus in her arms, with Joseph the Carpenter at her side and Salome, who accompanied them. They had done so in order to escape from Herod, who had sought to kill the Child. This was instructed to Joseph by the Archangel Gabriel in a dream where the Gabriel told him: “‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’ Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I have called my son’” (Mt. 2:13-15). (more…)

Feast of Pentecost

One of the Seven Major Feasts of the Lord is the descending of the Holy Spirit on the disciples, known as Pentecost Day (Fiftieth day).

On this day, the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples as tongues of fire, through which they were able to speak in different tongues and preach the news entrusted to them by our Lord Jesus Christ. This gift is the promise of the Father to the human race. After the Son reconciled the Father with the human race by giving Himself up as a sacrifice on the Holy Cross, and after giving our human body the capability of living with God through His Ascension, God the Father poured on us the grace and blessings of the Holy Spirit, allowing us to live by the Spirit with God while we’re still on earth. The feast is called “the Feast of Pentecost (Arabic:Ansara),” a Hebrew word that means, “feast.” Originally this day was a Jewish feast, which was one of their three major feasts: the festival of weeks, the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the festival of ingathering at the turn of the year (cf. Ex. 34:22). (more…)

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