A pillar that spontaneously started bleeding and stopped at the behest of Pope Cyril (Kyrillos) VI, a cavern where the holy family is said to have stayed for months, a place that saw the election of Coptic popes between the 7th and 11th centuries: these are just a few of the wonders and mysteries that are said to be associated with the ancient Coptic Church in Old Cairo dedicated to the saints Sergius and Baccus. It is referred to also as the “cavern church,” or by the name that became customary after the Arabic conquest of Egypt, “Abu Serga.” As these saints are commemorated this month (October 15 in the Coptic Orthodox Church, and earlier in the month for other apostolic-rooted denominations), I wanted to share some interesting facts about the church in Egypt bearing their name.
You may have heard of the allegations of excessive use of force by Israeli police on Coptic monks, but what I just came to discover is my family’s role in securing the Israeli Supreme Court ruling in 1971 justifying their peaceful protest of the Israeli government’s execution of an order that contravenes that standing Supreme Court decision. As I read through various sources (see below) to understand the historical context of this news and saw that the Coptic Metropolitan of Jerusalem initiated the legal action which led to that decision, I immediately called my dad and sought to confirm my hunch: “Was my great uncle, your uncle, Metropolitan of Jerusalem around the 1970s?” Immediately my dad affirmed, “Yes … Abba Basilios,” and then all the pieces began to fall in place as our ensuing dialogue over the course of several phone calls revealed details of my family history I hadn’t known, and ashamedly (I must admit) I never got around to pursuing more thoroughly until now. Continue reading
In the U.S.A., we are less than one week away from selecting a new president. During the primaries, as hopes of my favorite candidate becoming president faded, a young friend made a remark that made me think. He said (and I paraphrase), “No matter what ends up happening, we know that God is behind it and He will do what is best.” As I was preparing a lesson on Romans 13, where St. Paul says “there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God,” I wondered: could it be that all rulers, good and evil, are placed in power by God’s direct will and intention? Continue reading
I was really disappointed when I heard about what the republican candidate for the U.S. presidency, Ben Carson, said recently: “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.” In all fairness, Ben Carson also made another statement, which I do like: “If there’s somebody who is of any faith but they say things and their life has been consistent with things that will elevate this nation and make it possible for everybody to succeed and bring peace and harmony, then I’m with them.” (See CNN article about this).
What role should religion play in selecting a president? Continue reading
I came here and became an undocumented alien. I’m biased on the immigration issue, but not in a bad way I would say, but rather in the live-in-another-person’s-shoes kind of way. I didn’t know I was undocumented until I turned 16. My life flipped upside down when I found out this country I loved to live in didn’t want me, especially because I didn’t do anything willfully. That’s the funny thing about criminal laws, most require CRIMINAL INTENT—some willful, knowing action. Continue reading