July 30, 2014

The “Arab Spring” and the Plight of the Coptic Christian

coptic-church-burning

By Abbott Tryphon Coptic is the Pharoes’ name for “Egyptian,“ a little appreciated echo of the fact that all of Egypt was once a Coptic, Christian nation. For seven centuries Egypt was a Christian nation, until the Arab Islamic invasion in the seventh century. When President Obama came to Cairo in 2009 for his first major speech on foreign affairs, he thought his charisma would be enough, as he attempted to appease the Islamists with his talk of America being their friend, all the while ignoring the plight of the Christians of the Middle East, who have been the bridge between the West and Arab cultures since the 17th century. It was Coptic and Arab Christians who acted as translators of the greatest works of arts, literature, civilization, theater, and cinema, just as did Jews living in the Arab world. They made huge strides in bringing modern ideas, including democratic ideas, to the Islamic dominated world, but just as the Jews before them, Christians are now facing … [Read more...]

Patriarch Kirill & Pope Benedict: A Tale of Two Leaders for a new Missionary Age

Pat. Kyrill and Pope Benedict

I've been asked to become an Orthodox columnist on Catholic.org and accepted. Below is my first essay. Regular readers will notice ideas we discussed on the AOI Observer. +++++++++++++++++ Catholic Online (www.catholic.org) NAPLES, FL. (Catholic Online) - Over four decades ago Pope John Paul II said that the restoration of the Russian Orthodox Church was necessary for the cultural restoration of Western Europe. At the time his words seemed audacious. Russia was still under the Communist yoke, the winds in Poland were just starting to blow, and the Berlin wall loomed invincible. Culture watchers dismissed the statement as the wistful longing of a faithful man. Yet John Paul, with his gift of seeing through the clutter of immediate events into the deeper and far-reaching ways of God, knew better. He believed that the fall of Communism would unleash a transformation that could only come from those who suffered. His words are proving true. The Orthodox Church in Russia, … [Read more...]

The silence of the EP to events in world Orthodoxy

Several important events of the last week involve Orthodox Christians around the world including the protest by Palestinian Christians against the alleged corruption of the Patriarch of Jerusalem (see: Palestinian Christians jeer Greek Orthodox leader; also see: Patriarch could become persona non grata in Bethlehem) and the Muslim persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt (see: 8 Coptic Christians in Egypt Shot Dead As They Left Christmas Mass). Notable is the silence of the Ecumenical Patriarch concerning these events. Not so with Rome. From the Assyrian News Agency: Pope Condemns Religious Attacks After Copt Deaths VATICAN CITY (Reuters) -- Pope Benedict called on political and religious authorities on Sunday to prevent violence against Christians, in an apparent reference to recent attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt. "Violence against Christians ... has caused indignation among many people, particularly because it has taken place on the most sacred days of the Christian … [Read more...]