Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Coptic Church: Known as the Church of Martyrs.



A little bit of history repeating.
.
The Egyptian Copts have perhaps  given more martyrs to the Church than anyone else in history.  Once again today, the Church in Egypt is suffering persecution, living up to its name, the Church of Martyrs.  From history:
.
The Preservation of the Faith
.
The Orthodox Church’s main concern is that her children walk in truth. Since the early days of her existence, the Church has fought against heresies that deviate from a proper understanding of the path to salvation or the person of Jesus Christ. Through her Holy Fathers, the Coptic Church played an important role in preserving the true Christian faith. The Church Fathers are a group of bishops, priests, monks, and laymen who lived in the early centuries of the church. In order to fight heresy, the Fathers met in councils to properly express the true faith.
.
The Alexandrian fathers played an important role in this effort. For example, Saint Athanasius, the twentieth pope of the Coptic Church, championed the first ecumenical council at Nicea in 325 A.D. He wrote the Creed, the statement of faith, still used in the Church today. Because of his important role in preserving the faith, Saint Athanasius endured many hardships during his lifetime. He was banished from his position five times and spent more than seventeen years in exile. The well-known expression, “Athanasius against the world,” defined his commitment to guarding the faith.
.
The Church of Martyrs
.
The Orthodox Church recognizes and honors martyrs – men and women who suffered and died for their faith. During the age of the Roman Empire, Christians were viewed as a threat to the worship of the emperor. Many were brought before emperors and governors and were threatened with an ultimatum: deny the Christian faith and worship idols or suffer punishment and death. Out of their love for Jesus Christ, the martyrs were willing to die in order to receive the promise of eternal life.
.
The early years of the Church’s existence in Egypt were marked by relative peace. Later, the Church experienced twenty-one waves of persecution, with the fiercest one under the reign of Emperor Diocletian. During his reign, the Church offered countless martyrs – by some estimates between 500,000 and one million. For this reason, the Coptic Calendar begins in 284 A.D. , the first year of Diocletian’s rule, and is based on the year of the martyrs (Anno Martyri – A.M.). For example, the year 2010 – 2010 corresponds to 1727 A.M.
.
Early church historians, writers, and fathers testify to the numerous Egyptian martyrs. Tertullian, a third century lawyer from North Africa, 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.” Despite periods of martyrdom and persecution, the number of believers and members in the Church continued to grow. The lives of the martyrs have inspired many to embrace the Christian faith. - Coptic Orthodox Church
.
Photo: Coptic Divine Liturgy.  Talk about reverence for the Eucharist.

2 comments:

  1. Someone should inform the USCCB: THIS is persecution. Now what were y'all saying again?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous6:22 AM

    someone should inform the gay community as well...

    ReplyDelete


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. Be sure and double check if your comment posted after you do the verification deal - sometimes it doesn't print if you made an error.