I am not a morning person. When someone says, “Good morning!” to me, I’m usually thinking, “What’s so good about it?” Usually, however, I don’t articulate that aloud. It’s not polite. I’m also stubborn and obstinate.
500 metres away from the famous monastery of St. Pishoy (Deir el Anba Bishoy), is the less known, but still known, monastery of the Syrians, “Deir El Sourian”. The monastery itself has had its recent greats. Bishop Theophilus will go down in history as one of the most charismatic abbots of that monastery. He was the abbot who had all sorts of ways of testing new novices before coming, and it was he who admitted Nazir Gayid to the monastery, who would one day become the thrice-blessed Pope Shenouda III. This monastery also gave us two modern elder saints that have been making their way in the world: Elder Matthias (Mettaous) and Elder Philotheos (Faltaos). There are, of course others. Copts of course are not as keen, it seems, on preserving the written record of some of the teachings of these elders. I pray that we acquire that.
Continue reading Abouna Antonious El Souriani
This is the second of probably three parts in this series. The first one was done in allegory, and now I want to apply that allegory to real life through the lens of my own experience in this. I hope in the next one to talk about modern “issues” that we all have and of the things we like to accuse one another and ways to look at things if we want to ever grow from this. Too often we level accusations at one another and we judge others in their contexts without having any real understanding of one another as people or of one another’s contexts! If we want unity, we need to understand one another, not to label one another improperly.
Continue reading Personal pilgrimage: On Orthodox [dis]unity – Part 2
There have been both progressions and setbacks lately in discussions about Christian unity – Oriental Orthodox vs. Eastern Orthodox. Catholic vs Orthodox. Protestant vs Catholic. You name it. We have acronyms to express every denomination and viewpoint on the planet. I cannot speak to most of those, but I want to reflect a little bit on the division between the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox. This first blog will be an analogy of sorts from which to work from, and the follow-up blog or two will be personal reflections of this story as it applies to our present-day situation through the lens of my own life and experience thus far. They are thoughts about the matter after years of reading about it, being angry about it, and then arriving at where I presently am.
Continue reading Brothers who fought: On Orthodox [dis]unity – Part 1
Abbâ Muthues used to say that there were three brethren who were in the habit of coming to Abbâ Antony, and that two of them used to ask him questions about the thoughts, and about life, and redemption, and the discretion (or intelligence) of the soul, whilst the third one held his peace continually. And after a long time Abbâ Antony said unto him, “Brother, thou comest here each year, and askest nothing!” And he answered and said unto the old man, “It is sufficient for me to see thee.”
The Paradise or Garden of the Holy Fathers (Vol. 2, p. 189)
Today is the eve of the feast of one of the most inspiring Saints of the Church universal. He belongs to the whole church, irrespective of nationality, denomination, or biases. What makes so many people fall in love with him, I think, is the relatable nature of this man. St. Moses was real. Most people are familiar with his story, so I am going to go through just a few aspects of his with which I feel like I personally can connect.
It’s a story that we have heard so many times, but it’s one that never gets old: the Prodigal Son. It’s the story of a dad’s love. A dad who worked hard, like we all do today, to provide food, sustenance, security and love to his family.
Continue reading Family, Fast food and the Prodigal Son
A youth finds himself in the monastery of the great Saint Antony. It’s not a normal occurrence, as this youth tends to dislike monasteries. It’s not that he has anything against monks or monasteries themselves, but rather that he finds them remarkably boring.
Continue reading A monastery, a monk, and a heart: paradigm shift on holiness.
What does it mean to be in love with God? What is the relationship like? A relationship takes two, right?
Let’s explore this with some short meditations from the book of love in the Bible: Song of Songs.