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 third and last installment in this series. You can read the first two here and here.
I want to discuss some of the issues and characteristics that I’ve seen come up time and time again in this journey. I’m not claiming this to be an exhaustive piece or even a comprehensive one. This is not my specific area of expertise. If you wish to learn more and want to dialogue with someone who really ‘knows his stuff’, Father Peter Farrington is your priest! Please find his site specific to this topic here.
Continue reading Theosis and other problems: On Orthodox dis[unity] – Part 3
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
Question: Why am I not allowed to believe in the Big Bang Theory?
Question: Why am I not allowed to believe in Evolution?
Question: What is my stance supposed to be on dark matter?
There are too many questions of this kind that I cannot encapsulate them all other than the [insert theory here].
Continue reading Q&A: Why am I not allowed to believe in [science]?
School’s in! Well, I know that in Canada everyone’s been back a couple of weeks, but in America some people are just starting and others have yet to begin! So for those who think this is late, and for those who think it’s early, I apologise. I know that I lived away from home for almost all of my post-secondary education, and there were things I did well and things that I did not do so well. So here are some tips that were given to me, and some tips that I have for you. They are in no particular order. I know that it’s not normal or necessarily “right” for a person to talk about him/herself, but here I’m articulating things that I did, not to present myself as a positive example at all. I’m simply saying the things that I did from experience that worked or did not work, so that you know that what I say, I say from experience, not only theory.
Continue reading Some advice for student life.
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
This one is very long – more of an article than it is a blog – but it’s also important. If the Antichrist were to come in our time, what would it look like? How might we be deceived? Would it really be so obvious as doing signs and wonders, and if so – how would we not be able to recognise him?
Continue reading Ultimate Deception: What if he comes in our time?
The recent passing of several giants has grieved me. There were the passings of Fathers Feltaous and Mettaous of the Syrian Monastery, then the passing of Anba Mikhail of Assiut. These and others, to me, symobolise the ending of a great era, a loss of giants. Hearing the news of Abouna Fanous el Anba Bola today, only added to this feeling. With every passing generation, I fear, humanly, that there’s a rich tradition that dies with them. I feel that there are secrets and mysteries that are symbolically lost forever. There are ways that are not explained, and stories that are untold. They are the ones that link us to the past, that tell us of the monks of old and can see with clarity the monks of our generation. They were stalwart pillars of the philosophy of monasticism, and no longer can they, in the flesh, transmit ancient truths to us modern hearers. I pray He raises up a new generation from among us.
Continue reading Remembering Abouna Fanous…
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)
Continue reading In the presence of holiness.