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This Great Mystery of Life: An Introduction into the Coptic Orthodox Church

This Great Mystery of Life: An Introduction into the Coptic Orthodox Church

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For most of us, life is a mystery. Coptic Orthodox Christianity provides a distinctly Eastern approach to that mystery, one that helps us navigate the mysteries of life by focusing our attention on the far more profound mystery of God that lies beneath, behind, and beyond the world we see before us. This is a book for those who are interested in life’s Big Questions, or in knowing more about a little known two-thousand year old Christian Church, or in knowing more about their own Church.

The Coptic Orthodox Church is the ancient, traditional, indigenous, apostolic Christian community of Egypt. Today, it has parishes on every continent of the globe except Antarctica. In this diaspora—with an increasing number of people expressing an interest in, or joining the Church—it’s ancient ways and African-Middle Eastern-Mediterranean culture are coming into contact and sometimes conflict with the modern Western world. This book explores what it is to be a Coptic Orthodox Church in the West today. It is an attempt to bridge the gap between books written by Copts from a narrowly Coptic perspective and books written about Copts by others from an external perspective, by presenting the Church dialogue with the ever-changing world in which it is embedded. It is the author’s hope that this approach will provide a base from which both Copts and non-Copts can see the Church in a new light, appreciating its unique and precious features while at the same time seeing it as part of a much bigger whole—the essentially human search for meaning and purpose in a confusing world.

Part I outlines the ancient core faith and principles of Coptic Orthodoxy. What do each of the terms mean in the appellation “Coptic Orthodox Christian Church”? What is the faith captured in the Church’s chief statement of faith, the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed? And how does this faith play out in the core principles that guide the life of the Copt: love; truth; humility; and a spiritual life? Part II describes and explores Coptic spiritual life and the practices that embody and nourish that life: prayer; the sacraments (Mysteries); scripture and tradition; and a variety of other ascetic, contemplative, and social practices. Part III provides a historical background to the foregoing as the foundation for the final chapter of reflections on a selection of important issues facing the Coptic Orthodox Church today and tomorrow, both in the motherland of Egypt and in its rapidly growing diaspora. A useful glossary of Coptic terms is provided in an appendix.

About the Author:

Fr. Antonios Kaldas has served as parish priest of Archangel Michael and St. Bishoy Coptic Orthodox Church in Mount Druitt, Sydney, Australia, since 1991. He was previously a medical doctor, has been heavily involved in the spiritual education of children and youth, is currently an active researcher in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science and lectures in Philosophy and Apologetics at St. Cyril’s Coptic Orthodox Theological College in the Sydney College of Divinity. He is married with two adult children and a number of pets.

Author: Fr Antonious Kaldas

Presented by: St Shenouda Press

Pages: 452

Year: 2022

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