Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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The Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States is composed of 48 priests serving the 38 churches and 28 Coptic communities. More

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The Season of the Church

50 Joyous Days

Apr 13 - May 31, 2015
Parmoute 5 - Pashons 23, 1731

Today's Readings

April 25, 2015
Parmoute 17, 1731

For by the sacrifice of His own body He did two things: He put an end to the law of death which barred our way; and He made a new beginning of life for us, by giving us the hope of resurrection. By man death has gained its power over men; by the Word made Man death has been destroyed and life raised up anew.
Athanasius

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Festal Messages

HH Pope Tawadros II
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HG Bishop Youssef
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Mary Magdalene of Magdala: The First to See Our Resurrected Lord

Widely considered the most amazing event of all Biblical history is the "Empty Tomb". The "Empty Tomb" manifests to the world the power of the Glorious Resurrection and the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ having been resurrected from death.

"And Jesus came and spoke to them [the eleven disciples] saying...'All authority has been given to Me in Heaven and on earth.'" (Matthew 28:18).

This scene, momentous in time and never to be duplicated again, where a Resurrected Lord leaves His grave and grave clothes would be given all authority in Heaven and on earth. St. Athanasius called the Glorious Resurrection...

"The living monument of Christianity."
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The Spiritual Meaning of Resurrection Enactment

In the Divine Liturgy of the Resurrection feast, after reading the Praxis and chanting the resurrection hymn "all you heavenly choirs", the church lights are turned off signifying the darkness that had surrounded the world before the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:16); and the doors of the sanctuary are closed signifying the closed doors of the Paradise (Genesis 3:23).

The priest or the bishop stands inside the sanctuary symbolically guarding the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, (John 6:51) just as the Cherubim stood in the Garden of Eden guarding the tree of life, (Genesis 3:24). Two deacons stand outside the sanctuary with the resurrection icon. This signifies the angels that accompanied the Lord Jesus Christ during His life on earth ministering to and serving Him (Matthew 4:11). The resurrection icon represents the Lord of Glory Who descended to Hades through the cross and led captivity captive; and now He is ascending to Paradise to restore our father Adam and his children to it (Ephesians 4:8-9). The rest of the deacons symbolize the spirits of the righteous ascending with the Lord Jesus Christ to Paradise.

The resurrection enactment starts with a dialogue between the angles accompanying the Lord Jesus Christ (the two deacons standing outside the sanctuary) and the cherubim inside the Paradise (the priest or the bishop inside the sanctuary). In this dialogue they declare the good news of the resurrection by chanting three times "Christ is risen. Indeed He is risen".
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A Reflection of Love

Love is an act of giving, "love does not seek its own" (I Corinthians 13:5). The Father gave His Only Begotten Son. The Son, the Lord Jesus Christ gave too. His most endearing acts of giving were while upon the Holy Cross. He gave forgiveness to His persecutors, gave Paradise to the thief on His right side, gave His blessed mother a spiritual son, gave St. John the blessing of accommodating His mother, and gave the Father the price of Divine Justice.

The Lord Jesus Christ first asked for forgiveness of His enemies. He even gave them an excuse, "for they know not what they do". Although this did not impact the people who were mocking Him, it can be postulated that perhaps it did to the thief on the right who saw the Lord tormented and in great pain. Perhaps the hard-hearted thief on the right observed and then felt the Lord Jesus Christ's love for His persecutors and was transformed. It could have been that the Lord's loving kindness overpowered the thief's fierce nature and he believed.

The thief on the right also demonstrated his great love for the Lord Jesus Christ. The very few hours this thief spent on the cross beside the Lord Jesus Christ were probably the most valuable in his earthly life. It can be surmised that the thief on the right experienced his happiest times while next to the Savior. He was free of personal sins, torment, and of an unscrupulous soul.
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St. Thomas...

After His Resurrection and before His Ascension into heaven, our Lord Jesus Christ made a series of appearances to His disciples for the purpose of strengthening their faith, consoling and edifying them. How the disciples in general and St. Thomas in particular reacted and responded to those appearances is the interest of this article. The first glorious post Resurrection appearance occurred on Resurrection Sunday to Mary Magdalene; after which she excitedly sought out the grieving and mourning disciples to tell them of the Lord Jesus Christ's appearance to her. However, they did not believe her at all. "And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe" (Mark 16:11). St. John and St. Peter displayed their collective doubt by going to the Lord Jesus Christ's tomb themselves for concrete evidence; only to discover its emptiness. It was then that their grieving lack of faith began to slowly transform into a wondering realization after the apostles had actually seen with their own eyes the empty tomb and the burial clothes and face cloth inside the tomb. The Holy Scripture records that they saw and THEN they believed...
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"Night of the Apocalypse"

The word apocalypse in Greek means "revelation". The night of Great Friday is called the Night of Apocalypse because it is on this night that we read the entire Holy Book of Revelation. On this night we celebrate the descent of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ into the pit of Hades to restore all those who died on the hope of the resurrection to Paradise. The church gathers around the tomb of the Lord Jesus Christ the whole night in prayers and rituals.

This special night is begun with the opening of the altar curtain, which symbolizes when Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ opened the gates of Paradise on the great Friday. The Night of Apocalypse is divided into eight major parts: Midnight Praises, Prayer of Prime Hour, Morning Raising of Incense, Prayers of the Third and Sixth Hours, Revelation, Prayers of the Ninth Hour, the Divine Liturgy, and the Prayers of the Eleventh Hour.

The Midnight Praises on the Night of Apocalypse are expanded to include all the praises of the prophets of the Old Testament. The night begins with the reading of the Holy Book of Psalm 151, "I am the youngest of my brethren..." Although this Holy Psalm is about David, the words of the Holy Psalm also apply to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
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Previous Articles

Voyage Into the True Deep: Discovering the Kingdom of God
Who Can Bind the Plunderer?
What is That in Your Hand?...The Lord is in Need of It

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2015 Diocese Calendar

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Mighty Champions Magazine - Winter Edition 2015

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Diocese Educational Programs - Board of Education

Asaph Hymns Institute

(AHI) is the first ever online hymnological seminary.
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Family Ministry Program

(FMP) Summer Registration deadline: May 10, 2015
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Watch video

LEAD Program

A program for learning Christian leadership principles.
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Theological Seminary Program

Program Registration deadline: June 15, 2015
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Theological Seminary Program - Nashville

An Arabic theological program located in Nashville.
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Theological Seminary Boarding Program - Abbey

A 2 year live-in program located at St. Mary and St. Moses Abbey.
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Diocese Programs

Archangel Raphael Ministry (A.R.M.)

A program designed specifically for individuals with special needs.
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H.O.P.E. Social Services

A social services program designed to help those in need.
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St. Clement Christian Academy

This is a learning community dedicated to meeting the needs of each learner within its walls.
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St. Mark Festival Program

This is a spiritual competition among the Coptic Churches doing the same activity world wide.
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St. Verena Resource Ministry

(SVRM) Professionals networking together to make a difference and provide resources to our Coptic community. To make a request or to volunteer as a consultant.
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TIPS: Search for Job & Education Opportunities


Diocese Events

Pre-Marital Retreat

TX: TBA
FL: Jan 15-17,2016
TN: TBA
GA: Jun 12-14, 2015
more info

Grand Tour of Egypt and the Holy Land

May 322, 2015
more info

SUS Diocese Mission Experience Trip 2015 - Ethiopia

May 26 - Jun 5, 2015
more info

FL Newlywed Convention

Jun 5-7, 2015
more info coming soon

Extreme Family Makeover (EFM) Coptic Edition

Jun 19-21, 2015
more info

High School Summer Convention - Florida

Girls: Jun 14-17, 2015
Boys: Jun 22-25, 2015
more info coming soon

High School Summer Convention - GA/LA/TN

Girls: Jul 12-15, 2015
Boys: Jul 15-18, 2015
more info coming soon

College Summer Convention - GA/LA/TN

Jul 23-26, 2015
more info coming soon

Arm Convention

Jul 23-26, 2015
more info coming soon

Coptic Truth Conference (CTC)

Annual Evangelism & Apologetics Conference
Jul 31 - Aug 2, 2015
more info coming soon

10 Day Tour of the Holy Land

Sept 1-10, 2015
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Diocese Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Oct 1931, 2015
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Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

P.O. Box 1005
Colleyville, TX 76034

Tel: 817-841-9353
Fax: 817-704-2389

admin@suscopts.org

St. Stephen Retreat Center

4951 S. Washington Ave.
Titusville, FL 32780

Tel: 321-567-4961
Fax: 321-567-4955

retreatcenter.suscopts.org

St. Mary & St. Demiana Convent

330 Village Dr.
Dawsonville, GA 30534

Tel: 706-925-0895
Fax: 817-704-2389

convent.suscopts.org

St. Mary & St. Moses Abbey

101 South Vista Drive
Sandia, TX 78383

Tel: 361-547-3257
Fax: 817-231-0135

abbey.suscopts.org