Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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I am concerned about the emphasis put on the Coptic language; and the assumption that one will get a better understanding of God's message if they know and understand Coptic. The reason I find this hard to believe is because God created every language. God's profound message, in my opinion, can be understood by every language.

Regarding the Coptic Language, I agree with you 100% that it is not a prerequisite for communicating with God; nor for entering His kingdom. St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 14 emphasized the fact that we should pray in the tongue that we understand or we must interpret if we prayed in a different tongue. Also on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit gave the disciples the gift of tongues in order to preach to the people in their own tongues.

However, the Coptic Language is a part of who we are and of our identity. It links us with our fathers the martyrs and the heroes of faith. Compromising the Coptic language would mean compromising our history, tradition, and identity. Although, as I said, the Coptic language is not essential to communicate with God or to enter into Heaven, but we as Copts should preserve it because a nation without history or heritage has no value.

When Nehemiah found out that the Jews had started to forget their language, he became full of zeal and rebuked them for that. "In those days I also saw Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and could not speak the language of Judah, but spoke according to the language of one or the other people. So I contended with them and cursed them, struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, you shall not give your daughters as wives to their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons or yourselves. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? Yet among many nations there was no king like him, who was beloved of his God; and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless pagan women caused even him to sin. Should we then hear of your doing all this great evil, transgressing against our God by marrying pagan women?"  (Nehemiah 13:23-27).

I understand your struggle switching between three languages in the Divine Liturgy, but don't you think that preserving our heritage is worth the struggle? Definitely NOT at the expense of our relationship with God. Of course, it is not right for others to look down on you or make you feel an outsider just because you don't know Coptic. I pray that we can keep a happy medium between worshipping God in truth and spirit and at the same time preserving our heritage, history, and identity.
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