Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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The Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States is composed of 49 priests serving the 38 churches and 28 Coptic communities. More

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The Season of the Church

The Departure of St. Joseph the Carpenter

Aug 2, 2015
Epep 26, 1731

Today's Readings

August 2, 2015
Epep 26, 1731

Faith, so to speak, is a comprehensive knowledge of the essentials. And knowledge is the strong and sure demonstration of what is received by faith. It is built upon faith by the Lord's teaching.
Clement of Alexandria (c. 195, E)

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Sermon


Old Testament Chart

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A Return to the First Church

As we are about to celebrate the Holy Apostles Fast, also known as the Church's Fast, dare we call upon the life, the first church had lived? Dare we do so, now that we have received and put on Power from above just as our forefathers the apostles had been given; allowing the fiery Spirit to mould and shape them all over again?

My beloved, could we aspire for a holy deep communal life, of the same strength as the life experienced by the first church; to the extent that every member gave up their belongings for the sake of everyone else to satisfy everyone's need? "Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles' feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need" (Acts 4:34-35).

Children of God, dare we aspire for the unity of heart and soul that belonged to those who believed? "Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul" (Acts 4:32).

Could each one of us be expected to be a powerful, faithful testimony concerning the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and God's Grace that has been bestowed upon us and poured in our hearts? "And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all" (Acts 4:33). Have we acquired a spirit of fear and concern for each other that we may say with St. Paul "Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?" (2 Corinthians 11:29).
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The Acceptance of Eleven and the Disillusionment of One

"When they had seen Him ascending into Heaven, and had believed, and had received the power He sent upon them from Heaven, they went to every race of men. And they taught these things and were called Apostles." -- Justin Martyr c.160

The life of the 12 Apostles following the Pentecost was one of miraculous amazement. Taking on the responsibility of leadership to the first generation of Christians certainly could not have been an anticipated task but rather one of submission to the Will of God. Their evangelism was to begin quickly and spread passionately. To say "it will take some time for evangelism to occur" was not a common saying of the 12 recorded in the Holy Gospels.

We are told their very first act was to expediently name St. Matthias to replace Judas Iscariot the Betrayer so that the number of 12 Apostles could be restored which also correlated to the 12 Tribes of Israel.

Much can be learned from the personalities and lives led by the original 12 selected personally by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
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The Apostles' Fast

On the Fifth of Epep we celebrate the "Feast of the Apostles." In preparation for this feast I would like to share some thoughts concerning the apostles and the establishment of the early church. It is my prayer that all will draw closer to God, to an understanding of the apostles, and to those who received instruction from disciples of the apostles.

"And He appointed twelve, whom He also named APOSTLES, to be with Him and to be sent out..." (Mark 3:14).

The twelve apostles formed the inner core of the Lord Jesus Christ's earthly ministry. They were personally chosen by the Lord Himself, had the power of working miracles, and were inspired to teach and to do extraordinary mission work. On the Feast of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came down on the apostles and they became great, giving witness with the power of the life and death and the resurrection of Jesus as He declared they should.

The apostles served the Lord Jesus and later provided leadership to the first generation Christian believers. They were of such importance that the word "apostle" occurs approximately seventy-nine times in the New Testament. Acts of the Apostles portrays the apostles as leaders of the first church in Jerusalem during the Church's first decade. The apostles truly established the church and with their fast we contemplate the glory of God, their faith, and hardships in which they overcame.
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The Didache

The Didache entails educational teaching and church order specifically Christian in characterization. This means there is no evidence of Jewish indoctrination, nor does it address Judaism as the first problem encountered within the early Christian Church's conception. The Didache's language is simplistic which places it written at a time period very close to the Apostolic Era. This is postulated to be the initial period of change from the writings of the New Testament to those writings of the Church. Many theologians date the book written in its entirety sometime about the last third of the first century making its accuracy of teaching valid.

The Didache further refers to the stability of the Church, which had been realized as the Apostolic Era drew to a close, as well as it makes reference to many quotes from the Holy Gospel of St. Matthew.

It has no known author, nor does the Didache directly point to apostolic authorship. Rather the inner writer writes about the doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ as taught to the nations by the apostles. Therefore, it can be correctly surmised that the Lord's teachings to the apostles were shared with the Gentiles through evangelistic efforts.
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This is a spiritual competition among the Coptic Churches doing the same activity world wide.
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Diocese Events

Pre-Marital Retreat

TX: TBA
FL: Jan 15-17, 2016
TN: Aug 28-30, 2015
GA: TBA
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Coptic Truth Conference (CTC)

Annual Evangelism & Apologetics Conference
Jul 31 - Aug 2, 2015
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FL Summer Kids Camp

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Aug 2-5, 2015
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Aug 13-16, 2015
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TX Middle School Camp

Aug 16-18, 2015
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10 Day Tour of the Holy Land

Sept 1-10, 2015
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Fr. Daoud Lamei - Dallas, TX

Sept 18-20, 2015
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Diocese Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Oct 1931, 2015
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Taste of the Holy Land and Egypt

Dec 18-30, 2015
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Grand Tour of the Holy Land and Egypt

May 2-21, 2016
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Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

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Sandia, TX 78383

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