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||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||



(H.G. Bishop Moussa)


A Christian family has special traits that spring from the Christian concept of sacred marriage and the commandments of the Bible for the married couple about how to deal with each other and how to bring their children up.

The Definition of a Christian Family

The family in the Christian concept is a small church, for

St. Paul says: "To Philemon our beloved friend and fellow

laborer, and to the church in your house" (Phil 1:2). The

family is an arena for experiencing the work of God in

uniting the couple and sanctifying their offspring for Jesus

Christ, and in radiating His light to those around.

Domains of Family Love

There are many aspects, such as:

1. The Family Altar

The family prays together and reads chapters of the Bible as

a means of binding its members together spiritually, so that

they may all receive the blessings of the Holy Spirit and

the power to overcome every evil.

2. Taking Communion Together

It is when the whole family is gathered around the body and

blood of Jesus in the Eucharist that the church - as a

community - is best expressed. This gathering is a feature

of our Orthodox church, for not only does it bring the

individual into a relationship with God but it also nurtures

the relationship of the group with God: "In the

congregations I will bless the Lord" (Ps 26:12).

The Spirit of God endows groups with more than it endows

individuals. This is why taking Holy Communion together,

following repentance and confession, is a continuous source

of renewal for the family.

3. Bringing Problems Before God

It is important to get our children used to lifting up their

hearts to God when they face a problem. Besides the fact

that this makes a way for God to intervene in our problems

and make our hearts ready to cooperate gratefully, we find

that this method builds up faith and fellowship so that we

turn to God under all circumstances. "Call upon Me in the

day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify

Me" (Ps 50:15).

4. Mutual Understanding

The pressures of life in our age, whether those put on the


exhausted husband, on the working wife, or on the stressed

children who have their conflicts and worries about the

future, demand that the family stay committed to settling

disputes in a spirit of mutual understanding.

It is a great crime against the unity of the family and

against oneself that a person puts his foot down and acts in

self-centered individualism and stubbornness without

consideration for others. We must learn to be

understanding: to let go of our preconceived ideas and be

open to one another.

5. Friendly Visits

It is a good idea for the family to pay friendly visits to

other Christian families because this strengthens the spirit

of love in the Christian community. It also nurtures and

renews love among the family members.

It is important that the wife cares for the feelings of her

husband's family and the husband for the feelings of his

wife's family. Most of the problems emerge from neglecting

those important feelings. The harmony between the two

families is a strong support for a Christian family and an

important basis for psychologically well-balanced children.

We warn against interfering in the family's affairs because

such interference frequently causes problems, division and

serious disruption.

6. A Spirit of Simplicity and Contentment

One of the most disruptive influences on a family is that of

imitation and jealousy of other families who are trying to

'Keep up with the Jones'. However, the Christian soul that

the Lord has filled with His grace sings in heavenly peace:

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want" (Ps 23:1).

It is important to examine oneself on this point and both

parents are responsible to do that. St. Paul teaches us

that: "Godliness with contentment is great gain... and

having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a

snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown

men in destruction and perdition" (1Tim 6:6-9).

7. A Sound Upbringing

Parents should realize that the sound upbringing of children

in their early childhood and the stages that follow is very

important. When the parent is at one time tender to his or

her children and on many other occasions strict, the child

gets confused. The child does not understand what

principles to follow nor what good behavior means. When the

father is strict with his adolescent son or daughter while

the mother treats the same one tenderly - ignorant of the

nature of that stage and of the father's aim - the young

person will go off the rails and neglect duties. There must

be an agreement between both parents on a policy about how

to deal with their children. The affections should be

balanced during the process of upbringing.


It is important to watch the children's behavior with

compassionate understanding. This must be done effectively

and persuasively, so that they become capable of choosing

good friends and steer clear of pit-falls.

8. The Family and the Community

Sometimes the parents are very lax with their children; they

let them give way to peer-group pressure. After a while, it

turns out that they are mixed up with the wrong kind of

company and are up to their necks in trouble.

A positive and flexible Christian approach is to be open to

people and deal with them in love and cooperation without

getting involved in their aberrations. What is most harmful

is being flexible to the point of laxity: letting our

values, principles, and kids go adrift. The family should

be careful when it comes to getting involved with other

families. What some would consider friendly relations might

end with critical problems.

9. The Family and the Mass Media

It is not wrong to have access to different kinds of media

at home like T.V., radio, newspapers and magazines, but it

is wrong not to help children, and even parents, to choose

the right thing. All should learn to pick the appropriate

method for improving their minds: the right program, a good

book et. It is up to us to stop and ask ourselves if we are

abandoning our children to trivialities or negative

influences that will ruin their spiritual lives.

We hope for the day when the mass media puts across material

that will build up the spiritual lives of our children -

because life is not like a decadent play or a violent movie.

Indeed, the mass media should elevate - not degrade -

people's instincts. There are the fields of science, art,

and sport and, even better, religious knowledge that fights

atheism and spreads the principles of pure, genuine love.

These are the subjects that we can watch or listen to on the

mass media.

10. Serving Others

Christ taught us that He came not to be served but "to serve

and to give His life a ransom for many" (Mt 20:28). There

is no doubt that the spirit of servanthood is the sign of a

real Christian soul and the blessed testimony of what

Christianity does in people's lives. We should get

accustomed to serving others and teaching our children to do


The selfishness that we teach our children will cost us

dearly unless we correct ourselves. We ask our children to

be selfish and hate even their cousins, to be jealous and

take advantage of others. All this creates a fractious

community full of feeble and resentful people. Christianity

requires from us self-sacrificial love: "Love suffers long

and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade

itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not  rejoice in iniquity, but ejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1Cor 13:4-7).

Hence it is necessary to have the spirit of servanthood, to give part of our time, effort, money and talents to others, especially within the church which channels such donations to the needy. Be honest in giving your tithes to the Lord and you will know His blessings. "Bring all the tithes... and prove Me now in this.... If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it" (Mal 3:10).

Dear Friend,

The church trusts that you are going to respond to its

appeal for family repentance - that you are going to pray

and worship God together, take Communion together, glorify

Jesus, and offer lively, fruitful service.

||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||

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||    Pope Shenouda    ||    Father Matta    ||    Bishop Mattaous    ||    Fr. Tadros Malaty    ||    Bishop Moussa    ||    Bishop Alexander    ||    Habib Gerguis    ||    Bishop Angealos    ||    Metropolitan Bishoy    ||

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