BLESSED IS EGYPT MY PEOPLE
FR. TADROS Y. MALATY
God's promise to His people is always fulfilled; He
foretold that He would ride on a light and upon a swift cloud
and come to Egypt (Isa 19:1); and in that day there will be
an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a
pillar to the Lord at its border (Isa 19:19). This promise was
fulfilled by the flight of the Holy Family from the face of the
tyrant Herod to find refuge among the Gentiles. Thus Jesus
Christ came during His childhood to Egypt to lay by Himself
the foundation stone of His Church in Egypt which has be-
come one of the four primary "Sees" in the world, among the
churches of Jerusalem, Antioch and Rome, joined later by
the "See" of Constantinople.
The star of the Egyptian Church shone through the
School of Alexandria which taught Christendom the allegoric
and spiritual methods in interpreting the Scripture, and was
the leader in defending the Orthodox faith on an ecumenical
The Christian monastic movement in all its forms started
in Egypt, attracting the heart of the Church towards the
desert, to practice the angelic inner life. This happened at the
time when the doors of the royal court had been opened to
the clergy, and this consequently endangered the church, as
the quiet and spiritual church work was mixed with the temporal authority and politics of the royal court.
The Egyptian Church carried Jesus' cross throughout gen-
erations, bearing sufferings even from the side of Christians
themselves. She continued to offer a countless number of
martyrs and confessors throughout ages. Sometimes the
people of towns were martyred and many struggled to win
the crowns of martyrdom happily and with a heart full of joy.
Our Church is ancient and new at the same time; ancient in being apostolic, founded by St. Mark the Evangelist; traditional, sticking fast to the original apostolic faith without deviation. She is also ever new through her Living Messiah who never becomes old and through the Spirit of God who renews her youth (Ps. 103:5).
The Coptic Church is rich with her evangelistic and
ascetic life, her genuine patriotic inheritance, her heavenly
worship, her spiritual rituals, her effective and living hymns,
her beautiful icons, etc.. She attracts the heart towards
heaven without ignoring actual daily life. We can say that she
is an apostolic, contemporary church that carries life and
thought to the contemporary man without deviation. One
finds in her life, sweetness and power of Spirit, with
appreciation to and sanctification of arts, literature and
This church is well-known for her numerous saints:
ascetics, clergymen and laymen. She offered many saints
throughout ages and is still offering the same today.... For
she believes that practising the sanctified life and communion
with God, the Holy One, is prior to satisfying minds with
solid mental studies.
She is the Church of all people, every member has his
own positive role, being a clergyman, layman, a man, a
woman, an adult or a child.... She is the church of the family
as a whole and the church of each member at the same time.
Even a baby finds his pleasure in the church through the
simplicity of her rituals and the sweetness of her hymns; you
may find him gurgling joyfully as if he was in his own house
or in his parent's home. At the same time the theologian finds
pleasure through the deep concepts of these same rituals.
Lastly, I hope - in the Lord - to present the main lines of
the Church's thoughts and concepts as an evangelic,
apostolic and patristic church, which has a heavenly attitude.
She believes in the sanctity of man, in his wholeness, and in
awarding every gift, giving interest and care to every soul, so
that the heavenly Christ might be revealed within her as the
eternal Bridegroom who sanctifies His bride, beatifies her by
His Holy Spirit, and embraces her to enjoy His eternal glory.
Indeed, I may have to speak about the Egyptian nationalistic side, but I hope - in the Spirit of God - that every reader will enjoy the Orthodox thought, regardless of his nationality, being a member of the one Body of Christ, through the one faith and with one spirit.