Announcements for January 9-16, 2011

Logo for Pope Shenouda III, Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria

Today: 8:30 am Matins; 9:3 am Divine Liturgy, Anniversary Blessing, Blessing of Waters, Classes, Brunch, Parish Council Meeting

Tuesday:  6:00 pm Vespers

Thursday:  6:00 pm Vespers; 7:00 pm Choir

Saturday:  5:00 pm Liturgical Dynamics Mini-series

Sunday:  8:30 am Matins; 9:30 am Divine Liturgy, Classes, Brunch

The sign-up schedule for House Blessings can be found on the White Board in the Hall.

Liturgical Calendars for 2011 are available in the narthex, but Offering Envelopes will be late this year.

+ + +

Here are a few quotes from Father Alexander Schmemann’s Journals about his trip to Egypt in Feb. ’78 (pp. 186-190). They seem to bear on what’s happening nowadays:

Saturday, Feb. 11, 1978

Immersion yesterday and today in a totally unknown (to me) world of Coptic Christianity. Right away I must express my main impression: it is edifying and it is alive. I remember my trip to the Middle East in 1971 and my impression of something outlived, nominal, dying, chained to the past–the existence of a non-existent world. Lifeless Hierarchs. Fear. Lies. Corruption.

And then, last year in Los Angeles, I met His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, the Patriarch of the Coptic Church. Right away–an impression of genuine life, spiritual openness. And now, in Cairo, I am meeting the very Coptic reality. There are about seven million Copts in Egypt! And this church, despite persecutions (Byzantine, Arab, Turkish), despite the surrounding sea of Islam, despite its isolation and loneliness, and the whole spiritual and political chaos of the Middle East, is revived and alive!

Sunday, Feb. 12, 1978

In the morning–Old Cairo. Liturgy in the Coptic Church. The impression is somewhat confused. On the one hand, it is undoubtedly Alexandrian–everything is under cover, seen only through covers. Tiny royal doors, and there, at the altar, the priest performs something belonging to another world. He performs very slowly, accompanied by one very long, inimitable, prayerful melody. On the other hand, a refreshing absence of any Byzantinism. The Coptic block in Old Cairo is a ghetto, with hidden entrances to the church. One feels a habit of hiding, of always being suspected, of living inside one’s self. The women’s monastery is peaceful, sunny, joyful.

+ + +

He Who covers Himself with light as with a garment has granted for our sakes to become as we are.  Today He is covered by the streams of the Jordan, though He has no need to be cleansed by them: But through the cleansing that He Himself receives — O Wonder!  He bestows rebirth on us!  He refashions without shattering, and without fire, He casts anew!  He saves those who are enlightened in Him: Christ our God, the Savior of our souls.  (Dogmatikon of the Aposticha for Vespers of the post-Feast of Theophany)

+ + +

Finally, here is a link to a portion of W. H. Auden’s poem, “For The Time Being — A Christmas Oratorio.”  Recommended reading and pondering at this time of year…