Posts Tagged ‘faith’

26 October the Feast of Holy Great-Martyr Demetrius the Myroblyte known also as Demetrius of Thessaloniki

Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

Sveti Dimitar Solunski_kopie-ikona

Bulgarian icon of Saint Demetrius

Every 26 of October in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and whole Bulgarian nation we honor deeply the memory of martyrdom of Saint Demetrius the Myroblyte (meaning 'the Myrrh-Gusher' or 'Myrrh-Streamer'; a term that stemmed from 3rd century – 306 y. the year of Maryrdom of this great saint. Saint Demetrius over the century has been one of the most venerated saints in the Eastern Orthodox Church and since the Christianization of Bulgaria his glory also spread quickly throughout the Bulgarian Empire lands.

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During the Middle Ages, he came to be revered as one of the most important Orthodox military saints, often paired with Saint George of Lydda and for that in many of the Orthodox Churches worldwide there are icons of the two saints painted together holding their warrior equipment spear, shield and sward .

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St. Demetrius (Dimitar in Bulgarian) feast day is 26 October for Eastern Orthodox Christians, which falls on 8 November for those following the old calendar. In the Roman Catholic church he is most commonly called "Demetrius of Sermium" and his memorial falls on 8 October, which seem to coincide with my Birthday 🙂

Demetrius was born to pious Christian parents in Thessaloniki, the Eastern Roman Empire region Macedonia in 270 (Macedonia has been part of the Bulgarian kingdom and Empire for many centuries).

According to the hagiographies, Demetrius was a young man of senatorial family who became proconsul of the Thessalonica district. He was run through with spears in around 306 AD in Thessaloniki, during the Christian persecutions of Galerian, which matches his depiction in the 7th century mosaics.

Most historical scholars follow the hypothesis put forward by Bollandist Hippolyte Delehaye (1859–1941), that his veneration was transferred from Sirmium when Thessaloniki replaced it as the main military base in the area in 441/442 AD. His very large church in Thessaloniki, the Hagios Demetrios, dates from the mid-5th century. Thessaloniki remained a centre of his veneration, and he is the patron saint of the city.

After the growth of his veneration as saint, the city of Thessaloniki suffered repeated attacks and sieges from the Slavic peoples who moved into the Balkans, and Demetrius was credited with many miraculous interventions to defend the city. Hence later traditions about Demetrius regard him as a soldier in the Roman army, and he came to be regarded as an important military martyr. Unsurprisingly, he was extremely popular in the Middle Ages. Disputes between Bohemond I of Antioch and Alexios I Komnenos appear to have resulted in Demetrius being appropriated as patron saint of crusading.

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Saint Demetrius Russian Icon

Demetrius was also venerated as patron of agriculture, peasants and shepherds in the Greek countryside during the Middle Ages. 

Most scholars still believe that for four centuries after his death, Demetrius had no physical relics, and in their place an unusual empty shrine called the "ciborium" was built inside Hagios Demetrios. What were purported to be his remains subsequently appeared in Thessaloniki, but the local archbishop John, who compiled the first book of the Miracles ca. 610, was publicly dismissive of their authenticity. The relics were assumed to be genuine after they started emitting a liquid and strong-scented myrrh. This gave Demeterius the epithet Myroblyte.

Saint Demetrius used to be a mayor of Thessaloniki and had been very educated for his time, the Roman empire ordered him to find and imprison, torture and eventually kill all Christians in the city who refuse to follow the paganic Roman religion. Being a brave in heart and a being a Christian himself, he refused to follow the unrighteous emperor decree and even on the contrary started to put special efforts for the raising of the Christian faith in the city. 

Despite this position in the still-pagan empire, he remained fervent in faith and works for Christ, encouraging many Christians to endure persecution and even bringing many pagans to the faith.

When Maximian returned from one of his campaigns to Thessaloniki, which he had made his capital, he had pagan games and sacrifices celebrated for his triumph. Demetrios was denounced by pagans who were envious of his success, and he was thrown into prison. While in prison he was visited by a young Christian named Nestor, who asked him for a blessing to engage in single combat with the giant Lyaios (or Lyaeus), who was posing as the champion of paganism. Demetrios gave his blessing and Nestor, against all odds. Nestor succeded to slew his opponent in the arena contrary to any expectations as Lyaios used to kill many, many christians on the circus arena, as David had once defeated Goliath. Saint Demetrius blesses Nestor but warned him he will have to endure a martyrdom after his defeat of Nestor which occured shortly after the defeath of Lyaios, Nestor was captured and martyred for Christ. Being raged out by the killing of Lyaios, the Romans send trooops and killed with spears saint Demetrius while he was praying in the prison.

According to some (Greek) hagiographic legend, as retold by Dimitry of Rostov in particular, Demetrius appeared in 1207 in the camp of tsar Kaloyan of with a lance and so killing him. This scene, known as Чудо о погибели царя Калояна ("the miracle of the destruction of tsar Kaloyan") became a popular element in the iconography of Demetrius. He is shown on horseback piercing the king with his spear, paralleling the iconography (and often shown alongside) of Saint George and the Dragon.


The reason of High veneration of Saint Demetrius in Bulgaria today ?
 

The godly life he led, together with his military virtues and martyrdom, led the people of Thessaloniki to declare him their saint-warrior and patron. According to the beliefs of the local centuries, the saint defended Thessaloniki, performing miracle after miracle, but in August 1185 something unheard of happened. The second richest and most important city in the empire after Constantinople was captured by the Normans and subjected to unprecedented looting. The Church of St. Dimitar was burned and the relics of the saint were scattered. The medieval Greek, who was inclined to seek God's intervention everywhere, was spiritually broken. The Romans saw the fall of Dimitrov as a punishment for their sinfulness. It is clear to them that St. Dimitar left them.

Meanwhile, in the north, the memories of the old Bulgarian kingdom were more than alive, and it became increasingly difficult for the Bulgarians to tolerate the Roman rule. The moment for a mass uprising was ripe. According to Nikita Honiat, there were three key events at the beginning of the uprising. The first concerned the desire of the brothers Peter and Assen (prominent Bulgarian boyars) to be included in the proniat lists of the empire and to receive a small landed estate at the foot of the Balkan Mountains. To this end, most likely in the autumn of 1185, they appeared in person before Emperor Isaac II Angel in Kipsela, just as he was preparing to march against the Normans who had conquered Thessaloniki. The refusal to comply with their demands provoked sharp resentment in the younger brother Assen, who personally threatened the emperor with rebellion. This unheard of behavior of the young boyar was punished with a slap.

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King Ivan Assen I (Tsar of Bulgaria 1187/1188–1196)

The second important event was the imposition of additional taxes on the livestock of the population on the occasion of the emperor's wedding to the Hungarian Princess Margaret. This led to the outbreak of strong and mass discontent among the population of Moesia. The two brothers knew very well what they were doing and used the mass discontent to make their threat a reality. However, the insults, material hardship and the presence of two brilliant leaders in the face of Assenevtsi were not enough for a revolt.

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Bulgarian Medieval Icon of Saint Demetrius the Myrrh-Bringer

The Bulgarians also had to receive a "divine" guarantee for their work. They believed that the Lord should show them that they were chosen and worthy of their freedom, that they not only could, but should take up arms against the Byzantine Vasilevs. And the sign was not late. On October 26, 1185, Assenevtsi, together with a large crowd, gathered in Tarnovo to consecrate the newly built church "St. Dimitar. Meanwhile, a miraculous icon of the saint appeared in the city. It was alleged that she had left Thessaloniki, conquered by the Normans, and found her home in the new temple of the Bulgarians.

The religious consciousness of the medieval Bulgarian interpreted this as a refusal of St. Dimitar to defend the Romans and a sacred guarantee that the saint will protect the Bulgarians in their cause for freedom. And indeed the old church in Thessaloniki had collapsed and plundered, the Romans were punished, the Empire was humiliated.

 

Those gathered in the church began to shout and call for the rejection of the yoke and for the restoration of the glory of the old kings. In this atmosphere of patriotic enthusiasm, the older brother, Todor (named Peter), placed a golden tiara on his head, put on a red cloak, and put on the purple shoes that only the Byzantine Vasilevs could wear. Thus, after 167 years of interruption of the throne of the Bulgarian kings, a Bulgarian ascended again. The coronation of Peter as king and the beginning of the great uprising of the Bulgarians was one of those moments in history when all accounts end and only faith gives the people the courage to take the hand outstretched by the uncertainty of the future and follow the path indicated by her, not knowing where he was taking her.

Niketa Choniates writes: “With such (divine) prophecies the whole nation was won for the cause and all raised their swords. And because their rebellion was successful from the very beginning, the Bulgarians believed even more that God had approved their freedom. "

At first, Isaac II Angel was unable to respond to the uprising, as he had to deal with the Normans and the usurper of Cyprus, Isaac I Komnenos. It was not until December 1185 that Vasilevs sent his uncle Sevastocrator John against the rebels. However, no battle took place because the Sevastocrator was recalled on suspicion of rebellion. At the head of the second army was Caesar John VI Kantakouzenos, who went to Hemus, but was defeated in a night attack by Assen-evtsi. The Bulgarians took the lives of most of the Roman army, and its commander managed to escape by abandoning the entire convoy. A third army of the great Byzantine general Alexy Branas was also sent, but it turned against the emperor and marched to Constantinople instead of Tarnovo.

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The Byzantine themes (or districts) of Bulgaria and Paristrion 

Paristrion – (Greek: Παρίστριον, lit. 'beside the Ister'), or Paradounabon/Paradounabis (αραδούναβον / Παραδούναβις), which is preferred in official documents, was a Byzantine province covering the southern bank of the Lower Danube (Moesia Inferior) in the 11th and 12th centuries.

It was not until 1186 that the emperor personally led a large army and decided to deal with the Bulgarians once and for all. His campaign forced the brothers to retreat across the Danube to their Kuman allies, and Isaac II Angel plundered Moesia and returned to Constantinople. According to the story of Nikita Honiat, the emperor was so arrogant of his success that he met with ridicule the reminder of Vasily II the Bulgarian assassin that the Bulgarians would revolt and that one day they would be liberated.

At that time, Assen's personality became more and more prominent, and he became the real leader of the rebellion. In the summer of 1186, the Assenevs crossed the Danube again, conquered the plain and set their goal to bring the endeavor to a successful conclusion. Niketa Choniates says:

"And then they returned to their homeland Moesia; finding the land abandoned by the Roman armies, they took on even greater confidence, leading their Cuman auxiliary detachments as if they were legions of demons. They did not simply want to secure their possessions and establish control over Moesia; They wanted to devastate the Roman territories and unite the political power of Moesia and Bulgaria in one empire as before. "

Isaac Angel's second campaign was not long in coming. In the autumn of 1186 he set out again against the two brothers, passing through the fortress of Beroe and heading for Serdica (today's Sofia), from where he intended to cross Hemus and attack Tarnovo. The winter of 1186, however, blocked the passages and forced the emperor to abandon his endeavor for another year. With the arrival of the spring of 1187, the Romans crossed the mountain and besieged the Lovech fortress. However, the Bulgarian troops offered unprecedented resistance and after a three-month siege Isaac II Angel had to ask for peace.

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The Church Saint Demetrius built by King Asen I in memoriam of great Miracles of Bulgarians victories over Byzantines
Church is located near the Tarnovo Fortress of Trapezica

The Church slavonic written sources tells how the brothers spread the word a patron saint of Thessaloniki – St. Demetrius, came to Tarnovo to help the Bulgarian people to be liberated…
 

Thus, most probably, the Lovech armistice was signed in front of the city walls, which de jure recognized the Bulgarian power north of the Balkans. The long road to freedom began on that distant St. Dimitrov's Day in 1185. he was finally walked away. St. Dimitar became the patron of the Asenevtsi dynasty and one of the most beloved Bulgarian saints, and the Bulgarians proved to the world that their pursuit of freedom is nothing but a great national feat, in which with a true understanding of the necessary and possible, with steady faith and unwavering energy in the design and implementation, the political and spiritual resurrection of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom was reached.


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Saint Demetrius Bulgarian icon year 1824

St. Demetrius is depicted on horseback spearing a man, not because he ever a killed a man but because he blessed Nestor to win over the Gladiator Lyaeus. The Church decided to commemory the memory and bravery of Saint Nestor who also confessed Christ in his martyrdom every on the next day after the memory of st. Demetrius is celebrated. Saint Nestor even today is celebrated in the Church calendar on 27-th of October.

In Bulgaria the veneration of saint Demetrius was of high esteem especially in the Second Bulgarian Empire and many churches and monasteries has been built around the country (counting at few hundred temples and monasteries) with him being their patron.

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Saint Demetrius Holy Relics in the St. Demetrius Church in Thessaloniki Greece (the white papers are names of people who ask for help from the saint)

Saint Demetrius is famous in Thessaloniki and highly venerated every year during his feast as he has been summoned by the Church to protect the city on multiple occasions which he did so far during pandemics such as the Black Death and during invasion of alien (non-Christian) nations.

It is mostly remarkable that every year during his feast day, a great miracle happens from the exact place where he was martyred (situated in the Church named after him), a myrrh with heavenly odor is streaming which is taken by believers for oilment and as a blessing carefully kept until the next year feast of the saint.
Because of the high amount of myrrh outflow a special pool was kept to keep the oilment sparring out of his holy relics.

As Saint Demetrius has helped multiple times to many of their saints as we know from history, especially in times of epidemies and pandemies like it is now let by his holy prayers those who venerate him and the people worldwide finds Healing and relief and an Enlightment and blessing from the light of Christ, just like Nestor found in his blessing !

Holy Martyr Demetrius of Thessaloniki pray the Lord for us the sinners !!!

Pentecost the Birthday of the Church and the receival of the Gifts of Holy Spirit of Faith, Hope, Love for the Mankind

Saturday, June 19th, 2021

For one more year it is Pentecost 50 days after the celebrated Easter (Resurrection of Christ), we celebrate the feast that marked the birth of the Church as a Body of Christ that is binding all its members us the ordinary people who are baptized in the Name of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.

Pentecost is a day of mystery that turned human history, as the same Spirit who was in Christ and has been in the Father in the Holy Trinity has descended from Heaven sent as a helper to each and every believer in Christ to strenghten and guide him in his narrow path to the Kingdom of Heaven and the Eternal salvation promised by the Savior Christ.

There is many books written about Pentecost but no book or intellectual thought is capable to transpond one's experience of receiving the Holy Spirit in the Soul and Heat of man. This glorious event is experienced by every Christian during baptism and the following Mystery of Chrismation when the Priest baptizes a new member in the name of God and is experienced, by us in the mystery of repentence when crying for our bad deeds and transgressions of the law of God, we cry in sorrow to God asking for forgiveness and renewal. The descent of the Holy Spirit over us is supernatural event that put the beginning of the contemporary understanding in our contemporary civillization of supernaturality and the realm of spirits as we understand them today where the Spirit of God is over all things.

On Pentecost it is the Holy Spirit who descended towards the Holy Apostles giving them the Super natural powers to Heal The Sick, Prophecise, speak in all human tongues, chase away evil spirits and do multitude of unseen wonderworks in human history that are continuing even to this day in the Church. The Holy Spirit has gifted all Church members with the gifts of the Spirit of Faith, Hope and Love, Endurance, Manhood, and all the virtues of man that were in Christ not because of a human effort but for the Love of God for man.
The abiding of the Holy Spirit in man is a never ending Heaven and a bliss granted for man for free. Saint Seraphim of Sarov has well described in his Conversation with Motovilov what is the experience to have the God the Holy Spirit in One's self.

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A bit more on the facts around the Descent of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles is in my prior article here , though this is just a very basic attempt to transfer the meaning of the feast as definitely all the books on the earth and all the human knowledge put together is like a drop in the universe compared to Holy Spirit itself.

The Spirit of Truth which the world could not comprehend was sent by Jesus Christ first to the apostles and the desciples and then to each and every Christian member of the One Holy Eastern Orthodox Church throughout human history until the end of ages.

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One of the most ancient icons of the Pentecost Syriac Rabbula Gospels 6th century

Happy Feast to All Christians ! Happy Birthday Church !

Saint Georgi of Sofia “the Newest” Bulgarian Confessor Christian saint martyred 1534 AD during reign of Turkish Sultan Selim in Medieval Serdika (Sofia)

Tuesday, June 1st, 2021

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Troparion, voice 4
With a soul wounded by the love of your God, the wise George the Glorious, he preached to the ungodly, Christ God, trampled with his feeth, the Turkish heresy; and when he adorned himself with the crown of martyrdom, you ascended to the heavenly multitudes: ask Christ God to preserve your homeland, this city (Sofia) and the people who always worship your deeds.

On 26-th of May the Bulgarian Orthodox Church celebrates the memory of one of the great Bulgarian Martyr saints Saint Georgi the Newest.
С~тый Геԝ̀ргїй Софїѝскїй Новѣ̀йшїй) St. Georgi (The Bulgarian equivalent name of George) is one of the 3 saints holding the name Georgi which has confessed Christianity refused to accept islam and accepted Martyrdom for Christ in period of 1396 till year 1530 and one of the 9 famous Sofia city saints. Saint Georgi of Sofia the Newest was named after the highly venerated in Bulgarian just like in whole Christian world saint George.

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St. Georgi was born in the city of Medieval Sofia (Sredetz), fortress of Serdika today’s Sofia in a family of Ivan and Maria – a wealthy and society recognized family of that time. He has born after a fervent and lengthly prayers of his parents who couldn’t have children for a long time and has been given a kid by the prayers of Saint Great Martyr George
It is important to say Georgi (the newest) celebrated on 26-th of May is a different saint from St. Georgi called “the new” whose memory in the Church is commemorated on 11-th of February.

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Miracle making icon of saint Georgi Sofiyski (currently in the Church in yard of Alexandrovska Hospital Sofia)

The young Georgi quickly learned to write and read, a skills that only the most educated people usually coming from noble families could do. His favourite activity
in his free time when he was not in help of his parents was reading the Holy Scriptures.
He was grown by his parents in Christian goodness and fervency for the Christian faith.

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Aged 25 he orphaned as his beloved father passed away to Christ. Georgi posessesed an extraordinary beauty, sharp mind and virtues, seeing the young man in his grief the local Turkish authorities tried as they usually do to attract the youngster to the islamic faith to make their way to interact with Georgi and do their business easier and most importantly have Georgi in their auhotirities congregation consisting only of people belonging to the islam as it was up to the Ottoman Turkish consistution law of the day.

To attract Georgi, turks first tried with hypocritical kindness and a care for the young to help him raise in the power of authorities of the city, not succeeding with that they have, they have forcefully wrapper the Muslim turban on his head and proclaimed him officially Muslim. Feeling offended by the ungodly deed of this enemies of Christ, immediately the saint throw the imposed turban on the ground and trampled on it.
The enraged muslim crowd seing his public offence for the prophet Muhammed handed him over to the Qadi in the court.

Neither the seductive promises of high office nor the cruel tortures could break the unshakable firmness of his Christian faith. The judge ordered that his body be cut into strips from head to toe and that the wounds received be scorched with dirty candles, which made the martyr’s body so hot that his face could not be seen. But all efforts were in vain.

The final verdict of the judge followed – Georgi to be hanged on the main barn in the city of Sofia, where there was a furnace for melting iron and copper ore. The execution command also stated that his body should remain on the gallows for three days in order to begin to decay, so that the faith of the Christians in the incorruptible relics of the saints and in the resurrection of the dead to be refuted and hence disgrace christianity. However, exhausted from his suffering mrtr. Georgi died at the hands of the executioners before they managed to hang him. To fulfill the command turks, anyhow hung him on a rope to show the sentence has been successfully carried out.

For three days the body hung on the gallows without any sign of decomposition, and on the contrary, an unusual fragrance of the holy relics of the martyr wafted through the barn. His mother sat under the gallows and grieving his beloved son hugged her son’s legs, staying next three three days to her son. The hanging took place on May 26, 1530 (according to other document sources in 1534). Thus on 26th of may the Church set a service in memoriam.

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5-th Century Church of Rotonda St. George Centre of Sofia

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Saint Georgi Sofiyski / Saint George of Sofia the Newest grave near Rotonda Church Saint George in City Center of Sofia, Bulgari

After the expiration of the sentence, the kadi handed over the body of the martyr to be buried in a Christian way, and the burial was solemnly performed by the then Metropolitan of Sofia Jeremiah in the church “St. the great martyr George the Victorious ”. Now these relics are in obscurity. The mother of the martyr died on the 40th day of George’s death and was buried at her son’s feet.

These events took place during the reign of Sultan Suleiman I Kanuni (the Legislator) also known as Suleiman the Magnificent. This “Golden Age” for the Ottoman Empire was a time of unheard of atrocities against Christians in the territory of the empire and very difficult times for the Bulgarian people. The reign of Suleiman I and his father Selim I was a time of obscurantism and severe persecution of the Christian population, a time during which many Christian new martyrs on Balkans had the courage to defend their faith.

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The capture, trial and torture of St. George of Sofia The latest took place near the then Sofia. Today the place is located in the yard of the famous Alexandrovska Hospital which was a King’s hospital during the times of Kingdom of Bulgaria after liberation took place from the Turks in 1878 y.. The exact location where martyrdom occured is between street St. Georgi Sofiyski ”and“ Pencho Slaveykov ”Blvd.

There was a large stone cross with an inscription on the site, which a few years after 1944, due to the risk of being destroyed, was collected by Sofia priests and is still preserved in the altar of the church “St. Georgi Pobedonosets ”on Blvd. Partriarch Euthymius”. Until the 1940s, a liturgical procession was held from the place of death of the saint to the Rotunda on May 26.
Nowadays happily, the old Lithia tradition is being renewed and a small Lithia is conducted by Bulgarian Orthodox Christian clergy and layman.

In the garden next to the building of the Second Surgical Clinic there was a stone cross, which indicated the place and history of the martyrdom of the saint, and today a temple was built in honor of the saint.

Church-of-saint-Georgi-Sofijski-in-Alexandrovska-hospital-Sofia-Bulgaria-the-place-of-martyrdom-of-saint-Georgi-Sofijski
source: Lives of the Saints. Synodal Publishing House, Sofia, 1991, edited by Parthenius, Bishop of Lefkada and Archimandrite Dr. Athanasius (Bonchev).

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HOLY MARTYR GEORGE OF SOFIA THE NEWEST, PRAY GOD FOR US!

Saint Markianos and Martyrios a church reader and sub-deacon holy martyrs for Christ – The feast of Sub-deacons

Sunday, October 25th, 2020

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Saint Markianos (Saint Markian) and Martyrios are little known saints in the Western realm and there is too little of information in English about this two early martyrs who lived circa year 340. What is special about them is that besides being a strong confessors of the True Eastern Orthodox faith, they served in the Church as simple 'reader' and 'sub-deacon'. This two designations were very much respected in the early Church as sub-deacons were usually the ones who have served in the Church inseparable as a Church service helpers to the patriarchs or some high clergy as Metropolitans and Bishops. We have many saints in the Church that are from a simple warriors as Saint Georg and Saint Dimitrios the Wonderworker (The MyrhBringer) to monks, bishops, patriarchs and pretty much all kind of people from the society from the begger to the richest and most famous kings and queens. However it is rare to meet in the ( Act of the Martyrs – latin: Acta Martyrum), to find  canonized saints that were in the lowest step in Church hierarchy as a simple 'psalm' and holy writtings reader or a sub-deacon. A Sub-deacon for those who don't know is a pearon that is a like a servant helper to the priest or bishop) that has been responsible for helping with the Church service and resolution of material and administrative needs of the christian community.
Usually in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the church reader or sub-deacons were and asre still called hipodeacon or "ipodiakon" in Greek / Slavonic church language), they didn't have the right at that early ages of christianity to publicly teach on faith matters or do apologetics (defendings of faith), however this 2 saintly man Markianos and Martyrios seem to have been a burning with the power of the spirit of God in their heart and the situation they were put in when the Church was under persecution and the patriarch Paul of Constantinople I (was patriarch from 340 ~ 350 AD). Saint Paul removed from his Church headship sent to Exile in Armenia and some time after drawned. He is commemorated in the Church on 6th of November. Hence considering situation St. Markian and Martyrius had to either defend and die for the faith or be scared and run away far in the caves or distant places of the empire such as villages on the outskits far away from the center city Rome …

The Heresy of Arius has been the most modern and the new modified faith claiming Christianity gathering followers in a viral way, and due to that the Arians have been in position where most of the public authorities in the Roman empire has been on their side against the Orthodox Christians.

Marcian_and_Martyrius_the_notaries_of_Constantinople-circa-355AD. 

Due to that in the church communities in near and distant lands of empire, the Arians were fiercely persecuting the Orthodox, and for a time even Emperor Saint Constantine The Great were deceived by their hypocrisy. It was terrible times for true confessors of faith. But not only Arians were persecuting Christians, as paganism were still deeply rooted in many of the lands and the Edict of Mediolan who gave equal rights to the religion in AD 313 was not strictly followed and senators of Roman regions with Paganist beliefs, were also harshly raising persucutions against their enemies the Christians who according to them are destroying the ancient culture and beautfy of paganism, not venerating the old pagan gods and against the wicked debauchery customs who were followed by pagans in 3rd / 4th century.

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Practically everyone who have admitted publicly Jesus Christ as a Creator of the World and a Son of God one hipostasys of the Holy Trinity God The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit, were captured put to prison and quickly executed, if they don't turn out from their christian beliefs.

Arians has taken a lead even more with the set on the throne of Emperor Constantius II the son of Constantine I-st, as he has also fallen in the Arianism* heresy and who has taken in the court as a close advisory Eusebius and Philip who due to their half-pagan half-arian half superstitious understanding of the world have led a fierce war against Christianity and did a lot of evils to Christ Church.

* Arianism – believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who was begotten by God the Father, and is distinct from the Father (therefore subordinate to him), but the Son is also God the Son but not co-eternal with God the Father. Arian theology was first attributed to Arius (c. AD 256–336), a Christian presbyter in Alexandria of Egypt.
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Until dethronment of Patriarch Paul I, St. Markianos and St. Martyrios have been a notaries of St. Paul (a typist to the patriarch and a kind of personal secretaries of the Patriarch) besides serving as Church reader and sub-deacon. They were famous for their time with their warm preaching of the Words of God – the Gospel of the Christ following the example of the apostles. Due to the raising heresies they also take an active part in writting many documents against the heretical "arians" and so called "macedonians" who teached anti-christian teachings who were newly invented and unknown to the ancient church teachings. They've had a special gift from God to be able to speak in a way to defend the faith so noone with his knowledge or high-education couldn't stand overcome them in disputes on church matters and many times they have disputed with Arian heretics exposing their fallacy (delusions) putting them to shame.

After the exile of Patriarch Paul heresy-archs arians turned their poisonous hatred against the patriarch two pupils Markianos and Martyrios. Craftly acting they acted slyly with a craftul lie and promised them a lot of gold a good place in the emperor's court, to raise them in the church hierarcy (in the part of the church which was already confessing arian heresy) and give them a lot of privileges from the king with the condition to accept, support and confess arianism.

But God's servents despised everything from this world, rejected the offered golden gifts, preferred eternal Heavenly honors than short and vain worldly and even laughed at them.

As Arians saw nothing can't convince them to their malice teaching, heretics condemned them to death, which was desired by the confessors (which remembered well the exile and the manly martyrdom of their teacher St. Patriarch Paul) and with all their being desired to be with Christ in the Eternal prepared palaces, where life will be without end in never ending bliss as promised by Christ in the Holy Scriptures. They preferred Christ more than the temporary life enjoyments.

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When brought to the place of the execution of their false made accusement and sentence for being blasphemers of Christ, two saints asked for a small time
to pray. Brough up their eyes to the heaven and prayed with the words:

" – Oh Lord, who have unseenly created our hearts, who arrange all our deeds – "He formed the hearts of them all; he understands everything they do." (Psalm 33:15), receive with peace the souls of your servents, because we're mortified for your name – "Yet for Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." (Psalm 44:22). We're joyful that you give us such a death, we depart from this life because of your name. Let us to participate in the eternal life in You, the source and giver of life."

Praying with this words, they bowed their holy heads and under sword and was killed by beheading by the unfortunate arians because of their confession of the divinity of Christ as true uncreated Son of God who existed before all ages before the creation of the world as we Christians believe to this date.

Some of the Christians took their holy relics and buried them outside the Melandissia Gate of the Constantinople. Later Saint John of Chrysostom built a church in their name over the place of their miracle-working relics. There the sick for many ages received divine healings  of different incurable diseases by the prayers of the holy martyrs of God, Praised in Trinity in all ages.

By the prayers of your Holy Martyrs St. Markianos and Martyrios Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on us !

Minsk Monastery trip to saint Elizabeth’s Nun Convent – Spiritual realms of Belarus

Monday, April 7th, 2014

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If you happen to be in Belarus's capital Minsk and you're a Christian you would definitely will be interested to see the spiritual side of Belarus. I was in Minsk with my wife for a month and had the chance to go for a pilgrimage in st. Elisaberth's Orthodox Christian Convent.

In Belarus about 80% of population of population are Orthodox Christians with about 7% Catholics, some 4% protestants and 9% atheists. I'm Orthodox Christian myself so mostly I kept interest in exoeriencing Orthodox religion life there. The religious life in Belarus so deeply impressed me so I decided to even document it here.

I was in a couple of Orthodox Churches during the Great Lent first week attending afternoon (Great) Repentence services canon of St. Andrew of Crete. And was amazed how many people are religious in this God fearful country. All Churches where I was during the Great Canon or Holy Liturgy was so full of people that you cannot even enter the Church if you're late for the service. People attending were also very concentrated on the service and most of the people came to services bringing most of which holding a book with the Great Repentance Canon following the service and concentrated in praying and doing ground prostrations. One thing to note is Belarusian Orthodox Church is a sub-division of Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), Belarusian doesn't have their own patriarch but are under the patriarchy of Russian and all Moscow patriarch – Kiril I.

Few weeks ago for Sunday of All Orthodoxy (Triumph of All orthodoxy) for Holy Liturgy service me and Svetlana with a close friend of her Tatyiana went to St. Elisabeth's Monastery. 
Monastery is named in honour of St. Elizabeth Feodorovna Romanova – which is the last Russian Grand Princess of the Romanov family later executed with her husband and kids by Communists Bolsheviks, canonized by ROC in the 1990s.

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The monastery as almost all Churches in Belarus is so full of people you cannot move (it seems in Russian Orthodox Church – there is an amazing spiritual awakening at the moment). I wanted to confess and even though I was in the Church building before beginning of the holy liturgy and there were two priests to confess the queue of people to confess was so long that confession lasted until the end of the Holy Liturgy. In order to able to confess I've waited on the "confession queue" for about 2 hours and a half. Even though Holy Liturgy completed confession continued and those who confessed after the Church service end was also offered the Holy Sacraments. Another stunning thing for me was the amount of young and obviously intelligent people who was in the Church – just to compare here in Bulgaria, seeing young people in most Churches and monasteries is a rare thing ..

Saint Elisabeth's Monastery is the only monastery situated in (very near 19 km away) from MINSK on Vigotskogo 6 str. We reached the monastery by taking bus from regular Minsktrans (state's bus company) city bus nr. 26, other bus and trolley riding there are – bus 18 and trolley 33, 38, 55.
Monastery was established in 1990 after dissolvement of USSR and is situatuated on a place where previously there was no church or a monastery. The SisterHood in monastery is enormous by size and consists nowadays of 7 Churches!!!

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The main Church of the Monastery has saint relics from all around the known Orthodox Walls, to venerate all the saint relics you will need at least 20 minutes!! The Holy Relics of the monastery are so much that they remind me very much of Monasteries I've seen on Holy Mounth Athos. The spiritual father of the monastery is father Andreya Lemoshonka.

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From ruromrs the sisterhood in monastery consists of about 120 sisters (and even maybe more), some of them are Nuns and others are the so called "Sisters of Mercy" (something like the "White Sisters" moveing in the Roman Catholic Church) – woman who deliberately decided to help the monastery often walking the streets shops and metro stations collecting charity for poor, sick and people in need. Sisters of mercy are something exception and seeing a lady dressed in white robes on the street or metro with a prayer book at hand is something rare to see in today's crazy materialistic world. Some of this kind sisters of mercy are novice nuns in the monastery and others are just worldly woman with family whom the monastery employes on a small renumeration.

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The cloister is a unique place next to the majestic Church buildings, the monastery has a coffeteria where you can have a coffee / snacks or even a dinner after service, there is a Church shops full of icon and all kind of orthodox spiritual literature,a Christian games for kids (Orthodox Lotto, kids collapsible Churches from cardboards) as well as a food store with fasting and non-fasting food and even a shop for Christian clothing "Православная Одежда". 

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Orthodox Clothes Shop near St. Elizabeth's monastery Minsk

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A Honey Store – St. Elizabeth Monastery Belarus

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Orthodox Foodstore near St. Elizabeth Monastery Misnk

In one of the Churches there is a 3 floor tiny shop first floor sell icons, books and faith related things, monastic souvenirs and on the second floor there is a herbal pharmacy  with healing herbs for almost all kind of physical and nervological disorders etc. Part of monastic life is the evening and morning service which occur everyday in the monastery. The spiritual father of a monastery Andreya Lemoshonka who is a married priest is also leading frequent lectures on faith and is often helping people coming to him for a spiritual advice, a problem or question related to faith. The Nuns are fasting each Monday, Wednesday and Friday – fasting also in Mondays even though this fasting day was only observed in ancient Church and in many Orthodox monasteries, Monday fastings (In veneration of Angels) is no longer observed – i.e. sisterhood life is very strict. Near the monastery is situated a Mental Hospital and one of the duties of nuns is to often visit the mentally sick there. The sisterhood helps orphanage homes and is bringing for Holy sacraments often a lot of sick children.

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Part of monastery service is sheltering the homeless, alcoholics and drug addicts offering them encouragement and work in the small monastic farm. The monastery has also workshops where people with disability work in making gloves, icons, decorations, souvenirs embroided by hand. Near the monastery there is a wooden shop where one can order all kind of custom crafted wooden wardrobes, chairs or anything wooden you like for your home.

What I saw there make my heart joyful. It seems Minsk Monastery achieved something which is rarely seen in Orthodox world a symbiosis between Faith, charity and a monetary funding model that works
The monastery very much reminded me to an Orthodox movie Forpost and to the Godly initiate in Bulgaria by father Ioan of Novi Khan who by his efforts, Gods help and the charity of hundreds of bulgarian takes care for about 150 homeless orphans in a monastery.

 

'Forpost' (Outpost) – What the Church Can Accomplish. 

As a closure word I want say Thanks and Glory be to the Holy Trinity The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit! for blessing me to the pilgrimage journet to St. Elizabeth's monastery!

Who were our ancestors – Genetic history of Europe – DNA – Truth or Machination from IGENEA

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

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As I've said earlier in my blog posts, I keep deep interest into the origin of things. Thus I'm quite interested into the origin of Bulgarian nation and rest of European nations. I've stumbled across a project called IGENEA which aims at researching into DNA of nations and determining to what kind of ancestry nation is most likely to be. The data provided by IGENEA is put into question by a lot of Historians for the reason the method of IGENEA is based merely on scientific logic and scientifical data which can't be 100% proven and there is also hypothesis as part of it. One other thing is IGENEA project has commercial side, as they offer DNA tests that can be done at home and later analyzed in iGENEA laboratory and tell you individually who are your most likely ancestors and where you're most likely to find your relatives. Igenea claism they can tell you if your DNA somehow links to famous people like Napoleon Bonapart, Michael Jackson, Nicole Kidman or even the Popoe 😉

Though of course as everything in this life the results one gets from igenea are finally based on faith, as mostly all in life is based on faith.

Though below video data might be incorrect, some general data provided for some Northern Europe nations looks trustworthy. For those interested to know exactly how IGENEA testing and analysis is done check here
As I'm a Christian and I firmly believe God Created all I support the Creationism theory, I look in the data a bit sceptical for the reason many of the results and conclusions driven from IGENEA project lay on believes in Darwin's theory credibility. Everyone who seriously considered to know where we come from has already questioned the credibility of Evolution. Anyone who digged deep already knows there are a lot of problems with Darwin's theory which are unsolvable by modern archeology 'little' species findings. Also it is big problem with the idea that man came from Africa, that credibiliy of such claims is and will probably forever stay one big Hypothesis.
Enjoy, the highly specular findings of IGENEA in below video
 


 

Who were our ancestors- Genetic history of Europe – DNA – Truth or Machination from IGENEA.

The Nativity in Christ Evangelical story of the birth of the saviour Jesus Christ in Russian language

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Rojdestvo Hristovo romanska ikona - Romanian Holy mosaic of the Nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ
I Wish Happy Christmas, to my dear readers. I wish to anyone who reads around. The Lord Jesus Christ to give good faith, peace, joy, health and heavenly blessings.

While checking various Church troparions on Nativity of Christ (including some Troparions) of the Russian Church I come across a short story, retelling the glorious events occuring around the birth of the Saviour of the world Jesus Christ! I'm currently having as a guest a girl from Belarus which and Belarusians speak Russian as their mother language. Thus I have the opportunity to learn a lot of Russian. In that relation finding such a video re-telling the story of Messiah (Christ's) birth was great opportunity to both improve my Russian language comprehension and enrich and strengthen my faith. The video is enjoyful so I hope it might help others in situation similar to mine. Enjoy!

Рождество Христово – Short Movie re-telling the Glorious story of Christ's video in Russian language

The origin of English Words and The History of English in 10 Minutes / History of King James Holy Bible

Monday, October 29th, 2012

 


 

The Origin of English Words

 

 

The History of English in 10 Minutes

 

 

Though funny and sometimes ridiculous the second presentation is quite interesting for people interested in Antrophology; how English Country and Language established and most people who somehow influence the development of English language as we know it.

 

 

Mongrel Nation – origin of english language

I knew English language used to be a mixture of French, German and dead Latin, but never thought the origin of most words are so mixed up. Also the story with King James Bible is very interesting, I never knew King James Bible Version. So widely known as ( KJV ) has plaid so essential role for English as we know it. As the video points out KJV, played most essenail role in all English history for development of the modern English language. As with mostly all else in modern developed civilization it is Strong Christian faith which play a key role in formation of a development of modern civillized society as we know it. It is a pity nowdays most English people and Westerners forgot, how important the Holy Bible (Bible btw means Book of Books Bi-Ble) and earlier Church teachings and writings were in order to have a good safety life, good fed people which live in the Western Countries.
There was a good reason Why this Holy Bible translation still is referred as King James Bible. King James (19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was a very wise man (linguist and scientist) along with being a King of Great Britain France, Scotland and Ireland.

History of the King James Holy Bible version

Ancient English used to be called Anglo-Saxon English. The called Old English is part of the Germanic Languages group, so in theory nowadays should be much easier for a German, Dutch or some western person to speak English and understand its meaning than to people who belong to other main groups of languages like Slavonic Language group. Actually Slavonic Language group has also taken a multitude of words from German language, so situation with categorizing languages is not so clear to do. It was really interesting to me to learn Dutch Language is maybe in a way more close to primordial Original Anglo-Saxon English. This explains also how comes Dutch in general contains so much English in it and also so many English lingual structure  🙂

With all said, it is clear English as we know it just a mixture of words taken from languages around the world. Colonization that  Great Britain  did in past also played essential role for the inclusion of new words within English Language and Enriching the Language so much. It is also clear, how it come to be that the English is relatively easy to learn and flexible enough to become an International Language as it is today. There were also factors the Invasive character of Great Britain, the migration of many British and Germans to America continent the creation of the United States. And the raise of the US this all played important role in wide-spread of English. Most importantly the World Politics and the interests of certain people (Masonry and Royal Groups), development of modern science, Isaac Newton and the many scientists or (pseudo-scientists) that UK give birth to played an important role for making English popular.

While talking about impact of Christian faith to English, it is no strange Africa (continent countries) and the rest of the undeveloped or so called third world countries are in such a bad condition, because many of them had never had the chance of true spiritual enlightenment through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is probably one of the reasons why western civilization was blessed to have a material goods advancement as a mean that those people help the poor and needy and spread the light of faith. Unfortunately now westerners can no longer spread the light of the faith because English Church is Anglican and is no longer in communion with the One Holy Apostolic Church – The Holy Orthodox Church. It is useful to say Anglican Church in its development as a separate Church did take some of its beliefs of Roman Catholics and some of beliefs from Protestant Reformation. I even red somewhere, the Anglican Church had a point in his history where some negotiations were made with (Greek Eastern Orthodox Church?) that Anglicans unite with the Eastern Orthodox Church. Pitily this never happened. But who knows maybe in future Anglicans will change back to the original Christian faith Orthodox Christianity.

Though King James Bible version, played important role in development of Englishman and English as we know it, some of the verses inside are translated so they correspond better to a protestant understanding of the Holy Bible than Orthodox or Roman Catholic. Besides that the bible contains less books (66 Books), whether the Orthodox Christian bible contains (77 Books).

Though missing some important books still the Bible included many new words and by letting the multitudes across Great Britain, Scotland, England and later new populated American lands it become the most rich words book for XVI th century. Thought some words in KJV are too much archaic for nowdays, the language of it is pretty close to modern English and 95% and more understandable by mostly anyone who speaks some kind of English. Because of its historical importance of forming the English Language. King James Holy Bible version is a great reading for anyone willing to learn some English. I myself has significantly improved my English by reading KJV.  Actually I believe for anyone interested in history and anthropology it is very important to study well Christianity. Christianity and faith in Christ played so huge role in our civilization development, that it is impossible for us to understand properly History and Civilization without knowing well Christian faith. I took some time to  read interesting facts related to King James Holy Bible so I found an interesting page prepared by some Christian enthusiasts which did a statistical analysis over King James Bible Content 🙂

The whole topic of Origin of Words is mostly the most important thing that should be taught at schools and universities today, as it helps us better to understand why our culture and civilization is the way we are. As long as I studied in Holland in Arnhem Business School, it is quite saddening to say nowadays Universities and modern science has so much forgot about its relation and origins to faith in God, that  even the little sort of anthropology I was told in Arnhem Business School – Human Resources and Quality Management (now known under the new official name IBS – International Business Studies) has absolutely nothing to do with real facts – the Christianity part (which is essential is totally missing).

With all said, Modern people want to have a partial truth and completely scratch out our modern civilization Christian origins. The Crisis which emerged is just a reflection of the great spiritual Chrisis and lack of faith in God that is more and more apparent this days.

 I've been lately more and more interested in Anthrophology and whether I learn a bit more I will share it here and hopefully it might be interesting to someone else too 🙂

Brave New World – a scary documentary on possible terrible outcomes of one posthuman society

Friday, May 11th, 2012

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Hi, Hi. It is me the author again. While browsing and conducting a very thoroughful research on Transhumanism. I've stucked upon a documentary movie called after Aldous Huxley's SCI-fi book Brave New World. It is probably, no co-incidence that Iron Maiden took Brave New World as a title for album that went out few years ago. Brave New World book depicts a society which is more than scary from a sane person view.

I suggest you watch the movie and talk about it and about Transhumanism to as many people as you can while, we can still talk freely. This Transhumanism and Posthumanism craziness is not just some joke, but a near future possible reality!!!!
 

Here are the 5 parts of Brave New World documentary:

 

 

Brave New World Transhuman (vision) video – part 1

Brave New World Transhuman (vision) video – part 2

Brave New World Transhuman (vision) video – part 3

Brave New World Transhuman (vision) video – part 4

Brave New World Transhuman (vision) video – part 5
 

Honestly watching the movies it was thrilling experience. I've never ever thought we humans with our insanity and strife for fake "perfection" has gone so far. I don't know why this things are not publicly shown on the TV and there are not more movies circulating on the topic. People has to organize and start opposing, the transhumanism movement and the so quickly pushed technology after technology. We don't need this stupid Virtual Reality to be happy. If we're not happy in current, reality it is more than likely we will never be happy in a Virtual Reality. Finally I would like to ask, why ever this scientists shown on the movie wants to live in a perfect disease-less world? Most if not all of them have no faith in God. At the end, the idea for ultimate perfect world is Christian in essense. Why would they want to imitate perfect God creations if they reject God's ultimate existence….

The concepts as transferring a human mind to a Virtual "existing" reality is no longer a sci-fi concept. The aim of the transhumanists and posthumanist idealogists is exactly this. They want to leave this old world behind and leave in a virtual (non-real) place.

Woe to our generation, woe for if we don't turn back the way and stay human we will end up in a terrible destruction for sure ….

The Holy Liturgy served before the Funeral Service of Pope (Patriarch) Shenouda III

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

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I've been deeply saddened to learn Pope Shenouda IIIof Alexandria – A patriarch of the Coptic Oriental Orthodox Church passed the Spirit to our Heavenly Father on 17 of March 2012. Even though officially Copt Christians are not in communion to us the Eastern Orthodox Church which my Church – Bulgarian Orthodox Church belongs to.

I've had the blessing from God to know a Coptic Orthodox Christian Baky and from what I've seen in him Copts faith is still strong. And from what, I've seen and heard from Baky and researched on the internet as well as experienced in listening their Coptic Orthodox songs I conclude, the Coptic Oriental Orthodox Church is still very spirit filled and have a great love for God. And Generally it seemed to me, their faith seemed to be stronger than our faith of many not to say most of the people who belong to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church…. Maybe it is just me or my wrong perception or maybe their church is less hunted than ours I don't know. One monk in a Bulgarian Orthodox Monastery in Pomorie said that "the Copts Christianity community is still stronger because the spiritual attack they suffer is less severe than to us the Eastern Orthodox Church" as they're not communion with the biggest part of the Orthodox Church. All this are just assumptions, only God knows how situation is. What I know is coptic music is gracious. From Eastern Orthodox point of view Coptic Orthodox Church has broken the communion with us because, they decided to reject all Church Patriarchs assembly decisions after the 4th century. So the situation with Copts is that they have conservated a big part of Christianity that used to be until the 4th century but lost the assembly of the Orthodox Church fathers. Of course as a consequence of the many centuries, some things in the Coptic Orthodox Church did changed and they're not perfectly preserved in the 4th century as they original intention was. For example, I noticed many Coptic Orthodox Church building architecture has similar patterns like some of the old Roman Catholic Churches. I guess this is normal, since we all used to be one Holy Apostolic Church in the past as we still recite during every Holy Liturgy service served in our Orthodox Churches. Another thing that is different from us the Eastern Orthodox Church is the copts Churches have a sitting bench just like in the Roman Catholic Church, I've heard they don't use them much from Baky but still the fact they have it is something probably adopted by Roman Catholics influence. Another thing I've seen from checking various things about copts on the internet is some of their copt Church icons iconography seems to be a bit influenced by Roman Catholic iconography, though I'm not completely sure about this because I don't know if Roman Catholics didn't took the iconography styling from the copts and not vice versa. A lot of the Coptic Orthodox Oriental Church langauge contains chantings from Greek and Church Slavonic. I've seen copts icons on which the language used is Greek and Ancient Bulgarian / (Church Slavonic). Some of their prayers also contain many Greek words. One of the basis prayers Lord Have Mercy, I've heard in Coptic Orthodox Churches is Greek also. Kyrie Eleison, Kyrie Eleison, Kyrie Eleison – with meaning (Lord Have Mercy, Lord Have Mercy, Lord Have Mercy). Before his passing, I've heard Pope Shenouda was hospitalized in Egypt Hospital? (if my information source is not mistaken), then I heard he was sent in a special Hospital in America. I thought they have helped him in the American hospital, but it seems they couldn't as it was Jesus's will to call the Coptic Patriarch in his his heavenly kingdom. Pope Shenouda the IIIrd was the 117 "Pope" (coming from the latin Papa (Father)) of Alexandria. As I hope Shenouda the III-rd is hopefully now in the heavenly kingdom, let him pray for me and us the still living Christians on this sinful world … Here is the funeral Church service of the Pope Shenouda. I hope this will be a blessing for some dear Christian brothers or sisters.

We Christians, need the pope prayers as the times, when we live are very mixed and we need the great mercy of Jesus Christ our Saviour to be able to endure and by his mercy and promise to receive Salvation in the end of our lives.