September 2012 letter
In this month of September we are approaching the beginning of the new Coptic year 1729 A.M. The church honors the martyrs by mentioning them after the Virgin Saint Mary and the heavenly orders and the patriarchs and prophets and apostles. The church considers the martyr’s feast to be the day of his / her martyrdom, and retains their relics as valuable treasures, and consecrates their icons and celebrates their feasts.
And the history of the Church testifies that martyrdom is a feature of the church in all ages, so when studying their lives we find examples of all classes and ages. Among them we find:
1) Princes: like Saints Behnam and Sarah, his sister, the children of Sennacherib, King of Persia.
2) Governors: like Arianus the governor of Ansena, and Mark the governor of El-Borollus, the father of St. Demiana.
3) Army leaders: like Philopateer Mercurius and George of Cappadocia.
4) Patriarchs and bishops: like Peter the seal of martyrs, and Ignatius of Antioch.
5) Priests: like Abba Kloag.
6) Deacons: like Stephen the Archdeacon, and Timothy and his bride Maura.
7) Monks: like the strong Abba Moses, and the forty nine martyrs elders of Shiheet.
8) Mothers: like Rebecca and Mother Dolagy.
9) Children and youth: like Abanoub of Nehisa and Cyriacus.
10) Philosophers: like Paul the Apostle and Justin.
11) Rich merchants: like Sedhom Bishay.
12) Recent martyrs: martyrs of Kosh-h and the church of El-Quedisein.
From all the above examples it is clear that martyrdom is a feature of the church at all ages and every place. Martyrdom is a proof of faithfulness of the church and the people to our Lord. As the church lives faithfulness it will be exposed to persecution “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2Ti 3: 12).
As for the church news: after a long waiting period of court hearing in the Township of Belleville, we’re expecting the decision for the approval of the church Youth Center by September 6th. Please keep this subject in your prayers, and may the blessings of St. Mary St. Mercurius and the blessing of our holy martyrs support the project and be with us always, Amen.
Fr. Youssef Halim & Fr. Luke Istafanous