“Marijuana and only Marijuana,” Dan Rather concluded, “is what the Coptics are about.” The leaders of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt in Canada and the United States were not impressed. A quick and definitive response followed the program’s airing.
I named the podcast Copt Cast because I happen to be Coptic and episodes focus on issues important to Coptic youth. I welcome listeners of other denominations as well and feel that many of the topics are relatable to most people, Christian or otherwise. In all, I sought to be inclusive.
We, as a Church and community, lose greatly when women are valued for their virginity, motherhood, and subservience in marriage. They are told to be quiet and stripped of their inherent value as human beings and as children of God.
The women in my family have always been soignée. One of my earliest memories is waking up to find my mother plopped in front of her eggshell-colored vanity, glamorously applying her face moisturizer, then her eyeliner, and finally brushing her hair ever so gently. It was a sacred time for her because, in those few … Continue reading “Remember to Send Back Some Good Moisturizer”
On April 29th, Mayor Bonnie Crombie of Mississauga announced on Facebook that the City Council passed a motion to “allow for the broadcasting of the evening call to prayer (azan) from local mosques and other non-residential buildings regularly used for worship during the month of Ramadan this year.” Similar motions were passed in Milton, Markam, Ottawa, and Toronto, among other cities in Canada. Within hours of Crombie’s announcement, the Mayor’s page attracted thousands of comments and hundreds of shares, a rare level of engagement.
When you heard the protest songs and saw the signs in the streets, and looked at how public space transformed, it became apparent that the archive was everywhere and its mediums were diverse. So ultimately my draw to history was living through histor(ies) in the making and thinking about what historians of the future would write about these moments. One of the most exciting things about studying modern Coptic history is that there is so much that has yet to be written about it.
Writing from a Toronto suburb, this as an account of what I have seen. I ask for critical reflection on the world we are perpetually in the process of creating and I beg contemplation as to how we wish to be remembered by future generations.
The Coptic Church has survived through centuries of difficulty in great part because of its ability to adapt. Should its clerical leadership devise alternate means of administering the Eucharist, its own rich past shows how this rite has changed over time and how different approaches might protect the health of clergy, parishioners, and community without compromising its core beliefs.
A dear teacher, Maged Atiya was reposed to the Lord on March 1st, 2020. It was our sincere and heartfelt pleasure to know you, to hear you speak and to read your thoughtful prose as you recounted with nuance the social history of a Coptic people in diaspora. You will be missed.
At the heart of such debates, past and present, is the tremendous influence of Pope Shenouda and the many meanings of belonging to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt. In order to chart this history and offer insights on its contemporary significance, we begin with the challenges faced by early Copts in North America and then outline the changing nature of Coptic diasporic communities as a consequence of rising immigration from Upper Egypt, following the 2011 revolution.