Holy Smoke: Egypt’s Copts Discover the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church

“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.

“Remember to Send Back Some Good Moisturizer”

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”

This is My COVID-19 Story (so far). What is Yours?

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.

Debating Christmas Day: Copts, Calendars and the Immigrants’ Church

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.

The Shorter Version of a Dream

During the Sadat era, he lost many of his friends to Salafi organizations. He recalls vividly being called “kafir” by an old friend while the friend’s mother pled with him: “Yousief, Yousief, forgive him—he makes our life miserable too.” Baba kept walking, and between that and the metal factory and no college degree, it was time to move on.

Stories on a Mirror

For "Arrivals and Departures: the Journeys of the Copts and their Artifacts," attendees were invited to reflect on their journeys, write a short note, and then place it on a mirror for the next participant to reflect and add upon; like ships passing in the night. These ephemeral memories stuck to a mirror only briefly, now transformed to a digital medium and retold, carry with them the experiences of Coptic emigres who’ve come to call Canada home.