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.
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 conference demonstrated the productivity of gathering together across different ethnic and religious identities to study the histories our communities are preserving, interpreting, and sharing every day.
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.
I never understood what it was exactly that made my father leave until I visited Egypt for the first time as an adult. When I met his brother (my uncle) for the first time, he told me that my dad was “too honest for Egypt, and that’s why he had to leave.”
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.
Welcome back for part 2 of Coptic Canadian Women Discuss. Join Meray Metias and her friends as they tackle how they navigate their gender within the Church; how they negotiate their multiple identities within family, community, and social circles; and, they share their thoughts on how Coptic churches can maintain a relationship with Coptic Canadian youth. At the heart of their stories of adaptation, lay a common inter-generational struggle as immigrants and their children work to strike a balance between two worlds.
We hope you find this discussion educational and are motivated to help preserve the history and heritage of your communities for future generations. Archival preservation offers many benefits to you, your family, your community, your city, and to our collective understanding of diverse immigrant communities that have, and continue to contribute to these many places we now call 'home.'
In this episode, Joseph Youssef (PhD candidate in Anthropology, University of Toronto) kindly shares his history and his experiences with us, as an Egyptian immigrant to Toronto and an anthropologist of Coptic monasticism in Egypt and its diasporas. His fascinating research sheds light on the pitfalls of mythologizing and romanticizing monks. Rather, as he argues, we must understand their humanity and appreciate how modernization continues to affect their spiritual lives.
To paraphrase St. Athanasius, fourth century bishop of Alexandria, Christ became human so humanity can become God. This essential point marks how all humans can be united in endeavoring for unity and prosperity. My understanding of this contribution by St. Athanasius to Christian theology is vital to my own growth and continues to inform my holistic approach as a chaplain.