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Father Bishoy Andrawes | The official blog of Fr. Bishoy Andrawes, Priest of St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church of Washington, DC

Work Around Your Abyss

There is a deep hole in your being, like an abyss.  You will never succeed in filling that hole, because your needs are inexhaustible.  You have to work around it so that gradually the abyss closes.

Since the hole is so enormous and your anguish so deep, you will always be tempted to flee from it.  There are two extremes to avoid: being completely absorbed in your pain and being distracted by so many things that you stay far away from the wound you want to heal. (The Inner Voice of Love – Henri Nouwen)

Why Millions Love Pope Shenouda Very Much?

I haven’t been myself since Saturday when I heard the news of the departure of our beloved Pope and Patriarch Anba Shenouda III. We did not lose just the church leader but we lost OUR FATHER! I lost MY father and so did Millions who are gathered in these attached pictures. People walked miles, stood more than 10 hours in lines, some fainted and some passed away in these long lines. WHY??? They just wanted to say good bye to THEIR FATHER!

Fatherhood is not something I can explain but I only can experience. I can say confidently: it’s the best thing in the world. If you have a good father blessed are you. If you never experienced the love of a father you are missing out on  a lot! I didn’t get to enjoy my biological father a lot. He worked abroad and died when I was a teenager. My Good Father in heaven sent me spiritual fathers and mentors who influenced my life positively beyond words. His Holiness Pope Shenouda was one of them! He taught me through his sermons and books. When I became a priest He guided, supported and trusted me as a true father with his son.

The amazing thing here is that Pope Shenouda did that with thousands of clergy (bishops, priests and monks). He was close to thousands and millions of others. He helped them spiritually, emotionally, financially and more. HOW??? I have been thinking about this for days and the only answer that comes to me is: this is the FATHERHOOD of God given to Pope Shenouda as a spiritual gift so he can shepherd his flock. He was very compassionate like God! Very gentle beyond measure! He really showed the love and compassion of God in his dealings with every one as well as his sermons and teaching.

Thank you God for giving us such a father! Thank you for Your  everlasting fatherhood!

(Pictures of hundreds of thousands standing at the gate of the Cathedral in Cairo hoping to just have a look at their father to say good bye.)

For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 1 Corinthians 4:15

Spiritual Maturity Journal

Focus of week 1:

With the beginning of every New Year, there is a clear, new grace God sends to each of His children.  God’s people ought to use it and be strengthened by it.  It is good for us to know what is this specific grace, and to understand what area of our life God is intending to change.  Our Prayers then will be strengthened by this grace and this change occurs gradually.

It is important to clarify here that sometimes the goal of grace is to take us one step at a time to reach a spiritual rule (life), and follow our Lord Jesus in the orthodox (straight) way as true disciples.

We will therefore put here readings that are closely related and knitted together, to direct the soul on the ways of God and to walk in it.

Every day we will have 2 simple steps to follow:

Step 1: Read the passage and answer some questions (written) that will help you get a message out of the passage. This step is only to help you but if you feel that connected to the verses in a different way or a personal way then don’t let these questions limit you.

Step 2: Pray from the passage or pray about the passage.

A Prayer.

A prayer by Newman quoted by Mother Teresa:

Dear Jesus, help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of yours. Shine through me, and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel your presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me, but only Jesus.

If I were a Copt

I usually don’t like to post any thing related to politics but I some how liked this article.

“If I were a Copt, I would flood Egypt, and the world, with the facts about the overall atmosphere that is pressuring the Copts in Egypt today.

“If I were a Copt, I would familiarize the world with the injustices caused to many Copts in Egypt since [the Free Officers Revolution in] 1952. They don’t get the high-level political posts and executive positions that they deserve, not to mention their sparse [representation] in parliament.

“If I were a Copt, I would create a ruckus in Egypt, and in the world, over the fact that I pay taxes with which the state funds Al-Azhar University, while [Al-Azhar] does not permit Copts to attend any of its institutes.

“If I were a Copt, I would make a huge commotion in the world, because my taxes fund the construction of dozens of mosques, but, since 1952, the Egyptian state has not participated in the building of a single church, except for president Gamal Abd Al-Nasser’s participation in funding the construction of the St. Marc Cathedral in Al-’Abasiyya, 40 years ago…

“If I were a Copt, I would publish articles, one after another, about how the [Egyptian] media ignores matters [concerning me] and my religious holidays – as if I and the Copts did not exist in Egypt.

“If I were a Copt, I would tell the entire world [how] the Coptic history of Egypt [is handled] in the Egyptian curriculum, and how the study material for the Arabic language no longer [includes] literary texts, qasidahs, poetry, stories, plays, and legends, but [only] Islamic texts which [belong] with the study material for religion [class] for Muslim pupils.

“If I were a Copt, I would flood the world with complaints about the suffering Copts go through [merely] in order to obtain a license to build a church – with their own funds, not with the public taxes that [they] participate in paying.

“If I were a Copt, I would bring the world to its feet because of the terrible things that some Muslim writers write and disseminate – about how a Copt should not be permitted to be the head of state, on [how a Copt should pay] the jizya [poll tax paid by protected non-Muslims under Islam], and how Copts should not be drafted into the military… [such as] the idiotic statements by Dr. Muhammad ‘Imara [from Al-Azhar] – whose budget comes from the taxpayers, including the Copts…

“If I were a Copt, I would conduct a campaign within [Egypt], and outside it, to abolish the ‘religion’ entry on the Egyptian identity card. Why should someone who conducts a relationship with me on the general and public level want to know what my religion is?…

“If I were a Copt, I would make the world understand that the issue of the Copts in Egypt is one of the symptoms of a [certain] mentality, whose influence has spread through this region of the world, and that all humanity must force [those] with this mentality to reconsider this discriminatory path.”

What is a Mother?






Taxi Driver







The Mother of the Church

As Orthodox we do emphasize the importance of the role of the church’s leader(s) or the priest(s). We often underestimate the role of the priest’s wife. In my opinion, her role is of a higher importance. She is the behind-the-scene support. If he is the father of the church she is the “Mother of the Church” who works behind the scene in love and humility to support the priest to support the church.

On the occasion of Mother’s Day I would like to recognize my wife “Irinie” and her role in supporting me and the church. I always told her “I think God chose you for the job before choosing me”. All the blessings that I have experienced in the ministry have to do with her and her support. I would have never been where I’m now without her and the church would have never been where it is now without her.God wanted to confirm this message to me (and to the church) lately in a strong way. She went last week by herself to Canada to visit her sick mother for a couple of days. I had to stay with the kids for these couple of days and tried to do my ministerial work as usual. It was a challenge! I used 15 baby sitters, I got sick with a bad flu, didn’t get any thing done and finally we had to cancel a service on Sunday! If I leave the church for a couple of weeks no body notices but she leaves for a couple of days every thing turns upside down!

Just wanted to recognize my dearest wife on Mother’s day. Happy Mother’s Day!


Give it up for God’s sake!

So many people are enslaved to their jobs. They have no life but don’t know what to do. No time even to look for another job; if there are any available jobs! Some brave people decide to give it up for God. It’s a test of faith: is God going to find them another job? Will they be unemployed forever?!

Just wanted to share with you what this young lady did bravely. She has a very good position in a consulting company …I will have you hear the story from her. May be this will encourage you to do it. if you have a similar experience please feel free to post it as a comment.

I had been struggling with the idea of leaving my job for the past 3 years.  The main problems I had with my job were the long hours and travel.  After I began serving as a Sunday School teacher, the problems I had with my job intensified because I couldn’t give to the service the way God wanted me to.  One evening, during my weekly Servant’s meeting, I confessed to my fellow servants that it was a huge challenge for me to adequately give to the service due to my job.  At the same exact time, two servants said “Just Quit”.  For the next week, all I kept hearing in my head was “Just Quit” and it was becoming more and more clear that this was from God.  Without thinking about the outcome, I contacted my Partner and met with him right away.  I walked into my Partner’s office and said, “I am here to formally resign”.  I had no back-up plan, but I had a peace within me that I knew was from Heaven.  My Partner asked me why I wanted to leave and I told him that my job was getting in the way of me being able to serve my God.  To my surprise, he told me that he would find a position within my firm that would provide me with a 40 hour work week and no travel.  He also told me that if the new position didn’t work out, he would personally help me find another position within or outside of my firm.  The last thing he said to me was, “I wish there were more people at this firm with your values”.  It was then that I knew this was from God.” –G. O.

Oh by the way she is now working half the hours she used to work and getting the SAME salary!!!

On This Day

February 8, 1998 his Holiness Pope Shenouda III along with 9 other bishops consecrated the alter of our church on the name of St. Mark the Apostle.

Are you serving a lot?!

I got this e-mail from a faithful servant in our church and thought to share it as I benefited from it:

As I am running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to do 10,000 things for the church this morning, someone bought me a tear away calendar that has a verse for every day and today’s verse was from 1 Chronicles 29:16.

“O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand, and is all Your own.” (1 Chron 29:16)

It was a nice reminder of Who is in charge. It goes along also with yesterday’s bible study lest I think that I am doing anything of my own efforts while serving God. “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven” (John 3:27). Truly, God is the one blessing our church and all its ministries and services and it is a blessing to serve Him.

Don’t forget to stop, drop and pray!

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