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I held interest in Coptic Orthodox Church. As I had meet a Coptic Orthodox Christian and his faith has significantly impressed me. Before some time I've found on youtube a video talking about one Australian person who from Atheist become Coptic Christian and later choose a living as Desert Monk Father in one of the most ancient Christian monasteries monastery Saint Anthony The Great. Father's Lazarus until this very day lives in Saint Anthony's Monastery. You can see an interesting documentary about fr. Lazarus "different life" in the Last Anchorite a Movie about Coptic Oriental Orthodox hermit life.
Every Orthodox Christian as well as any Christianity historian should know very well the name of st. Anthony the Great. St. Anthony is probably the father of Monastic life and the monastic tradition started by his followers is living in various Christian monasteries (predominary Eastern Orthodox and Coptic Orthodox) all around the world. The monastery was established in year 356 by direct followers of the Great saint. Saint Anthony himself was illiterate but same time achieved holiness and God knowledge which only few in whole human history did. Recently my personal thoughts on Human Progress, ProgRes = (Programmed Resources), were leading in the same path testifying myself that the the path of "Higher Education" and big knowledge we all took, though leading us to big inventions and "fleshly developments" is more and more depriving us of the path of Truth and Love for God, which in its essence is a life of simplicity and humility.
Saint Anthony's desert Monastery is one of the oldest Christian monasteries in history of mankind. It is one of the innumerous God miracles that the monastery built by saint Anthony's pupils is existing until today for already ABOUT 17 centuries (1700 YEARS!!!!)! It is located deep in the Red Sea Mountains (334 km from egypt Capital Cairo) very near to the Saint Catherine's Eastern Orthodox Monastery.
Saint Anthony the Great, is among the most venerated Christian saints also for the reason he fearlessly defended true Christianity from the heresy of Arius during first Ecumenical Council in Nicea A.D. 325. Arianism used to be one of the most deadly spiritual heresies since the Birth of Christ's Church. Arians rejected the Godly nature of Christ. Many protestant Christian sects nowadays are matching teachings taught by Arians.
Below movie BBC Extreme Pilgrim – Ascetic Christianity was produced by a Protestant (Anglican) Priest Father Peter Owes. From an Eastern Orthodox Christian perspective it is interesting to see his easy digestive "pinky" view on Christian faith and general life as it is typical for most western people.
Saint Athonoy's Cave and Saint Anthony Monastery – Extreme Pilgrim – Ascetic Christianity
During watching the movie some of his sayings are quite inappropriate and very much displaying the protestant bloated view of Christianity that is ruling over England, however near the end of the movie one can see Peter's change for good (the monastery and monks prayers changed him); he talks more spiritually wise and he started changing his understanding of Christianity and life. As the Extreme Pilgrim Ascetic is a few parts documentary the other 2 parts are exploring the Wondering Mystics of the Himalayas Mountains and a Confu-Monks of Central China (Buddhism) etc.
As most of the people in the Western World, though Peter being a devoted Christian and priest in the Church of England (Anglican Church), "pater" Owes does not have obviously clear understanding on True Christian belief system. In his complete sequelmovie he is putting on the same plane Buddhism, Mysticism and Christianity lowering truthfulness of our Christian faith to the other religions! This is no strange as this tendency is quite evident in Western European Countries (mixed Roman Catholic / Protestant countries). The previous Roman Catholic Pope himself John Paul II was for unification of all world religions not in the name of Jesus Christ but in the name of a fake (anti-Christian) World Peace.
For Christians not aware of the existence of Ecumenical World Religious Unification movement check Ecumenism – A terrible treat to Orthodox Christianity see here.
It is great Father Peter made this video so we Christians can have a look on how a hermit christian life is like. Though the movie is so nice the general message it spreads sadly is very much in the spirit of World Religions Ecumenism that is so popular in these days, so Christians has to be careful with that.
Hopefully after he experienced some authentic hermitage Christianity, Peter Owes spiritual eyes will re-open for the true Christian Church and faith tradition kept in , the One Holy Apostolic Church – the Orthodox Church. I should also mention, that though Coptic Spirituality is on such a high level, Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is sadly officially not in eucharist communion with Easter Orthodox Church due to their rejection of the Ecumenical Councils after the III-rd Ecumenical Church Council (gathering). Along with preserving a very ancient Church tradition practices in the Coptic Church, from what I've saw in further researching about Coptic Orthodox Church has a bit of inclanation in iconography towards Roman Catholicism iconography. Of course some of this Roman Catholic iconography fragments are also evident in some of 19th century iconography in Russia, but in general in rest of Eastern Orthodox world this is much less than what I see in Coptic Church.
Most of the belief system and feast days of Coptic Orthodox Christians is almost identical to the rest of the Eastern Orthodox Church, making our Churches core teaching identical, however we're not officially one Church in holy communion unionl.
From what I've saw also it is evident that Coptic Church adopted a lot of arts along with the Greek language for their liturgy, as they sing the Kyrie Eleison prayer in Greek = (Lord Have Mercy). Also something to be noted is some of early Christian traditions in Copts were unchanged, they make the sign of the cross (from left to right) – little similar to Roman Catholics, whether we the Eastern Orthodox Christians, make the sign of the cross from right to left – you might want to see at my previous article why Orthodox Christians make the sign of the Cross different from Roman Catholics.
In any means, I'm mostly thankful to God will blessing me to have a look at the Cave of Saint Anthony – where he spend most of his life and the Great monastic life they still thankfully lead in this spiritual cloister ! I also hope my little post will be of help of people searching for Authentic Christianity and interested to strengthen their faith.
Here is the Church prayers saint Anthony the Great Glorification Hymns (Troparion and Kontaktion) as we sing them in the Eastern Orthodox Church:
Troparion (Tone 8)
- You are most glorious, O Christ our God!
- You have established the Holy Fathers as lights on the earth!
- Through them you have guided us to the true faith!
- O greatly Compassionate One, glory to You!
Kontaktion (Tone 8)
- The Apostles' preaching and the Fathers' doctrines have established one faith for the Church.
- Adorned with the robe of truth, woven from heavenly theology,
- It defines and glorifies the great mystery of Orthodoxy
Let by the Holy Prayers of Saint Anthony the Great, God have mercy on all of us Orthodox Christians.