Showing posts with label Coptic Christians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Coptic Christians. Show all posts

Saturday, May 19, 2012

What the Arab Spring can learn from the history of the Catholic Church and democracy

What the Arab Spring can learn from the history of the Catholic Church and democracy

The following excerpt is from

In the long history of the Church, its embrace of democracy is still relatively new. David Forte is a historian and a professor of law, he says the Church's support of democracy helped to create many of Europe's modern political parties.

David Forte
Professor of Law, Cleveland State University (USA)

“One of the things that I've been researching is how Catholicism moved from an initial position against liberal democracy in the 19th century because of persecutions by Napoleon and the French Revolution to as not only embracing it but becoming one of it's great sponsors in Christian Democracy.”

Professor Forte met with members of Rome's Acton Institute, a conservative think tank that promotes individual freedoms with religious principles.

They say the Church's support of democracy can serve as an example to countries that are transitioning from autocratic regimes to a representative government. In Egypt, where elections have boosted the Muslim Brotherhood, observers say this could tension relations with neighboring Israel.

David Forte
Professor of Law, Cleveland State University (USA)

“So far as I know, all the presidential candidates have been supporters of Hamas, against Israel in the past. So the continuation of peace with Israel looks very iffy with the development of the Muslim Brotherhood's strength.”

Egypt is also home to a large population of Coptic Christians, that make up around 9% of Egypt's 80 million people. The protection of religious freedom and maintaining good relations with neighbors are two prescriptions that Professor Forte and other observers hope to see carried out in these emerging democracies.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The story of Uriel, the 'forgotten' archangel

The video and following news story is from

Michael, Raphael and Gabriel are the archangels of the Latin Catholic tradition. But according to Coptic Christians of Eritrea and the Jewish tradition, there is yet another one: archangel Uriel.

Marcello Stanzione
Angel Expert (Rome)

“The fact is that the Coptic Christians of Ethiopia and Eritrea worship archangel Uriel. Also, Anglicans. July 11 is his feast day. Uriel is an archangel, even if he's not recognized in our Catholics texts.”

According to apocryphal Gospels, Uriel helped save St. John the Baptist, from the slaughter ordered by Herod. According to another tradition, Uriel led John the Baptist, and his mother St. Elizabeth to Egypt.

This reportedly inspired Leonardo da Vinci to paint his famous piece titled “The Virgin of the Rocks.”

Priest Marcello Stanzione has collected all the documents that make reference to Uriel. He even wrote a book titled “Inchiesta su Uriele.

L'arcangelo scomparso,” meaning “An investigaion of Uriel, the lost archangel.

Marcello Stanzione
Angel Expert (Rome)

“In Rome, archangel Uriel appeared before the Sicilian priest Antonio Lo Duca and told him to build a church in the Termini area. That church is the famous church of the angels and the martyrs, located at the Exedra Plaza.”

According to Stanzione, the Sicilian priest then told pope Pius VI about the apparition. The pope then asked Michelangelo to design the church.

But despite all this, for many Catholics archangel Uriel is an unknown figure.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Virgin Mary Appearing in Egypt

Numerous reports in various articles throughout the internet have claimed that the Virgin Mary is appearing at the Coptic Orthodox Church in El-Warraq, Cairo, Egypt. Is it a sign from God that Christians and Muslims should work together for a common cause? Is the claims of an apparition of the Virgin Mary a call for Christians and Muslims to live together in peace?

The Daily Star - Arts & Culture - Late nights in Egypt with the 'Virgin Mary'

The following excerpt is written by Agence France Presse from The Daily Star:

CAIRO: Every night in the run-up to Christmas, thousands of Egypt’s Coptic Christians have been gathering in a Cairo suburb eager for a glimpse of a vision that has given hope to their marginalized community.

It is three hours past midnight in Al-Warraq, a poor working class neighborhood, and a 10,000-strong crowd is silently staring at the sky. Then the appearance of a mysterious light over the church’s bell tower jolts the gathering into a frenzy of cries and ululations. They imagine it is an apparition of the Virgin Mary.

Thousands have been coming nightly since the first sighting of the Virgin Mary on December 10, in the hope of being blessed by her light. The prospect of benediction is being depicted as a much-needed morale boost for the Christian minority, which complains of systematic discrimination and marginalization.

Tea vendors and sweet sellers snake through the crowd where thousands of families have gathered with young children and babies.

“The first person to spot … the Virgin Mary was a Muslim neighbor,” said Father Fishay, a priest at the Warraq church. “He took a video and pictures and distributed them to everyone.”

Hassan, the Muslim neighbor in question, was sitting at his coffee shop at around 8:30 p.m. when he saw a strong light coming from the church. Others began to notice the light and saw a bird circling overhead. At around 2 a.m., Fishay said, a vision of the Virgin Mary appeared.

News of the apparition prompted hundreds to rush out with mobile phones to capture the momentous event. “It’s her, with her blue-and-white clothes,” enthused Rami, 36. “There is no doubt about it. It cannot be an illusion.”

“The church closes its doors in the evening,” said Fishay in his measured manner. “We were not there when the image appeared the first time, so we decided to come back the second night.”

Nabil, 32, his wife Mariam, 28, and their three children came from Shubra al-Kheima, some 20 kilometers away, to receive the Virgin’s blessings. “Her appearance means she approves of us and if she blesses us,” Mariam opined. “We will stay ’til morning.”

Her husband said the sighting proves that Christianity is still alive. He is angry over the recent publication of an article in a periodical of Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, Sunni Islam’s highest seat of learning, questioning the foundations of Christianity. “The apparition of the Virgin Mary,” he said, “means that Christianity is real and the Bible is real.”

Around 10 percent of the 80 million population, Egypt’s Christians complain they are kept out of jobs in the army, judiciary and universities.

“It is not possible to know the reason for the Virgin’s appearance,” Fishay said.

“Maybe it will end the state of tension between Muslims and Christians and an end to extremism. Maybe it’ll bring back forgiveness like there once used to be in Egypt.”

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