Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

The Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States is composed of 48 priests serving the 38 churches and 28 Coptic communities. More

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The Season of the Church

Holy Great Fast

Feb 16 - Apr 3, 2015
Meshir 9 - Paremhotep 25, 1731

Today's Readings

March 30, 2015
Paremhotep 21, 1731

Since we were wounded by sin, we must treat it with penance. But penance without fast is worthless. Then by fasting justify yourself before God!
St. Basil


Readings During the Holy Great Fast

Journey through the Holy Great Fast
English | Arabic
English Detailed Outline

Holy Great Fast: Sunday Readings Only
English | Arabic

Fasting & Prayer Program 2015

The Holy Great Fast and Spiritual Discipline

The Holy Great Fast is often referred to as "The Spring of Our Spiritual Life". Spring being the most beautiful season of the year and a time of spiritual renewal.

The 55 days of the Holy Great Fast are considered the most Holy days of fasting of the Coptic Church. Fifty-five days include the forty days, which were fasted by the Lord Himself, the Passion Week, and the first initial week to prepare us spiritually before this great season of renewal. We fast to commemorate His sufferings on the Holy Cross, for spiritual discipline and our salvation.

Much has been written regarding fasting associated with foods. Yet, fasting is not only abstaining from certain foods. It is a time for us to have our hearts filled with the Holy Spirit. How can our hearts be filled with the Holy Spirit and guarded against all sin?

When we fast we exercise self-control. Fasting provides an occasion to enrich the soul and elevate it to a higher level of spiritual discipline. St Isaac said, "Having control of what we say is better than having control over our bodies, and guarding our hearts against sin is best of all."
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The Lord Jesus Christ THE Passover Lamb

(Most Biblical references apply the term "Passover" to the Paschal meal and the Feast of Unleavened Bread which followed. The Hebrew word for Passover, "pesach," is derived from the verb that means "to pass over".)

The celebration of the Passover and the correlating feast was instituted by God Himself to commemorate the deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage and the sparing of their firstborn when the destroying angel smote the firstborn of the Egyptians.

"It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, for He passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt, when He struck down the Egyptians" (Exodus 12:27).

History would also record this deliverance as the birthday of the Hebrew Nation. It was to be Israel's freedom day celebration.
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Forgiveness: A Journey to Healing

"'I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.'...'So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.'" (Matthew 18:22,35).

Forgiveness is primarily a favor done to oneself. This is because you may forgive while the opponent does not care if you do or you do not. Those who crucified the Lord Jesus did not care whether He would forgive them or not. However, He did so that healing to His emotions may take place and to set a precedence for us. Holding a grudge entails loss of peace whereas forgiveness accelerates healing.

The question often asked "does one forgive just like that" is answered by our Lord's extensively comprehensive teaching on forgiveness:

"Then Peter came to Him and said, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?' Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.'" (Matthew 18:21-22).
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Confession: Absolution, Guidance, and Growth - Part Two

A confessor comes to the seat of confession aspiring to hear Godís voice through the father of confession. This is not surprising because the Holy Spirit, one of whose titles is "the counselor" (Isaiah 11:2), functions in the Mystery of Confession. Also, the priest represents Jesus Christ and is His servant and steward of His mysteries. If this is the case, why do some leave the seat of confession still not feeling relieved? The fault might partly reside in the advice given and partly in the attitude of the confessor himself. St. Paulís words to Timothy (2 Timothy 4:1-5) concerning people with itching ears show that itching ears usually indicate sensitivity against the word of truth which causes discomfort to those who want to go after their own counsel. A good example is King Herodís reaction to John the Baptistís admonitions and warning against the fatal blunder of marrying his brotherís wife. He ended up getting rid of John the Baptist and killed him. "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers" (2 Timothy 4:3). A confessor of such an attitude seeks someone to tell him what he wants to hear not the words of truth.
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Previous Articles

Voyage Into the True Deep: Discovering the Kingdom of God
Who Can Bind the Plunderer?
What is That in Your Hand?...The Lord is in Need of It

news and events

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New Churches

Statement on the Abducted Copts in Libya by Daash

2015 Diocese Calendar

Triumphant Christian Mission

Mighty Champions Magazine - Winter Edition 2015

"The Reason for the Season"
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Diocese Educational Programs - Board of Education

Asaph Hymns Institute

(AHI) is the first ever online hymnological seminary.
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Family Ministry Program

(FMP) Summer Registration deadline: May 10, 2015
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Watch video

LEAD Program

A program for learning Christian leadership principles.
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Theological Seminary Program

Program Registration deadline: June 15, 2015
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Theological Seminary Program - Nashville

An Arabic theological program located in Nashville.
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Theological Seminary Boarding Program - Abbey

A 2 year live-in program located at St. Mary and St. Moses Abbey.
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Diocese Programs

Archangel Raphael Ministry (A.R.M.)

A program designed specifically for individuals with special needs.
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H.O.P.E. Social Services

A social services program designed to help those in need.
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St. Clement Christian Academy

This is a learning community dedicated to meeting the needs of each learner within its walls.
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St. Mark Festival Program

This is a spiritual competition among the Coptic Churches doing the same activity world wide.
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St. Verena Resource Ministry

(SVRM) Professionals networking together to make a difference and provide resources to our Coptic community. To make a request or to volunteer as a consultant.
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TIPS: Search for Job & Education Opportunities

Diocese Events

Pre-Marital Retreat

FL: Jan 15-17,2016
GA: Jun 12-14, 2015
more info

Grand Tour of Egypt and the Holy Land

May 3Ė22, 2015
more info

SUS Diocese Mission Experience Trip 2015 - Ethiopia

May 26 - Jun 5, 2015
more info

FL Newlywed Convention

Jun 5-7, 2015
more info coming soon

Extreme Family Makeover (EFM) Coptic Edition

Jun 19-21, 2015
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College Summer Convention - GA/LA/TN

Jul 23-26, 2015
more info coming soon

High School Summer Convention - GA/LA/TN

Girls: Jul 12-15, 2015
Boys: Jul 15-18, 2015
more info coming soon

High School Summer Convention - Florida

Girls: Jun 14-17, 2015
Boys: Jun 22-25, 2015
more info coming soon

Diocese Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Oct 19Ė31, 2015
Details coming soon. Registration to open in March.

Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

P.O. Box 1005
Colleyville, TX 76034

Tel: 817-841-9353
Fax: 817-704-2389

St. Stephen Retreat Center

4951 S. Washington Ave.
Titusville, FL 32780

Tel: 321-567-4961
Fax: 321-567-4955

St. Mary & St. Demiana Convent

330 Village Dr.
Dawsonville, GA 30534

Tel: 706-925-0895
Fax: 817-704-2389

St. Mary & St. Moses Abbey

101 South Vista Drive
Sandia, TX 78383

Tel: 361-547-3257
Fax: 817-231-0135