It’s been a long time since I last posted here, mostly because I’ve become ridiculously swamped by annoying things like ‘work’ and ‘education’ (fatuous, empty pursuits that they are). But I’ve been sitting on this one for a while – a brief list of some interesting Coptic blogs. I’ve been putting off publishing it because I keep stumbling across yet other great Coptic blogs, but I can always do a follow up post later with some more. So here, for your enjoyment, is a brief (and far from comprehensive) tour of the Coptic Blogosphere:
What happens when you take an ancient Christian community like the Copts and sprinkle its population in countries which are entirely alien (culturally, linguistically, socially, religiously) to its two-thousand year history? Do the Copts form an impenetrable bubble, draw themselves in and cut themselves off from the evil forces of the strange, new world around it? Sadly, sometimes the answer is yes, and the result is a community which is strong as iron internally, but totally incapable of speaking to the world around it. The bubble becomes a tomb. But the Copts would never have survived 2000 years if they didn’t possess something stronger than the winds of cultural change; we clearly have something which can withstand even the most violent and hostile intellectual and cultural environments. I don’t just mean that Copts are able to survive radical cultural changes by retreating into bunkers; I mean that no matter where you place them, they will find that they have something to say to the culture around them which is relevant and important. And that is no small feat for a two-thousand year old community that has its roots in a time when the Roman Emperor still ruled Egypt and the main alternative to Christianity was not atheism, but paganism.
The best evidence for this is the ‘Coptic blogosphere’. In this post, I’ve collected a sample (by no means comprehensive) of some of the most interesting and informative Coptic blogs from around the world. I am bound to have missed some good ones though, so please put forward any that I have missed (either your own or blogs that you like) in the comments. I should note that because I’ve limited myself to Coptic blogs here, I’ve left out all the really fantastic blogs from the wider Orthodox world, which would require another post altogether. I’m also immensely proud to point out that there is an equal number of male and female bloggers in the list that follows. So without further ado, here is my whirlwind tour of the Coptic Blogosphere – for each blog, I’ve included one post which I think sums up why their blog is worth reading:
Fr Antonios Kaldas’ Blog – (http://www.frantonios.org.au)
Fr. Antonios is a Coptic priest in Sydney, currently studying Philosophy (not at a theological college, but an entirely secular university). His blog plays host to musings on many and varied topics: practical spirituality, philosophy, theology, patristics, Coptic history, and the day-to-day experience of being a parish priest.
(PS: Once again, those who know me may suspect that something fishy is going on here, but I assure you that I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about, and really wish you would stop bringing it up.)
Exemplar Post: A New (Old) Take on Repentance
Stupidity and Humility (http://stupidityandhumility.blogspot.com.au)
This is the blog of Martha Farag, an undergraduate Philosophy and Psychology student at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Her posts are always honest, punchy and insightful. They also tend to be concise (which my posts almost never are). I also owe Martha special thanks for leading me to some of the other blogs on this list.
Exemplar Post: Misunderstanding and Inner Peace
Doxa – (http://macariusmichael.blogspot.ca)
This blog by Canadian Copt Mike Daoud features translations of some of the most beautiful expressions of 20th century Orthodox monasticism. Young English-speaking Copts may well have heard of Fr. Matthew the Poor and Pope Kyrillos VI, but if they cannot read Arabic, will never have the experience of actually reading the words of these insightful and heartfelt giants of modern Coptic Orthodoxy. There are many valuable texts here that can be found in English nowhere else except this blog.
Exemplar Post: A Strange Thing Took Place, from The Life of Fr. Benyamin the Hermit (This is an interesting, and rather funny anecdote about the late Pope Kyrillos VI from a biography of a Fr. Benyamin).
Practical Orthodoxy – Truth for Everyday Life (http://practicalorthodoxy.blogspot.co.uk)
This blog belongs to Donna Rizk, a youth servant in Anba Angaelos’ Stevenage diocese, which means that her posts are often tinged with a practical concern for youth ministry. She has a particular interest in Apologetics, which strikes a special chord with me given the very fun apologetics meetings my parish has been running for the last few years in Sydney.
Exemplar Post: Apologetics … what?
Agape – Living Orthodox Theology (http://livingorthodoxtheology.blogspot.com.au)
This is the blog of Bavly Kost, a theology student who spent some time studying at the legendary St. Vladimir’s Seminary. Like Mike Daoud, Bavly’s blog features a lot of content from the 20th century monastic revival in the Coptic Church, particularly that of Fr. Matthew the Poor. Bavly often connects this in interesting and practical ways to the youth ministry of Copts in Western countries.
Exemplar Post: Woe to the Church
Practical Orthodox Spirituality (http://returnorthodoxy.blogspot.com.au)
Raymond Melika blogs here, and his posts cover a stunning range of topics. He has a wonderful ability to make the life and teachings of the Early Church relevant to the modern world which Western Copts inhabit. If you’re interested in how the teachings of ancient Eastern Christianity relate to the New Atheists, existentialism and Protestant debates on faith and works, then Ray’s blog is well worth your time.
Exemplar Post: Mystery and Meaning
I Shall Hope – The Story of a Fallen Daughter of the King (http://ishallhope.wordpress.com)
This is blog by medical student Veronica Azmy is still fairly new, but I’ve immensely enjoyed the first few posts she’s put out (even though her posts seem largely geared towards girls). Even as a male , I can appreciate that Veronica’s posts represent a powerful, Christian corrective to the damaging expectations and assumptions laid upon young women in Western culture.
Exemplar Post: A Word for the Ladies