I’M NEW

“Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” – Romans 15:7

Our Reverend Father Daoud Tawadrous welcomes you and your family to Saint Anthony Coptic Orthodox Church in Maitland Florida. We are a church of the Orthodox Christian Faith which was established on the day of Holy Pentecost in the Year 33 AD. Our church is part of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States under the auspices of His Grace Bishop Youssef.

Through this web site, we are pleased to be able to introduce you to the same worship and fellowship as it is expressed in the life of our church. If you are a member of our church, or are considering joining our community, these web pages will acquaint you with what our church offers.  We pray that you will enjoy learning more about the Orthodox Church and our church and we welcome you to join us in worship as we continue our journey of faith.

CORE BELIEFS

We believe that God is one fullness of perfection; we believe that He is a perfect Spirit, timeless, without beginning, all-powerful and all-wise. God is everywhere, sees all, and knows beforehand when something will happen. He is good beyond measure, just and all-holy. He needs nothing and is the reason for everything that exists.

We believe that all things are under God’s control; that is, He provides for every creature and guides everything to a good goal. God loves and looks after us as a mother looks after her child. For this reason nothing bad can befall a person who trusts in God.

We believe that God is one in Essence and Trinity in Persons (i.e., the one true God has appeared to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the Trinity, one in Essence and indivisible. The Father is not born and does not proceed from the others. The Son pre-eternally was born of the Father, and the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds from the Father. We believe that all the Persons of the Holy Trinity are equally in divine perfection, greatness, power, and glory. That is, we believe that the Father is true and perfect God, the Son is true and perfect God, and, the Holy Spirit is true and perfect God. Therefore, in prayers, we simultaneously glorify the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as one God.

We believe that the entire visible and invisible world was created by God. In the beginning God created the invisible, great angelic world, otherwise known as Heaven. As stated in the Bible, God created our material or physical world from nothing. This was not done at once, but gradually during periods of time which in the Bible are called “days.” God created the world not out of necessity or need but out of His all-good desire to do so in order that His other creations might enjoy life. Being Himself endlessly good, God created all things good. Evil appeared in the world from the misuse of free will, with which God has endowed both angels and people. For example, the Devil (Satan) and his demons were at one time angels of God. But they rebelled against their Creator and became demons. They were cast out of Heaven and formed their own kingdom called “hell.” From that moment on, they tempted people to sin and became our enemies and the enemies of our salvation.

We believe that the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, came down from heaven for our salvation. He came to earth and took on our flesh by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. Being God from all eternity, He in the time of King Herod took on our human nature, both soul and body, and is therefore truly God and truly man, or the God-man. In one divine Person He combined two natures, divine and human. These two natures will remain with Him always without change, neither blending nor changing from one into the other.

We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ, while living on earth, enlightened the world by His teaching, His example, and miracles. He taught people what they should believe and how they should live so that they may inherit eternal life. By His prayers to His Father, His complete obedience to the Father’s Will, His sufferings and death, He defeated the devil and redeemed the world from sin and death. By His Resurrection from the dead, He laid the foundation for our resurrection. After His Ascension in the flesh to Heaven, which took place forty days after His Resurrection from the dead, our Lord Jesus Christ sat at the right hand of God the Father; that is to say, He received equal power with God the Father and since then together with Him governs the face of the world.

We believe that the Holy Spirit, proceeding from God the Father from the beginning of the world, together with the Father and the Son gives existence to all creation, gives life, and governs all. He is the source of a grace-filled spiritual life, both for angels as well as people, and equally with the Father and the Son is worthy of all glory and worship. The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament spoke through the prophets. Then in the beginning of the New Testament, He spoke through the Apostles and now lives in the Church of Christ, guiding her pastors and people in the truth.

We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ founded the Church on earth for the salvation of all who believe in Him. He sent the Holy Spirit to the Apostles on Pentecost. Since that time the Holy Spirit abides in the Church, that grace-filled community or union of believing Orthodox Christians, and preserves her in the purity of Christ’s teaching. The grace of the Holy Spirit abides in the Church, cleanses those who repent of sins, helps the believers grow in good deeds, and sanctifies them.

We believe that the Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. She is One because all Orthodox Christians, although belonging to different national, local churches, are one family together with the angels and saints in Heaven. The oneness of the Church depends on oneness of Faith and Grace. The Church is Holy because her faithful children are sanctified by the word of God, prayer, and the Sacraments. The Church is Catholic because what we believe is the same teaching held to be true by all Orthodox Christians, always and everywhere. The Church is called Apostolic because it preserves Apostolic teaching and the Apostolic succession. From ancient times, this Apostolic succession passes on without interruption from Bishop to Bishop in the sacrament of Ordination. The Church will remain of our Lord and Savior until the end of time.

We believe that before the end of the world Jesus Christ, accompanied by angels, will again come to the earth in glory. Every person, according to His Word, will resurrect from the dead. A miracle will occur in which the souls of people who have died will return into the bodies which they possessed during their earthly life. All the dead will come to life. During the General Resurrection, the bodies of the saints, both those resurrecting and those still living will be renewed and become spiritualized in the image of the Resurrected Body of Christ. After the resurrection, everyone will appear before the Judgment of Christ, to receive what he is due, according to what he has done when he lived in his body, good or evil. After the Judgment, unrepentant sinners will enter into eternal torments and the righteous into eternal life. This will begin the Kingdom of Christ, which will have no end.

THE CREED OF FAITH

 

We believe in one God, God the Father the Pantocrator who created heaven and earth, and all things seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages; Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not created, of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made; Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy spirit and the Virgin Mary and became Man. And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered and was buried. And on the third day He rose from the dead, according to the scriptures, ascended to the heavens; He sits at the right hand of his Father, and He is coming again in His glory to judge the living and the dead, Whose kingdom shall have no end. Yes, we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Life-Giver, Who proceeds from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And in one holy, catholic and apostolic church. We confess one baptism for the remission of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the coming age. Amen.

COME AND SEE.

New vis­i­tors will find there are many new things to expe­ri­ence in a Cop­tic Ortho­dox Church ser­vice. Feel free to go at your own pace, ask any ques­tions you want, and know you are most wel­come to “come and see.”

The tra­di­tional pos­ture for prayer and wor­ship in the Ortho­dox Church is to stand, as before the King of the uni­verse! In many churches in Egypt, there are typ­i­cally no pews in the churches. Chairs or benches on the side walls are usu­ally reserved for the elderly and infirm. In Amer­ica, we build our churches with pews or chairs, so you may sit. How­ever, it is appro­pri­ate to stand dur­ing the Gospel read­ing, the Anaphora through the Insti­tu­tion Nar­ra­tive, the dis­tri­b­u­tion of the Holy Mys­tery, when the priest gives a bless­ing, and at the Dismissal.

Light­ing can­dles is an impor­tant part of Ortho­dox wor­ship and piety. We light can­dles as we pray, mak­ing an offer­ing to accom­pany our prayers. Ortho­dox typ­i­cally light can­dles when com­ing into the church, but there are times when can­dles should not be lit. Can­dles should not be lit dur­ing the Epis­tle or Gospel read­ings, and dur­ing the ser­mon. You do not have to be an Ortho­dox Chris­t­ian to light a can­dle and pray!

Between 65–75% of the tra­di­tional Cop­tic Liturgy involves con­gre­ga­tional singing. Cop­tic Chris­tians do not use musi­cal instru­ments with the excep­tion of the cym­bals and tri­an­gle, which are used sim­ply to keep musi­cal time. A choir of dea­cons leads the con­gre­ga­tion in har­mo­nious chant, usu­ally in Cop­tic and Eng­lish. Our hymns are solemn, prayer­ful and intended to lead the faith­ful to wor­ship the liv­ing God.

Yes, absolutely. We are a com­mu­nity made up of both cradle-born Ortho­dox Chris­tians and those who have con­verted to the faith. We are very com­fort­able with new­com­ers, inquir­ers, and vis­i­tors. Any­one who wishes to dis­cover ancient Cop­tic Ortho­dox Chris­tian­ity is welcome. If you have ques­tions, the parish priest will be happy to answer them. So don’t be afraid to ask ques­tions about what we do and why.

When you enter a church, some­one will greet you and direct you to a place to sit. We have books of our Divine Liturgy in Eng­lish, Cop­tic, and Ara­bic to every­one. In addi­tion, we have a large Pow­er­point pre­sen­ta­tion that updates con­tin­u­ously dur­ing the Liturgy with the prayers. You may fol­low the ser­vice text, or, if you pre­fer, sim­ply close your eyes and enter into the Church’s beau­ti­ful wor­ship of God.

Fol­low­ing the Sun­day Divine Liturgy, you are invited to join us for a “cof­fee hour” which is a good time to get to know our parish mem­bers and meet our priest.

Ortho­dox priests may only serve the Holy Eucharist to bap­tized mem­bers in good stand­ing of the canon­i­cal Ortho­dox Church, who have recently con­fessed, and fasted before par­tak­ing of the Holy Eucharist. This is the ancient tra­di­tion of the Holy Church for the 2,000 years of its his­tory. The Ortho­dox Church under­stands the Holy Eucharist as a mys­tery of the real pres­ence of Christ in the Eucharist, not sim­ply as a memo­r­ial, or merely in a spir­i­tual sense, as many other non-Orthodox Chris­tians do. Rather than try­ing to accom­mo­date to often vary­ing “inter­pre­ta­tions” or revi­sions of this and other doc­trines of the ancient faith, we sim­ply ask that you respect the ancient, apos­tolic tra­di­tion and join us in receiv­ing the Eulo­gia (blessed bread), at the end of the Divine Liturgy.

On Sat­ur­day evenings, the Evening Rais­ing of Incense ser­vice (Ves­pers) is gen­er­ally 30–45 min­utes in length, includ­ing a short homily in Ara­bic or Eng­lish. On Sun­day morn­ings, a sim­i­lar ser­vice is cel­e­brated before the Divine Liturgy. After­wards, the Divine Liturgy is approx­i­mately 3 hours in length with an Eng­lish homily at approx­i­mately 9:30 a.m. and the Dis­tri­b­u­tion of the Mys­tery of the Eucharist from 11:00–11:30 a.m. We under­stand this may seem like a very long ser­vice, but we know that when you have par­tic­i­pated in an Ortho­dox ser­vice you will feel like you have truly wor­shipped the liv­ing God.

The gen­eral rule for men and women is to dress appro­pri­ately, mod­estly and respect­fully, as before the liv­ing God. We ask that you not wear shorts, mini-skirts, tank tops, low-cut or strap­less dresses (unless cov­ered by a sweater, etc.).

Each par­ent is respon­si­ble to take care of their child. We encour­age chil­dren to be present in Church for the ser­vices. This par­tic­i­pa­tion is part of a child’s spir­i­tual for­ma­tion. How­ever, if your baby or child gets fussy, talk­a­tive, or has a melt-down, please take him or her out of the nave until he or she is ready to return quietly.

Yes. On Saturdays immediately after the Vesper prayers, we provide Saturday school in small groups for children in ages 2 to Grade 8.