COPTIA IN TEXAS – THE WORLD OF THE COPTS IN AMERICA
This post shows beautiful photos by Mary Yostos of a visit to the Monastery of St Mary and St Moses in Texas, US. The article use these photos to show how the Copts transfer their culture to the Diaspora with them; how Copts interact with each other, laity and clergy, women and men; how our sacred space is full of life; how the Copts lead happy lives full of fun within their sacred space.
The American Coptic photographer Mary Yostos has a rich and brilliant photostream. Recently, in January 2013, Mary with a group of Coptic youth from New York visited the Coptic monastery of St. Mary and St. Moses in Abbey Sandia, Texas, for a spiritual retreat, a matter which Copts, young and old, do regularly by visiting their spiritual centres in Egypt and in the Coptic Diaspora across the world. The photographs are artistic and speak for themselves. With the authorisation of Miss Yostos, I publish below some of these photographs(taken using NIKON D600) that show part of Coptia in America. For the reader who is not familiar with the term Coptic, please find detailed definition here and here; but I use the term Coptia in this article to mean specifically Coptic sacred space and Coptic communities wherever they are. The reader will find that the Copts, wherever they move, take with them their culture that centres on Coptic Christianity – a way of life that is rooted in the Coptic Church and its sacred space; where Copts in cities, towns and villages have a lovely relationship with their clergy and ascetics that is not authoritarian but is based on friendliness and trust and is full of fun and humour; where Christian saints, patriarchs, ascetics and martyrs are in direct relationship with ordinary Copts; and where the temporal is not separated from the spiritual world by a thick firmament. In this Coptic way of life men and women are equal to each other and show each other mutual respect; they take equal pride in their history, culture, heritage and Church; and they participate in Church and community life where there is no oppression of women. These all form characteristic features of Coptia.
These beautiful pictures will hopefully show part of that life to the reader. One can look at this Texas monastery and church and see reflected in them the Egyptian Coptia – the Copts even build their sacred places in the Diaspora on the same architectural and decoration model. Here one can see Coptic domes, spirals, arched doors, crosses, icons, vestments, pews, ostrich eggs. Even palm trees are implanted to remind them of Egypt!
Enjoy the photos by scrolling down: