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INVADING OUR SACRED SPACE – ARABISATION OF OUR MONASTERIES

September 8, 2014

In a previous article, I criticised the way the name of the Monastery of Saint Anthony at the Red Sea is displayed, in Arabic (in the largest fonts), and then English, and then Coptic; and I said:

There is no excuse whatsoever for monasteries in Egypt to promote Arabic at the expense of Coptic language even if it is the great monastery of Saint Anthony.

I argued that the name of the sacred monastery should be displayed first in Coptic, our national language, then in the dominant language in Egypt (Arabic), then the language known to most tourists (English).  But I noted that it was not only the Monastery of Saint Anthony that comes under this criticism, as it is a defect that affects most of our churches, monasteries, schools and social activity venues.

Today, with all due respect to our sacred monasteries, I pick on two more monasteries, this time from the western desert, in Wadi Natrun:

First, the Monastery of Saint Bishoy

At least, the Monastery of Saint Anthony displays its name in Coptic besides Arabic and English, even though it relegates Coptic to the third, and last, position. The Monastery of Saint Bishoy does not use Coptic at all! Its name is displayed in Arabic and one finds lots of notices written in Arabic. The name is displayed, too, in English.

 MB

 

Second, the Monastery of the Holy Virgin Mary (Syrians)

Here again, we find the monastery’s name displayed in Arabic and English only. Coptic is indeed used but not to show the name of the monastery but to tell us that it belongs to the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Monastery of Syrians2

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In a way, we all – yes, clergy and laity – assist in the process of Arabisation of the Copts and the final demise of our beautiful Coptic language. Saint Samuel of Kalamoun (Qalamoun) would be ashamed of us all!

Is it really difficult that we, particularly the clergy, pay a special attention to this matter, and work to revive our Coptic language and resist Arabisation that has invaded our sacred space even in the remote deserts of Egypt?

 

 

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Father Isaac permalink
    September 10, 2014 10:04 am

    I agree with you 100%. More over it is known that the Monasteries and the monastic life is the last shelter and the only refuge to the Coptic Language . The disaster now inside monasteries in the midnight prayers the monks pray the Psalmody in Arabic. The 4 Hwses and the 7 Theotokias now are prayed in Arabic. Believe it or not to believe , the very Monastic life are losing the treasure of the Coptic Language and say the Tasbeha in Arabic .
    I think it is the last days in the universe. This the sign of the last days even the monks in the Monasteries become careless. I am sorry to say that, but it is a fact.

    • Dioscorus Boles permalink*
      September 10, 2014 4:39 pm

      Thank you Fr. Isaac. I can feel your pain. Even the holiest of holies of our prayers, including , Psalmidy, the four Hawses, the seven Theotokas are now prayed in Arabic. The Coptic liturgy, whether that of St. Basil or Mark (Cyril) or Gregory are all in Arabic, even at the historical chapel at the Monastery of al-Muharraq that was supposed never to use Arabic in prayer.

      The situation is dire and it pains deeply when monks and clergy do not seem to be paying attention or care. Arabisation has affected all. It seems that the loss of our educational autonomy in 1955, when Nasser abolished all independent Coptic schools, has had its effect.

      But, I hope the sad situation can be reversed. The more Copts join us the stronger the movement to resist Arabisation (and cultural Islamisation), that’s assimilation into Arab and Muslim culture, becomes.

  2. Dioscorus Boles permalink*
    October 26, 2015 10:04 am

    Reblogged this on ON COPTIC NATIONALISM في القومية القبطية.

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