Coptic Orthodox Church
Egypt is identified in the Bible as the place of refuge that the Holy Family sought in its flight from Judea: “When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod the Great, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt I called My Son” (Matthew 2:12-23).
Christianity spread throughout Egypt within half a century of Saint Mark’s arrival in Alexandria as is clear from the New Testament writings found in Bahnasa, in Middle Egypt, which date around the year AD 200, and a fragment of the Gospel of John, written in Coptic, which was found in Upper Egypt and can be dated to the first half of the second century. In the second century, Christianity began to spread to the rural areas, and scriptures were translated into the local language, namely Coptic.
The Catechetical School of Alexandria is the oldest catechetical school in the world. St. Jerome records that the Christian School of Alexandria was founded by St. Mark himself. Around 190 AD under the leadership of the scholar Pantanaeus, the school of Alexandria became an important institution of religious learning, where students were taught by scholars such as Athenagoras, Clement, Didymus, and the native Egyptian Origen, who was considered the father of theology and who was also active in the field of commentary and comparative Biblical studies. Origen wrote over 6,000 commentaries of the Bible in addition to his famous Hexapla.
To learn more about the Coptic Orthodox Church, click HERE
Christians of the Nile Valley
Please watch these two video clips below about an introduction to the Coptic Orthodox Church:
Part 1 of 2
Part 2 of 2
Monasticism was born in Egypt and was instrumental in the formation of the Coptic Church’s character of submission and humbleness, thanks to the teachings and writings of the Great Fathers of Egypt’s Deserts. Monasticism started in the last years of the third century and flourished in the fourth century. Saint Anthony, the world’s first Christian monk was a Copt from Upper Egypt. Saint Pachom, who established the rules of monasticism, was a Copt. And, Saint Paul, the world’s first anchorite is also a Copt. Other famous Coptic desert fathers include Saint Makarios, Saint Moses the Black, and Saint Mina the wondrous. The more contemporary desert fathers include the late Pope Cyril VI and his disciple Bishop Mina Abba Mina.
By the end of the fourth century, there were hundreds of monasteries, and thousands of cells and caves scattered throughout the Egyptian hills. Many of these monasteries are still flourishing and have new vocations till this day. All Christian monasticism stems, either directly or indirectly, from the Egyptian example: Saint Basil, organiser of the monastic movement in Asia minor visited Egypt around 357 A.D. and his rule is followed by the eastern Churches; Saint Jerome, who translated the Bible into Latin, came to Egypt around 400 A.D. and left details of his experiences in his letters; Saint Benedict founded monasteries in the sixth century on the model of Saint Pachom, but in a stricter form. And countless pilgrims visited the “Desert Fathers” and emulated their spiritual, disciplined lives. There is even evidence that Copts had missionaries to Nothern Europe. One example is Saint Moritz of the Theban Legion who was drafted from Egypt to serve under the Roman flag and ended up teaching Christianity to inhabitants of the Swiss Alps, where a small town and a Monastery that contains his relics as well as some of his books and belongings are named after him. Another saint from the Theban Legion is Saint Victor, known among Copts as “Boktor”.
To learn more about the Coptic Monasticism, click Here
Our Patrons’ Saints
As we know from early Christian writings, the Apostle Luke the Evangelist personally knew the Virgin Mary and based several chapters of His Gospel on Her recollections. He even quoted Her exact words several times. He was a physician and an artist, and because of his affection for Her, he painted Her portrait, from which later icon painters made copies.
The Birth of the Most Holy Virgin Mary. As time drew near for the Redeemer of the world to be born, there lived in the town of Nazareth, in Galilee, a man by the name of Joachim with his wife Anna. Joachim was a direct descendant of King David but lived a very modest and simple life. Both he and his wife were God-fearing people and were known for their humility and compassion. They never had children and, being very aged, had little chance at having any. However, not willing to despair, they continued to ask God to send them a child. They even made a vow that if they had an infant, they would dedicate that child to the service of God. At that time, to be childless meant to be punished by God for sins. Childlessness was especially difficult for Joachim since, according to prophecy, the Messiah-Christ was to be born into his family line. Owing to their patience and faith, the Lord finally sent them a great joy: Anna had a daughter. The newborn child was given the name of Mary, which means in Hebrew “Mistress-Hope.
When the Virgin Mary became three years old, Her God-fearing parents prepared themselves to carry out their vow: they took Her to the temple in Jerusalem in order to consecrate Her to God. Mary was left to stay at the temple, in a special school for girls. There She, with the other maidens, was taught the Law of God as well as handiwork.
She prayed and read the Scriptures. The Blessed Virgin lived at the temple for approximately eleven years and grew up to be deeply pious and obedient to Him, as well as very modest and industrious. Willing only to serve God, She gave a vow to never marry and to remain forever a virgin.
To learn more about St Mary the Mother of God, click HERE
John the Apostle, also known as John the Beloved Disciple, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of James also the son of Zebedee, another of the Twelve Apostles. Christian tradition holds he was the last surviving of the Twelve Apostles, the only one to die a natural death and died around the age of 94.
Peter, James and John were the only witnesses of the raising of Jairus’ daughter,[Mk. 5:37] of the Transfiguration[Mt. 17:1] and of the Agony in Gethsemane.[Mt 26:37] Only he and Peter were sent into the city to make the preparation for the final Passover meal (the Last Supper).[Lk 22:8] At the meal itself, his place may have been next to Jesus on whose chest he leaned if he is indeed the “disciple whom Jesus loved.” John was also that “other disciple” who with Peter followed Jesus after the arrest into the palace of the high-priest.[Jn. 18:15]
John alone remained near Jesus at the foot of the cross on Calvary with Jesus’ mother, Mary, and the pious women and took Mary into his care as the last legacy of Jesus.
According to the Bible, after the Resurrection, John and Peter were the first of the disciples to run towards the tomb and John was the first of the apostles to believe that Jesus had truly risen.[John 20:2-10].
After Jesus’ Ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, John, together with Peter, took a prominent part in the founding and guidance of the church. He is with Peter at the healing of the lame man in the Temple (Acts 3:1 et. seq.). With Peter he is also thrown into prison.[Acts 4:3] He is also with Peter visiting the newly converted in Samaria.[Acts 8:14]
Revelation says that its author was on the island of Patmos “for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus”, when he was honoured with the vision contained in Revelation.[Rev. 1:9] John, like his Old Testament counterpart Daniel, was kept alive to receive the prophetic vision.
Click HERE to read this summary presentation about our Patron St John the Beloved.
His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, 118th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark
His Holiness Pope Tawadros II was born Wagih Sobhy Baky Soliman on November 4th, 1952 in Mansoura. His father was an irrigation engineer and his family moved around during his childhood from Mansoura to Sohag and then to Damanhour.
He received his bachelor’s degree in pharmacy in 1975 from Alexandria University and earned a fellowship for the World Health Organization from the British International Health Institute in England in 1985. He attended the Coptic Seminary and graduated in 1983. He then worked as a manager in a pharmaceutical company in Damanhour that was owned by the Ministry of Health.
His Holiness’s life has always revolved around church since his youth; he wished to live the life of monasticism. He entered the Monastery of St. Pishoy in Wadi Elnatroun on August 20th, 1986 and remained a brother for two years. He was ordained a monk on July 31, 1988 and after a year he was ordained a priest on December 23, 1989. Two months after, H.H. Pope Tawadros started serving with H.E. Metropolitan Pakhomius of Beheira on February 15th, 1990. He was ordained a bishop on June 15th, 1997 by H.H. the Late Pope Shenouda III as a General Bishop assisting H.E. Metropolitan Pakhomius. His Holiness focused on childhood whether it was in the country-wide children’s festival as well when he was in charge of the children’s committee in the Holy Synod. Before assuming the papacy, H.H. wrote twelve books.
His Holiness was enthroned as the 118th Pope of Alexandria and Pope of the See of St. Mark on November 18th, 2012 at the Cathedral of St. Reweiss in Abbassiya, Cairo. The enthronement was presided by H.E. Metropolitan Pakhomius of Beheira, other metropolitans and bishops of the Coptic church and was attended by many delegates of Christian Churches.
Father Daniel Bessada (Our Priest)
Fr. Daniel Bessada (Bassem Bessada) was born on September 12, 1965. He was ordained as Reader (Deacon) in the church in 1977. Father Daniel graduated from Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University in 1988 and completed his Masters of Science in Soil Mechanics and Foundation in 1995. He obtained his P. Eng. affiliation in 2005 and PMP certification in 2009. He held several engineering positions in Egypt as a Civil Engineer with the US Army Corps of Engineers and in Canada as Capital Project Manager with the Region of Peel until the ordination in 2009.
He served in St. George church in Giza Patriarchate, Mourad st., Giza, Egypt for about 20 years. Serving children, youth and graduates in church and in countryside communities. He got married on July 26, 1992 to Dalia and they have two children, Youssef and Miriam. Then, he served in St. Mark church, Maadi, Egypt working closely with youth, servants and graduates.
After moving to Ontario, Canada, in 2003, Fr. Daniel served the youth of Ti Agia Maria and St. Demiana church in Etobicoke. He also served the youth of St. Mary and St. Abraam church in Ajax.
He was ordained into priesthood on June 07, 2009 by the hands of H.H.. Pope Shenouda III at the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, Cairo, Egypt. He served as a priest for St. Mary and St. Abraam church, Ajax.
On July 23, 2010, H. H. Pope Shenouda III appointed him to serve our beloved church St. Mary and St. John the Beloved (SMSJB).
SMSJB Church’s e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fr. Daniel’s e-mail: