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The Church and Discipleship

Christian Mentorship, Sponsorship, and Service According to the Biblical Model and as Lived and Practiced in the Church Until Today

Discipleship is the way of the Church. It is the first component of the divine commission given by our Lord Jesus Christ to the Apostles, and to the whole Church, at His Ascension.[1] Properly practiced discipleship — involving the spirit of truth-oriented love, humility, and selflessness by both those being discipled and those who disciple — is foundational in the Christian Faith and to the life of a sound worshipping community. Only through the life in Christ, necessarily encompassing discipleship practiced both liturgically and socially according to the teaching of the Scriptures, can the believers fully live out their Christian calling together as the one Body of Christ and overcome by the grace of God the destruction of lovelessness, intergenerational conflict, and selfish ambition that devastates the Church in the absence of such a divinely-ordained ecclesial environment.

Discipleship in the Old Testament Scriptures

The teaching of the inspired Scriptures includes several paradigmatic examples of discipleship, including the necessary elements of love, humility, and absolute selflessness — both in sponsorship[2] by the teacher and submission by the disciple — in order to guide the faithful to properly order both their lives individually and their believing communities collectively. Moses the great prophet, for instance, recognizing his own natural limitations, empowered certain qualified Israelites and publicly designated them to positions of service for the benefit of all the people, such that he “chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And they judged the people at all times. Any hard case they brought to Moses, but any small matter they decided themselves.”[3] When the time of his departure drew near, he happily delivered the leadership of the people to his own disciple Joshua, — an obedient and faithful disciple “full of the spirit of wisdom,”[4] “in whom [was] the spirit”[5] and “who wholly followed the Lord”[6] — seeking neither to secure his legacy nor to defend his preeminent position. At that time, he encouraged his disciple “in the sight of all Israel,” saying: “Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”[7] Thus, for Moses, as is the case for every Christian to whom God has entrusted the service of leadership in the Church, the glory of God and the edification of His people, rather than any selfish ambition or love of power or glory, were the primary goals of the service entrusted to and carried out by the servant of God.

Discipleship in the Educational System Employed by Our Lord Jesus Christ

The importance and practice of sound discipleship, repeated often throughout the Old Testament Scriptures, was emphasized frequently in the example and teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. Even prior to His crucifixion, while He still went about teaching, preaching, and healing,[8] our Lord Jesus Christ provided for His disciples a significant share in His ministry: He granted them to baptize[9] and cast out demons in His name,[10] and sent them to preach in the surrounding regions.[11] He did not await their perfection, but finding in them the proper spirit and necessary qualifications, He encouraged them, practically enabled them to serve, and corrected them as He deemed necessary.[12] While empowering, mentoring, and sponsoring them in these ways, He also warned them against imitating the Gentiles by lording their authority over the people,[13] and taught them firstly by His behavior and then by His words that they were to exercise the position and rank He bestowed upon them with all humility and selfless love, being last of all and servants of all.[14] In order to follow Christ as He desired, they would have to “deny [themselves], and take up [their] cross, and follow [Him].”[15] As His disciples, moreover, they were to imitate Him in serving rather than being served,[16] washing one another’s feet, both literally and metaphorically, as He Himself did for them at the Passover meal on the eve of His crucifixion.[17]

Discipleship in the Lives of the Lord’s Disciples and Apostles

This example and teaching of Christ — The Teacher — was internalized, practiced, and taught by His Disciples and Apostles, and the early believers generally, regardless of the measure of their authority or influence in the Church. While the Disciples initially, due to the worldliness that had not yet been extracted from within them, erred on various recorded occasions in their understandings and perspectives — such as by contending with one another several times regarding who among them was the greatest,[18] measuring their success in the service by worldly criteria,[19] and thinking or acting contrary to Christ's teaching and preferences[20] — they accepted and grew through Christ’s training and correction such that this foreign spirit was ultimately uprooted from their hearts and they were entirely reshaped as clay in the hands of The Potter.[21] Having undergone this transformation and been so converted, they became able to imitate and obey the Master in maintaining sincere love and humility, acknowledging His Lordship over all, and selflessly seeking the glory of God and the growth and establishment in faith of the believers more than their own power or influence. These great teachers were therefore first truly disciples, not only in name but also in spirit and deed — asking questions of or seeking to learn from the Lord, accepting His correction, exhibiting true consecration of heart, and proving time and again their faithfulness to Him and to the mission to which He entrusted them. In all things, they desired that Christ increase and they decrease[22] and denied themselves as He commanded them,[23] such that they sacrificed not only their money and time but even their very lives for His sake. Because of this training and spirit of discipleship, and having seen and experienced the Lord[24] intimately for over three years, they were also able to make disciples, understanding in doing so that it was not to themselves that their disciples were disciples — indeed, not to Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or any other Apostle, as St. Paul reminds the Corinthians[25] — but to Christ Himself, the true Teacher, Shepherd, and Master, whom they deeply loved and wholeheartedly served.

It would be superfluous to assert that the Apostles without exception accorded particular concern to discipling others, as they are in all places throughout the New Testament found conducting their lives and services with this spirit and in this manner. In doing so, they were keen to fulfill the great commission entrusted to them by Christ — that they go, “make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that [He] commanded [them]…”[26] To name but a few paradigmatic examples of this spirit and mindset: St. Barnabas emphasized in his life and service the discipling and empowering of others in the ministry, such that he embraced and promoted a young Saul, later St. Paul the Apostle, risking even his own position and credibility in order to persuade the Apostles that he was no longer a threat to them or to the Church, had truly come to believe, and should be accepted in the ministry and given the “hand of fellowship.”[27] Later he supported a young John Mark — St. Mark the Evangelist — to the extent of disagreeing with St. Paul in preferring to take him on the second missionary journey, resulting in his separation from St. Paul at that time.[28] St. Paul thereafter also made countless disciples; recognizing the value of discipleship and the interpersonal transmission and receipt of the Faith, he instructed one of them, St. Timothy, and certainly the others as well, to entrust what he had received “to faithful men who will be able to teach others also,”[29] thereby perpetuating the chain of Christian discipleship and the transmission of the faith, mind, and spirit of Christ in and through the Church. Besides Sts. Barnabas and Paul, St. John the Beloved, as a representative example from among the Twelve, also discipled many, including the two great bishops and second century martyrs — Sts. Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp of Smyrna.[30]

Discipleship in the History of the Church

The Catechetical School of Alexandria was later a school of discipleship, with Pantaenus discipling St. Clement of Alexandria, St. Clement discipling Origen, and Origen discipling countless fathers and teachers from his time until today “by the deeds he did more than by the doctrines he taught.”[31] Thereafter, Pope Alexander I of Alexandria discovered a faithful young boy named Athanasius,[32] built upon the foundation laid by his parents in delivering to him the Faith and manner of the Christian life, and sponsored him such that he permitted him to speak in the assembly of 318 clergymen assembled at the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea, even while he was still only a 27-year-old deacon, and to participate there in defending the Faith delivered by Christ and His Apostles to the Church.[33] St. Athanasius himself was also a disciple to the great Abba Antony, having been “his attendant for a long time, and poured water on his hands.”[34] Perhaps it was St. Alexander who facilitated that relationship between his disciple and the great monastic father — in any event, this discipleship also played an important role in St. Athanasius’ formation.

St. Antony, in his own right, was also a disciple — first to his family, then to his local church, then to an elder and at the feet of countless spiritual masters on the outskirts of his village, and then to solitude, silence, prayer, fasting, and the Scriptures for twenty years.[35] Having been so discipled, and having in himself, like the Disciples and Apostles, the spirit of selfless, faithful, and heartfelt discipleship, when others ultimately came to learn from and become disciples to him, he humbly said to them: “The Scriptures are enough for instruction, but it is a good thing to encourage one another in the faith, and to stir up with words. Wherefore you, as children, carry that which you know to your father; and I as the elder share my knowledge and what experience has taught me with you.”[36] This spirit of discipleship and sponsorship — submitting to being discipled and trained by an elder in the Christian life and then recognizing the importance, and accepting the task, of discipling others — extended far beyond Abba Antony, such that it became a foundational component of all monastic systems that developed thereafter.

In this very spirit, in the generation after Sts. Antony and Athanasius, Pope Theophilus I of Alexandria discipled his nephew, Cyril, facilitated his education and theological training, sent him to learn from other great saints and teachers of his day, and upon finding in him the necessary qualifications and proper spirit and faith, promoted him to the rank of deacon and then to priest, granting him even to preach in the cathedral in Alexandria.[37] Having been trained, discipled, and sponsored by St. Theophilus in these ways, St. Cyril was the natural choice to succeed him in the papacy, and was elected to this great post soon after the death of his uncle.[38] He in turn never forgot his own discipleship and never abandoned his selfless humility and Christian love, such that even while being a great teacher in his own right, he humbly, faithfully, and competently delivered and defended the Faith he had received from his family and through his discipleship. Thus embodying the spirit and mindset of a disciple, he zealously submitted to and learned from the writings of the Fathers who came before him, and especially St. Athanasius, many of whose writings he committed to memory and certain of which he summarized in his own works for the benefit of the believers in his time.[39]

Besides his work in defending the Faith against the threat and heresy of Nestorius, St. Cyril also championed the cause of a young man named Dioscorus, granting him to teach in the Catechetical School of Alexandria, including him in his delegation to the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D., and ordaining him to the rank of Archdeacon.[40] Having been thus discipled and sponsored, St. Dioscorus was thereafter chosen to succeed St. Cyril to the papacy and, in the same power and spirit of his predecessor, held fast to and defended the sound Orthodox understanding of the nature of Christ, faithfully striving to deliver the deposit of Faith he had received to the following generation unchanged.[41]

Over the course of the Church’s history, spanning countless generations, this spirit of Christian discipleship and sponsorship continued, even until modern times, when in the late nineteenth century a young man named Habib Girgis studied at the revived Coptic Orthodox Theological Seminary in Egypt, became discipled to a renowned preacher and teacher of his day — Hegumen Philotheos Ibrahim Baghdadi[42] — and was sponsored such that he became a professor at the Seminary even while still a student there.[43] He in turn discipled many, including innumerable servants, priests, and bishops, most prominent among them being a prolific teacher, faithful shepherd, and pious monastic father: Pope Shenouda III of blessed memory.[44] Pope Shenouda III himself also had many disciples, whether direct or indirect, through his many decades of writing and public and private teaching, many of whom continue to faithfully serve the Church until this day, and who themselves also have disciples to whom they deliver the faith as they have received it. Moreover, his great predecessor in the papacy, St. Kyrillos VI, was likewise discipled, not only to his family and certain spiritual elders in the Church community — such as Archdeacon Iskander Hanna of St. Mark’s Cathedral[45] — and then in the monastic life, but also to the Scriptures and Fathers of the Church, and especially Isaac the Syrian,[46] many of whose works and words he committed to memory out of his deep love for that great monastic teacher.[47]

St. Kyrillos VI himself was also sponsored in his discipleship, so much so that his nomination to and ultimate inclusion in the altar lot that led to his election as patriarch came about as a result of the selfless and unprompted effort of a metropolitan — Athanasius of Beni Suef, Egypt — who nominated him, even while he was still a solitary monk and only a priest, without his prior knowledge.[48] This lifelong experience of sponsorship and humble discipleship permeated all aspects of this great patriarch’s life, motivating him to keenly seek out and empower countless qualified believers in the ministry of the Church — such as Nazir Gayed (subsequently Fr. Antonios al-Suryani,[49] then Bishop Shenouda, and ultimately Pope Shenouda III), Wahib Atallah (subsequently Fr. Bakhoum al-Muharraqi[50] and then Bishop Gregorios), Saad Aziz (subsequently Fr. Makari al-Suryani[51] and then Bishop Samuel), and Cantor Ibrahim Ayad[52] — and to disciple them, while never permitting either the exalted honor of the papacy or his position as a renowned mentor and spiritual guide to rob him of his simple monastic identity and spirit of discipleship.

In these and countless other examples, the Church is found to have faithfully carried out the command of Christ by making disciples in every generation, maintaining the Apostolic Tradition and Apostolic Succession unblemished from St. Mark until today despite centuries of persecution and wholly unfavorable odds. Moreover, truly Christian teachers, in imitation of the Master and according to His teaching, have always maintained unceasingly their Christian humility, selflessness, and desire to serve God through serving their disciples, preferring them even to themselves and seeking always to promote, encourage, and benefit them. Never forgetting their own discipleship, and knowing themselves well,[53] these have always borne in mind the mutual interdependence of the Christian teacher and disciple upon one another, and ultimately their shared dependence on God, for growth in holiness, understanding, wisdom, grace, and perfection, seeking with all love and humility their own salvation and that of one another while always keeping before their eyes their common purpose.

In this tradition of sound discipleship, the principle recognized and proclaimed by St. John the Baptist has always been the standard: it is Christ, the True Master, who must increase, and we, teachers and students, who must decrease.[54] Thus St. Paul exhorts the Corinthians, “imitate me as I imitate Christ,”[55] reminding them, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:[56] “For when one says, ‘I belong to Paul,’ and another, ‘I belong to Apollos,’ are you not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.”[57] It is always Christ who is the aim and center of all things: He is the one we must serve, all with the same spirit, in “the oneness of heart that is of love,”[58] “attuned together by the Holy Spirit as a Cithara, always blessing God.”[59]

Discipleship and the Church Today

In the service of God, let us submit to the teaching of Christ and abide by this spirit of discipleship — that great commission — with all humility, learning from His meekness and lowliness of heart[60] and understanding that “no servant is greater than his master.”[61] Let the teachers, leaders, and examples of the flock[62] carry themselves as “the last of all and servant[s] of all,”[63] imitating our Lord in emptying themselves[64] and washing the feet of the flock,[65] while shunning the best seats and exalted places[66] and without lording their authority over those whom they serve.[67] Let them fulfill the command of Christ to make disciples.[68] Let them carry out their entrustment by preaching and delivering the Teaching[69] without alteration, just as it was given by Christ, preached by the Apostles, and kept by the Fathers.[70] Let them heed the inspired guidance of the holy Apostles to speak the truth in love,[71] and to love according to the truth.[72] Let them correct, rebuke, and exhort the believers[73] without concern for personal, political, social, or financial gain.[74] In the words of St. Ignatius of Antioch, let them “preserve unity, than which nothing is better,”[75] while avoiding “foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.”[76] Let them imitate St. Paul in seeking to raise their disciples to maturity such that they surpass the need for mere milk and become capable of enduring solid food,[77] attaining maturity in their theological understandings and soundness in their Christian lives such that they can themselves be granted to make disciples and deliver to others that which they had received, firstly within their own homes and then to others if necessary and as God provides. Let them submit to the word of God in showing no partiality towards the believers based on wealth, poverty, or status.[78] In a word, let them become “all things to all men, that [they] might by all means save some.”[79]

Let us all, masters and disciples, parents and children, teachers and students, heed the God-breathed words of the Scriptures.[80] Let the elder, who has attained maturity and become experienced in the virtuous life, hear the inspired words of St. Peter: “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed. Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock.”[81] Moreover let the young — whether in age or wisdom or spiritual maturity — “be subject to the elders,”[82] joyfully obeying and submitting to them, “for they watch for [their] souls, as they that must give account…”[83] And let us all clothe ourselves “with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’”[84] In this way, we will “walk worthy of the calling by which [we] are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring diligently to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” as St. Paul urges the Ephesians by the Spirit[85] and as the Coptic Church reminds her members every day in the First Hour of the Ⲁϫⲡⲓⲁ.[86]

The Church, by the grace of God, is sufficient to embrace and effectively serve every generation, every ethnicity, and every race — male and female, young and old, rich and poor — within the united community of believers — the one Body of Christ. We, as those members, are therefore called to embody this spirit of impartial love and selfless service: the elders teaching, discipling, selflessly promoting, embracing, and being an example to the young, and the young in turn learning from, receiving, preferring, honoring, and submitting to the elders. As St. Clement of Rome, in his first-century Epistle, advises, “let us honor the aged among us; let us train up the young men in the fear of God.”[87] In abiding by the Christian spirit in this manner — and in so doing, guarding against and shunning any semblance of worldliness as exhibited by self-interested apprenticeship, domineering leadership, and strategic networking aimed at self-serving ends or facilitating the advancement of personal status — the Church will flourish by the grace of God from generation to generation, and the believers will live according to the guidance of the word of God: “Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another. As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who utters oracles of God; whoever renders service, as one who renders it by the strength which God supplies; in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”[88]

[1] See Matthew 28:16-20

[2] In this paper, “sponsorship” is to be understood according to the biblical and ecclesial examples set forth throughout, whether that of Christ or His Apostles or several of the Fathers and teachers of the Church who are mentioned. It may be summarized and understood as: the Christian teacher’s selfless support of his or her disciples, as demonstrated by the teacher in: (1) embracing and praying for those who come to be discipled with the proper spiritual and intellectual qualifications; (2) undertaking the responsibility of training and teaching those accepted for discipleship, delivering to them the spirit and doctrine that the teacher has first received through his or her own discipleship; and (3) preferring those disciples to himself or herself after having trained and delivered the Faith to them, including by facilitating opportunities for them to utilize their gifts and training in the service of the Church as appropriate, whether directly by promoting their cause using his or her own measure of authority or influence or indirectly by acknowledging them as legitimate, qualified, and trained disciples in the public eye and before those with such authority and influence, as Christ did with His own disciples.

[3] Exodus 18:25-26

[4] Deuteronomy 34:9

[5] Numbers 27:18

[6] Numbers 32:12

[7] Deuteronomy 31:7-8

[8] See, e.g., Matthew 4:23; Acts 10:38

[9] See John 4:1-2

[10] See, e.g., Matthew 10:1, 10:8, 12:27; Mark 3:14-15, 6:7, 6:13; Luke 10:17-20, 11:19. The Lord granted His disciples both authority and legitimacy in the service to which He appointed them, and they in turn acted not on their own power or authority, but by reference to and through Him.

[11] See, e.g., Matthew 10:5-42; Mark 6:7; Luke 10:1

[12] See, e.g., Matthew 8:23-27, 17:14-21, 20:20-28; Mark 9:33-37, 10:35-45; Luke 9:46-56, 10:17-20, 22:24-30; John 12:1-7

[13] See Matthew 20:20-28; Mark 10:35-45; Luke 22:24-30

[14] See Mark 9:35

[15] Matthew 16:24; See also Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23

[16] See Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45

[17] See John 13:1-17

[18] See Matthew 18:1-6; Mark 9:33-37; Luke 9:46-48, 22:24-27

[19] See, e.g., Luke 10:17-20 (rejoicing in evil spirits being subject to them in His name)

[20] See Mark 9:38-41 and Luke 9:49-50 (forbidding the man casting out demons in Christ’s name); Luke 9:51-57 (James and John asking whether they should pray for fire to rain down from heaven on Samaria); Matthew 19:13, Mark 10:13-16, and Luke 18:15-17 (forbidding children to come to Christ); John 13:35 (Christ emphasizing that the Disciples will be known as disciples of Christ if they love one another); John 8:31-32 (“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”).

[21] See Isaiah 64:8; Jeremiah 18:6

[22] See John 3:30

[23] See Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23

[24] See John 20:25; See also 1 John 1:1-4

[25] See 1 Corinthians 1:10-13; 3:1-9

[26] Matthew 28:19-20

[27] See Acts 9:26-31; Galatians 2:9

[28] See Acts 15:36-41. St. Paul, coming to recognize the productivity and usefulness of St. Mark in the service, ultimately requested that St. Mark rejoin him along with St. Timothy (See 1 Timothy 4:11), who was among St. Paul’s closest disciples.

[29] 2 Timothy 2:2

[30] See, e.g., St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3.3; Tertullian, Prescription Against Heretics, 32.2; Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 5.20.6; Jerome, On Illustrious Men, 16-17; Jerome, Chronicle, 275-76

[31] St. Gregory the Wonderworker, Oration and Panegyric Addressed to Origen, 9

[32] See Socrates, Ecclesiastical History, 1.15; Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History, 2:17

[33] See, e.g., Socrates, 1.8; Sozomen, 1.17

[34] St. Athanasius, Life of Antony, Prologue

[35] Ibid. at 1-14

[36] Ibid. at 16

[37] For a helpful account of St. Cyril’s life, see John A. McGuckin, St. Cyril of Alexandria and the Christological Controversy.

[38] See Ibid. The choosing of the patriarch was then unlike it is today, as the altar lot was formally established for the election of the pope in the Coptic Church quite recently. For a detailed account of the relevant history on this point, see Petro Bilaniuk, “Pope in the Coptic Church,” in The Coptic Encyclopedia, Vol. 6, 1998b-2000b.

[39] See Cyril of Alexandria, Letter 39.7: “That we follow the doctrines of the holy Fathers in all ways, and especially of our blessed and all-glorious father, Athanasius, praying earnestly not to depart from him in anything at all, let your holiness [the bishop John] be persuaded, and let none of the others be in doubt.” See also Letter 100.2: “For I adhere to the faith of the sainted Fathers who assembled at Nicaea in all my discourses. No other path do I know but the orthodox faith, for I was nurtured, as were your holinesses, in the faith of the Gospel and the words of the Apostles. It is this faith which I shall do my best to teach the churches.”

[40] For a helpful account of the life of St. Dioscorus, see Martiniano P. Roncaglia, “Dioscorus I,” in The Coptic Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, 912b-915b.

[41] See Ibid.; See also Severus of al’Ashmunein (Hermopolis), History of the Patriarchs of the Coptic Church of Alexandria. Part 2: Peter I – Benjamin I (661 AD); Arabic text edited, translated, and annotated by B. Evetts., Patrologia Orientalis (1904), pp. 443-4

[42] See Bishop Suriel, Habib Girgis: Coptic Orthodox Educator and a Light in the Darkness, 21

[43] Ibid. at 22

[44] See Ibid. at 108, 169-170, 181, 259

[45] See Daniel Fanous, A Silent Patriarch: Kyrillos VI, Life and Legacy, 43-45

[46] See e.g., Ibid. at 103

[47] See, e.g., Ibid. at 133

[48] See Ibid. at 219-22; Indeed, Pope Kyrillos VI is the only Coptic pope consecrated from the beginning of the 20th century until today to have not had at least the rank of bishop prior to his enthronement as patriarch.

[49] The name assumed by Gayed after he undertook monastic vows. Pope Kyrillos VI subsequently ordained Fr. Antonios to the episcopacy with the name Shenouda, General Bishop for Christian Education and the Religious Institutes. In 1971, Bishop Shenouda succeeded Pope Kyrillos VI to the papacy under the name Shenouda III.

[50] The name assumed by Atallah after he undertook monastic vows. Pope Kyrillos VI subsequently ordained him bishop with the name Gregorios to oversee Higher Theological Studies, Coptic Culture and Scientific Research in the Church — the only person to be entrusted with this responsibility in the history of the Church until today.

[51] The name assumed by Aziz after he undertook monastic vows. Pope Kyrillos VI then ordained him bishop of Public, Social, and Ecumenical Services with the name Samuel. Bishop Samuel was ultimately assassinated along with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat by the Muslim Brotherhood on October 6, 1981.

[52] In 1968, Pope Kyrillos VI specifically requested Cantor Ibrahim Ayad, when he was only 16 years old, to remain as a cantor at the Cathedral under the tutelage of Cantor Fahim Girgis, Cantor Asaad Moussa, and Dr. Youssef Mansour. For certain of Cantor Ibrahim Ayad’s autobiographical retellings of his four years of experience with Pope Kyrillos VI, see (in Arabic): Video One, Video Two, and Video Three.

[53] For a general overview of the necessity of proper self-understanding in the Christian life, see Abba Antony’s Letters, and especially the third and fourth Letters.

[54] See John 3:30

[55] 1 Corinthians 11:1

[56] See Epistle of Clement, 47

[57] 1 Corinthians 3:4-6

[58] See the Petitions of the Divine Liturgy of St. Gregory the Theologian

[59] Coptic Matins Ⲁⲇⲁⲙ Doxology for the Lord Jesus Christ, 21

[60] See Matthew 11:29

[61] John 13:16

[62] See Luke 12:32; Acts 20:28-29; 1 Peter 5:2-3

[63] Mark 9:35

[64] See Philippians 2:7

[65] See John 13:14

[66] See Matthew 23:6-7

[67] See Mark 10:42-43; 1 Peter 5:2-4; See also Epistle of Clement, 16

[68] See Matthew 18:19

[69] See 1 Timothy 5:17

[70] See St. Athanasius, First Letter to Serapion, 28

[71] See Ephesians 4:15

[72] See 1 John 3:18

[73] See 2 Timothy 4:2

[74] See Romans 16:18

[75] St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to Polycarp, 2

[76] 1 Timothy 2:23

[77] See 1 Corinthians 3; See also Hebrews 5:12-14

[78] See James 2:1-13; See also 1 Timothy 5:21

[79] 1 Corinthians 9:22

[80] See 2 Timothy 3:16

[81] 1 Peter 5:1-3

[82] 1 Peter 5:5

[83] Hebrews 13:17

[84] 1 Peter 5:5

[85] Ephesians 4:1-3

[86] “Agpeya” or Horologion: the Coptic book of the ten hourly prayers of the day.

[87] St. Clement of Rome, Epistle 21

[88] 1 Peter 4:9-11


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