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New Book Release

Nov. 17, 2015

by Christian Clark

A new book has been released by Mark Ellingsen called "African Christian Mothers and Fathers: Why They Matter for the Church Today. This book explores the notions of the people of Africa in the time preceding and following the age of Augustine. It is the ancient contributions of Africa that will bring context and wisdom to the church. For more information click here

Meskel

News From The Field

Oct. 1, 2015

by Tekletsadik Belachew

Meskel – The Finding of the True Cross-Celebrated in Ethiopia - September 27, 2015

By: Tekletsadik Belachew

Meskel (Masqal) - the Cross – is the commemoration of the finding of the true cross of Christ celebrated in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with the blessing of the Ethiopian Patriarch and the presence of the Coptic Patriarch with several Coptic bishops. Meskel as public celebration hosts several honorable guests including the President of Ethiopia, the Mayor of the city (of Addis Ababa), Ambassadors, tourists, scholars, visitors and hundreds of thousands Christians.

Activities of the feast of Meskel comprise choirs singing with their colorful traditional and ecclesiastical dressing, accompanied by traditional musical instruments (like harp, cestrum and drum), liturgical dancing, gospel reading and prayers. The story of Meskel staged in dramatic performance.

Mesqel is the commemoration and veneration of the unearthing of the true Cross of Christ in Jerusalem, in 326 by Empress and St. Eleni (Hellena), the mother of Emperor Constantine. The smoke pointed the exact location of the true cross as the story told by Christians in many places around the world including by the Ethiopic and Coptic traditions. It is also believed part of the true relics of Christ’s own cross (gimade meskel in Ge’ez) to be found in Ethiopia. The feast of Meskel culminated by igniting the bonfire of the Damara (the ritual of burning of the stacks of twigs in the midst of the Meskel square). The Damara is decorated and erected with yellow flowers and grass as well as the cross on the top. The Patriarchs and honorable guests set the fire of the Damara as a symbolic reenactment of the story of the finding of the true cross.

“Now first of all they believed in an orthodox manner in the preaching of the Apostles up to [the time of] Constantine, and Eleni (Helena) the Queen, who brought forth the wood Cross, and they (i.e. the kings of Rome) continued [to believe for] on hundred and thirty years.” (Kebra Nagast).

During the celebration of the feast of the Cross-, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Patriarch, His Holiness Abuna Mathias stated three reasons that make this year’s (2015) celebration of Meskel unique. Firstly, it is the presence of His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark. Secondly, we are celebrating it after “The Feast of Meskel is inscribed by the UNESCO as an intangible heritage of humanity.” Thirdly, the celebration of the Cross speaks to the unity that exists between the two nations (Egypt and Ethiopia) and the two churches (Coptic and EOTC). The unity tied for centuries around matters of life and faith. The patriarch mentioned the unity and solidarity of the two people hangs historically including on the recent Ethiopian and Egyptians execution in Libya while searching for the betterment of life, then commemorated as martyrs. The Nile River connects the two people. The consent by the two nations on the fair use and distribution of the Nile River is immensely significant. In matters of faith, he also evokes the name of St. Athanasius (Atanatios) the Great of Alexandria as the common father. The meaning of the cross declares solidarity in the time of distress and joyous celebration.
“On the basis of its spiritual and religious tradition numerous social, cultural, and artistic values have been developed. The feast of Meskel have contributed for the peaceful coexistence, love, unity and development of our society. May the Love of the Cross be with all of us.” (from the invitation card)

His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, emphasized the cross is a sign of peace (between God and man and between man and man). The cross was a sign of suffering for criminal punishment. But, after Jesus Christ crucified on it, He transformed it to a message of love, peace and joy.

Tunisia (Getty Conservation Institute)

Thomas Roby Trains Students in Tunisia to Preserve Mosaics

Aug. 24, 2015

by Christian Clark

Thomas Roby works on what is called the Mosaikon, to teach locals how to support the preservation of mosaics in the southern and eastern Meditteranean.    An article by wall street speaks of how he has trained those in the Middle East and Africa.  For more information about these preservation practices Roby uses click here

Ancient Manuscript Reveals Medicinal Roots by New Scanning Technology

Jun. 12, 2015

by Christian Clark

An Ancient Medicinal Manuscript created by Greco-Roman physician and Galen of Pergamon. MIssing pages were found and compiled, one of these pages was found from the Oldest St. Catherine’s in the Sinai Desert in Egypt, the oldest operating library. New scanning technology allowed scholars to find missing undertext in these missing pages to reveal Galen's medicinal works by variations of light and high resolution shots. To read more click here

Ethiopian Art

10th International Conference of the History of Art and Architechture in Ethiopia

May. 30, 2015

by Christian Clark

           Scholars of Mekelle University are collaborating with other academics in London and Vienna to present young Ethiopian academics a platform to present their notions comprise the 10th Conference of History of Art and Architecture in Ethiopia. The results of those presentations will then be compiled and published.
           The hope of the committee is to see the expressions of young scholars creative ideas of preserving the art and architecture of Ethiopia. "Creative Ethiopia" is the main concern of the conference, and this conference looks to inspire those attending to creatively use Ethiopian art and architecture in their own works.
 

ICES photo

19th International Conference on Ethiopian Studies in Warsaw

May. 13, 2015

by Christian Clark

19th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies will be held in Warsaw August 24-28, 2015

The aim of the Conference of Ethiopian Studies is to allow scholars, students, and enthusiasts alike to present their research, share experiences, and notions of Ethiopian Culture and that of the Horn of Africa. Participants will also explore Ethiopian history, its interconnections, and connections worldwide.

For more information please visit http://www.ices19.uw.edu.pl

Ancient Theatre by:Duimdog

Ancient Sites of Libya in Danger by ISIS

Apr. 30, 2015

by Christian Clark

ISIS in its control of areas in Iraq have posted several videos of their men armed with chisels and sledgehammers destroying precious artifacts and statues.  The group has vied to eliminate any artifacts that pre-date Islam or statues depicting humans such as the vast majority of Greek and Roman art.  As Libya has fallen into chaos since 2011 due to the fall of its Colonel, ISIS seems to have infiltrated and set their sites on places such as Misrata, said to be a prime target of ISIS. For more click here

By: Archaeology Magazine

Two Nations' Ties Strengthened by One God

Apr. 24, 2015

by Christian Clark

Two nations, Egypt and Nubia have been politically tied as a unified nation by the chief god of both peoples, Amun.  A number of pharoahs unified Egypt and Nubia by declaring large temples for Amun, the fellow god of the Nubian and Egyptian people.  For more info click here

Dr. Desta Heliso presenting Atlas to Abune Timoteos

Atlas Presented to the Head of Holy Trinity Theological College

Apr. 20, 2015

by Christian Clark

Here is a great moment of being able to present an Atlas as a gift during our BOGO promotion from the hands of one of our Advisory Board members, Dr. Desta Heliso, to Abune Timoteos, the Head of Holy Trinity Theological College.

1500 yr. Anniversary of the Oldest European Monastery: St. Maurice Monastery's

Feb. 12, 2015

by Christian Clark

This year St. Maurice Monastery, named after African Egyptian Saint Maurice, will be celebrating its 1500 year anniversary.  For more information click here

Photo by Smithsonian

Greek Artifacts Found on 2000 year Old Ship to be Pursued Once More

Jan. 29, 2015

by Christian Clark

Off the coast of Pinakakia a 2000 year old ship was found carrying all sorts of historical Greek artifacts including: Jewelry, statues, and a very intriguing sophisticated device.  A find as great as this ship is of historical proportions.     Since Costeau in 1976, no one has attempted to dive into these seas to make any more excavations...until recently. Brendan Foley will head into these mediterranean waters with the aid of a futuristic exosuit, acting as a submarine for one capable of descending impressive depths to learn more of this ship and its sophisticated mechanics.  For more information click here

Provided by Professor Craig Evans

One of the Oldest Copies of the Gospel of Mark Found on a Mummy Mask

Jan. 29, 2015

by Christian Clark

A fantastic discovery of what is quite possibly the oldest fragment of the gospel of Mark dated to the first century before 90 AD.  The next oldest copy we have is in the second century of 101-200 AD. All this was found on the inside of a Mummy mask, a pretty typical practice for those who were not of status in ancient days since papyrus, the paper used for text, was expensive.  New papyrus for most was not an option, therefore, many would purchase used papyrus.  In this case the paper used was the very same paper fragment of the Gospel of Mark.  For more information click here

Nubian Monuments

Nubian monuments of Meroe, Sudan 300B.C.-300A.D.

Jan. 13, 2015

by Christian Clark

Nubian monuments in the city of Meroe, Sudan reveal themselves to be more numerous than those of the 800 mile strip of Giza in Egypt.  With over 200 pyramids, and burial sites of 44 Kings and Queens, the iron rich pyramids of Meroe prove to be rich with history.  Meroe in the 6th century became the place of the "black pharoahs" commonly associated with the Kushite dynasty who adopted many of the cultural norms of their neighbors, the Egyptians.  For those interested in exploring this is a precious find, as it is quite unknown to the average tourist.  For more information click here

Cover of

CEAC Research Fellow David Wilhite co-edited a new book on Tertullian and Paul published by: Bloomsbury T&T Clark

Jan. 12, 2015

by Christian Clark

Tertullian and Paul brings together patristics experts on numerous topics such as: bishops (A. Brent and N. T. Wright); the authority of Scripture against heretics (E. Ferguson and C. K. Rothschild); eschatology (W. Tabernee and B. Witherington III); God and Christology (A. B. McGowan and M. F. Bird); women (E. A. Clark and M. Y. MacDonald); Spirit and prophecy (D. E. Wilhite and J. D. G. Dunn); claiming Paul (S. Cooper and B. W. Longenecker); Paul and Israel (G. D. Dunn and J. M. G. Barclay); wealth (H. Rhee and W. Carter); and martyrdom (C. Moss and T. D. Still).

Each of these experts vary in their interpretations.  For instance, many of the New Testament respondents are providing their perspective on Tertullian in regard to his comprehension of Paul within the approach provided by the patristics experts.  In regards to the patristics experts themselves, different levels of Pauline inclusion; some displaying Paul as a supporting underlying theme in reference to Tertullian, whereas others incorporate Paul as a far more integral component.  Such variance provides rich insight into the difficulty of assessing cultures and their approaches within the given time frame and a  profound look into how Tertullian would view Paul.  

For more information click here

Internet.org Logo

Basic Internet App. Without Data

Jan. 2, 2015

by Christian Clark

The Internet.org app provides free basic services in markets where access to the internet is too costly. It enables users to peruse selected employment, local information, and health websites such as facebook, wikipedia, google search engine, and messenger without data charges. The app is currently available to Airtel customers in Zambia and Kenya, as well as Tigo customers in Tanzania. It will continue to expand to other parts of the world. For more information about the program click here
 

Cover of Ethiopian Scribal Practice 7

New Book Release by Pickwick Publications: Ethiopian Scribal Practice 7: Plates for the Catalogue of the Ethiopic Manuscript Imaging Project (Companion to EMIP Catalogue 7)

Dec. 19, 2014

by Christian Clark

A new book release by Pickwick Publications titled Ethiopian Scribal Practice 7: Plates for the Catalogue of the Ethiopic Manuscript Imaging Project (Companion to EMIP Catalogue 7). For more information about the book click here

BUY ONE ATLAS GIVE ONE FREE

Dec. 16, 2014

by Christian Clark

For a short time until December 31st if you order a Historical Atlas of Ancient Christianity from iccspress.com one will be donated to an African University or seminary of your choice when you use the coupon code BOGO.  In addition, for each Atlas you will also receive a poster sized map of the Episcopal Sees of Antiquity.  Prof. Dame Avril Cameron of the University of Oxford writes,“The Historical Atlas of Ancient Christianity is a wonderful resource for historians and anyone interested in late antiquity and the early Christian world.”Please consider making this remarkable scholarly work available to students and teachers throughout the continent of Africa. Thank you!

New Autobiography

Dec. 16, 2014

by Christian Clark

Thomas Oden's autobiography is now available. This fascinating memoir walks us through not only his personal history but some of the most memorable chapters in twentieth-century theology.
As a special thank you to CEAC financial supporters we will send a signed copy of the autobiography for any donation over $75. If you are interested in receiving a signed copy please email info@iccspress.com for more information or make a donation here.  

Provided by ISAW

ISAW Opens Exhibit About 300 Yr. Reign of Greeks over Egypt

Dec. 10, 2014

by Christian Clark

Released in October, ISAW brings to us a time period of 300 years in which the Greeks ruled over the Egyptians.  With 150 objects pertaining to this era, ISAW's exhibit provides great insight into the interrelations between these quite polar people groups.  For more information please click here

By: Ray Sanders

WATER4, Hobby Lobby, and Center for Early African Christianity event in Oklahoma City

Nov. 13, 2014

by Christian Clark


Water4, Hobby Lobby and the Center for Early African Christianity holds an exclusive viewing of biblical archives from the Green Collection, a book signing of The Historical Atlas of Ancient Christianity and a brief presentation on The Theology of Water with special guests scholars and authors Thomas C. Oden, Lamin Sanneh and Michael Glerup.

Thursday, November 13
6:30-8:00 pm
Hobby Lobby Headquarters in Oklahoma City 

If you still wish to obtain an atlas click on the link here

To see photos view our facebook page here

SBL

Meetings on Early Christianity in North Africa at SBL/AAR San Diego

Oct. 31, 2014

by Christian Clark

Dear friends and colleagues,

This email is to update you about our upcoming sessions at SBL. Our group, Contextualizing North African Christianity, is holding two sessions, and we are hosting a joint session with the Inventing Christianity section. That section also has a session devoted to Tertullian. In addition, there is a review panel of Patout Burns and Robin Jensen’s new book on Christianity in North Africa. All of these details have been pasted below for your convenience.

Finally, we would like to invite all who are interested in joining us for lunch to do so on Monday (Nov. 24) after our group’s second session. Details will be sent out the day before via email, and then announced again in the session.

Looking forward to seeing all of you who can attend.

Best wishes,
David Wilhite and David Riggs


David Wilhite
Associate Professor of Theology
Truett Theological Seminary
of Baylor University
Waco, TX

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

S23-308
Contextualizing North African Christianity
11/23/2014
4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: C (Level 3 (Aqua)) - Hilton Bayfront (HB)
Theme: Donatist and Catholic Rites: Similarities and Differences
David Riggs, Indiana Wesleyan, Presiding
Jane Merdinger, Independent Scholar
Reading between the Lines: Deciphering Differences in Donatist and Catholic Rites (30 min)
Bradley Daugherty, Vanderbilt University
Episcopal Burials in North African Christianity (30 min)
Jesse Hoover, Baylor University
Contextualizing Ritual Contamination: Donatist and Transmarine Communities on the Validity of Heretical Rites (30 min)
Maureen Tilley, Fordham University
Tripartite Baptism: A North African Anomaly? (30 min)
Jonathan Yates, Villanova University
Salvation by Water? First Peter 3:20-21 in Augustine and the Latin Tradition (30 min)

S24-114
Contextualizing North African Christianity
11/24/2014
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: 411 B (Level 4 (Sapphire)) - Hilton Bayfront (HB)
Theme: Reception of Paul in North Africa
Susan Stevens, Randolph College, Presiding
Helen Rhee, Westmont College
Reading Paul in Cyprian's Exhortation to Unity and Purity (30 min)
Edwina Murphy, Morling College and Macquarie University
Offering Sacrifices and Ransoming Temples: Cyprian, Paul, and Care for the Poor and Captive (30 min)
Sean Hannan, University of Chicago
Augustine’s Use of Paul in Confessions XI (30 min)
Geoffrey D. Dunn, Australian Catholic University
Augustine's Use of the Pauline Portrayal of Peter in Galatians 2 (30 min)
Todd D. Still, Baylor University
What Paul Scholarship Can Learn from North African Reception? (15 min)
Discussion (15 min)


S22-128
Inventing Christianity
11/22/2014
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: Sapphire Ballroom P (Level 4 (Sapphire)) - Hilton Bayfront (HB)
Theme: Competing Christianities in North Africa
Laurence Welborn, Fordham University, Presiding
Outi Lehtipuu, University of Helsinki
Who Has the Right to Be Called a Christian? The Politics of Inventing Christian Identity in Tertullian’s On the Prescription of Heretics (30 min)
Patout Burns, Vanderbilt University
Self-Identity through Competition: The Development of African Ecclesiology (30 min)
Geoffrey D. Dunn, Australian Catholic University
Disputed Christian Identities in North Africa: A View of the Current Landscape (30 min)
Discussion (30 min)
Business Meeting (30 min)


S23-128
Inventing Christianity
11/23/2014
9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: Room 16 A (Mezzanine level) - San Diego Convention Center (CC)
Theme: Christian Identity in the Writings of Tertullian
David Eastman, Ohio Wesleyan University, Presiding
Carly Daniel-Hughes, Concordia University - Université Concordia
Deciphering Religious Dress in Roman North Africa: Tertullian on the Clothing of Christians and Rival Cults (30 min)
Jason Robert Combs, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Dreaming Christian: Tertullian’s Epiphanies and the Construction of Pagan/Christian Identity (30 min)
David E. Wilhite, Baylor University
Were There Marcionites in North Africa? Tertullian’s Rhetorical Construct of Heretical Identity (30 min)
Stephanie Cobb, University of Richmond, Respondent (30 min)
Discussion (30 min)

S22-204
Art and Religions of Antiquity
11/22/2014
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: Room 5 B (Upper level) - San Diego Convention Center (CC)
Theme: Christianity in Roman Africa: The Development of its Practices and Beliefs, by J. Patout Burns and Robin M. Jensen (Review Discussion)
This session will discuss the recent publication, "Christianity in Roman Africa: The Development of its Practices and Beliefs" by J. Patout Burns and Robin M. Jensen (Eerdmans, 2014). This recent volume is a significant contribution to the field of early Christian studies, and this session will include responses by several leading scholars followed by a panel discussion.
Lee Jefferson, Centre College, Presiding (5 min)
Andrew McGowan, Yale Divinity School, Panelist (20 min)
Erika Hermanowicz, University of Georgia, Panelist (20 min)
Joan Downs, Indiana University South Bend, Panelist (20 min)
David Wilhite, Baylor University, Panelist (20 min)
J. Patout Burns, Vanderbilt University, Respondent (10 min)
Robin Jensen, Vanderbilt University, Respondent (10 min)
Discussion (25 min)
Business Meeting (20 min) 

Glen Bowersock to uncover ancient Christian history

Oct. 21, 2014

by Christian Clark

Through searching an Israeli prison an unexpected find was uncovered, evidence of the early Christian church.  Mosaics were found, that, compiled together, they could provide a profound view into Palestine's early Christianity.  To read more about the insights and connections these mosaics provide click this link here and read the full article by Hannah Marley.

Nebi Yunas from Christopher Jones website

Biblical Site Destroyed

Jul. 25, 2014

by Joel Elowsky

An important Christian site that commemorated the prophet Jonah was destroyed by the Islamic government of Iraq. The Tomb of the Prophet - Nebi Yunas - was originally thought to have been spared destruction, but yesterday it was confirmed that ISIS did in fact destroy the tomb. His Grace Bishop Angaelos has written on the impact of this destruction. We have posted his words in a separate article. The destruction of religious sites to establish dominance by those in power is nothing new. One only has to think of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, or the crusades in the Middle Ages. But this should nonetheless be a cause of concern for all of Christianity, since when one part of the body hurts, we all hurt.

To learn more about the significance of the site, follow this link to an article by Columbian PhD student Christopher Jones.

For the reporting in the Washington Post on the destruction of the site, follow this link.

Bp Angaelos

Bp. Angaelos on Jonah site's destruction

Jul. 25, 2014

by Joel Elowsky with Tracy Wahba

We received the following press release from his Grace Bp. Angaelos' executive assistant Tracy Wahba:

For immediate use

25 July 2014

 

Coptic Orthodox Church UK

Media and Communications Office

 

Coptic Orthodox Church (Europe)

Media and Communications Office

 

Statement by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom regarding the situation in Mosul, Iraq

25 July 2014

As the widespread violence and aggression facing Christians and minority groups in Mosul, Iraq, intensifies, it is increasingly evident that the fundamental right and freedom to practice one’s Faith and belief is, and continues to be, grossly violated.

 

We are currently witnessing an unacceptable widespread implementation of extremist religious ideology that threatens the lives of all Iraqi’s who do not fit within its ever-narrowing perspective. While this situation stands to eradicate centuries of co-existence and culture in the region it also threatens to significantly and negatively impact these communities for generations to come. If left unchallenged, it is not Iraq alone that is at risk, but the potential is intensified for the replication of this ideology as a viable and legitimate model for others across the Middle East.

 

As the situation escalates, little is being said in the worldwide community, and I am therefore appreciative of the recent comment by The Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies, and their Chairman, His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, expressing its concern over the current situation in Mosul. Comments such as this have the potential to positively influence these and similar situations by challenging what is being taught, and presenting an alternative religious understanding.

 

We continue to pray and advocate for all whose God-given right to freedom is denied, hoping that acceptance and respect for all is realised in these affected communities, and that grace, healing and strength will be given to those who continue to suffer great atrocities and the loss of precious human life.

End of press release

Gonzalez book cover on Augustine

Latin America and Augustine

Jun. 25, 2014

by Joel Elowsky

The renowned church historian Justo Gonzalez has recently authored a book on Augustine that reflects the Latin American idea of Mestizo in relation to Augustine's mixed background as a Roman and as a Berber. There is a review by Alberto Garcia that I have included on my blog on this website. The text is currently only available in Spanish, but the CEAC is in discussions with the author about a possible translation into English. We encourage you to read the review and provide us with feedback. The inter-cultural exploration of such a historic figure by a scholar such as Gonzalez is to be welcomed.

Historical Atlas

New Historical Atlas of the Ancient Church

Jun. 25, 2014

by Joel Elowsky

 

The Atlante Storico del Cristianesimo Antico was first published in Italian in 2010. Even before it was published, there were discussions with the editor, Fr. Angelo DiBerardino, on developing a historical atlas on early Christianity for the English speaking world that could build on the work he had done for the Encyclopedia of the Early Church. The Historical Atlas of Ancient Christianity is the product of those discussions. Previous atlases, such as The Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World (pub. 2000), as well as those mentioned in Fr. Di Berardino’s introduction, have largely focused on the classical world of late antiquity. Such a focus has its place and the present atlas does not pretend to replace these important resources.

Nonetheless, there are a number of things that set the present atlas apart. The focus in the present atlas explores both the history and the geography of the ancient Christian world and how these interacted. (1) It is a historical atlas that provides a geographical and historical context for the key events, people and trends of the ancient Christian church. (2) Geography often played an important role in the outcome of certain theological issues and developments, and the ancient Christian figures were products of their own environments, just as much as we are today. This atlas will help the reader delve deeper into the world of the early centuries. (3) Key roads and travel patterns influenced the development of the church’s evangelization and sometimes even its conciliar decisions. Bishops needed to travel to these ecumenical meetings sometimes along hazardous ways; others were exiled to remote places. (4) The many pictures and illustrations provide the reader with a glimpse into the environment those early Christian leaders shared and lived. These provide another valuable tool for those who wish to teach, those who want to learn, and anyone interested in what life during the earliest period of the church’s history may have looked like. In this English edition there are a few differences from the Italian edition. The layout is a bit different. We have also provided additional photographs and pictures and some images have been rearranged. There is also an extra map that has been added depicting the barbarian invasions.

This atlas has two audiences: the academy and the church, and both function best when working together. This atlas provides key evidence regarding the existence and distribution of episcopal sees in various geographical areas and how this growth and development was affected by forces inside and outside the church, such as the Roman or Byzantine government or the barbarian invasions. It is our hope that this Historical Atlas of Ancient Christianity will serve as a gift both to the church and to the academy for those desiring to study the ancient Christian period in its historical as well as its geographical and ecclesiastical context.
ICCS Press has released its first publication:

Endorsements

This new Historical Atlas is a ground-breaking achievement that combines in a unique way detailed historical information about the first centuries of Christianity with carefully executed, detailed maps and illustrations of important monuments and places, enhanced by a rich and up-to-date scholarly bibliography.
Karla Pollman, University of St. Andrews


A wonderful resource for historians and anyone interested in the late antiquity and early Christian world.
Averil Cameron, University of Oxford

"The appearance of Di Berardino's Historical Atlas of Ancient Christianity is a major event in Early Christian Studies! Lavishly illustrated with maps and photographs, this volume is a worthy successor to van der Meer and Mohrmann."
David G. Hunter
University of Kentucky

CEAC Welcomes New Board Members

May. 16, 2014

by Joel Elowsky

At its recent Board meeting the CEAC added new three new board members to the CEAC Board who bring a wealth of experience with non-profits and a demonstrated commitment to the CEAC and its mission.

Dr. Robert G. Duffett, President of Eastern University since July 1, 2013, has served in a variety of leadership roles in Christian higher education for the past 27 years. The CEAC has been housed and sponsored at Eastern University since 2009. We are pleased to welcome Dr. Duffett to the Board and look forward to future collaboration with him and the Eastern University community.

Carrie Heddington, founder of the Good New Initiative, was also welcomed to the Board. Carrie's focus on spreading the Gospel has made her a sought after speaker both in the US and abroad. As the CEAC seeks to deepen the faith of African Christians, we look forward to partnering with Carrie and her vision for the Church.

Ron Nikkel served as President and CEO of Prison Fellowship for over 30 years. Now serving as President emeritus of Prison Fellowship, the CEAC Board invited Ron to serve on the CEAC Board to help extend our vision. His capacity for care and concern for those society has forgotten has extended beyond the borders of the US into a truly global concern.

We welcome all three of these members to our CEAC Board and thank them and all of our board members for their willingness to serve. We look forward to our future collaboration together in serving Africa's future through her past. To see the full board complement follow this link.

Pray for Nigeria

Freedom of Faith

May. 16, 2014

by Bishop Angaelos

We received the following from His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom

Freedom of Faith

The freedom to choose and practice one’s faith is a fundamental right for all under international law, and yet we continue to see numerous tragic cases around the world in which that same right is non-existent, and exercising this freedom is punishable, sometimes even by death.

As Christians we believe that all are created in the Image and likeness of God, with His Image intrinsic to our human nature, which lays the foundation for respect and love for all. Within this nature, we believe that all have been given the freedom to choose and live according to those choices, and while freedom of religion is one choice that is central to the lives of millions across the world, it continues to be widely violated.

As recently reported by Amnesty International, Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag is a Christian Sudanese woman in Sudan who was sentenced "to death by hanging for ‘apostasy’" after refusing to renounce her Christian Faith and convert to Islam, although she has lived as a Christian since her childhood. Meriam, who is twenty seven years old and is eight months pregnant, was reportedly also sentenced to "flogging for ‘adultery’" because her marriage to a Christian man is considered unlawful. This, among other cases, sheds light on the intensity of the struggle facing so many around the world who strive to merely practice their faith.

The recent and deeply-disturbing development of the kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria who have reportedly been forced to convert to Islam is yet another incident that has shocked the international community, and in which this brutal violation of this fundamental human right is also causing great distress to families who anxiously await the return of their children.

Egyptian Christians know the effect of religious persecution against numeric minority communities in the Middle East all too well, with the emergence of pockets of intolerant Islamism that have led to more attacks on Christians in the eighteen months following the popular uprising of 2011, than over the twenty years prior. This intolerance has not only affected Christians however, as the first attacks after the uprising were on Sufi shrines, and on a separate occasion Shi’ite Muslims were also senselessly killed in the streets. That said, as Christians we do not live defeated but strive to advocate for all who suffer persecution, oppression and marginalisation, be they Christian or otherwise, man, woman, young or old.

The Baha’i community in Iran is likewise no stranger to religious persecution, and 14 May 2014 marks the sixth anniversary of the imprisonment of seven Baha’i leaders, detained for carrying out ‘peaceful activities on behalf of their communities’.

Here in Britain we pride ourselves on our multi-cultural community that seeks to accommodate and provide for all, and rightly so. We cannot however ignore the fact that, for many across the Middle East in particular, the concept of citizenship, justice and equality are not rights available to everyone, and are very much dependent on a person’s religious affiliation.

We must not forget those around the world who continue to face intense persecution for merely attempting to live out their chosen faith. We also continue to pray and advocate for the rights of these individuals and communities so that this God-given freedom may be exercised within the context of peaceful co-existence and cohesion. This will then ensure a spirit of true reconciliation and acceptance within political states and communities that respect all as equal individuals with equal rights.

Encyclopedia

New Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity

Apr. 25, 2014

by Joel Elowsky

InterVarsity Press has just released its new Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity, edited by Angelo Di Berardino, with consulting editors Thomas Oden and Joel Elowsky, along with Jim Hoover who was the project's editor at IVP.

From IVP's website (follow link for further information):

The Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity covers eight centuries of the Christian church and comprises 3,220 entries by a team of 266 scholars from 26 countries representing a variety of Christian traditions. It draws upon such fields as archaeology, art and architecture, biography, cultural studies, ecclesiology, geography, history, philosophy, and theology.

This three-volume encyclopedia offers unparalleled, comprehensive coverage of the people, places and ideas of ancient Christianity, including:

cultural currents
events and movements
philosophy
iconography and architecture
archaeology
texts and translations
theological terms
doctrines
liturgy
spirituality
monasticism
Christian sects
heresies
controversies
councils

The encyclopedia's A-to-Z coverage extends from "Aaron (iconography)" to "Zosimus, pope" and chronologically from Christianity's origins to Bede (d. 735) in the West and John of Damascus (d. ca. 749) in the Greek East, with detailed emphasis on the first four centuries of Christian history.

Read more: http://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/code=2943#ixzz2zukdOBOi
 

CEAC Atlas

New Historical Atlas of the Ancient Church

Apr. 25, 2014

by Joel Elowsky

ICCS Press to release first publication:

Endorsements

This new Historical Atlas is a ground-breaking achievement that combines in a unique way detailed historical information about the first centuries of Christianity with carefully executed, detailed maps and illustrations of important monuments and places, enhanced by a rich and up-to-date scholarly bibliography.
Karla Pollman, University of St. Andrews


A wonderful resource for historians and anyone interested in the late antiquity and early Christian world.
Averil Cameron, University of Oxford

 

"The appearance of Di Berardino's Historical Atlas of Ancient Christianity is a major event in Early Christian Studies! Lavishly illustrated with maps and photographs, this volume is a worthy successor to van der Meer and Mohrmann."
David G. Hunter
University of Kentucky

 

The Atlante Storico del Cristianesimo Antico was first published in Italian in 2010. Even before it was published, there were discussions with the editor, Fr. Angelo DiBerardino, on developing a historical atlas on early Christianity for the English speaking world that could build on the work he had done for the Encyclopedia of the Early Church. The Historical Atlas of the Ancient Church is the product of those discussions. Previous atlases, such as The Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World (pub. 2000), as well as those mentioned in Fr. Di Berardino’s introduction, have largely focused on the classical world of late antiquity. Such a focus has its place and the present atlas does not pretend to replace these important resources.

Nonetheless, there are a number of things that set the present atlas apart. The focus in the present atlas explores both the history and the geography of the ancient Christian world and how these interacted. (1) It is a historical atlas that provides a geographical and historical context for the key events, people and trends of the ancient Christian church. (2) Geography often played an important role in the outcome of certain theological issues and developments, and the ancient Christian figures were products of their own environments, just as much as we are today. This atlas will help the reader delve deeper into the world of the early centuries. (3) Key roads and travel patterns influenced the development of the church’s evangelization and sometimes even its conciliar decisions. Bishops needed to travel to these ecumenical meetings sometimes along hazardous ways; others were exiled to remote places. (4) The many pictures and illustrations provide the reader with a glimpse into the environment those early Christian leaders shared and lived. These provide another valuable tool for those who wish to teach, those who want to learn, and anyone interested in what life during the earliest period of the church’s history may have looked like. In this English edition there are a few differences from the Italian edition. The layout is a bit different. We have also provided additional photographs and pictures and some images have been rearranged. There is also an extra map that has been added depicting the barbarian invasions.

This atlas has two audiences: the academy and the church, and both function best when working together. This atlas provides key evidence regarding the existence and distribution of episcopal sees in various geographical areas and how this growth and development was affected by forces inside and outside the church, such as the Roman or Byzantine government or the barbarian invasions. It is our hope that this Historical Atlas of Ancient Christianity will serve as a gift both to the church and to the academy for those desiring to study the ancient Christian period in its historical as well as its geographical and ecclesiastical context.
 

Bp Angaelos

A Way Forward in Egypt - Bishop Angaelos

Apr. 9, 2014

by Joel Elowsky with Angela Mikhail

Press Release For immediate use 19 March 2014

Coptic Orthodox Church UK Media and Communications Office

Coptic Orthodox Church (Europe) Media and Communications Office

On 17 March 2014 His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom delivered an address at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, arranged by the Conservative Party’s Middle East and North Africa Group (MENA) regarding the current situation in Egypt since the 2011 uprising. Addressing an audience comprised of specialists, analysts and enthusiasts with an interest in Egypt and the wider Middle East, Bishop Angaelos highlighted the resilient nature of Egypt’s citizens, and the challenges faced in light of the recent uprisings. Speaking of proactive steps towards reconciliation and rebuilding Egypt, he said: “Reconciliation must happen through pragmatic and intentional leadership, bringing people together. These efforts will then instil a sense of unity, cohesion and national identity so that people no longer focus on one’s religion, but see the Egyptian in the other...It is only then that we can begin to advocate for one another.” Addressing the misconception that issues in Egypt arise primarily due to a Muslim Christian divide, he said: “This is about advocating for all; about unity, individual identity, and the importance of that individual as a member of a nation state.” Raising awareness to the impact of the recent uprisings on Christian and minority communities in Egypt, as well as the state of polarisation affecting the nation, Bishop Angaelos highlighted the increasing levels of poverty and illiteracy, the decline in foreign investment and tourism, the increasing levels of harassment against women, and increasing unemployment. He went on to provide his optimistic outlook for Egypt and the way ahead however, saying: “On the 30 June when people took to the streets, they were Christian and Muslim, secular and religious, man and woman, young and old; the whole of society…There is only one way ahead and that is reconciliation, there is no other way. People must live side by side and there must be healing.” During the course of his address Bishop Angaelos also said: “We are all held in the hands of a God Who is much more mighty than anyone who tries to create harm….We are confident, through His graciousness, love and vigilance over His whole creation, that God has a solution for Egypt.” Among those in attendance were the Chairman and Officers of the MENA Group, Parliamentary Member Mark Field and other representatives of the Conservative Party.

Egyptian papyri

Egyptian Papyri Discovery at Luther

Apr. 9, 2014

by Joel Elowsky with Michael Glerup

A sophomore from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa recently discovered papyri in a collection of the papers of their former dean of the college. Of particular interest for the CEAC was the discovery of a libellus which dates to the time of the Decian persecutions in the mid 3rd century.  According to the College's website, the libellus "bears the name of Aurelius Ammon, a servant of the well-attested Aurelius Appianus, a leading citizen of Alexandria, Egypt. It declares that Aurelius Ammon has sacrificed “in accordance with the orders” of the emperor." To see the full story, follow this link.

ICCS Prize Seeking Submissions

Feb. 27, 2014

by Joel Elowsky

2014 ICCS STUDIES IN PATRISTIC EXEGESIS

$2000 First Prize

Prize in Patristic Exegesis

$1000 Additional Prizes

Papers submitted for consideration will be assessed according to quality of argumentation, clarity of exposition, significance of the position argued, degree to which the paper advances the topic under discussion, contribution to global Christianity and depth of understanding of the ancient Christian writers.

The paper must be a previously unpublished manuscript submitted in English. Manuscripts selected may be submitted simultaneously to peer-reviewed journals, or may be published digitally in English but in order for them to be considered for a prize, the articles submitted to other journals or publications must have a non-exclusive right to reprint agreement in order to be considered for award prizes in order to allow the ICCS to publish the paper, if it so chooses.


Submit manuscript (8,000 to 20,000 words) to the Institute for Classical Christian Studies, Eastern University, Box 949,1300 Eagle Rd, St. Davids, PA, 19087 or email info@iccspress.com by August 1, 2014. The award will be announced by November of 2014.

ICCS Prize

ICCS Prize Winners for 2013 Announced

Feb. 27, 2014

by Joel Elowsky

The Institute for Classical Christian Studies is proud to announce the 2013 award winners for the Best Article(s) in Patristic Exegesis:

David L. Eastman (Ohio Wesleyan University)
“Paul Our Martyr: Unity and Schism in Early Christian North Africa”

Michel Libambu (University of Kinshasa)
“RESURRECTION DES MORTS OU RESURRECTION DES CORPS? Dynamique du langage exégétique d’Origène contre Celse.”


Papers submitted for consideration were assessed according to quality of argumentation, clarity of exposition, significance of the position argued, degree to which the paper advances the topic under discussion, contribution to global Christianity and depth of understanding of the ancient Christian writers.

We also want to announce that we are now receiving submissions for the 2014 ICCS STUDIES IN PATRISTIC EXEGESIS

$2000 First Prize

Prize in Patristic Exegesis

$1000 Additional Prizes

The paper must be a previously unpublished manuscript submitted in English. Manuscripts selected may be submitted simultaneously to peer-reviewed journals, or may be published digitally in English but in order for them to be considered for a prize, the articles submitted to other journals or publications must have a non-exclusive right to reprint agreement in order to be considered for award prizes in order to allow the ICCS to publish the paper, if it so chooses.


Submit manuscript (8,000 to 20,000 words) to the Institute for Classical Christian Studies, Eastern University, Box 949,1300 Eagle Rd, St. Davids, PA, 19087 or email info@iccspress.com by August 1, 2014. The award will be announced by November of 2014.


 

Papyrus parchment

New Resource: Arabic Papyrology Database

Feb. 27, 2014

by Joel Elowsky

The Arabic Papyrology Database (APD) is a unique resource which makes a wealth of historical documents written in Arabic freely available online. A number of texts from Egypt written from 7th to 16th century are available online.We invite you to check out their website by following this link. The work is being carried on by the Ludwig Maximillian University in Munich, funded by the Mellon Foundation. Many of these documents date as far back as to the early years of Islam.

A Tophet Outside Carthage

Carthage and Ancient Child Sacrifice

Feb. 17, 2014

by Joel Elowsky

Carthage was one of the ancient centers of early African Christianity. Carthage was also a city in desperate need of Christian witness to its pagan practices. The suggestion by some of Carthage's enemies that Carthage practiced child sacrifice has been studied recently by archaeologists looking into Carthaginian practices. The evidence seems conclusive that they did, or at least the elite of Carthaginian society, did practice child sacrifice. For the full story, see the article by Maev Kennedy in The Guardian.

Central African Republic

Christian/Muslim Violence in CAR

Feb. 17, 2014

by Joel Elowsky

The Central African Republic  has been the scene of Christian violence against Muslims this past week that has seen the exodus of Muslims from the republic to avoid further bloodshed. News reports from The Guardian have noted that the attacks are in response to a mostly Muslim group known as Seleka which seized power in a coup about a year ago, "committing scores of atrocities along the way."  The Christian militia are known as the anti-Balaka, and seem to be intent on exacting vengeance from the attacks suffered under the Seleka. The article from The Guardian can be found at the following link.

Nigeria 2014 Seminar class

140 Attend CEAC Seminar in Nigeria

Jan. 28, 2014

by Joel Elowsky

The CEAC conducted a seminar for the minimester term at the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary in Ogbomoso Nigeria from January 14-19. The seminar was conducted by CEAC's research director, Dr. Joel Elowsky. The seminar provides an introduction to the subject of early African Christianity to M.Div and Graduate level students who are studying for the Masters and Ph.D degrees. Subject covered include an introduction to the main figures of early African Christianity, African Spirituality and the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, Living Faithfully in Africa which includes a discussion of the early martyrs and monastic traditions in Africa.
There were many enthusiastic responses to the seminar from students who saw how the early African Christians were relevant to African life today. Discussions of spirituality and martyrdom elicited stories of similar experiences. The deep doctrinal teaching of the Fathers was also recognized as a challenge to Africans today to continue that deep theological reflection.

One student wrote, "I thank God for your life and I thank you too. I have heard of Athanasius before but you made it more compelling and challenging when you discussed his many feats, challenges and victories . . . After seeing my Lord Jesus Christ in heaven, I would like to see Athanasius of Alexandria and Perpetua and Felictas, then others if that is permitted. Sir, this is my prayer and commitment; I will not receive the grace of God in vain. I will not waste my strength on things not profitable to God and his Kingdom. I will contend for the faith and keep it pure to the end and pass it also, so that generations after will not curse but thank God for me, like these saints of God. I trust the Holy Spirit for strength and grace in Jesus' Name. . . . Yours in Christ, Adewale Paul Abiola"

Egypt

CEAC Seminar in Egypt in February

Jan. 28, 2014

by Joel Elowsky

CEAC was in Heliopolis Egypt in February continuing with the cohort begun last year by Dr Michael Glerup. The second Module focused on Biblical Exegesis -- (6 units/9 semester hours). Module 2 presents a text based analysis of the biblical exegesis of key African exegetes such as Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Cyprian, Tyconius, Athanasius, Augustine, and Quodvultdeus. Topics included various interpretations of Genesis, the Song of Songs, and the Gospel of John, as well as how early Christian interpretation of the Bible relates to classical culture. Selections from the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (29 volumes, InterVarsity Press, Thomas C. Oden, General Editor, Christopher A. Hall, Associate Editor) were extensively utilized. Students gained an appreciation for the complexity of early Christian biblical interpretation and an understanding of how the Bible came to serve as the foundation of Western culture.
 

Perpetua and Felicitas

Over 70 Christians Killed in Nigeria

Jan. 28, 2014

by Joel Elowsky

According to the BBC news service, this past weekend over 70 Christians were killed in Northern Nigeria. The killings were blamed on Boko Haram, whose name means "Western Education is Forbidden. Around 50 were killed in a market in the village of Kawuri in Borno state with more than 20 also killed Waga Chakawa in Adamawa State on Sunday. For the full story from the BBC, please follow this link
During the previous week's seminar on early African Christianity at the Nigerian Baptist Seminary students shared personal experiences of dealing with Boko Haram: being stopped in the street and asked to recite the Shahada or Islam which is essentially the creed of Islam. Others told of their pastor being killed along with serious injuries to his wife while the children looked on in horror, hidden from view. Parallels between life of Christians today and in the early martyrs of the church in North Africa.
 

Bp Angaelos

Bp Angaelos on Egyptian Human Rights Abuses

Jan. 10, 2014

by Joel Elowsky


PRESS RELEASE

For immediate use

10 December 2013

 

Coptic Orthodox Church UK

Media and Communications Office

 

Coptic Orthodox Church (Europe)

Media and Communications Office

 

His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom testified at a Congressional Hearing on ‘Human Rights Abuses in Egypt’ in Washington DC on Human Rights Day, 10 December 2013.

Addressing the congressional panel with four other witnesses, during a Joint Subcommittee Hearing comprised of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organisations, and the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, Bishop Angaelos underlined the nature and unprecedented level of violence and attacks against minority groups in Egypt pre and post 2011 uprising.

Highlighting a number of incidents occurring in recent months and years, he spoke of the increased incitement that led to the burning, demolition, and attacks on scores of churches, the kidnapping of Christian girls, restrictions on the choice or expression of faith, and the increasing violent attacks resulting in loss of life, and the displacement and destruction of property over decades.

Speaking on behalf of all minorities Bishop Angaelos said:

“I do not only speak as a Christian, because that would be very un-Christian of me. We speak as Christians for everyone, and our view of human rights is for a human rights perspective that covers every person.”

Saying the following regarding the political situation in Egypt:

“What we need to address at the moment are issues of illiteracy and poverty that make constituents vulnerable when they vote and are manipulated, either financially, or in terms of ideology, and of course religion becomes a part of that. What we also need is foreign investment and tourism to bolster the economy and enable people to sustain their families and communities.”

In conclusion, Bishop Angaelos spoke of Christians in Egypt as those who remain loyal to, and take pride in, their indigenous homeland despite the various challenges faced, saying:

“We speak as Christians with hope, and we have faced persecution far greater than this. We are still there as the largest Christian denomination in the Middle East and as the last actual bastion of Christian presence in the region.”

Shortly after the hearing, and in commenting further on the state of minorities in Egypt, Bishop Angaelos said:

“While we do not seek to place blame on the current leadership, it is evident that over the past decades there has been little done to ensure that these violent acts do not reoccur. Since the uprising, and due to a decrease in law and order resulting from the turbulent period under the rule of Mr Mohammed Morsi, there have been increasing challenges facing Christian and minority groups in Egypt. Having said that, and in looking to the future, we continue to support the current process of rebuilding Egypt with a new constitution and ethos, and support the whole community as it calls for change.

We pray, that with the good intention of all to move past these challenging times in Egypt’s history, the implementation of equality before the law will ensure that Egypt becomes a better place for all citizens on the basis that they are Egyptian before anything else, whether they are the numeric majority or minority, man or woman, young or old, secular or religious, Bahá’i, Christian or Muslim.”

Testifying alongside Bishop Angaelos, Mr Samuel Tadros, Research Fellow at Hudson Institute’s Centre for Religious Freedom presented a number of solutions to address the situation in Egypt, saying:

“In order to prevent recurring attacks there must be a process put in place to identify the most vulnerable villages in Egypt that are likely to experience attacks. The Egyptian government should be urged to implement this and the United States may be able to provide resources to help with that process. The Egyptian police also need a security protocol to deal with mob violence and should establish a crisis office within the Egyptian presidency to deal specifically with that issue, as well as the development of a rapid response unit. We also need reform in the legal system, and localised reward and punishment system.”

Other witnesses included:

Zuhdi Jasser, M.D. Vice Chair, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

Morad Abou-Sabe, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University
Mr. Tad Stahnke, Director of Policy and Programs, Human Rights First

2013 Nigerian Seminar

CEAC in Nigeria in January

Jan. 10, 2014

by Joel Elowsky

The CEAC will be in Ogbomoso, Nigeria next week as guest of the Nigerian Baptist Seminary. Dr Joel Elowsky will be representing the CEAC, leading an introductory seminar on early African Christianity. This will be the fourth seminar held at the seminary during their mini-mester that is held in the month of January. The seminar will focus on the roots of early African Christianity, helping students explore some of the key figures in Africa's Christian history that helped shape world Christianity. The seminar will also look at some unique African contributions in the area of Christian Spirituality and the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, monasticism, martyrdom and the interpretation of Scripture. It promises to be an engaging week with eager students from the seminary.

M23 Peace Deal in Congo

Congolese Peace Deal

Dec. 16, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

The Congolese government has sought to reach a peace settlement with the M23 rebels, according to  allAfrica.com. US Senator Russ Feingold believes this is only the first step in a long term struggle to stabilize the region. For more news on the story follow this link

Postage Stamp of Virgin Mary

New Coptic Postage Stamp Released

Dec. 16, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

We received the following Press Release from Bp Angaelos, bishop of the Coptic Church in the United Kingdom

29 November 2013

Coptic Orthodox Church UK Media and Communications Office Coptic Orthodox Church (Europe) Media and Communications Office Royal Mail unveils their 2013 Christmas stamp collection featuring a Coptic Nativity icon by Hertfordshire-based iconographer Fadi Mikhail. The stamp, entitled ‘Theotokos, Mother of God’ depicts the Virgin Saint Mary embracing the Infant Christ. It is an example of the beauty and deeply rooted Faith and culture of the Coptic Orthodox Church, the largest Christian denomination in the Middle East which traces its roots back to the Apostle Mark in the first Century. Since its establishment in the United Kingdom in the 1960s the Coptic Orthodox community has been increasing in size, and more recently in activity. The Coptic faithful in the United Kingdom are active members of society who contribute to their wider community through a variety of spiritual and social networks and programmes. His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, said: “This is an opportunity to not only portray the beautiful iconographic heritage of the Coptic Orthodox Church within British culture, but also its theology and teaching with respect to the message of hope and salvation in the Nativity, a Feast that is often transformed into a purely commercial occasion. It also lives as a testimony to the resilience of the Copts, who continue to live their Faith in the birthplace of Christianity and across the world despite the many challenges they have faced in recent months and years.” Fadi Mikhail, an active youth member of The Coptic Orthodox Church Centre said: “Coptic iconography was redeveloped in the 1960s and has enjoyed increased international interest since that time. I'm happy that this stamp is helping to elevate that status. Whether it is through art, music, language, or the reconstruction of churches, there is a movement both within and outside Egypt in which Copts are rebuilding themselves for the future, and I see Coptic iconography as a key factor in heralding this movement forward.” Along with this historic stamp, an icon from the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral of St George depicting St Mary and the Child Jesus, also written by Fadi Mikhail, has been chosen by Christians Aware as part of their Christmas card collection for 2013.

Sudanese Army - Photo by Tim McKulka UN Photo

South Sudan Attempted Coup Fails

Dec. 16, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

There was an attempted coup in the south Sudan overnight which failed. It is reported that the country is now under curfew in order to secure the situation. For further details follow this link.

Bp Angaelos and Prince Hassan

Prince Hassan Visits Copts

Dec. 2, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

We received the following press release from the office of our friend, His Grace Bp Angaelos:

His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan was received by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, during a historic visit and interfaith gathering at The Coptic Orthodox Church Centre on 13 November 2013.

This visit facilitated a gathering of guests from a variety of faith backgrounds who met in the Cathedral of St George to listen and respond to addresses by Bishop Angaelos and Prince Hassan on the subject of interreligious dialogue and cooperation at an interreligious level.

In welcoming Prince Hassan, Bishop Angaelos,

a Scholar-Consultant on the Christian Muslim Forum of England and Moderator of the Churches' Inter Religious Network, said:

“Having recently celebrated Armistice Day, as the end of war and celebration of all those who gave their lives, the words ‘Lest we forget’ should also be applied to heroes of faith and inclusion. We are a reality in each other’s lives and reconciliation is our only way ahead, both in the Middle East and around the world.

I believe that faith and advocacy are inseparable; a faith that does not advocate is not a Godly faith. This is why we are here with the Cathedral of St George as our backdrop. The altar is the place of our greatest worship and what we are doing here is part of that worship, to be able to integrate our belief with our daily witness in our lives.”

His Royal Highness, who is President of the Foundation for Inter-religious and Intercultural Research and Dialogue, spoke in his address of the need for a strategy to stabilise the Middle East, further indicating the need for a process leading to free and responsible Arab citizenship. Following the address, His Royal Highness answered a variety of questions relating to the rapid decline in the number of Christians in the Middle East and the course of action required to address the increasing challenges facing various faith communities in the region.

During a presentation ceremony following the address, Bishop Angaelos presented His Royal Highness with the gift of a traditional Coptic Orthodox icon of Saint George, after which guests were able to further their conversations during an informal reception.

Resulting from the day’s events was a shared desire to engage more at an interreligious level with the furthered prospect of addressing the state of Christians in the Middle East and the challenges they face.

Among the guests were the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, Chief Inspector Richard Harbon, The Rt Hon Stephen McPartland MP, as well as representatives of Churches Together in England, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, the Awareness Foundation, and the Muslim Christian Forum. Also in attendance were members of clergy and community of the Coptic Orthodox Church, and representatives from the broad spectrum of the Christian Church and the Muslim and Baha’i communities in the United Kingdom.

 

 

 

Visit CopticMediaUK.com to view this Press Release online.

 

 

For more information please contact:

 

 

Angela Mikhail

 

Media and Communications Officer
The Coptic Orthodox Church UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 7193 7076

Media and Communications Office
The Coptic Orthodox Church Centre
Shephalbury Manor
Broadhall Way, Stevenage
Hertfordshire SG2 8NP
England, United Kingdom

Tel.: +44 (0)20 7193 7076
Office Email: Media@CopticCentre.com
Website: www.CopticMediaUK.com

The Coptic Orthodox Church Centre: www.CopticCentre.com

Bishop Angaelos Twitter: http://twitter.com/BishopAngaelos
Coptic Media UK Twitter: http://twitter.com/CopticMediaUK
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/CopticMediaUK

Africans and cell phones

Cell Phones, SMS and Early African Christianity

Nov. 15, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

Wikipedia recently began formatting its articles to be sent as text messages that can be received via cell phone. The new technololgy has the possibility of reaching places where internet access is still in development but cell phone technology and capacity is already in place--such as in Africa. Its partnership with a local cell phone carrier, Airtel, has promise. The difficulty with many phones in the developing world is that they are not "data-enabled". As Dan Foy, the technical partner manager for Wikimedia puts it, "Throughout most of the developing world, data-enabled smartphones are the exception, not the rule," he wrote. "That means billions of people currently cannot see Wikipedia on their phones." To activate the service - called Wikipedia Zero - users need to dial *515#, after which they will receive a text message prompting them to search for articles. Follow this link to see the full article. The application to the Center for Early African Christianity's work may make it possible for our center to provide similar information bites as we move forward.

African Methodists Singning

Africa Influencing Methodism

Nov. 11, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

The Methodist church in Africa is having a profound influence on the churches of the West, just as has been the case with the Episcopal and Lutheran churches in Africa. Especially on issues such as human sexuality and abortion the clarion call of Africa's churches is ringing in some unlikely places as global Christianity grapples with Africa's contribution to world Christianity. Our Center has often said that Africa's future is rooted in its past; just as Africa was a leader in world Christianity in the early centuries of the church's history, it is poised to be a leader again today in a Christianity that is becomingly increasinglyl secularized among many of the mainline denominations.

There is an an article in First Things on the web by Mark Tooley that highlights how African influence in the Methodist church has helped turn back the push towards acceptance of same sex marriage. It is another testimony to the role Africa can and will play in the 21st century church as it stays faithful to Scripture and to its roots in early Christianity.

Africa/Nigeria

Fulani Mercenaries Kill 7 Christians

Nov. 11, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

According to Persecution.org, seven people were killed and thousands were driven from their homes by a well armed group of Fullani mercenaries, connected with Boko Haram, more than likely.

cyclone image

Tropical Cyclone Hits Somalia

Nov. 11, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

A tropical cyclone hit Somalia over the weekend, killing up to an estimated 100 people. The cyclone hit land in Puntland along the coast. It brought with it icy cold conditions and damage to houses and a large amount of livestock. To see the full story follow the BBC link here.

Boko Haram and Nigeria

Oct. 30, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

Tensions between Muslims and Christians continue in Nigeria. According to the BBC, the Nigerian army says today that it has killed 74 suspected Boko Haram militants in a raid in north-eastern Borno state. This was most likely in response to a recent terror attack on an agricultural college in Northeast Nigeria, which would be regarded by Boka Haram as a symbol of western culture to be opposed. Around 50 students were killed while sleeping in their dormitory. To see the rest of the story, follow the link.

African Journals Online

African Christianity and the Holy Spirit

Oct. 25, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

African Christianity has always had an affinity with the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. African Church Fathers such as Tertullian and Origen worked out a theology of the Holy Spirit when few others were thinking in those terms. Augustine's understanding of the Spirit as vinculum caritatis (bond of love) in the Trinity influenced generations of theologians who came after.

We recently came across a journal article by A. van de Beek, a professor emeritus at Stollenbosch Unversity in South Africa. The article is entitled:"The Spirit of the Body of Christ: The Holy Spirit's Indwelling in the Church." In this article van de Beek explores the Biblical and Patristic witness to the Holy Spirit in the life of the church. As the abstract states:

"Contrary to present-day tendencies in theology, the author argues that the church is the exclusive place of the work of the Holy Spirit, with reference to early church fathers such as Cyprian and Augustine, and to the New Testament. The Spirit is the presence of Christ who indwells his body. Therefore, the concept of social Trinity is rejected. As the Spirit of the Crucified, the Spirit displays the same strength in weakness: a pneumatologia crucis is the consequence of a christologia crucis as aspects of a theologia crucis. Specific attention is paid to I Corinthians."

We commend the article to your reading. You can find it using this link.

Nubian Bishops

African Christians Reject Obama's Call to Decriminalize Homosexuality

Oct. 25, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

We came across an article concerning President Obama's three country tour to Africa this past summer. During that tour, Pres. Obama said African nations must grant equal protection to all people regardless of their sexual orientation. "My basic view is that regardless of race, regardless of religion, regardless of gender, regardless of sexual orientation, when it comes to how the law treats you, how the state treats you ... people should be treated equally," Obama said. "And that’s a principle that I think applies universally."

Africa's religious leaders continue to stand strongly against the idea that homosexuality is a civil right like any other. The article, on the website Religion Today, noted that according to the Washington-based Council for Global Equality, 37 African nations still consider homosexuality a crime.

cell phone SMS

Wikipedia Articles via SMS in Africa

Oct. 25, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

Wikipedia recently began formatting its articles to be sent as text messages that can be received via cell phone. The new technololgy has the possibility of reaching places where internet access is still in development but cell phone technology and capacity is already in place--such as in Africa. Its partnership with a local cell phone carrier, Airtel, has promise. The difficulty with many phones in the developing world is that they are not "data-enabled". As Dan Foy, the technical partner manager for Wikimedia puts it, "Throughout most of the developing world, data-enabled smartphones are the exception, not the rule," he wrote.

"That means billions of people currently cannot see Wikipedia on their phones."

To activate the service - called Wikipedia Zero - users need to dial *515#, after which they will receive a text message prompting them to search for articles.

Follow this link to see the full article

Cyrene Necropolis

Cyrene Necropolis Destroyed

Oct. 18, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

A blogger in Cyrenaica in Libya is reporting the destruction of a Cyrene Necropolis that was bulldozed by neighboring farmers to clear the land for development. Follow this link to read more.

St Catharines Monastery

St Catharines Monastery Closed

Oct. 4, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

The St. Catharines Monastery was shut down last month due to the inability to meet expenses because of the strife and tension in Egypt. This has affected not only the monastery but also the town which relies on such income. The hardships for the monastery and the townspeople is palpable as many of the businesses in the area were heavily dependent on tourism. To read further about this tragedy, follow the link to the Almonitor website.

Egypt

CEAC Seminar in Egypt

Oct. 1, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

CEAC executive director Michael Glerup was in Egypt recently conducting a seminar in Cairo on Early African Christianity. The course was a five day intensive that serves as part of the MA program in Cairo of which CEAC is a co-sponsor. Twenty-seven students signed up for the program including two or three Coptic bishops/monks and at least one Muslim woman.The class brought together differing viewpoints while working with common sources to promote further understanding of how Africa shaped the Christian mind of the past and will continue to shape the Christian mind for the 21st century. Please contact us if you would like further information on upcoming seminars.

Public Access to Archaeology Archive Coming Soon

Sep. 19, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

We thought our readers, especially those interested in archaeological research, would be interested in the following announcement from the Archaeological Institute of America:

The AIA Archives Project, generously supported by the Leon Levy Foundation, aims to make 135 years of AIA history available to all. Since its founding in the late 19th century, the AIA has been present to record, observe, and influence the development of archaeology from a new area of study into an academic discipline. Within its archives are materials from past officers, governing board and committee members, and staff of the Institute, along with records of the American Journal of Archaeology and ARCHAEOLOGY magazine. President Elizabeth Bartman applauds the grant: “The Leon Levy Foundation's generous support will facilitate not only an understanding of our institutional past but also of what was, at the time of the AIA's founding in 1879, a new discipline of study. At its heart, a study of the AIA is an exploration of intellectual history.” The press release following this link has more information.

CEAC Conference Spawns Christianity and Islam Book

Sep. 4, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

From the Back Cover of the Book:

During the summer of 2010 Ghana played host to the first ever conference held within Africa to focus solely on the relationship of the African Christian and Islam. The event was led by John Azumah in partnership with the Center for Early African Christianity. The conference, Chaired by Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja welcomed over 50 participants from across 27 African countries and several denominations. This book is a collection of the papers presented by 22 of the delegates forming a historical survey and thematic assessment of the African Christian and Islam. In addition, key information on the introduction, spread and engagement of Islam and Christianity within 9 African countries is presented. The book closes with Biblical reflections that opened each day of the conference, providing useful examples of Christians reading the Bible in the context of Islam.

The African Christian and Islam demystifies the mutual ignorance that is often common amongst African Christians and Muslims, thus building a vital bridge towards interreligious epistemology. The edited book provides a complex historiography of Africa’s religious tapestry, underscoring its robustness, spiritual and confessional variegatedness and unity, but also mutual dependence in growth, development and impact . . . The urgency of such a book cannot be overstated at an increasingly insecure time in which the global arena is awash with incessant interreligious tensions, conflicts and violence. The book is a must-read for scholars, students and religious and political entrepreneurs who are genuinely committed to interreligious understanding and coexistence in Africa and globally.

Dr. Afe Adogame

World Christianity & Religious Studies

University of Edinburgh, UK

The Editors of the Book are John Azumah and Lamin Sanneh. Below is some information on the two editors who both have been intricately involved with CEAC.

Editor: JOHN AZUMAH is an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana. He is currently an associate professor of World Christianity and Islam at Columbia Theological Seminary, U.S.A. Dr. Azumah served as lecturer in Islamic and Mission studies and director of the Centre for Islamic Studies at the London School of Theology in the United Kingdom. He has taught in theological seminaries in India, South Africa and Ghana and was a research fellow at the Akrofi-Christaller Institute in Ghana. John is author of The Legacy of Arab-Islam in Africa: A Quest for InterReligious Dialogue (Oneworld, 2001) and My Neighbour’s Faith: Islam Explained for Christians (Hippo, 2008).

PROF. LAMIN SANNEH did his PhD in Islamic history at the University of London. Prior to his appointment at Yale University as the D. Willis James Professor of Missions and World Christianity, with a concurrent appointment as Professor of History at Yale College, he was a professor at Harvard University for eight years. Prof. Sanneh is an honorary research professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies in the University of London, and is a life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University. He serves on the editorial board of several academic journals and has published numerous articles and books including his most recent, Disciples of All Nations: Pillars of World Christianity (OUP USA, 2007).

Langham Monographs is an academic imprint that serves evangelical scholars from the Majority World by disseminating their work widely in an affordable and accessible format.

St. Mena

$2000 1st Prize in Patristic Studies

Aug. 11, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

 

ANNOUNCEMENT

$2000 First Prize

Prize in Patristic Exegesis

$1000 Additional Prizes

The submitted manuscripts will be assessed by quality of argumentation, clarity of exposition, significance of the position argued, degree to which the paper advances the topic under discussion, contribution to global Christianity and depth of understanding of the ancient Christian writers.


The paper must be a previously unpublished manuscript submitted in English. Manuscripts selected may be submitted simultaneously to peer-reviewed journals, or may be published digitally in English but in order for them to be considered for a prize, the articles submitted to other journals or publications must have a non-exclusive right to reprint agreement in order to be considered for award prizes in order to allow the ICCS to publish the paper, if it so chooses.

Accra

CEAC in Accra

Aug. 11, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

Dr. Glerup is in Accra Ghana this week for consultation sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. In addition to Lamin Sanneh (the consultation convener) the consultation will feature fifteen eminent African Christian leaders from a variety of relevant fields (including CEAC founding board member Tite Tienou.) The purpose of the meeting is to explore needs and opportunities in Africa in the areas where the John Templeton Foundation provides funding. Discussion panels include: Progress in Theology, Persons and Personal Flourishing, and a Freedom, Enterprise, Character Panel.

On Wednesday, Dr. Glerup will moderate a discussion at the consultation sponsored by the Issachar Fund Initiative on the themes of "Creation Care" and "Human Flourishing (in a tech driven world).

The African leaders hail from Burundi, Cameroon, the Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, UK, and the USA. The impressive group is composed of leaders in church ministry, higher education, theology, philosophy, social science and natural science.

Walter Obare

Africa and the Lutherans

Aug. 1, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

The CEAC is engaged in the study of early African Christian texts. This is nothing new, however. Lutherans have been engaged in the study of earyy African Christian texts since its founding by Martin Luther, himself an Augustinian monk. Lutherans owe a special debt to Augustine, who Luther used as a sounding board for much of his own exegesis and doctrinal ruminations. Luther, of course, did not accept all that Augustine said or wrote, but nonetheless used many of his thought categories in his own process, especially in his study of the Psalms.

Lutherans continue to be engaged in Africa. In fact, according to most estimates, the center of Lutheranism has moved away from Luther's native land to further south. Granted, the Lutheran Church in Germany  still has around 12.5 million Lutherans affiliated with it. How many are active in the church is another question. 

Five years ago, Prof William Schumacher of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis wrote an article entitled "How Many  Lutherans". He noted that the "big story" was Africa. In 2003 there were 13 million Lutherans; in 2004 there were 14 million and 15 million in 2006. Moving beyond Schumacher's article we find that there are almost 19 million in 2009 and close to 20 million by 2011. Lutherans seem to be increasing by a little less than 1 million per year on the continent of Africa. Its earliest involvement in the modern era was in Nigeria. But perhaps the biggest growth has been seen in eastern Africa: in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya. Each of these countries have almost as many, or more, Lutherans than can be found in the US.

But Lutherans are not so much about numbers as about depth and education. The new dean, for instance, of the Mekane Yesus Seminary of th eEvangelical church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) is a former classmate of mine, Dr. Carl Rockrohr. His task is to accredite the seminary there at the graduate level. Carl has noted that the EECMY is the second largest Lutheran church in the world and is growing by about 300,000 members a year. The need for theological education for their pastors becomes even more critical in order to foster a deep faith that is not just numerically significant, but spiritually so.

In further posts, we will also highlight other churches and their growth in Africa. Overall, there may now be over 500 milliion Christians in Africa. Christianity's growth - largely through conversion from paganism and Islam - testifies to the working of the Holy Spirit.

Pr. Walter Obare, the bishop of the Kenyan Lutheran Church, pictures above, attended our first CEAC conference back in 2007 and encouraged us to pursue our work. We continue to hear his and other church leaders' calls. The CEAC will continue to seek ways to help support and deepen the churches in Africa.

Bp Angaelos

3 Days of Prayer for Egypt

Jul. 24, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

The Following is a statement from our friend His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of The Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom announcing three days of prayer for Egypt

 

After witnessing millions of Egyptians across the whole nation and from all walks of life standing together to peacefully express their desire for a new Egypt, it is unfortunate that this unified effort is being undermined by needless violence and bloodshed.

At this formative time, the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom dedicates three days (Tuesday 9 July – Thursday 11 July) of prayer for peace, reconciliation and an end to needless violence and loss of life in Egypt.

 

These three days represent the end of the Fast of the Apostles for Coptic Orthodox Christians and the beginning of the month of Ramadan for Muslims, and so we invite every Egyptian and all our friends in the United Kingdom to join us in prayer for the sake of the many millions whose lives are now affected in Egypt.

 

For the good of Egypt, it is imperative that all parties work towards a common future, realising that any lives taken are those of fellow Egyptians. We continue to pray for unity and reconciliation, confident that the spirit that has been developing over the past two years and culminated in June 30 2013 will endure over these vital weeks and months ahead.

New CEAC webpage

New CEAC Page Arrives

Jul. 24, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

Check it out - Our new webpage is now up and running. Special thanks to Gina Petersen and Josh Keegan Gross who designed and coded the site. There are a number of new additions to our site, including an opportunity to chat with Dr Thomas Oden about early African Christianity. We also invite those who would like to contribute to the blog to contact Joel Elowsky. You can also see our expanded offerings that we have in the various areas of the site. And, of course, there is also the opportunity to donate, if you are so moved. We hope you enjoy the site, and look forward to any feedback you would like to provide.

Christian History Magazine

Christian History Magazine - Africa

Jul. 9, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

Christian History Magazine has devoted its most recent issue to the history of Christianity in Africa. There are articles ranging from exploring ancient archaeological ruins to contemporary worshiping communities. You can learn more about some of the famous theologians, martyrs and pastors who influenced the church of their own day and continue to influence the church today. There are some perhaps better known than others. There is also a helpful exploration of the textual and theological tradition in Africa from various scholars. We especially encourage you to check out the article by Michael Glerup, our executive director and the interview with Thomas Oden, the director of CEAC on the importance of early African Christianity for today.

We recommend the whole issue to help you become more informed on early African Christianity. You will also benefit from the pictures, many of which were provided by our center, to help put African Christianity in context. We commend the editors of Christian History Magazine for an excellent issue on early African Christianity

ICCS Prize

ICCS Prize in Patristic Studies

Jun. 24, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

Institute for Classical Christian Studies is pleased to announce the ICCS Studies Prize in Patristic Exegesis with a $2000 FIRST PRIZE and $1000 in ADDITIONAL PRIZES with Special Focus on Texts and Individuals from the African Continent of the First Millennium.

_____________________
Submission deadline: August 1, 2013
Prize Awarded: November 2013
Please visit the CEAC website or contact us at iccs@earlyafricanchristianity.com for more information.

New CEAC webpage

New CEAC Webpage

Jun. 24, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

We have been exploring options for a more interactive site. We hope you will check out our new webpage that is coming soon that will have opportunities to interact with Dr Oden on the topic of early African Christianity. We will also be adding some other new features, such as the a periodic dose of wisdom from the early African Christians who have much to tell us about Christian spirituality and living today, as well as issues of doctrine and worship. We also plan on drawing attention to new scholarship and books on Africa as they become available to us. We hope you will check this out and take advantage of the new features.

Book on Nubia

Nubian Roots Run Deep and Early

Jun. 24, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

We recently received a book from Dr Salim Faraji on the deep roots of Nubian Christianity, celebrating the indigeneity of Nubia's Christianity and also exploring when Christianity actually came to Nubia, which according to his study is earlier than most think. This also provides further proof that Christianity went into the area south of the Sahara earlier than was first believed, and appears to have been putting roots there that flourished even before the later Byzantine missionaries.

You can find the review on my blog at the following link. Please leave a comment and let us know what you think.

Boko Haram

Boko Haram and Nigeria's Christians

Jun. 4, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

We also were informed recently of violence against Christians in Nigeria by the militant group Boko Haram where it is reported that last month alone 185 people were killed by the radical Muslim sect. Most recently (May 20th), according to the Christian Persecution Magazine Pentecostal Pastor Faye Pama Mysa, who was the secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria, was shot to death in his home by two armed gunman. In presentation for our Center we often speak of martyrs such as Perpetua and Felicitas, or the earlier martyrs of Scilli, but there are of course still people being killed for their faith, especially in Africa today. The early African Christians knew they might be called to die for the faith they held dear, and it is no less true for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria. We should hasten to add that these are very localized incidents and most of our friends, at least in the South, have assured us that they have not been targeted because of their faith. Our friends in Jost at the seminary there, however, did lose one of their students to such violence. There are no doubt other instances as well. We continue to remember these brothers and sisters in Christ as well.

Letters from Africa

A Letter From Our African Friends

May. 26, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

The following is a letter we received from one of our website visitors who has also read How African Shaped the Christian Mind. We will feature more of these in the coming weeks, even as we are working on a new page for our site.

Hi Tom,

Greetings in the name of jesus, while i indicate my intererst in the book HOW AFRICA SHAPED THE CHRISTIAN MIND,may i say thank you for your vital efforts as regards the global illumination , and re awakening of the influence of ancient africans and the African global contributions to christianity, thank you so very much tom, and i hereby offer my interest and willing hands ,in any area i can help in this part of Spain in this important project, just say it,! i may not have money now to assist , but i want you to know its not an inpediment, money is not everything , and i have faith , that there is nothing i cannot do through his power , in me!

I have identified your project and am fully insupport of it.

 

 

 

KOKO ESSIEN EKANEM,

Christianity Today - Coptic Violence

Violence in Egypt Continues

May. 26, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

We were recently made aware of a couple of stories regarding violence and perhaps also persecution against Christians in Egypt and elsewhere in Africa. One such story speaks of an altercation that occurred in Alexandria, what some believe to be the birthplace of Christianity on the African continent. Last week there were reported clashes between Muslims and Christians. The incident concerned a Coptic man who allegedly sexually harassed a Muslim woman in Alexandria's el-Dekheila suburb. One man died and many were injured. The man's death was reported as a heart attack, although there were other conflicting reports of injuries. You can read about the violence following this link to the Christian Persecution Magazine.  Pope Tawardros II has spoken out in against what seems increasing violence against the Coptic Church with little intervention or protection from the government. We continue to keep our Coptic brothers and sisters in our prayers.

Meeting of Coptic/Catholic popes

New Coptic and Catholic Popes Meet

May. 17, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

We received the following press release from H.G. Bp Angaelos

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate use

10 May 2013

The Coptic Orthodox Church UK

Media and Communications Office

 

His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, 118th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa on the holy Apostolic See of Saint Mark visited His Holiness Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church on the 9th and 10th of May 2013.

 

This historic visit marks 40 years since His Holiness the late Pope Shenouda III, and His Holiness the late Pope Paul VI signed the Christological agreement between their respective Churches in the Vatican in 1973.

 

Accompanying Pope Tawadros, are His Eminence Metropolitan Pakhomious of Boheira and Pentapolis, His Eminence Metropolitan Hedra of Aswan, His Grace Bishop Serapion of Los Angeles, HG Bishop Kyrellos of Milan, HG Bishop Raphaeil, General secretary of the Holy Synod, HG Bishop Barnaba of Turin, HG Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, HG Bishop Epiphanious, Abbot of the monastery of St Macarious, and Papal secretaries Father Angelos Ishak and Father Seraphim el Souriani.

 

In his official address Pope Tawadros said:

 

‘We appreciate all we have in common and need to work together to improve the relationships between our ancient Churches and prepare our people for our greater unity.’

 

In response to Pope Tawadros, Pope Francis said:

 

‘I am convinced that – under the guidance of the Holy Spirit – our persevering prayer, our dialogue and the will to build communion day by day in mutual love will allow us to take important further steps towards full unity.’

 

Speaking from Rome as part of the official delegation accompanying His Holiness Pope Tawadros, HG Bishop Angaelos, also Co-Chair of the Catholic-Oriental Orthodox Regional Forum in the United Kingdom said:

 

‘This has been a historic meeting, as it is the first international visit by Pope Tawadros II, who is also the first head of Church to be received by Pope Francis after his installation. During this visit we have seen, in the two fathers of these ancient Apostolic Churches, a real commitment to working together for realised unity.

 

While centuries have kept us apart for a variety of reasons, it is clear that continued ecumenical dialogue and relations over the past decades have continued to bring us closer.’

 

The formal meeting was followed by a private prayer service in Pope Francis’ private chapel, led by Pope Tawadros and Pope Francis.

View the Press Release online via CopticMediaUK.com or click here

Copts in Libya

Copts in Libya

May. 10, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

We received the following letter from one of our friends in Cairo about the persecution of Copts in Libya.

"I am writing to you today regarding your book on Christianity in Libya. You may be following the news…last month the Libyan government arrested 100 Copts and charged them with “evangelism.” Last week, Mr. Ezzat Hakim, one of the men arrested, died due to torture. Last night, I was with some of his family members and other supporters at the airport, waiting for the arrival of his body. It was a very difficult time! I do not know him, but it was a heartbreaking moment to see this injustice done—especially with no political response from our Islamist government."

Tom Oden's book on early Libyan Christianity was mentioned by our friend as a resource for Christians in North Africa. The book is going to be published in Arabic within the next year, God-willing.

To learn more about the Copts in Libya, you may also be interested in a story published in Christianity Today by Jayson Casper in Cairo and Khalid Fahmi in Khartoum

Accusations of Witchcraft

Accusations of Witchcraft in Africa

Apr. 29, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

On our recent trip to Nigeria in January to lecture at the Baptist Seminary in Ogbomoso, I was struck by the television programs on the air there. The stations to which we had access were somewhat limited, but on those that were available I was suprised to see such a marked emphasis on witchcraft and sorcery. Many of the TV programs either had a story line of Christianity battling and engaging the local witch doctor, or there were scenes of demonic possession being overcome.

Here in the West, when we think of witchcraft, we think of the Salem witch trials of the late 17th century in New England.  We think of this as something of a by-gone era that his little relevance or presence in the 21st century. Perhaps we don't talk about this subject as much in the West (although I do know it is an issue also here) treating it as mainly a superstitious hold-over. However subdued our discussion here is on the topic, elsewhere in the world, especially in places like Africa, the subject is still open to lively debate and public discussion.

A recent article in Christianity Today, in fact, highlights a conference sponsored by Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) on just this topic. The issue the conference discussed was not whether witchcraft was real or not, but rather how accusations of witchcraft - similar to the Salem witch trials - was being used to exploit the poor and those who are disadvantaged in African society. As the article notes:

"Elderly women and orphans are often blamed for death, infertility, and financial problems. Although some secular nonprofits have tried to stem the recent increase in accusations, the Nairobi conference examined causes (one contributing factor: Nollywood Christian movies) as well as theological and biblical responses to witchcraft."

To read more about the article and the conference please follow the link contained here. We need to keep those who are being falsely accused in our prayers and pray that the light of Christ might overcome the darkness that is exploiting this issue. In a future post, we will include what Origen of Alexandria had to say about this very issue in the 3rd century in his On First Principles.

Augustine's Travels

New Online Map Resource

Apr. 29, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

There is a new resource out on the web that has amazing potential for future work with CEAC.Iit is a map of the ancient world based on the Barrington Atlas. The map has interactive features which make it a great resource for being able to have a visual trace, for instance, of the lives of early African pastors, theologians, monks, etc. A link to the map can be found here and also on our online resources area of our website. We hope to provide some online maps in the future concerning various African Fathers and figures in the future.

Further Information on the map may be found at the following site at the Pelagios Project blog spot.

An excerpt from the blog states: "We are releasing the map with a CC-BY license, allowing anyone not only to browse and consult it but also to use it for representing their own data or to build on it their own applications, provided that they include a proper scholarly attribution. What is more, the map can be used with OpenLayers, Google and Bing maps, so that anybody, who already has these systems in place, can easily swap out the map tiles for these historical ones."

Perpetua

Perpetua -New Text/Study

Apr. 22, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

Thomas Heffernan recently contacted our website to tell us of a new translation of the diary of Vibia Perpetua by Oxford Press. We invite our readers to check out the description below. A very helpful review of the text can also be found at the following link in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review.

One of the most widely read and studied texts composed in Late Antiquity is the prison diary of Vibia Perpetua, a young woman of the elite classes who was martyred in March of the year 202 or 203 C.E. in Carthage, as part of a civic celebration honoring Caesar Geta. She was well-married and had recently become the mother of a baby son, but despite her advantages, she refused to recant her faith when she was arrested with other recent converts to Christianity. Imprisoned with her was her pregnant slave Felicity. Perpetua's steadfastness in her belief led to her martyrdom in the amphitheater. A description of the heroic deaths of both women, and the autobiography of one of the leaders of the Christian community, Saturus, is woven into Perpetua's diary by an anonymous editor, who tells us that, as they died, Perpetua, Felicity, and the other condemned Christians bid farewell with a kiss of peace.

This unique and precious text survives in one Greek and in nine Latin manuscript versions. Thomas Heffernan's new study contains much that has never been done before, including a prosopography of all the individuals mentioned in the Passion, a new English translation and the first detailed historical commentary in English on the entire narrative of the Passion. It also includes a newly edited version of the Latin text based on all the extant manuscripts and - rarer still - the Greek text. He concludes the book with a complete codicological description of all of the known manuscripts and thorough scholarly indices of the text itself. Perpetua's prison diary is a revered text of early Christianity, and Heffernan's new translation and commentary brings unprecedented scholarly resources to the much-loved Passion.

Augustine Intellectual Biography Oxford

A New Look at Augustine

Apr. 13, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

We received notice of the following book that is now in print by Oxford Press which we thought might be of interest to our readers:

Miles Holingworth, Saint Augustine of Hippo: An Intellectual Biography
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, June, 2013)

The following description is provided by Amazon: St. Augustine was undoubtedly one of the great thinkers of the early church. Yet it has long been assumed--and not without reason--that the main lines of Augustine's thought have been more or less fixed since his death. That insofar as we should be aware of him in the twenty-first century, he is a figure described-if not circumscribed--by his times.

A major revisionist treatment of Augustine's life and thought, Saint Augustine of Hippo overturns this assumption. In a stimulating and provocative reinterpretation of Augustine's ideas and their position in the Western intellectual tradition, Miles Hollingworth, though well versed in the latest scholarship, draws his inspiration largely from the actual narrative of Augustine's life. By this means he reintroduces a cardinal but long-neglected fact to the center of Augustinian studies: that there is a direct line from Augustine's own early experiences of life to his later commentaries on humanity. Augustine's new Christianity did not--in blunt assaults of dogma and doctrine--obliterate what had gone before. Instead, it actually caught a subtle and reflective mind at the point when it was despairing of finding the truth. Christianity vindicated a disquiet that Augustine had been feeling all along: he felt that it alone had spoken to his serious rage about man, abandoned to the world and dislocated from all real understanding by haunting glimpses of the Divine.

A major new treatment of Augustine on all fronts, this superb intellectual biography shines a bright light on a genuinely neglected element in his writings. In so doing it introduces us to Augustine as he emerges from the unique circumstances of his early life, struggling with ironies and inconsistencies that we might just find in our own lives as well.


 

Books

Translators/Editors Needed

Apr. 13, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

Translators and Editors
The Center of Early African Christianity is a collaborative project among scholars from around the world with the purpose of creating a digital library of early African Christian literature, spanning from the 2nd century to the 11th century. If you are a translator or editor and are willing to donate your time, please consider sending us your original translation (in English or French) or those from out-of copyright sources. (For information on determining copyright status please see the Cornell Institute for Digital Collections’ page on When Works pass into Public Domain. Authors will retain full rights to all works submitted to the digital library.

Bp. Angaelos

Attacks on Coptic Patriarchate in Egypt

Apr. 12, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

Our prayers are with the Coptic Patriarchate in Cairo, Egypt which yesterday was the subject of attacks by mobs.  The police arrived too late after damage had already been done.  The Coptic Church, which as a minority in Egypt forms 10% of Egypt's population, sees itself increasingly under attack after the Arab Spring.

We received the following from the office of His Grace Bp. Angaelos:

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate use

7 April 2013

 

The Coptic Orthodox Church UK

Media and Communications Office

 

Statement by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom following the attack on the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate in Cairo on 7 April 2013

 

While the Arab Spring and uprising in Tahrir Square were expected to bring about a fresh start for Egypt, the only true difference is that the situation seems to have become progressively worse for many millions of Egyptian citizens.

 

Today, Egypt saw an unprecedented attack on the See of the Pope of Alexandria, the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate in Cairo, by mobs, with the police arriving far too late and doing very little, if anything at all, to prevent them.

 

Reports have indicated that Egypt’s president, Mr Mohammed Morsi had made telephone contact with the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St Mark, saying that ‘the protection of the lives of all Egyptians, Muslims and Christian, is the responsibility of the state.’ It is now clear that the state needs to take that responsibility far more seriously.

 

We have seen escalating and increasing attacks on Christians, Christian communities, churches and now the Patriarchate during this past period of expected improvement, and so questions must be asked. What are the authorities waiting for? More bloodshed, violence, hostility, alienation, marginalisation, division, or just more anarchy? It is clear that without intentional, pragmatic and proactive leadership by the state, and the effective law enforcement by its security forces, that this pattern of increasing violence and lawlessness is the only possible outcome. With these incidents being dealt with in this way, we see a growth of expectation of impunity and thus encouragement by some to continue breaking the law while assured that they will not be held accountable.

 

Last year, the streets of Abasseya around the Grand Cathedral of St Mark saw many thousands of Egyptians, Christians and Muslims alike, standing to pay their respects at the departure of our late Pope Shenouda III. Now those streets see an attack on that same Cathedral. So what has changed, and how can we return to the collective pride, passion and faithfulness of Egypt that we saw in Tahrir Square in 2011 with the thousands flying Egyptian flags, and calling for a unified state for all Egyptians?

 

We pray for Egypt because we believe that Egypt, as blessed by God, still has a chance. This chance however, hinges on faithful, pragmatic and visionary leadership, otherwise these coming months and years will only introduce more heartache, bloodshed and division that will inevitably lead to the decline of the nation, that was once the birthplace of civilisation, and its individual members.

 

*Ends*

 

 

Read the full statement via CopticMediaUK.com or click here

 

For more information please contact:

 

Angela Mikhail

 

Media and Communications Officer
The Coptic Orthodox Church UK
Tel: +44 (0)207 1937076

Media and Communications Office
The Coptic Orthodox Church Centre
Shephalbury Manor
Broadhall Way, Stevenage
Hertfordshire SG2 8NP
England, United Kingdom

Oxford publication

Monasticism in Aswan and Nubia

Apr. 12, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

We received notice of the following book that is forthcoming which we thought might be of interest to our readers:


Christianity and Monasticism in Aswan and Nubia [Hardcover]
Hany Takla (Author), Gawdat Gabra (Editor)(Oxford University Press, not yet released

The description of the book from the jacket cover is as follows:

Christianity and monasticism have flourished along the Nile Valley in the Aswan region of Upper Egypt and in what was once Nubia, from as early as the fourth century until the present day. The contributors to this volume, international specialists in Coptology from around the world, examine various aspects of Coptic civilization in Aswan and Nubia over the past centuries. The complexity of Christian identity in Nubia, as distinct from Egypt, is examined in the context of church ritual and architecture. Many of the studies explore Coptic material culture: inscriptions, art, architecture, and archaeology; and language and literature. The archaeological and artistic heritage of monastic sites in Edfu, Aswan, Makuria, and Kom Ombo are highlighted, attesting to their important legacies in the region.

It is currently available for pre-order on Amazon

Translators and Editors needed

Opportunities for Translators/Editors

Apr. 8, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

Translators and Editors
The Center of Early African Christianity is a collaborative project among scholars from around the world with the purpose of creating a digital library of early African Christian literature, spanning from the 2nd century to the 11th century. If you are a translator or editor and are willing to donate your time, please consider sending us your original translation (in English or French) or those from out-of copyright sources. (For information on determining copyright status please see the Cornell Institute for Digital Collections’ page on When Works pass into Public Domain. Authors will retain full rights to all works submitted to the digital library.
 

Future African Prosperity?

Apr. 3, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

Ex-President Lula of Brazil recently visited Nigeria and predicted that the same kind of prosperity that visited Brazil in the previous decade can also be possible for Africa's future.  The belief is that as Western dominance fades, the global south will fill the vacuum and that Africa is poised to take the lead in this regard. To read the story, follow the link to the Global Post website

Council of Nicea

Dr Glerup in Heliolopolis for Conference on Nicea

Mar. 22, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

Dr Michael Glerup recently attended a conference in Heliopolis on the Council of Nicea, representing the CEAC in his two presentations on the canons of Nicea and Paleo-Orthodoxy. From all indications, the conference was well received. Below is a copy of the Final program the conference.

Thursday 14 March 2013

10 am Opening, introductions (Rev Dr Jos Strengholt)
10.30-12 am Source documents about Nicea (Mina Fouad, BA)
1-2.30 pm Christological disagreements and arguments before Nicea I (Dr Boris Paschke)
3-4.30 pm Christological disagreements and arguments before Nicea II (Dr Boris Paschke)
5-6.30pm The role of Emperor Constantine (Louis Runhaar, MA)

Friday 15 March 2013

9-10.30 am The Creed of Nicea (Rev Dr Jos Strengholt)
12.30-2 pm Filioque (Louis Runhaar, MA)
3-4.30 pm The Letter of Nicea to the Church in Egypt (Dr Boris Paschke)
5-6.30 pm The 20 Canons of Nicea (Dr Michael Glerup)

Saturday 16 March 2013

10-11.30 am Nicea and Paleo-Orthodoxy (Dr Michael Glerup)
12-1.30 pm Myths around Nicea: what it did not decide (Mina Fouad, BA)
2.30-4 pm Aftermath of Nicea and to next Ecumenical Council (Dr Gerges Kamel Yousef)
4.30-5 pm Evaluation

photo

No African Pope, but . . . .

Mar. 22, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

David Sseppuuya (Uganda) writes, "There are deeper reasons why Africa should be at the helm, reasons that also put to rest the misconception that Christianity is a ‘mzungu’ religion that is alien to Africa: as a baby Jesus Christ was exiled in Egypt, which carries symbolic or, some would say, divine significance as a cradle."

This statement is part of a larger article he has written on the question of Africa's influence on the rest of Christianity, especially among the Anglican communion. We invite you to read his article by following this link

Rev. Dr. Jos Strengholt

CEAC Welcomes New Fellow - Rev. Dr. Jos Strengholt

Mar. 19, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

The CEAC is pleased to welcome the newest member to our group of CEAC Fellows, the Rev. Dr. Jos Strengholt. Dr. Jozef Martinus Strengholt - his friends call him "Jos" - is a priest in the Anglican Church in Egypt and teaches patristics at the Alexandria School of Theology with which the CEAC has partnered on a number of projects including a seminar on the early church and the recently completed conference on Nicea, where Dr. Michael Glerup also made a presentation. Jos has an MA in the history of the middle east, and Ph.D. in theology, both of which he received from the University of Utrecht. Dr. Strengholt has published a number of books and articles on issues pertaining to theology and more specifically to Egypt and the Middle East. Besides his academic background.Dr. Strengholt has a strong background in working with the media, having been involved as middle east correspondent with Dutch radio earlier in his career. His language skills allow him to communicate and do research in at least six languages.

We are pleased to have Dr. Strengholt join our list of distinguished fellows which includes:

Dr. Michel Libambu
Professor of Patristics at Catholic University of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Dr. Helen Rhee
Assistant Professor of History of Christianity, Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA

Dr. David Wilhite
Assistant Professor of Theology, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University, Waco, TX

Dr. Peter Martens
Assistant Professor of Theological Studies, St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri

Nigerian Seminar

CEAC Nigerian Seminar

Mar. 13, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

Dr. Michael Glerup and Dr. Joel Elowsky recently held a seminar on early African Christianity at the Nigerian Baptist Seminary in Ogbomoso. The seminar introduced the students to the early African Church fathers indigenous to the continent of Africa in the earliest centuries of the church's history. In addition the seminar presented topics on early African spirituality, the roots of early African monasticism and Scriptural exegesis, concluding with some of the lost histories of early African Christianity.

Among comments heard were, "This information needs to be spread to the local level, so that our churches can know of Christianity's long, indigenous presence on the continent of Africa." "This seminar has changed my life." "Our Nigerian church leaders from all traditions need to hear this message."

Pope Victor (artist's rendering taken from www.catholicafricanworld.org)

Could Next Pope be an African?

Feb. 27, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

The recent announcement that Pope Benedict, a friend to our recently completed Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture project, has turned speculation towards who might succeed Benedict.  Many are wondering if the cardinals gathered in conclave in the Sistine chapel might select someone from Asia, Latin America, or, perhaps, Africa. One headline even reads "Africa: Pontifex Africanus: Could the Next Pope be African?" (By Luke Lythgoe, 11 February 2013, All Africa.com).

For those who have studied early African Christianity, this, or course, would not be the first time an African was named pope. We read in the Liber Pontificalis of three popes who originated from the continent of Africa. Already in the second century we hear of  Victor I (ca 186-198 AD), who was the first Latin speaking pope. He most likely came from the Maghreb region of North Africa which includes present day Algeria, Mauretania, Numidia and Tunisia. The native people at the time of the 2nd century would have been Berbers, by and large, although many Romans also owned land in the region that served as their country estates. Most scholars agree, however, that Victor would have been a North African and not a Roman transplant.

The 2nd and 3rd centuries were vibrant times for the church in Africa, both in terms of its theology and in terms of its commitment (witness the Scili martyrs, martyred ca 180 AD). Tertullian would have been in his mid-30's around the time of Victor's papacy. In Egypt, to the East on the Continent, the school of Alexandria was flourishing under Origen.

Miltiades (July 2, 310-Jan 10, 314 AD) was the second African bishop. He as well as Victor I is listed as being African in the Liber Pontificalis, although he most likely came from an African family that resided in Rome. He was Pope during the time when Constantine was engaged in his quest to unite the empire. He would have been pope during the time when Constantine fought the famous battle at the Milvian bridge (312 AD). Miltiades, was the one who was asked by Constantine to resolve the issue of the Donatists in North Africa ("Letter of Constantine to Miltiades" in  Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 10.5), perhaps due to his connections with North Africa.

The Third African Pope listed in the Liber Pontificalis is Gelasius (492-496).

Cyril of Alexandria Commentary on John

New Cyril Commentary on John

Feb. 26, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

We are pleased to announce the release of the first volume of Cyril of Alexandria's Commentary on John, translated by Dr. David Maxwell of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis and edited by Dr. Joel Elowsky, CEAC Research Director and Assoc. Professor of Theology at Concordia University Wisconsin. A second volume is scheduled to be released later this year or the beginning of next year.

The translation replaces the earlier work of EB Pusey from the 19th century which was difficult to use at many points. The present translation is in up to date English, while also seeking to preserve the florid style of Cyril, as much as was possible while still making it intelligible to the 21st century reader. Cyril's commentary on John is an important component of 5th century commentary, demonstrating how the Gospel of John was a key instrument in addressing the Christological heresies of the day such as Arianism and Eunomianism.

Cyril describes his exegetical approach as dogmatic exegesis. And indeed one of the first things one notices in Cyril's commentary is that he has organized his commentary according to various dogmatic topics, or loci, of theology. The books into which he divides the commentary do not necessarily follow the chapter divisions later added on to John. Rather, the structure of his commentary is organized according to Cyril's purpose of instruction. It is Maxwell's contention that Cyril's reason for such an approach was that he was training the teachers of his dioceses, the catechists, to be able to answer the Christological challenges of the day using the Gospel of John as their textbook. Thus various book and chapter headings are titled according to how they answer the objections of the heretics of his day.

Cyril's commentary is a fascinating contribution to the history of exegesis and also furthers our understanding of his engagement with the Christological controversies of his day. InterVarsity Press is to be commended for its publishing of this commentary in its Ancient Christian Texts Series. If you would like to read more about this commentary or order it for your library, please follow this link: Cyril Commentary on John.

Happy reading.

Egyptian Council of Churches

New Egyptian Council of Churches

Feb. 26, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

CEAC executive director, Dr Michael Glerup, has represented the CEAC in Egypt on a number of occasions where he was given the opportunity to speak at ecumenical luncheons hosted by Primate Hanna Anis Mouneer of the Anglican Church in Egypt. At these meetings there were representatives from Coptic Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, and Anglican churches.

This past week, as an article in Christianity Today notes, there was a monumental in shift the modern history of Egyptian Christianity. On Monday (Feb. 18), heads of the five largest denominations—Coptic Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Greek Orthodox, and Anglican—united to create Egypt's first Council of Churches. This group stands as a united front in an Egypt where Christianity is a minority. In a country that is otherwise sorely divided, such a council could, in some ways, present a united front that is not based on politics but based on faith. The strength and support these groups can offer to one another inside Egypt would seem to be a welcome development in the life of the church in Egypt.  As Jayson Casper reports in his blog for Christianity Today: ". . . the council is mandated with coordinating between the churches, promoting their unity, and encouraging Muslim-Christian dialogue. Leadership will rotate between the heads of the denominations, each of which will be represented equally. This, in particular, demonstrates the significance of the council, as Egypt’s Orthodox vastly outnumber members of the other four churches."

To view how this is being seen outside of Egypt we invite the reader to follow the link to his article in Christianity Today blog.

A number of friends and associates of the CEAC were involved in this historic union, including Primate Mouneer of the Anglican communion, Atef Gendy, president of the Evangelical seminary in Cairo, Bp Bishoy who attended our first meeting in Addis Ababa, among others. One of the results of the council was that Pope Tawadros II was appointed to lead the council for the first three years. This appointment also recognizes his recent elevation as pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

For the Egyptian press's reaction see the following link.

The African Memory of Mark

Review of the African Memory of Mark: Reassessing Early Church Tradition

Feb. 25, 2013

by Alemayehu Mekonnen, Ph.D

This review has been on our site and can also be seen on our publications area, but we draw your attention to it here as well, in case you may have missed it:

The African Memory of Mark: Reassessing Early Church Tradition

  • C. Thomas Oden
  • Oct 5, 2011
  • Series: Volume 14 - 2011
  •  

Oden, C. Thomas, The African Memory of Mark: Reassessing Early Church Tradition. Downers Grove, IL; Intervarsity Press, 2011. Pp.7-279, including bibliography and index. Paper back, $ 22.00. ISBN: 978-0-8308-3933-9.

By deliberately stepping out of the Western academic view of the historical accounts of Mark, Thomas C. Oden has made a significant contribution to African Christianity and also the world. This book about Mark and his foundational contributions to church planting, discipleship, writing the first gospel, his martyrdom, all of which inspired so many African Christians throughout the generations, even to this day, was launched from African memory of Mark. By doing so, Oden confirms that if one has roots in Africa and has done significant contribution to the society, the memory of the person will last centuries.

What does Oden mean by the term African memory? As Oden rightly defines it, “The African memory is the characteristic way of looking at history from within the special experience and outlook of the continent of Africa” (Pg.27). Memory, according to Oden’s definition, encompasses two thousand-year-long history, long-shared tradition of intellectual vitality, extensive literary fruits over many centuries and astonishing history of textual output. African memory is not mere oral tradition that cannot be tested within the bar of reason. “It takes into account the full weight of cumulative evidences coming out of African continent over the length of centuries, including evidences from archaeology, epigraphic and literary sources, as well as oral traditions and stories of the saints” (Pg. 29). Hence, African memory is not totally divorced from academic rigor; it is just a different approach.

Despite differences in theological persuasions between the Coptic, Catholic, Protestant, and Pentecostal churches in Africa, the memory of Mark is a linchpin that brings unity among African believers. All of them are in basic agreement that Mark was the first apostle to Africa. His birth place was in Cyrene; Pentapolis, in Libya. And he was born somewhere between 5-15 AD.  This gives Africans a great sense of identity. The fact that Jesus had the last supper and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit happened at the house of Mary, the mother of Mark, extends the root of African Christianity way beyond the nineteenth century Western missionary endeavor in Africa. If this is the case, why has Western scholarship failed to recognize the historical, missiological, cultural facts that connect Mark as African and link him to the African church right from its inception? 

Oden provides the answer by showing the prejudice and bias of Western scholarship that has failed to recognize not only Mark, but also Augustine who grew up in Numidia, Athanasius who was born and bred in Egypt, Tertullian, and Cyprian. The valuable contribution of these scholars of the early Christian centuries is widely recognized in world Christian history. However, their status as genuine Africans is shrouded and still debated in some circles for odd reasons. For Africans, who are concrete relational in their thinking, who learn as much from examples/models of Christian icons as from theory/theology, the bias of the West has significant implications. The bias means that Africans cannot claim and embrace “their own great heroes and minds and saints, such as Paschomius who contributed so much to the history of prayer and the life of holy living, and Perpetua, the mother with child who set the standard for Christian witness unto death not only in Africa but in the ecumenical community of faith. This bias was wrongly dishonored the Africans of the Libyan-born Synesius and the Numidian-born Monica” (Pg.31).

For Africans, the Mediterranean world of the first century culture, the dyadic personality of the people, the honor-shame values, collective mentality, and peasant and preindustrial societies are more relevant than the modern and post-modern West. The theology that was built in the first century Africa and Mediterranean cultural context is more appealing to them than the theology of Bultmann or Karl Barth. By viewing Mark as the first apostle to Africa and recognizing his contribution to African Christianity from an African point of view; and by identifying all prominent African theologians, church historians, pietists, and church leaders; Oden is uncovering the African intellectual Christian tradition that began in Africa and connects to Jerusalem. Mark and the prominent first-century African intellectuals stated above are the bedrock of African Christianity. For the African church and scholars, reaffirming these theological and historical roots, and reinforcing cultural identification, will be one of the best effective medicines that Oden contributes to the “Theological Identity Crisis” of Africans that the late Kwame Bediako addressed in his magnum opus.

Oden is not a lone voice in this daring venture. Early Christian scholars like Clement, Origen, Tertullian, Cyprian, Eusebius, Jerome, and John Chrysostom have asserted the succession of Apostolic Christianity, the transmission of biblical truth, the planting of the New Testament church in Africa, and its direction by the Holy Spirit, without any political manipulation of the facts.

In his book, Oden describes that Mark was the most traveled apostle, who covered all the three well- known continents in the first century. Since Mark had spent most of his youth in Cyrenaic Africa, he would have known the local Punic-Berber dialect as well as Greek. As a son of a displaced Jew from the tribe of Levi, who spent some of his younger life in Jerusalem, he would certainly have learned Aramaic and the Hebrew language to expose him to Torah. If he was well educated, he would also have some Latin. Traditions suggest that Mark is related to the apostle Peter and that he received the gospel truth from the apostle and became an instrument to the conversion of his father Aristopolus and his mother Mary. When Peter was rescued from prison by the angel, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of Mark.

As Oden states, “Mary the mother of Mark was known to be a close relative of Barnabas—depending upon the translation, either his sister or cousin or sister in-law. Thus Mark and Barnabas were bounded by: sharing deep bonds of kinship, sharing their family resources together with the disciples, sharing in their faith that Jesus Christ is Lord, and sharing a special calling from God as called and empowered by the Spirit; taking the good news of Jesus to the gentiles (Acts 15:37-39)” (p. 86). The African narrative captured an apparent convergence of biblical texts (Mark 14:14-15; Acts 1:13; 12:12):  that Mark’s mother lived in the very house where Jesus had a Passover dinner with the disciples, where the out pouring of the Holy Spirit occurred on the day of Pentecost, and where the first Christian church was born. The Messiah who claimed to have no home in this world, called his disciples for the last supper, in the house of a Jewish family who were in diaspora and whose root goes back to Africa. This has a powerful symbolic or typological significance to the African mind: “Just as Africa had given the family of Jesus a home in his childhood in flight from Herod, so now a family in flight from Africa is giving Jesus a home in the last hours before his death” (p. 92). During his infancy and in the last hours of Jesus’ life, Africa was a historical staging ground for Jesus Christ. As much as African Christianity wanted to connect to this root and develop its history and theology, the opportunities were not there. Oden has opened a path that will challenge most of us to further explore the historical, theological, and archaeological situation of early African Christianity for the enrichment of the global church.

To this end, a group of contemporary scholars are taking a new look on the scholarship and exegesis from the Nile Valley, Libya, Ethiopia and the Maghreb, to investigate why the “African memory” remembered Mark as the native founder of African Christianity, as a son of Libya, as the first Christian martyr in Africa, and as the apostolic father of every believing Christian then and now. “The evidence is stronger than is generally accredited by the older school of Euro-American historical interpreters and is ripe for a careful review. Many current scholars are now looking at this evidence in a different way from that of Harnack, Bauer and company” (p. 230). Even though the conclusive historical datum that would categorically validate the historic truth of birth and death of Mark is not forthcoming, the contemporary scholars of Mark have definitely raised questions on the previous Euro-American interpretation of history on Mark, just like Oden does here. Oden believes that the historical truth will be revealed when Alexandria is properly excavated. He thinks that the truth lies in some positions between the Western and African views.

 

Alemayehu Mekonnen, Ph.D
Associate Professor of Missions
Denver Seminary
October, 2011

His Grace Bishop Angaelos

Coptic Bishop Calls for Egyptian Democracy to Include Christians

Feb. 6, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

We received the following press release from His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Great Britain

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate use

24 January 2013

The Coptic Orthodox Church UK

Media and Communications Office

 

On the eve of the second anniversary of the January 2011 uprising in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of The Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom issued a statement (viaCopticMediaUK.com) commenting on the recent escalation of violence against Christians, and calling for direct intervention by the Government of Egypt, leading to social cohesion, saying:

 

‘Considering the significant sacrifice that has been presented over the past two years, even leading to the loss of life, it is time for Egypt to emerge out of the pattern of discriminatory practice, and take on its new identity of a promised democracy that the January 2011 uprising sought to establish.’

 

Making reference to attacks on three churches in Egypt within the past two weeks, Bishop Angaelos said:

 

‘We call for proper investigation into any acts of violence against individuals, groups, or communities, and the protection of places of worship, to ensure that there are no further attacks of this kind.’

 

Read the full statement viaCopticMediaUK.comor click here

 

*Ends*

 

For more information please contact:

 

Angela Mikhail

Media and Communications Officer

The Coptic Orthodox Church UK

 

Media@CopticCentre.com

020 7193 7076

 

Resources:

 

AINA News RE attack on church in Qena: http://www.aina.org/news/20130118184819.htm

 

AINA News RE attack on church building in Fayoum:  http://www.aina.org/news/20130115185246.htm

 

Daily Mail RE family imprisoned for converting to Christianity: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2263727/Mother-Nadia-Mohamed-Ali-seven-children-jailed-15-years-Egypt-converting-Christianity-Islam.html

 

Angela Mikhail

 

Media and Communications Officer 
The Coptic Orthodox Church UK 
Tel: +44 (0)20 71937076 

Media and Communications Office 
The Coptic Orthodox Church Centre 
Shephalbury Manor
Broadhall Way, Stevenage
Hertfordshire SG2 8NP
England, United Kingdom

Tel.: +44 (0)20 71937076
Office Email: Media@CopticCentre.com
Website: www.CopticCentre.com

Blog: www.CopticMediaUK.com
Follow on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CopticMediaUK
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/CopticMediaUK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Augustine's Algeria

Trip to Algeria Postponed

Jan. 25, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

We sent out a note in our recent newsletter concerning the CEAC tour scheduled for this Spring to Algeria.

In light of recent events in Algeria we decided to postpone our upcoming Early African Christianity heritage tour. We plan to reschedule the tour for fall 2013. Please contact us for more information on the itinerary and pricing.

Christianity’s rich historical and spiritual heritage has shaped this region’s unique history and from there has been impacting the world for nearly 2,000 years. Anyone desiring to broaden his or her understanding of early Christianity will find North Africa brimming with opportunity to visit well-preserved ancient sites. Its roots in early African Christianity run deep and we would like Africa to again become familiar with its indigenous Christian history. We hope that tensions will ease and that we can introduce you to this fascinating part of the world where Christianity's roots run deep.

In the meantime, we would invite you to visit the site of Professor James O'Donnell, a leading Augustine scholar who has written on Augustine the African. In 1991, there was a conference on Augustine in Algeria that brought together scholars from around the world at a time when Algeria was in crisis (even as it is today) in order to look at the significance of Augustine for Africa but also for the wider community. His account is fascinating and includes pictures of sites as well as his and other scholars' ruminations on Augustine. It will prove beneficial in preparation for the time when we are able to schedule our tour.

Nigerian Seminar Participants

Nigerian Seminar Draws 75 students

Jan. 24, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

Dr. Michael Glerup and Dr. Joel Elowsky recently  held a seminar on early African Christianity at the Nigerian Baptist Seminary in Ogbomoso. The seminar introduced the students to the early African Church fathers indigenous to the continent of Africa in the earliest centuries of the church's history. In addition the seminar presented topics on early African spirituality, the roots of early African monasticism and Scriptural exegesis, concluding with some of the lost histories of early African Christianity.

Among comments heard were, "This information needs to be spread to the local level, so that our churches can know of Christianity's long, indigenous presence on the continent of Africa." "This seminar has changed my life." "Our Nigerian church leaders from all traditions need to hear this message."

We will feature more on the seminar in future posts and on our Facebook page where we will have more pictures.

Cyril of Alexandria

Early African Seminar, Nigeria Jan 7-11, 2013

Jan. 14, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

The Baptist Seminary of Nigeria in Ogbomoso, Oyo State, Nigeria has again invited Dr. Michael Glerup and Rev. Dr. Joel Elowsky to conduct a seminar on early African Christianity for M.Div. and Graduate level students.  Drs. Glerup and Elowsky were to conduct a seminar the previous year at the seminary which had scheduled lectures during their Winterim term.  The Geo-political scene however intruded on the seminar as the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, chose to end the government subsidy for petrol in the country, doubling the price of petrol overnight. The seminar had to be canceled. But we were invited back again for the Winterim term of 2013 and are looking forward to working again with the faculty and students January 7-11. The students are enthusiastic and it is always a rewarding experience as we introduce them to early African Christianity. A sample schedule (subject to revision) of what will be offered can be found on our research and resources page. We covet your prayers for our travels and for the seminar itself. We'll report when we get back.

Origen, Cyprian, Tertullian on the Lord's Prayer

Online Course in January

Jan. 2, 2013

by Joel Elowsky

 

On the Lord’s Prayer: An Online Course sponsored by the Center for Early African Christianity

 

The Lord’s Prayer played a significant role in the life of the Church in Africa and the formation of the individual believer. This prayer taught to the disciples by Christ is at the core of Christian life and practice and served as a perfect summary of the Gospel. In this short seminar we will read and study together three and possibly, if time permits, four of the most important treatise on the Lord’s Prayer written in the Early African Church. The first two readings will focus on works produced in Carthage (near modern day Tunis): Tertullian’s On Prayer and Cyprian of Carthage’s On the Lord’s Prayer. The third reading will be Origen’s On Prayer composed for the Christian community in Alexandria, Egypt. If time permits, we will finish with a reading of Augustine’s Sermon 56: on the Lord’s Prayer.

 

The goal of this seminar is to read these works on prayer in their social and literary context so that we can develop a better understanding of the practice of prayer and the role the Lord’s Prayer played in the formation of the church in Africa.

Cost: $25 + book
More info: mike.glerup@gmail.com

Course Instructor: Michael Glerup, PhD.

Course times: Saturday 10 to 11:30 AM EST (allows for international participation)

Course dates: Jan 19-Feb 9, 2013

Class discussions will be hosted on Google+

 

The primary text for the class will be:

On The Lord's Prayer (Popular Patristics Series) [available in print, or in Kindle Edition] editor Alistair Stewart-Sykes. (Older translations are available for free on various Internet sites.)

 

Secondary literature (not required):

1.      Brown, Michael Joseph. The Lord's Prayer through North African Eyes: A Window into Early Christianity

2.      Hall, Christopher. Worshipping with the Church Fathers.

3.      Stevenson, Kenneth. The Lord's Prayer: A Text in Tradition

John Olorunfemi Cardinal Onaiyekan

CEAC Affiliate Appointed Cardinal

Dec. 23, 2012

by Joel Elowsky

We were pleased to hear recently that our good friend and colleague Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria was appointed a cardinal by Benedict XVI recently. Archbishop Onaiyekan had chaired our seminar in Accra on Christian engagement with Muslims back in the Summer of 2011. We rejoice with him in this honor and pray God's continued blessings on his ministry for Africa and the world. For the Reuter's story regard the appointment, you can follow the link here.

Origen, Cyprian, Tertullian on the Lord's Prayer

The African Fathers and the Lord's Prayer

Dec. 18, 2012

by Joel Elowsky

 

On the Lord’s Prayer: An Online Course sponsored by the Center for Early African Christianity

 

The Lord’s Prayer played a significant role in the life of the Church in Africa and the formation of the individual believer. This prayer taught to the disciples by Christ is at the core of Christian life and practice and served as a perfect summary of the Gospel. In this short seminar we will read and study together three and possibly, if time permits, four of the most important treatise on the Lord’s Prayer written in the Early African Church. The first two readings will focus on works produced in Carthage (near modern day Tunis): Tertullian’s On Prayer and Cyprian of Carthage’s On the Lord’s Prayer. The third reading will be Origen’s On Prayer composed for the Christian community in Alexandria, Egypt. If time permits, we will finish with a reading of Augustine’s Sermon 56: on the Lord’s Prayer.

 

The goal of this seminar is to read these works on prayer in their social and literary context so that we can develop a better understanding of the practice of prayer and the role the Lord’s Prayer played in the formation of the church in Africa.

Cost: $25 + book
More info: mike.glerup@gmail.com

Course Instructor: Michael Glerup, PhD.

Course times: Saturday 10 to 11:30 AM EST (allows for international participation)

Course dates: Jan 19-Feb 9, 2013

Class discussions will be hosted on Google+

 

The primary text for the class will be:

On The Lord's Prayer (Popular Patristics Series) [available in print, or in Kindle Edition] editor Alistair Stewart-Sykes. (Older translations are available for free on various Internet sites.)

 

Secondary literature (not required):

1.      Brown, Michael Joseph. The Lord's Prayer through North African Eyes: A Window into Early Christianity

2.      Hall, Christopher. Worshipping with the Church Fathers.

3.      Stevenson, Kenneth. The Lord's Prayer: A Text in Tradition

Dr. Peter Martens

Dr. Peter Martens - Latest CEAC Fellow

Dec. 7, 2012

by Joel Elowsky

The CEAC welcomes its newest fellow, Dr. Peter Martens. As Dr. Martens notes on his webpage:

Prior to arriving at Saint Louis University in fall 2009, I taught at the University of Notre Dame and Yale Divinity School. I specialize in the history of early Christianity, with wide-ranging interests in the intellectual practices of Christians and their location within the grammatical, rhetorical and philosophical traditions of late antiquity. My first monograph -  Origen and Scripture: The Contours of the Exegetical Life (Oxford, 2012) - examines an ancient portrait of the ideal (and not-so-ideal) scriptural interpreter.

I am currently writing two books. The first is a corrected text, study and English translation of Adrian's Introduction to the Divine Scriptures (a fifth-century Greek treatise of Antiochene provenance). I am also examining the contentious doctrine of pre-existent souls in early Christianity.  I am the editor of the volume, In the Shadow of the Incarnation: Essays on Jesus Christ in the Early Church (Notre Dame Press, 2008), and have published over a dozen articles in leading journals, including the Journal of Early Christian Studies, Modern Theology, the Journal of Religion and Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum. Some of these are available at my Academia.edu site.

I have been awarded research fellowships from Dumbarton Oaks, the Fulbright Program, the DAAD, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and most recently, the Center for Philosophy of Religion at Notre Dame

Dr. Martens was also the recipient of one of our prizes in our recent awards for Patristic Exegesis from the Institute for Classical Christian Studies. We welcome Dr. Martens to the CEAC and look forward to future collaborations.

ACCS 29 Volumes

Scholarship Winners in Patristic Exegesis Announced

Nov. 30, 2012

by Joel Elowsky

Institute for Classical Christian Studies is proud to announce the award winners for our first annual prize for the best papers in Patristic Exegesis.
 
First Prize: David Wilhite, Assist. Prof. of Theology, Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University for his paper True Church or True Basilica? The Song of Songs and Parmenian’s Ecclesiology Revisited.
 
Second Prize: Peter Martens, Assistant Professor of Theology Saint Louis University for his article Origen against History? Reconsidering the Critique of Allegory.
 
Third Prize: Michel Willy Limbambu Professor Catholic University of Congo, Kinshsha, Congo. Exegese de Rom 11, 36 D’apres Augustin: Notes sur la Trinité créatrice dans le « De fide et symbolo.
Dr. Douglas Careew

Mourning the Loss of Two CEAC Fellows

Nov. 20, 2012

by Joel Elowsky

The announcement of Dr Douglas Carew's passing:

The Trustees, Chancellor, Governing Council, Senate,
Management, Staff, Students and entire community of Africa
International University regret to announce the sudden death
of the Vice Chancellor Dr. M. Douglas Carew who passed away
in his sleep on 9th November 2012 in the USA where he was
on an official visit.
He is survived by Ayiku, Oluniyi, Rodney, and Seneiya.
There will be a meeting and prayers at All Saints Cathedral at
5.00 pm on Tuesday 13th November 2012.

The obituary for Rev. Stephen Mugabi

OBITUARY - Stephen Mugabi, The Late Leader of the AEA Relief and Development Commission

It is with much regret and sadness that I break the sad news of the passing of Stephen Mugabi. I was with Stephen last weekend when we heard of him taken ill and in a critical condition. I returned to the office in Nairobi Monday and in the evening got a call from Kampala that Stephen had passed.

Stephen until his death was the head of the AEA Relief and Development Commission based in Kampala. In this role he forged numerous global and international partnerships with Christian relief and development agencies. Stephen was perhaps the most dedicated and committed individual to the mission of AEA. In nearly twenty seven years of continous service to AEA he served in various roles including, Social Work Assistant, Finance officer, Ethics and Society and latterly and for most of his tenure head of Relief and Development Commission. Stephen was very supportive and dependable whenever AEA needed any assistance.

Stephen was 54, survived by his wife Sarah and four boys, Caesar, David, Jonathan and Daniel.

The funeral service and burial will take place in Kampala at the Kampala Pentecostal Church at 10am and burial at 2pm at September 13th in Kariki his home town and on the outskirts of Kampala.

We thank God for Stephen's life and service to humanity and are comforted in the belief and assurance that he has preceded us to have his rest in the Lord; the glorious destiny we all await, even if our desire is have this delayed. However, that time,place and circumstances are in the purview of the Lord, in whom we live, move and have our being. All praise and glory to Jesus our Lord, the author and finisher of our faith.

RIP

Rev. Aiah Foday-Khabenje
General Secretary
Association of Evangelicals in Africa
Bishop Tawadrous' Election

Bishop Tawadrous Selected as New Coptic Pope

Nov. 12, 2012

by Joel Elowsky

PRESS RELEASE
For immediate use
4 November 2012
 
The Coptic Orthodox Church Centre UK
Media and Public Relations Office
 
The 118th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa on the holy Apostolic See of Saint Mark was announced on 4 November 2012. Bishop Tawadrous was chosen in an altar ballot, concluding the Papal Selection Process for the Coptic Orthodox Church. 
 
Bishop Tawadrous succeeds the late Pope Shenouda III, who departed on 17 March 2012. In a process that has taken nine months, the new Pope was selected in an altar ballot during a Liturgical service at The Grand Cathedral of St Mark in Cairo on 4 November 2012. The date of the enthronement of the new Pope will take place on Sunday 18th November 2012 at the Grand Cathedral of St Mark, Cairo. 
 
From St Mark Cathedral, His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of The Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom said,
 
'The atmosphere was wonderfully joyous in the Cathedral, as people not only here but all over the world raised their hearts asking God’s selection for our new Pope and Patriarch. There was such a euphoric reaction when the name of Bishop Tawadrous was announced, and we now shift our prayers from God’s selection to God’s guidance and grace upon him to lead our beloved Coptic Orthodox Church as it continues its mission to be light and salt in Egypt and throughout the world.'
 
For full details of the Papal Selection Process please visit www.CopticCentre.Blogspot.com , or click here.
Dr Elowsky at Beautiful Feet Conference

CEAC featured at Beautiful Feet Conference

Nov. 4, 2012

by Joel Elowsky

Dr. Joel Elowsky, Research Director of the CEAC, was invited to speak at the Beautiful Feet Conference at Concordia University Wisconsin. This conference gathered together more than 200 university students from around the US and the globe around the issue of global missions. Participants came from as far as Ethiopia to hear of the impact early African Christianity can have on Christianity in the world today. Many students remarked how they had little idea of the impact Africa has had on world Christianity.  As one participant who is studying to be a pastor/missionary remarked, "This has sparked an interest to study these resources so I can be better informed in my own mission work and ministry." Students from Ethiopia inquired about opportunities for the Centers work there. Overall, participants agreed that the Centers work is very much related to the chuch's mission to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that it is grounded deeply in the faith and life of the church.

Coptic protest

Copts and the Unrest in Cairo and Libya

Nov. 3, 2012

by Joel Elowsky

I received the following press release from the office of His Grace, Bp. Angaelos:
PRESS RELEASE

For immediate use

Date: 14 Sep 2012

 

The Coptic Orthodox Church Centre UK

Media and Public Relations Office

 

In relation to the claims of the alleged involvement of Coptic Christians in the film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ and the resulting unrest in the Middle East, His Grace Bishop Angaelos has released a statement.

“It is of course the right of individuals or groups to protest in a responsible manner against conduct that insults what they hold sacred. Having said that, as these protests continue to escalate, sometimes dangerously out of hand, there must be a realisation that both in Egypt, its surrounding region, and beyond, it is only local citizens and communities, and the reputation of these states that is being damaged through such aggressive and violent behaviour.”

 

The full statement is below and can also be read on The Coptic Orthodox Church Centre UK Blog (CopticCentre.Blogspot.com) or by clicking here.

 

Statement by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of
The Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK

 

In assessing the recent developments surrounding the release of the film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ that insults Islam, and the alleged involvement of ‘Coptic Christians’, it is imperative that a clear distinction be made between the vast majority of Coptic Christians, and a minute minority that may choose to use inflammatory and insulting means to further political agenda. Coptic Christians in Egypt, across all churches and denominations, are known to be a peaceful people who have faced persecution for centuries and have never retaliated in any way that would insult or demean any other faith or faith group.


Having the largest Christian presence in the Middle East and numbering in the order of 18 million, Coptic Christians have peacefully coexisted alongside their Muslim brethren for centuries. Despite repeated attacks by religious extremists upon churches and communities, they continue to live a message of love, forgiveness, peace, and tolerance.


In this and in similar cases, it is of course the right of individuals or groups to protest in a responsible manner against conduct that insults what they hold sacred. Having said that, as these protests continue to escalate, sometimes dangerously out of hand, there must be a realisation that in Egypt, its surrounding region, and beyond, it is only local citizens and communities, and the reputation of these states that is being damaged through such aggressive and violent behaviour.


In a changing region that hopes to safeguard the rights of every individual, it is of course unacceptable for anyone to demean or insult another faith, whether it be the film currently in the spotlight or the radical Muslim cleric who burned, spat on and threatened to further desecrate a Holy Bible in a public square in Cairo.

 

While we must realise and accept that there will always be differences on faith matters between religious communities, it must also be agreed that interaction, conversation, debate, dialogue and even protest must be in a respectful and peaceful manner that safeguards the wellbeing of individuals and the harmony of communities.

 

***Statement ends***

 

For more information please contact:

Angela Mikhail

 

Media and Public Relations Officer 
The Coptic Orthodox Church UK 
Tel: +44 (0)207 1937076 

Media and Public Relations Office 
The Coptic Orthodox Church Centre 
Shephalbury Manor
Broadhall Way, Stevenage
Hertfordshire SG2 8NP
England, United Kingdom

Tel.: +44 (0)207 1937076
Fax: +44 (0)1438 313879
Office Email: Media@CopticCentre.com
Website: www.CopticCentre.com

Blog: www.CopticCentre.Blogspot.com
Follow on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CopticMediaUK
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/CopticMediaUK

Assemani

Coptic Studies Conference - Rome, Sept 17-22, 2012

Sep. 14, 2012

by Joel Elowsky

The Tenth International Congress of Coptic Studies will take place in Rome from Monday 17 to Saturday 22 September 2012. The Congress will be hosted at first in the Sapienza University of Rome (Monday, opening session), then, from Tuesday to Thursday, in the Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum, and finally, on Friday, in the Vatican Library, near Saint Peter's Basilica.

 

Information on the Programme


The program will be arranged as follows:

  • 1. Plenary sessions, during which invited specialists will give reports on recent developments in the major domains of Coptic studies, according to the following (alphabetical) list:
  • 2. Short papers by IACS members and other scholars, which should not exceed 20 minutes in length; these papers, which will be accepted if an abstract is provided in advance (new deadline: June 15, 2012), will be presented in four or five parallel sessions, grouped according to the main fields of Coptic studies.
     
  • 3. Workshops or panels devoted to special themes which have been prepared in advance by a group of scholars. All those who are interested in organizing a workshop or a panel should contact three or more scholars so as to form a panel and then inform the Congress Secretary as soon as possible.

Book Reviews Section Coming Soon

Sep. 6, 2012

by Joel Elowsky

Be on the lookout for a new section we will be adding soon on our website. The CEAC will be welcoming requests to review books for our website. We will also welcome inquiries by publishers who have new books on the market in the fields of Early African Christianity. We are looking as well for scholars to provide reviews. If you are interested in writing a review or, if you are a publisher interested in providing books for review, please send an email to  info@earlyafricanchristianity.com and include the following information:

 

Name

Professional affiliation

Mailing Address

Phone number

E-mail address

 

Also, please indicate the fields you are interested in or publish in.

Due to the high cost of shipping books overseas, book review requests from outside the US will be determined on a case-by-case basis. If you would like to send us a copy of your book for review, please mail it to:

 

Center for Early African Christianity

Eastern University

1300 Eagle Rd.

St Davids, PA 19087

And keep an eye out for this new section of our website.

Conference Participants

CEAC Meets with West African Evangelicals

Aug. 17, 2012

by Joel Elowsky

Dr. Michael Glerup, executive director of the CEAC is currently at a meeting sponsored by FATEAC (the evangelical seminary in Abidjan) in coordination with CITAF (tThe Council of theological institutions in french-speaking Africa (Conseil des Institutions Théologiques d'Afrique Francophone) and the Overseas Council International (a US foundation). The theme of the general assembly is "Pour un Enseignement Africain: Enracine´ dans l'Ecriture et Sensible au Contexte." 

 
In this conference participants will focus on African education that is rooted in Scripture and sensitive to the different contexts in which that education has and will take place. The CEAC understands the deep rootedness of African Christianity and its influence on African education--such has been the case ever since the time of the 2nd century school of Alexandria influenced not only early African Christianity, but world Christianity.
 
We are pleased to be a part of this conference and also to serve as a resource for the West African Francophone churches who are in partnership with us. We have facilitated the distribution of over 2000 copies of the French translation of "How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind" through the SIM's Pastors book project.
 
A future article will provide more detail on the conference. Please keep Dr Glerup and the conference participants in your prayers. BTW They have distributed 2000+ copies of HASCM in French through the SIM's Pastors book project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mercury

Scholarship Prize in Patristic Exegesis Announced

Aug. 3, 2012

by Joel Elowsky

The Institute for Classical Christian Studies and the Center for Early African Christianity announced last week at the International Patristic Studies Conference held at Oxford University its 1st annual award for the best paper(s) in Patristic Exegesis. (Please see Announcement below.) We are very excited about this new initiative and believe it will encourage young scholars to venture more deeply into patristic studies in a way that is illuminating for church and society today.


ANNOUNCEMENT
$2000 FIRST PRIZE
ICCS STUDIES IN PATRISTIC EXEGESIS

$1000 ADDITIONAL PRIZES

WITH SPECIAL FOCUS ON TEXTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT OF THE FIRST MILLENNIUM

Topic: Any subject that advances the thesis of the Ancient Christian Commentary, that patristic commentators on scripture bear incomparable wisdom for contemporary Christian teaching. The subject areas investigated may be in theology, liturgy, linguistics, philosophy, ethics, aesthetics, or in ecumenical, historical and socio-cultural studies. A translation of a previously untranslated patristic text may be submitted. Untranslated Arabic, Syriac, Coptic, and Armenian texts are to be given special consideration.

Manuscripts: The paper must be a previously unpublished manuscript submitted in English. The manuscript may be submitted in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Chinese or Korean (all languages in which the ACCS is being translated), but if selected the writer would be responsible for translating it into English. Manuscripts selected may be submitted simultaneously to peer-reviewed journals, or may be published digitally in English for the international community of readers, teachers, and patristic scholarship.

Length: approx. 5,000-10,000 words.

Assessment: Manuscripts will be assessed by quality of argumentation, clarity of exposition, significance of the position argued, degree to which the paper advances the topic under discussion, contribution to global Christianity, depth of understanding of the ancient Christian writers.
African Focus: Since the Institute for Classical Study was founded by the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture Project, and since the ACCS project, having been completed, is now focused on early African Christianity, we especially welcome contributions from African scholars or by other scholars on topics of patristic studies regarded texts written on the continent of Africa.

Deadline: August 1, 2012. Submit manuscript to the Institute for Classical Christian Studies, c/o Dr. Michael Glerup at the address below. The award will be announced by November 2012.

For more information please email: ICCS@earlyafricanchristianity.com or visit earlyafricanchristianity.com

His Holineness, Pope Shenouda III

Candidates for Coptic Pope Announced

Jul. 21, 2012

by Joel Elowsky via Angela Mikhail

The Coptic Orthodox Church Centre UK

Media and Public Relations Office

 

The preliminary list of names presented to the Nominations Committee of those put forward as Papal candidates was announced and published on Wednesday 30th May 2012, in Cairo as part of the Papal Selection Process for the Coptic Orthodox Church.

 

 

The Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church has announced the preliminary list of names presented to the Nominations Committee of those put forward as Papal candidates as part of the process of selecting a new pope to succeed His Holiness the late Pope Shenouda III, the 117th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa on the holy Apostolic See of Saint Mark. H.H. Pope Shenouda III departed on 17th March 2012 after forty-one years of papacy.

 

A final list of eligible voters is yet to be announced, and the period for challenges to be presented to the Nominations Challenges Committee with regards to Papal candidates will only commence once this is done.

 

 

The preliminary Papal candidate list is as follows:

 

Metropolitan Bishoy of Damiette

Bishop Youannes

Bishop Roufail

Bishop Pavnotious of Samalout

Bishop Boutros

Bishop Tawadros

Bishop Kirollos of Milan

Father Rafael Avva-Mina

Father Maximos El-Antony

Father Shenouda Anba-Bishoy

Father Pakhomous El-Souriani

Father Daniel El-Souriani

Father Anastasi El-Samuely

Father Bishoy Anba-Paula

Father Sawaries Anba-Paula

Father Seraphim El-Souriani

Father Pigol Anba-Paula

 

 

His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom has issued a detailed explanation of the papal selection process, along with a timeline which identifies key stages of the process, saying the following:

 

 

“This is an experience with which many will not have been involved in their lifetime, so it was important to provide a simplified explanation, allowing engagement at every level. Within these steps we find a robust process that includes: nominations from peers within the Holy Synod, nominations from laity through the General Lay Council, systematic scrutiny with a process of challenges and appeals, representative democratic election, and above all, the Altar Ballot that encompasses this whole process with a spirit of prayer and trustful submission to the will of God.”

 

 

For the explanation and timeline please visit the Blog or click here.

 

For more information or to arrange an interview with His Grace Bishop Angaelos please contact:

 

Angela Mikhail

 

Media and Public Relations Officer 
The Coptic Orthodox Church UK 
Tel: +44 (0)207 1937076 

Media and Public Relations Office 
The Coptic Orthodox Church Centre 
Shephalbury Manor
Broadhall Way, Stevenage
Hertfordshire SG2 8NP
England, United Kingdom

Tel.: +44 (0)207 1937076
Fax: +44 (0)1438 313879
Office Email: Media@CopticCentre.com
Website: www.CopticCentre.com

Blog: www.CopticCentre.Blogspot.com
Follow on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CopticMediaUK
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/CopticMediaUK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prof Libambu

CEAC Fellow to Present in Jerusalem Patristics Conference

Jun. 2, 2012

by Joel Elowsky

ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONALE D’ÉTUDES PATRISTIQUES

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PATRISTIC STUDIES

 

Professor Michel Libambu, a fellow of the CEAC, has been invited to participate in an international conference on Patristics in the 21st Century, which is being organized to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Association Internationale d’Etudes Patristiques/International Association of Patristics Studies.

The conference is being organized jointly by AIEP/IAPS and the Center for the Study of Christianity in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem,  and will take place in Jerusalem from 25th-27th of June 2013.

Professor Libambu has been invited to give a plenary lecture on the first day,  on the state of  Patristics in Africa. This would involve a 40 minute lecture followed by discussion.

Professor Libambu had previously given a presentation on Augustine at the International Patristics Soceity Meeting in Oxford, UK. He was sponsored by the CEAC. We are glad to see that he has been invited to speak and look forward to further dialog with the patristics society and our work in Africa.