Sunday, March 6, 2022

Not For Everyone


A video discussion between Austin Suggs, a student at the Moody Bible Institute, and Fr. Anthony Mourad of the Coptic Orthodox Church.  Good for a Sunday. 

Suggs, for such a young man and having grown up in a seeker-type church (fog machines, etc.), has a tremendous knowledge of the Christian traditions and history.  And because he is a young man, he doesn’t carry the baggage of “everyone else is a heretic,” as he is able to have heartfelt discussions with Christians of all traditions and denominations.

To set the playing field, the Coptic Church is one of the handful of Orthodox Churches that parted ways after the Council of Chalcedon with what was until then a unified, Universal and Orthodox Church.  This discussion, about one hour long, explores the split behind Chalcedon, the hope for a unification again of the Orthodox Churches, what the Coptic Church can teach the broader Christian community, and many other topics.

I will only note one statement, by Fr. Anthony, a statement which touches on the Chalcedonian split:

Every single liturgy before the distribution of the Holy Eucharist, the priest, in front of the entire congregants, all those who are there to participate in the Mysteries, says the following prayer:

Amen, amen, amen; I believe, I believe, I believe.  And I confess to the last breath that this is the lifegiving flesh that your only begotten Son our Lord, God, and Savior the Lord Jesus Christ, took from Our Lady, the Lady of us all, the Holy Theotokos, St. Mary.

He made it one with His divinity, without mingling, without confusion, and without alteration.  He confessed a good confession before Pontius Pilate.  He gave it up for us upon the Holy wood of the Cross of His own will for us all.  Truly I believe that His Divinity parted not from His humanity for a single moment nor a twinkling of an eye.  It was given to us for salvation and remission of sins, and eternal life for those who partake of Him.

I believe, I believe, I believe that this is true.  Amen.

This prayer is said every single divine liturgy.  When you hear that, there is absolutely no room for the accusation of the Coptic Church’s Monophysitism. 

From this discussion, I have come away with the following resources:

·         An English translation, taken from both the Greek and Latin, of The Acts of the Council of Chalcedon (the book is too expensive; a google books preview is here).

·         A video discussion on the Council, with the author of the aforementioned book, Dr. Richard Price (which I have yet to watch, but will).

·         The Council of Chalcedon Re-Examined, by V.C. Samuel (which I will purchase).

·         A YouTube channel, Coptic Orthodox Answers (to which I will now pay some attention).


  1. This is speculative, but I've wondered whether the post-Chalcedon split was motivated as much by nationalism as theology: ethnic Churches with nothing in common with the Greeks choosing a hair-splitting distinction to argue about, and taking their ball and leaving.

    By the way, the most rabid, white-nationalist American is like Marianne Williamson compared to the Greek supremacists in the Orthodox Church.

    1. The video with Dr. Price (linked above) touches on this matter, and I plan to wrote a short piece reviewing that detail.

  2. Through much dialogue, Pope John Paul and Pope Shenouda, the leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church, came to some agreement on the Monophysite controversy. They agreed the original dispute had more to do with language differences and political motivations than theology.