November 2023 English Newsletter Posted December 14, 2023 by admin


My beloved the benevolent                    November, 2023

Grace and peace, wishing you every goodness and blessing

I am pleased to congratulate you on the beginning of the Advent Fast, which begins this year on Sunday, November 26th, corresponding to Hatour 16th. I wish you all a blessed and fruitful fast with spiritual fruits that rejoice the heart of our good God, who was incarnated for our salvation.

It is noted that because the Coptic year 1740 is a leap year, there is a difference in the Gregorian date corresponding to the Coptic date.  We usually celebrate the Nativity Feast on the 29th of Kiahk, January 7th. But this year, the 29th of Kiahk falls on January 8th. Therefore, the church arranged for us to celebrate the Nativity Feast on the 28th and the 29th of Kiahk, which are January 7th and 8th.

The Advent Fast begins on the 16th of Hatour as usual, but this year it falls on November 26th, therefore, the duration of the Advent Fast this year will be 42 days instead of 43 days; this is repeated every four years. We celebrate the Nativity Feast on two days: the main day, which is Kiahk 29th, and an additional day which is Kiahk 28th, and the Advent Fast is reduced by one day. May the Lord grant us to fast fruitfully. What is important about fasting is for each of us to experience a period of spiritual growth and for there to be a real change in our lives.

Before the beginning of the Advent Fast, the church arranged to present to us the Parable of the Sower on two consecutive Sundays in the month of November: the first Sunday of Hatour, November 12th, and the second Sunday of Hatour, November 19th. The church has dedicated a special litany which changes according to the harvest season in Egypt from the 10th of Paopi to the 10th of Tobi (October 21st – January 19th), during which we pray for the seeds, herbs and plants of the field. We pray that Christ will bless the seeds, the herbs and the plants of the field so that they may grow and multiply and be brought to perfection.

The Parable of the Sower: On the first Sunday of Hatour, which falls on November 12th, the Gospel of the Liturgy is from Luke 8:4-15, and on the second Sunday of the month of Hatour, corresponding to November 19th, the Gospel of the Liturgy is from Matthew 13:1-9.  This parable given by the Lord Jesus Christ mentions the Sower who went out to sow his seed; some fell on the wayside, some fell on the rocks, others on the thorns, and still others on the good ground.

Christ explained the parable by saying, “The seed is the Word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. But the ones on the rock are those who when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.” Luke 8:11-15

We note in this parable:

1- The good ground is the fruitful ground; it is not just ground in which the plant can grow. The seeds on the rocky ground and the ground with thorns grew but did not bear fruit. The seeds on the rocky ground did not bear fruit because the plant had no root and dried up like those who believe but, because they did not enter into the depth of faith, they do not withstand temptations and fall away. The thorns choked the plants in the same way that the worries of life, its riches and its pleasures prevent the man who is preoccupied with it from being fruitful.

2. In order for the believer to be fruitful, he needs to keep the Word within himself, to enter into the depths of himself, and not have his faith be an external, emotional faith. He needs to have something noble and good inside him, because purity of heart makes man fruitful, as Jesus Christ said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

In order for the Christian to be fruitful, he also needs patience as spiritual life requires effort and perseverance, “…he who endures to the end shall be saved.” Matthew 24:13

May God grant us that our fast will be fruitful with good deeds, and may the Lord bless your gifts to support Santa Verena’s charitable programs.

Metropolitan Sarapion