in the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria
Dear beloved in Christ,
Since the time of the early Church, Catechumens (in Greek meaning “those who learn the faith”) were recent converts to Christianity who strove to learn about the Orthodox Christian Faith in preparation for Holy Baptism.
Originally, Catechumens were only allowed to participate in the first public part of the Divine Liturgy (known as the Liturgy of the Word) and were asked to leave before the second part (the Liturgy of the Faithful). This practice was in place for the protection of both the Eucharist and the community of believers in times of persecution, as well as to protect the Catechumen from the Mystery of the Eucharist until the time of their baptism. Now almost all churches and many monasteries allow catechumens to stay throughout the whole service.
The period of Catechesis in the Coptic Orthodox Church should be seen as a journey. It is important to use the time wisely and spend it in prayer, spiritual growth and education. It is certainly not easy, as you will face many questions about your faith and spiritual foundation that often take courage and patience to work through. After your catechism is complete, and you and the priest have agreed that you have worked hard to learn about and participate in Orthodoxy, you can think about possible dates for baptism/chrismation into the Coptic Orthodox Church.
Please use the resources given to you by the Church and enjoy this time of spiritual growth and formation. The tools in your journey bag will reinforce your foundation as you learn more about the Orthodox Faith. If you have any questions, please be brave and ask the Father (priest) whom you are working with. He will be more than happy to arrange a time to talk!
While this site should present a real list of requirements before baptism/chrismation, please know that there may be exceptions. Do not feel overwhelmed or distressed by all of the criteria. Firstly, these are all for our benefit. Secondly, they are meant to steer us towards God and confirm us in the Faith. Please try your hardest to fulfill them, but feel free to consult your priest if you have any questions or concerns. The most important thing is that you do all of this under the direction of a priest, so as not to become complacent or overwhelmed.
God bless you in your journey!
The purpose of this site is to assist in the preparation of Catechumens, interested in learning and pursuing the Orthodox Christian Faith. The content of this site has been gathered from various trusted websites, publishers, and distinguished clergy teachings. The website is a tool for self-paced, distant-learning, in addition to the class time that a Catechumen spends in learning the faith and discussing his/her questions.
This site is created and managed by Fr. Jerome Maximous: frjerome[at]suscopts.org.
Fr. Jerome is a presbyter in the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern U.S.
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