Sunday, August 25, 2013

Cleveland Copts

Well, Cleveland argues whether it has a south side. What would be the southern suburbs have a number of 'eastern' parishes, many from eastern Europe, and from the near East. In northeastern Africa, there is Egypt. In Seven Hills (Cleveland not Rome) there is St. Mark Coptic Orthodox.

Now, these other church festivals all had stuffed cabbages, here they did not; they had stuffed grape leaves. I still think, it goes to the same taste and stomach areas. Here they had a gas oven outside baking bread. The pitas came out fast, and when they do, they are puffed with hot air like balloons and looking like pillows. I bought two, and held up two fingers to a lady. A small girl comes out from behind a table, smiling and says, "I speak Arabic".
Like the other Orthodox, the walls are painted with icons, and iconic murals. They have the church of St. Mark, and a large chapel of SS. Athanasius and Cyril (Alexandria). The icons are not like the Greek and Slavonic ones, which are sad and somber, long and angular. They are happy and round. In repeated scenes of Jesus entering Jerusalem, and the Flight of the Holy Family the burro (i should use the proper three letter word, but you should not believe how many people get offended) is smiling. perhaps in this one he is because he is going to Egypt.
On a large scene of Heaven, there are groups. On this one, the close Friends and Family of Jesus. His Mother's parents, his friend Lazarus (Remember, when Jesus heard Lazarus died, "He wept") wrapped liked a mummy, the Mary the Myrrh bearer, and his three closest apostles. They will further add to the murals. There are Old Testament scenes that are rarely depicted in western churches.  I have been guilty of putting to many pictures on an essay, they are worth seeing, i will have to find an opportunity to put some of them on the 'nets' later.
It is a very pretty place, and with notoriety. The parish has two icons that miraculously produced oil. The parish had their patriarch, Pope Shenouda III as a frequent guest. 

During the church tour, members expressed their grave anxiety and concern about the current situation in the homeland. The Muslim Brotherhood (the Egyptian Moslem extremists) is attacking (murdering) peaceable Christians, holding them up as a scapegoat (such a situation is also occurring in Syria). Extreme political Islam allows fellow countryman to destroy their national brothers in order to control the state. Similar movements have found an 'other' they detest, and that other is often a recent arrival, but in Moslem majority nations, it is the aboriginal, native, and same ethnic group that is targeted. They want no separation of the state from their religion. 

Some parish members are very upset with the current administration not engaging the US on the behalf of their co-religionists in the old country. But, they fail to realise that US interests were never to support native Christians. They also may not realise, that although a majority of Arabic speaking people in the US are Christian, the average American does not recognise an Arabic speaking American as a Christian.
They had a few baby buggies painted parking spaces. First time i have seen them. I wonder where else they can be, it is a good idea. Once i tried, unsuccessfully, to deter a cop from giving out a parking ticket to a heavily pregnant woman. He was not receptive. I should not have been surprised.

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