He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it– lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, "This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. "Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

Lk 14:25-32

Hi everyone!

As you have probably heard, ISIS released a brutal video yesterday in which they beheaded 21 innocent Egyptian Coptic Christians. They all lived in poverty and went to Libya in order to provide for their families, as many Copts often do. Here is a gofundme constructed by another Copt. 100% of the proceeds will be offered to the families of the 21 men. Aside from prayer, this would be such an incredible blessing for them, and although it cannot bring them back, it will surely let them know that people care. Please share and please consider donating. Thank you!

It is a sad day when 21 Coptic Christian Egyptians are beheaded by members of ISIS in Libya. For a community that prides itself on spreading news of social injustices in the world, it sure likes to neglect my people. this is why my parents have not been to their home in 8 years and why i barely remember the egypt that is always shown in movies. 

R.I.P. ya rab erhamna


Influence Through the Ages: The Fayum Mummy Portraits

The art of encaustic painting, a technique essential to a vast amount of art in Europe during the dark ages, High Medieval periods, the Renaissance, and especially influential to Russian Iconography, traces its roots through Byzantine art and back into classical antiquity…arriving at the Fayum Mummy Portraits dating from the first century B.C.E.

Most of these near 1,000 portraits are attached to the preserved body of the person depicted. The methods used to create these works can be traced to artistic styles kept alive from Hellenistic Greece to Coptic Egyptian tradition, traveling up into Europe via Italy and Greece to be regenerated at the dawn of the Italian Renaissance with the resurrection of Classical values and virtues.

The connections of these encaustic portraits on wooden panels to Russian Medieval Religious Icons are both stylistic and historical. Many Christian treasures were carried from their North African and Middle Eastern origins and hidden in Northern Europe and Russia for safekeeping; many of the Black Madonnas of Europe owe their existence to these flights from war-torn areas.

These mummy portraits have immense art-historical importance because very few mobile pieces of art like these ancient panel paintings survive. Some aspects of the mummy portraits, especially their frontal perspective and their concentration on key facial features, strongly resemble later icon painting.

The earliest portraits of the Virgin Mary, attributed to Saint Luke and said to have been “painted from life”, also indicate influence in composition, style, and materials.

Some art historians name the Fayum portraits “The Earliest Modernist Paintings”. Many Medieval and Renaissance schools of painting were influenced by these ancient techniques. Romanesque to Medieval religious Italian art shows this influence in the colors and methods used for religious iconography:

And the realism and brushstrokes are echoed in Early Flemish and Netherlandish religious paintings as well.

Although Northern European art after the fall of the Roman empire shifted sharply to stylized form and symbolic rather than representational images, the soft realism and warm individuality of the Fayum portraits was kept alive in pockets of influence to be reborn in the High Medieval Period and Renaissance in Northern Europe.

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Want to Learn an Ancient Near Eastern Language?

Well, followers do I have the website for you.

Check out Lexicity: link

Lexicity is a website where you can learn the languages of the Ancient Near East including Akkadian, Arabic, Aramaic, Coptic, Egyptian, Georgian, Hebrew, Hittite,  Old Persian, Sumerian, Syriac, and even Ugaritic.  The site also offers other languages too.

The site teaches you by through various dictionaries, texts, grammars, charts, and aids.  I will tell you right now that the resources for some of the languages are quite old as there is no new scholarship on them.  Enjoy either way.


Ancient Egyptian Handbook of Spells Deciphered

Researchers have deciphered an ancient Egyptian handbook, revealing a series of invocations and spells.

Among other things, the “Handbook of Ritual Power,” as researchers call the book, tells readers how to cast love spells, exorcise evil spirits and treat “black jaundice,” a bacterial infection that is still around today and can be fatal.

The book is about 1,300 years old, and is written in Coptic, an Egyptian language. It is made of bound pages of parchment — a type of book that researchers call a codex.

“It is a complete 20-page parchment codex, containing the handbook of a ritual practitioner,” write Malcolm Choat and Iain Gardner, who are professors in Australia at Macquarie University and the University of Sydney, respectively, in their book, “A Coptic Handbook of Ritual Power”. Read more.

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you."John 15:18-20


Snippets in Stone

Here are two unusual stone fragments. The object at the top is an “ostrakon”, a piece of stone or pottery filled with text, in this case from Byzantine Egypt, dating from c. 600. While the fragment seems to be part of something that was initially much bigger (a sizable pot filled with a long biblical text, perhaps), it was actually always meant to be like this: a snippet with only a few words. The object was filled with text after it had become a fragment, as can be seen from the words written on its side. It is the equivalent of a page from a notebook. The second image, from 1280 BCE, has an even stronger draft connotation. This piece of stone was likely a teaching tool used by a master who showed his apprentice how to draw a face. The pupil subsequently tried out a pair of arms, which look clumsy - lots to learn here. Both items deceive us: they seem broken and insignificant, yet are complete and full of history.

Pic: (top) Metropolian Museum of Art, Accession nr. 14.1.103, dated c. 600 (more here); (bottom) Baltimore, Walters Art Museum, Accession nr. 32.1 (more here).

Origins of 'Gospel of Jesus's Wife' Begin to Emerge

The truth may be finally emerging about the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife,” a highly controversial papyrus suggesting that some people, in ancient times, believed Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. New research on the papyrus’ ink points to the possibility that it is authentic, researchers say, while newly obtained documents may shed light on the origins of the business-card-sized fragment.

Debate about the credibility of the “gospel” began as soon as Harvard University professor Karen King reported her discovery of the papyrus in September 2012. Written in Coptic (an Egyptian language), the papyrus fragment contains a translated line that reads, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …’” and also refers to a “Mary,” possibly Mary Magdalene.

King had tentatively dated the papyrus to the fourth century, saying it may be a copy of a gospel written in the second century in Greek. Read more.

I think there is no greater labor than that of prayer to God. For every time a man wants to pray, his enemies, the demons, want to prevent him, for they know that it is only by turning him from prayer that they can hinder his journey. Whatever good work a man undertakes, if he perseveres in it, he will attain rest. But prayer is warfare to the last breath.
—  Abba Agathon

Graffiti at Deir el-Bahri.

Deir el-Bahri is the mortuary temple of Egyptian pharaoh Hatshepsut, who ruled from about 1473–1458 BC. 

The shown graffiti was carved later, and depicts Coptic text and symbols, including what appears to be two early Coptic crosses with olive branches. The ‘Copts’ are the Christians of Egypt. According to legend, their church was founded in the 1st century AD in Alexandria by Mark the Evangelist while Egypt was under Roman rule.

Photos taken by Irene Soto, and courtesy of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World.

Newfound 'Gospel of the Lots of Mary' Discovered in Ancient Text

A 1,500-year-old book that contains a previously unknown gospel has been deciphered. The ancient manuscript may have been used to provide guidance or encouragement to people seeking help for their problems, according to a researcher who has studied the text.

Written in Coptic, an Egyptian language, the opening reads (in translation):

“The Gospel of the lots of Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ, she to whom Gabriel the Archangel brought the good news. He who will go forward with his whole heart will obtain what he seeks. Only do not be of two minds." 

Anne Marie Luijendijk, a professor of religion at Princeton University, discovered that this newfound gospel is like no other. Read more.