It was amazingly peaceful day

I stayed the entire day at St. Antony Coptic monastery. And it was a looooong day which began with 4 am “midnight worship,” followed by 5.30 am liturgy, followed by a fun conversation at breakfast with a group of Coptic parishioners and their priest from Phoenix, AZ and, then, most of the day in conversations with Deacon Paul, one of the most senior brothers residing at the monastery. It has been quite a while ago that I felt entirely at peace with myself, all people around me (although they talked mostly in Arabic), and the surrounding nature which was – again – surprise, because of the rather barren landscapes. As far as worship services, it was both very familiar and, yet, a lot of small differences. Taking off shoes and leaving them before entrance to church, clergy changing their black robes into white clothes while celebrating liturgy, the “handshake of peace” similar to Catholics, the “naive” style of iconography, the images and stories of ancient saints mostly unfamiliar to me. But I felt fully included and welcomed (being the only non-Coptic person there)

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