OPF opened my eyes to a new depth that I was not aware of in the church. Taking a deep dive into the essence of our faith, every liturgical activity after that was imbued with new meaning and beauty; whether it's the Divine liturgy, midnight praise or my icons. For me, the icons are a language to express the depth of the mystery of Christ, which OPF really gave me the tools to discover. When I begin to paint an icon, I hope that by the grace of God, I can invite people to witness this same mystery. OPF taught me that theology is not just theory but life in Christ, in all its fullness.
OPF is one of the most memorable and beneficial events of my university experience. It has introduced me to inspirational people and invaluable resources. Each retreat was filled with fellowship and left me with more curiosity and excitement to dig deeper into the Scriptures and the richness of the church fathers and mothers' writings. It taught me the relevance of the church fathers and mothers’ teachings to our daily lives, and I use them as guides in my services and life.
A group of friends and I have started a podcast for Christian female youth in which we address challenges we face in the 21st century. With OPF’s encouragement to study the early church, the more we discover the early church’s perspective on our current social issues, the more we realize that the solution to these issues is not to “re-invent” the system but rather to return to the early church’s understanding of these issues.
Book: The Fraction Prayer
Outstandingly, I think that the OPF program provides very good types of lectures which I have learned considerably, especially the lectures concerning the doctrine in the liturgical texts by Dr. Joseph Faltas. Dr. Faltas gave me advice and feedback for the book and I followed up with him. As well as sharing ideas with Ashraf Amin was quite helpful.
The office of the fraction is one of the main characteristic features of the Alexandrian (Coptic) Liturgy. Furthermore, the fraction prayers accompanied by the rite are among the most profound prayers of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Consulting the patristic tradition, the book gets close with trembling to the mystery of the broken Body Christ and given to the Church, the mystical body of Christ. The book discusses the authenticity of the texts of the fraction prayers consulting Coptic and Arabic manuscripts. Moreover, the book emphasizes the theological teachings of these prayers in terms of Eucharist, Trinity, Christology, Incarnation, Deification, etc.
OPF gave me an environment, a structure, and an opportunity to delve into patristics and Scriptural studies that I otherwise would’ve struggled to encounter on my own. The passion the instructors possessed and the interest from my peers around me pushed me to engage in the seminars and lectures that constantly had me writing things down, things that would later work their way into the icons I paint today.