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Article Discipleship in Oriental Orthodox and Evangelical Communities

Ralph Lee

Oxford Centre for Studies, Oxford OX2 6HR, UK; [email protected]

Abstract: In many countries with a strong Orthodox Christian presence there are tensions between Evangelicals and Orthodox . These tensions are rooted in many theological, ecclesiological, and epistemological differences. In practice, one of the crucial causes of tension comes down to different practical understandings of what a Christian looks like. This paper examines key aspects of discipleship as expressed in revival movements in Orthodox Churches , and which are connected to the challenges presented by the huge expansion of Evangelical Protestant mission from the nineteenth century. Key aspects will be evaluated in comparison with aspects that are understood to characterize disciples in Evangelical expressions, including: differing understandings of the and their place in the life of a disciple; ways in which different engage with the and related literary works; contrasting outlooks on discipleship as an individual and a community way of life; and differing understanding of spiritual disciplines.

Keywords: discipleship; Orthodox Christian; Oriental Christian; Coptic; Egypt; Ethiopia; India

 1. Introduction  Evangelical and non-Chalcedonian or Oriental Orthodox Christianity Citation: Lee, Ralph. 2021. have moved along very different historical trajectories. This divergence is marked by major Discipleship in Oriental Orthodox events including the Council of in 451 CE, the Great of 1054 CE then the and Evangelical Communities. in the sixteenth century with later divisions within Protestant Christianity. Religions 12: 320. https://doi.org/ The non-Chalcedonian Orthodox Churches of Egypt, Ethiopia and India are embedded 10.3390/rel12050320 in diverse non-Western cultures which have passed by the specific religious challenges which the Enlightenment presented to Protestant and Christianity and have faced Academic Editors: Bradley Nassif their own and practical challenges. This study explores important observed and Tim Grass behaviors of those devoutly following , that is ‘disciples’, and contrasts them with their Evangelical counterparts seeking to look at the behind behaviors and tracing Received: 18 March 2021 them to a historical understanding discipleship. Accepted: 27 April 2021 Published: 30 April 2021 2. Historical Background

Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral The in 451 CE produced significant divisions in the . with regard to jurisdictional claims in Its Christological definition has been understood as the definition of middle ground published maps and institutional affil- between a perceived splitting of humanity and attributed to that was iations. condemned at in 431 CE, and the teaching of who was understood to argue that Christ was consubstantial only with the . This model does not serve well the of Christian traditions that developed outside of the , exemplified by Severus of who presented a robust defense of the Oriental outlook and raised serious issues with the Chalcedonian definition (Chesnut 1976; Allen and Copyright: © 2021 by the author. Licensee MDPI, Basel, . Hayward 2004). , among others, has argued strongly for a distinction This article is an open access article between Eutyches’ ‘monophysite’ teaching and ‘miaphysite’ Christology which affirms full distributed under the terms and humanity and divinity in one nature of Christ without division or confusion, noting that conditions of the Creative Commons terms like ‘nature’ and ‘hypostasis’ had several different understandings which became Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// more ambiguous when translated into Syriac (Brock 1996). Similar problems may be creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ found with other ancient languages, such as the Classical Ethiopic. The outcome of the 4.0/). Council of Chalcedon left a painful split in the church and significant efforts were made

Religions 2021, 12, 320. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12050320 https://www.mdpi.com/journal/religions Religions 2021, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 2 of 13

Religions 2021, 12, 320 when translated into Syriac (Brock 1996). Similar problems may be found with other2 ofan- 12 cient languages, such as the Classical Ethiopic. The outcome of the Council of Chalcedon left a painful split in the church and significant efforts were made to reconcile the sides. (474-5, 476-91CE) authorized what became known as the Henoticon, or ‘act ofto union,’ reconcile which the sides. avoided Emperor criticism Zeno of Leo’s (474-5, To 476-91CE)me that had authorized caused difficulty what became for the known Alex- andrians,as the Henoticon but also, or rejected ‘act of union,’on one whichextreme avoided Nestoria criticismnism, which of Leo’s the Tome , that had Palestini- caused ansdifficulty and for the had Alexandrians, felt was given but too also much rejected concession on one extreme at Chalcedon, , and Eutyches which and the hisEgyptians, monophysite teaching and on Syrians the other, had feltbut wasalso given avoided too muchthe ‘two concession natures’ atformula Chalcedon, that theand Alexandrians Eutyches and opposed his monophysite strongly (Grillmeier teaching 1 on987, the pp. other, 247–317). but alsoThe Henoticon avoided thefailed ‘two as anatures’ compromise formula lacking that theclarity, Alexandrians and strong opposedopposition strongly endured (Grillmeier in Egypt, 1987Palestine, pp. a 247–317).nd The(GrillmeierHenoticon 1987,failed p. 257). as a There compromise were concerted lacking clarity,efforts to and resolve strong the opposition differences, endured although in forEgypt, the opposers of and Chalcedon Syria (Grillmeier its outlook 1987 remained, p. 257). a concession There were to Nestorianism concerted efforts that they to resolve the differences, although for the opposers of Chalcedon its outlook remained a could not accept. A series of and documents aimed at clarifying and resolving concession to Nestorianism that they could not accept. A series of synods and documents differences, culminated in the 5th at in 553 CE (noting aimed at clarifying and resolving differences, culminated in the 5th Ecumenical Council at that this Council is not accepted as ‘ecumenical’ by the Oriental Churches), which sought Constantinople in 553 CE (noting that this Council is not accepted as ‘ecumenical’ by the a Christological definition that was resolutely against Nestorianism, but all this was in- Oriental Churches), which sought a Christological definition that was resolutely against sufficient (Grillmeier 1995, pp. 443–61). The challenges of understanding Oriental Chris- Nestorianism, but all this was insufficient (Grillmeier 1995, pp. 443–61). The challenges of tology point to much broader challenges in understanding the beliefs and practices of understanding Oriental Christology point to much broader challenges in understanding these Christian expressions. Important developments were made in the 20th century and the beliefs and practices of these Christian expressions. Important developments were significant has been made in understanding the fundamental congruence be- made in the 20th century and significant progress has been made in understanding the tween Chalcedonian and Oriental views (Chaillot 2016) which must be understood as re- fundamental congruence between Chalcedonian and Oriental views (Chaillot 2016) which moving many perceived obstacles to good relations between these groups. Significant di- must be understood as removing many perceived obstacles to good relations between vergencethese groups. in exp Significanterience comes, divergence however, in experience from the comes,very different however, histories from the of verythe three different Ori- entalhistories traditions of the threein this Oriental study. traditions in this study. Coptic Christianity was formed in the very earliest of the Christian Church. Coptic ChristiansChristians celebratecelebrate the the Holy Holy Family fleeing fleeing to to Egypt Egypt from from Herod’s Herod’s slaughter slaughter of the of theinnocents, innocents, and and the foundationthe foundation of their of their church church by St by , St Mark, believed believed to have to have been been martyred - tyredin in Alexandria perhaps perhaps in 68 in CE 68 ( PearsonCE (Pears 2006on ,2006, pp. 336–37).pp. 336–37). Alexandria Alexandria became became one one of ofthe the most most important important Christian Christian intellectual intellectual centers, centers, and and Egypt Egypt was was an an early early and and influential influen- tialcenter center for thefor the development development of of monasticism (Pearson (Pearson 2006 2006).). It was It was the the strong strong influence influence of ofthe the Egyptian countryside countryside rather rather than than its its more more Hellenized Hellenized cities cities that that drove drove opposition opposition to toChalcedon, Chalcedon, rejection rejection of whichof which partly partly contributed contributed to theto the waning waning of Alexandrianof Alexandrian theological theolog- icalinfluence influence within within the Romanthe Roman Empire Empire (Gillman (Gillman and and Klimkeit Klimkeit 1999 1999,, p. 16). p. 16). Since Since the sevenththe sev- enthcentury century Arab Arab invasions invasions of North of North , Africa and then, and later then Ottoman later Ottoman Islamic Islamic culture culture the Coptic the CopticChurch Church has lived has under lived Islamic under ruleIslamic (Pearson rule (Pearson 2006; O’Mahony 2006; O’Mahony 2006), and 2006 Islamic), and presence Islamic presencehas strongly has influencedstrongly influenced the development the development of its Christian of its Christian reflection. reflection. Ethiopian flourished flourished early.early. The look to their Christian origins in the of the by Peter in , even though this figurefigure almost certainly served in the Meroitic Kingdom in ((UllendorffUllendorff [1968] 20062006,, p. 1), but they have identifiedidentified the Candace as thethe QueenQueen ofof ShebaSheba ((LeeLee 2017b2017b,, p.p. 2).2). Furthermore,Furthermore, thethe Ethiopians appeal appeal to to Käs Käsate¯āte B ǝrhan han Abb Abba¯ Sälāam¯ Säla,¯ ā theirmā, their ‘revealer ‘revealer of light, of father light, fatherof peace’ of peace’St St Frumentius (d. c.383), (d. ac.383), Syrian a ChristianSyrian Christian who was who ordained was ordained as Ethiopia’s as Ethiopia’s first first possiblybishop possibly in 328 CE in by 328 St Athanasius.CE by St Athanasius. This connection This cois attestednnection by is Rufinus attested ( Migne by Rufinus 1849, (Mignecols. 478–80; 1849, Amidoncols. 478–80; 1997 Amidon, pp. 18–20), 1997, but pp. most 18–20), convincingly but most convincingly in a letter by in Athanasius a letter by (Athanasius1892). The Bible(1892). and The Bible were and translated liturgy into were Ethiopia’s translated classical into language Ethiopia’s by classical the fifth languagecentury, then by growing the fifth independently century, then and growing somewhat independently isolated because and of somewhat the Arab invasions. isolated becauseEthiopian of Christianity the Arab inva-si has developedons. Ethiopian a remarkable Christianity presence has in developed even the nation’s a remarkable most presenceisolated mountainousin even the nation’s regions, most and althoughisolated mountainous it was subject regions, for centuries and althoug to the Patriarchh it was subjectin Alexandria, for centuries until 1959,to the its Patri- usearch of the in vernacular Alexandria, saw until the 1959, development its use of ofthe a distinctivevernacular sawexpression the development of Christianity, of a with distinc- its owntive strongexpression liturgical of Christianity, and intellectual with traditions its own (strongIsaac liturgical2012, pp. and 1–26; intellectual Crummey traditions2006; Binns ( 2017 ).2012, pp. 1–26; Crummey 2006; Binns 2017). Indian Christianity has a complex past with a very early Christian exp expressionression formed under the strong influenceinfluence of a dominant Hindu culture. The Indian Orthodox link their Christian foundations to the Apostle Thomas, narrated in oral history in songs such as ‘Margam Kali Puttu,’ ‘Song of the Way,’ and scholars are increasingly persuaded of this claim (Gillman and Klimkeit 1999, pp. 159–66). A connection with Persia emerged probably from the fourth century, accounting for the Indian adoption of Syriac as its Religions 2021, 12, 320 3 of 12

liturgical language (Gillman and Klimkeit 1999, pp. 166–77). Persian links remained strong until the Church was subject to harsh dominance by the church with the severe and destructive of Diamper in 1599 CE at which many of its cultural outlooks were anathematized, and later emerging through alliances with the Syrian Church bringing it into the non-Chalcedonian group of churches (Gillman and Klimkeit 1999, pp. 155–202; O’Mahony and Angold 2006). These Orthodox expressions are strongly embedded within their cultures, leading to by Western Christians rooted in poor understanding of their non-Chalcedonian but also non-Eutychian Christology: the Egyptians have adopted the language and culture of their historical rulers becoming a significant force in shaping the development of Egyptian culture over many centuries, but have been criticized by Western Christians for neglecting the call to Evangelize their Muslim compatriots (Cragg 1992, pp. 13–30, etc.); the Ethiopian Church has a strong claim to being the primary force shaping and forming its national culture since the fourth century CE, but has been criticized for its ‘Judaic’ customs, without carefully considering how they are understood within the Church (Lee 2017a; Ullendorff [1968] 2006); and accusations of have been made against the Indian Orthodox because of their outward conformity to Hindu culture, which may also be viewed as contextualization par excellence (Gillman and Klimkeit 1999, pp. 177–202). An exception to this critical western outlook were Anglican who viewed these Christians as potential partners in mission: in the nineteenth century the (CMS) specifically aimed at keeping the Coptic Church as the of Egypt (Sharkey 2008, pp. 33–34); around 1815 the English considered the Syrian Christians of India as potential evangelists for of and supported the establishment of a in (Varghese 2010, p. 227); and in from the earliest days of CMS in Ethiopia their missionaries sought to build a good relationship with the head of the Ethiopian Church and eschewed planting churches (Hastings 1996, p. 224). The CMS outlook needs a full examination which is beyond the scope of this article, but it points to what this article seeks to explore: what might we observe in these Christian communities that indicates their commitment to discipleship? Enduring extended harsh treatment, facing strong cultural challenges, and strengthening in the face of strong Protes- tant and Catholic efforts from the nineteenth century are compelling signs. From the nineteenth century these churches have seen a revival of spiritual life expressed in , and in the flourishing of aspects of spiritual life that characterize the life of Christian disciples. As the historical and cultural discontinuity between non- Chalcedonian and Evangelical Christians is wide, some aspects of Orthodox discipleship may be unclear to Evangelicals and vice versa. This study explores important observed behaviors of those devoutly following Christ and contrasts them with their Evangelical counterparts seeking to look at the reasons behind behaviors and tracing them to historical discipleship.

3. Defining and Discerning Discipleship Discipleship is living out of the in the life of a Christian believer, following the pattern of ’ first followers, or ‘disciples.’ The Greek µαθητης´ , ‘disciple’, in the , is found only in the and Acts and is associated with one who formally and informally learns from another (Bauer et al. 2000, p. 609). It may relate to developing Christian character that will produce certain behaviors, summarized well in a passage like Gal 5:22–23 (NRSV) ‘the of the Spirit is , joy, peace, , kindness, , , gentleness, and self-control.’ It also involves developing new ways of thinking in line with ’s , again expected to bring about a change in behavior, as expressed in Rom 12:2 (NRSV), ‘Do not be conformed to this , but be transformed by the renewing of your , so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.’ The Navigators, an Evangelical Christian organization with a strong focus on practical discipleship, has articulated what it seeks to do develop in Christian disciples referring Religions 2021, 12, 320 4 of 12

to things such as: the passion to know, love and become like Jesus Christ; believing in the and sufficiency of the Scriptures for the whole of life; the transforming power of the ; the leading and empowering of the ; living with expectant and persevering rooted in the of God; the dignity and of every person’ love and expressed among us in community; forming and relational networks that seek to make disciples in many nations (The Navigators UK 2017). This is not intended to be a complete definition of discipleship, but it seeks to go beyond outward conforming with a focus on the Bible, life changing experience, and sharing that experience with others as lying at the very center of Christian discipleship and is perhaps a good starting point for understanding discipleship in Evangelical expressions. These brief examples from Paul, and also the Navigators’ definition point to a concern for the transforming nature of Christian faith. Outward and measurable signs in Evangelical communities might include practices such as regular Bible reading, perhaps memorizing motivating or comforting verses from the Bible, prayer, sharing faith with those who are not Christians, etc. Christians from diverse expressions would share much of this outlook but for others this individualistic approach may be found wanting. For Evangelical traditions with a stronger liturgical emphasis, and for the Catholic and Orthodox communities, there are some obvious omissions: The Church is not mentioned, ‘’ is also omitted, and the place in discipleship of sacraments is overlooked. In considering how this outlook might be developed for Orthodox Christians the author, with other representatives of the Navigators sought to reword the definition to address these deficiencies with wording such as: the truth and sufficiency of God’s revelation, given through His body, the Church, for the whole of life. Following this, some observable characteristics of Orthodox disciples need to be defined.

4. Characteristics of Spiritual Revival and Discipleship in Orthodox Communities After centuries of oppression and serious limitations on daily life under Islamic rule, in the early nineteenth century the Coptic Church found many of its members and with little understanding of their Christian faith (Miyokawa 2017). Coincidentally Protestant and began to gain influence, primarily through education, stimulating strong reflection within the Coptic Church on the life of its members, and so catalyzing significant spiritual revival through into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In observing the outward signs of this revival, Anthony O’Mahony has articulated a list of characteristics that provide a basis for assessing aspects of discipleship in Orthodox communities: ‘A major characteristic of the Coptic revival is a renewed emphasis on the monas- tic and ecclesial traditions. This is realized in more frequent celebrations of the , stress on the church’s identity as an Apostolic church, renewed em- on the study of the Coptic language, commemoration of the glorious past, on Egypt as the homeland of monasticism, reading of the , and upholding martyrdom, even in the present day. At the same time, the church has attempted to restore the practice of certain sacraments which were beginning to fall into oblivion, such as the of reconciliation, or , particularly honored in the Coptic religious tradition.’ (O’Mahony 2006, p. 506). O’Mahony’s description usefully highlights aspects of Orthodox discipleship that con- trast somewhat with Evangelical practice. For Evangelicals more individualistic practices such as personal bible reading, or individual elements of Christian character come more to the fore, whereas within the Orthodox outlook much of the drive for discipleship will come directly through the ministry of the Church. The Scriptures are at the heart of Orthodox discipleship but will be accompanied by reading the Church Fathers and other ancient . Such literature underpins Orthodox understanding of Scripture, but this may be obscured from Evangelical eyes. An emphasis on the monastic tradition is also something that, seen through Evangelical eyes, may seem a diversion, but from an Orthodox perspective discipleship will engage closely with the monastic community for Religions 2021, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 2 of 13 Religions 2021, 12, 320 5 of 12

when translated into Syriac (Brock 1996). Similar problems may be found with other an- cient languages,teaching, such spiritual as the guidance. Classical MonasticsEthiopic. The will outcome frequently of havethe Council the role of of Chalcedon Spiritual Fathers in left a painfula mentoring split in the relationship church and that signific lies ata thent efforts heart of were Orthodox made discipleship.to reconcile the sides. Emperor Zeno (474-5, 476-91CE) authorized what became known as the Henoticon, or ‘act 4.1. Movements of union,’ which avoided criticism of Leo’s Tome that had caused difficulty for the Alex- andrians, but Teachingalso rejected is an on important one extreme feature Nestoria of discipleshipnism, which across the Egyptians, the traditions, Palestini- and Egyptian, ans and SyriansEthiopian, had and felt Indianwas given Orthodox too much churches concession have allat respondedChalcedon, to and challenges Eutyches through and estab- his monophysitelishing Sunday teaching School on the organizations other, but al focusedso avoided on giving the ‘two spiritual natures’ instruction, formula that especially to the Alexandriansyoung people. opposed These strongly have partly (Grillmeier been responses 1987, pp. to247 Protestant–317). The and Henoticon Catholic failed as but a compromisehave developedlacking clarity, far beyond and strong this tooppo be atsition the coreendured of discipleship in Egypt, Palestine and spiritual and Syria revival. These (GrillmeierSunday 1987, Schoolp. 257). movementsThere were concerted have many efforts similarities to resolve to Evangelical the differences, organizations although like The for the opposersNavigators, of Chalcedon , or its YWAM, outlook organizingremained a conferencesconcession to for Nestorianism spiritual teaching, that they organizing , fostering close relationships that allow formal and informal teaching, etc. The could not accept. A series of synods and documents aimed at clarifying and resolving crucial difference, however, is that they remain under the authority of the Church which differences, culminated in the 5th Ecumenical Council at Constantinople in 553 CE (noting they seek to serve. that this Council is not accepted as ‘ecumenical’ by the Oriental Churches), which sought In 1918 a layman, Habib Jirjis, founded the Coptic Sunday School Movement to a Christological definition that was. resolutely against Nestorianism, but all this was in- encourage Orthodox youth to respond to Catholic and Protestant presentations of Christian sufficient (Grillmeier 1995, pp. 443–61). The challenges of understanding Oriental Chris- faith, and later to resist the of the Muslim Brotherhood (Hassan 2003, tology point to much broader challenges in understanding the beliefs and practices of pp. 71–84). In the 1930s Coptic students at Fouad, later , University began to these Christian expressions. Important developments were made in the 20th century and train educated leaders as agents of reform, and by the 1940s the movement had broad significant progress has been made in understanding the fundamental congruence be- impact with around 42,000 students involved nationally with a common curriculum. tween Chalcedonian and Oriental views (Chaillot 2016) which must be understood as re- The movement trained important leaders, including the charismatic and influential moving many perceived obstacles to good relations between these groups. Significant di- Shenouda III (1971–2012), who led vigorous responses to the Islamic Brotherhood and vergencenegotiated in experience on behalfcomes, of however, the Coptic from community, the very butdifferent also others histories with of spiritual the three but Ori- less public ental traditionsinfluence in this such study. as Father Matthew the Poor whose writings have been influential in the Copticmovement Christianity (Hassan was 2003 formed, pp. in 74–81; the veryMusa earliest 1991). years of the Christian Church. Coptic ChristiaIndianns celebrate Orthodox the studentsHoly Family were fleeing mobilized to Egypt to nurture from commitment Herod’s slaughter to Orthodox of spiri- the innocents,tual life and in the the foundation face of modern of their challenges, church andby St to Mark, train influentialbelieved to academic have been leaders, mar- leading tyred in Alexandriato the foundation perhaps of in the 68 SyrianCE (Pears Studentson 2006, Conference pp. 336–37). in Alexandria 1907, which became in 1956 one ultimately of the mostbecame important the Mar Christian Gregorios intellectual Orthodox centers, Christian and Student Egypt Movementwas an early (MGOCSM), and influen- aiming ‘to tial centerbring for the together development our students of monasticism in various (Pearson colleges and 2006). high It was schools the withstrong a viewinfluence to deepening of the Egyptiantheir spiritual countryside life and rather to create than inits them more a Hellenized livelier sense cities of fellowship,’ that drove includingopposition arranging to Chalcedon,liturgical rejection services of which for Indian partly students contributed outside to the Kerala waning where of Alexandrian there is no Orthodoxtheolog- . ical influenceCurrently within there the Roman are about Empire 40,000 (Gillman members, and Klimkeit and four 1999, of its p. former 16). Since General the sev- Secretaries enth centuryhave Arab been invasions consecrated of bishopsNorth Africa of the, and Malankara then later Orthodox Ottoman Church, Islamic including culture the the current Coptic ChurchCatholicos has lived of the under andIslamic Malankara rule (Pearson Metropolitan 2006; O’Mahony Baselios Marthoma2006), and Islamic Paulose II, also presence knownhas strongly as Bishop influenced Paulose the Mar de Miletiosvelopment (Varghese of its Christian 2010; The reflection. Malankara Ethiopian2015). Orthodoxy There is scant flourished published early. The Ethiopians about thislook group, to their but Christian the author origins has had per- in the baptismsonal communicationof the Ethiopian withEunuch Fr by Peter in Thomas, Acts 8, fromeven thethough this figure College almost in Kottayam certainly regardingserved in the these Meroitic details. Kingdom in Nubia (Ullendorff [1968] 2006, p. 1), but they have identifiedMuch the later,Candace stalled as bythe Ethiopia’s Queen of Communist (Lee experiment 2017b, p. 2). from Furthermore, 1974–1991, the the Ethiopian EthiopiansOrthodox appeal Ma to

when translated into Syriac (Brock 1996). Similar problems may be found with other an- cient languages, such as the Classical Ethiopic. The outcome of the Council of Chalcedon left a painful split in the church and significant efforts were made to reconcile the sides. Emperor Zeno (474-5, 476-91CE) authorized what became known as the Henoticon, or ‘act of union,’ which avoided criticism of Leo’s Tome that had caused difficulty for the Alex- andrians, but also rejected on one extreme Nestorianism, which the Egyptians, Palestini- ans and Syrians had felt was given too much concession at Chalcedon, and Eutyches and his monophysite teaching on the other, but also avoided the ‘two natures’ formula that the Alexandrians opposed strongly (Grillmeier 1987, pp. 247–317). The Henoticon failed as a compromise lacking clarity, and strong opposition endured in Egypt, Palestine and Syria (Grillmeier 1987, p. 257). There were concerted efforts to resolve the differences, although for the opposers of Chalcedon its outlook remained a concession to Nestorianism that they could not accept. A series of synods and documents aimed at clarifying and resolving differences, culminated in the 5th Ecumenical Council at Constantinople in 553 CE (noting that this Council is not accepted as ‘ecumenical’ by the Oriental Churches), which sought a Christological definition that was resolutely against Nestorianism, but all this was in- sufficient (Grillmeier 1995, pp. 443–61). The challenges of understanding Oriental Chris- tology point to much broader challenges in understanding the beliefs and practices of these Christian expressions. Important developments were made in the 20th century and significant progress has been made in understanding the fundamental congruence be- tween Chalcedonian and Oriental views (Chaillot 2016) which must be understood as re- moving many perceived obstacles to good relations between these groups. Significant di- Religions 2021, 12, 320 vergence in experience comes, however,6 of 12 from the very different histories of the three Ori- ental traditions in this study. Coptic Christianity was formed in the very earliest years of the Christian Church. church. The early activities of this group were encouragedCoptic Christia by Copticns andcelebrate Indian the clergy Holy and Family fleeing to Egypt from Herod’s slaughter of , and interaction between the three Sunday Schoolthe innocents, groups continues. and the foundation of their church by St Mark, believed to have been mar- tyred in Alexandria perhaps in 68 CE (Pearson 2006, pp. 336–37). Alexandria became one 4.2. Connection with Monastic Life of the most important Christian intellectual centers, and Egypt was an early and influen- Revival is associated with increased commitmenttial center to the for monastic the development life, and of a closermonasticism (Pearson 2006). It was the strong influence of laity with the monastic communities.of the Revival Egyptian in Egypt countryside and Ethiopia rather than has its more Hellenized cities that drove opposition seen increased numbers of monastics (Schroeder to2017 Chalcedon,; Chaillot rejection2002, pp. of 152–94; which partlyBinns contributed to the waning of Alexandrian theolog- 2017, pp. 227–52; Guirguis and Doorn-Harder 2011ical, pp. influence 127–54). within The situation the Roman in India Empire has (Gillman and Klimkeit 1999, p. 16). Since the sev- been more challenging, as there were no monastic communitiesenth century at Arab the beginninginvasions ofof theNorth 20th Africa, and then later Ottoman Islamic culture the century, but a small, active community has grown,Coptic with Church only 160 has lived andunder about Islamic 250 rule (Pearson 2006; O’Mahony 2006), and Islamic female monastics a decade ago, so currently their impactpresence on has the strongly laity is limited influenced (Varghese the development of its Christian reflection. 2010, pp. 240–41). Ethiopian Orthodoxy flourished early. The Ethiopians look to their Christian origins Thriving monasticism may be taken as onein indicator the baptism of revival of the Ethiopian but its impact Eunuch on by Peter in Acts 8, even though this figure almost discipleship is seen through engagement betweencertainly laity and served monastics. in the Meroitic Monastics Kingdom have in Nubia (Ullendorff [1968] 2006, p. 1), but they always mentored the devout laity, and the relationshiphave identified between the a Candace believer as and the their (Lee 2017b, p. 2). Furthermore, the spiritual father is crucial in the development of discipleship.Ethiopians appeal The Ma to

In Orthodox expressions the Church is a place of transformation through encounter with God in the liturgy and the mysteries, regular participation in which lies at the heart of discipleship, especially the Eucharist, ‘the sacrament of sacraments’ (Steenberg 2008, pp. 121–22). For Orthodox Christians, choosing to participate in the Eucharist is a strong indicator of the inner spiritual life of a believer. In line with all Orthodox expressions, Pope Shenouda III, of Orthodox Church from 1971–2012, explains with simple biblical references that taking the Eucharist is commanded, that the bread and are the flesh and of Christ, although understood as a mystery, and that communion ‘grants eternal life, steadfastness in the Lord, and forgiveness of ’ (Shenouda 1999, pp. 132–53), affirming the Orthodox understanding of the salvific function of the Eucharist. With this connection to , taking Holy Communion is an essential component of Christian discipleship, without which spiritual life and growth to are not possible. It is understood as the ‘participation in the divine nature’ spoken of in 2Pet 1:4 and an essential part of the life of repentance, leading to a personal experience of Christ himself (Steenberg 2008, p. 127). Such a high view of the Eucharist has led to an understanding that participating is only for the spiritually very pure with extended preparation required (Boylston 2018, pp. 5–12). The author has observed that until recently young adult Christians in Ethiopia have strong reservations about taking communion at all, fearing taking it in vain and suffering the most grievous consequences. Pope Shenouda III articulates the reasons behind this referring to 1Cor 11:27, where unworthy taking the bread and wine is deemed guilty of the body and . Consequently, serious self-examination is expected, again in line with 1Cor 11:28 (Shenouda 1999, pp. 132–53), a view reflected in the Ethiopian Church’s Fetha Nagast, (Tzadua and Strauss 2002, p. xv): ‘let a man examine himself first and make his good and saintly; then let him eat of that bread and from the ,’ (Tzadua and Strauss 2002, p. 86). In the early 1990s, an observer in an Ethiopian Orthodox Church would have seen only very young and elderly people lining up to take communion. Those under the age of seven may take communion without significant preparation, and the elderly were understood as less prone to fall into error. Failure to participate in the Eucharist regularly, however, has been as sign of serious shortfalls in the spiritual life of the Orthodox Churches, and with an increased focus in Ethiopia on Christian discipleship since the 1990s, younger have been increasingly willing to take communion regularly. Articles in the popular Orthodox Christian magazine, H. amär, ‘the Ship,’ in Ethiopia explain the necessity of taking holy communion even though it requires preparation (Kidusan 1988), with similar encouragement from Mathias, the Ethiopian Patriarch (Nigus 2017). Likewise, a return to regular participation in the Eucharist is characterized by O’Mahony as a sign of revival in the Coptic Church (O’Mahony’s 2006), with similar trends observed in India (Varghese 2010). Seen in this light participation in the Eucharist reflects regular practice of self-examination, and the discipline of repentance, leading to that sins are forgiven. The significance of the Eucharist in discipleship is emphasized further in Ethiopia with changes in the practice of Christian . Civil or secular marriage has been widespread, but ‘spiritual’ marriage, a Church which involves taking of com- munion, was until recently uncommon (Fritsch 2010). The author has observed, however, that confidence developed since the 1990s, has led to Church becoming more common among the younger generation who have understood forgiveness, and are so prepared to take communion. Such marriage is indissoluble in Orthodox tradition, and so this trend is also a reflection of young people taking marriage very seriously, as a lifelong commitment, which may also be taken as reflecting Christian discipleship. Fasting and almsgiving might also be included in the discussion of the discipline of repentance that leads believers to be prepared to take communion. Orthodox Christians fast, abstaining from dairy and meat products for half the or sometimes more, and almsgiving is a strong commitment of many. In discipleship there are a strong affirmation of Mat. 4:4 that ‘one does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the Religions 2021, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 2 of 13 Religions 2021, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 8 of 13

when translated into Syriac (Brock 1996). Similar problems may be found with other an- this trend is alsocient a reflection languages, of youngsuch as people the Classical taking marriageEthiopic. Thevery outcome seriously, of as the a lifelongCouncil of Chalcedon commitment, whichleft a painfulmay also split be takenin the aschurch reflecting and significChristianant discipleship. efforts were made to reconcile the sides. Fasting andEmperor almsgiving Zeno might (474-5, also 476-91CE) be included authorized in the whatdiscussion became of knownthe discipline as the Henoticonof , or ‘act repentance thatof leads union,’ believers which avoidedto be prepared criticism to oftake Leo’s communion. Tome that Orthodox had caused Christians difficulty for the Alex- Religions 2021, 12, 320 fast, abstainingandrians, from dairy but and also meat rejected products on one for extreme half the Nestoria year ornism, sometimes which8 of 12 more,the Egyptians, and Palestini- almsgiving is aans strong and commitment Syrians had feltof many. was given In discipleship too much concessionthere are a strongat Chalcedon, affirmation and Eutyches and of Mat. 4:4 thathis ‘one monophysite does not live teaching on bread on alone, the other, but by but every also word avoided that the comes ‘two from natures’ the formula that mouth of God’the (Chryssavgis Alexandrians 2008, opposed p. 161) strongly Nevertheless, (Grillmeier in all 1the987, expressions pp. 247–317). considered The Henoticon failed as mouth of God’ (Chryssavgis 2008, p. 161) Nevertheless, in all the expressions considered there may be stronga compromise social pressure lacking on clarity, people and to practicestrong oppo thesesition disciplines, endured and in Egypt, so they Palestine are and Syria there may be strong social pressure on people to practice these disciplines, and so they are not a distinctive(Grillmeier mark of discipleship. 1987, p. 257). There were concerted efforts to resolve the differences, although not a distinctive mark of discipleship. for the opposers of Chalcedon its outlook remained a concession to Nestorianism that they 4.4. Commemoration of the Glorious Past, Apostolic Identity, and Ancient Languages 4.4. Commemoration of thecould Glorious not Past,accept. Apostolic A series Identity, of synods and Ancient and documents Languages aimed at clarifying and resolving Developingdifferences, O’Mahony’s culminated reflections in theon Copt5th Ecumenicalic renewal, Councilan awareness at Constantinople of and passion in 553 CE (noting Developing O’Mahony’s reflections on Coptic renewal, an awareness of and passion for the ancient thatroots this and Council Apostolic is not connections accepted asof ‘ecumenical’Christianity inby each the Orientalnation is Churches),important which sought for the ancient roots and Apostolic connections of Christianity in each nation is important in discipleship awith Christologica a connectedl definition passion for th thate was study resolutely of their tradition’s against Nestorianism, ancient language. but all this was in- in discipleship with a connected passion for the study of their tradition’s ancient language. Evangelicals frequentlysufficient do(Grillmeier have a strong 1995, sensepp. 443–61). of history, The but challenges some have of understandingbeen accused of Oriental Chris- Evangelicals frequently do have a strong sense of history, but some have been accused tology point to much broader challenges in understanding the beliefs and practices of of historicalhistorical amnesia amnesia (Boekestein (Boekestein 2018) and2018) it and is probably it is probably not to not be to considered be considered a central a central ele- element ofment discipleship. of discipleship.these In contrast Christian In contrast the expressions. Orthodox the Orthodox understanding Important understanding develo ofpments the of Church the were Church and made itsand in itsthe his- 20th century and history liestory at lies the heartat the ofsignificantheart Christian of Christian p devotionrogress devotion has and been discipleship. and made discipleship. in understanding the fundamental congruence be- Among theAmong most the reveredtween most Chalcedonia ofrevered saints of in nsaints these and Oriental traditionsin these views traditions are those(Chaillot are who those2016) first whichwho brought first must brought be understood as re- Christianity,Christianity, as outlined asmoving outlined in the historicalmany in the perceived historical background obstacles background earlier. to good Theearlier. re issuela Thetions is issue primarily between is primarily these one groups. one of Significant di- of identity,identity, and even and though evenvergence though details in expdetails oferience accounts of accounts comes, of Christian however, of Christian origins from origins maythe very be may questioned different be questioned histories by of the three Ori- by scholarsscholars they affirmthey affirmental something traditions something very in very powerfulthis powerfulstudy. at the at heartthe heart of Christian of Christian daily daily life life in in these these OrthodoxOrthodox communities. communities.Coptic Coptic Coptic Christianity Christians Christians was connections connections formed in with withthe thevery the flight flightearliest of of the yearsthe Holy Holy of the Family Christian Church. Family andand St St Mark’s Mark’s martyrdom Copticmartyrdom Christia are are strong.ns strong. celebrate The The Ethiopians theEthi Holyopians Family identifyidentify fleeing stronglystrongly to Egypt withwith thefromthe baptism Herod’s slaughter of baptism ofof thethe EthiopianEthiopianthe EunuchEunuch innocents, by by Peter Peter and inthe in Acts Actsfoundation 8, 8, and and then thenof their appeal appeal church to to their theirby St first first Mark, bishops believed St Fru- to have been mar- St Frumentiusmentius (d. (d. c.383) c.383)tyred and and in his Alexandriahis ordination perhaps inin 328328 in CECE 68 bybyCE StSt(Pears Athanasius.on 2006, Thepp. The 336–Indian Indian37). Orthodox Alexandria became one Orthodoxderive derive strong strong identityof identity the most from from important their their connection connection Christian to to intellectualthe the Apostle Apostle centers, Thomas, Thomas, and in in aEgypt a strong strong was oral an song early and influen- oral songtradition. tradition. Furthermore, Furthermore,tial center each for each thetradition tradition development has has its itsown of own monasticism accounts accounts of national(Pearson of national saints 2006). saints who It was are the hon- strong influence who are honored,ored, making making aof continuous athe continuous Egyptian connection connectioncountryside with with rather thei theirr thanroots. roots. its This more This is isnotHellenized not simply simply ancities an awareness that drove opposition awarenessof ofhistory, history, or or assertingto asserting Chalcedon, Apostolic Apostolic rejection connections, connections, of which partlybut but it it contreflects reflectsributed the the toexperience experience the waning of of ofthe Alexandrian com- theolog- the communionmunion of of the the saints icalsaints influence in in Orthodox Orthodox within discipleship discipleship the Roman ‘calling Empire‘calling into (Gillmaninto the the present presentand Klimkeit experience experience 1999, ofp. 16).the Since the sev- of the humanhuman mind and andenth heart—or heart—or century —the Arabnous—the invasions reality of of God’s ofNorth God’s redeeming Africa redeeming, and work’ then work’ (Steenberg later (Steenberg Ottoman 2008, Islamic culture the 2008, p. 128).p. 128). Coptic Church has lived under Islamic rule (Pearson 2006; O’Mahony 2006), and Islamic To accessTo this access heritage presencethis Orthodoxheritage has stronglyOrthodox disciples influenced disciples often develop theoften de avelopmentdevelop passion a their passionof its traditions’ Christian their traditions’ reflection. ancient language.ancient language. Theological TheologicalEthiopian colleges Orthodoxy colleges in Egypt, in flourished Egyp Ethiopiat, Ethiopia ea andrly. India Theand EthiopiansIndia offer offer courses lookcourses in to their in He- Christian origins Hebrew andbrew Greek, and Greek, butin there thebut baptism isthere relatively is ofrelatively the little Ethiopian interestlittle Eunuch in text in by critical text Peter critical approaches.in Acts approaches. 8, even The though The pri- this figure almost primary interestmary interest is in languagesiscertainly in languages served in which in in which the Christianity Meroitic Christianity Kingdom was was transmitted transmitted in Nubia to (Ullendorff andto and thrived thrived [1968] within 2006, p. 1), but they within thosethose cultures cultures and andhave the the identified literature literature the thatthat Candace connects as them the Queen with with their theirof Sheba ancient ancient (Lee heritage: heritage: 2017b, Coptic p. 2). forFurthermore, the Coptic forthe the Egyptians, Egyptians, EthiopiansSyriac Syriac for for the theappeal Indians, Indians, to Käs and āte G ǝǝʿǝ z for han thethe Abb Ethiopians.Ethiopians.ā Sälāmā ,Knowledge their ‘revealer of these of light, father of of these ancientancient languageslanguagespeace’ givesgives St theseFrumentius these communities communities (d. c.383), a deepa adeep Syrian connection connection Christian with withwho the thewas roots rootsordained of of their as Ethiopia’s first their ChristianChristian expression expressionbishop and accessand possibly access to its into literary its 328 literary CE heritage. by heritage. St Furthermore,Athanasius. Furthermore, This in each coinnnection traditioneach tradition is attested the by Rufinus the rich liturgicalrich liturgical tradition, (Mignetradition, the related1849, the cols.related poetic 478–80; hymnspoetic Amidon andhymns the 199and musical7, thepp. traditionsmusical18–20), buttraditions associated most convincingly associated in a letter by with themwith are them all part are of Athanasiusall the part unique of the (1892). spiritual unique The expressionspiritua Biblel expression and of these liturgy cultures. of these were Evencultures. translated without Even into without Ethiopia’s classical knowledgeknowledge of the language, of thelanguage language, believers by believers the will fifth often willcentury, appreciate often appreciate then their growing musical their independentlymusical and chanting and chanting and somewhat tra- isolated traditions.ditions. because of the Arab inva-sions. Ethiopian Christianity has developed a remarkable Lying behindLying the behind historicalpresence the connectionhistorical in even theconnection are nation’s deeper are issues most deeper ofisolated theology issues mountainous of and theology epistemology regions,and epistemol- and although it was that are oftenogy overlooked.that are oftensubject J B Segaloverlooked. for saidcenturies of theJ B to seminalSegal the Patri- said Syriacarch of Christianthe in Alexandria,seminal writer, Syriac Ephrem,until Christian 1959, ‘his its usewriter, of the vernacular work ... Ephrem,shows little ‘his profundity work…showssaw the development or originality little profundity of thought a distinc- or originality andtive his expression metaphors of thought of are Christianity, and labored. his metaphors with its own strong His poemsare are labored. turgid, His humourless,liturgical poems areand and turgid, intellectual repetitive’ humourless, traditions (Segal 1970and (Isaac ,repetitive’ p. 79), 2012, a comment pp. (Segal 1–26; 1970, moreCrummey p. on 79), a20 com-06; Binns 2017). a westernment scholar’s more poor on a connection westernIndian scholar’sChristianity with a tradition poor has conne a than complexction a realistic withpast appraisalwitha tradition a very of earlythan Ephrem’s aChristian realistic expap-ression formed contribution.praisal These of Ephrem’s outlooksunder contribution. havethe strong been challengedinfluence These outloo of more a dominantks have recently, been Hindu for challeng instance culture.ed withmore The theIndianrecently, Orthodox for link their seminal workinstance of Sidney with theChristian Griffith seminal has foundations work opened of Sidney the to world the Gr Apostleiffith of Arabic has Thomas, opened speaking narrated the Christianity, world in oral of Arabic history for speak- in Malayalam songs example ining The Christianity, Church in for the example Shadow in of The the MosqueChurch in (Griffith the Shadow 2008). of With the someMosque training, (Griffith 2008). Christians from these expressions will find theology framed in ways that are particularly appropriate that are markedly different from post enlightenment western cultures. Taking the example of Ethiopia, the chants emanating from churches throughout the night are sung in classical G z, the text and melodies having evolved from the sixth century and the original of St , whose tradition is discussed briefly, for instance, in The Songs of Africa: The Ethiopian (Lee 2017a, pp. 11–20). From their childhood Ethiopians will have heard these chants, and as faith awakens there is a strong Religions 2021, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 2 of 13 Religions 2021, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 8 of 13

when translated into Syriac (Brock 1996). Similar problems may be found with other an- this trend is alsocient a reflection languages, of youngsuch as people the Classical taking marriageEthiopic. Thevery outcome seriously, of as the a lifelongCouncil of Chalcedon commitment, whichleft a painfulmay also split be takenin the aschurch reflecting and significChristianant discipleship. efforts were made to reconcile the sides. Fasting andEmperor almsgiving Zeno might (474-5, also 476-91CE) be included authorized in the whatdiscussion became of knownthe discipline as the Henoticonof , or ‘act repentance thatof leads union,’ believers which avoidedto be prepared criticism to oftake Leo’s communion. Tome that Orthodox had caused Christians difficulty for the Alex- fast, abstainingandrians, from dairy but and also meat rejected products on one for extreme half the Nestoria year ornism, sometimes which more,the Egyptians, and Palestini- almsgiving is aans strong and commitment Syrians had feltof many. was given In discipleship too much concessionthere are a strongat Chalcedon, affirmation and Eutyches and of Mat. 4:4 thathis ‘one monophysite does not live teaching on bread on alone, the other, but by but every also word avoided that the comes ‘two from natures’ the formula that mouth of God’the (Chryssavgis Alexandrians 2008, opposed p. 161) strongly Nevertheless, (Grillmeier in all 1the987, expressions pp. 247–317). considered The Henoticon failed as there may be stronga compromise social pressure lacking on clarity, people and to practicestrong oppo thesesition disciplines, endured and in Egypt, so they Palestine are and Syria not a distinctive(Grillmeier mark of discipleship. 1987, p. 257). There were concerted efforts to resolve the differences, although for the opposers of Chalcedon its outlook remained a concession to Nestorianism that they 4.4. Commemorationcould of not the accept.Glorious A Past, series Apostolic of synods Identity, and anddocuments Ancient Languages aimed at clarifying and resolving Developingdifferences, O’Mahony’s culminated reflections in theon Copt5th Ecumenicalic renewal, Councilan awareness at Constantinople of and passion in 553 CE (noting for the ancient thatroots this and Council Apostolic is not connections accepted asof ‘ecumenical’Christianity inby each the Orientalnation is Churches),important which sought in discipleship awith Christologica a connectedl definition passion for th thate was study resolutely of their tradition’s against Nestorianism, ancient language. but all this was in- Evangelicals frequentlysufficient do(Grillmeier have a strong 1995, sensepp. 443–61). of history, The but challenges some have of understandingbeen accused of Oriental Chris- historical amnesiatology (Boekestein point to much2018) andbroader it is probablychallenges not in to understanding be considered thea central beliefs ele- and practices of ment of discipleship.these Christian In contrast expressions. the Orthodox Important understanding developments of the were Church made and in itsthe his- 20th century and tory lies at the significantheart of Christian progress devotion has been and made discipleship. in understanding the fundamental congruence be- Among thetween most Chalcedonia revered of nsaints and Oriental in these views traditions (Chaillot are those2016) whichwho first must brought be understood as re- Christianity, asmoving outlined many in the perceived historical obstacles background to good earlier. rela Thetions issue between is primarily these groups. one of Significant di- identity, and evenvergence though in expdetailserience of accounts comes, however, of Christian from origins the very may different be questioned histories by of the three Ori- scholars they affirmental traditions something in very this powerfulstudy. at the heart of Christian daily life in these Orthodox communities.Coptic Coptic Christianity Christians was connections formed in withthe very the flightearliest of yearsthe Holy of the Family Christian Church. and St Mark’s Copticmartyrdom Christia arens strong. celebrate The theEthi Holyopians Family identify fleeing strongly to Egypt with fromthe baptism Herod’s slaughter of of the Ethiopianthe Eunuch innocents, by Peter and the in Actsfoundation 8, and thenof their appeal church to theirby St first Mark, bishops believed St Fru- to have been mar- mentius (d. c.383)tyred and in Alexandriahis ordination perhaps in 328 in CE 68 byCE St(Pears Athanasius.on 2006, Thepp. 336–Indian37). Orthodox Alexandria became one derive strong identityof the most from important their connection Christian to intellectualthe Apostle centers, Thomas, and in aEgypt strong was oral an song early and influen- tradition. Furthermore,tial center each for thetradition development has its own of monasticism accounts of national(Pearson saints 2006). who It was are the hon- strong influence ored, making aof continuous the Egyptian connection countryside with rather their thanroots. its This more is notHellenized simply ancities awareness that drove opposition of history, or assertingto Chalcedon, Apostolic rejection connections, of which partlybut it contreflectsributed the toexperience the waning of ofthe Alexandrian com- theolog- munion of the icalsaints influence in Orthodox within discipleship the Roman Empire‘calling (Gillmaninto the presentand Klimkeit experience 1999, ofp. 16).the Since the sev- mind andenth heart—or century Arabnous—the invasions reality of ofNorth God’s Africa redeeming, and then work’ later (Steenberg Ottoman 2008, Islamic culture the p. 128). Coptic Church has lived under Islamic rule (Pearson 2006; O’Mahony 2006), and Islamic To access presencethis heritage has stronglyOrthodox influenced disciples theoften de velopmentdevelop a passionof its Christian their traditions’ reflection. ancient language. TheologicalEthiopian Orthodoxy colleges in flourished Egypt, Ethiopia early. Theand EthiopiansIndia offer lookcourses to their in He- Christian origins Religions 2021, 12, 320 9 of 12 brew and Greek,in thebut baptism there is ofrelatively the Ethiopian little interest Eunuch in by text Peter critical in Acts approaches. 8, even though The pri- this figure almost mary interest iscertainly in languages served in in which the Meroitic Christianity Kingdom was transmitted in Nubia (Ullendorff to and thrived [1968] within 2006, p. 1), but they those cultures andhave the identified literature the that Candace connects as them the Queen with their of Sheba ancient (Lee heritage: 2017b, Coptic p. 2). forFurthermore, the desirethe Egyptians, to understand EthiopiansSyriac these for the beautiful appeal Indians, to songs. Käs andāte G ǝǝʿǝ z isfor han still the Abb usedEthiopians.ā in Säl theāmā creative ,Knowledge their ‘revealer extempore of these of light, father of poeticalancient tradition languagespeace’ of gives q Stne Frumentius thatthese weaves communities (d. sophisticated c.383), a adeep Syrian double connection Christian meanings withwho andthewas roots symbolsordained of their toas Ethiopia’s first makeChristian theological expressionbishop connections and possibly access conveying into its 328 literary CE meaning by heritage. St ( Athanasius.Binns Furthermore, 2017, pp. This 175–8; coinnnection each Kidane tradition is 2007 attested the). by Rufinus Theserich poemsliturgical are (Mignetradition, best appreciated 1849, the cols.related in 478–80; G poeticz andAmidon hymns so knowledge 199and7, thepp. musical of18 the–20), language buttraditions most and convincingly associated literary in a letter by traditionwith them becomes are Athanasiusall a part part of of the(1892). unique spiritual The spiritua journey Biblel expression of and many liturgy disciples. of these were cultures. translated Even into without Ethiopia’s classical knowledgeLanguage of and thelanguage receptionlanguage, by arebelievers the more fifth complex willcentury, often issues appreciate then for growing the their Indian independentlymusical Orthodox, and chanting since and their somewhat tra- isolated textualditions. heritage wasbecause almost of completely the Arab inva-sidestroyedons. following Ethiopian the Christianity has developed in 1599 a remarkable (GillmanLying and behind Klimkeitpresence the 1999 historical in ,even p. 200), theconnection butnation’s their are most later deeper isolated connection issues mountainous of with theology the Syrian regions,and epistemol- Church and although it was helpedogy that them are draw oftensubject on overlooked. the for Syriac centuries heritage J B to Segal the that Patri- said undoubtedlyarch of the in Alexandria,seminal underlies Syriac until their Christian 1959, expression its usewriter, of of the vernacular Christianity,Ephrem, ‘his and work…showssaw it was the for development this little purpose profundity of that a thedistinc- or St originality Ephremtive expression Ecumenical of thought of ResearchChristianity,and his metaphors Institute with its own strong wasare establishedlabored. Hisliturgical ( St.poems Ephrem areand turgid, intellectual Ecumenical humourless, traditions Research and (Isaac Institute repetitive’ 2012, 2018 pp. (Segal). 1–26; A 1970, sound Crummey p. 79), basis a20 com- for06; Binns 2017). understandingment more on that a western SyriacIndian Christian scholar’sChristianity outlookpoor has conne a has complex beenction established withpast witha tradition a nowvery byearlythan many aChristian realistic scholars, expap-ression formed mostpraisal notably of Ephrem’s Sebastianunder contribution. the Brock, strong masterfully influence These outloo summarized of a dominantks have in been TheHindu challeng Luminous culture.ed Eyemore The (Brock Indianrecently, 1992 Orthodox for) link their a textinstance enthusiastically with theChristian seminal studied foundations work by Indianof Sidney to scholars.the Gr Apostleiffith has Thomas, opened narrated the world in oral of Arabic history speak- in Malayalam songs ingFor Christianity, the Egyptians for example this heritage in The is Church more complex, in the Shadow because of early the on Christianity (Griffith grew 2008). in two connected ways, with Greek being the ancient in the Hellenized city of Alexandria and perhaps in other centers, but with Coptic in the more rural areas. These were superseded eventually by Arabic in the centuries after the Arab invasions of the seventh century. Greek speaking Alexandrian Christian thought was very influential certainly up to the Council of Chalcedon in 451 CE, but even by the third century there were Coptic of biblical and a significant body of patristic material (Pearson 2006, pp. 333, 349). Following the seventh century Arab invasion of Egypt Coptic was gradually replaced by Arabic, and by the thirteenth century Alexandria had become the intellectual center of Arabic Christianity, although the liturgy continued to be celebrated in Coptic (Griffith 2008, p. 64). The challenges of Protestant and Catholic mission in the nineteenth century and educational reforms meant that Coptic developed from a language understood by a few clergy to one of significant intellectual interest under the reforms of Pope Kyrillos IV (1854–1861) (Miyokawa 2017, pp. 151–52). It was a revived laity with a passion for discipleship in their tradition that developed an awareness of the pharaonic heritage and perhaps a sense of Egyptian identity that was not rooted in , but that could provide a point of unity between Muslim and Christian Egyptians (van Doorn-Harder 2017, pp. 9–13; Iskander 2012, pp. 63–64). Additionally, Iqladiyus Labib articulated the strength of Coptic identity affirming it as a language of science, research, honor and glory that would keep the Egyptians from being ‘’ without a homeland or (Miyokawa 2017, pp. 153–54). Later movements also promoted the language, including the radical Coptic Nation, which was formed in response to the increasingly aggressive Muslim Brotherhood (Hassan 2003, p. 60). Others associated with the Church of St. Anthony in Cairo emerged with strong spiritual influence in the 1940s, with leaders stating that, ‘revitalization of the church depended on their digging for their spiritual roots, on looking backward and inward toward their own heritage,’ and they unearthed ancient hymns and chants, and rediscovered the stories of Egypt’s holy men and , even in library basements as far away as Oxford (Hassan 2003, pp. 76–77). The Sunday School Movement also stimulated broader secular interest with the establishment of The Coptic Institute in Cairo, aimed at the academic study of Coptic language and literature, church and , as well as art, archaeology and history (Hassan 2003, p. 88). The Fathers of the Church taught the Orthodox Churches how to read and understand the scriptures, and though many devout Orthodox shy from independent reading and interpretation of the Scriptures, guided by Fathers accessed through the study of ancient language, spiritual revival and a life of discipleship is strongly associated with personal and corporate reading of the Scriptures, and early Christian texts—continuously appropriating past writings to enlighten the current age (Casiday 2008). Religions 2021, 12, 320 10 of 12

4.5. Upholding Martyrdom, Even in the Present Day To lose one’s life for the sake of in Christ remains one of the most honored acts in Orthodoxy and across diverse Christian expressions. In recent years, martyrdom has been a feature of the spiritual life of Christians in Egypt and Ethiopia, perhaps most memorably in , where forces executed young Egyptians and Ethiopians recorded in infamous videos. Both churches have honored these dead as martyrs and saints. It perhaps shows the significance of martyrdom in these traditions most clearly that it seems likely that one of the Ethiopians was a Muslim who chose to die with his Christian compatriots—act of spiritual solidarity that means that he is honored along with those professing Christian faith (Kibriye 2019). Nevertheless, the Coptic Church has had and martyrdom as one of its defining elements from its inception, through the great persecution of which started in 284 CE. Subject to status under Islamic rule following the Arab invasions in the seventh century and then under Ottoman rule and then facing the challenge of increasingly fundamentalist Islamic outlooks throughout the twentieth century, more recently hundreds of have been martyred since the ‘Arab ’ of 2011 (Tawfik 2017). What marks this out as a feature of discipleship is the accounts that have shown individual willingness to die for their faith, and how communities have prayed for those who persecute them (Tawfik 2017).

5. Conclusions Discipleship proves somewhat difficult to define precisely, but through observing changes associated with spiritual revival this study has identified strong trends in Orthodox Christian Egyptian, Ethiopian and Indian Orthodox Churches that evince approaches to discipleship that have allowed their communities to thrive in the modern world. With centuries of divergence between Evangelical and Oriental Orthodox communities we would expect strong differences in behavior that are understood to reflect inner transformation and motivation. The Sunday School movements reflect primarily a commitment to teaching and study that is shared across the traditions, with the primary difference being that perhaps with Evangelical churches such movements may exists outside any particular church jurisdiction. A more detailed examination of the teaching in Orthodox Sunday School movements compared with that found in Evangelical expressions would be revealing of any strong connection or divergence. Connection with the monastic life is probably unique to the Oriental traditions and other Orthodox expressions, although perhaps communities such as the L’Abri Fellowship and some others reflect a similar attraction to teaching communities within the broad Evangelical tradition. It would be a worthwhile study to examine what connections might exist between traditional monastic communities as centers of discipleship and such fellowships, or perhaps with the teaching and training of Evangelical organizations such as The Navigators, Agape, etc. Participation in the mysteries on the surface seems peculiar to the Orthodox, but what is reflected in, for instance, the deep understanding of the forgiveness of sins entailed in taking the Eucharist would also be reflected in Evangelical discipleship. Further research exploring the overlap between the convictions lying behind partaking of the mysteries and some Evangelical practice would be illuminating. ‘Historical amnesia’ may be a characteristic of some Evangelicals and perhaps the roots of Protestant Christianity in breaking with the past have contributed to this, and it would be valuable to explore how narratives of history have contributed to a sense of divergence between expressions, and how these narratives might be adjusted in Orthodox and Evangelical expressions to provide a greater sense of the worldwide movement of God in the Church. Martyrdom has sadly become a feature of the life of many Christians around the world, but again worthy of further investigation would be the underlying convictions that motivate Christians of all expressions to face death for their faith. The overlap between Orthodox and similar Evangelical practice may be somewhat obscured from Western eyes as they are so strongly associated with the contextual develop- ment of Churches in diverse, non-western cultures where they have faced very different Religions 2021, 12, 320 11 of 12

challenges from those that have produced contemporary Evangelical movements, but this perhaps exposes the error of reading too much into the outward behavior rather than the underlying motivations. Exploring these underlying motivations may prove difficult and since ethnographies may not provide a wide enough range of data to draw broad conclusions, there is a significant need for methodological developments to further this research.

Funding: This research received no external funding. Institutional Review Board Statement: Not applicable. Informed Statement: Not applicable. Data Availability Statement: Not applicable. Conflicts of Interest: The author declares no conflict of interest.

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when translated into Syriac (Brock 1996). Similar problems may be found with other an- cient languages, such as the Classical Ethiopic. The outcome of the Council of Chalcedon left a painful split in the church and significant efforts were made to reconcile the sides. Emperor Zeno (474-5, 476-91CE) authorized what became known as the Henoticon, or ‘act of union,’ which avoided criticism of Leo’s Tome that had caused difficulty for the Alex- andrians, but also rejected on one extreme Nestorianism, which the Egyptians, Palestini- ans and Syrians had felt was given too much concession at Chalcedon, and Eutyches and his monophysite teaching on the other, but also avoided the ‘two natures’ formula that the Alexandrians opposed strongly (Grillmeier 1987, pp. 247–317). The Henoticon failed as a compromise lacking clarity, and strong opposition endured in Egypt, Palestine and Syria (Grillmeier 1987, p. 257). There were concerted efforts to resolve the differences, although for the opposers of Chalcedon its outlook remained a concession to Nestorianism that they could not accept. A series of synods and documents aimed at clarifying and resolving Religions 2021, 12differences,, x FOR PEER culminated REVIEW in the 5th Ecumenical Council at Constantinople in 553 CE (noting 12 of 13 that this Council is not accepted as ‘ecumenical’ by the Oriental Churches), which sought a Christological definition that was resolutely against Nestorianism, but all this was in- sufficient (Grillmeier 1995, pp. 443–61). The challenges of understanding Oriental Chris- (Gilbart-Smith 2012) Gilbart-Smith, Mike. 2012. “Let the little children come to me…” But Should We Baptise Them? Why Believers Baptism tologyShould pointUsually to Be much Adult broader Baptism. challengesFoundations 63:in understanding90–110. the beliefs and practices of (Gillman and theseKlimkeit Christian 1999) Gillman, expressions. 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