Founding of Holy Transfiguration Parish
Holy Transfiguration American Coptic Orthodox Church was conceived in February of 2014, when His Eminence Metropolitan Serapion met with a few of the clergy of the Diocese of Los Angeles who helped found St. Paul American Coptic Orthodox Church, to start a similar pilot parish to meet similar needs in the Eastern Region of the Diocese.
The target group consisted mainly of converts to Orthodoxy, as well as new catechumens, second generation Coptic Americans young and old (especially those who are starting their own families), and mixed marriages (faithful who have married converts to Orthodoxy).
The First Divine Liturgy was celebrated on the Sunday after Pentecost (June 15, 2014) at 15330 Fairfield Ranch Rd., Chino Hills.
For the next two and a half years, the congregation of roughly 40 families moved around Chino HIlls to prayed at various churches, schools, and community centers. After searching for over a year for a more permanent place to lease, God graciously lead us back to the same location of our first Divine Liturgy! As Zechariah the prophet wrote, “Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy; My house shall be built in it,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘And a surveyor’s line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem’” (Zech. 1:16).
Coptic Orthodoxy: An Introduction
The term “Orthodoxy” here refers to the preservation of the “Original Faith” by the Copts who, throughout the ages, defended the Old Creed against the numerous attacks aimed at it.
The Coptic Orthodox Church believes that the Holy Trinity: God The Father, God The Son, and God The Holy Spirit, are equal to each other in one unity; and that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only Savior of the world. Less changes have taken place in the Coptic Church than in any other church whether in the ritual or doctrine aspects and that the succession of the Coptic Patriarchs, Bishops, priests and Deacons has been continuous.
“Blessed is Egypt my people” (Isa 19:25)
God’s promise to His people is always fulfilled; He foretold that He would ride on a light and upon a swift cloud and come to Egypt (Isa 19:1); and in that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border (Isa 19:19). This promise was fulfilled by the flight of the Holy Family from the face of the tyrant Herod to find refuge among the Gentiles. Thus our Lord Jesus Christ came during His childhood to Egypt to lay by Himself the foundation stone of His Church in Egypt which has become one of the four primary “Sees” in the world, among the churches of Jerusalem, Antioch and Rome, and joined later by the “See” of Constantinople.
The star of the Egyptian Church shone through the School of Alexandria which taught Christendom the allegoric and spiritual methods in interpreting the Holy Scripture and was the leader in defending the Orthodox faith on an ecumenical level.
The Christian monastic movement in all its forms started in Egypt, attracting the heart of the Church towards the desert, to practice the angelic inner life. This happened at the time when the doors of the royal court had been opened to the clergy, and this consequently endangered the church, as the quiet and spiritual church work was mixed with the temporal authority and politics of the royal court.
The Egyptian Church carried our Lord Jesus Christ’s cross throughout generations, bearing sufferings even from the side of Christians themselves. She continued to offer a countless number of martyrs and confessors throughout ages. Sometimes the people of towns were martyred and many struggled to win the crowns of martyrdom happily and with a heart full of joy.
Our Church is ancient and new at the same time: ancient in being apostolic, founded by St. Mark the Evangelist and traditional in holding fast to the original apostolic faith without deviation. She is also new through her Living Messiah who never becomes old and through the Spirit of God who renews her youth (Ps. 103:5).
The Coptic Church is rich with her evangelistic and ascetic life, her genuine patriotic inheritance, her heavenly worship, her spiritual rituals, her effective and living hymns, her beautiful icons, etc. She attracts the heart towards heaven without ignoring actual daily life. We can say that she is an apostolic, contemporary church that carries life and thought to the contemporary man without deviation. One finds in her life, sweetness and power of Spirit, with appreciation to and sanctification of arts, literature and human culture.
The Church is well known for her numerous saints: ascetics, clergymen and laymen. She offered many saints throughout ages and is still offering the same today. For she believes that practicing the sanctified life and communion with God, the Holy One, is prior to satisfying minds with solid mental studies.
1. HEAVENLY WORSHIP
Our worship is modeled after the heavenly patterns God revealed to His people in the Holy Scriptures. The central core of our worship service revolves around celebrating and partaking of Christ in the liturgical services of the Eucharist.
2. GENUINE COMMUNITY
When Christ formed the Church He called Her, “His Body.” He purposely did that so members would be so intimately connected to Him and each other that the movement, experiences, growth and struggles of each member would be felt and embraced by the whole Body. We want every member to be an active member of a growing and living union that is the Church.
3. SPIRITUAL GROWTH
Being a member of the Church is meant to be a dynamic experience. We are called to pursue holiness and be imitators of Christ so that we may reflect His glory. God wants us to grow and become mature unto the “knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” We are committed to practicing the spiritual traditions and disciplines handed down to us by our forefathers as they struggled with the grace of God to be like unto Him, being transformed from image to image and glory to glory.
Christ did not call just a few people to be saved. He desires the salvation of everyone. He doesn’t want a single person to be lost. Our desire is to fulfill the Great Commission of Christ to go and make disciples of all nations. We are focused on spreading God’s Word so that all of God’s people could be saved. This will involve missionary work of every type.
5. SERVING OUR COMMUNITY
The gospel instructs us to feed the hungry, to give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, and to visit the sick and imprisoned, for in doing so we will be offering these unto Christ. We are committed to regular service opportunities in our immediate community so that the presence of Christ may be felt among all. A portion of our offerings and sacrifices will be dedicated to the poor.