Contemporary Coptic Nuns
Contemporary Coptic Nuns reveals a world rarely seen by outsiders - the world of the nuns who worship and serve as part of the largest community of indigenous Christians in the Middle East. One of the few people unaffiliated with the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church to observe these women, Pieternella van Doorn-Harder tells about the nuns who eschew secular pursuits to devote their lives to this extraordinarily conservative faith. Through the actions of leading Coptic women, van Doorn-Harder portrays their rich traditions and beliefs, and she examines the forces that compel these women to embrace such a demanding monastic lifestyle.
In depicting the nuns' daily lives, van Doorn-Harder describes their work, their role in the Coptic resurgence, their influence on the laity, and their position in the larger Islamic society. In presenting the potency of their spiritual lives, she attests to the vigor of their prayer, fasting, and devotions as well as to the abundance of their spiritual gifts, which include clairvoyance, intercession, and healing. Through van Doorn-Harder's compelling portrayal, the Coptic nuns emerge as women who enthusiastically welcome their increased opportunities for service and leadership yet remain anchored to orthodox traditions and Egyptian culture.
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