A Synopsis of the Distinguished Service of Reverend
Father Mankarious Awadallah
Hegomen Mankarious Awadallah was born in Cairo, Egypt on December 15, 1913. He enrolled in secondary education (high school) in 1928 and finished his baccalaureate degree among the top graduates all over Egypt. His parents desired for him to join the Faculty of Medicine; instead he preferred to join the Coptic Orthodox Seminary to fulfill his wish – since childhood – to serve God.
His service in Egypt and Canada:
- Fr. Mankarious received his bachelor degree in 1936 and ranked first of his graduating class. Among his Professors were the late Archdeacon Habib Girgis, Hegomen Ibrahim Atteya, Mr. Yassa Abdel-Massih, and Mr. Edward Yustus (The late Bishop Dioscorus of Monofia) and other renowned teachers.
- He was ordained a priest at the Church of Saint Mina in Beni Mazar (Upper Egypt) on December 10, 1944, at the hands of the late Anba Athanasius Bishop of Beni Suef, in the era of Pope Makarios III. He served that Church until 1954. During his service in Beni Mazar he established an elementary school and a clinic. In addition, he used to travel to Cairo three times a week to teach at the Seminary.
- In Cairo, he served in the Church of St. Virgin Mary (Masarah) in Shubra, the Church of St. Virgin Mary in Zamalek and the Church of St. George in Heliopolis.
- At the Seminary, Fr. Mankarious taught Orthodox Liturgical Studies and Canonical Tradition. He conducted a lot of research in these fields and established corresponding curriculum. He also taught the Old Testament Studies.
- He took on the editing and publication of the “Church Teachings” magazine which he used to issue monthly for 18 years (1950-1968).
- He authored a number of books and Church references including the highly renowned: “Manaret El Akdas” (The Lighthouse of the Holies). This five-part series is one of the most important references that ex-plain the Church rituals and the liturgy.
- In addition to being a member of the Clerical Council, Fr. Mankarious was a member of church committees, including:
- Commission on the preparation of the Sunday School Curriculum.
- Commission on the studying and unification of the Coptic Calendar.
- Commission on studying the Church ritual and related references.
- On April 18, 1973, he immigrated to Canada and was the third priest in the region. In North America he served in a number of Churches in Philadelphia, Jersey City, Ottawa, and Mississauga. For over 20 years he took on the monthly service for the congregation of Kingston, Ontario.
- In 1990 with the Grace of God, Fr. Mankarious founded the Church of Ti Agia Maria and St. Demiana the Martyr in Etobicoke where he served until his departure.
- On December 13, 2009, the Church celebrated her beloved father’s sixty-fifth ordination anniversary. This ceremony was attended by His Grace Bishop David of the United States of America and a large number of priests in the region. Bishop David delivered special congratulations from His Holiness Pope Shenouda III to Father Mankarious on this awesome occasion.
Excerpts from the speech given by Bishop David On the day of the Funeral of Father Mankarious:
“I would like to refer to a verse in the Gospel according to St. Luke, which was said about another priest that reminds us of Father Mankarious. That is Zechariah the Priest. “It was said that after the days of his service were completed, he returned to his home”. This verse applies very much to our blessed father, Father Mankarious. After he has finished his service in purity and righteousness, he returned back to his home. His home is not earth. His home is heaven. As everyone and each one of us, we should think of this present life as being transient, we spend few years here, after which we go back home. And no one can have any rest away from home.”
“We always say to the priest may the Lord keep your priesthood in purity and righteousness. And truly the Lord has kept the priesthood of Father Mankarious in purity and righteousness, and he has departed this world in the Orthodox Faith which he has always kept in his life.”
“I am talking about Orthodoxy because Abouna Mankarious represents a truly Orthodox Priest. Any new invention does not belong to the Orthodox teaching, but if we want to reach the Promised Land we have to make sure that we follow after the footsteps of the flock that preceded us.”
“A fact of life is death. We hear about Adam, how many years did he live? 930 years and then he died. What about Seth his son? 912 years and then he died. What about Methuselah? The longest to live? 969 years. So, if you multiply Abouna’s age by 10, because 96 x 10 = 960, so imagine they used to live that long but eventually he died.”
“The physical death is what we deserve because of our sin, but thank to our Lord who saved us from eternal death through his resurrection. But how can we escape that eternal death? Through baptism, through believing in his incarnation, through believing in his salvation, through redemption, through partaking in the Eucharist and partaking from the other mysteries, and through keeping his holy commandments.”
“I want to summarize Abouna’s life in two words, or in two phrases:
One: He served with true fatherhood,
Two: He truly kept the Orthodox Faith in everything that he did.
“So let’s consider these two points: One: His true fatherhood, I am sure from your own experience, you can testify that father Mankarious is a true father. A true loving father. Some people were telling me stories about Abouna and how until the end of his life people used to come to him and tell him their problems and they would find comfort through his prayers and even through his gestures although he couldn’t speak many words. And through his prayers, because he was continuously praying for them they found solutions for their problems. He is truly a father.”
“Until the end of his life he came and celebrated the Liturgy and he came and celebrated the various occasions in the Church as we also heard. And I was surprised that he attended whole of Good Friday last year.”
“With respect to his fatherhood, I want to say that fatherhood does not mean that we speak the same language. He may have never said a sermon in English, or maybe if he did, it might have been a few, I am not sure? Did he preach you in English? Ok, he did a few words, but there was a deeper language that everybody understood, which is the language of love.”
“I was amazed about the story of one of the youth who asked Abouna if he could drink milk during fasting….If you would go and ask for absolution, especially when you are 12 years old, I am sure that many of the priests will be compassionate with a 12 years old and say to him “Ok Habiby, you are still young and you are still growing…”, but what did Abouna say? What does the horse eat? “Foul” (Fava Beans), and the horse is very strong, you eat foul and you become strong… he convinced him in a very loving way… not in a repulsive way that would make him not like the Church or say I am never going to that Church again or I am never speaking to that priest again… When you teach the Orthodox teachings in a loving way they will be acceptable and ever since that time he has been fasting without milk, because he taught him the Orthodox faith and the Orthodox teaching in a loving way. This is a great lesson for all the fathers, the priests, and even the bishops and anyone who is in authority. We have to learn to teach the Orthodox way. I am glad that God has allowed Father Mankarious to come and live amongst us for many years to learn from his Orthodoxy and to learn from his faith, to be a light in this generation.”
“I remember when I was a young man here before I became a monk. I used to pray with him. And I used to enjoy very much praying with him, especially as His Grace was saying that he loved the rituals of the Church and he did it with love, with understanding, and with spirituality.”
“So, the second point is his Orthodoxy. From a young age he learned in the Eclerikeia (the Coptic Seminary), because he loved the Church, he loved to learn and then to teach. You cannot teach unless you learn, because you cannot just teach anything. Because there is only one source of teaching in the Church which is the Lord Jesus Christ and we reiterate the teachings of the Lord.”
“This is a good example to follow, his love for Orthodoxy, his love for learning, his love for teaching, and he wrote books in a time when there weren’t many people who wrote scholarly, which means not just to write anything, but to go and research and produce scholarly books, and He wrote “Manaret El-Aqdas” in five volumes, which I read as a young man and I learned a lot from them.”
“Many of his students became priests, many became bishops, and also as you heard, Pope Shenouda when he was learning, Father Mankarious was one of the teachers at that time.”
“He left our perishing world to be with the Twenty Four Priests in heaven, giving thanks and praising God day and night, especially during this time of praise. He was born, consecrated, and departed during this month. He loved the Virgin Mary and this Church is named after the Virgin Mary and St. Demiana, and we have all been hearing about apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Egypt, so the Virgin Mary I think didn’t have to make a special trip to take his spirit with her because she was already having a tour in many Churches in Egypt, as we pray and say in the Agpeya, Vespers Prayers, “At the time of the departure of my soul from my body come to me”.
“We thank God for this blessed life, for this light that we enjoyed amongst us. May we all learn from his life and his example.”
The Words of Many Hearts
“Abouna’s home was open to us at all times. We often came “home” for lunch (at Abouna’s house). One night, Michael my younger brother was sick with severe stomach pain. Not having a car, my parents didn’t know what to do. They called Abouna for help at 3 am. Our beloved Abouna came walking from his house, in the middle of the night, to pray for Michael and anoint him with holy oil. The pain went away shortly after. We weren’t the only ones who were touched by Abouna’s love & tender care. In fact, he and his blessed family would help countless families who were recent immigrants from Egypt, to find a place and settle down.”Maryam & Mok Tse, Demiana & Stefanos
“During the entire time Mom was in the hospital, Abouna cared for us at his house, fed us, clothed us, bathed us, and showered us with love! Tunt Isis would help me dress, comb my hair, and made sure that I looked all nice and pretty. From this blessed family, we learned how to love.”Manar Gawargy & Sameh Louka, Raphael
“How many lives have been touched by Abouna’s blessed family? Only the Lord would know… Abouna, you have left a permanent imprint of your profound love in all of us. Please pray for us at all times, that someday we may be worthy to meet you again in the Lord.Mark Gawargy & Kelly Hampel
“Our blessed shepherd, you have lovingly and faithfully taken care of the flock the Lord entrusted to you. Without your influence in our lives, without your prayers on our behalf, without your love and that of your blessed family, without your care and tireless service, we would have been lost. And especially now, we continue to depend on your prayers and intercession before the Lord.”Michael Mumtaz, Thao, Teresa & Na-than Gawargy
“Father Mankarious has always been a father and a true friend to all of us, giving abundantly his love, his prayers, and his time. We would go to him whenever we needed anything. He offered his home as a place of worship, until a suitable building could be found for a Church. Father Mankarious opened his home to everyone. The door to his house was never locked, anyone could come and go as they wish – it was the one “home” for friends and strangers alike. One would come finding many of their needs satisfied there, whether seeking some uplifting spiritual words, a warm smile and a hug, a bed to rest from fatigue, a meal to fill one’s hunger.”Salwa, Enas & Reham Abdelshahid
“I remember Father Mankarious’ love and blessed presence at Ti Agia Maria and St. Demiana Coptic Orthodox Church. I thank God for having blessed me much through meeting Father Mankarious and receiving his fatherly love of which I am not worthy of. Father Mankarious continues to serve us in Paradise through offering his pure priestly incense and prayers on our behalf. We are truly not worthy of his unceasing love and service.”Theoliptie, Nun and spiritual daughter of Most Reverend Father Mankarious; St. Demiana’s Monastery, Egypt
“Through the many years I spent with Fr. Mankarious, I found him to be a man of passion, principle, courage and dignity. He was always willing and able to do what it took to stand for what he believed was right. When it came to the Church, he was fearless and outspoken in defending the Church’s Dogma and tradition.”Maher Rizkalla
“I struggle to find adequate words to describe and honor the memory and legacy of Abouna Mankarious other than to say he was extraordinary. Abouna Mankarious led his congregation with a humble heart, a warm smile and a gentle hand. His kindness and compassion were immeasurable. He had such an approachability that made you feel comfortable to talk to him and to seek guidance even in your most vulnerable state. He inspired me to try to be a better Christian…a better person.”Ninette (Barsoum) Harvey
“Dear Gido: first of all, thank you for more than I can put into writing. The strong family we were so incredibly blessed to have growing up is so much because of you. You were the foundation that helped us grow in each other’s’ love. I will always cherish the Sundays when the whole family would spend the day at your house, we reaped so much more from those days than I could imagine at the time. That one day a week fortified our family ties, helped us grow in spirituality, and contributed far more to my character and development than the other six. As much as I learned from being around you, I learned a great deal from others’ stories and dealings with you as I only witnessed a small part of your great life. It would always (and still does) make me so proud when I meet somebody new within the Coptic community, and tell them I am Abouna Mankarious’ grandson. It’s unbelievable how many people’s lives you have touched, and this becomes evident in their reaction and stories that follow. It’s the most honourable title I will ever have. I know I don’t have to ask, but please continue to pray for us from heaven.”Andrew Rizkalla
“My grandfather was and continues to be the rock, the foundation, which holds our beautiful family together. I will never forget the sheer love and joy he brought our family as we gathered with him every Sunday. From my early childhood, I remember the happiness and comfort I would feel when I entered my grandparents’ home. My grandfather loved us immensely, and no action of his would show otherwise. He treasured every one of his many grandchildren. He always took the time to make each of us feel special. He would love to make us smile and laugh – when he made us laugh, he would laugh twice as much. Years would pass, things would change in our lives, but my grandfather was the constant. The love, care and support he provided our family was incredible. My grandfather truly was a man of faith, love and family. The way he demonstrated the importance of these things has touched my life in inexpressible ways and will remain with me forever.”Teresa Rizkalla
“Where do you start with such an amazing leader as Abouna Mankarious? His steadfast love for the Coptic Church? His extensive knowledge of doctrine and history? His caring for every single person, whether adult, youth or child? Or how his house was always open, making it a place of comfort for everyone? Abouna was always a source of comfort for me. He was always there when I needed to ask about anything, when I needed advice or clarification. When my family was ever going to make a big decision he was the first we went to. Abouna was always smiling, always laughing. His smile would light up a room, and was more contagious than the common cold. He was always a happy man, loving to his family, loving to his congregation, and we loved him just as much. He was a powerful man, strong with god by his side. Until this day I sometimes wonder about how he rarely missed a Sunday liturgy. In the coldest weather or in his last days he would still come, and pray a small part but that small part had such a strong meaning to me because it proved that this man would stop at nothing to express his love to god. He just had to pray. He was a priest, and nothing could take that away from him. Abouna truly loved every single one of us. I remember in the last days when we would bring him into the Church and carry his wheelchair into the altar I would go and kneel beside him and kiss his hand and say Hi and he would hold my hand and squeeze it really hard and when he could he would pat me on the back. That simple gesture was so affectionate and it was the only way he would be able to communicate with me. I would just sit there and not want to leave because I felt like this was my father and I didn’t want to leave his side.”Puvley Morcos