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I Rejoice in My Chains

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I Rejoice in My Chains
I Rejoice in My Chains by the fathers of the Church

I Rejoice in My Chains- Experiences from Jail

‘I was aiming for a life like this, in which a person would live in total isolation and in continual connection with God. However, God did not allow this for me. When President Sadat allowed me to go and spend forty months in the monastery, I took it as a good chance to return to the life of solitude and contemplation, even if it was forced upon me externally. I enjoyed this time thoroughly.’
– Pope Shenouda III from I rejoice in my Chains p.11

‘During the house arrest period, I published 16 books because of calmness, solitude and recollection of my thoughts. I always try to leave all my troubles outside of me. I believe that a person should maintain their inner peace within their heart, not allowing any external circumstance to defeat them, rather, they should defeat their troubles through faith, serenity and complete surrender to God. The aim is to capitalise on the spiritual benefits that come from tribulations.
–            Pope Shenouda III from I rejoice in my Chains p.11

‘I used to tell people that the source of tribulation is narrowness of the heart and perspective, because the narrow heart does not accept tribulations. Tribulations, therefore, usually arise from within the heart not due to external circumstances. If, however, the heart widens to accept tribulations, then there would be no tribulations at all. I always obtain my inner peace internally and not from external sources, and so I considered myself to be back to the life of solitude for which I originally became a monk. Everyone who saw me only saw a smiling face, always accepting those in distress.’
– Pope Shenouda III from I rejoice in my Chains p.12

‘Here is an astonishing account of what we used to do in prison. We started praying the seven hourly prayers every day from the time we got incarcerated. We finished the Morning Prayer with four hundred prostrations (metania), while praying Lord Have Mercy (Kerye Leison) with an echoing voice together as one! Our utterance of the words used to shake the prison walls.
 –            Fr Boules Basili from I rejoice in my Chains p.58

‘But it was a wonderful period of spiritual struggle in El Mag prison! I used to wake up at 3.00am, to pray with prostrations and with tears until 6.00am. I then read the Bible and I finished the books of Ezekiel, Daniel, all the books of the Minor Prophets, Joshua until First Kings. We then began the communal daily routine with the group which ended in special prayers with tears. I began sleeping early at 7.00pm despite the noise surrounding me and I became as example to others of how to sleep early amidst the noise.’
–  Fr Youssef Assaad from I rejoice in my Chains p.166