On April 20, 2012, the Church of Virgin Mary and St. Athanasius lost one of its founding fathers, Deacon Sorial Sorial.

Sorial Sorial was born on February 6, 1938. From a very young age, he was fond of attending church and participating in vespers, hymns, and masses. Around 1947, he was ordained a deacon at the Church of St. John the Beloved in Helmiette Elzitoun, Cairo. He had a very active spiritual life in the church; continuously involved in the liturgical services. Fasting and worship were critical practices for him as he grew in the Spirit. His father used to call him "Khen-nifaoi", an old expression derived from the Coptic term "khen nifi-oui" meaning: "of heaven" or "from heaven".

He served as a Sunday school teacher. His Grace Bishop Morcos of Shoubra Elkhema, Cairo, recently reminisced about how he was one of Sorial's students.

Sorial moved to Giza where he was a student at Cairo University. He completed a master's degree in agricultural engineering. During that time his growth in the Coptic Church continued under the guidance of a very famous spiritual leader, Father Salib Sorial.

He went to Alexandria in the 1960s to work in a factory as a food preservation specialist. Again in Alexandria, he continued his church life with passion and consistency. Sorial joined the Church of St. George, Sporting, under the leadership of Abouna Pishoy Kamel. It was at this time when Sorial met Mary, and the two were later married in Canada in 1969.

It was in 1966 when he immigrated to Canada and joined Fr. Morcos Morcos of St. Mark's Church in Toronto, ON. Sorial was recognized and respected as a leader among the church's deacons, and as one of the pioneers in establishing the Coptic Church in Canada. As he continued to serve the Coptic community in and around Toronto, Sorial became part of a committee that approached His Holiness, Pope Shenouda III, to set up and build a church in Mississauga, ON.

Sorial's service, not only as a loving husband and father to his family, Mary and his sons Stephen and David, but also as a leading deacon and teacher in church continued year after year. Since the Church of Virgin Mary and St. Athanasius was established in 1977, Sorial taught young deacons and servants the songs and traditions of the Coptic Church. With his strong beautiful voice and loving heart, Sorial endlessly gave of himself to the youth of the church until the end of his life. His legacy will live on forever, continuing to be an inspiration to many throughout the ages.



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