By Bishop Youssef, Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States of America:

There is a link between education and salvation, knowledge and faith,

"We thank God for the school you have given for the children to raise them in the true faith,"

"All of his life, the Lord Jesus Christ was teaching the people the mysteries of heaven through parables, through miracles, through teachings of the Old Testament,"

"He instructed, before his ascension in heaven, all of his disciples to go and preach and teach and make disciples in the whole world."

St. Clement is the nation's first Coptic Orthodox school, according to church leaders.

It is named after a theologian who served as dean of the church school of Alexandria , Egypt , and died in A.D. 215.

"All the disciples paid very, very close attention to the issue of education and learning," the bishop said. "Wherever they went, they established schools and continued to learn and train others. St. Mark went into Egypt and established the first school based on theteachings of Christ in Alexandria , which became so important, the school's dean became the patriarch of the church in Alexandria ."

The Coptic Church's beginnings are rooted in the teachings of St. Mark, a disciple of Christ, who took Christianity to Egypt in the first century A.D., according to church tradition.

"(Pope Shenouda's) vision was so clear. He did not want people to come into a strange land and forget who they are, their traditions, and their language. While retaining the bond, we are also helping families learn about their new home.

Students may study three languages: English, Arabic, and Coptic, now spoken primarily by the faithful during liturgy and taught by Father Boutros Boutros, who also teaches a Coptic hymn class.