Name some fun facts about you that not everyone knows.
Not many people know that Cherubim is a trained veterinarian and became a doctor before receiving Holy Orders for the Coptic priesthood. Father Cherubim recalls, “My first day of veterinary college, I went to the lecture hall and sat at my desk. One of the professors came and started to write something on the board. Every five minutes or so, he would look at me and then say to the class, ‘If there is anyone who brought his brother or sister with him, please have them leave.’ The professor did this three times and looked at me each time. After the third time, he asked me directly if I was supposed to be there and when I told him yes, I was a student, he said, ‘But you’re so small!’ ”
Why did you decide to come to divinity school?
“Dr. Nelly Van Doorn Harder is a friend of Bishop Thomas, the bishop where I serve at Anafora. Nelly came to Anafora once and asked if there was anyone who would want to attend divinity school. I had just finished a diploma of local development and human rights from Leon University, and Bishop Thomas came to me and asked me if I wanted to come to divinity school. Bishop Thomas knows that I love learning and of course, I said yes.”
What makes WFUSD a great fit for you?
“I think the atmosphere of the students and professors working together is a great gift for me. It’s opened up a lot of possibilities of learning for me. It makes me more focused on the issues, such as studying church history and such. It gives me the chance to study these more in-depth.”
Which professors have helped you grow in your discernment process?
“Dr. Nelly Van Doorn Harder. She has worked with me and encouraged me. Specifically in the divinity school, Dr. Neal Walls, Dr. Katherine Shaner—all of them really—but Nelly really has helped me a lot.”
Is there a particular class that’s left a lasting impression on you?
“I’ve taught myself to learn from every class, even if I don’t enjoy it, but I actually enjoyed Old Testament the most. Dr. Walls would have slight nuances in his test, so you had to study more deeply. Questions like, ‘You are like Joshua and there’s the wall around Jericho and the people asked you why you did this to us.’ It’s a question for thinking about what you would or would not have done if you were Joshua. It’s more than just studying the text. It’s thinking more deeply. I played with the situation and read what the old fathers in Egypt would have done in that situation. The way Dr. Walls begs us in his questions to think from a different point of view—I like that.”
Any words of wisdom you’d like to leave for first years? Second years?
“Enjoy your classes! Learn more, read more, because I think after you graduate, you won’t have this chance again. Enjoy your chance. Enjoy your time here.”
“I will go back to Egypt to Anafora Retreat Center.”
What will you miss most about WFUSD?
“I will miss all of my friends, my professors, and the deep discussion of the issues. I will miss people asking me, ‘Why do you wear this galabia?’ ”
Favorite drink and the theologian you would like to share it with?
“Thomas Merton is one of my favorites. I read about him last year in my preaching class and really enjoyed him. And I would drink Egyptian coffee or Egyptian tea with him.”