Merry Coptic Christmas!


 Coptic Christmas Day, 7 January 2016 –Koiak 27, 1732

The Nativity of Christ (Christmas) is on Koiak 29, c. January 7. Preceded by a fast of 43 days, its aim is to confirm the divine love, when God sent His Only – begotten Son incarnate. Thus, He restored to humanity her honour, and sanctified our daily life, offering His life as a Sacrifice on our behalf.

The Coptic year is the extension of the ancient Egyptian civil year retaining its subdivision into the three seasons, four months each. This subdivision is maintained in the Coptic Calendar. The three seasons are commemorated by special prayers in the Coptic Divine Liturgy. The month of Koiak is the fourth month of the Season of Akhet (Inundation) in Ancient Egypt.

About the Copts – from Lucie’s letters:

I believe they celebrate the ancient mysteries still.  The clashing of cymbals, the chanting, a humming unlike any sound I ever heard, the strange yellow copes covered with stranger devices—it was wunderlich.

At the end everyone went away, and I went down and took off my shoes to go and look at the church.  While I was doing so a side-door opened and a procession entered.  A priest dressed in the usual black robe and turban of all Copts carrying a trident-shaped sort of candlestick, another with cymbals, a lot of little boys, and two young ecclesiastics of some sort in the yellow satin copes (contrasting queerly with the familiar tarboosh of common life on their heads), these carried little babies and huge wax tapers, each a baby and a taper.  They marched round and round three times, the cymbals going furiously, and chanting a jig tune.  The dear little tiny boys marched just in front of the priest with such a pretty little solemn, consequential air.  Then they all stopped in front of the sanctuary, and the priest untied a sort of broad-coloured tape which was round each of the babies, reciting something in Coptic all the time, and finally touched their foreheads and hands with water.  This is a ceremony subsequent to baptism after I don’t know how many days, but the priest ties and then unties the bands.  Of what is this symbolical?  ‘Je m’y perds’.  Then an old man gave a little round cake of bread, with a cabalistic-looking pattern on it, both to Omar and to me, which was certainly baked for Isis.

Copts believe in two natures – ‘human’ and ‘divine’ that are united in one ‘without mingling, without confusion, and without alteration.’

‘Daily, in all Coptic Churches all over the world, Copts pray for the reunion of all Christian Churches. They pray for Egypt, its Nile, its crops, its president, its army, its government, and above all its people. They pray for the world’s peace and for the well-being of the human race.’ – source Coptic

Photos – copyright: Lee Robert McStein


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