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Author Topic: Coptic Communion Inside Behind the Iconostasis  (Read 2308 times) Average Rating: 0
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SamB
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« on: December 01, 2003, 09:16:27 PM »

I was lucky to locate a Coptic Orthodox parish, boasting of one of the most remarkable executions of a Qud'das I have yet seen.

I noticed something for which I hope some may have an explanation.  Apparently, people commune behind the iconostasis, in the altar or sanctuary.  Why so?  And does this indicate that no prohibition exists in the Coptic Church against women entering this sacred space?

At certain points during the Anaphora, the people would sit (or kneel) and bend over to cover their eyes by resting their heads on their hands.  I believe traditional piety prohibits gazing at the Eucharist, which may explain this posture.  A confirmation would be useful.

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« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2003, 09:49:22 PM »

I've only attended the Liturgy a few times at the local parish, but I've never seen them communing anyone but clergy (deacons included, of course) behind the iconostasis.  The priest has always come out to commune the people.  

I am not sure what the reason is for the kneeling/sitting and covering one's eyes; it may be for the reason you state, but in the parish here, it is done during other parts of the Liturgy too, so I didn't think it was specific to the Anaphora.  I wind up sitting because the church has chairs and I'm usually found sitting/standing there, though I wish I could kneel (the seats are too close together for a person to kneel properly).
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« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2003, 09:56:05 PM »

What is a Qud'das? Thanks.

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Anthony

I was lucky to locate a Coptic Orthodox parish, boasting of one of the most remarkable executions of a Qud'das I have yet seen.


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« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2003, 10:09:18 PM »

It's Liturgy.  Samer, is Qud'das related to the Syriac Qurbono, or does it come from another word?
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« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2003, 10:41:32 AM »

The word you are looking for is 'qurban' (offering).  'Qud'das' comes from 'sacred', or 'muqad'das'

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« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2003, 10:42:53 AM »

There are communion rooms as well as Sanctuaries behind the iconostasis... At my church there's the main door in the middle with the main altar behind it, and too doors off to the side, one with the women's communion room behind it, and one with the men's.  Behind the men's Communion room there are steps going up to where hte side altar is.  So at weekday Liturgies the curtain to the men's communion room is open and then you see the altar raised behind that.

At another church nearby that was build & not rennovated there are five doors at the front, a large one in the middle with the main altar, two smaller ones to the side with the side altars, and two  further to the sides for the Communion rooms... here's a picture http://www.stmary.miss.on.coptorthodox.ca/Menu/Gallery/PhotoAlbum/Church/StAthanasius_Inside.jpg

The Communion rooms are higher than the Nave, and then the Sanctuaries are higher than the Communion rooms.  You have to remove your shoes (should already be off, especially during Anaphora) and not be bleeding to enter the Communion rooms.  Only the priests & deacons who have dressed go into the Sanctuary for Communion.

For the kneeling/sitting, covering eyes... On Sundays, Pentecost, major Feasts, we should not kneel but stand and bow at the points of the Liturgy that call for kneeling since kneeling is illegal on those days.  But in Egypt the day everyone goes to Church is Friday not Sunday because that's the day people have off work in a Muslim country and can go, and kneeling is legal then, so people come here & kneel on Sunday because they're used to kneeling on the day that everyone goes to Church.  So you only see a few people stand & bow (even among priests) and the rest kneel... but with the pews only the people on the edges can kneel (which isn't a problem since on days when kneeling is legal it's during the week & there are few enough people to get to the ends to kneel) so in place of kneeling people sit on the pews and bow their heads rather than standing and bowing.  This is closer to the posture for kneeling (knees down, head bowed to ground, hands fisted) than kneeling like Catholics & leaving the head up.  We always have the head bowed at the kneeling parts, whether it's a kneeling or standing day.
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« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2003, 11:52:48 AM »

Thanks Jonathan.  Your explanation sounds very correct.  Groups of each sex, with shoes off, went behind the curtains of the 'deacon doors' to what now I'm sure are the communion rooms you are talking about.

Re: kneeling, you are right that few actually stand, and your explanation of Friday weekends back in the Middle East is a good one.  You are also right in that instead of kneeling, people sit and bend down; this is the case because of the pews in the parish I visited.

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