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Author Topic: re: The Liturgy in Coptic  (Read 460 times) Average Rating: 0
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Orest
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« on: August 08, 2011, 11:56:54 AM »

I recently watched the movie "Agora" discussed on another thread.  I have tried to do some internet research and find out when the Church in Egypt started using Coptic as the language of their liturgy.
Any information would be greatly appreciated.
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Jonathan
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« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2011, 02:22:52 PM »

St. Cyril of Alexandria translated the Liturgy of St. Mark from Greek to Coptic. He also moved the intercession to before the Anaphora to allow the Catechumens to participate in more of the Liturgy before being dismissed, and of courses added more intercessions. Essentially though it is the Liturgy of St. Mark translated to Coptic, and now called the Liturgy of St. Cyril after its translator. Since St. Cyril reigned from 412-444, that gives a pretty precise date to when usage switched to Coptic. The Deacon's responses often translate what the priest says in Coptic into Greek, so they make more sense than when the Liturgy is all prayed in English and so the responses become slightly redundant at times.
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ialmisry
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« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2011, 02:36:52 PM »

^No, it's earlier:Pope St. Athanasius in his Life of St. Anthony the Great notes that 1) St. Anthony was converted (in the sense of to the monastic life. He was born into a Christian family) by hearing the Gospel read in the DL 2) he spoke no Greek, just Coptic.

St. Anthony had that epiphany around 285, so by then Coptic must have been used even in Lower Egypt (i.e. the Nile Delta; Upper Egypt was more remote and Coptic reigned there, lingering into the modern age).  When it was switched to Coptic in Alexandria, a heavily Greek city, is another question.  There may have been some use of Coptic early on, but it seems that the switch to totally Coptic didn't happen until after the Arab conquest.
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« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2011, 05:50:30 PM »

I don't find that argument particularly compelling, since it would not be shocking if the readings shifted to the vernacular earlier than a full translation of the Liturgy. The story generally goes that St. Cyril translated St. Mark's Liturgy, and that's why it bears his name today. So I would need stronger evidence than a Coptic speaking saint understanding the Gospel to question that. Though of course I would be surprised if Coptic supplanted Greek immediately after the translation was undertaken with no period of mixed usage, but the question from the OP was the time that Coptic began to be used as the language of the Liturgy.
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« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2011, 06:15:03 PM »

I don't find that argument particularly compelling, since it would not be shocking if the readings shifted to the vernacular earlier than a full translation of the Liturgy. The story generally goes that St. Cyril translated St. Mark's Liturgy, and that's why it bears his name today. So I would need stronger evidence than a Coptic speaking saint understanding the Gospel to question that. Though of course I would be surprised if Coptic supplanted Greek immediately after the translation was undertaken with no period of mixed usage, but the question from the OP was the time that Coptic began to be used as the language of the Liturgy.
Full translation?  That didn't happen until it was translated into Arabic.
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« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2011, 08:14:49 AM »

I don't think that the liturgy was generally in Coptic until after at least the time of St Severus. He was clearly participating in the liturgy in monastic settings in Greek. Indeed long after his time, when a Syrian was Patriarch of Alexandria, it would seem to indicate that Greek was still the lingua franca of the Church.

 
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