Author Topic: Coptic Icons  (Read 1127 times)

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Offline peteprint

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Coptic Icons
« on: October 14, 2011, 01:44:36 PM »
Hello,

I had a question regarding the icons used in Egypt.  I know that Coptic icons are very distinctive, and I was wondering, do the churches of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria (EO) employ Byzantine-style icons, or do they use Coptic-style (OO) in their parishes? 

Both Churches have been in Egypt for centuries, and I would like to know if they share any practices unique to Egyptians, or is the Greek Patriarchate simply the Greek Orthodox Church transplanted to Egyptian soil?

Thank you in advance for any feedback!

Offline copticyouth93

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Re: Coptic Icons
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2011, 01:56:31 PM »
They use Byzantine icons now, however, im sure that wasn't always the case. The Greek Church of Alexandria is as you say, "The Greek Orthodox Church transplanted to Egyptian soil."

You can see the icons of both churches in this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yafEqOPRAs8

I think its pretty obvious which ones are Coptic and which are Greek.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2011, 01:57:11 PM by copticyouth93 »

Offline peteprint

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Re: Coptic Icons
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2011, 02:12:25 PM »
They use Byzantine icons now, however, im sure that wasn't always the case. The Greek Church of Alexandria is as you say, "The Greek Orthodox Church transplanted to Egyptian soil."

You can see the icons of both churches in this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yafEqOPRAs8

I think its pretty obvious which ones are Coptic and which are Greek.

Thank you.  That's what I thought would be the case, but I felt that since the Greek Church had been in Egypt since Byzantine times there might be some similarities.  They were one Church (as far as I know), prior to the Chalcedon split, and not a church of immigrants as the Greek Church in the US is.  Interesting how things developed in Egypt.

Offline peteprint

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Re: Coptic Icons
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2011, 02:18:44 PM »
That's a great video.  My heart goes out to our Christian brothers and sisters of both Churches that are suffering persecution in Egypt today.  We hear about the murder of Copts, but I am sure the Greek Orthodox are just as hated by the extremists as well.

Offline Severian

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Re: Coptic Icons
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2011, 02:45:15 PM »
They were one Church (as far as I know), prior to the Chalcedon split, and not a church of immigrants as the Greek Church in the US is.  Interesting how things developed in Egypt.
Not only that, but the Greek Church in Alexandria used the rites of the Coptic Orthodox until (IINM) Pat. Balsamon suppressed them in exchange for the Byzantine rite. ialmisry could probably tell you more about that.
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Offline peteprint

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Re: Coptic Icons
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2011, 02:47:21 PM »
They were one Church (as far as I know), prior to the Chalcedon split, and not a church of immigrants as the Greek Church in the US is.  Interesting how things developed in Egypt.
Not only that, but the Greek Church in Alexandria used the rites of the Coptic Orthodox until (IINM) Pat. Balsamon suppressed them in exchange for the Byzantine rite. ialmisry could probably tell you more about that.

Thank you Severian.  :)

Offline ialmisry

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Re: Coptic Icons
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2011, 04:37:34 PM »
Hello,

I had a question regarding the icons used in Egypt.  I know that Coptic icons are very distinctive, and I was wondering, do the churches of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria (EO) employ Byzantine-style icons, or do they use Coptic-style (OO) in their parishes? 

Both Churches have been in Egypt for centuries, and I would like to know if they share any practices unique to Egyptians, or is the Greek Patriarchate simply the Greek Orthodox Church transplanted to Egyptian soil?

Thank you in advance for any feedback!
Egypt has some of the oldest "Byzantine" icons:St. Catherine's at Sinai was not subject to the iconoclast emperors.  Medieval icons EO and OO in Egypt are nearly indistinquishable.  It is only with the neo-Coptic renaissance and the revival of Palaeologian style among the EO that the distinctions have become pronounced.

The veils in the sanctuary are like the Coptic ones, and the older Churches have more elements in common, but the Ottoman period (1517-1811) homogenized a lot with the rest of the Mediterranean, then the Muhammad Ali dynasty (the royal house of Egypt 1811-1953) whose founder (a Turkified Albanian from Greece) brought in a lot of Greeks (and Armenians).  This on top of the suppression of the native rites (the ones the Copts continue) of the EO in Egypt in 1200.

Btw, there are plenty of Antiochians transplanted to Egyptian soil, including yours truely.  There were natives a long time back, though (including before the Ottomans came): Pope Eutychios (933-40) was born Sa'id ibn BiTriq in Fustat/Old Cairo in 876 and spoke no Greek, only Arabic and Syriac (the latter being the language he read Greek works in translation).
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Coptic Icons
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2011, 04:37:34 PM »
They use Byzantine icons now, however, im sure that wasn't always the case. The Greek Church of Alexandria is as you say, "The Greek Orthodox Church transplanted to Egyptian soil."

You can see the icons of both churches in this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yafEqOPRAs8

I think its pretty obvious which ones are Coptic and which are Greek.

Thank you.  That's what I thought would be the case, but I felt that since the Greek Church had been in Egypt since Byzantine times there might be some similarities.  They were one Church (as far as I know), prior to the Chalcedon split, and not a church of immigrants as the Greek Church in the US is.  Interesting how things developed in Egypt.
No, it is both a native and immigrant Church (we have a lot of Armenians, for instance, and have had so for at least a millenium).  There has been a continuous EO Church and community in Egypt, but there has been a constant coming and going between Syria and the Late Roman Empire/Greece which the Copts didn't have.  IIRC Ozgeorge's father came from Egypt, but the family had come from Pontus.  My son's godmother is Coptic (but EO), but her grandmother's family immigrated to Egypt from Greece.  Such a constant stream has kept the EO Church continuous subject to influence from the outside, especially areas where the EO is the majority.  Yet there are some things in common: like the Copts, the EO do not fast the full 50 days until Pentecost (the original custom).
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth