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Author Topic: Help Understanding the Coptic Calendar  (Read 647 times) Average Rating: 0
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mtmamma
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« on: June 23, 2012, 06:12:21 PM »

I am having trouble trying to add these monthly feast to my calendar. According to this:

The Church celebrates the commemoration of the Annunciation, Nativity and Resurrection of Christ on the 29th of every Coptic month
The commemoration of St. Mary is celebrated on the 21st
The feast of Archangel Michael is celebrated on the 12th of every month

Problem is when I went to look up the corresponding days on The US calendar I noticed that some of the Coptic months these commemoration don't take place. Like here http://www.copticchurch.net/classes/synex.php?month=10&day=21&btn=View&lang=. Also how can I figure out the corresponding on my own without having to search the synaxarium?
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Jonathan
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« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2012, 12:53:01 PM »

The 29th is celebrated with festive rites and the readings for the Annunciation only if it falls on a Sunday, and not during the months of Tobi and Meshir.

I'm not sure about the other two off hand.
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mabsoota
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« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2012, 04:34:34 PM »

wow, good question!
sometimes there are festivals that take precedence over other festivals, so it's not the same every month.
i haven't figured it out yet (3 years and counting...) and i suspect some of my friends wouldn't know either.
i just celebrate whatever my church is celebrating. tasbeha.org is usually a good source for the synaxarium, but it occasionally makes mistakes.
the best way is to get one of those yearly pads with tear off strips for every day  from church.
not sure if u get them in english though...
 Undecided
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Jonathan
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« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2012, 06:32:23 PM »

I think the best resource for helping you figure out everything you want to would be this book:

"Service of Deacons" on this page: http://suscopts.org/diocese/bookstore/

I will try to look up those feasts for you later when I can get to my copy.
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mtmamma
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« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2012, 12:32:05 AM »

Mabsoota I feel better now so much to learn. I ddo have a church calendar in English that I received from church. I am going to try and order one if I can. I was trying to add the dates by hand to my online calendar just in case I can't, but it is an exhausting task.

Jonathan, I wondered why on occasionally the Church would do those readings on Sundays. I will try and order the book, hopefully it will help me. By any chance do you know how one celebrates these feast outside of the church (in one's home)?
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Jonathan
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« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2012, 08:50:16 AM »

Finally found my book... I need to clean my office Smiley

That book just says every Coptic month.

I checked another book, "Coptic Hymns" by Anthony Aboseif, and it says "The feast of the Archangel Michael is celebrated on the 12th of Hathor, the 12th of Paoni, and the 12th of every Coptic month.... On the 21st of every Coptic month, we commemorate St. Mary".

I just noticed that in the link you posted, the first occasion is "the building of the first Church of the Virgin". So there is no need to mention the monthly commemoration on the same day, since there is already a feast of the Virgin. Similarly, on the 21st of Tobi, it is the dormition. The proper feast replaces the commemoration.

A few months don't mention Archangel Michael on the 12th, but I believe it is every month and the Synaxarium just doesn't bother to mention it every time. It's possible it isn't remembered during Lent and/or the Holy 50. I'm not sure about that. It seems all the books indication that it is every month though.

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Jonathan
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« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2012, 08:58:49 AM »

Jonathan, I wondered why on occasionally the Church would do those readings on Sundays.

The commemorations of the Virgin or the Archangel Michael never replace the Sunday readings. If the 29th of a month falls on a Sunday, it is always the 5th Sunday of the month, which does not have its own readings anyway. If a month has a 5th Sunday from Thoout to Meshir, the readings of the second Sunday of Meshir are repeated. From Phamenoth to Mesori, another set of readings is used, featuring the feeding of the multitude. If the 29th falls on a Sunday, except Tob & Meshir, then it is celebrated as a Feast of the Lord. Like any Feast of the Lord, it supersedes the readings of the Sunday, though in this case, it's just superseding a repeat anyway.

If you download on of the Lectionaries from here: http://www.stmaryscopticorthodox.ca/index.php/english/publications , there is a little bit of explanation in an appendix at the back about which readings to use. This one also includes the rules about the 5th Sundays: http://www.stmaryscopticorthodox.ca/content/servicebooks/lectionary-sundays.pdf (but these aren't an exhaustive list of rules. It's just written down from my observations after attending for years, to help the young deacons who couldn't figure out how to find the readings. Things aren't exactly set in stone anyway. If the 2nd or 3rd day of a Feast of the Lord falls on a Sunday, some priests will choose to read the Sunday's readings, and some will choose to read the readings for the 2nd or 3rd day of the feast.)
« Last Edit: June 25, 2012, 09:00:24 AM by Jonathan » Logged
Jonathan
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« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2012, 09:21:47 AM »

I will try and order the book, hopefully it will help me. By any chance do you know how one celebrates these feast outside of the church (in one's home)?

One normally lets the feast or commemoration come and go without ever realizing it Smiley If you mean how could one, there ara number of options.

When praying Compline, some people will insert the doxologies, after "Hail to you!" and before "We exalt you...", just as would be done in the Raising of Incense. Start with "Shere ti Parthenos...", continue with the doxology for the virgin, then the doxology for the saint of the day, then the doxology or a verse for the patron of your church, then "be our advocate...". I don't know whether this is right or wrong, but some people, including some priests, do this. This would only add a few minutes to the evening prayer. This is fairly easy to do, as long as you know the 5 (or 6) tunes for the seasons. If you have trouble starting them, you can just have a recording of the first verse to play to get you started, then continue. It's easiest to memorize the first verse in English of the doxology of one occasion in each tune, and sing that in your head for a second so you can start "Shere ti Parthenos" in that tune.

Some people will say a Veneration at home, usually after they pray Compline. At minimum this would consist of singing "Khen ef Ran", then Axia for the Virgin, then Axios or Axia for the saint of the day, finally Axios or Axia for the patron of your Church. At most, it could consist of singing "Ekesmaroot", "Hiten-ni", the hymn for the Trinity, "Ep ooro", the veneration for the saint of the day, "Khen ef Ran", Axios(a). So it could be done in 2-15 minutes depending on how fully. This is a little harder, but you can learn the hymns one at a time and add to it. You can find veneration hymns for many saints in "Melodies of the Distribution of the Holy Mysteries", also from the SUS.

Perhaps the most commonly done is to pray the Midnight Praise. This would mean praying the Midnight hour of the Agpeya, either after Compline, or very early in the morning, then praying the Midnight Praise, including any Psali for the saint of the day, and the doxology for the saint of the day. This is obviously the most time consuming, requiring 90 minutes to do properly. This is the hardest, as it requires learning a lot of hymns. You can get a good Psalmody book from the L.A. bookstore.

Many people also read the synaxarium entry and/or the readings for the day. Some people will also read an appropriate book, for example "the Life of Antony" on St. Antony's feast. Some of the youth at my church go crazy on St. Antony's feast. They go and pray the Agpeya, and the Vespers Praise, then they get the priest to raise the evening incense, then they'll have a veneration, then the pray the midnight hour, and the Midnight Praise, but then insert the reading of the Life of Antony in sections so that it takes all night, then the might sleep for a few hours, while some of them have silent contemplation, or more spiritual reading, then they'll pray prime and the doxology of prime, then the priest comes back to raise the morning incense and pray the Liturgy, so that they pretty much go from 7 pm - 8 am non-stop. Then the Virgin's feast is the same week, and no one shows up since they're too exhausted, which seems a little strange to me since our Church is dedicated to the Virgin. I'm not sure if they've moderated a bit in recent years... but that's pretty much everything that can be done Smiley

On the commemorations of Archangel Michael, it is also traditional to bake "fateer-malek", "angel's bread", like korbon, but sweet and oily, and give that to the poor. If you have an icon of the saint of the day, you can put that icon in a more prominent position while you're doing whatever you're doing, and light an oil lamp in front of it. Eastern Orthodox will also burn incense, but in the Coptic tradition this is forbidden to laity.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2012, 09:34:40 AM by Jonathan » Logged
Jonathan
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« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2012, 09:45:57 AM »

books:

Midnight Praise: http://www.stantonymonastery.org/bookstore/store/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=885&category_id=34&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=80&vmcchk=1&Itemid=80
It also has pretty much all the doxologies for saints you can find.

Distribution Melodies: http://www.stmosesbookstore.org/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=ilvm_fly_showroom_mall.tpl&product_id=1479&category_id=23&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=2
It has the veneration hymns for saints

Deacon's Service book: http://www.stmosesbookstore.org/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=ilvm_fly_showroom_mall.tpl&product_id=2144&category_id=23&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=2
Rites for each day

Coptic Hymnal (pdf): http://www.stmaryscopticorthodox.ca/index.php/english/publications/sermon/coptic-hymnal
Has all the hymns to string together to form a veneration laid out in a very easy way in English and transliterated Coptic. It doesn't have many full veneration hymns for saints (only 3), but it has individual verses in an appendix to venerate almost any saint.

Lectionary (pdf): http://www.stmaryscopticorthodox.ca/index.php/english/publications
Readings for each day

Euchologion (pdf): http://www.stmaryscopticorthodox.ca/index.php/english/publications/sermon/euchologion-liturgy-book-2011
This book has several doxologies for occasions and saints, but not nearly as many as the L.A. Psalmody book.
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Salpy
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« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2012, 12:39:12 PM »

This might not directly answer the OP, but I think it may be of interest since it does relate to the calendar:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,45482.0.html
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mtmamma
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« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2012, 02:28:12 PM »

Oh my thank you Jonathan. Glad you found your book. This forum really need a print button.

So what you are saying is that just because the synaxarium doesn't mention a feast or commemoration that doesn't mean it's not celebrated that day. So celebrating at home is basically consist of extra prayers pertaining to whatever feast it happens to be? That seems so simple. Thanks for suggesting recordings, where do you find these recordings?
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Jonathan
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« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2012, 02:37:16 PM »

Oh my thank you Jonathan. Glad you found your book. This forum really need a print button.

So what you are saying is that just because the synaxarium doesn't mention a feast or commemoration that doesn't mean it's not celebrated that day. So celebrating at home is basically consist of extra prayers pertaining to whatever feast it happens to be? That seems so simple. Thanks for suggesting recordings, where do you find these recordings?

Well, normally whatever is in the Synaxarium is exactly what is celebrated that day. But of course there are variable feasts and seasons that can override that, and if there is a rite to celebrate something on a particular date, it is celebrated then, but not necessarily found in the Synaxarium (Lazarus Saturday, Easter, Pentecost, Ascension, and perhaps, the 12th of the month).

Coptichymns.net and tasbeha.org each have large collections of hymn recordings. The doxologies can be found here, for example:
http://www.coptichymns.net/module-hymns-catview-pid-99.html

But it can be very confusing, especially since the track titles are all in Coptic. If you want help figuring out what tune should be said on a specific day, and where to find it, just send me a pm. Everything is the annual tune right now, so this tune: http://media.coptichymns.net:8080/ramgen/coptichymns/doxologies/annual/hics/doxologies_annual_intro.smil . I might be able to find English recordings if you need something specific.

Have you heard the doxologies sung in English at Church? If not you might need a recording of the doxologies in English to make it manageable for you.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2012, 02:39:52 PM by Jonathan » Logged
mtmamma
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« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2012, 02:47:26 PM »

Thank you Salpy.

Jonathan it looks like I am going to have to put some money to the side in order to build up my Coptic Resource Library. Is there a sticky here somewhere that suggest books that are needed for a basic library for beginners? I thought I saw one, off to check.
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Jonathan
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« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2012, 02:57:09 PM »

Thank you Salpy.

Jonathan it looks like I am going to have to put some money to the side in order to build up my Coptic Resource Library. Is there a sticky here somewhere that suggest books that are needed for a basic library for beginners? I thought I saw one, off to check.

It's about $100 for those three books. I assume you already have a Liturgy book and an Agpeya. The other things you can get are Lectionaries and the Synaxarium.

But if you download the pdf's from my church's website... they are not as complete as the SUS and LA books, but it's completely free to download them, and you can print them if you want. If there's something specific you want pm me, and I can send you the unpublished drafts of upcoming editions that are more complete as well.

If you get pdf copies of the Euchologion, the Paslmody book, the Hymnal, the Lectionaries, and the Synaxarium, and you probably have an Agpeya, then you will have everything you need for any service in the home for free, and you just have to put up with reading off a screen or printing out sections... then you can gradually replace with print books as you get comfortable with them and see what you need.
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mabsoota
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« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2012, 03:24:17 PM »

most lay people just pray from the agpeya, and read the synaxarium and daily Bible readings.
if u do more than this, don't be surprised to see people lining up on pilgrimage to your house!
 Wink
(but thanks, jonathan, for the really comprehensive info!)
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Jonathan
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« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2012, 03:27:06 PM »

most lay people just pray from the agpeya, and read the synaxarium and daily Bible readings.
if u do more than this, don't be surprised to see people lining up on pilgrimage to your house!
 Wink
(but thanks, jonathan, for the really comprehensive info!)

I don't know that most lay people read the daily readings... or the synaxarium... I don't know if most pray the Agpeya, but maybe Smiley

But for those stuck far away from a church, adding a short veneration after praying the Agpeya can be a really easy way to participate in the cycle of the Church and feel connected in a way that those of us who can just drive a few minutes to a Church for Vespers on the eve of any major saint's feast take for granted...
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mabsoota
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« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2012, 03:31:29 PM »

i agree, jonathan, i just want mtmamma to realise she is already doing a lot and not to get overwhelmed.
i used to struggle with my praying until my father of confession cut it back a bit, and now i am increasing in prayer just a little at a time, which is the right spiritual stage for me.
when people are far from a church, it is great to be able to have church life at home, and that also makes it easier when God brings you closer to the church (or the church closer to you!)

once again, i am impressed with yr comprehensive answer and look up to you.
 Smiley
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Jonathan
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« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2012, 04:18:23 PM »

i agree, jonathan, i just want mtmamma to realise she is already doing a lot and not to get overwhelmed.
i used to struggle with my praying until my father of confession cut it back a bit, and now i am increasing in prayer just a little at a time, which is the right spiritual stage for me.
when people are far from a church, it is great to be able to have church life at home, and that also makes it easier when God brings you closer to the church (or the church closer to you!)

once again, i am impressed with yr comprehensive answer and look up to you.
 Smiley

yes, I absolutely agree that there is a great danger in over-doing it.

I think that if someone wants to pray a veneration or even Midnight Praise on the eve of an important saint's feast day, it is not a problem. But if it is anything more regular than that, it should only be with the blessing of a spiritual father who can guide around both right-hand and left-hand errors. Satan always tells us to pray more, so that we will burn out, and start and stop in bursts, and never develop a moderate, stable spiritual discipline. Obedience is greater than any length of prayers.
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