The ecclesiastical season immediately preceding the Nativity of Christ. In the Coptic church, this period lasts six weeks starting on 16 Hatur and ending on 29 Kiyahk. It is a period of fasting in preparation for the celebration of Christ’s coming.
Throughout the month of Kiyahk, the Kiyahkian psalmodia is chanted in a manner popularly known as the “seven-and-four” psalmodia (sab‘ah wa-arb‘ah), so called because it includes seven Theotokia and four hos and is characterized by joyful singing in expectation of the coming of Christ.
Thus, the church not only commemorates the anniversary of the Nativity, that is, the first coming of the Savior, but also looks forward to His Second Coming, the day when the Lord comes in power and majesty (Mt. 24:42; Jn. 14:2). Although Christ has warned that the day and hour of His coming no one knows (Mt. 24:36), it is nevertheless assumed that the Second Coming would take place at a time similar to the first, that is, after the completion of a full circle of time.
- Botte, B. Les Origines de la Noël et de l’Épiphanie, pp. 263-84. Louvain, 1932.
- Martimort, A. G. L’Eglise en prière, pp. 734-38. Paris, 1961.