“CANON OF THE TWELFTH HOUR,” GOOD FRIDAY
The hymn of the “Canon of the Twelfth Hour” of Good Friday begins with “Golgotha in Hebrew and Calvary in Greek; the place where you were crucified, O Lord.” This hymn is not mentioned in the encyclopedia of Ibn Kabar, The Lamp of the Darkness.
The second stanza refers to a tradition that the Trisagion was first spoken by Joseph and Nicodemus: “The righteous Joseph and Nicodemus came and took away Christ’s Body and placed ointment on Him, wrapped Him and placed Him in a tomb, praising Him, and saying: ‘Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, Who was crucified for us, have mercy upon us.’”
The first Coptic author to mention this tradition is Ibn al-Saba’, who took it from the Syrian Orthodox author Yahya ibn Garir (11th century), who in turn was the first to introduce it in Arabic. This author took it from Thomas Bar Kepha, who mentioned that this tradition existed before the ninth century. Later (between the 14th and the 17th centuries), this tradition was introduced into the “Canon of the Twelfth Hour” of the Holy Week, replacing two other canons mentioned by Ibn Kabar.
No manuscript known from before the 18th century includes this hymn, which was published for the first time by Tukhi in 1736 and subsequently appears in all Coptic Orthodox publications of the rite of the Holy Week after that date.