Subdeacon

SUBDEACON A novice deacon at the first stage of his diaconate. His duty is to look after the sacred vessels of the divine liturgy. In the early days of the church he was required to watch over the doors and make sure that no stranger or heretic entered. After he has acquired sufficient experience, a […]

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Saturday

SATURDAY The seventh day of the week, the day on which Christ’s body rested in the tomb. The early Christians of Jewish origin continued to observe Saturday as the Sabbath, a day of rest and prayer. But the fact that the Resurrection and descent of the Holy Ghost on the apostles had taken place on […]

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Catechumen

CATECHUMEN In the early church, a new Jewish or heathen convert undergoing a course of basic instruction and training in Christian doctrine and ritual, prior to BAPTISM and full incorporation into the body of the faithful. Just before His ascension, Christ had entrusted to the disciples the task of propagating His teachings among all nations […]

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Catholicos

CATHOLICOS A term of Greek origin signifying “general,” “universal,” and used as a title given to high-ranking secular officials, and later as an honorary title for certain ecclesiastical dignitaries ranking below a patriarch but above a metropolitan. On 25 June 1959, a protocol was issued in Cairo organizing the relationship between the Coptic Orthodox Church […]

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Christian Religious Instruction In Egyptian Public Schools

CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION IN EGYPTIAN PUBLIC SCHOOLS Christian religious instruction in public schools was begun during the reign of the khedive Ismail (1863-1879) as part of the larger fight against illiteracy. Since the passage of a 1968 national law it has been a compulsory subject for Coptic students in all public schools, elementary and secondary. […]

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Consecration Of Church

CONSECRATION OF CHURCH After a new church has been equipped with the necessary vessels, curtains, books, and icons, it has to be consecrated, that is, set apart for divine service and dedicated to a saint. The consecration of a Coptic church is a colorful, elaborate service, carried out on a Saturday evening, and is enriched […]

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Military Costume

MILITARY COSTUME Since the Copts lived under foreign occupation or domination, which reduced them to a tolerated community, one might think that military service would not be accessible to the Copts. Nevertheless, it is known that Saint PACHOMIUS served in the army for a time in the reign of Constantine, although he was soon discharged. […]

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Costume Of The Religious

COSTUME OF THE RELIGIOUS The dress of hermits, monks, and secular clergy. When Christianity appeared in Egypt, the earliest converts, for the most part from a Jewish milieu, did not dress differently from their coreligionists. Jesus did not modify the dress of his disciples. He gave them only the injunction reported in Matthew 10:9-10: “Take […]

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Cycle

CYCLE One of a group of works in Coptic literature dealing with episodes in the life of one or more specific characters, mostly saints and martyrs. There are two basic types of cycle: homiletic and hagiographical. The difference lies simply in the different literary forms used, with the homiletic cycles being made up of texts […]

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Confraternity

CONFRATERNITY As in other Christian countries of late antiquity, confraternities, or guilds, were active in Egypt. Their members were called, in Greek, philoponoi, or lovers of work, and spoudaioi, or zealots. The term philoponeion, confraternity, is used in documents in reference to its legal status. (The translation “infirmary” in Lampe’s Patristic Greek Lexicon is incorrect.) […]

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