The hegumenos (hegomen or proto-priest) is ordained in the Coptic Church to serve the altar, and to instruct and admonish the congregation. The ordination begins after the Prayer of Reconciliation and before the Kiss of Peace, that is, prior to the anaphora. The candidate bends his knee and prostrates himself before the bishop, who stands in front of the altar.
The bishop begins by praying the Prayer of Thanksgiving and offers incense together with a special prayer invoking God to help the candidate be worthy of this ministry and to serve the priesthood as a hegumenos. The earliest known manuscript is Ms 253 Liturgica of the Coptic Museum, dated 1364. The first edition was edited by R. Tukhi (Catholic) in 1761 with an Arabic translation.
This edition can hardly be accepted as a valid witness, for its content is at times artificial, and hence is not a reliable source for the liturgist. The first Orthodox edition was edited by Athanasius, Metropolitan of Beni Suef in 1959, and reprinted with minor changes by his successor bearing the same name in 1992.