Laqqan (pl. laqqanat)

LAQQAN (pl. laqqanat)

A Coptic designation for the mandatum tank, which on Maundy Thursday and on the feast day of Peter and Paul (5 Abib) is used for the ceremony of the foot washing. It is a small basin sunk slightly into the floor in the western part of the nave. It is covered with a wooden lid when not in use. In older examples made from light-colored marble, the form of the lids is strikingly uniform. Lids usually consist of a rectangular stone slab with a high rim, in the middle of which is a round conical hollow also provided with a raised rim. In the churches of Old Cairo such as Saint Mercurius in DAYR ABU SAYFAYN and Abu Sarjah there are also some lids with an octagonal shape and polychrome marble inlays, which probably date to the Mamluk period.

When laqqanat began to be used is still not clear. They are unknown in the early Christian period. There is no church known from this period in which there are any remains or even traces of their existence. On the other hand, the ceremony was mentioned as early as the seventh century. Probably at that time portable basins were employed.


  • Assfalg, J., ed. and trans. Die Ordnung des Priestertums, Tartib al- Kahanut; ein altes liturgisches. Handbuch der Koptischen Kirche. Cairo, 1955.
  • Burmester, O. H. E. “Two Services of the Coptic Church Attributed to Peter, Bishop of Bahnasa.” Le Muséon 45 (1932):235ff.
  • . The Egyptian or Coptic Church, pp. 256ff. Cairo, 1967. Evelyn-White, H. G. The Monasteries of the Wadi ‘n Natrun, Vol. 3, 1973. 21ff. New York, 1933; repr. 1973.


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