This major feast in the Coptic Church commemorates the descent of the Holy Ghost on the apostles on the fiftieth day after the Resurrection (Acts 2:1-4). This was in fulfillment of the promise made by Jesus before His crucifixion: “The counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (Jn. 14:26). Saint Mark explicitly mentions the promise to enable them “to speak in new tongues” (16:17). These and similar pledges were all fulfilled ten days after the Ascension, that is, fifty days after the Resurrection, equivalent to the Jewish feast of weeks that occurred on the fiftieth day after the Passover (Dt. 16).
In the Acts of the Apostles the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples is described as “tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each of them” (Acts 2:3).
The Coptic translation of the Bible clearly distinguishes between the term “Holy Spirit” when it is used to indicate the HYPOSTASIS and the term when it indicates the gift or grace bestowed upon those who are blessed by the Holy Spirit.
- Burmester, O. H. E. The Egyptian or Coptic Church. Cairo, 1967. Jurgens, William A. The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol. 1. Collegeville, Minn., 1970.
- Wassef, Cérès W. Pratiques rituelles et alimentaires des Coptes. Cairo, 1971.