Constitutions of the Holy Apostles

Sunday

SUNDAY The weekly commemoration of the Resurrection and appearance of the Lord to His disciples (Jn. 20:19, 26). It falls on the first day of every week. Sunday has been kept by Christians since apostolic times as a day of joyful worship. Saint Paul and the Christians of Troas gathered on the first day of …

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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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Confession And Penitence

CONFESSION AND PENITENCE Sacramental confession consists of the avowal of one’s sins and faults, accompanied by genuine contrition, made to a priest for the purpose of obtaining absolution. Before Christ instituted this sacrament, He had given His disciples two relevant promises. When Peter recognized the true nature of Jesus Christ as the Messiah and acknowledged …

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Laying-On Of Hands

LAYING-ON OF HANDS The laying-on, or imposition, of a bishop’s hands on a person’s head on the occasion of his nomination to the priesthood or diaconate is a rite first mentioned in the Old Testament and has been practiced in the church ever since the apostolic age. Before the Ascension of Christ, He appeared to …

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Liturgical Instruments

LITURGICAL INSTRUMENTS The liturgical instruments of the Coptic church, as well as everything worn or used during the services, must be consecrated by the patriarch or a bishop as part of the general process of CONSECRATION. Basin and Ewer A basin and ewer are usually placed on a low wooden stand at the northern side …

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Consecration Of Bishop

CONSECRATION OF BISHOP In the event of a bishopric becoming vacant as a result of the death of its bishop or for other reasons, a successor is nominated by the clergy and congregation, and his name is submitted to the patriarch, together with a testimonial called a deed of election. The patriarch refers this testimonial …

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Bishop

BISHOP A clergyman of the highest order, senior in rank to priests and deacons. The Coptic term (episkopos) and the Arabic (usquf) are derived from the Greek and Latin versions (episkopos, episcopus), which, etymologically, mean “overseer.” Bishops are successors to the apostles, and, from the historical point of view, the episcopate is a continuation of …

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Deacon

DEACON The third and lowest rank in the threefold hierarchy of orders in the Coptic church, being subordinate to the presbyter and the bishop. The term deacon, derived from the Greek diakonos, meaning “servant,” signified one who performed menial tasks such as waiting at table. It occurs in the New Testament with wider and more …

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Anointing

ANOINTING The application or pouring of oil on a person or an object as a sacred rite, practiced from time immemorial by various peoples and in several religions. It is known in Arabic as mash. Judaism Anointing was common for both religious and mundane purposes, to consecrate certain persons or set particular things apart as …

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Ordination Of Priest

ORDINATION OF PRIEST When a person is chosen as a candidate for the priesthood, a document testifying to the candidate’s aptitude and good character is drawn up by the clergy, deacons, and people of the church to be presented to the bishop. If he is not already a deacon, he must be ordained reader and …

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