Passover

afikoman

afikoman n. Hebrew (ah-fee-KO-men) From a Greek word meaning “dessert,” a piece of matzah that is hidden during the Passover seder. On the seder table are three symbolic matzot covered with a cloth. Following the text of the haggadah, the leader breaks the middle matzah in half and hides one half—the afikoman—somewhere in the house. …

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Aaron

Aaron Older brother of Moses. Aaron was a leading figure in the Passover story and the Exodus from Egypt. He is generally thought to be the first high priest of the ancient Hebrews.   Eisenberg, J., Scolnic, E., & Jewish Publication Society. (2001). The JPS dictionary of Jewish words. Over 1000 entries for Jewish holidays …

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The Monastery of the Holy Virgin Mary at al-Muharraq, Mount Qusqam: History and Heritage (Reflections of Its Monks)

The Monastery of the Holy Virgin Mary at al-Muharraq, Mount Qusqam: History and Heritage (Reflections of Its Monks) Introduction[1] The history of the Coptic Orthodox Church makes no mention of any information about the monastic community or the Holy Virgin Church in the Qusqam region until the fourteenth-century ad. The name Qusqam (al-Muharraq Monastery) is …

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Maundy Thursday

MAUNDY THURSDAY The hymn of Judas is sung in Greek in the Matins of the Maundy Thursday; according to Baumstark, this hymn may be dated to the sixth or seventh century. A manuscript from the John Rylands Library in Manchester contains a Prayer for the Basin “without sprinkling the lentils” (the interpretation of this phrase …

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Genuflection

GENUFLECTION The Prayer of Genuflection is performed in the Coptic Church on the eve of Whitsunday (the Feast of Pentecost) to indicate the end of Eastertide, during which prostration does not occur. This prayer signals another period in the liturgical calendar, during which prostration is permitted. Ireneaus Bishop of Lyon wrote, “Do not kneel on …

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Holy Week

HOLY WEEK Holy Week falls between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. The first description of the rite of the Holy Week is given by Egeria, a European woman from France who visited the Holy Lands between 381and 384. She provided a detailed description of the places she visited and the ceremonies that she attended. It …

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Good Friday

GOOD FRIDAY The Friday before Easter and the anniversary of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Ibn Kabar’s description of the rites of Good Friday is as follows: the prayer of the first hour is performed according to the rite of the Passover with readings from the four gospels and the prophecies, followed by sermons that …

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Hosanna

HOSANNA Hebrew word, meaning “save us.” In the Coptic liturgy, it relates to Palm Sunday. In the 12th century, Abu al-Makarim wrote his book, the History of the Churches and Monasteries in Egypt. The feast of Palm Sunday was a special ceremony in his church (Church of the Holy Virgin in Haret Zuwylah in Old …

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