The Monastery of St. Antony (RED SEA)

The Monastery of St. Antony (RED SEA) SAINT ANTONY, THE FATHER OF MONKS, found his final place of refuge in a cave in Mount Colzim (Qulzum) in the Wadi al-‘Araba near the Red Sea. A spring at the foot of the mountain supplied water and he planted a small garden. After his death in 356, […]

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John of Shmoun and Coptic Identity

John of Shmoun and Coptic Identity After the Council of Chalcedon in ad 451 and in particular after the Arab conquest of Egypt in ad 641, the need to demonstrate Coptic self­ identification became more important than before.[1] Usually, there is the need to stress one’s identity and define or form its features when one […]

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Sisoes (Jijoi)

SISOES (Jijoi) An anchorite (fourth-fifth century). In the APOPHTHEGMATA PATRUM some fifty items mention Sisoes or Tithoes, which is another form of the same word. But it is proper to distinguish at least two if not three persons with this name. The earliest and most renowned lived with Or and MACARIUS at Scetis; he left […]

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Scetis

SCETIS A name that historically designated the area of monastic settlement extending about 19 miles (30 km) through the shallow valley known in the medieval period as Wad Habb, now called Wad al-Natrun, which runs southeast to northwest through the Western or Libyan Desert, about 40 miles (65 km) southwest of the Nile Delta. In […]

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Cyriacus

CYRIACUS A Bishop of al-Bahnasa (Oxyrhynchus), assumed author of eight homilies. We have no historical evidence of either the existence of this person or the period in which he lived. On the latter, opinions greatly diverge: G. Graf (1944-1953, Vol. 1, p. 475) thinks that if one accepts what is said by the Ethiopian Book […]

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Spoken Coptic Language

SPOKEN COPTIC LANGUAGE Coptic was the spoken language of ancient Egypt until the ARAB CONQUEST OF EGYPT in the seventh century. It was recorded first in the hieroglyphic (sacred) script, the earliest form of Egyptian pictorial writing, and succeeded by the hieratic (priestly), which was the simplified running script, and the demotic (from “demos,” meaning […]

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Communion Of The Sick

COMMUNION OF THE SICK A special rite by which Holy Communion is administered to a bedridden person or to a prisoner in his cell. Fasting and confession are required whenever possible. After celebrating the Divine Liturgy in the church, and while communicating the people, the priest dips a portion of the Holy Body in the […]

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Christian Subjects In Coptic Art

CHRISTIAN SUBJECTS IN COPTIC ART Whatever its materials and techniques—stone or wood relief sculpture, painted walls or manuscripts, textiles, metalwork, ceramics, or glass—Coptic Christian iconography retained a few rare elements of pharaonic origin and many Greco-Roman elements from Alexandrian tradition. From the fifth century on, these pagan subjects mingled with Christian motifs. The Christian subjects […]

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Book Of Canonical Hours

BOOK OF CANONICAL HOURS A book containing the offices for the seven canonical hours. It includes all the prayers, Psalms, Gospel readings, and petitions to be said at the various hours by day and night, appointed in accordance with analogous points in the life and Passion of Jesus Christ. Canonical hours were appointed in conformity […]

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Cantors Of The Coptic Music

Cantors, Their Role and Musical Training Because members of the clergy were not equally talented as singers, it became and has remained the tradition to entrust performance of the music to a professional cantor (Arabic: ‘arif, “one who knows,” or mu‘allim, “teacher”), who is employed and trained by the church to be responsible for the […]

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