Turuhat Of The Holy Week


It is difficult to detect the history of a Coptic liturgical rite, for part of it had been written originally in and translated after that to Coptic and then to Arabic, and another part had been directly written in Coptic and then translated to Arabic. A linguistic approach would be useless to determine the age of a Coptic liturgical book, for most of the vocabulary is taken from the scriptures.

Burmester published a description of the Turuhat [Expositions] in the Coptic Church. He also published the most ancient manuscript of the lectionary dated 1273 a.d., which contains many pericopes. We may notice that the Turuhat explain many pericopes of the Old Testament, such as the Matins of Holy Monday (concerning the first chap of Genesis), the None or of Monday of Holy Week (concerning the first chapters of the Genesis), Matins of the Tuesday of Holy Week concerning the Exodus, Sext or of Maundy Thursday‘s night concerning Isaiah, the Tierce or third hour, Sext, None of Maundy Thursday, and the Tierce of .

The Turuhat always follows the actual reading even when there is divergence with the Manuscript Add. of the 5997 British Museum, as for the reading of the Sext, None, and eleventh hours of Wednesday evening.

It is quite clear that the Turuhat were compiled after the reforms of Peter of Behnasa in the 12th or 13th centuries. It seems that the bishop took some texts already known from Upper Egyptian manuscripts and included them in the Book of Turuhat; hence, we find some similarities between the of Palm Sunday and the Ms. 575 fol. 106 from Pierpont Morgan Library in New York.

By the 14th century, Ibn Kabar had noticed in his for the Explanation of the Service that the of the glorious Saturday does not correspond to the readings of this hour. This still exists in the actual book, while Fr. Jacob discovered in a manuscript the of this hour. This means that in the time of Ibn Kabar (early 14th century) the Turuhat book had assumed more or less the same reading as today. Some irregularities exist in the Coptic version.

The are recent and do not reflect the time of composition. The Book of Turuhat was edited for the first time in 1914 by Philotheus al-Maqari and Michael Girgis. In 1948, Attalah Arsenius al-Muharaqqi reprinted this book, putting the Coptic text before the Arabic translation. This edition has been reprinted several times.