Coptic Orthodox Liturgical History - Book 1
Have you ever wondered where Rites come from, how they were developed and evolved, and the influences that participated in shaping them as conducted in the Coptic Church today? Have you ever pondered about the theological, spiritual, and, sometimes, the symbolism behind rituals, prayers, and hymns used in the Coptic Church? Have you ever questioned the origin of hymns, their authors, and when they were introduced in the Coptic liturgical scheme?
This book discusses all of this and much more. It expounds the origins and progression of Rites in general, and of the Coptic Rite in particular. This includes Vespers Psalmody and Offering of Incense, Midnight Psalmody, Prime Offering of Incense, the Offertory, Liturgy of the Word, and the three liturgies of the faithful used in the Coptic Church: St. Basil, St. Gregory, and St. Cyril. The book highlights the distinguishing features of the Alexandrian liturgical elements along with the theological dogmas and spiritual principles that brought them about. It also includes the text of the most ancient liturgical prayers extant with their shape and structure. It contains a hypothetical liturgy of St. Mark before the changes introduced by St. Cyril of Alexandria.
Each chapter of the book provides a general in-depth introduction that can benefit lay people as well as clergy. Following the introduction, more technical research is offered for scholars; it provides comparisons of manuscripts, studies conducted by deceased and contemporary scholars, and much more. This book is one of its kind; it serves as a bridge between the Coptic Church’s heritage, fathers, and scholars, who are proficient in Coptic and Arabic, on one hand, and second and future generations of English speakers in the Diaspora Church across the world, on the other hand. In order to understand how rites, hymns, and prayers evolved, you need to study old manuscripts and compare them; these ancient documents are written in Coptic, Arabic, and sometimes Greek. This makes it difficult for English speakers to delve into the subject without having to study these languages first. This book includes studies of 50 manuscripts in addition to many other scholarly works provided by western, eastern, and oriental writers.
About the Author
Albair Mikhail is the founder of the Heritage of the Coptic Orthodox Church (HCOC) chorus. All hymns and rites pertaining to the Coptic Church, among other materials, were recorded, compiled, and made available via the CopticHymns app and the copticheritage.org website. Albair is the author of several Church books including the widely used The Foundations of the Deacon’s Ministry; others include The Complete Reference of the Passion Week Rite, and The Practical Guide of the Veneration Service. Albair is the host of and instructor at several TV shows including Learn the Hymns of Your Church on Aghapy TV, Learn the Rites of Your Church on Aghapy TV, and Praise the Lord on CYC. Albair is the instructor of History, Theology, and Rites at the Asaph Hymns Institute. Over the last 32 years Albair has been teaching hymns to hundreds of deacons, conducting seminars, and delivering lectures on Ritual Theology in many churches, states, and provinces.