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Alexandrian liturgical rites

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A scene from a Pascal Coptic liturgy.
A scene from a Pascal Coptic liturgy.


Alexandrian rites are liturgical rites employed by three Oriental Orthodox churches, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, as well as by their Eastern Catholic counterparts of the Coptic Catholic Church, Eritrean Catholic Church, and Ethiopian Catholic Church.

The Alexandrian rite's Divine Liturgy contains elements from the liturgies of Saints Mark the Evangelist (who is traditionally regarded as the first bishop of Alexandria), Basil the Great, Cyril the Great, and Gregory Nazianzus. The Liturgy of Saint Cyril is a Coptic language translation from Greek of the Liturgy of Saint Mark.

The Alexandrian rites are sub-grouped into two rites: the Coptic Rite and the Ge'ez Rite.

Sub-groups

Coptic

The Coptic Rite is native to Egypt and traditionally uses the Coptic language with a few phrases in Greek. It is used in the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Coptic Catholic Church. Arabic and a number of other modern languages (including English) are also used.[1]

Ge'ez

The Ge'ez Rite is native to Ethiopia and Eritrea and uses the Ge'ez language. It is used in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo churches, and the Ethiopian and Eritrean Catholic churches.

Divine Liturgy

The main Eucharistic liturgy used by the Coptic Churches is known as the Liturgy of Saint Basil.[2] The term Liturgies of Saint Basil in a Coptic context means not only the sole anaphora with or without the related prayers, but also the general order of the Divine Liturgy in this rite.[3]

The term Liturgy of Saint Basil may refer also to the whole Eucharistic Liturgy which in the Coptic Churches has the following structure:[4][5]

Offertory

Offertory (or Prothesis) is the part of the liturgy in which the Sacramental bread (قربان qurbān) and wine (أبركه abarkah) are chosen and placed on the altar. All these rites are medieval developments.[6]

It begins with the dressing of the priest with vestments and the preparation of the altar, along with prayers of worthiness for the celebrant. At this point is chanted the appropriate hour of the Canonical hours, followed by the washing of the hands with its prayer of worthiness, and by the proclamation of the Nicene Creed.

Then takes place the elaborate rite of the choosing of the Lamb: while the congregation sing 41 times the Kyrie eleison, the priest checks the wine and chooses among the bread one loaf which will be consecrated (the Lamb). The Lamb is cleaned with a napkin and blessed with the priest's thumb wet of wine. Afterwards the priest takes the Lamb in procession around the altar and the deacon follows with the wine and a candle.[2] At the altar, the priest, with appropriate prayers, blesses the Lamb and the wine, places the Lamb in the Paten and pours wine and a few drops of water in the chalice (the chalice is stowed into a wooden box named ark on the altar).

The last part of the offertory resembles an anaphora: after a dialogue, the priest blesses the congregation and proclaims a prayer of thanksgiving, giving thanks to God for his support to us, and asking him for a worthy participation to the liturgy. Then comes the prayer of covering, said inaudibly by the priest, which has the form of an epiclesis, asking God to show his face on the gifts, and to change them in order that the bread and wine may became the Body and Blood of Christ. This text might come from an ancient anaphora or simply be a later High Middle Ages creation.[6] The paten and the ark with inside the chalice are here covered with a veil.

Liturgy of the Catechumens

In the Liturgy of the Catechumens the readings from the New Testament are proclaimed. This portion of the Divine Liturgy was in the ancient times the beginning of the liturgy, and the only part which could be attended by the catechumens. This part is roughly equivalent to the Liturgy of the Word in the Western Rites.

It begins with a Penitential Rite in which first the priest prays inaudibly Christ for the forgiveness of sins (The Absolution to the Son) and then all the participants kneel in front of the altar and the celebrant, or the bishop if present, recites a prayer of absolution (The Absolution to the Ministers).

The reading from the Pauline epistles is preceded by the offering of incense at the four sides of the altar, at the iconostasis, at the book of the Gospel and at the faithful in the nave; in the meantime the faithful sing a hymn to Mary and a hymn of intercession. The Pauline epistle is followed by a reading from the Catholic epistles, and by one from the Acts of the Apostles. Another offering of incense is conducted (the Praxis Incense), similar to the Pauline incense except that only the first row of the faithful is incensed. A reading from the Coptic Synaxarium can follow.

After these readings, the Trisagion is sung three times, each time with a different reference to the Incarnation, Passion, Resurrection, thus addressing the Trisagion to Christ only. After the Trisagion follows a litany, the recital of a Psalm and the singing of the Alleluia, and finally the proclamation of the Gospel from the doors of the sanctuary. The sermon may follow.

Liturgy of the Faithful

The Liturgy of the Faithful is the core of the Divine Liturgy, where are placed the proper Eucharistic rites.

It begins with the prayer of the Veil,[6] in which the priest offers the liturgical sacrifice to God. The Long Litanies follows, where all pray for the peace, for the ecclesiastic hierarchy and for the congregation. The Nicean Creed is proclaimed, the priest washes his hands three times and sprinkles water on the congregation reciting the Prayer of Reconciliation which is a prayer of worthiness for all who attend the liturgy. Next is the Kiss of peace during which the faithful sing the Aspasmos Adam hymn, according to the season of the liturgical calendar.

Anaphora

The Anaphora is conducted.

The Coptic anaphora of Saint Basil, even if related and using the same Antiochene (or "West Syrian") structure,[7] represents a different group from the Byzantine, West Syrian and Armenian grouping of anaphoras of Saint Basil. The Coptic version does not derive directly from the latter and has its own peculiarities: its text is more brief, with less Scriptural and allusive enhancements, and it lacks well defined Trinitarian references,[8]: 113  which are typical of other versions and reflect the theology of the First Council of Constantinople of 381.

The structure of the Bohairic Coptic version used today in the Coptic Churches can be summarized as follow:

The 7th-century Sahidic Coptic version found in 1960[9] shows an earlier and more sober form of the Bohairic text: the manuscript, incomplete in its first part, begins with the Post Sanctus, and is followed by a terse Institution narrative, by a pithy Anamnesis which simply lists the themes and ends with the oblation. The next Epiclesis consists only of the prayer to the Holy Spirit to come and manifest the gifts, without any explicit request to change the gifts in the Body and Blood of Christ. The intercessions are shorter and only Mary is named among the saints.[8]: 112 

After the Anaphora

After the anaphora takes place the consignation,[6] i.e. the moistening of the Lamb with some drops of the consecrated Wine, which is show to the worship of the faithful. The Fraction of the consecrated Lamb ensues, during which the priest says a prayer which varies according to the Coptic calendar. All of the congregation stands and prays with open hands the Lord's Prayer.

To be prepared for partaking of the Eucharist, the faithful bow while the celebrant says in low voice the prayer of submission, then the priest and the participants offer each other a wish of peace and the priest inaudibly prays the Father for the forgiveness of sins (The Absolution to the Father).

The Elevation is similar to that in the Byzantine Rite, with the celebrant who raises the portion of the Lamb engraved with a cross (the ispadikon) crying: "The holy things for the holy ones". The priest makes a second consignation and puts gently the ispakidon in the chalice (the commixture),[10] then he recites aloud a Confession of faith. The partaking of the Eucharist follows, first the Body of Christ given to the celebrants, to the deacons and to the faithful who approach the sanctuary without shoes and then the Blood of Christ in the same order. Psalm 150 is sung in the meantime. The distribution of the Eucharist ends with a blessing with the Paten.

The dismissal rites include The Prayer of Laying the Hands and the final blessing.

Notes

References

  1. ^ "Eastern and Oriental Catholic Directory: Alexandrian Rite". Archived from the original on 2017-10-14. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  2. ^ a b Chaillot, Christine (2006). "The Ancient Oriental Churches". In Wainwright, Geoffrey (ed.). The Oxford history of Christian worship. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 137–9. ISBN 9780195138863.
  3. ^ Cody, Aelred (1991). "Anaphora of Saint Basil". The Coptic encyclopedia. Vol. 1. Macmillan. 121b-123b. ISBN 002897025X.
  4. ^ Sleman, Abraam (ed.). "St. Basil Liturgy Reference Book" (PDF). CopticChurch.net. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  5. ^ Malaty, Tadrous Y. (1973). Christ in the Eucharist. OrthodoxEbooks. p. 119.
  6. ^ a b c d Spinks, Bryan (2010). "Oriental Orthodox Liturgical Traditions". In Parry, Ken (ed.). The Blackwell Companion to Eastern Christianity. Malden, Mass: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 361–2. ISBN 9781444333619.
  7. ^ Mazza, Enrico (1995). The origins of the Eucharistic prayer. Collegeville, Minn: Liturgical Press. p. 612. ISBN 9780814661192.
  8. ^ a b Stuckwish, D. Richard (1997). "The Basilian anaphoras". In Bradshaw, Paul F. (ed.). Essays on early Eastern eucharistic prayers. Collegeville, Minn: Liturgical Press. ISBN 978-0814661536.
  9. ^ J.Doresse and E. Lanne, Un témoin archaique de la liturgie copte de S.Basile, Louvain, 1960
  10. ^ "The Fraction in The Coptic Orthodox Liturgy". britishorthodox.org. Archived from the original on 9 March 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012.

Bibliography

External links

This page was last edited on 21 June 2022, at 17:29
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