Saturday, December 31, 2016

to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. Happy New Year

English Version : Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke by St. Cyril Patriarch of Alexandria, Translated by R.Payne Smith published by Studion Publishers, INC. 1983 

Arabic Version  
تفسير أنجيل لوقا للقديس كيرلس السكندرى - الناشر: مؤسسة القديس أنطونيوس - المركز الأرثوذكسي للدراسات الآبائيه - ترجمة د/ نصحي عبد الشهيد 2007 م 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Excerpts from Kiahk Psalmody (Part2)

Excerpts from Kiahk Psalmody (Part2)

Swimming more in Kiahk Psalmody will reflect how the composer of our Coptic Psalies were very acquainted with the prefiguration of the Theotokos in the Old Testament and how they saw the reality in the New Testament, let me introduce you to some verses the first Psali for Friday Theotokia :
“For you are the birth giver of God, the Mother of the True light, for from you has shone forth us, The Sun of righteousness (Malachi 4:2)
The Master, the King of the ages, the true Queen (Ps. 45:8-11) gave birth to Him, with healing in His Wings (Malachi 4:2), for He is the Creator.
Therefore, we dedicate a feast, with praises, we exalt Him, He took what is ours, and gave us what is His. (repeated verse in the writing of Irenaeus, Athanasius, Cyril )
Let us gather at all times, to glorify you, O full of glory, for you are beyond understanding, who can declare your honor. This is the city of the King ( Ps. 48:1; 87:3; Heb. 12:22; Ps. 9:7, 10) Sion, (Zechariah 8:3; Ps. 132:13, many other places in the Bible), the Mother of Christ, for there is none like you, O Virgin Mary. Likewise, the city of Jerusalem, is Mary, the birth-giver of God, for He Who is seated upon the Cherubim, came and dwelt in her… Behold, we say, “Hail to you, O cloud (Is. 19:9; 16-19) that carries Christ, for you are the rational fishing rod, that catches Christians.”`

The Composer of the second Psali on Friday Theotokia took from the greetings of Archangel Gabriel "Hail, O full of grace, the Lord is with you!" and Elisabeth greetings to Mary “"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” as a refrain to be said after each verse in the psali , here are some verses

“This is Zion and the new heaven, and the Throne of Christ (Ezek. 1; Dan. 7:7-13; Rev. 4:6-11): Blessed are you among women, and blessed is your Fruit
For you are truly the ladder (Gen. 28:10-17), the bush (Exod. 3:1-7) and the ark (Exod. 25:10-16; 37:1-9; Ps. 131:8;  Heb. 9:4) : Blessed are you among women, and blessed is your Fruit
Likewise, you are the Gate (Ezek. 43:27-44; 4:1-3), that is pure towards the East: Hail to you, O full of grace, the Lord is with you.
Another type of poem is taken from Isaiah verse “[2] Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;” Isa.1:2 , the composer started by this verse , then extended to
“Hearken unto this, all ye nations, rejoice and be glad, in the feast of the Theotokos, the mother of Emmanuel our God, Let heaven hear her honor, and the earth proclaim her glory… Hearken unto to the tongue of incense Paul ( the composer here follows St. Cyril of Alexandria way in addressing St. Paul and the prophets). The apostle, who symbolized the Virgin, to the new third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2), Hearken to Solomn…..Severus, Cyril)

What I want to say ? there are two types of psalies in the Kiahk psalmody, Arabic which is weak, probably it was composed late maybe by 17th century or so, it served its purpose in its time. The second type is the Coptic (Probably earlier as would argued by Dr. Youhanna Nessim Youssef) , it is more guanine, more concrete , contains the dogma, the Old Testament explained in the eyes of the New Testament. As we are in the immigration land, I would highly recommend that we go in our mid night psalmody for the Coptic psalies which was firstly translated by Holy Virgin Mary Church in Los Angeles, then was revised by St. Mary and St. Abraam Church in Saint Louis, Missouri. Online revised version was made by St. George and St. Shenouda Jersey City. I would urge our deacons to pray more Theotokiat from the weekdays ( Monday though Saturday). It has a deep theological understanding for the mystery of Incarnation.

I will continue to explore more deep meanings in Kiahk psalmody in the next blog.

The Above references was made easy by the article written by Paul Ladouveur “Old Testament Prefigurations of the Mother of God” and El Baramous Monastery edition of Annual Psalmody . 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Benefiting from the Nativity Fast (part1)

Benefiting from the Nativity Fast (part1)

As our Church prepares us for the great mystery of Incarnation, so we should use this time of the year wisely to live this season.

As Fr. Athanasius Farag would recommend, you should be reading the following books:
1-      On the Incarnation by St. Athanasius
3-      The Scandal of the Incarnation: Irenaeus Against the Heresies
4-      Scholia on the incarnation of the Only-Begotten by St. Cyril of Alexandria

Also the book of Keyhak ( Coptic month) Psalmody contains beautiful Coptic Epsalies and exegesis, I encourage you to go through the parts which are not familiar, like Psalies before  the canticle, exegesis after the canticle,   let me share with you some of these hidden treasure 

The exegesis (Tarh in Arabic) on the first hoos ( Exodus 15) gives us beautiful resemblance of the Moses Rod

“Moses struck his wooden rod upon the Red Sea and the waters parted. For us, this is a symbol to the wood of the Cross, upon which they crucified my Lord, The Second Adam”

It sees the Rod which parted the Red Sea in eyes of the believer now ; the Rod of the Cross 

The Exegesis for Thursday Theotokia, contains many fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies

“Barachiah, the prophet, and the righteous prophets, direct the intercessor , towards the East. The Bush is the Virgin, the Theotokos, and the ire in its branches, is the Fire of His Divinity. Paradise was shut, through their evil deeds, but through the Virgin Mary, it was opened for us once again. He was born of the Virgin, in Latter times, and sat upon His throne, on the right hand of Greatness. He was also named, Jesus our God, because He is the Pre-eternal: Son of God”

Epsali on the Third Canticle, it names the miracles which our Lord did: raising the dead, walking on the sea, opening the eyes of the blind, healing the crippled, deaf, lepers, exorcised those possessed by demonic legions, blessed five loaves to feed the multitude, accepted repentance of the adulteress, blessed the children, changed water into wine, at the end verse it says

“The Pre-eternal, Saviour of the world, had compassion on His people, and freed them”

In summary it brings the scope of Incarnation, the Shepard came to had compassion on His Sheep who were tempted by the sin, and corruptibility. The Incorruptible has to come to save the Creation.

In the next few days blogs, I shall continue discussing the hidden treasure in Keyhak Psalmody. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

I Am He: The themes of Sunday Liturgical Readings in the Co...

I Am He: The themes of Sunday Liturgical Readings in the Co...: Reading of Sundays Excerpted from many sermons by The V. Rev. Fr. Athanasius K. Farag Sunday reading aims to show us the work of the H...

The themes of Sunday Liturgical Readings in the Coptic Orthodox Church

Reading of Sundays

Excerpted from many sermons by The V. Rev. Fr. Athanasius K. Farag
Sunday reading aims to show us the work of the Holy Trinity in the creation, redemption and glorification  of the human, it is called the economia of the Holy Trinity.

Month of Tut

In the first month of Tut we read the love of God the Father who called all for repentance “who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” I Ti.2:4

Month of Babah

In the second month of Babah, the churches tells us “Who is this Saviour?” we see him through his work miracles of healing the paralyzed, casting out demons, raising the dead.

Month of Hatour

In Hatour we see who is the Saviour through His word which is planted in our hearts.

Month of Keyhak

      All from Luke chapter 1: the scenes which accompanied the Nativity season

Month of Toba

the incarnation of the Only Begotten Son who called us from darkness to the light, who walked on earth and we saw His glory.

Month of Amsheer

      First three weeks John 6 but in different order
      1st week ends by “them “[26] Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.
[27] Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal."
      2nd week feeding the multitude
      3rd week Bread of Life
      Zeccheaus ( Repentance) Preparing for the Great lent

Month of Baramhat

      Most of it lies in the Great Lent or Holy Fifty

Month of Bashans

      Either it comes in the Holy Fifty or only part of it.

Month of Baouna

      Mostly comes in the Holy Fifty or the fast of the Apostles, all what the Father did to us through the Son, we receive it by the Holy Spirit.
      Same miracles Jesus did, the Apostles did as He gave them the power to do it through receiving the Holy Spirit.

Month of Apip

      Life of believers after receiving the Holy Spirit

Month of Mesra and the little month of Nasei

      Eschatological life (the life to come)

Summary of all Coptic Months

The love of God the Father (Tut) and the grace of the only begotten Son, our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ (Babah through the Holy fifty), and the communion and the gift of the Holy Spirit be with you all (After Holy Fifty till the end of the Coptic year)

Sundays of the Great lent

·         Pre-lent ( Giving, Prayer , fasting)
·         Treasures in Heaven
·         Temptation Sunday
·         The Prodigal Son
·         The Samaritan Woman
·         The Paralyzed Man
·         The Man Born Blind
·         Palm Sunday
·         Resurrection Sunday

Sundays of the Holy fifty

1-      New Sunday Octave Sunday ( the Eights Days after resurrection) which is called Thomas Sunday
2-      the Bread of Life,
3-      The Living Water
4-      the Light of the World
5-      Way, the Truth, and Life,
6-      Our Peace

7-      Pentecost