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Coptic Orthodox Church
Feast of Ascension
hey dg920 anyway we can have access to those manuscripts? What exactly are they, how old are they, is there an author?
.. I hope I too have a chance to read it one day..
Oujai khan ebshois
I am sure you would agree that it would be good to know more about the manuscripts and what they actually say and who authored them as opposed to who is in possession of them now. Any further information would be appreciated otherwise it amounts to someone just saying they have something which is of little to no use for us.
edited May 2015
I am afraid I don't have any definitive answers on this. I try not to make absolute statements about that which I have not researched in depth. Nonetheless, here are a few observations.
1- It seems that Fr. Athanasius Al-Maqari addresses the question of the procession in his latest book "Zaman Al-khamsin Al-Muqadassa". Unfortunately, I do not own this book. It would be interesting to see what information he shares, although I have to warn that conclusions can radically change based on more evidence...and more evidence is always being uncovered in many topics (i.e. We cannot base sound conclusions on what is the "ancient rite" based only on a few famous 14th century sources).
2- At a quick glance, I was not able to find any information on a post-ascension daily procession in the famous 14th-15th century sources (Abul-Barakat, Ibn Sibaa, and Gabriel V). The latter does not really address seasonal rituals. The first two treat Resurrection itself, and then jump to Ascension and then Pentecost without a clear explanation of what is done in between. Conclusions can be drawn from this in many ways, but without further research that would incorporate other sources, I am not sure I can make any conclusions from this.
3- My own take: I have seen in sources related to other occasions and processions (Palm Sunday is one major example) that no uniformity can be detected in the sources until very late (after the introduction of printing). This is quite consistent with the understanding of the procession itself (regardless of season) as a public expression and witness of the local community of their faith, or an aspect of their faith in a given celebration. Processions were a huge part of late antique life, whether religious or secular, and Christianity took on this phenomenon all over Christendom as one of many ways to express and witness to the faith. I cover a lot of this in my last article "Aspects of Witness in the Coptic Liturgical Tradition," published in the
Alexandria School Journal
Dec 2014. But back to the point: I doubt one would be able to see any degree of uniformity across sources from various places and times that one can call
older rite of Ascension processions, as these types of practices (when to do processions, how many times, where...etc) tend to be highly local and unique to each sacred place (church, monastery, martyrium, a shrine...etc.)
"There is not much to be found in the New Testament concerning the Ascension of Our Lord. Yet the eternal meaning of these few words, the inexpressible wonder and joy of the Ascension to heaven of the Son of Man, are made clear in the liturgy of Ascension Day. How few people know these texts, how few are looking forward to them, and how few, therefore, are appropriating the spiritual fruits of that feast."
Fr Alexander Schmemmen
It says on coptic reader, during the days between ascension and pentecost, there is no procession except for a sunday