Help Needed: Writing a proposal to the Holy Synod regarding Too Dipnoo

Hello all,

I am in His Grace Bishop Youssef's diocese and I've spoken to him about the authenticity of the hymn too dipnoo in the Coptic Rite. His Grace does not believe is an authentic Coptic Rite and recommend that a proposal be written to the Synod for its formal approval. If anyone would like to aid me in this, please let me know. 

I think it would be nice to have a formal decision regarding the validity of the rite since I have seen it taught as a rite by multiple authorities in the church so regardless of its approval or not, it would be nice to have some clarity. 

I also have a couple of manuscripts that mention it as a rite on Covenant Thursday but I don't have the origins of these manuscripts and whether they are authentic Coptic Manuscripts or not. Here is the link to them:

Please let me know! Thank you. 


  • I would like to help!
    I just don’t understand what you are doing exactly...if it’s said then it’s approved?..
  • The hymn doesn't need to be "approved" since it has been included into books that have been approved by the specific subcommittees in the Synod. 
  • @Jojo_Hanna

    His Grace Bishop Youssef doesn't think that it is an authentic Coptic rite, meaning that it is said without ever having been approved by the synod. So he told me the correct procedure was to write a proposal for it's approval by the Synod.


    While I do agree with you, our priest asked His Grace if we were allowed to say it on covenant Thursday since some people argued against it, citing that it's deliberately not included in Coptic reader (I asked for it to be on Coptic reader but they declined saying it isn't authentic), and His Grace replied that it wasn't authentic and shouldn't be said.

    Can you refer to one of these books that have been approved by the synod containing the hymn?
  • Albiar's latest book is approved by the Synod and he has it. 

    Abouna Abdel Maseh Elmasoudi el-baramousi, the hegumen who did the liturgy book that we all must follow did a book that has "Greek (Roman) parts that are used now by deacons and chanters"...this is the title of the book and it includes many Greek hymns that are used in the Church:

    The book doesn't only have this hymn, but also ton sina and and to lithoo and omonogenees and ke epirto. To say that Too dhibno is not "authentic" then you are also saying that these are also not.  
  • edited June 2019
    So, a couple things just so we can work towards having some clarity and order in the church:

    His Grace has a Q & A clip in which he answers that just because a book is endorsed by a member of the clergy or by the Synod itself doesn't necessarily dictate that everything in it is valid. It's more of an endorsement for their work or just simply being a spiritual foreword to something. I can send the video to you if you like. And actually, in the video clip the question was directly about Albair's book that had Bishop Mettaous' signature. 

    Also, His Grace Bishop Youssef is on the rites committee so it seems like he would know if a hymn was approved by the Synod or not.

    As far as Abouna Abdelmessih's book goes, the liturgy book that he wrote is used by everyone but that doesn't just absolutely mean that this other book containing Greek hymns used in the church is as equally recognized as a source.  

    I personally don't know the history surrounding this hymn beyond the fact that some modern cantors teach it, its been mentioned in some assorted manuscripts, and its used in other Christian churches. As far as its Coptic Rite goes there seems to be nothing to actually say that this is authentic. 
  • edited June 2019
    I recognize everything you are saying. And sadly, it is the reality we live in. But here are a couple of problems:

    1 - If the Synod doesn't really approve everything that is in a book, then why approve it?!
    2 - If the Synod will need to approve every single hymn in a book, where are the declared approvals for "all" the hymns that we use now. 
    3 - There are things that bishops allow or don't allow to be said in their dioceses (HGBY included), why is that so if we must always go back to the Synod to approve. And if the Synod does approve something specific, why don't ALL bishops and dioceses follow?!
    4 -***this is more of a clarification***: Abouna Abdel-Masseh's liturgy book is declared by the Synod to used as the only valid source for the arabic and coptic:
    Synod's June 14, 1997 Session Decree:
    - Liturgical Texts and Terminology:
    It was decided that in all liturgical prayers, the clergy in churches in Egypt must follow the text of The Divine Liturgy book of the late Hegumen Abdel-masseh Salib El-baramousi El-mas’oudi, in Arabic and Coptic, except for what was changed by the holy Synod. As for the land of immigration, the priests are to follow to use the translations in each appropriate language according to the guidance of the mother-church, while also considering the mentioned decision when praying in Arabic and Coptic

    For further clarification, the book i mentioned previously is not part of the liturgy book, but it was published by the same great scholar. 

    Now, I am not saying all this to tell you to stop doing what you have in mind. I am just bringing your attention to these concerns hoping that you connect the dots and see what we are dealing with.
  • 1- I have no idea. It doesn't make sense to me. The only logical conclusion from seeing a signature on a rites book would be that this person is approving of every word in this book.

    2- That's another good question. The hymn tai shori is said every Sunday but no one told me to say it. I've never even cared to look into the 'validity' of tai shori as a hymn but I still say it.

    2.1- Although I have to say that the case regarding to dipno is different in the sense that it's definitely not wide spread practice. Like I've never heard it prayed in a real church live. So either it was a rite somewhere or everywhere and it was lost then rediscovered or it was made up at some random time (the rite being made up in the Coptic church).

    3- Yeah that's a good point. Actually really I could take this in two ways, my bishop doesn't think it's valid so it won't be said or just write the proposal and let it be discussed at the Synod. I don't think His Grace has a problem with the hymn just more about preserving some order in the church.

    I appreciate that. The things you said were helpful. If you have any other resources, please send them my way. God bless
  • We always say To Dipnou...
    Then again I serve with the author of the book :P
  • in case anyone wonders what this is about, it is here:

    in my opinion, if it is on '', then it must be ok!


    i didn't yet have time to learn all the hymns we do sing at church, let alone the others, so i'll now go back to my happy uneducated corner and leave the discussions to the professionals!

  • I believe we may need some clarity on what Bishop Youssef means when he says it is not authentic. The hymn is Greek like many hymns and adopted by the Coptic church. This point cannot be disputed. However, His Grace may have a valid argument on authenticity if his point is in regards to the music of the hymn itself in that it is fact that it was made up by Albeir as a Copticised version of the current Greek music. Whether Albeir had authority to do so or not is another discussion but the clarity needed from the Synod is whether they approve his version of the hymn to be used. Do not misunderstand me I am not against the hymn but it cannot be simply accepted that anybody can make up hymns for use in the church without a higher level of approval otherwise there is potential for this to become a big issue.
  • Mlm. Albair did not “MAKE UP” a tune
  • Go to the Greek tune, they're practically identical.
    All the other Greek segments are too (music-wise)
  • Albeir took a Greek hymn and Copticised it so in effect did make it up as he alone decided where the hezaat would start and end and I accept may have been influenced by the Greek. I refuse to accept that the Greek and Coptic versions are "practically identical" as you suggest and I would argue they are anything but identical perhaps similar at most.

    Not all Greek hymn text that we borrowed are similar music wise, classic examples being Agios, Omonogenis and Christos Anesti. I have nothing against establishing tunes for texts we have borrowed as long as it is done with authority as currently there is nothing to stop you, I or anyone taking the same hymn and changing hezaat or pauses etc.
  • @drewhalim...there is a coptic version for that hymn recorded by someone from Alexandria that is probably different than what Albair recorded on his own :-). Not that this changes anything from what I said before. 
  • @drewhalim 

    I cannot speak for His Grace but basing on the fact he made no specific of the tune itself during our conversation it doesn't seem his issue is with the music but with the rite itself. 
    Although, your point is a good one because in the hypothetical situation where a synod does approve this hymn to be said, they would then have to decide the source for its music which other than Albair (haven't heard another one) doesn't exist. 

    Also, both Cantor Bola Moneer and Zaher Andrawes teach the hymn with the same music so it seems weird to me that they would just hear Albair's recording and adopt the hymn randomly. 
  • Bola Moneer is a very good friend of Zaher Andrawes and he certainly learnt it from Albeir's recording. I can guarantee you that any cantor or priest (yes I have heard priest recordings) who chant the hymn in the same way Albeir does either learnt it from his recording or indirectly from someone who learnt from it. It would be interesting to hear the Alexandrian recording that Mina refers to but if it turns out to be different from Albeir's then that clearly is not the source he used.

    I once asked Ibrahim Ayad his opinion on this hymn and other similar situations. His diplomatic response was that the version Albeir made is "better than nothing" but he himself does not chant it or teach it in the Didymus institute or clerical college.
  • @minatasgeel, do you know where this recording of tou dipnou is? I would love to compare it to the Greek version.
  • edited June 2019
    The deacon who recorded the old Greek parts is called Sobhy Kolta, he was one of the former deacons at st. Mark cathedral in alexandria..
    HE DID NOT record too dipnoo with the other greek parts, so we actually have no original "coptic tune" for it. And the tune used by Mr. Albair is in fact made up by him and its usage by the current "young Cantors" adds NOTHING regards its authenticity. The tune is still made up and has not been approved by any formal side.
    - Abouna Abd Elamseeh has written many books, the ONLY book that was declared to be a source by the Synod is the خولاجى The Synod did not decalre any other of his books as a source, in fact he did not do well in some of his books for example the book of eleprosat الابروسات which he supervised is a very very weak book that goes against the old rites..
    Regarding the authenticity of the hymn, someone has asked me from a while on my facebook page to give him sources from the manuscripts talking about too dipnoo to discuss it with his bishop, i attached some photos from manuscripts that conataing the hymn, and i think this post here is related.
    Let me clarify some information redarding this hymn presence in our old manuscripts:
    1-this hymn was only chaned in the alexandrian pascha, this means that this hymn was only practised by two or three churche at maximum.
    2-this hymn has never been adopted by any other churche outside alexandria, so it was not part of the pascha prayers in the great majority of the churches and monastries.

    I am not against the text,but i am 100% against making up tunes for a lost texts by persons who has no authority to do so... We have an uncounatable number of texts with lost tunes, if we open the door for unauthorized unprofessional people to make up tunes the situation will not go well.
  • Dear @minasafwat,
    I can't agree more with what you said but just for argument's sake some people would deem cantor Albair as both authorised and professional!
    Secondly for me personally lost tunes are lost full stop. The Holy Spirit willed for them to be lost for a reason. Perhaps to remind us that we are getting weak, perhaps to rebuke us for our sins, perhaps to encourage us to be more vigilant ever after, or perhaps for bits of all of the above.
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡϭⲥ
  • edited June 2019
    It is crystal clear,
    1- authorized means that the person is a member of the hymns subcommittee in the Synod.
    2-professional means that he did studied music and has a certificate, i can state George Kyrollos as an example here..

    Lost hymns need sincere and hardwork with self denial.. We already found original coptic hymns in upper egypt and we struggle to make in usage again, we have corrected many wrong non-understandable texts..

    But let me be straight, taking a text and put the greek tune (which is rather unfamiliar and unpopular to the coptic ears) and copticising it with no clear rules or basics for the aim that mr(x) is the source of the hymn and he is the one who returned it back to usage, is just an exploitation of the confidence of the young deacons who did not study the hymns well.. It is rather sort of irresponsibility to me.. Same is applied to M. Ibrahim ayad regarding the fabricated nativity piece (i genesis so kriste), it is also an exploitation of the illiterate decaons confidence..

    I owe both Mr. Albair and M. Ibrahim great respect, albair himself i helped him in many of his productions, but i can not agree with them all time.

    If Anba Youssef is not accepting the hymn in his area then he has his persuasive reasons for doing so, chanting this piece in other churches or areas is just a sort of indulgence..
  • As far as I know, Tou Dipnou was taken from the Greek rite, and the tune I hear *Coptic* chanters say it in is an abbreviation and Copticization(?) Of the original *Greek Orthodox* tune. I put a comment up at one point where there is a nice recording of a Greek church saying it in the original tune. The reason this hymn, along with others like Ton Sina, Tou Lithos, and some others I can’t remember were borrowed were to show unity between the Greek and Coptic churches. Now this leads to a discussion: should we reject ALL the Greek hymns we borrowed, including some of the “staples” of the church hymns, or should we take this all for the grace and glory of God and find spiritual meaning in them, despite them not bring truly “Coptic”?

    Personally, Tou Dipnou has always seemed like a fit for Holy Week, especially if it’s said slowly in a low and mourning tune. I’m reminded of the emotions of the week in a calm second in a liturgy that is otherwise very rushed in my church. But of course, emotions do not dictate whether a hymn belongs in the church or not.
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