Amen I/we believe


Does anyone know what is the debate about "I" vs "we" in the Liturgical responses (I/we believe)?
Has this been settled or is it still based on the opinion of each Church?



  • Hi @Yoan,
    I am not sure if there is any debate (correct me if I am wrong though). In Coptic it is ϯⲛⲁϩϯ so it should be I believe with no controversy. My belief is that because a lot of people are accustomed to Arabic that is where the confusion lies. آمين أؤمن the final ن has fused with the following آ to sound like نؤمن which is not, and since only a few know Coptic the majority think that it should be we but that is not right..
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡϭⲥ
  • Hi Ophadece,

    Thank you for your answer.

    Deacons who think the correct way is "Amen, we believe" say that there was a typo in the Coptic, it shouldn't be ϯⲛⲁϩϯ but teⲛⲁϩϯ.
    In the same way we say in the institution narrative:
    - We believe
    - We believe that this is true. Amen
    - We believe, we confess and we glorify
    - Amen, Amen, Amen... we praise You, we bless You...

    There's no reason to say "I believe" while in the Liturgy we say "we" most of the time.

  • The official liturgy book that is accepted by the synod is Fr. Abdelmessieh elmassoudi El barmosi. It says, Ϯⲛⲁϩϯ = I believe = أؤمن. That's it. It's that simple. Typo or not, that's what we ought to say.
  • Liturgy = People, which is plural.

    If you pray the Agpeya, you'll see the Litanies, have "I" and then "We" or "Us."

    Right before the distribution, Abouna and the Deacon say "I believe that this is so true..."

    So, only he and Deacon believe?

    English has the most words of any language. Sometimes, a direct translation make no sense, so the plural would work in a Liturgy. It's s not someone sitting and praying alone.

    Even at times, my wife will say something incorrectly with a tense or Pronoun and I have no idea what she meant. I would think "We" believe would be logical in English and not against any Canons or church history.

  • Hi minatasgeel, if the synod accepted what you said, how come the deacons of our Pope say nomen?
  • The "deacons of our Pope" are not the standard. Neither should live liturgies be a set source for anything. We follow specific written or handed down rites. Many bishops stray from that... but I am presenting you with what is proper and what should be the standard. 
  • Very well said @minatasgeel - great response..
    If I may add one thing too albeit only as a contemplation, while the liturgy is the work of the people, there is an important value in declaring a personal faith at times to the extent like @ItalianCoptic mentioned that the deacon in the confession response uses the singular first person for the congregation to follow - pretty much similar to what a bishop and a new priest also do in the liturgy of receiving the oblation. I see such responses relating to those few responses too that are mixed with plural responses to highlight both personal and collective declaration of the faith..
    Let's not forget also that in some parts of tasbeha (vespers or midnight chants) we mix both references in so many places in the same piece.
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡϭⲥ
  • To add to what @ophadece and @minatasgeel said...most of the "we" responses in the liturgy are not affirmations of faith. ie. we praise, we glorify, etc. The only time we see "we believe" is in the institution narrative and there are manuscripts that have those responses as ϯⲛⲁϩϯ rather than ⲧⲉⲛⲛⲁϩϯ. That being said, we are following the accepted text approved by the Synod and this text should not be modified. This can become a very slippery slope...
  • Thank you all for your insightful answers :)

    I wish we could all have one version for all Churches. This is always awkward when I lead Liturgies in Churches I'm invited because I never know what they will say. And this "I/we" is just the tip of the iceberg, there are many differences from one Church to another, whether in Egypt or outside of Egypt like Australia, France.
    Here's a few examples that come to my mind:

    - During the institution narrative, some Churches say in Coptic
    Others say
    Alithos pistevomen

    - Just before the Epiclesis, some Churches say
    We praise You, we bless You, we serve You, we worship You.
    Others say
    We praise You, we bless You, we serve You, O Lord. And we worship You.
    Same in Arabic, some add "ya rabb wa" some not.

    - Just after that response, some Churches say
    some say
    7aqan o2men

    - May their holy blessing, some Churches will double "glory to you" some won't.
    For this one every Churches I served in Arabic doubled it, only Ibrahim Ayad doesn't.

    - I also heard that some Churches have a slightly different wording for Our Father in Arabic, around "give us this day our daily bread".

    Unfortunately, we have no other choice than to adjust to the Church we serve whether they follow the Synod or not :(

  • Hi @Yoan,
    Our Father in heaven is translated differently in various Arabic versions - Coptic doesn't change.
    Ⲉⲣⲉ ⲡⲟⲩⲥⲙⲟⲩ ⲉⲑⲟⲩⲁⲃ should be one "glory to You" because in Coptic we praise and beseech the Trinitarian God - ⲇⲟⲝⲁⲥⲓ ⲕⲩⲣⲓⲉ, ⲕⲩⲣⲓⲉ ⲉⲗⲉⲏⲥⲟⲛ, ⲕⲩⲣⲓⲉ ⲉⲗⲉⲏⲥⲟⲛ - the Arabic boffins couldn't fit the Arabic translation onto the Coptic tune so they mistakenly (so very seriously) added another ⲇⲟⲝⲁⲥⲓ to make it 4 in total!!! This obviously seeped through to other languages and Ibrahim Ayad recently realised that and tried to correct the Arabic.
    As for ⲡⲓⲥⲧⲉⲩⲟⲙⲉⲛ with or without ⲁⲗⲏⲑⲱⲥ I believe it is a confusion between Basilian and Gregorian liturgies.
    Other points I think we have already covered..
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡϭⲥ
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