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Coptic Orthodox Church
Annunciation Not Being Celebrated?
This year the feast of the Annunciation falls on the same day as the last Friday in Lent. I have seen one church schedule that says it isn't being celebrated, but I wanted to confirm that.
That may be the case...But i haven't checked with rites books yet. I know for sure that if it falls between Lazarus Saturday and Easter it is not celebrated. Not sure about Last Friday of Lent.
I actually think it should be celebrated
Oujai khan ebshois
According to the SUS copts calendar site, it says it will not be celebrated this year:
I personally don't know why. I think that's such an important major feast to ignore.
Interestingly it was the same argument 5 years ago on this thread
I understand that discussion is good but the major downfall in the Coptic Church in my experience, perhaps other churches as well, seems to be that nearly everyone has an "opinion". I too regularly have an opinion and then I like to remind myself of one important verse "
My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgement" James 3:1.
The Annunciation in my view is an extremely important feast and does not receive the importance it deserves. Let's face it this is the feast that let man know God was coming in the flesh and is the first of all other feasts.If I were asked I would say that it should be celebrated on the last Friday of lent as I cannot see why this is such an important day. The ritual of Kandil could still be added between Matins and the Liturgy as it does not conflict with anything. The last Friday or last day of Lent only used to be important as people stopped fasting until the Pascha Week. This is no longer the case.
This is not a big deal. This is exactly the reason why we celebrate the feast the other 8 months--every 29th of the coptic months, even if it has been developed into Annunciation, Resurrection, and Nativity.
This same reasoning is applied to the Feast of the Cross. The actual feast of Queen Helen finding the Cross is Baramhat 10, but that always falls in Lent. So even though the rite of the day changes to festive and hosanna, but we don't break our fast. So the Church setup the 3-day-feast on Tout 17-19 to confirm that any one of those days will for sure be a non-fasting day.
Anba Mettaous Rites books confirms this rite by saying, about the Annunciation:
"If the Annunciation feast falls on the last Friday of Lent, or Lazarus Saturday, or Hosanna Sunday, or Holy Week to the second day of the Resurrection Feast, it is not celebrated since these days carry/include Lordly events that are non-recurring [in the liturgical year]"
Interesting...thanks for the old thread!
I agree with
. We should have canons and not opinions. I also agree about the feast's importance and why it should be celebrated.
, it's interesting to point to the description "non-recurring Lordly events"! Why the division into MAJOR and minor Lordly feasts in the first place!
Oujai khan ebshois
edited February 2017
I think the division into major and minor feasts is just a convenient way of organizing. If we truly had 7 "major" feasts, we wouldn't even be fasting during some of them. There are no consistency in the canons of some of these feasts.
If you look at the other Oriental Orthodox churches, there are different ways of enumerating Church feasts.
The way I see it, by "lex orandi", there are three feasts which seem to be the center of the liturgical calendar of the year: Nativity, Theophany, and Resurrection
Perhaps Ramez can help us in this regard the history of defining our feasts.
I've always wondered why the Last Friday is a big deal and is celebrated as if it were a weekend Lenten liturgy. I know it is the last technical day of fasting for Lent, but why is the weekend tune and hymns, such as Teeshori and arpamevi for the Praxis response, used on this day?
edited March 2017
The Last Friday of Lent is important because it is an acknowledgement of the grace received through fasting. The Kandelion Service (Andeel) is a foretaste of the healing received in the Resurrection.
The problem here is
what fasting is and why it matters to God
It was never about food. Until Peter I of Alexandria, it was not even about repentance. In Canon 1, St Peter added the idea of penance for people who apostasized against their will during the persecution, repented and returned as a catechumen for 3 years. After the 3 years, 40 days of penitence was added so they can return to the church (after the fourth Resurrection feasts passed since their apostasy). (This is in the Canons of St Peter, officially recognized by EO in Canon 2 of Quintisext Council. It is mentioned in the nomocanon of Ibn Kabar and Mikhail of Damiette).
This correlation of fasting and repentance gained much traction
except in Alexandria
St Athanasius wrote a letter to Serapion that was attached to his Paschal Letter 11 written in 339AD which admonishes the people of Alexandria for not fasting in Lent.
For I have written this is to each one - that thou shouldest proclaim the fast of forty days to the brethren, and persuade them to fast; to the end that, while all the world is fasting, we who are in Egypt should not become a laughing-stock, as the only people who do not fast, but take our pleasure in these days….But, O, our beloved, whether in this ways or any other, exhort and teach them to fast forty days. For it is even a disgrace that when all the world does this, those alone who are in Egypt, instead of fasting, should find their pleasure. "
The OT and the NT has a completely different idea of fasting. It is a physical display of suffering so that our merciful God can be moved to act. Just like verbal prayers move God to act, so does fasting. Fasting is a physical manifestation of our lowly state due to sin and our request to move God to action. (This is seen in dozens of biblical references. The two most revealing examples are Esther and Cornelius. In Esther 1:16, when she tries to save the Jews from Haman's plot, she asks her fellow Jews in Susa and her maids to fast on her behalf. These Jews did not do anything requiring repentance. They fasted to show God that they were suffering the threat of genocide so that God can take action. The other example is Cornelius in Acts 10:30. He fasted four days BEFORE St Peter came to him and baptized him. He didn't fast because he needed to repent. He fasted because he suffered. He suffered because he could not receive the True God due to Jewish laws. He suffered because he wasn't Jewish and he wanted to follow God.)
Back to Lent.
Fasting is our physical manifestation that sin has damaged us and we are suffering the consequences of sin (judgment, pride, wickedness, temptation, submission to desires, etc) and we are asking God to do something. 40 days we have been telling God to do something. And what does he do? He plans to destroy sin and heal our weak nature and clothe us with grace and immortality of the Resurrection. In addition, he gives us a taste of what it feels like to be partially healed and relieved of the damage - the Kandelion. Full healing will occur in the Resurrection and the eschaton. We will be clothed with God's grace as we were pre-lapsarian in Eden and receive even more grace in the Resurrection. In the Kandelion we get a taste of what it means to be healed from sorrow, grief and groaning as described in Revelation 21.
Thus, there is a slight different understanding on how the Church sees the connection of fasting. During the weekdays, the focus is fasting leading to repentance. Fasting is still a physical manifestation of suffering. We are telling God, we are suffering from sin. Help us to offer repentance so we can return to you. During the weekend, because the weekend is still the celebration of the Resurrection and the fulfillment of God's work on the Sabbath, the focus of fasting shifts from repentance to the fulfillment of healing. Instead of telling God, we need help repenting, we are now telling God, "You are the great high priest. You came and made God the Father our father so we can say Our Father in heaven. You completed the humility by fasting Yourself so that we can be healed from our damaged nature through the Eucharist."
The last Friday of Lent is a recognition that our fasting was effective because our God is a merciful God. Our fasting did actually make God take action to relieve us from our suffering. This is sacramentally seen in the Kandelion and thanksgiving (i.e., thanking God for being the God who heals and saves). Our focus has shifted from requesting repentance to thanking God for His healing.
Of course, this whole theological understanding of fasting and the Resurrection is intimately tied to the incarnation, the annunciation, and all of Christ's work. This is why I think the idea of separating the Lord's feasts into 7 major and minor feasts is an artificial and arbitrary understanding of salvation. It is only a convenient way to organize the calendar but it obscures the theology behind the feasts and the importance of fasting.
Why would it be such a misunderstandable approach if we have the kandelion service side by side with the celebration of annunciation? Surely the meaning would not be lost or confused, would it? At the end of the day we have laqqan service side by side with three totally different ceremonials, don't we?
Oujai khan ebshois