Where did the “wrong” Kiahk Communion Psalm 150 come from?

Hi everyone,
I remember as a kid and even teenager, Psalm 150 in Kiahk (for the Distribution) was in a tune like the Gospel response, with a refrain that went either “Ⲡⲓⲙⲓⲥⲓ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲫⲓⲱⲧ ϧⲁϫⲱⲟⲩ ⲛⲛⲓⲉⲱⲛ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ" or “The Begotten of the Father before all ages was incarnate of the Virgin”. But as I got older I learned that this was wrong and that there is a specific tune for it. Where did this first, incorrect refrain and tune come from? Who decided to add “was incarnate of the Virgin” to the English and Arabic? When did we decide to correct/update this? Was this local only to me, or do any of your churches still say ⲡⲓⲙⲓⲥⲓ?



  • There is nothing "wrong" here. It's a very basic development of rites:
    - There is a long tune for the kiahk psalm 150
    - There is a short tune since the previous is really not the easiest
    - A refrain was created recently for the short tune and was approved by the synod as:
    Coptic: “Ⲡⲓⲙⲓⲥⲓ ⲉⲃⲟⲗ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲫⲓⲱⲧ ϧⲁϫⲱⲟⲩ ⲛⲛⲓⲉⲱⲛ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ"
    Arabic: "المولود من الآب قبل كل الدهور، أتى وتجسد من العذراء"
    English: "The Begotten of the Father before all ages, was incarnate of the Virgin" (This was not in the synod decision, but the arabic was, and this english is a translation of that)

    Comment about the refrain: Yes!!! The translation doesn't match--the arabic/english has more text. But this is mainly for 2 reasons:
    1- Musically, I flows better with more words (a bit subjective, but true in general)
    2- It simply doesn't make sense if you only say the first half
    Further thought: I believe the coptic was selected and taken from the Amen Alleluia section for the Advent... and in that context, it makes sense:
    Ⲧⲉⲛⲱϣ ⲉ̀ⲃⲟⲗ ⲉⲛϫⲱ ⲙ̀ⲙⲟⲥ: ϫⲉ ⲱ̀ Ⲡⲉⲛⲟ̅ⲥ̅ Ⲓⲏ̅ⲥ̅ Ⲡⲭ̅ⲥ̅: Ⲡⲓⲙⲓⲥⲓ ⲉ̀ⲃⲟⲗ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲫ̀ⲓⲱⲧ ϧⲁϫⲱⲟⲩ ⲛ̀ⲛⲓⲉ̀ⲱⲛ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ: ⲥⲱϯ ⲙ̀ⲙⲟⲛ ⲟⲩⲟϩ ⲛⲁⲓ ⲛⲁⲛ.
    We cry out, saying, "O our Lord Jesus Christ, the Begotten of the Father before all ages, save us and have mercy on us."

    but, once you take out "O our Lord Jesus Christ," the meaning is lost. Hence, the addition in arabic to remedy that.

  • Dear @Daniel_Kyrillos and @minatasgeel

    I believe that the addition of refrains in general is a new thing that probably came about in the 80's of the last century (?) I personally don't hold such a practice in high regard but I am not going to elaborate on this now.

    I disagree that the meaning has been lost when adding the phrase ⲡⲓⲙⲓⲥⲓ ⲉⲃⲟⲗϧⲉⲛ Ⲫⲓⲱⲧ because that's the whole point. We say ⲥⲙⲟⲩ ⲉⲪϯ/ⲉⲣⲟϥ... ⲡⲓⲙⲓⲥⲓ ⲉⲃⲟⲗϧⲉⲛ... Praise God/Him... Who was born... - it makes perfect sense and indeed that is why I don't want to open a can of worms on all Arabic (hence English and other translation refrains) belonging to the festive psalm 150. On the Coptic though the only other one that makes sense is the Nativity one where after Ⲓⲏ̅ⲥ̅ Ⲡⲭ̅ⲥ̅ ⲡ̀Ϣⲏⲣⲓ ⲙ̀Ⲫϯ there is the connective preposition ⲫⲏ which makes the phrase a descriptor for the psalm verse, rather than 2 unconnected statements.

    Back to the translation refrain (and the one created for the Annunciation feast as well as the 29th of each month) I learnt this from this very website, but I can't remember from whom - @RamezM, @remenkimi, @ilovesaintmark or someone else that it is inappropriate to say Who was born of the Virgin with no mention of the Holy Spirit - ie in contravention to the Creed. However, as per what our psalmody lists (especially in the Sunday taodokeyas) that it should be ⲁϥϭⲓⲥⲁⲣⲝ ϧⲉⲛ ϯⲡⲁⲣⲑⲉⲛⲟⲥ rather than ⲁϥϭⲓⲥⲁⲣⲝ ⲉⲃⲟⲗϧⲉⲛ - yes the proper translation should be "was incarnate in", and not "from".. we just have have some simple minded people in the Coptic church which I actually believe is something that the Lord really loves about our church but I personally a proponent of of selling things with deep understanding rather than being superficial or or mixing things up..

    I hope that this is clear..

    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡϭⲥ
  • @ophadece.

    I think that interpretation of "the meaning hasn't been lost" is a bit far fetched. The entire psalm is divided up into stanzas to be sung the way it is sung through out the year in all occasions. ALL incidents in which there is a refrain to be said after each stanza, it is always standalone in meaning. Why would you change that here?!
  • @minatasgeel I thought the synod agreed to remove the refrain completely from Psalm 150?
  • coptic novice here, so excuse me if this should have been obvious -
    what is the difference between the coptic and arabic versions of pimici

    i hope we do keep singing it, i have been looking forward to it!
    and it is also easier in the final hymn (amen alleluia).

    in many churches i attend, it is fairly random whether we say (the coptic version of) 'bless the air, the waters, the rivers etc' one after the other, or whether we just sing the one relevant to the season - some subdeacons do it one way, some do the other, and because no one (including me) is quite sure what season it is, it ends up with 'glory to the Father' etc. till 'the end of all ages', then 'esmo um um um um' then 'kirie eleison etc.
    so when it is the month of kiahk, we can sing it all loud and clear with no um um ums, so i like that better!
  • edited December 2022
    @minatasgeel - let's agree to disagree. To you it is far fetched, but to me I have no intention of changing what you have been accustomed to. This in itself is not enough for me to accept things just like that - I question everything including the "customs" and traditions and I don't even care if Pope Shenouda says psalm 150 during Maundy Thursday or Ibrahim Ayad saying "the Body and the Blood" instead of "Your". I believe I know you well enough, you are younger than me and definitely more respectful.. Hehe

    For me it goes like this:
    Ⲥⲙⲟⲩ ⲉⲪϯ ⲡⲓⲙⲓⲥⲓ ⲉⲃⲟⲗϧⲉⲛ Ⲫⲓⲱⲧ - praise God the begotten of the Father
    Ⲥⲙⲟⲩ ⲉⲪϯ Ⲓⲏ̅ⲥ̅ Ⲡⲭ̅ⲥ̅ ⲫⲏⲉⲧⲁⲩⲙⲁⲥϥ - praise God Jesus Christ who was born
    Ⲥⲙⲟⲩ ⲉⲪϯ Ⲓⲏ̅ⲥ̅ Ⲡⲭ̅ⲥ̅ ⲁϥⲧⲱⲛϥ - praise God and BTW Jesus Christ is risen
    Ⲥⲙⲟⲩ ⲉⲪϯ Ⲓⲏ̅ⲥ̅ Ⲡⲭ̅ⲥ̅ ⲁϥϭⲓⲥⲁⲣⲝ - praise God and BTW Jesus Christ was incarnate of the Virgin (?) oh yes but isn't this a godly incarnation with the work of the Holy Spirit or are we being heretics?

    @mabsoota - the Coptic refrain ⲡⲓⲙⲓⲥⲓ ⲉⲃⲟⲗϧⲉⲛ Ⲫⲓⲱⲧ ϧⲁϫⲱⲟⲩ ⲛ̀ⲛⲓⲉⲱⲛ ⲧⲏⲣⲟⲩ is translated as: the begotten of the Father before all ages..

    It bears nothing to the Arabic or English "was incarnate of the Virgin"

    We add this phrase (correctly) from the beginning of Kiahk, but some people incorrectly add it from the beginning of the fast..

    Don't let me start on ⲁⲙⲏⲛ ⲁ̅ⲗ̅ : it just happens that in the diaspora people removed the association between the Coptic liturgy and the Coptic calendar, despite the fact that it is part of Coptic prayers - indeed during the Passion Week we mention the river Nile and Egypt, but some people make additions and amendments! In the matins doxology for Virgin Mary we mention our land referring to Egypt, not the country we are singing in..

    I definitely have not seen this in British churches in Egypt or Australian, let alone Catholic, and yes I have been to a few in my youth!

    But we are just content to mask our weak personality, and lack of loyalty (due to oppression experiences) with false mottos eg we should be inclusive, we are not in Egypt anymore, we should love the brethren, and everything is gradually diluted till the eventual loss of what is genuinely and sincerely a deep stance with profoundly meaningful practice - it is a disease of this generation driving a superficial attitude and lack of discernment, hence the increasing numbers of people leaving the Church..

    Oops I think I opened the can of worms myself..

    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡϭⲥ
  • @minamakar that was just Anba Bisada talk. The committee he holds, if one can call it that, doesn't have final approval over anything. Final words take place in the General Meeting with all the bishops. 
  • thanks, ophadece for the explanation, that makes sense.
    i also understand minatasgeel's points, as it should be understood, however ophadece says the coptic makes sense and it is above my paygrade to dispute that (i opted out of further coptic studies after a few months as it was online only and i stopped doing computer meetings now it is permitted to meet people face to face - i travel long distances to meet people instead and it results in deeper friendships).

    so basically you (ophadece) are saying that it is ok if we sing it in coptic but the arabic / english translation is not accurate, is that right?
    maybe this is why i have heard the english and arabic sung differently in different churches, as not all say it as it is above. 

    i will opt out of further debate by just singing it in coptic only (quietly if everyone else has moved on to a different language!)
  • Hi @mabsoota,
    As you rightly say I would say the Coptic refrain and avoid the English and Arabic - however, I would encourage a higher level of singing, since the psalm tune without the refrain is the original hymn, not made up like the one with the refrain regardless of the language, that is the one I would always encourage.. It is not even hard at all, but my feeling is (I hope I am wrong) it was deserted because people don't know either or both the first 3 Kiahk alleluja and the final part from ⲇⲟⲝⲁ Ⲡⲁⲧⲣⲓ till the end (let alone ϥⲥⲙⲁⲣⲱⲟⲩⲧ and ϥⲉⲙⲡϣⲁ ⲅⲁⲣ)
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ ⲡϭⲥ
  • thanks for clarification, only a few days left till kiakh!
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