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Judas' Procession
  • On Covenant Thursday, in Judas' Procession, we go around the church in the opposite direction, but can someone explain to me the exact direction, upon leaving the altar? I'm confused as to whether we walk through the center of the church towards the altar after the second/third round, as we do in a normal procession.

    Also, I would love a link to the hymn chanted during the procession.

    Thanks.
  • May I also know why this is be done?
  • The hymn in Coptic and Arabic is found here.

  • "On this day also an unusual procession takes place, starting from the south of the church nave, during which a hymn of rebuking Judas the betrayer is chanted as a warning to us not to fall like him."
    Source (http://www.coptichymns.net/module-hymns-catview-pid-22.html)

    "This is to remember that Judas, had broken the law, and acted contrary to the proper Christian way."
    Source (Treasures of the Fathers of the Church Volume Three: The Holy Pascha)
  • The procession of Judas does not start from the altar.  The priest and the deacons start from the nave (center) and go around the church counter-clockwise.  The procession continues until the hymn of Judas is completed.

    Usually, when we go around the church for a certain number of times, the number bears some significance.  For example, 3 times signifying the work of the Holy Trinity.  The procession of Judas is not about a work of the Holy Trinity or of the Gospel or anything.  It is a procession of proclamation.  It is to tell the world that we reject what Judas did and because Judas did not repent (as Peter did) we reject him from membership in the Church.  See the reading of the Acts in the First Hour for an explanation given by St. Peter himself regarding this.

    The reason we do this is because some people say that Judas was important to the plan of salvation because if he didn't betray Jesus then Jesus would never have been captured and crucified.  The church rejects this teaching.  St. Athanasius teaches in his book On the Incarnation that Jesus was going to be crucified whether he was betrayed or not.  He didn't need Judas to betray him.  The Jews were going to get him sooner or later.  So we reject this idea that Judas should be honored because he set in motion the events which led to the crucifixion.  We reject his treachery and we as Christians do not support treachery in any form under any circumstance.
  • Counterclockwise? But I thought it should be in the opposite direction of the normal procession and therefore: clockwise.
  • I'm sorry, you're right.  It should be clockwise.  It should be the opposite of the normal.
  • I'm sure this procession is done clockwise to signify that Judas' was concerned with earthly riches and his earthly life; i.e securing 30 pieces of silver. When we conduct our normal processions it is done counter-clockwise to signify that we are not worried about time and this earth before praising the Lord. That is the reason Judas' procession is done the opposite to normal processions. Please correct and forgive me if I'm wrong.
  • It is as Athanasius1 said, we go around clockwise to signify that Judas went with the world. During the feasts of the saints, baptisms, etc. we go around counterclockwise to signify that they went against the world.

    Source: My priest :D
  • Just a clarification:

    It is not clockwise or counterclockwise, it has to do with West to EAST and EAST to West.

    Normal procession from West to East against the Sun's setting to signify eternity.

    It just happens that the clocks move with sun's setting.
  • I'm glad this thread came back because I have a few comments.

    This Judas procession seems to me to be a "rite gone amok." I have seen everything under the sun when it comes to this procession. People wearing their stoles (tonias) backwards. People walking backwards. People using the symbols backwards. People placing a chair in the middle of the nave and walking around it. And so on and so on.

    Processions are a medium of honor. It is how we honor our saints who are among us. This Judas procession has become a medium to dishonor a person. Why use the medium of honor to dishonor a person? It's like having a graduation convocation to recognize those who failed to get a degree.

    All the reasons given for this procession seem to be anti-Christian. Since when do we preach or proclaim anger and resentment and not love? Since when do we go out of our way to point out the faults of others instead of covering them as Shem did with Noah and Christ did for us? Since when do we become judge and decide that Judas' motive was only money when he explicitly tried to return it? Since when do we blame Judas for Christ's crucifixion and not the Jews, the Romans or myself?

    St Athanasius tells us we can't blame Judas for Christ's crucifixion because it would have happened without him. So why have a procession at all?

    I'm not saying Judas is a victim or we should "sugar-coat" what he did. We know from St Peter's words that his comments on Judas focus on fulfillment of King David's prophecies. Which prophecies? Specifically, Judas' house was left deserted (that his he left the apostolic ministry and could not testify to Christ's resurrection) and his leadership or bishopry was given to another as it says in Psalm 69:25 and Psalm 109:8. St Peter concludes that "Judas left to go where he belongs" (Acts 1:25). That could mean outside the family of God or it could mean to eternal perdition. However, the focus is not what Judas did, but what the Holy Spirit did. The Holy Spirit prophesied all these events through King David.

    If you look at all the words of the Judas hymn, you'll notice it conforms to the message that Judas left his ministry and could not testify to Christ's resurrection. It starts with a historical account of betrayal with silver. It moves to the illegal trials of Jesus by the Jews and the Romans and ends that verse with the Crucifixion. But the story doesn't end there. It starts to acknowledge the divinity of Christ with the words "You who raised Lazarus from the tomb". It continues with the descent into Hades and ends with the Resurrection. Most of the hymn has more to do with Christ's salvation plan ("divine economy of salvation" as the Fathers said) than it has to do with Judas. So why are we proceeding counterclockwise while saying these words? Are our actions - proceeding counterclockwise - saying we don't conform to these words? That we are moving away from such thoughts?

    What are you really saying, both by words and action, with the Judas hymn and the reverse procession? If you can't answer this, then truly this procession has gone amok.
  • Judas procession is done simply to:

    Show the betrayal of Judas
    Show that the love of this world is a betrayal to the Lord
    Show that what Judas did was against the Law
    Show that whomever mimic Judas' act will be denied his/her position with regards to the Lord.

    This has nothing to do with hatred vs. love or judging others.
  • Hello,

    I've only recently started watching some of the threads on this website, but I decided today to jump in and offer what I know.

    Neither the procession of Judas, nor the hymn itself, are mentioned at all in the ritual manuals of Ibn Kabar (The Lamp of Darkness), or Ibn Saba (The Precious Jewel), which date to the 13-14 cent, and are considered largely accurate descriptions of ritual practice in Cairo at the time. We are therefore talking about a rite that developed some time after the 14th century, which to me explains very well why it has nothing to do with the spirit of St. Athanasius and the early fathers. This is also the era in which the paschal expositions were probably added (I believe that was around the time of Pope Gabriel ibn Turaik, but I could be wrong).

    I know this will push many buttons, but we should not be blindly validating current rituals with all sorts of symbolism and justification, as if there is no chance some of our minor rituals (like this procession) could have departed from the balanced Patristic mindset of earlier ages. I am with George completely on that one.
  • [quote author=imikhail link=topic=13164.msg155363#msg155363 date=1336485795]
    Judas procession is done simply to:

    Show the betrayal of Judas
    Everyone who sins betrays God. Sin is infidelity, just like betrayal.

    Show that the love of this world is a betrayal to the Lord


    Is not the numerous scriptures enough? Do we need a procession to remind of this?

    Show that what Judas did was against the Law


    Everyone who sins and breaks a commandment does what is against the Law. Do we need to have a procession every time I break a commandment?

    Show that whomever mimic Judas' act will be denied his/her position with regards to the Lord.


    Everyone who sins denies Christ. Will they all be denied their position with regards to the Lord? Did not Peter deny as much as Judas? The act is not the exclusive determining factor on salvation, and where everyone ends up.

    This has nothing to do with hatred vs. love or judging others.


    It has everything to do with hatred. If your son was Judas, would you have a reverse procession and condemn him. Or would you love him and plead for others to forgive him. It is precisely because we have distanced ourselves from Judas that we have no problem with theatrics. But if one recognizes that Judas did what millions of people do to God every day, including oneself, then you would have a different view of love and hatred.
  • Ramez,

    I soooooo glad you're on this site. Now I can refer all Greek grammar to you. And I get to enjoy more of your wonderful, insightful views on religious studies, Coptic theology, and Coptic alhan. It's about time you came.
  • [quote author=Remnkemi link=topic=13164.msg155372#msg155372 date=1336499662]
    [quote author=imikhail link=topic=13164.msg155363#msg155363 date=1336485795]
    Judas procession is done simply to:

    Show the betrayal of Judas
    Everyone who sins betrays God. Sin is infidelity, just like betrayal.



    That is true but not every betrayer is mentioned in the bible and is call the son of perdition.



    Show that the love of this world is a betrayal to the Lord


    Is not the numerous scriptures enough? Do we need a procession to remind of this?


    Yes we do, like we do other rituals. Your logic would do away with all the rituals in the Church.


    Show that what Judas did was against the Law


    Everyone who sins and breaks a commandment does what is against the Law. Do we need to have a procession every time I break a commandment?

    Yes we do, because Judas is one of a kind.


    Show that whomever mimic Judas' act will be denied his/her position with regards to the Lord.


    Everyone who sins denies Christ. Will they all be denied their position with regards to the Lord? Did not Peter deny as much as Judas? The act is not the exclusive determining factor on salvation, and where everyone ends up.


    Yes it does. The Church does compare St. Peter to the thief and presents him as an example just as it does with as much as it does with Judas

    This has nothing to do with hatred vs. love or judging others.


    It has everything to do with hatred. If your son was Judas, would you have a reverse procession and condemn him. Or would you love him and plead for others to forgive him. It is precisely because we have distanced ourselves from Judas that we have no problem with theatrics. But if one recognizes that Judas did what millions of people do to God every day, including oneself, then you would have a different view of love and hatred.



    Judas has been judged and condemned already. Has nothing to do with my son.
  • [quote author=RamezM link=topic=13164.msg155371#msg155371 date=1336493851]
    Hello,

    I've only recently started watching some of the threads on this website, but I decided today to jump in and offer what I know.



    Neither the procession of Judas, nor the hymn itself, are mentioned at all in the ritual manuals of Ibn Kabar (The Lamp of Darkness), or Ibn Saba (The Precious Jewel), which date to the 13-14 cent, and are considered largely accurat



    Yes it is mentioned by Ibn Kabar according to the Opsala manuscript. and is also mentioned by Zakareya ibn Sebaa in 4 different manuscripts (but with a Coptic response rather than Greek)



    e descriptions of ritual practice in Cairo at the time. We are therefore talking about a rite that developed some time after the 14th century, which to me explains very well why it has nothing to do with the spirit of St. Athanasius and the early fathers. This is also the era in which the paschal expositions were probably added (I believe that was around the time of Pope Gabriel ibn Turaik, but I could be wrong).



    I am not sure why would the Fathers not be against Judas, if the Bible itself condemned him. Are we to be more compassionate than God Himself?


    I know this will push many buttons, but we should not be blindly validating current rituals with all sorts of symbolism and justification, as if there is no chance some of our minor rituals (like this procession) could have departed from the balanced Patristic mindset of earlier ages. I am with George completely on that one.



    What mindset are you referring to? Are you suggesting that the Fathers did not condemn Judas?

    The bible calls him "son of perdition", "betrayer", "His betrayer", "traitor", "thief"

  • [quote author=imikhail link=topic=13164.msg155355#msg155355 date=1336481537]
    Just a clarification:

    It is not clockwise or counterclockwise, it has to do with West to EAST and EAST to West.

    Normal procession from West to East against the Sun's setting to signify eternity.

    It just happens that the clocks move with sun's setting.


    Same same, eternity is a measurement of time :p
  • Hello,

    Leaving aside the theology for a bit, could you please tell me where you found references to Judas' procession in these sources? I am aware that different manuscripts exist for Ibn Kabar, and that the Upsala manuscript is considered the oldest, but I have no access to it. The edition I have of Ibn Kabar is the one prepared by Fr. Samuel Al Suriani in 1992, which is the only one I could find online. Please share if you have something else. As for Ibn Saba, I have a 1966 edition by The Franciscan Center for Eastern Christian Studies, Fr. Victor Mansour Al-Fransisi. I'd be very grateful if you can share older more reliable sources for these.
  • [quote author=RamezM link=topic=13164.msg155418#msg155418 date=1336664639]
    Hello,

    Leaving aside the theology for a bit, could you please tell me where you found references to Judas' procession in these sources? I am aware that different manuscripts exist for Ibn Kabar, and that the Upsala manuscript is considered the oldest, but I have no access to it. The edition I have of Ibn Kabar is the one prepared by Fr. Samuel Al Suriani in 1992, which is the only one I could find online. Please share if you have something else. As for Ibn Saba, I have a 1966 edition by The Franciscan Center for Eastern Christian Studies, Fr. Victor Mansour Al-Fransisi. I'd be very grateful if you can share older more reliable sources for these.


    Sure I'd be glad to share.

    The point though is that we cannot just attack our rituals and dismiss them before reviewing what is available to us.

    It is a fact that rituals are local and back then in the 13th century, even up until now, certain locales in Egypt did have different rituals and that is very evident from Ibn Kabar's mosba7 alzolma.

    So, the procession might have started in one locale and then spread to others, like many rituals alluded to by Ibn Kabar. But the fact that an old manuscript does mention the rite gives the rite authenticity.

    A rite brings to light a message, grace, or a gift. In the case at hand it is a message. With this, I want to put forth a last point; we need to study the rituals in light of the Holy Bible, Holy Tradition, and the Fathers.

    Judas' procession does not contradict any of those three.

    Thanks.
  • Dear imikhail,

    Your points are already well-taken, but before I get into them, I'd had to review the sources myself first, that is why I asked for you to share with us. Once you have done so, and I have reviewed them myself, then we can discuss this further. Besides, these sources are very important for my own academic studies, so I'd be glad to have them regardless of the question at hand.

    So please, instead of repeating the same message, which is already quite clear, let's back up and start with you sharing with us the manuscripts you refer to (if they are digitized). Thanks.
  • [quote author=RamezM link=topic=13164.msg155448#msg155448 date=1336849409]
    Dear imikhail,

    Your points are already well-taken, but before I get into them, I'd had to review the sources myself first, that is why I asked for you to share with us. Once you have done so, and I have reviewed them myself, then we can discuss this further. Besides, these sources are very important for my own academic studies, so I'd be glad to have them regardless of the question at hand.

    So please, instead of repeating the same message, which is already quite clear, let's back up and start with you sharing with us the manuscripts you refer to (if they are digitized). Thanks.


    First we can start with whether the procession is against the Bible message, the Fathers.

    If we agree that there is no disagreement, then we can move to study the rite as it is mentioned in the manuscripts.

    I see no point in studying a manuscript if I do not agree with the essence of the rite. My study would be purely academic with no spiritual value. I do not see any benefit, to me, with this kind of study.

    Again, whether we prove or disprove the authenticity of a certain rite is not the issue. The issue is whether that rite agree with the spirit of the Church.

    You and reminkimi attacked the rite as not befitting with the Church Fathers and the Bible nor the Christian faith. This is the point from which we need to review the rite.

    So, from a dogmatic and theological aspect, do you agree with the rite or not? Once we agree on the spirit of the rite, we can then study its historical development.

  • I've already showed how the Judas procession is antithetical to God's message of love and forgiveness. So don't argue my claim is unspiritual. I've already said that the rite has been abused. There is no conformity among churches, leading me to believe that the rite has gone amok. And from your lack of desire to produce the manuscripts, I have a strong inclination to believe that either there is no manuscript evidence or the rite was not present before the 19th century (at least, not the theatrical, abused form used today).

    If you simply state you can't find the reference, I will at least acknowledge that a manuscript may exist. But if you argue that we shouldn't be arguing at all when you have received a request for evidence, then what does that say?
  • I apologize in advance if I overstep my boundaries here, but I would just like to say that I think it would be beneficial if imikhail could post the sources or at least point out to us where they are or could be found. Many people visit this site, so even if you disagree with Remnkemi or whoever else, there are others who could benefit from the sources you have. Even if you believe that there is no spiritual value in Remnkemi or RamezM looking over the sources, there are others who could benefit. One of the reasons there is often a lack of consistency in rites across our church is that old trusted sources are not easily available. It takes a good amount of effort to obtain these sorts of sources most of the time. We should do everything we can to make these sources a click of the mouse away (or as close as we can get to that). Once everyone can see the rites, many of the arguments that arise (never all unfortunately :) ) will stop. "Freely you have received, freely give."
  • [quote author=Remnkemi link=topic=13164.msg155508#msg155508 date=1337010816]
    I've already showed how the Judas procession is antithetical to God's message of love and forgiveness. So don't argue my claim is unspiritual. I've already said that the rite has been abused. There is no conformity among churches, leading me to believe that the rite has gone amok. And from your lack of desire to produce the manuscripts, I have a strong inclination to believe that either there is no manuscript evidence or the rite was not present before the 19th century (at least, not the theatrical, abused form used today).

    If you simply state you can't find the reference, I will at least acknowledge that a manuscript may exist. But if you argue that we shouldn't be arguing at all when you have received a request for evidence, then what does that say?


    Your logic makes no sense.

    What you are saying is that if the rite is in a manuscript you would accept it. But if it does not then it is not valid and non ethical.

    This means that anything we do in the Church, if it is not written somewhere in an old manuscript that fits your standard, then we should remove it.

    So, it is the manuscripts that gives a rite its biblical canonization. Are you serious?

    The second point in your twisted logic is that if I cannot reproduce the manuscript, then I am a liar and am inventing things. Yet I have already told you where to find it. I cannot reproduce what I have.

    Do some work man.


    I guess you have already made your mind that this rite does not fit your moral standards. You are entitled to your opinion.

    Leave us enjoy our Church's rituals without casting doubt that we are doing something unethical in the Church.
  • imikhail, can you please post a pic or something of that source that this is the rite. after that, let's argue about the rule
  • Mina,

    He said he can't reproduce it. Until someone can produce any evidence that the JUDAS PROCESSION (and we are only talking about this rite) existed before 19th or 20th century, then we can confidently conclude it is a new rite.

    I would respond to the rest of imikhail's comments but I'm tired of repeating myself.
  • [quote author=minatasgeel link=topic=13164.msg155556#msg155556 date=1337046678]
    imikhail, can you please post a pic or something of that source that this is the rite. after that, let's argue about the rule


    Just for you Mina ...

    Here is the reference:

    Manuscript No. 12 (Vet. 12) or East 486 preserved in Upsala University in Sweden.

    Also, the rite is mentioned in manuscript no. 15 in the patriarchal library with a serial no. 180 of Semaika Basha catalogue. It was penned in the year 1634.
  • [quote author=Remnkemi link=topic=13164.msg155557#msg155557 date=1337047443]
    Mina,

    He said he can't reproduce it. Until someone can produce any evidence that the JUDAS PROCESSION (and we are only talking about this rite) existed before 19th or 20th century, then we can confidently conclude it is a new rite.

    I would respond to the rest of imikhail's comments but I'm tired of repeating myself.


    Gave you the references .. enjoy!


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