Feast of Nativity



  • @jojo_Hanna sorry I was misinformed, but it still shows that they have the right to change things for pastoral reasons. 
  • No @PharaohNashed, exceptions to the rule aren't to be cited as reasons to delete the legacies and heritages. It is exactly the same as people quoting God talk about David and eating from the altar besides all the clichéd statements of sabbath was created for man, not man for sabbath, etc. Please don't start me because I am seeing these arguments more an more now as a cover up for our descent into anarchy and oblivion towards the forefathers and the church canons. Why do they keep calling them canons anyway?
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡϭⲥ
  • edited December 2019
    I have no real view on whether the Feast of the Nativity should move. If I am honest I certainly think something will eventually happen as more Orthodox Christians move out of of their homeland to other western countries. However, I have read a lot of 'comments' for want of a better word on this matter online and on Facebook and the first thing I would say is we must never forget the respect we should have for the church hierarchy, as so many have already done and proud to vocalise. The acts of Metropolitan Serapion or The Pope do not automatically give us the right to verbally abuse them or speak of them in an ill manner including vile language. I do not say this to anybody on this thread but can assure you it is happening and it is wrong.

    One comment I have read a lot in arabic by people attempting to mock this issue is "why can't people in the west just take the 7th January off as a holiday as we are not going to move the feast to suit people's holiday". Another strange comment I read is people saying "we don't care what calendar we use as long as the Nativity Feast remains the 29th Koiak". To those people I would point out that the 7th January is a public holiday in Egypt since around 2002 but, and this is a big but, the 7th January in the Julian calendar is not always the 29th Koiak as will be the case next month. Therefore to say there is no precedent to move the feast is completely incorrect as since Pope Shenouda's time it was decreed that if the 29th Koiak fell on the 8th January then the feast is moved to the 28th Koiak i.e. kept the 7th January and to appease all it is celebrated on the 7th and 8th January (28th and 29th Koiak). Clearly the average keyboard warrior may not be aware of this in their ignorance. The answer Pope Shenouda himself gave (whether wrong or right is not for me to judge) is that the country has given Christians a formal holiday and we cannot approach them every time there is a Coptic leap year to say we need the 8th January off this year and not the 7th. If this is not a prime example of moving the feast to suit national holiday then I do not know what is.

    Furthermore as the nativity fast started in accordance with the Coptic leap year (26th November) and will finish on the 28th Koiak (7th January 2019) the fast has been shortened from 43 days to 42 but again many choose not to comment on that.

    In conclusion this year is a clear example of a shortened fast to celebrate a feast on an incorrect date and yet people in Egypt turn a blind eye to this just to mock what Metropolitan Serapion is attempting to do. My only issue with what has been suggested is that the liturgy prayed is a Commemoration of the Nativity (as Bishop David discussed in more depth). I do not think the church needs another commemoration of the feast and this will not offer a solution by telling people you still need to continue fasting until the 29th Koiak or the 7th January whichever comes first and therefore it is not a real Nativity Feast.
  • Thanks @drewhalim, I have nothing to add because you covered everything thoroughly. God will certainly deal with me heavily in my stance against the church figures but I strongly believe that no one is infallible and such figures ought to be role examples when it comes to the Orthodox dogmas and doctrines. I am slightly autistic with very rigid views (getting better though.. Hehe).
    I am not aware of Pope Shenouda's comments but the rationale given in some "old enough" church books is to celebrate on the 28th of Kiahk every four years so as to keep the same length of the period between the feast of Annunciation and Nativity. Honestly speaking I am not sure that those books got it right either but maybe in the future I will research this topic more..
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡϭⲥ
  • Which books are you speaking of @ophadece ?
  • I don't know if you can read Arabic @Jojo_Hanna and if the book was indeed translated. It is called اللآلئ النفيسة في شرح طقوس الكنيسة, "ellaale' elnafeesa fy sharh toqoos elkneesa" (something along the lines of "the precious pearls in the explanation of the church rites"), plus a number of articles online and I believe that Anba Raphael also said that in one of the videos..
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡϭⲥ
  • I have heard the argument about keeping the time between Annunciation and Nativity the same as well but then why reduce the fast by 1 day surely that would move as well? It just seems to me that we do switch between calendars when it suits.

    God bless us all.
  • "such figures ought to be role examples when it comes to the Orthodox dogmas and doctrines."

    Is celebrating on the 7th of January (29th of Kiahk) considered dogma? Is it a doctrine? Is it necessary for salvation? Is there a distinction between Holy Tradition and 'tradition'? Has the church ever evolved in its practices (not doctrine) in the past? Does that invalidate the church? Was the Holy Spirit only 'active' when decisions regarding liturgical practice were made a long time ago? Is 'tradition' meant to be stagnate regardless of custom/era/country? History says otherwise...
  • @drewhalim, I completely agree with you..
    @Amoussa01, I can see that you have not read any of my work. There are 3 pillars to Orthodoxy, one of which is patristics. Indeed, the Holy Spirit does not prevent temptations, it is well documented in history that a Coptic pope reduced the days of fasting in his era, and after his departure Copts reverted back to the old teachings. Another pope imposed levies on Copts and that too didn't last. You say changing dates is not necessary for salvation, I say it is integral..
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡϭⲥ
  • @ophadece,

    Are you putting the date of a feast day on par with valuing 'patristics'? What do you make of our other Oriental brothers and sisters who do not follow our exact calendar or feast days? Are they not adhering to the church fathers? have they blasphemed?

    It seems you do not understand the difference between Holy Tradition and 'tradition.' We must be careful of fundamentalist mentality and "dogmatizing" every single decision without first looking at the context in which it was made. 
  • Dear @Amoussa01,
    The date of the feast is an integral part of valuing patristics. I am not putting anything on par with another just for the sake of it. It seems to me that you don't know the history of how or who or even why those dates were put in the first place. Of course I trust that you are a very well learned person and you don't need me to tell you where to find out that information. By the way, adhering to our legacy and heritage is indeed holy tradition, and not just tradition with a small 't' (this novel expression used to neutralise things done in the church as unholy and also gives way to the thought of it is not a great deal of importance to understand and preserve, since we can change and be happy).
    I don't know about sister churches and it is certainly not my position to judge. All I can say is that this very issue led to more disconnect than unity and it still does.
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡϭⲥ
  • edited December 2019
    @Amoussa01, I do have to agree on Fady's comment about tradition. The distinction that you make, as well as many including myself somwtimws, is really meaningless in the full picture of things. In fact in Arabic and Coptic, and throughout history, there isn't different words for what we are trying to explain.

    All are Traditions of the Coptic Church. All are the Rites of the Coptic church. And all are the Teachings of the Coptic church. Once you take all those out, then you don't have the Coptic Orthodox Church, but you would have the Orthodox Church...and that is something that many ignore. Also, while what many would argue about to be abolished or changed may not be incorrect in the realm of Orthodoxy, they, for sure, would be deviant from Copticism and would be considered uncoptic. And while yes, they are acceptable in the realm of faith, they don't hold Coptic any longer. And all that being said, what are we then?! And please do know that I am not arguing about the legality of the faith or practice, I am asking about the belonging of the practice of worship... Where would it exist and to which group would it be attributed.

    And I think you were the one that misunderstood what Fady meant by patristics. The Church Fathers are not just what governs all the orthodox churches, but only that which was accepted by the synods of those churches. Also, those who set our rites and way of worship are also considered "Church Fathers" in our Coptic Church. To change those rites, in a way you are changing what they say... Which I have no problem with at all--and I know Fady wouldn't like that--but that's the authority that has been given to the fathers, the representatives of the Church, and the bishops and all those they are responsible for and work on the priesthood ranks. It's not about that, it's about the reasons for doing so.

    I say this all the time, and I'll continue saying that the exception must never ever become the rule and if an exception is to be made, there must be strong reasons for it. To link this back to our topic, there hasn't been a strong enough reason to make the exception requested, or a strong enough reason to change the calendar yet.
  • @minatasgeel, well said dear Mina.. Don't worry about agreeing with me, I respect you and your opinion even if you disagree with me on some things.. Your prayers please
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡϭⲥ
  • To use that logic, I guess that would make all of us heretics then since we do not follow all the church canons anymore :) 
  • edited December 2019
    "heresy" is not breaking of a rite, but it's the preaching of an unorthodox faith. It's also intentional and specific. If we do something incorrect in the rite that is unintentional, it's not exactly against you. And we, as lower ranks, we are not to make rules or exceptions; we follow and obey, and our priests and bishops carry our sins. 
  • Regardless of what you think, there is a difference between Holy Tradition and 'tradition.' Just because these distinctions have not been mentioned in the past, does not ignore the fact that it is a reality. The evidence is clear if one were to look at the past and its practices and how they developed over time, even in the Coptic Orthodox Church. This is a fact and does not need any further explanation. Read the history. The rites (not dogma) change and developed over time. This is referred to as 'tradition.'

    According to Ophadece, if the church were to decide on changing a rite (which it has done before many times over the centuries, and yet still claims to be "Coptic") then one would not be 'valuing patristics.' I am sorry but this is the most ridiculous claim I have heard in a long time. Failure to understand the difference between doctrine and our cultural rites will lead to behavior similar to that of the pharisees (those who took the laws and followed them to the letter without understanding their intention). Man was not made for the rites; the rites were made for man.
  • If you both are still not convinced by my response, I just would like to ask you one question. Do you believe that we should continue to pray for the flooding of the nile?
  • @Amoussa01
    You’re not really presenting an argument, you’re just saying what you’ve previously stated in different manners...
    @Ophadece, did not say “if the church were to decide on changing a rite (which it has done before many times over the centuries, and yet still claims to be "Coptic") then one would not be 'valuing patristics.'”
    For you to say that we’re all heretics since we don’t follow rotes is incorrect.
    What are 5 things Rites call for us to do that we do not do? If you can find 5, I’d like an explanation of why we DID do them and why we no longer DO them, please.
    That ‘Pharisees’ statement is the classic one used by those who have no reasoning or explanation or answer. I don’t mean this about you @Amoussa01, I’ve just received it many, many times so that allows me to speak.
    Also, there’s a difference between Tradition and a Habit, rite-wise. Traditions are what the Holy Synod have put in order to maintain every service. A Habit is what people have started to do due to either their laziness in pursuing the Rite fully or their ignorance of not knowing how to pursue it. Personally, if I find that Habits take over Traditions, I do not do them.
    For example, if we’re praying Matins Raising If Incense and there is a full Deacon present, I do not dare serving in the Sanctuary as I know that my Rank does not call on me to do that.
    Chanters should only chant, but it has recently grown more popular to allow them to enter and serve in the Sanctuary in cases where there is no full Deacon. I’m not saying that Chanters are PROHIBITED (although we shouldn’t) from entering and serving, I’m saying if you have the chance to do something right and you choose to not, then you’re wrong. As in if the Deacon could serve in the Sanctuary then great, everything flows perfectly (usually)! If not, then I tried to implement what was right so God knows my inside.
    Here’s another example, HG Bishop Mettaos ordained me a Chanter when I was about 6 years by the orders of the late Pope Shenouda III. He is a Bishop who understands what’s going on and has a profound background Rite-wise. Despite all of that, he ordained me to the rank of Chanter with an Orarion! When I later on grew older and began to read more and get more & more educated on the topic, I discovered that I was not supposed to be wearing an Orarion since that was not the proper uniform for my rank. Discovering that, I went to my Bishop and explained to him what took place and what I had read about it. He then told me that he wanted me to wear the Orarion since I was ordained with it. This is not exactly what Tradition calls for since I was not ordained a Reader, but a Chanter, but Tradition also calls for Obedience. Obedience is the virtue that permits us today to know who Saint John Colobos is, to know who Saint Moses the Black is, and to who Saintly figures like Mother Erene are, today!
    Since there is Hierarchy in the Church, we obey what is given to us from above, since it has been given to them from above.

    Changing a rite is not something that should be taken so lightly, it should have criteria about why it’s no longer fitting or suitable, and why we should change it, and what we should change it to instead.
    The Holy Synod must convene, debate, present arguments and facts, then agree or disagree in order to officially make the change.

    On a different note, when do we pray for the Nile? Please, provide one text that we use in Liturgical services where we pray for it or mention it. On the contrary, you’re a little late :)
    They discussed this matter in the Papacy of HH Pope Shenouda III with the Synod. As a result, we here in the Diaspora pray instead for the waters simply since we do not have a Nile. They allowed for the 3 Litanies to be combined into 1;

    Graciously accord, O Lord, to bless the air of heaven, the fruits of the earth, the waters of the river, the seeds, the herbs, and the plants of the field this year.

    See? No “Nile”!

    Forgive me if I have offended you in any way...
    I’m barely a Deacon and am always learning from the big experts like You @Amoussa01, @minatasgeel & @Ophadece.

    Please, Pray for me always.
  • @Amoussa01...you're missing the point every time (at least mine) and you are simply reinstating what HH said many times and said again a bit more aggressively in defense of HEMS.

    I am not arguing about the matter of change of rites, but I am for doing so for good reasons and by the proper crowd. Your example only proves my point because in Egypt, yes they still pray for the Nile's rising of water simple because it still happens, but in areas outside Egypt the Synod allowed other prayers to replace it in consideration of all rivers--that's the system working and that's the Church adapting, within limits, to the reality. 
  • @minatasgeel,

    It seems that you have been missing my point, dear friend. Both you and Ophadece have agreed that there is no distinction between Holy Tradition and 'tradition' and yet, your last email completely refutes your claims. The rites do change and rites are part of our 'tradition.'

    The statement about being heretics was a joke (hence the smiley emoji). I obviously do not agree with the assessment that we are heretics because of the fact that we do not apply all of the canons in the church. The reason is 1) the church is a living breathing organism that adapts to the times it is in and 2) the clergy help us in developing these rites and canons and making them applicable to the current situation that we are living in. 

    It is for these reasons that we must acknowledge that we cannot equate our dogma/doctrine (Triadology/Christology/etc)  to that of the rites or 'tradition' (i.e. going around the altar 3 times verses 1 time). Yes, there is a meaning to the church rites and I am not saying that they are not important--they are very important. They do teach us a lot about our faith and doctrine. However, we cannot equate the musical tunes of the church along with our 'liturgical movements' to that of the creed and ecumenical councils. They are not on the same level. The former is used to teach and express the later, not the other way around. Tunes change, doctrine does not. 

    Furthermore, we must respect our clergy and 'fathers' of the church as Ophadece so adamantly claims and trust that they have the knowledge and wisdom to altar the rites if they see it necessary or fit. Otherwise, we will not be 'valuing patristics.'

  • Dear @Amoussa01,
    I am not sure if you are encouraging me to blindly follow others as a blind sheep. I am sorry I can't. I only came to learn the value of patristic legacies when I started reading about them. I said before that the Holy Spirit does not prevent temptations, and indeed God did not conform to the religious authorities in His time on earth.
    Maybe you were being sarcastic and completely understood my position as @Jojo_Hanna kindly explained (thank you @Jojo_Hanna) and I really don't mind your sarcasm. I only think that you are confusing me with similar people in your background and projecting on me ideas and thoughts I never came up with in the first place! I am happy to listen more if you would like to expand.
    As for your elaboration on holy tradition and mere tradition I couldn't understand what you were getting at..
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡϭⲥ
  • @Amoussa01, I think you're equating Tradition with Doctrine/Dogma. We agree on the the letter being absolute in understanding and unchangeable, but the former is what we are are arguing about. But despite that, and if we ignore it and just speak about rites, what i said above still stands: it's a matter changes the rites, the reasons for the change, and who is changing them.
  • Always got your back @ophadece!
  • @minatasgeel,

    Holy Tradition consists of many things such as the Doctrine, Scripture, patristics, creed, etc.
    The problem is that people cannot separate the Truth from the custom or practice, and it is this inability that is causing much to go astray. Christ came to spread the gospel to many nations and each nation has its own way of expressing this Truth through its cultural practices (music, adornments, and rituals). Not only that but, every nation has adapted and modified its practices throughout the centuries to address a certain people at a certain time by the wisdom of her clergy. 

    I am not asking you to follow blindly. I am only stating that some rites have changed many times throughout the centuries by many of the church hierarchy (this is NOT blasphemy) and to start complaining about it now makes no sense. Instead, we should respect if the clergy see fit to adapt the rites accordingly to the situation and times that we are in. Blasphemy is not the same thing as adapting the rites (especially since it has been approved by the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church). Who are you to stand against the church's hierarchy? Perhaps a little humility would be good given the season we are in right now. 
  • @Amoussa01, let’s know how to speak with our fellow servants, “given the season we are in right now.”

    I previously addressed you with a few points to which you did answer none.
  • @Jojo_Hanna

    your last response lacks a solid understanding of what I am speaking about. Please see this nice podcast by Fr. Antony Paul for a more clear understanding: https://www.anaphoraradio.com/sounds/68834

    This is also the understanding in the other Orthodox churches as well: https://www.oca.org/questions/dailylife/holy-tradition-vs.-customs

    As far as the praying for the Nile, it is mentioned in evening litanies in the Holy Pascha service. The following is stated:

    "O God, have compassion on the world with kind and merciful eyes, bless their crops and storehouses and the little they may have, raise the waters of the rivers according to their measure, grand moderation to the winds, bless the Nile of Egypt this year and every year, give joy to the face of the earth and to us men. We ask You, O Lord, hear us and have mercy on us."
  • Habibi, invalid argument.
    The Paschal Litanies change according to local adaptation, meaning that the prayers themselves change SINCE WE DO NOT ALL NEED TO PRAY FOR THE SAME THINGS, the times we pray them change from city to city and area to area...

    What are 5 things Rites call for us to do that we do not do?
    ( This question still remains unanswered ;) )
  • Dear @Amoussa01
    I believe it was you who drew my attention to my lack of humility before.. You were right, I know my weaknesses.
    As for blasphemy I never used that word so I don't know why you keep repeating it. I may have already (or may have forgotten) to answer the point of rites. You are absolutely right, rites have changed many times in line with what the Holy Spirit instructs. Changing dates is not a change to the rites and I am sure if you research further you will actually discover that such a request will damage the Coptic church as a whole, let alone ruin the dates of the feast of Resurrection and the presence of the Holy Fire and veneration of saints, etc..
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡϭⲥ
  • @Ophadece,

    Can you enlighten me as to how changing the date of Christmas for those living the west would damage the church? The resurrection is independent from the feast of Nativity.


    Who told you the litanies were based on region? Where did you get this idea from? Perhaps it is the case many years ago but now I would argue it is not. It is published this way in all the books and these are the sources all the clergy use. Explain yourself please and how you were able to reach that conclusion
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