Holy Week - Introduction to the prophecies


How should we chant the introduction to the prophecies during Holy Week when there's multiple readings from the same author?

Structure 1
  • Introduction
  • First 2 parts of the prophecy
  • Conclusion
  • Introduction
  • First 2 parts of the prophecy
  • Conclusion
Structure 2
  • Introduction
  • First 2 parts of the prophecy
  • Introduction
  • First 2 parts of the prophecy
  • Conclusion
I think it's the second structure when there's multiple readings from the same author and the first structure when there's multiple authors.
So basically the conclusion is only said after the last reading of an author, but the introduction is repeated as many times we have readings.

Am I right?



  • If we are to chant the prophecy in coptic then each prophecy should be concluded prior to starting the next one and we should read at least a couple lines of each prophecy. That being said, I am not a fan of chanting the prophecies in Coptic for a couple reasons. 

    Firstly, people will just chant the intro and conclusion for four prophecies and then maybe read two lines from one prophecy. So what was the point of chanting it to begin with? Was it just to show off that you know the tune or that you can read Coptic? Is the Holy Week service incomplete if we don't say ⲉ̀ⲃⲟⲗϧⲉⲛ?

    Secondly, people will read the Coptic very poorly and not care that they are not saying words correctly or that they are not stopping at appropriate spots. Reading does not equate to understanding. When someone goes up to read English or Arabic and keeps stumbling or messing up words we are not satisfied. So why do we not care as much when it comes to Coptic? Again, is the goal to show off that we know the tune or that we can read Coptic?

    And please do not misunderstand. I am not opposed to chanting it in Coptic...I am just not a fan because of how I see it done in the majority of cases. Of course if someone went up and took the time to chant the prophecy slowly and clearly in Coptic (introduction + a couple lines or more + conclusion), and they pronounced the words correctly and stopped at appropriate spots, I would be very happy. But unfortunately this is not always the case.

    I think we can better preserve the tune by chanting the prophecies in English or Arabic and this can be more edifying since most of the congregation does not understand Coptic anyways. I am sure there will be lots of opposing opinions on this matter and I welcome them all.

    For anyone interested, I will attach a recording of the prophecy of the 11th hour of the Eve of Good Friday chanted in English from last years service.

  • edited March 2022

    @minamakar, if people already are having a hard time "reading" the prophecies in the local language (English or Arabic or whichever), how would chanting it be better or even more beneficial?!

    I get what you are saying, and I do agree that there is a problem there. But the problem here is really the incompetence of the individuals chanting in Coptic. That is reality. But you also mentioned the reality of people's incompetence in reading in their local language, something that is supposed to be more widely done by individuals. Your solution is: instead of trying to fix the former incompetence of chanting and reading coptic (despite how minimal it may look), you increase the incompetence in latter case—in reading—where in return you are really just forcing less people to be able to read since they won't be able to chant the english or the arabic. And what makes you think that it’ll be easier for anyone to chant a western language in middle easter tunes?!

    btw, this isn't the first time I hear the argument. It was brought up many years ago when some english-based church recorded the liturgy readings chanted according to the coptic tune. It really got nowhere since even if one does chant the intro or the reading, one reads it again in english or as Albair Mikhail calls it "The language of interpretation," because, in this is also something you mentioned, reading in a clear way provides the most understanding to people.

    The core of all this revolves around how we consider Coptic within liturgical prayers. And that is a whole topic that I don't want to get into.

  • Thank you for your reply @minatasgeel. Your points are all valid. I did not mean to imply the solution is to chant the prophecy in English. I think plain reading is ok and it actually helps promote more participation. I merely meant to imply that for those who are not strong in Coptic who wish to chant the prophecy, they can chant it in English.
  • The problem with that implication is that it serves no propose. You would be saying the same thing twice, once chanted and once read--I don't see that to make any sense or beneficial. One can even say you are wasting time. 

    I think we are just not considering all factors when dealing with an outlier issue or incident.

  • If you chant the prophecy in English you wouldn’t read it again
  • just more room for people to not understand or comprehand what's being chanted :-)
  • edited March 2022
    Thank you Minamakar for you answer.
    I understand from your answer that the deacon from LCH is wrong regarding the structure at 4:07.

  • It just doesn't make any sense. Why would you start a prophecy, read a couple of lines, and then introduce another prophecy without concluding the one you just read?
  • I agree with minamaker. Just consider how we read it in the local language throughout the year, not just Pascha. The Laqqan prayers all have prophecies that are all read in the same way. Even if the prophecy is only one or two verses, or if the next prophecy is from the same book, it's still concluded first.
  • I just watched a Holy Week service with Ibrahim Ayad and he concluded each prophecy even if there were 2 prophecies of the same author like you said Minamakar.
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