Origins of Tasbeha

edited December 1969 in Coptic Orthodox Church
hey guys,
im not sure if this has been discussed ive searched the threads n i coodnt find anything,

i wanted to find an article or anything on the origins of tasbeha,
the tune, the parts, who wrote them, its meaning...



  • sorry, the least, couldn't get the link to work.
  • very interested in the origins as well...

    btw to get the link above to work, just go to:

    search "praise" and find the link with the title "the spirituality of praise" although i dont think it talks about the origin of the tasbeha, rather an explanation of it
  • Click here and scroll down and look for it.

    I haven't read this book yet so I don't know what exactly is in it... I just know about it because it's on my "to read" list
  • thnx guys,
    anyone else?
  • I heard... that Archangel Michael gave it to someone...
  • archangel michael??
    ive neva heard that,
    im so shocked i actually cant find anything on such a imp practice of our church and not to mention the name of this site.
  • hi, gji, if you follow sodr2 or the least's links u get to a pdf file, and if your computer has adobe acrobat reader, you then can see 466 pages on your subject!
    i have copied a few bits (i only read the first few pages!) and here they are for you if you can't download the whole file:

    You would be amazed to know that the Coptic hymns
    started with the early church, at the time of St. Mark in
    Alexandria. They were composed at the best flourishing
    eras of our church, the First Apostolic era, where the gifts
    were poured without limits.
    Those tunes were handed to us exactly as they
    were first composed, and that is because of the accuracy
    and the honesty of handling from generation to
    Thus, the tune is an important factor for uniting
    the church, becoming one body. The aim of tunes is to
    activate the congregation and infuriate their love to Jesus
    Christ their Saviour. It also has a great effect on soothing
    hearts and re-directing bad thoughts and intentions, thus,
    we come out of the church comforted and full of peace.

    The Deep Spiritual Meanings of
    The Daily Praise

    The church starts its daily worship at midnight, to
    highlight the importance of its faith in the Second
    Coming of the Lord, “And at midnight a cry was heard:
    ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet
    him’”. (Matt. 25:6)
    Thus, the church wants to be ready, watching and waiting
    for this hour.
    Procedures of the Midnight Prayer Service:
    The First Service of the Midnight Prayer
    talks about the ten wise virgin, whose watching is
    crowned with hope.
    The Second Service is about the sinful
    woman, whom the Lord has forgiven her many sins,
    according to her great love declared to Him. Here, we
    truly meet the Lord and disclose our sins, announcing our
    love in praise and thanksgiving, as a means of kissing the
    Lord’s feet, in tears, sighs and metanias; in order to hear
    the happy voice saying “Your faith has saved you”.
    Finally, the Third Service which is about
    “the little flock” whom the Lord promises to grant the
    kingdom of Heaven, so we don not have to fear anything.
    Here, the church lives in peace and comfort, according to
    God’s promise.
    Then the Third Service is ended by “Lord, now you are
    letting your servant depart in peace, according to your
    word, for my eyes have seen Your salvation”. Here, the
    church expresses the state of transfiguration, as if already
    taken to the kingdom and is in the presence of God.
    The order of the Midnight Praise:
    1. Ten thenov
    2. The Resurrection Praise: Tinao
    3. The First Haus Canticle, then its explanation.
    4. The weekdays (except Sunday), the 7th, 8th and 9th
    parts of Sunday Tethekaya are said after, “Lord, now,
    You are letting Your servant depart in peace”. On
    Sunday, the second Haus Canticle is said straight after
    the First, because these parts for St. Mary’s Praise will be
    said in its usual turn in Sunday Tethekeya.
    5. The Second Haus Canticle, then its explanation.
    6. The Third Haus Canticle.
    7. Watos Epsaly of the Three Young Saints.
    “Aripsalin”, then the Third Haus Canticle explanation.
    8. The Commemoration: St. Mary, the Angels, the
    Apostles, the Martyrs and the Saints.
    9. The Doxologies: after the commemoration and
    with the same tune.
    10. The Fourth Haus Canticle.
    11. The Epsaly of the day or the feast.
    12. The Tethekeya of the day.
    13. The Lobsh (Explanation) or Sheres in Saturday.
    14. Conclusion of Tezakeya (Adaam or Watos
    according to the day).
    15. The Dephnar.
    16. The Creed.
    17. Lord Have Mercy.
    18. The priest concludes by reading the Midnight

    so u are right, it's a big topic. not all churches sing the midnight praises (tasbeha) eg my church doesn't have their own building yet (please pray with us about this), so i have not been to tasbeha. however you can see it on CTV (coptic TV) via satellite some evenings; there are arabic subtitles for the coptic parts. i don't know where u can hear it in english, but you can listen in arabic/coptic here:

    and words are here (i think, couldn't quite get link to work):

    i have seen an english translation somewhere, i think it's in the above link or somewhere else in the hyms lyrics library.

    hope this answers your qu!
  • i heard st. athanasius wrote it in response to Arius' attacks against the church. people at that time liked arius because he spoke deligently, so he made tasbeha which is musical to get the people intersted
  • thnx mabsoota
    i saw that link, but im more interested in who wrote the tasbeha? and i havent found an ansa
  • Hi
    I do not think there was a single auther of tasbeha (not like the mass wher u have St Basil or St Gregory mass..etc).
    It was compiled by time; The reason 1 am saying this is many of its parts are taken directly from the bible. For example the 1st canticle is taken word for word from chapter 15 of the book of exodus from verse 1 to 21.
    The 2nd canticle is Psalm 136 word for word, The 3rd canticle is from the detrocanonical books, also the Psali of the 3 youth we know it written by some one called Cerkess u will find his name in the last verse of the hymn. The 4th canticle are 3 parts which are basically 3 psalms, 148,149 and 150. as u know they are prayed with different tunes, So the bulk of the tasbeha is directly from the Bible. Now the other Psalis like sunday Psali mainly depend on the repetition of stanzas (my lord Jesus Christ help me) I read in the daily tasbeha book this continuous repetition was meant for those that could not read, so by repeating they will participate in prayer. I think _not sure though- that the glorification of Mary (theotokia) were compiled by early fathers of the church and they did not usually like to advertise their names out of humbllness. However it is imoprtant to mention here that the tasbeha and the daily hourly psalms were mentioned very early in the church writtings, one of the very famous was John Cassian who mentioned it when he transferred all this tradition to the west from the egyptian desert. I think this was around 3rd or 4th century (not sure exactly but I can find out).
  • there are many parts to tasbeha. quick info:
    the introduction is tentheno, psalm 118(119) the intro of midnight prayer from agpeya.
    The hooses are from the Bible (with the change of dividing them into hymnal parts and refrains.
    aripsalin is a psali for the 3 children written my Fr/cantor Sarkis
    Ten-oweh ensok is Daniel 3 from the Deuterocanonical Books
    Commemoration - just normal intercessory verses of saints taken from doxologies (and doxologies after).
    Days Psalies - there are many writers across the ages.
    Theotokeias - also many writers. most refer back to Pope Cyril I (not explicitly), St Athanasius the Apostolic, monks from the wilderness of Shehit, Simeon el-fakhory (who is thought to be on of those monks of Syriac origins)...also maybe others.

    i think that was quick right.....
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