History of the Holy Pascha (“Passover”) Week in the Coptic Church

HistoryofHolyWeekPNG_johnbelovedhabib.wordpress.com.PNG

Arguably the holiest week of the year, known simply as “Holy Week” or maybe more preferably “Pascha (aka Passover) Week” is upon us, with the Pascha Feast (the more traditional term rather than Easter) marking the end of the week, but a beginning for all of humanity. As I had written in my previous post about the History of the Great Fast, it is not enough for us to know about or simply participate in religious observances, but we must understand the “why” in order to make it all relevant to us today. Here is a summary of what I could surmise as being the current practice as well as history of the Holy Week, with a particular emphasis on the Coptic Church. (Further below you will also find a PowerPoint presentation that I used to teach about this subject that you may download and use as desired.)

Continue reading

History of the Great Fast (“Lent”) in the Coptic Church, including “Preparation Week” (a.k.a. “Heraclius Week”)

HistoryofTheGreatFast-johnbelovedhabib.wordpress

We are about to embark on the Great Fast (a.k.a. Lent), but as with all worship and rites, it is preferable that we not only understand the what and how of our religion, but also understand why, in order to make it all relevant to us today. The fruit of my research on this topic was intriguing (e.g., there was no “Great Fast” for the first few hundred years), but also at one point I felt embarrassed as I learned the original reason behind what we now refer to as “Preparation Week.” Here is a summary of the current practice and history of the Great Fast, with a particular emphasis on the Coptic Church. Further below you will also find a PowerPoint presentation that I used to teach about this subject that you may download and use as desired.

Continue reading

Don’t like going to Pascha until Wednesday night when it gets “good”: Coptic and Eastern Orthodox Similarities of the Significance of Pascha from Sunday–Wednesday

PaschaBridegroomService

Let’s be honest. In our minds, many of us split Holy Pascha Week into two:

  • The not-so-important stuff until Wednesday Morning, and then
  • The important part beginning Wednesday night when Judas betrays Christ, followed by Covenant Thursday where we have the washing of feet and partake in the Mystical Supper with Christ, and then of course Great (or “Good”) Friday.

Many of us will only attend just Great Friday services, or at best will just attend “the important part” beginning Wednesday night.

So let’s try to make Sunday night through Wednesday more significant. (Note: For a PowerPoint Lesson to go along with this, click here to download) Continue reading

Jesus, Why Die This Way? 5 Thought-Provoking Questions Asked and Answered by St. Athanasius

whydiethisway

As we approach Holy Pascha (Passover) Week, I wanted to share a little-known series of questions posed in the widely popular writing by St. Athanasius, “On the Incarnation” (in parts 4 and 5). It really makes you think, and the answers are quite fulfilling.

See for yourself: Continue reading