It All Makes Sense. Hallelujah!
Manuscripts & Books
These manuscripts are a continuation of what was written in the liturgical resources of Ibn Kabar, Ibn Siba’ and Pope Gabriel.
1. Vatican Library (V.18) – Raising of Incense and Liturgy of St. Basil – pages 41-42
Although this photo contains faded text, a few words are important to note. The word ‘yotrah’ is written clearly and it again indicates the method of the psalm chant.
You’ll also notice the prayer mentioned by Pope Gabriel written towards the bottom of the page. Below it is its transliteration which is more proof of the old pronunciation of Bohairic Coptic.There is another section of transliteration on the top left corner of the following photo. I advise anyone interested in the proper pronunciation of Bohairic Coptic to play close attention to these details.
“The priest ascends in the fourth word to the altar and kisses it with his mouth and signs the box of incense in the form of the cross while he says, ‘Glory and honor’ in its entirety. Then they process before the altar with the gospel in front of him while chanting and saying, ‘Lord I cry to you, hear me.’ The deacon carries the gospel, and in front of him are the deacons with candles for one round. Then he descends from the altar with his left foot while facing the east.”
2. National Library of France, Paris (P.29) – Liturgies of St. Basil and St. Gregory- page 29
The psalm is read ‘yotrah’ and they respond. The priest turns towards it with the incense and in the third word he gives incense to the gospel while he says thus: ‘Worship the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through the prayers of the psalmist David the prophet, Lord grant us the forgiveness of our sins.’ Then he ascends in the fourth word to the altar and kisses it with his mouth. He signs the incense box like the cross while he says thus: ‘Glory and honor’ in its entirety. Then they circle around the altar with the gospel while the deacons chant, ‘Lord I cry to thee.’ The deacon carries the gospel, with the deacons before him, with candles, for one round. Then he descends from the sanctuary with his left foot, while he faces the east.
3. National Library of France, Paris (P.30) – Liturgy of St. Basil – page 40
The psalm is read ‘yotrah’ and in the third word the priest gives incense to the gospel and ascends to the altar and raises incense, one hand. He says, ‘Glory and honor’ while signing the incense box with the cross one time. Then he processes with the incense before the gospel and circles the altar once, then descends from the altar and gives incense to the gospel while saying, ‘Worship the gospel.’
The psalm is chanted ‘yotrah‘ and responded to. During the third word the priest gives incense to the gospel while saying, ‘Through the prayers of the psalmist David.’ Then he ascends to the altar and signs the incense box like the cross while saying, ‘Glory and honor.’ Then he gives incense to the gospel while he circles the altar, one round.
5. The British Library, London (BL.OR.431) – Liturgy of St. Basil & Raising of Incense – page 30
“Then the deacon says the psalm and during the third word the priest gives incense to the gospel. He ascends to the altar and raises incense, one hand, while he says, ‘Glory and honor’ and signs the box with the cross. Then he processes with the incense before the gospel while circling the altar, one round. Then he descends from the altar and offers incense to the gospel.”
6. The British Library, London (BL.OR.8777) – Raising of Incense & St. Basil Liturgy – pages 40-41
7. Coptic Museum, Cairo (80LIT) – Raising of Incense & Liturgy of St. Basil – page 30
8. Coptic Museum, Cairo (256LIT) – Anaphora of St. Basil – pages 83 – 86
This manuscript is the first to mention the praise of Simeon the elder, in the procession. “Now Lord, let your servant depart in peace…”
9. Bodleian Library, Oxford (MS.COPT.F.2) – Euchologion – pages 33-34
At some point in the future I will translate the rest of the manuscripts for completeness’ sake. They are repeats of what was already written, and may be directly transcribed from scripts that I’ve already translated.
1. Euchologion of Fr. Abdelmessih el Mas’oudy – 1902 – pages 258-259
“Then the priest takes the censer and says the litany of the gospel [Vnyb] ‘Master’ … then the psalm is read ‘yotrah’ and responded to. The priest gives incense to the gospel and rises to the altar and signs the incense box. He places one hand of incense into the center while saying [ Ouwou nem outaio ] ‘Glory and honor.’ The deacon ascends with the gospel to the sanctuary and they process around the altar while the priest says [ }nou Panyb ] ‘Now Lord.’
This book is one of the mot important resources for the Euchologion in recent times. I will refer to this text several times when we speak about the reading of the holy gospel. For now, we must note that this book mentions the ‘tawwaf’ psalms and uses the same word ‘yotrah.’ This book is also the main reason for the standardization in the use of the praise of Simeon the elder.
2. Bishop Rafael el Toukhy – Coptic Catholic Patriarchate – pages 59 – 60
This euchologion is also another primary resource in the Coptic Catholic Patriarchate. The Coptic Catholic Church took their rites from the Coptic Orthodox Church and these books follow the writings in our manuscripts, sometimes more closely than our books do now. The book also uses the word ‘yotrah,’ the praises of Simeon the elder and the ‘tawwaf’ psalms.
- The litany of the gospel is prayed. The psalm is to be chanted in its specific method directly after the litany; the phrases are read and then attuned.
- The procession of the gospel begins with the ascent of the deacon and priest to the sanctuary during the third & fourth phrase of the psalm chant. They circle the altar once, while the ‘tawwaf’ psalm is chanted.
- The procession is done with the gospel book itself, with the deacons holding candles, and the priest carrying the censer, in front of it. We will discuss more on who holds the censer later.
Now that we’ve gone through the written tradition, let’s take a look at the musical tradition for the tunes of the psalms.