Page 258

the Apostolic head and marched at the head of a procession round the church.


Undoubtedly this

tradition stopped after the stolen of Saint Marc relics by the venetians merchants and it didn’t come back to the Coptic tradition with the return of the relics in the time of the Pope Cyril VI of Alexandria. Processions are always present in most of the Coptic Church feasts and celebrations. The Coptic Church has seven major feasts: The Annunciation, The Christmas, The Epiphany, Palm Sunday, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost. Then seven minor feasts: The Circumcision of our Lord, The Entrance of our Lord into the Temple, The Escape of the Holy family to Egypt, The First Miracle of our Lord Jesus at Cana, The Transfiguration of Christ, Maundy Thursday, Thomas's Sunday. In addition to the above feasts the Church celebrates the commemoration of the Annunciation, Nativity and Resurrection of Christ on the 29th of every Coptic month, the commemoration of St. Mary on the 21st and the feast of Archangel Michael on the 12th and the feasts of the saints. In most of the feasts for a saint or during mass, Clergy often held processions, preceded by a crucifier with a processional cross, priests carry censers, the deacons carry candles whilst singing hymns and praises. The processions of the Palm Sunday, the two feasts of the cross move towards the nave of the church, then to the doors and the baptismal basin and it end by entering again to the sanctuary accompanied by the joyful hymns Sha’anini – Hosanna. There are also the procession of the newly baptized on the feasts’ Eve, the procession for the resurrection where priests carried icons of resurrection and the ascension. The saint’s feasts take three days starting on the preceding evening of the feast and finishing after the Divine Liturgy on the next day. The most important moment is Al-Laila Al-Kebira (the great night) when a special procession with icons and relics takes place. Processions of the saints’ feasts take place in the Sanctuary and sometimes as in small village in the streets in front of the Church or monastery. Usually the icons with the saint painting were hold by the priests and the believers touch its borders to seek benediction. In general all the processions go from left to right except few feasts such as during the first hour of the Holy Great Thursday because this later is a special procession to condemn the deed of Judas Iscariot. In Islam, the procession is a sort of popular activity accomplished in popular ceremonies and feasts such as the moulids. In other context the funerary procession and the wedding parade stand on the borders between religion and social tradition. The term moulid refers to an annual celebration held around the shrine to commemorate the saint108. The moulid celebration belong to the popular piety, the most important moulid celebration in Egypt is that in honor of the prophet Muhammad

107 108

El-Masri, 1948. Jong, 2002.


Final study of CulMe-WeOnCT project