In the Coptic Orthodox Church, there are different readings that have been set by the church for every day of the year. There are readings for the Vespers, which is prayed the night before the liturgy; readings for Matins which is prayed in the morning before the liturgy and there are readings for the Liturgy of the Word which is the first half of the Liturgy that includes all the readings. For Vespers and Matins, there is the Psalm and the Gospel and for the Liturgy of the Word there is the:
- Pauline Epistle – from the epistles (letters) written by St. Paul
- Catholic Epistle – from the epistles (letters) written by St. Peter, St. John, St. James, or St. Jude
- Acts – from the Book of Acts
- Synaxarium – Stories of the lives of the saints that we are celebrating that day
- Psalm – from the Book of Psalms
- Gospel – from one of the four gospels
The choice of the readings can be one of 4 things depending on what day it is:
For Annual Days (every day other than Sunday when we are not celebrating anything) the theme for all the readings we talked about is based on the life of the saint that we are celebrating that day and it gives us lessons on what we can learn from that saint.
For Annual Sundays (every regular Sunday when we are not celebrating anything), the theme for all readings is based on the theme for that specific Coptic month.
For the Great Lent, we have a theme for every week that we all know (for example, the prodigal son, the Samaritan woman); the readings throughout the whole week are based on that theme.
For the Holy 50 Days, there is also a theme for every week, just like the great lent (for example, Christ the bread of life, or the light of the world) and the readings throughout the whole week are also based on theme of the week.
All these readings are found in the book or collection of books called the Katamarous, except for the Synaxarium which is a separate book since it’s always by days and is not related to Sundays or different seasons.
As you can see from all of this, every day you come to church there is a different lesson the that church is teaching you, so listen to the readings carefully next time to learn the lesson and listen to the sermon to hear more explanation about the lesson.
- What is the basis for the selection of the readings for annual days?
- What is the Synaxarium?
Write your name , then submit it to the Deacons corner box at the information board by the front desk!