Coptic Good Friday
After the conclusion of services on Palm Sunday, the last Sunday before Coptic Easter Sunday, Holy Week begins to be observed by many Christians. One of the main liturgical holidays that occur during this week is Coptic Good Friday.
This holiday commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ as Orthodox Good Friday does, but are observed on different calendars. The date of this holiday is determined by the 13-month Coptic calendar, also known as the Alexandrian calendar.
This liturgical calendar is based on an ancient Egyptian calendar, which is why this holiday falls sometime between early April and May on the Gregorian calendar. On this holiday, millions of Christians commemorate Great Friday in remembrance of the events that led up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
The History Of Coptic Good Friday
Coptic Good Friday can be traced back to the first century when Christians in the early Christian church in Egypt, a church established by Mark the Evangelist, as a specific day of remembrance for the crucifixion and death of Christ.
Since the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria was isolated from other Christian traditions, it developed its own rituals and liturgy for observing Good Friday. Although the Coptic Church continued to face many hardships and persecution through the centuries, it continued to hold fast to its beliefs and traditions.
During the 20th century, the Coptic Church would end up achieving greater independence and recognition. It’s now one of the largest Christian denominations in Egypt and even has been able to grow its presence in other parts of the world as well.
Observing Coptic Good Friday
During Holy Week, Coptic Christians practice various forms of fasting. On Good Friday, they will abstain from all food and drink until the evening, when they’re allowed to break their fast with a small meal. Also on this day are church services that include prayers, bible readings, and hymns. These services focus on the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Before most Good Friday services, Coptic churches will venerate their crosses. This involves kissing the cross that has been decorated with decorations and/or flowers. This is to symbolize the reverence for Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Another way that this holiday is observed is through procession where Christians carry an icon of Jesus or a cross through the streets. This procession is often accompanied by hymns, prayers, and chanting.
Since the purpose of Coptic Good Friday is to remember the events that led up to the crucifixion of Christ and the sacrifices he made on the cross, this is often a day during which Christians are expected to be humble before God. They are also expected to take part in activities that strengthen their relationships with the Lord such as prayer and fasting. Every Christian observing this holiday can spread the word about it using the hashtag #CopticGoodFriday on social media as well.