Liturgy Sacraments and Music

Many elements of the Coptic Orthodox liturgy are similar to those of other Eastern Orthodox churches. For a complete description of the rites of the Coptic Orthodox Church, the many works of O. H. E. Burmester remain the best source. This discussion will focus on those features that are distinctive. The separation of the Coptic Orthodox Church from the mainstream of East and West after Chalcedon and the Arab conquest is a partial explanation of differences. Similarity with Syrian practice is a result of contact with other non-Chalcedonian Churches after 451 and with the Monastery of the Syrians in Wadi Natrun. Monastic practice has also influenced Coptic ritual, for example in the length of the Mass (three hours), which contains much repetition of psalms and prayers, and many scriptural readings.

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