The Coptic Church -- the ancient Christian church of Egypt -- recently held its Easter celebrations -- nine days after similar rites in the West.
The Coptic Church -- the ancient Christian church of Egypt -- recently held its Easter celebrations -- nine days after similar rites in the West. This is because the Coptic calendar is nine days behind the more modern Julian calendar. In Jerusalem, where there is an active Coptic community, the torch-lighting ceremony was a colourful and moving occasion.
SYNOPSIS: The beautiful Holy Sepulchre church provided the setting for the celebrations. The church is built on the traditional site of Christ's crucifixion and burial, and regular Coptic services are held there.
The Coptic Church was established in Egypt n the seventh Century and there are more than twenty-three million Coptic Christians in Egypt, Ethiopia and the Middle East. The Copts are the direct descendants of the ancient Egyptians, their language is a development of that spoken by the Pharaohs.
About a thousand people were in the congregation. many of them pilgrims from Ethiopia, watching as the procession arrived at the shrine. Clergy and congregation hold their burning torches high. This is a symbol of the reaffirmation of their faith and the crucifixion, as the light of God comes down again amongst his followers.