Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Coptic Chant Web Resource

It's here, at From this page:
The word, Agpeya, is a Coptic (ancient Egyptian) word meaning “Book of Hours.” It is based on the Coptic root word, ti agp, which means “hour.”

The Agpeya is primarily used by the Coptic Orthodox Church. It contains prayers for seven different hours to be said throughout the day. The hours are chronologically laid out, each containing a theme corresponding to events in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. Each hour is composed of an introduction which includes the Lord’s Prayer, the Prayer of Thanksgiving, and Psalm 50. It is followed by various Psalms, an excerpt from the Holy Gospel, and Litanies. Lord Have Mercy is then chanted 41 times (representing the 39 lashes Christ received before the crucifixion, plus one for the spear in His side, plus one for the crown of thorns), followed by several other prayers and a conclusion.

From the Chanting the Agpeya page:
What do we mean by “chanting the Agpeya”?. Well, it’s simple. Not only are many prayers read in a normal fashion, but many are chanted, or sung, in a specific tune. Chanting is a very important aspect of Orthodox prayer and worship. In the Coptic Orthodox liturgical service, almost the entire liturgy is chanted and/or sung.

Throughout the website, if you see the following icon click on it to hear the appropriate prayer being chanted.

An example of a chant used in the Agpeya would be in the following line which is chanted after the gospel reading of each hour:

We worship You, O Christ, with Your good Father and the Holy Spirit, for You have come and saved us.

In Coptic, it would be the following:

It is pronounced like the following in the English transliteration:

Tenoo oasht emmok o piekhristos nem pekyot en aghathos nem pi epnevma ethowab je akee ak soati emmon nai nan

Yet, although it may just be read, it should be chanted with a very specific tune. Click here to listen to how it should sound.

There are dozens of mp3s of the chants on that page.

And each of the Hours is listed on its own page; start here and click through them.

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