“Liturgy is in its essence the true communion with Christ. This liturgical life is not lived only when a believer participates in common worship whatever it is, but it dwells within his heart even when he is alone in his room. In other words “liturgy” is a life which the church practices, through which she acknowledges her nature, realizes her message and attains her own existence which is life and growth in Jesus Christ.”
– Fr Tadros Y. Malaty
The Divine Liturgy – An Introduction
The Divine Liturgy was composed by the Holy Apostles The Lord Jesus Christ taught to them after His resurrection appeared to them: “to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering bymany infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3).
Ritually, all liturgies including our three liturgies (the Liturgies of St. Basil, St Gregory & St. Cyril) follow the same order as set and taught to us by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself: “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’ Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins‘” (Matthew 26:26-28).
The Divine Liturgy consists of three parts:
- The Offer of Oblation
- The Divine Liturgy of the Catechumens
- The Divine Liturgy of the Faithful.
The main subsections of almost all traditional liturgies including Coptic ones are:
- Prayer of Thanksgiving
- Prayer of Consecration
- Prayer of Fraction
- Prayer of Communion
The Divine Liturgy of St. Cyril
The Divine Liturgy according to St Cyril I (the 24th Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church) is the same Divine Liturgy of St. Mark the Evangelist but Pope Cyril rearranged its rituals after adding the litanies. This Divine Liturgy is one of the oldest liturgies known to the Christian world.
Only parts of St. Cyril’s Divine Liturgy are used nowadays, however, some priests and bishops used to pray St. Cyril’s Divine Liturgy during the Great Lent as His Holiness Pope Cyril the sixth and Father Bishoy Kamel.
The Divine Liturgy of St. Cyril is the Coptic version of the Greek Liturgy that was instituted by the Holy Apostle, St. Mark the Evangelist. It is dedicated to the Person of the Omnipotent Father of the Holy Trinity. St. Cyril, the Pillar of the faith, the 24th Pope of Alexandria added the short and long litanies and deacon’s recites. Eighteen litanies are instituted in St. Cyril’s Divine Liturgy, seven litanies before the commemoration of the saints and eleven litanies after. This Divine Liturgy is used in our Coptic Churches during lent. The first part of the Divine Liturgy is similar to that of St. Basil up to the Gospel’s reading, then after that, the arrangement of the Divine Liturgy is as follows:
- The prayer of the veil
- The Creed
- The prayer of Reconciliation by St. Severus, Patriarch of Antioch or St. John
- The Anaphora
- The Litany of peace
- The litany of the sick
- The litany for the travelers
- The litany for the waters of the rivers
- The litany for the seeds and the herbs
- The litany for the air of heaven
- The litany for the leader
- The commemoration of the saints
- The litany for the departed
- The litany for the Oblations
- The litany for the Patriarch
- The litany for the bishops
- The litany for the rest of the Orthodox
- The litany for the place
- The litany for those who are standing in this place
- The litany for those who are have asked us for prayer
- The litany for the servant priest
- The litany for the priesthood
- The litany for the assemblies
- For You are God
- Holy, Holy, Holy
- The Institution narrative
- Therefore now, O God
- For Your People
- The prayer of the descent of the Holy Spirit
- Special litany
- Introduction to the fraction
- The Fraction for the Father
- A prayer after “Our Father”
- The prayer of submission to the Father
- The prayer of submission to the Son
- Prayer before the confession
- The confession
- A prayer of thanksgiving to the Father
- The prayer of submission to the Father
- The dismissal prayer and blessing with distributing the Eulogia as mentioned in St. Basil’s Divine Liturgy
The text in English for this Liturgy can be found here.
Download parts of the Liturgy of St. Cyril prayed by Pope Kyrillos VI here.
The following recording* is of the Divine Liturgy of St Cyril prayed by HG Bishop Youssef (Bishop of the Diocese of Southern United States) at St. Mary & St. Mina’s Coptic Orthodox Church – Sydney, Australia on Wednesday afternoon, 27th June 2012 during the holy fast of the Apostles:
^ if that doesn’t work, try downloading it here.
*The recording starts from the Anaphora (after the Gospel reading and the Creed)