Thursday, September 10, 2009

Happy Nayrouz, Happy Coptic New Year

Today marks the Feast of El-Nayrouz, the Coptic New Year 1726 (dated from 284 CE the beginning of the Diocletian Persecution).

The name 'Nayrouz' is clearly borrowed from the Persian 'beginning of the year.' It was undoubtedly brought to Egypt around the time of the Islamic conquest. Nevertheless Egyptians still maintain their ancient calendar from the time of the Pharoahs with a curious beginning of the year timed to the flooding of the Nile.

In ancient times the beginning of the year was timed with the rising of Sirius the dog-star. In recent times the date has been fixed to September 11.

In the feast of El-Nayrouz the Copts claim to behold the opened gates of Paradise. They see Christ coming to carry us on the clouds, together with those who already entered the Paradise. All of them will enjoy the divine throne in heaven.

The following is a prayer for the feast.

O Lord, grant us to celebrate El-Nayrouz,
So that we may ask for a blessed year for all mankind.
And that every believer has the experience of Your marvelous Day.
Thus, all will enjoy the brightness of Your glory.

Yes, Come quickly O Lord Jesus.
Our hearts are enflamed with Your love.
Our hearts ask for none except You.

Let me, O God, celebrate the Feast of El-Nayrouz unceasingly.
Let me experience this joyful gospel, the gospel of everlasting unity with You.

Wondrous is the Son who paid the price of my trip to Your divine bosoms,
And Your Holy Spirit who forms me to become a heavenly bride,
Carrying me as if with the wings of a dove that heaven may celebrate my wedding!

I see You my beloved Christ, coming to me personally,
You have chosen me to share in Your glory,
You offered Yourself, a joyful sacrifice of love.

Grant me to become an icon of You,
With a big heart, full of love to all humans,
That, I may become a source of joy to everyone.

Your dwelling in me, O Holy Spirit renews my nature,
He transforms my dark tomb into a holy sanctuary,
He converts my darkness into exceeding brightness!

Grant me with all my brethren, to fly and be with You in heaven!
Let me celebrate the feast of the martyrs as fit, that I may practice witnessing for You.
Change my life to be full of joy with You, even at the moments of my daily repentance.

You see me my Lord rejoicing in You, and You become delighted in me.
The heavenly angels see me coming to You, and they welcome me.
They receive me with exceeding joy to join them in praising You.

The sinners see me full of joy, and they get filled with hope.
They see me rejoicing, and they join me in my continuous repentance.

The prophets and the apostles and all the martyrs see me.
And they praise You for letting me accompany them in Your kingdom!

What a wonderful thing, You delight in me,
And so do all Your creation, in heaven and on earth!

But the devil runs away in front of me
As he sees Your divine joy enlightens me and shines upon my face!

Glory is to You, the source of joy and victory.

Grant me O Lord that I may celebrate the feast of the martyrs all my life,
That, I may witness to Your joyful gospel,
That, I may always be in touch with Your tremendous fatherly love,

I see You anticipating with longing for me too.

Happy Nayrouz!

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Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
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