September 2009 letter
I am sending my congratulations for ending a Coptic year and the beginning of the new one: 1726 A.M., asking The Lord to fill this new year with blessings and peace for the church as well as the whole world.
The Coptic calendar is related to the martyrs’ (A.M. means Anno Martyrdom or the martyr’s year), starting in the year 284 which coincides with the start of reigning of emperor Diocletian, during which Christians in Egypt suffered from persecution. And actually it was a new starting point for the already existing ancient Egyptian calendar which was known for the ancient Egyptians.
This calendar is so accurate that the ancient Egyptian farmers linked their agricultural works every year to this calendar, and are still doing so till now. Moreover, the ancient Egyptians named their months after the names of the gods they worshiped. For example:
v The month of Tut which is the first month is named after the god “Tahoot”, which is the god of wisdom and inventor of writing.
v The month of “Babah” is named after the god of plants “Be Net Ret”, for during this month the surface of land is green.
v The month of “Hatour” is named after the god “Hat-hour” the god of love and beauty, which corresponds to the Greek god “Aphrodite”, for in this month the surface of the earth is beautified by the plants.
v The month of “Tubah” is after the god “Tobia” which means the highest or the god of rain. And actually the city of Tiba was named after him, which is now known as Luxor.
v The month of “Baramhat” is named after “Bamont” the god of heat.
v The month of “Bashans” is named after “Khenso” the god of moon, during which the day is longer than the night.
The church prays from the start of the Coptic year in the beginning of Tut with a festal (joyful) tune until the 17th of Tut, and then for 3 days celebrates for the Holy Cross. We ask God that these days bring true happiness and joy for us and for our families and beloved ones.
Reminding you with the Nairouz party for Sunday School on Saturday, September 12th after vesper prayers.
Asking you to remember the church, its priest, the servants and all its services always in your prayers. May the blessings of St. Mary and St. Mercurius and the new year and the holy cross be upon us all.
Fr. Youssef Halim
Belleville, September 1, 2009