Coptic Vespers and Divine Liturgy
On the first Sunday of August, 2004, Tolentine Center was not available for St. George's parish to celebrate its Sunday liturgies. Their new church building in Monee could not yet be used, because an occupancy permit had not been issued. So, on Saturday evening, July 31, the Copts celebrated Vespers (evening prayer) in the St. Anthony hall to the east of the parking lot. The next morning, they celebrated their usual services, including Lauds (morning prayer) and the Divine Liturgy itself, the Mass.
The Coptic liturgy concluded about 11 a.m., the same time as our own liturgy in San Rocco church was over. At that time, the members of San Rocco were invited over to the hall for brunch, served by the Coptic Orthodox. They were gracious hosts and had even prepared some Egyptian food, in addition to American sandwiches.
The Copts speak English with a closer connection to British/Irish idiom than our own. They address their bishop, for example, as "Your Grace." They call Lauds or morning prayer "Matins." This difference has nothing to do with the many ancient differences between the rites of Rome and Alexandria. It is much the same as calling an elevator a "lift," a wrench a "spanner," a truck a "lorry, " or a period a "full stop."
(The other day, I heard on "Ballykissangel" an Irish priest more than once address his bishop as "Your Lordship." Wow. At any rate, their English is just as good as ours, to be sure, maybe even better.)
Bishop Makarios, acting as administrator for their parish, was ordained directly by the Pope himself, Patriarch Shenouda. He travels from region to region, setting up parishes and taking care of necessary, administrative tasks. When he visited the new church August 15, 2004, for its dedication, the Pope consulted the people, with regard to the choice of their own pastor. With their consent, then, the new pastor of the parish is Father Samuel Azmy, ordained in late 2004; he was formerly a deacon for some time.