Tasbeha (Praise) in the Coptic Church
Tasbeha (the arabic word for Praise) has a profoundand important place in the Coptic Church. The Tasbeha is the language of Heaven, and the work (labour) of Heaven.
When one is so filled with Godly love, they find they don’t know how else to thank Him but to praise Him just like the angels are constantly doing.
Sacrifice of Thanks – Eucharist
Sacrifice of Praise – Tasbeha
The Church fathers call Tasbeha “decoration of the Church” by which the Church is decorated and ornamentally prepared for her Heavenly King and Bridegroom, with Heavenly decorations (Praise) of our hearts.
Just as the Holy Bible has an Old and a New Testament, so too does the Tasbeha.
In the Bible:
· Introduction (Ten thino which means ‘Arise, children of the light’)
· 1st *Hoas (taken directly from Exodus Chapter 15)
· 2nd Hoas (taken directly from Psalm 135)
· 3rd Hoas (taken directly from the 2nd Deuterocanonical Books)
· Hymn of the Three Youths
· Commemoration of the Saints
· Doxologies of the Saints
· 4th Hoas (taken directly from Psalms 148, 149 and 150)
· *Psali (of the day)
· *Theotokia (of the day)
+ The Old Testament section of the Tasbeha
David the prophet said “we went [passed] through fire and through water; but You brought us out to rich fulfilment [rest]” (Psalm 66:12).
The water represents Moses and the children of Israel crossing the sea.
The fire represents the Three Youths in the fire.
The rest is the Heavenly rest with the Saints and the Heavenlies.
The 4 Hoases are also split into two sections:
1) 3 Hoases before the Commemoration of the Saints
o Crossing over/passing from slavery to freedom
o Crossing over (Passover)
Symbolise Baptism in water
o Crossing over from the Passover to Salvation
o The Three Youths + 4th being the Angel changed fire toSalvation
Symbolises trials (of fire). 4th Angel symbolises Jesus descending into Hades to save us from hell fire
o Commemoration of Old Testament and New Testament Saints
o Entering into sharing with the Heavenlies and Saints
Symbolises heavenly rest, happiness and joy
2) 1 Hoas after the Commemoration of the Saints (in which all creation praises God after they have been brought to rest).
(Praising God for the rest)
+ The New Testament section of the Tasbeha
Doxologies: Respect and honour of the Saints
Psali: Glorification of our Lord Jesus Christ
Theotokia: Praise for the Mother of God (Theotokos – from which comes the title Theotokia). It is a glorification (or hallowing) for St Mary for her role in the Incarnation and Salvation.
There are two styles for the Psali and Theotokia:
· Prayed on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays
· Has a more joyous tune and is shorter than Watos Theotokia
· Called ‘Adam’ because start with the word ‘Adam’, and talk about the Humanity of God.
· Prayed on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays
· Start with the word ‘3oleka’ (meaning bush - ‘vots’ ð watos), and talk about the Divinity of God.
So Adam and Watos Psalis and Theotokias are a simple way through Praise to understand the Humanity and Divinity of God for all ages and levels of understanding.
The Tasbeha therefore is a school – a spiritual, theological and philosophical school summarising the Old Testament and the New Testament in simple faith...
As related by His Eminence Metropolitan Dr. Anba Abraham. All rights reserved.