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Koiak (/ˈkɔːjæk/; Coptic: Ⲕⲟⲓⲁⲕ, [ˈkɔjak]), also known as Choiak (Greek: Χοιάκ, Khoiák) and Kiyahk[1] (Coptic: Ⲕⲓⲁϩⲕ, Kiahk, [ˈkijahk]; Arabic: كياك or كيهك), is the fourth month of the ancient Egyptian and Coptic calendars. It lasts between 10 December and 8 January of the Gregorian calendar, or between 11 December and 9 January of the Gregorian calendar in Coptic calendar years immediately following a Coptic calendar leap year (which occur every four years, in Coptic calendar years immediately preceding those that are divisible by 4 to produce an integer; i.e., 1719, 1723, 1727, 1731, etc. are all examples of leap years in the Coptic calendar). The month of Koiak is also the fourth month of the Season of Akhet (Inundation) in Ancient Egypt, when the Nile floods historically covered the land. They have not done so since the construction of the High Dam at Aswan.


The name of the month of Koiak comes from the Ancient Egyptian phrase k3 ḥr k3 "Soul upon Soul", a name of the sacred ancient Egyptian Apis Bull. It is attested in cuneiform with the pronunciation 𒆪𒄿𒄴𒆪 ku-i-iḫ-ku, likely representing /kɔʔ-iḥ-kɔʔ/ with an o-vowel as in later Coptic.[2]

Coptic tradition[edit]

The month of Koiak holds a special place in the rite of the Coptic Orthodox Church. It is known as the "Mariam Month" ("Month of Mary") because the Nativity according to the Coptic calendar falls on 29 Koiak. The month is characterized by beautiful midnight praises that commemorate the Lord's Incarnation and venerate his mother, the Virgin Mary. The name of the Koiak midnight praise translates into Seven and Four, describing the outline of the praise that consists of 4 Canticles and 7 Theotokia (glorifications of Saint Mary).

It was at the beginning of the month of Koiak in Coptic calendar year 1726 that the Virgin Mary was said to have appeared in churches all over Egypt.[3]

Coptic Synaxarium of the month of Koiak[edit]

Coptic Julian Gregorian Commemorations






  • Departure of St. Peter Elrahawy, Bishop of Gaza
  • Consecration of the Church of St. Shenouda
2 28 11
  • Departure of the St. Hor, the Monk
  • Commemoration of St. Hermina the Anchorite
  • Martyrdom of the church of St. Peter & St. Paul
3 29 12
4 30 13
5 December


  • Departure of Nahum, the Prophet.
  • Martyrdom of St. Victor (Boctor) of Asyut
  • Martyrdom of St. Isidore (Isidorus)
6 2 15
  • Martyrdom of St. Anatolius (Anatole)
  • Martyrdom of St. Batalus
7 3 16
8 4 17
9 5 18
  • Departure of St. Poemen, the Confessor
10 6 19
11 7 20
12 8 21
  • Commemoration of Michael, the Archangel.
  • Commemoration of St. John the Confessor
  • Departure of St. Hedra, Bishop of Aswan
  • Assembly of the Council at Rome in 249 AD. Against Benates (Novatus) the Priest
  • Departure of St. Mark VIII, the 108th Pope of Alexandria.
13 9 22
  • Martyrdom of St. Barsanuphius
  • Departure of St. Apraxios (Abracius).
  • Consecration of the Church of St. Misael, the Anchorite.
  • St. Zali, disciple of St. Matthew
14 10 23
  • Martyrdom of St. Ammonius, Bishop of Esna
  • Martyrdom of St. Behnam & His Sister St. Sarah
  • Martyrdom of Sts. Simeon of Menouf, Abba Hor, and Abba Mina the Elder
  • Departure of St. Christodolos, the 66th Pope of Alexandria.
15 11 24
16 12 25
  • Departure of the Righteous Gideon, One of the Judges of Israel.
  • Martyrdom of Sts. Harouadi, Ananias & Khouzi of Akhmim
  • Martyrdom of St. Eulogius & St. Arsenius
  • Consecration of the Church of St. James the Persian
17 13 26
  • Departure of St. Luke the Stylite and the Relocation of His Holy Relics
  • Commemoration of St. Elisa the Anchorite
18 14 27
  • Commemoration of the Relocation of the Relics of St. Titus to Constantinople.
  • Commemoration of St. Heracleas the Martyr and St. Philemon the Priest
19 15 28
  • Departure of St. John, Bishop of El-Borollos, who gathered the Biographies of the Saints (The Synaxarion)
20 16 29
  • Departure of Haggai, the Prophet.
  • Commemoration of St. Elias, Bishop of al-Muharraq
21 17 30
22 18 31
23 19 January


  • Departure of David, the Prophet and King
  • Departure of St. Timothy, the Anchorite
24 20 2
25 21 3
  • Departure of St. John Kama (Khame)
26 22 4
27 23 5
28 24 6
29 25 7
30 26 8


During the month of Koiak, many rituals and festivals are performed in Egypt to celebrate Osiris, Isis, and Nephthys.[4] These rites have been prominent as early as the New Kingdom.[5] Two women will take the roles of the goddesses, Isis and Nephthys, to mourn for their dead brother Osiris. The main festival was over a length of ten days, ending at the day of Osiris's resurrection. This day also marked the beginning of the new agricultural season, when the Egyptians began to plant new crops for the year. Each day of the festival also featured a scene of purifications, feasts, and constructions of memorials associated with Osiris's resurrection.[6]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Gabra, Gawdat (2008), "Coptic Calendar", The A to Z of the Coptic Church, A to Z Guide Series, No. 107, Plymouth: The Scarecrow Press, pp. 70–1, ISBN 978-0-8108-7057-4.
  2. ^ PEUST 1999 Egyptian Phonology An Introduction To The Phonology Of A Dead Language OCR.
  3. ^ "Apparitions of the Blessed Holy Virgin Mary at El-Warraq Coptic Orthodox Church, Greater Cairo, Egypt, December 2009". www.zeitun-eg.org. Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  4. ^ Assmann, Jan (2005) [German edition 2001]. Death and Salvation in Ancient Egypt. Translated by David Lorton. Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-4241-4.
  5. ^ Lesko, Barbara S. (1999). The Great Goddesses of Egypt. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-3202-0.
  6. ^ Fairman, H. W. (July 1934). "Le Temple d'Edfou. ParEmile Chassinat. Tome 7me. Mission Archéologique Française au Caire. 13¾ × 9¾, pp. x + 356. Cairo: L'Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale, 1932". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. 66 (3): 592–593. doi:10.1017/s0035869x00075948. ISSN 1356-1863. S2CID 163725012.