The Coptic Orthodox Church decided to start the Coptic year from the year Emperor Diocletian came to the Roman throne in 284 A.D. The calendar became known as the calendar of the martyrs, as Diocletian was the last emperor to lead the largest persecution of Christians in the empire. So the feast of Nayrouz became the feast, and the commemoration of, the martyrs. We celebrate it every year on September 11 or 12.
The word Nayrouz is a Persian word meaning, "The beginning of the year." On this day, we declare our eagerness to share with the martyrs a new day which they attain in Paradise. They have the experience of brightness, through which the brightness of the glory of Christ shines on them.
The martyrs are those who believe in what the Lord said, "A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also." (John 15:20)
So the martyrs offer their blood for the sake of Christ, who offered His blood for the salvation of mankind. The book of Revelation describes them, "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death." (Revelation 12:11)
So let us follow their steps, and celebrate this feast day full of purity and chastity and remember what St. Paul said, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation." (2 Corinthians 5:17-18)
May the Lord guide, bless, and protect us, and may all the martyrs intercede on our behalf.
By: Fr. Mikhail E. Mikhail, D. Min.