West Syriac Rite

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A West Syriac Rite liturgy of the Syriac Orthodox Church Holy mass of the Syriac Orthodox Church.jpg
A West Syriac Rite liturgy of the Syriac Orthodox Church

The West Syriac Rite or West Aramean Rite, also called Syro-Antiochian Rite, is an Eastern Christian liturgical rite that uses the Divine Liturgy of Saint James in the West Syriac dialect. It is one of two main liturgical rites of Syriac Christianity. [1] It is chiefly practiced in the Syriac Orthodox Church and churches related to or descended from it. It is part of the liturgical family known as the Antiochian Rite, which originated in the ancient Patriarchate of Antioch. It has more anaphoras than any other rite.

Syriac Christianity

Syriac Christianity is the form of Eastern Christianity whose formative theological writings and traditional liturgy are expressed in the Syriac language. Syriac Christianity consists of two liturgical rites, the East Syriac Rite and the West Syriac Rite. The main Anaphora of the East Syriac tradition is the Holy Qurbana of Saints Addai and Mari, while that of the West Syriac tradition is the Divine Liturgy of Saint James.

Syriac Orthodox Church The Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, or Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, is an Oriental Orthodox Church tracing its origin‎ to Antioch by Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the 1st century.

The Syriac Orthodox Church, or Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, is an autocephalous Oriental Orthodox church. It was established by Severus of Antioch in Antioch in 518 A.D., influenced by Jacob Baradaeus, while tracing its history to Antioch by Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the 1st century, according to its tradition. The Church uses the Divine Liturgy of Saint James, associated with Saint James, the "brother" of Jesus and patriarch among the Jewish Christians at Jerusalem. Syriac is the official and liturgical language of the Church based on Syriac Christianity. The primate of the church is the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch currently Ignatius Aphrem II since 2014, seated in the Cathedral of Saint George, Bab Tuma, Damascus, Syria.

Anaphora (liturgy) part of liturgy

The Anaphora is the most solemn part of the Divine Liturgy, or the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, during which the offerings of bread and wine are consecrated as the body and blood of Christ. This is the usual name for this part of the Liturgy in Greek-speaking Eastern Christianity. In western Christian traditions which have a comparable rite, the Anaphora is more often called the Roman Canon in the Latin liturgy, or the Eucharistic Prayer for the three additional modern anaphoras. When the Roman Rite had a single Eucharistic Prayer, it was called the Canon of the Mass.

Contents

The rite is practised in the Syriac Orthodox Church, an Oriental Orthodox body; the Syriac Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic Church in full communion with the Holy See; to a great extent in the Maronite Catholic Church, another Eastern Catholic body. A regional variant, the Malankara Rite, developed in the Malankara Church of India, and is still practised in its descendant churches.

Syriac Catholic Church

The Syriac Catholic Church, also known as Syriac Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch, is an Eastern Catholic Christian Church in the Levant that uses the West Syriac Rite liturgy and has many practices and rites in common with the Syriac Orthodox Church. Being one of the twenty-three Eastern Catholic Churches, the Syriac Catholic Church has full autonomy and is a self-governed sui iuris Church while it is in full communion with the Holy See of Rome. The Syriac Catholic Church traces its history to the earliest days of Christianity. After the Calcedonian Schism the Church of Antioch became part of Oriental Orthodoxy, and was known as the Syriac Orthodox Church, while a new Antiochian Patriarchate was established to fill its place by the churches which accepted the Council of Calcedon. The Syriac Orthodox Church came into full communion with the Holy See and the modern Syriac Orthodox Church is a result of those that did not want to join the Catholic Church. Therefore the Syriac Catholic Church is the continuation of the original Church of Antioch.

Full communion is a communion or relationship of full understanding among different Christian denominations that share certain essential principles of Christian theology. Views vary among denominations on exactly what constitutes full communion, but typically when two or more denominations are in full communion it enables services and celebrations, such as the Eucharist, to be shared among congregants or clergy of any of them with the full approval of each.

Holy See Episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, Italy

The Holy See, also called the See of Rome, refers to the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope, which includes the apostolic episcopal see of the Diocese of Rome with universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the worldwide Catholic Church, as well as a sovereign entity of international law.

Usage

Versions of the West Syriac Rite are currently used by (the Indian churches use the Malankara Rite):

Malankara Rite

The Malankara Rite is the form of the West Syriac liturgical rite practiced by several churches of the Saint Thomas Christian community in Kerala, India. West Syriac liturgy was brought to India by the Syriac Orthodox Bishop of Jerusalem, Gregorios Abdal Jaleel, in 1665; in the following decades the Malankara Rite emerged as the liturgy of the Malankara Church, one of the two churches that evolved from the split in the Saint Thomas Christian community in the 17th century. Today it is practiced by the various churches that descend from the Malankara Church, namely the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, the Malabar Independent Syrian Church, and the Mar Thoma Syrian Church.

India Country in South Asia

India is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.

Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church Orthodox Church in Kerala, India

The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, also known as the Indian Orthodox Church, is an autocephalous church centered in the Indian state of Kerala. It is one of the churches of India's Saint Thomas Christian community, which has its origin in the evangelical activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. The church is headed by the autocephalous Catholicos of the East and the Malankara Metropolitan, presently Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose II.

Lebanon Arabic country in Western Asia

Lebanon, officially known as the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered by Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south, while Cyprus is west across the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon's location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland facilitated its rich history and shaped a cultural identity of religious and ethnic diversity. At just 10,452 km2, it is the smallest recognized sovereign state on the mainland Asian continent.

History

The oldest known form of the Antiochene Rite is in Greek which is apparently its original language. The many Greek terms that remain in the Syriac form suggest that this is derived from Greek. The version must have been made very early, evidently before the schism occasioned by the Council of Chalcedon, before the influence of Constantinople had begun. No doubt as soon as Christian communities arose in the rural areas of Roman Syria, the prayers which in the cities (Antioch, Jerusalem, etc.) were said in Greek, were, as a matter of course, translated into the local vernacular for the people's use. [4]

Early sources, such as Peregrinatio Silviae describe the services at Jerusalem as being in Greek; but the lessons, first read in Greek, are then translated into Syriac. As long as all Western Syria was one communion, the country dioceses followed the rite of the patriarch at Antioch, only changing the language. Modifications adopted at Antioch in Greek were copied in Syriac by those who said their prayers in the national tongue. This point is important because the Syriac Liturgy (in its fundamental form) already contains all the changes brought to Antioch from Jerusalem. It is not the older pure Antiochene Rite, but the later Rite of Jerusalem-Antioch. The Liturgy of St. James, for example, prays first not for the Church of Antioch, but "for the holy Sion, the mother of all churches", that is, Jerusalem. (Brightman, pp. 89–90). The fact that both the Syriac and the Byzantine Orthodox Churches have the Jerusalem-Antiochene Liturgy is the chief proof that this had supplanted the older Antiochene use before the schism of the 5th century. [4]

The earliest extant Syriac documents come from about the end of the 5th century. [5] They contain valuable information about local forms of the Rite of Antioch-Jerusalem. The Syriac Orthodox Church kept a version of this rite which is obviously a local variant. Its scheme and most of its prayers correspond to those of the Greek St. James; but it has amplifications and omissions such as is found in all local forms of early rites. It seems too that the Syriac Church made some modifications after the schism. This is certainly the case at one point, that of the Trisagion. [4]

One Syriac writer is James of Edessa (d. 708), who wrote a letter to a priest Thomas comparing the Syriac Liturgy with that of Egypt. This letter is an exceedingly valuable and really critical discussion of the rite. A number of later Syriac writers followed James of Edessa. On the whole this church produced the first scientific students of liturgy. Benjamin of Edessa (period unknown), Lazarus bar Sabhetha of Bagdad (ninth century), Moses bar Kephas of Mosul (d. 903), Dionysuis bar Salibhi of Amida (d. 1171) wrote valuable commentaries on this Rite. In the eighth and ninth centuries a controversy concerning the prayer at the Fraction produced much liturgical literature. The chronicle of a Syriac prelate, Patriarch Michael the Great, (d. 1199) discusses the question and supplies valuable contemporary documents. [4]

The oldest West Syriac liturgy extant is the one ascribed, as in its Greek form, to Saint James, "the brother of the Lord". It is in the dialect of Edessa. The pro-anaphoral part of this is the Ordo communis to which the other later Anaphoras are joined. [4]

This follows the Greek St. James with these differences: [4]

In this Syriac Liturgy many Greek forms remain, e.g. Stomen kalos, Kyrie eleison, Sophia, Proschomen. Renaudot gives also a second form of the Ordo communis (II, 12–28) with many variants. [4]

To the Ordo communis, the Syriac Church has added a very great number of alternative Anaphoras, many of which have not been published. These Anaphoras are ascribed to all manner of people; they were composed at very different periods. One explanation of their attribution to various saints is that they were originally used on their feasts. [4]

Eusèbe Renaudot translated and published 39 of these. After that, the Liturgy of St. James follows (in his work) a shortened form of the same. This is the one commonly used today. Then: [4]

Brightman (pp. lviii–lix) mentions 64 Liturgies as known, at least by name. Notes of this bewildering number of Anaphoras will be found after each in Renaudot. In most cases all he can say is that he knows nothing of the real author; often the names affixed are otherwise unknown. Many Anaphoras are obviously quite late, inflated with long prayers and rhetorical, expressions, many contain miaphysite ideas, some are insufficient at the consecration so as to be invalid. Baumstark (Die Messe im Morgenland, 44–46) thinks the Anaphora of St Ignatius most important, as containing parts of the old pure Antiochene Rite. He considers that many attributions to later miaphysite authors may be correct, that the Liturgy of Ignatius of Antioch (Joseph Ibn Wahib; d. 1304) is the latest. Most of these Anaphoras have now fallen into disuse. [4]

There is an Armenian version (shortened) of the Syriac St James. The Liturgy is said in Syriac with (since the 15th century) many Arabic substitutions in the lessons and proanaphoral prayers. The Lectionary and Diaconicum have not been published and are badly known. The vestments correspond almost exactly to those of the Byzantine Orthodox, except that the bishop wears a Latinized mitre. The Calendar has few feasts. It follows in its main lines the older form of Antioch, observed also by the Nestorians, which is the basis of the Byzantine Calendar. Feasts are divided into three classes of dignity. Wednesday and Friday are fast-days. The Divine Office consists of Vespers, Compline, Nocturns, Lauds, Terce, Sext, and None, or rather of hours that correspond to these among Latins. Vespers always belongs to the following day. The great part of this consists of long poems composed for the purpose, like the Byzantine odes. Baptism is performed by immersion; the priest confirms at once with chrism blessed by the patriarch. Communion is administered under both kinds; the sick are anointed with oil blessed by a priest — the ideal is to have seven priests to administer it. The orders are bishop, priest, deacon, subdeacon, lector, and singer. There are many chorepiscopi, not ordained bishop. It will be seen, then, that the relatively small Syriac Church has followed much the same line of development in its rites as its Byzantine neighbours. [4]

The Syriac Catholics, that is, those in communion with Rome, use the same rite as the Syriac Orthodox, but perhaps in a more organized manner. There is not much that can be called Romanizing in their books; but they have the advantage of well-arranged, well-edited, and well-printed books. The most prominent early modern and modern students of the West Syriac Rite (the Assemani, Renaudot, etc.) have been Catholic. Their knowledge and Western standards of scholarship in general are advantages from which the Syriac Catholics profit. Of the manifold Syriac Anaphoras, the Catholics use seven only — those of St James, St John, St Peter, St Chrysostom, St Xystus, St Matthew, and St Basil. That of St Xystus is attached to the Ordo communis in their official book; that of St John is said on the chief feasts. The lessons only are in Arabic. It was inevitable that the Syriac Liturgies, coming from miaphysite sources, should be examined at Rome before they are allowed to Syriac Catholics, but the revisers made very few changes. Out of the mass of anaphoras they chose those believed to be the oldest and purest, leaving out the long series of later ones that they regarded as unorthodox, or even invalid. In the seven kept for Syriac Catholic use what alterations have been made are chiefly the omission of redundant prayers, and the simplication of confused parts in which the Diaconicum and the Euchologion had become mixed together. The only substantive change is the omission of the clause: "Who was crucified for us" in the Trisagion. There is no suspicion of modifying in the direction of the Roman Rite. The other books of the Catholics — Diaconicum, officebook, and ritual — are edited at Rome, Beirut, and the Patriarchal press Sharfé; they are considerably the most accessible, the best-arranged books in which to study this rite. [4]

See also

Notes

  1. The Rites of Christian Initiation: Their Evolution and Interpretation
  2. "Heritage". marthoma.in. August 23, 2019. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  3. "Full Communion Partners | Episcopal Church". www.episcopalchurch.org. Retrieved 2016-07-25.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 PD-icon.svg  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Fortescue, Adrian (1912). "West Syrian Rite". In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia . 14. New York: Robert Appleton. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  5. Testamentum Domini , ed. by Ephrem Rahmani, Life of Severus of Antioch, sixth century.
  6. see Zacharias Rhetor, "Hist. eccl. ", Patrologia Graeca 85, 1165.

Sources

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