West Syriac Rite

Last updated
Celebration of the Holy Qurobo in the Syriac Orthodox Church led by Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II Mor Ignatius Aphrem II at St. John's Church, Stuttgart.jpg
Celebration of the Holy Qurobo in the Syriac Orthodox Church led by Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II

The West Syriac Rite, also called the Syro-Antiochian Rite and the West Syrian Rite, [1] is an Eastern Christian liturgical rite that employs the Divine Liturgy of Saint James in the West Syriac dialect. It is practised in the Maronite Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Syriac Catholic Church and various Malankara Churches of India (see the section on usage below). It is one of two main liturgical rites of Syriac Christianity, the other being the East Syriac Rite. [2] [3]

Contents

It originated in the ancient Patriarchate of Antioch. It has more anaphoras than any other rite. [4] [5]

Many new texts translated from Greek were accepted among the Syriac Orthodox of Antioch. Those associated with Tagrit did not accept them. In essence it is the Tagrit tradition that was introduced into Kerala in the 18th and 19th centuries. [6]

Usage

Maronite cross. Maronite Cross.png
Maronite cross.

Versions of the West Syriac Rite are currently used by multiple different ecclesiastical bodies:

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 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. [1]

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. [1]

The earliest extant Syriac documents come from about the end of the 5th century. [9] 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. [1]

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), Dionysius bar Salibi 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. [1]

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 proanaphoral part of this is the Ordo communis to which the other later Anaphoras are joined. [1]

This follows the Greek St. James with these differences: [1]

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. [1]

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. [1]

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: [1]

Brightman (pp. lviii–lix) mentions 64 liturgies as known, at least by name. Notes of this many 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. [1]

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 poorly 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 Church of the East, 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. [1]

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. [1]

The Saint Thomas Christian community of India, who originally belonged to the Province of India of the Church of the East and they were following the East Syriac Rite till the sixteenth century, when the interventions of the Portuguese Padroado missionaries led to a schism among them. Following the schism in 1665, one of the two factions that emerged (the Puthenkoor ) made contact with the Syriac Orthodox Church through Archbishop Gregorios Abdal Jaleel. Links with the Syriac Orthodox Church were further strengthened in the course of time, as other Syriac Orthodox prelates continued to work among them and to replace their original liturgical rite. Maphrian Baselios Yaldo and Baselios Shakrallah were prominent among them. In this way the West Syriac liturgical tradition was gradually introduced to them, and thus the descendants of the Puthenkoor, which includes the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, Malankara Marthoma Syrian Church, Syro-Malankara Catholic Church and Malabar Independent Church, currently employ the West Syriac Rite. [11]

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 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 . Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  2. Encyclopædia Britannica: "Antiochene Rite"
  3. The Rites of Christian Initiation: Their Evolution and Interpretation
  4. The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church: West Syrian Worship
  5. New Catholic Encyclopedia: Syrian Liturgy
  6. Sebastian P. Brock, “Liturgy” in Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition
  7. Leustean, Lucian N. (30 May 2014). Eastern Christianity and Politics in the Twenty-First Century. Routledge. p. 568. ISBN   978-1-317-81866-3. The Syrian Orthodox also became the target of Anglican missionary activity, as a result of which the Mar Thoma Church separated from the Orthodox in 1874, adopting the Anglican confession of faith and a reformed Syrian liturgy conforming to Protestant principles.
  8. Office, Anglican Communion. "Anglican Communion: Churches in Communion". Anglican Communion Website.
  9. Testamentum Domini , ed. by Ephrem Rahmani, Life of Severus of Antioch, sixth century.
  10. see Zacharias Rhetor, "Hist. eccl. ", Patrologia Graeca 85, 1165.
  11. Brock, Sebastian P. (2011a). "Thomas Christians". In Sebastian P. Brock; Aaron M. Butts; George A. Kiraz; Lucas Van Rompay (eds.). Gorgias Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Syriac Heritage: Electronic Edition. Gorgias Press. Retrieved 22 September 2016.

Sources

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church</span> Orthodox Church in Kerala, India

The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (MOSC) also known as the Indian Orthodox Church (IOC) or simply as the Malankara Church, is an autocephalous Oriental Orthodox church headquartered in Devalokam, near Kottayam, India. The church serves India's Saint Thomas Christian population. According to tradition, these communities originated in the missions of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. It employs the Malankara Rite, an Indian form of the West Syriac liturgical rite.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Divine Liturgy</span> Rite practiced in Eastern Christian traditions

Divine Liturgy or Holy Liturgy is the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine Rite, developed from the Antiochene Rite of Christian liturgy which is that of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox, the Greek Catholic Churches, and the Ukrainian Lutheran Church. Although the same term is sometimes applied in English to the Eucharistic service of Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, they use in their own language a term meaning "holy offering" or "holy sacrifice". Other churches also treat "Divine Liturgy" simply as one of many names that can be used, but it is not their normal term.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Syriac Orthodox Church</span> Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch

The Syriac Orthodox Church, officially known as the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, and informally as the Jacobite Church, is an Oriental Orthodox church that branched from the Church of Antioch. The bishop of Antioch, known as the patriarch, heads the church, claiming apostolic succession through Saint Peter in the c. 1st century, according to sacred tradition. The church upholds Miaphysite doctrine in Christology, and employs the Divine Liturgy of Saint James, associated with James, the brother of Jesus. Classical Syriac is the official and liturgical language of the church.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Syriac Catholic Church</span> Eastern Catholic church of the West Syriac Rite

The Syriac Catholic Church is an Eastern Catholic Christian jurisdiction originating 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 is a self-governed sui iuris particular church church, while it is in full communion with the Holy See and with the entirety of the Catholic Church.

Patriarch of Antioch is a traditional title held by the bishop of Antioch. As the traditional "overseer" of the first gentile Christian community, the position has been of prime importance in Pauline Christianity from its earliest period. This diocese is one of the few for which the names of its bishops from the apostolic beginnings have been preserved. Today five churches use the title of patriarch of Antioch: one Oriental Orthodox ; three Eastern Catholic ; and one Eastern Orthodox.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Syriac Christianity</span> Branch of Eastern Christianity

Syriac Christianity is a distinctive branch of Eastern Christianity, whose formative theological writings and traditional liturgies are expressed in the Classical Syriac language, a variation of the Aramaic language. In a wider sense, the term can also refer to Aramaic Christianity in general, thus encompassing all Christian traditions that are based on liturgical uses of Aramaic language and its variations, both historical and modern.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Liturgy of Saint James</span>

The Liturgy of Saint James is a form of Christian liturgy used by some Eastern Christians of the Byzantine rite and West Syriac Rite. It is developed from an ancient Egyptian form of the Basilean anaphoric family, and is influenced by the traditions of the rite of the Church of Jerusalem, as the Mystagogic Catecheses of Cyril of Jerusalem imply. It became widespread in Church of Antioch from the fourth or fifth century onwards, replacing the older Basilean Liturgy of Antioch. It is still the principal liturgy of the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the Maronite Church, the Syriac Catholic Church, Syro-Malankara Catholic Church and other churches employing the West Syriac Rite. It is also occasionally used in the Eastern Orthodox Church and Melkite Catholic Church. The Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church uses a reformed variant of this liturgy, omitting intercession of saints and prayer for the dead.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Melkite</span> Christian churches of the Byzantine Rite

The term Melkite, also written Melchite, refers to various Eastern Christian churches of the Byzantine Rite and their members originating in the Middle East. The term comes from the common Central Semitic root m-l-k, meaning "royal", and by extension "imperial" or loyal to the Byzantine Emperor. The term acquired religious connotations as denominational designation for those Christians who accepted imperial religious policies, based on Christological resolutions of the Council of Chalcedon (451).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Holy Qurbana</span> Eucharist in East Syriac Christianity

The Holy Qurbana, refers to the Eucharistic liturgy as celebrated in East Syriac Christianity and the liturgical books containing the rubrics for its celebration. Churches that celebrate this liturgy include various descendants of the Church of the East. East Syriac Christianity consists of an Edessan liturgical rite called the East Syriac Rite. The major anaphora of the East Syriac tradition is the Holy Qurbana of Saints Addai and Mari; Addai being a disciple of Thomas the Apostle and Mari being Addai's disciple. These churches are primarily based in the Middle East and India, with diasporic communities settled in the western world.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anaphora (liturgy)</span> Part of liturgy

The Anaphora is the most solemn part of the Divine Liturgy, or the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, a thanksgiving prayer by virtue of which the offerings of bread and wine are believed to be 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 the Eastern Syriac tradition Qudaša is its equivalent. The corresponding part in western Christian liturgy is nowadays most often called the Eucharistic Prayer. The Roman Rite from the 4th century until after Vatican II had a single such prayer, called the Canon of the Mass.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Index of Eastern Christianity–related articles</span>

Alphabetical list of Eastern Christianity-related articles on English Wikipedia

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Antiochene Rite</span> Family of liturgies originally used in the Patriarchate of Antioch

Antiochene Rite or Antiochian Rite refers to the family of liturgies originally used by the Patriarchate of Antioch.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">East Syriac Rite</span> Christian religious rite

The East Syriac Rite or East Syrian Rite, also called the Edessan Rite, Assyrian Rite, Persian Rite, Chaldean Rite, Nestorian Rite, Babylonian Rite or Syro-Oriental Rite, is an Eastern Christian liturgical rite that employs the Divine Liturgy of Saints Addai and Mari and the East Syriac dialect as its liturgical language. It is one of two main liturgical rites of Syriac Christianity, the other being the West Syriac Rite.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gregorios Abdal Jaleel</span>

Mor Gregorios Abdal Jaleel Bawa was the Syriac Orthodox Bishop of Jerusalem from 1664 until his death in 1681. He is chiefly remembered for his 1665 mission to India, by which he established ties between the Malankara Church and the Syriac Orthodox church of Antioch. He is venerated as a saint by his church.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jacobite Syrian Christian Church</span> Malankara Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church in India

The Jacobite Syrian Christian Church (JSCC), or the Malankara Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church in India also known as Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church, the Jacobite Syrian Church, and the Syriac Orthodox Church in India, is a catholicate based in Kerala, India, of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch and part of the Oriental Orthodox Church. It recognizes the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East as supreme head of the church. It functions autonomously within the church, administered by the Metropolitan Trustee, under the authority of the Maphrian of India, Baselios Thomas I. Following schism with the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, is currently the only church in Malankara that is directly under a Syriac Christian Antiochian hierarchy, claiming continuity to the 1665 schism. The church employs the West Syriac Rite Liturgy of Saint James.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Oriental Orthodox Churches</span> Branch of Eastern Christianity

The Oriental Orthodox Churches are Eastern Christian churches adhering to Miaphysite Christology, with approximately 60 million members worldwide. The Oriental Orthodox Churches are part of the Nicene Christian tradition, and represent one of its oldest branches.

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 Mar Thoma Syrian Church, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church and the Malabar Independent Syrian Church

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maronite Church</span> Syriac Eastern Catholic Church

The Maronite Church is an Eastern Catholic sui iuris particular church in full communion with the pope and the worldwide Catholic Church, with self-governance under the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. The current head of the Maronite Church is Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, who was elected in March 2011 following the resignation of Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir. The current seat of the Maronite Patriarchate is in Bkerke, northeast of Beirut, Lebanon. Officially known as the Antiochene Syriac Maronite Church, it is part of Syriac Christianity by liturgy and heritage.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Holy Qurobo</span> Eucharist in Syro-Antiochene Christianity

The Holy Qurobo or Holy Qurbono refers to the Eucharist as celebrated in Syro-Antiochene Rite and the liturgical books containing rubrics for its celebration. West Syriac Rite includes various descendants of the Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches. It consists of two distinct liturgical traditions: the Maronite Rite, and the Jacobite Rite. The major Anaphora of both the traditions is the Divine Liturgy of Saint James in Syriac language. The Churches are primarily based in the Middle East, Africa, and India.

The Eastern Catholic Churches of the Catholic Church utilize liturgies originating in Eastern Christianity, distinguishing them from the majority of Catholic liturgies which are celebrated according to the Latin liturgical rites of the Latin Church. While some of these sui iuris churches are of the same liturgical ritual families as other Eastern Catholic churches and Eastern churches not in full communion with Rome, each church retains the right to institute its own canonical norms, liturgical books, and practices for the ritual celebration of the Eucharist, other sacraments, and canonical hours.