Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Antioch - both Greek and Syriac. But not Byzantine

Before I go on, I would like to make a distinction between the Liturgy and the Anaphora in the Syriac-East.

Think of the Liturgy as the skeleton of the whole Qurobo Alohoye (Divine Offering). But the skeleton includes certain muscles (prayers). These prayers are standard and include prayers at the foot of the altar, prayers of forgiveness and incense prayers. The Anaphora adds missing prayers, such as the words of Institution, Epiclesis, other prayers of forgiveness and prayers for peace. Most of the standard prayers of the Liturgy are said before the Anaphora.

In the West Syriac Churches (Maronite, Syriac Catholic and Syro-Malankara) we use the Liturgy of St James the Just. Which is one of the oldest Liturgies in use today.

The closest thing to an Anaphora in the Novous Ordo West is probably the different Eucharistic Prayers.

I myself on this blog have used the term "Greek-east" where I should have probably used the term "Byzantine-East" (I will do this from now on).  The reason for this, is that the Christians in Antioch were both Semites and Greeks. Meaning the Liturgies would've been said in both Aramaic and Greek. So using the term "Greek-East" can often be mistaken for referring to the Greek-East in Antioch.

The oldest copies of the Liturgy of Saint James the Just are in Greek (this is not to say that the Greek is older, but rather because it was the language of the educated it would've been copied more frequently than the Syriac).

In the current Syriac liturgy. There are certain prayers that could point to a Greek origin or early hellenization. These include the famous Quryalayson (Lord have Mercy) and Stomen Qalos (stand devoutly).

The Byzantine Liturgy (of St John Chrysostom) is heavily based on that of St James the Just and the Alexandrian Liturgy of St Basil. It is a Greek re-write of both. However it is not the same as the Antiochene Liturgy. On the other hand, the West Syrian Liturgy as used today, is the same as the Antiochene Liturgy, with a few organic developments from Edessa. Edessa was a Patriarchal territory of Antioch, so it could not change that much. On the other hand Constantinople was a whole new Patriarchate, meaning that the Liturgy could be changed more liberally.

Unfortunately today there aren't any Churches that use the Greek-Antiochene Liturgy. Even the Melkite Church, use the Byzantine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom.

Through the prayers of the Birth-Giver of God Maryam and Mor Ephrem, God Bless you all.

1 comment:

  1. "Edessa was a Patriarchal territory of Antioch"

    The Chaldeans and ACoE will dispute this.

    In fact, the Antiochene liturgy itself shares its patrimony with Edessa. Although it was modified in Antioch, there are certain similarities that are more than coincidental. And both the Eastern & Western Syriac Churches lay claim to Mor Ephrem. ;)