Friday, 4 October 2013

Archeparchy of Mosul and removal of "unecessary phrases and repetitions"

I've just got my hand on this:

The Book of Priestly Services
The Syriac Catholic Eparchy of Mosul
First Part

The giving of the Holy Mysteries

This book was published in 2013.

Obviously excited upon receiving this, I thought I would open up the first page and try to read (my Arabic is not very good...should be written in Syriac anyway) the introduction

What saddened me deeply when reading the introduction signed by Bishop Moshe was that they have removed "unnecessary phrases" and repetitions. 
This removal (and although I have not compared it with older books), I believe is a step in the wrong direction. The Syriac-East is rooted in mystical theology portrayed by Poetry.
Repetition is not only a fine touch in our liturgies. I believe it is an essential part of our liturgies that form part of its identity. And such an ambiguous designation like "unnecessary" is really contrary to Eastern Theology. Eastern theology is about the mystery, not what is necessary or unnecessary for validity.
 Imagine if during the Divine Offering. Instead of chanting the Trisagion like this:
Holy art Thou Oh God,
Holy art Thou Oh Mighty One, 
Holy art Thou Oh Deathless One,
Have Mercy on Us (X3)
We simply said:

Holy God you are Mighty and Deathless.

Just imagine the outrage if we changed the Trisagion to remove "unnecessary repetitions". A prayer we have all come to learn and love growing up. 

Why doesn't the same thing happen with other prayers? Why is there no outrage when "unnecessary phrases and repetitions" are removed from the Crowing or a Baptism?

With the prayers of the Birth-Giver of God Maryam and Mor Ephrem, God Bless you all!


  1. It reminds me of the first trisagion in the pre-1973 Syro-Maronite liturgy which came just before where the current liturgy starts.

    Kyrie, eleison Kyrie, eleison Kyrie, eleison.
    Holy art thou, O God!
    Holy art thou, O Strong One!
    Holy art thou, Immortal One!
    Have mercy on us,
    Lord have mercy on us,
    Lord forgive us and have mercy on us,
    Lord hear us and have mercy on us,
    Lord accept our services and prayers
    and come to our aid and have mercy on us

    I would assume that it was removed both because of the repeditive nature of the prayer and also because there is another Trisagion later in the liturgy.

  2. Very sad. If my church "removed repetition", it would lose the beauty of our Holy Liturgy and leave it limp, like a song with no refrain. Imagine the "Happy Birthday song" or "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" - simple secular English tunes that everyone knows - without "'unnecessary' phrases and repetitions".