Saturday, 19 October 2013

Barekhmor!

If anyone has been to a Syriac Liturgy. They would instantly notice the constant use of the word Barekhmor(ܒܰܪܶܟܡܳܪܝ) this word comes from two different Syriac words. The first is Barekh (ܒܰܪܶܟ), which means bless. And the second is Mor (ܡܳܪܝ), which is a Syriac title, best translated as lordship or lord.

Basically Barekhmor means: Bless O lord. Mor is often used as a title for Bishops and Saints. For Example: Mor Charbel.

Barekhmor is used outside the Liturgy as a greeting to Priests. For example, if a believer is to see a Priest, he would say Barekhmor. The Priest would then respond by saying Moran Barekh(Our Lord Bless) or Alloho m'Barekh(God Bless). In the Syriac Catholic Church the greeting may have additional words added if the Priest is a Bishop or the Patriarch. If the Priest is a Bishop, the greeting becomes Barekhmor Abun m'aleo (Bless O lord-high-Father). If the priest is the Patriarch (or Pope), the greeting becomes Barekhmor Abun m'Tabthono (Bless O lord-blessed-father).

Barekhmor is mostly used in the Liturgy by the Deacon to instruct the Celebrant to bless. The Deacon often says it prior to instructing the congregation. For example:
Barekhmor! Stand with fear, stand with modesty, stand with purity, stand with holiness!
In the English-speaking diaspora of the West Syriac Rite (Maronite and Syriac Catholics) the term is sometimes downplayed. It is often translated as
  • "With your blessing"
  • "With your blessing, Father"
  • "Bless me Father"
The issue with the inaccurate translation of Barekhmor is possibly due to the word structure being awkward in English. Nevertheless, whatever the issue may be. I believe a solution is to not translate it at all.

Priests do this in Arabic. For example, when a Bishop is present, Priests would often say Barekhmor then continue to read the prayer in Arabic. I do not see the problem with doing the same in English. In addition to this it is already done in a few parishes here and there. An example in English would be:
A reading from the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians. Barekhmor!
Another reason why I advocate the use of the untranslated Barekhmor is because it is a word that is used like Kyrie Eleison or the Trisagion. It is simple, repeated and not difficult to understand. While at the same time maintains our Syriac Identity.

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

3 comments:

  1. Barekmor! We Syro-Malankara keep the Syriac, even in the English translation. As far as I am aware, our Syriac Orthodox and Malankara Orthodox do as well.

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  2. Like "Barack" (barek) Obama. Although "Barack" is more of a curse than anything else.

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  3. "Barekhmor is mostly used in the Liturgy by the Deacon to instruct the Celebrant to bless. The Deacon often says it prior to instructing the congregation. ... In the English-speaking diaspora of the West Syriac Rite (Maronite and Syriac Catholics) the term is sometimes downplayed. ..."

    I agree that the solution to any confusion is to retain the expression in Syriac, but at the same time, we have to realize it's quite clear that "Barekhmor" (when used by the deacon), is simply term of respect, asking for the priest's (or hierarch's) permission to speak.

    In the case of concelebration in the absence of a hierarch, a priest will say "barekhmor" to the principal celebrant when asked to take a prayer aloud. Here, he's not exactly asking for "permission" to speak, but is giving respect to the principal celebrant. Another example is again in the case of concelbration in the absence of a hierarch, where the plural "barekhmorai" is used by the principle celebrant at certain times. In saying this, he is giving due respect to his fellow priests, not asking their "permission" to continue, but simply acknowledging their status. But of course the nuance is lost in translation, so all the more reason to retain "Barekhmor" untranslated.

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