Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Instructions for Ad Orientem Worship in Syriac Catholic Missal (1978)

I have had a bit of extra time on my hands. So I decided to pick up my Syriac Catholic Missal and look through it. I hadn't really read the notes at the beginning mainly because my Arabic is not perfect.

Nevertheless I picked up the book and read through the notes (it seems my Arabic has improved) and these are my findings regarding Ad Orientem Worship as stated in our 1978 Patriarchal Missal authorised by the late Patriarch Ignatius Antony II Hayyek.

Instructions in Syriac Catholic Missal 1978

Translation (my emphasis added):

In the Liturgy of the Offering, the Priest and congregation face towards the altar, the priest does not turn to the congregation unless the instructions say so.

The reality is, however, that this instruction (which is in our Patriarchal Missal) is rarely followed (at least in the diaspora).

Most Priests in the diaspora have never celebrated the Divine Offering facing Christ in the East.

Bishop Mor Yousif Habash with Fr Selwan Taponi Celebrating the Divine Offering with their backs towards God. In addition to this Fr Taponi was not wearing his cuffs nor his belt. I am not sure if Mor Habash reprimanded him for this.

What is even sadder though, is the fact that many of our Bishops who continue to place there back towards the Cross. Especially our most beloved Patriarch who has disregarded the beautiful Dome Altar in his Cathedral in Beirut by putting a table in front of it.

Please, I beg you all to pray for the restoration of our beautiful traditions. So that we can glorify our Lord the way our forefathers did.

I will be sure to blog more about this Missal in the near future.

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


  1. Is the Divine Offering celebrated facing East in any Syriac Catholic parishes?

    1. There are a few here and there (probably in Iraq or Syria). You'd be lucky to find a parish in the diaspora that does it.

  2. "Especially our most beloved Patriarch who has disregarded the beautiful Dome Altar in his Cathedral in Beirut by putting a table in front of it."

    Sad. That rose-marble canopy is indeed lovely. I recall seeing broadcasts a few years back where the real altar was actually used. The only thing it lacks is a sanctuary veil. But now, of course, that table sits below the steps. It's infuriating. A perfect example of Novus Ordo-inspired neo-latinization.

  3. It's not from lack of knowing or doing:

    So, why, other than sheer imitation of the non-traditional Latin practice?