Commentary on the Liturgy of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch 9781463215828

The exposition of the Liturgy of St. James, which is basically the Celebration of the Holy Eucahrist, is most significan

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Commentary on the Liturgy of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch

Publications of the Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the Eastern United States 8   Editor in Chief Mor Cyril Aprhem Karim

Commentary on the Liturgy of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch Ishaq Saka Translated by Matti Moosa

Gorgias Press 2008

First Gorgias Press Edition, 2008 Copyright © 2008 by Gorgias Press LLC All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise without the prior written permission of Gorgias Press LLC. Published in the United States of America by Gorgias Press LLC, New Jersey ISBN 978-1-60724-002-0

Gorgias Press

180 Centennial Ave., Suite 3, Piscataway, NJ 08854 USA www.gorgiaspress.com Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Saka, Ishaq. Commentary on the liturgy of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch / Ishaq Saka ; translated by Matti Moosa. -- 1st Gorgias Press ed. p. cm. -- (Publications of the Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the Eastern United States ; 8) ISBN 978-1-60724-002-0 1. Syrian Orthodox Church--Liturgy--Texts--History and criticism. I. Title. BX177.S2513 2008 264’.0163--dc22 2008043833 The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standards. Printed in the United States of America

TABLE OF CONTENTS Table of Contents....................................................................................................v Translator’s Introduction .......................................................................................1 Sources ......................................................................................................................7 Part One: On the Liturgy .......................................................................................9 Chapter One: The Names of the Liturgy ............................................................9 Chapter Two: On the Origin of the Mass (Eucharist) ....................................13 Chapter Three: The Substance of the Eucharist ..............................................15 Transubstantiation........................................................................................16 Chapter Four: On the Fundamental Constituent of the Mass (Eucharist) ..19 Chapter Five: On the Celebrants of the Eucharist ..........................................21 The Duties of Priests ...................................................................................22 The Administration of the Communion...................................................23 Necessary Information for the Priest........................................................23 Chapter Six: On the Special Days and Times of Administering the Communion ..................................................................................................25 Chapter Seven: On the Order of Prayers and of Attending the Mass..........27 Chapter Eight: the Communion .........................................................................29 Its Benefits.....................................................................................................29 Its Necessity ..................................................................................................29 Proper Preparedness to Partake of the Communion..............................30 Part Two: On the Church and Its Contents .....................................................31 Chapter One: On How Churches are Built and What They Contain...........31 Chapter Two: On the Table of Offering ...........................................................35 Chapter Three: On the Tablitho .........................................................................37 Chapter Four: On the Vessels of the Table of Offering.................................39 Notices regarding the vessels of the Table of Offering .........................41

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Chapter Five: The Priests’ Vestments ................................................................43 Chapter Six: The Censer and Censing................................................................45 Chapter Seven: On Using Lights in the Church...............................................47 Part Three: On the Order of the Holy Eucharist.............................................49 Section One: The Preparation of the Sacrifice ........................................49 The First Service...........................................................................................49 Preparing to Enter the Altar .......................................................................49 Preparing the Bread and the Wine.............................................................50 The Second Service ......................................................................................50 Section Two: The Preparation of Celebrating the Eucharist ................52 Prelude:...........................................................................................................53 The Procession and Censing ......................................................................54 Exposition .....................................................................................................54 The Trisagion ................................................................................................55 Exposition .....................................................................................................56 The Lections..................................................................................................57 Exposition .....................................................................................................59 The Prayer of Entrance to the Altar and of Dispensation ....................60 The Sedro (the second part of the husoyo)..............................................61 Exposition .....................................................................................................62 The Creed ......................................................................................................63 Exposition .....................................................................................................64 Section Three: The Mass of the Faithful (Missa Fidelium) ...................66 Subsection One.............................................................................................66 The Kiss of Peace.........................................................................................66 Exposition .....................................................................................................68 The Prayer of Blessing the Congregation.................................................68 Exposition .....................................................................................................69 The Prayer of the Veil..................................................................................69 Exposition .....................................................................................................70 Subsection Two: From the beginning of the Celebration of the Eucharist to the Time of the Transubstantiation ...........................71 The Blessing of the Congregation by the Priest, Calling them to lift their minds and thoughts on high, and the Prayer of Thanksgiving ........................................................................................72 Exposition .....................................................................................................72 The Hymn of Victory ..................................................................................73 Exposition .....................................................................................................74 The Essential Words of Transubstantiating the Elements ....................75

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Exposition .....................................................................................................76 The Lord’s Instruction to Remember His Death....................................77 Exposition .....................................................................................................77 The Divine Dispensation, Supplication and Praise.................................78 Exposition .....................................................................................................78 Invocation of the Holy Spirit and the Transubstantiation.....................78 Exposition .....................................................................................................79 Conclusion.....................................................................................................81 Exposition .....................................................................................................81 Subsection Three ..........................................................................................81 The Commemorations (Diptychs).............................................................81 Prelude:...........................................................................................................81 The Commemoration of Living Fathers...................................................83 The Commemoration of Living Faithful Brethren .................................83 The Commemoration of Living Kings .....................................................84 The Commemoration of the Virgin and the Saints ................................85 The Commemoration of the Fathers, Malphone and Ascetics.............86 The Commemoration of the Faithful Who Have Fallen Asleep ..........87 The Common Prayer ...................................................................................87 Exposition .....................................................................................................88 The Offering of Peace and Blessing..........................................................88 Exposition .....................................................................................................88 The Prayer of Breaking the Bread and Sprinkling it with the Wine.....88 The Metrical Hymn of Mar Jacob of Sarug..............................................90 Prayer..............................................................................................................91 Exposition .....................................................................................................91 The Catholic (General) Hymn....................................................................92 The Prayer of Thanksgiving........................................................................93 Exposition .....................................................................................................93 Subsection Four: The Lord’s Prayer; the Prayer before Administering the Mysteries; The Benediction; the Conditions of the Communion; the Homily; the Procession ...........................93 The Lord’s Prayer.........................................................................................93 Exposition .....................................................................................................94 The Prayer before Administering the Mysteries......................................94 Exposition .....................................................................................................95 The Offering of Blessings and Peace ........................................................95 Exposition .....................................................................................................95 The Conditions of Receiving the Communion, and the Hallowing of the Altar’s Vessels...........................................................................96

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Exposition .....................................................................................................97 The Tishmeshto and the Homily ...............................................................97 The Procession..............................................................................................98 Exposition .....................................................................................................99 Subsection Five: The Thanksgiving Prayer ............................................100 Expositon.....................................................................................................101 The Dismissal..............................................................................................101 General Appendix ......................................................................................102 The Signing of the Cross During the Mass ............................................102 The Post Dismissal.....................................................................................103 About the Translator ..........................................................................................105

TRANSLATOR’S INTRODUCTION According to tradition the liturgy of St. James, brother of our Lord, is the oldest liturgy used by the first Christian Church in Jerusalem. It bears the name of St. James, its author the first bishop of the Holy City as the liturgy of Alexandria bore the name of St. Mark, the founder of that church. Tradition also shows that the Eucharistic Celebration of the liturgy of St. James was recited in the Aramaic language spoken by the Apostles. This tradition is confirmed by Mar Dionysius Bar Salibi (d. 1172) in the third chapter of the first book of his Exposition of the Syriac Liturgy. The present form of this liturgy, as it exists in the Syrian Church of Antioch, is undoubtedly much longer than the original one. That the liturgy of St. James is ancient is attested by the 32nd canon of the Trullanic Synod which met in Constantinople in 693 AD. Prior to this date St. John Chrysostom quoted specific parts of this liturgy in his various treatises. For example, he mentions in his ninth treatise On Repentance the phrase “let them lift their minds and hearts to God” and in his treatise against the Jews the phrases “tolerate each other,” and “depart ye in peace,” which are parts of the liturgy of St. James. St. Jerome also used some phrases in his Refutation of the Pelagians which constitutes a part of the liturgy of St. James. The fundamental parts of the liturgy of St. James have not undergone change since the fourth century. In his 23rd homily delivered around 347, St. Cyril of Jerusalem not only quotes heavily from the liturgy of St. James, but in expounding the celebration of the Holy Eucharist in the same homily, he follows the same order and manner as that of this liturgy. After referring to the washing of the hands by the celebrant, the greeting of peace and the exhortation of the congregation to thank the Lord and their response to him, Cyril states, We also remember the heaven and earth, the seas, the sun, the moon, the stars and all the creation both endowed with reason and lacking in reason, angels, archangels, virtues, dominions, principalities, powers, thrones, Cherubim endowed with many different appearances. We also make mention of the Seraphim which Isaiah saw standing around the throne of God and with two wings covering their face, with two wings covering their legs and with two wings flying about saying Holy. We also

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LITURGY OF THE SYRIAN ORTHDODOX CHURCH OF ANTIOCH beg the merciful Lord to send the Holy Spirit upon the gifts which we offer that He might make the Bread the Body of Christ and the Wine the Blood of Christ. But after the spiritual sacrifice is completed, we pray to God for the general peace of the churches, for the right government of the world, for the emperors and for those who are in sickness and affliction. Afterwards, we remember those who have died: the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs so that by their prayers, God might receive our prayers. We also pray for the Fathers, Bishops, and all the deceased. Afterwards we say the prayer which the Savior taught His disciples.

This still constitutes an essential part of the liturgy of St. James as is celebrated by the Syrian Church today. This liturgy, used by the church of Jerusalem, found its way slowly into Syria, Sinai, Thessalonica and the Greek colonies of south Italy. After the Church of Constantinople became predominant in Jerusalem, its Patriarchs replaced the liturgy of St. James with two liturgies, one attributed to St. Basil of Caesarea, and the other attributed to St. John Chrysostom. However, they reserved the celebration of the liturgy of St. James for the commemoration of this saint on October 23. This liturgy was also celebrated by the Malkites (Rum Orthodox) in Syria until the twelfth century when it was replaced by their Patriarch Theodore Balsamon (d. 1204) with the two liturgies used by the Church of Constantinople. Nevertheless, it survived longer on the island of Zante where it was also celebrated on the 23rd of October. In 1888, the archbishop of Zante celebrated this liturgy on the 2nd Thursday following Easter at the church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. Since 1900, the liturgy of St. James was celebrated by Archbishop Epiphanius at the Monastery of the Cross in Jerusalem on December 30. But the tradition was not continued after his death. The liturgy of St. James was preserved in both Greek and Syriac languages. But the text in these two languages differs from each other because of the additions made to them through the course of time. However, the fundamental part of this liturgy, namely the Eucharistic prayer, is undoubtedly of Aramaic origin, for the church in Jerusalem recited this prayer in Aramaic and not in Greek. The first edition of the Greek text appeared for the first time in 1560 in Paris under the title Liturgies of the Holy Fathers James the Apostle and brother of Christ, Basil the Great and John Chrysostom. In a later edition this was given the title Textus Receptus. The origin of this text is hard to determine. However, before J. A. Assemani published his Codex Liturgicus, a Basilian monk drew his attention to the Rotulus MS of the tenth or the eleventh century in the library of Messina as well as the Rossanesis Vatican Greek MS 1970 of

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the eleventh century. Both of these MSS contain the liturgy of St. James in Greek. A Latin translation of the Rossanesis is found in the Codex Liturgicus, V, 400-408. H. E. Daniel reproduced the Textus Receptus, LV, 80-133 as well as the various versions published by J. A. Assemani. A copy of the Messina version is also found in C. A. Swainson’s The Greek Liturgies (Cambridge, 1884), 215-346. This work also contains the complete texts of Rossanesis, the Paris Greek MS 2509 of the fifteenth century and the supplement Greek MS 476 of the fifteenth century. A description of further manuscripts is contained in Part I of The Liturgies: Eastern and Western by F. E. Brightman. In his introduction Brightman gives a description of the Paris Greek MS supplement 303 of the sixteenth century, the Oxford miscellaneous Greek MS 134 of the sixteenth century, a manuscript from Zante, another manuscript from Cairo, and still another one from Chalki. In their work entitled Oriens Christianus, Anton Baumstark and Th. Scherman bring to attention the Rotulus Vatican MS 2282 of the seventh or eighth century which they believe is the oldest extant Greek version of the liturgy of St. James. This text was published by V. Cozza-Lutzi in the second part of Nova Patrum Bibliotheca, ed. by A. Mai in 1886. The first Latin translation of the Greek version of this liturgy appeared with the first edition of the original text edited by Leone Tusco in Antwerp, 1560. A German translation of this liturgy was made by J. W. Augustin in his Denkwürdigkeiten aus der christlichen Archäologie, pp. 427–459, and in F. Probst, Liturgie der drei ersten Jahrhunderte, pp. 295–318, and in Storf. Griechische Liturgien (Bibilothek der Kirchenväter, Kempten, 1877). The same translation appeared in the second edition of this work in 1912. (See Adolf Rücker, Die syrische Jakobosanaphora nach der Rezension des J’aqob von Edessa, (Münster, 1923), Introduction, XIII. We have previously said that the fundamental part, that is the Eucharistic Prayer of the liturgy of St. James was originally celebrated in the Aramaic language, and that the Syrian Church of Antioch has used this liturgy since the first century. However, through time, the Syriac version of this liturgy suffered some changes, a phenomenon which induced the celebrated Jacob of Edessa (d. 708) to undertake the revision of the Syriac text of this liturgy according to the Greek text. The same text was slightly abridged by Bar Hebraeus (d. 1286) and came to be known as the short text while the one revised by Jacob of Edessa came to be known as the long text. The revised text by Jacob of Edessa was edited, translated into German and published by Adolf Rücker, already mentioned.

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What makes the liturgy of St. James of utmost importance is that in addition to its Eucharistic Prayer, it contains many other prayers which are identical with those mentioned by the liturgy of the Church of Alexandria. Ignace Ephrem Rahmani, in his Les Liturgies Orientales et Occidentales (Mont Liban, 1924), pp. 171–184, records twenty six instances of prayers and details identical with those of the liturgy of Alexandria. Rahmani believes that since the liturgy of St. James had been instituted by James the Apostle at Jerusalem, it must be regarded in its essential parts, as the source of the liturgy of the Church of Alexandria. The Syriac version of the liturgy of St. James has survived in many old manuscripts. The oldest of these manuscripts are the fragments contained in the British Museum MS14523 which probably dates back to the ninth century. Of all the churches, the Syrian Church of Antioch is perhaps the richest in the number of liturgies it possesses. Patriarch Mar Ignatius Aphram Barsoum (d. 1957), in his book al-Lulu al-Manthur fi Tarikh al-Ulum wa alAdab al-Suryaniyya, translated into English by Matti Moosa with the title The History of Syriac Literature and Sciences ( Passegiata Press, 2000), reprinted with the title Scattered Pearls (Gorgias Press, 2003), lists seventy nine liturgies whose authorship is established . He also lists an additional number of liturgies whose authors are not known. The Syriac style of the liturgy of St. James is simple, lucid and elegant. It was not meant to be highly rhetorical because the main purpose of the liturgy was to appeal to the common worshippers who appreciated clear rather than complicated prayers. The liturgy was also meant to induce the congregation to contemplate the wonders of the divine mystery and feel the true message of salvation. The celebration of the liturgy is usually preceded by private prayers which the celebrant recites silently, particularly the prayer for breaking the sacrificial bread. Some of these prayers are recited silently by the celebrant throughout the whole celebration of the Eucharist. The celebration of the liturgy is also preceded by a hosoyo (proprietary prayer), which is recited before the creed and known as the Sedro of Entry. A part of this liturgy includes prayers recited by the serving deacon, deacons and clergy introduced with a hymn composed by Patriarch Severus of Antioch (d. 538), based on the tradition of Melitene. Unlike all of the other Eastern liturgies, the liturgy of St. James has no litanies. Instead of the litanies were read the Dyptichs usually following the kiss of peace. But the reading of the Dyptichs has ceased since the eleventh century although copies of them still survive in some manuscripts. The

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Dyptichs are usually two tablets, one containing the names of the heads of the churches, kings and charitable believers. The other includes references to the life of Our Lord from the Annunciation to His Resurrection, the Pentecost and the Apostles’ preaching of the Gospel. This is followed by remembering the Patriarchs from Adam to Job, the Prophets, the Priests, the Levites, the twelve Apostles, the four Evangelists, the seventy missionaries, the holy women, the first three Ecumenical Councils, the kings from Abgar of Edessa to Constantine the Great and Anastasius, the patriarchs of Antioch beginning with St. Peter, abbots, priests, monks, deacons and confessors. It ends with the phrase, “Remember Lord those whom we have mentioned and those we have not.” The celebration of the liturgy also includes the six intercessions or commemorations of the believers both the living and the dead. These celebrations are either short of long. There is a long intercession known as the Eastern which was used by the eastern section of the Syrian Church under the jurisdiction of the Maphrianate of Takrit beginning with Mar Ahodemeh (d. 575), to Saliba (d. 1231). In some manuscripts, the version of these intercessions contains the name of the illustrious Bar Hebraeus, interspersed with the names of a group of eastern bishops and holy men. To the liturgy has been added a short hymn usually chanted on the Sunday of Lent before the prayer of peace. A public hymn called “the catholic hymn” was selected by the Fathers of the Syrian Church to be chanted during the breaking of the sacrificial bread. To the liturgy is also added a long prayer for the sick and the afflicted, recited shortly before the end of the service. Because it is seldom used today, this prayer has been replaced by a short supplication. The sermon which usually followed the reading of the Gospel was moved to the end shortly before the presentation of the elements. The liturgy ends with a recessional hymn probably introduced in the thirteenth century. The exposition of the liturgy of St. James by Rev. Ishaq Saka (now Bishop Saka), offered for the first time in English translation, follows the main order of the text revised by Mar Jacob of Edessa with the additions made to it. Apparently, Rev. Saka used some manuscripts from which he drew his information but did not identify them or quote them clearly. However, in the course of the exposition, he mentions the names of commentators like Iyawannis (John of Dara), Jacob Bar Salibi and others. In essence, he did well by writing this exposition which is much needed by the communicants of the Syrian Church and by communicants of other Eastern churches. The purpose of making this exposition available is to reveal the

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mystery of the transformation of the Bread and the Wine into the Body and Blood of the Savior and leads to salvation. In translating this book I tried to adhere to the text as much as possible. But, for the sake of consistency and continuity, I moved the footnotes to the main body of the text to which they should belong. Finally, for further information, it should be mentioned that that there are two commentaries on the liturgy, one by George, bishop of the Arab Tribes (d. 725), and the other by Moses Bar Kepha (d. 903). They are translated into English and published with the Syriac text by R. H. Connolly and H. W. Codrington with the title Two Commentaries of the Jacobite Liturgy (London: Williams and Norgate, 1913).

SOURCES 1. Memre and madrshe (metrical hymns and discourses) of St. Ephraim (d. 373) in Syriac. 2. A Commenary on the Liturgy by Iyawannis, metropolitan of Dara (d. 860), in Syriac. 3. A Commenary on the Liturgy by Mar Moses bar Kepha (d. 903). 4. A Commentary on the Liturgy by the learned Mar Dionyius Jacob bar Salibi, metropolitan of Amid (1172) in Syriac. 5. The book of Treasurs by Mar Severus Jacob of Bartulli, metropolitan of St. Matthew’s Monastery and Azerbayjan (d. 1241) in Syriac. 6. The Hodoye (Nomocanon) by Bar Hebraeus, maphryono of the East (d. 1286) in Syriac. 7. The Lamp of the Sanctuaries by Bar Hebraeus in Syriac. 8. The Book of Zalge (Rays) by Bar Hebraeus in Syriac. 9. The Lamp of the Sanctuaries by the Maronite Patriarch Istephan alDuwayhi in Arabic. 10. Al-Mabahith al-Jaliyya fi al-Liturgiyyat al-Sharqiyya wa al-Gharbiyya (Oriental and Occidental Liturgies) by Patriarch Aphram Rahmani in Arabic. 11. Al-La’ali al-Nafisa (Precious Jewels) by the Orthodox Copt Yuhanna Salama in Arabic. 12. Al-Tuhfa al-Ruhiyya fi al-Salat al-Fardiyya (A Spiritual Tract on Obligatory Prayer) by Patriarch Mar Aphram I, Barsoum in Arabic. 13. A Commentary on the Liturgy of the Coptic Orthodox Church by the Orthodox Copt Hafiz Dawud in Arabic. 14. Miscellaneous Syriac and Arabic Sources

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PART ONE: ON THE LITURGY

CHAPTER ONE: THE NAMES OF THE LITURGY The fathers of our Syrian Church called this rite by many names as follows: 1. “Assembly,” so called because it assembles the scattered lives of the believers into the spiritual unity of the Lord Christ, as He said, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20) 2. “Communion,” because those who communicate in the holy body and blood of Christ become one body with Him and partakers of His divine nature, same as the relations between the vine and the branch according to the Lord’s saying, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.” (John 6; 56), and according to the Apostle Paul who said, “Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the body of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 10:16) 3. “Access,” because they of heaven and they of earth, particularly the Jews and the gentiles, have been brought near to one another as St. Paul has said, “To bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.” (Ephesians 1:10) 4. “Mysteries,” because they represent the Last Supper in which the Lord delivered to the company of His disciples the mystery of His holy body and blood in the form of bread and wine. 5. “Oblation,” (Qurbono), because the Lord Christ offered Himself an oblation to God the Father on the cross for our sins, as the Apostle Peter said, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness.” (1 Peter 2:24) 9

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According to Iyawannis of Dara (d. 860), oblations are of the following kinds. 1– Oblations of the natural law such as the bloody animal sacrifices offered by Noah and Abraham, and the sacrifice of bread and wine offered by Melchizedek. 2– Animal sacrifices according to the Law of Moses. 3– The oblation of the Lord Christ, which is the greatest of them all, because with its accomplishment it overshadowed the former ones. 6. “Sacrifice,” because it connotes offering (John 6:5) and the shedding of blood (Luke 22:19–20), and sacrifice (1 Corinthians 18–21). In brief, it is the same sacrifice of the cross because it yields the same benefits and results. The difference is only how it is offered. The sacrifice of the cross was bloody consummated by a real and tangible death. It was offered once on Golgotha for the redemption of mankind, and no need to be repeated. Unlike it, the sacrifice of the Eucharist is bloodless consummated by a mysterious and incomprehensible death. It was offered, since its inception, and forever, to the entire world on countless altars. It appeals to God to forgive the sins of those offered on their behalf in order to receive eternal life as they partake of it. It is the sacrifice which signifies the offering made by Melchizedek and not by Aaron. The reason is that Aaron’s sacrifices were bloody and signified the sacrifice of the cross. But the offering of Melchizedek signified the sacrifice of the Eucharist: First, for its substance, and second, because Christ was a priest in the order of Melchizedek and not Aaron. In other words, the priesthood of Melchizedek, unlike that of Aaron, was his alone and did not extend to his successors. And since the sacrifice of the cross was offered only once, it cannot be repeated because Christ can no more die. And since Christ’s priesthood is everlasting, it is imperative that another sacrifice should exist whose offering is not interrupted forever lest Christ’s priesthood becomes inoperative. Therefore, Christ, glory to Him, ordained this bloodless sacrifice to be offered continuously by the hands of the priests. This was attested to by the saying of the prophets of old. (Leviticus 26:9, Isaiah 19:19–20, 1 Kings 10–11) The law also referred to it in the show bread, the manna and the bread of offering. The learned Bar Hebraeus (d. 1286) says, “Mistaken are those who call the Mass an anaphora, because the anaphora is a veil which covers the mysteries. It signifies the stone that was rolled against the entrance of the tomb of Christ.” Yuhanna Salama, a Copt, says that, “In Coptic, the Mass is the anaphora, and the Syrians took it from the Copts.” More correctly, anaph-

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ora is a Greek term indicating a service, namely a prayer recited during the Mass. Both the Syrians and the Copts took it from the Greeks.

CHAPTER TWO: ON THE ORIGIN OF THE MASS (EUCHARIST) The first who instituted the mystery of the Eucharist in the church and performed it was the Lord Christ, the High Priest. In the night of His passion, He took bread, gave thanks and broke it and gave it to his disciples saying, “Take and eat; this is my Body.” Then He took the Cup, gave thanks and offered it to his disciples saying,” Drink from it, all of you. This is my Blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28) He instructed His disciples to do this as He did it. Thus, in submission to His instruction, the disciples celebrated this mystery with avid tenacity. After receiving the Holy Spirit in the upper room on Sunday, they, on the next day, consecrated the Sacrament of the Chrism, and on the third day offered the divine oblation. The first to perform this service was St. James, brother of the Lord, who received it orally from the Lord himself. He handed it over to John, the beloved disciple, who celebrated the sacrifice on Wednesday. The Mother of God partook in this communion after she was baptized. All of this was done in the upper room according to the church’s tradition. The disciples continued the performance of this mysterious service. According to Acts 2:46, “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” The Lord handed over this precious trust to the disciples and their successors, instructing them to entrust it to deserving faithful people. St. Paul declared that he has received this mystery from the Lord himself. He says, “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:23–25) Thus, he preserved the celebration of the Holy Eucharist in the church until this day. 13

CHAPTER THREE: THE SUBSTANCE OF THE EUCHARIST In order for the mystery of the Eucharist to be fulfilled according to God’s dispensation, it should contain three conditions: 1– The substance; 2– The Form, and 3– The Mystery. 1. The substance of this mystery is the bread and the wine. Since the bread is transubstantiated into the Body of Christ, it should contain the four elements of the natural body. For this reason the Church decreed that pure wheat flour should be used signifying the element of dust. It should be kneaded well with natural water and some olive oil signifying the substance of air. Some salt is added unto it signifying the substance of fire. It is necessary that it should be leavened. The reason the Church decreed that the dough should be leavened is because it would become bread, and bread should be leavened, according to the Scriptures. In this regard, St. Ephraim said, “After eating unleavened bread, the Lord ate a real leavened bread.” He also said, “I am feeding you leavened bread. So, keep away from the unleavened. From now on you will eat the leavened bread kneaded and baked by the Holy Spirit.” Concerning the leaven which the woman used, Mar Jacob of Sarug said in his memro (metrical hymn), the following, “O leaven of life sent from heaven.” Furthermore, Christ ordained this mystery with leavened bread. He did it when the Israelites were eating it, and that was before the Passover feast where only unleavened bread was used. (John 13:1–2) Indeed, the strongest proof of what we are readily saying is the comment of Bar Hebraeus, who said, “The Christian priesthood is based upon the priesthood of Melchizedek. This priest, Melchizedek, offered as a sacrifice a leavened bread and wine because the unleavened bread was not used until after the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt. Thus, our Christian priesthood should offer only leavened bread.” This signifies that the living soul is united with the body. Then, it should be baked. In this manner, the bread and the wine compose a perfect man. 15

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The communion bread is made of round cakes impressed with a seal in the middle. It is divided into twelve particles, each called “pearl” or gmurto “brand”. Five holes are pierced into it in allusion to the five nails driven into the body of Jesus on the cross. These were the lance, the crown of thorns and the three nails driven into His hands and feet. This round cake is called in Syriac furshono (antidoron), meaning the show bread or sacrificial bread, which common people in the Arabic speaking countries call burshana). On Maunday Thursday, the furshono should be shaped in the form of a lamb according to the ancient usage. It is also called “the seal” and the “consecration bread.” Several furshonos are placed at the altar. One furshono signifies the union of the divinity and humanity of the Second Person (Christ); two furshonos denote that the Son is One in His divinity and humanity; three furshonos indicate the unity of the divine essence of the three Persons of the Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. If the furshonos offered as a sacrifice are not enough, others could be added to them as long as the veil is drawn over the elements. But they should not be added unless they were baked on the day in which they are offered. This is in allusion to the gathering of the manna (by the children of Israel) which symbolized the Eucharist. The Israelites gathered the manna day by day, each one according to his need. Whatever was left of it until the morning turned rotten and wormy. The second element, the wine, should be of pure and natural wine squeezed of grapes. It should contain no foreign substance except an amount of water equivalent to that of the wine or a little less. Both wine and water should be mixed in the chalice which signifies the blood and water poured out of the side of Christ when pierced by a lance on the cross.

TRANSUBSTANTIATION Transubstantiation means that, during the celebration of the Eucharist, the bread and wine are essentially and mysteriously transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. This is accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus, the body and the blood which we see on the table of offering are the real Body and Blood of the Lord but without losing their natural characteristics as bread and wine. Indeed, the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at the celebration of the Eucharist is not symbolic, but real. The transubstantiation was consummated when the divinity and humanity of Christ were united in the womb of the Virgin. As the Holy Spirit descended upon Mary and cleansed her from sin, sanctified her, and out of her flesh Christ took a body united with His divinity in an ineffable manner, thus the same Holy Spirit descends upon the bread and the wine at the altar.

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He sanctifies them and transforms them into the Body and Blood of Christ without separation. In this regard, Mar Jacob of Bartulli (d. 1241) and Bar Hebraeus (d. 1286) maintained that the transubstantiation of the two elements of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ is like the union between His divinity and humanity, as a result of which He becomes one person who is the Incarnated God. As the humanity is called God, not because of its own nature, but because of its union with the divinity, so also the bread and the wine are called the body and blood of Christ, not because of their own nature, but because of Christ’s union with them.

CHAPTER FOUR: ON THE FUNDAMENTAL CONSTITUENT OF THE MASS (EUCHARIST) The essence of the Mass is the essential prayers from the prayer of the Last Supper to the invocation of the Holy Spirit. With the recital of this prayer, the substance of this mystery is actually transubstantiated by the power of the Holy Spirit into the Body and Blood of the Lord. Church fathers have unanimously agreed that St. James, brother of the Lord, the first bishop of Jerusalem, was the originator of the Eucharist in the Syriac language. The celebration of the Eucharist came to be known later as the Liturgy of St. James. It is still used today, together with the prayers and supplications added through time. The Syrian Church of Antioch prides itself on perpetuating this first liturgy. It is also proud that it celebrates it in the beloved Syriac language which was sanctified by the Lord Christ. This mystery (the Eucharist), was honored by the Virgin and exalted by the Apostles. In the seventh century, Mar Jacob of Edessa (d. 708), revised the liturgy of St. James, and later in the thirteenth century, it was condensed by Bar Hebraeus. However, to suit those who did not understand Syriac, and in accordance with St. Paul, who said that it should be interpreted in order to strengthen the church, (Cf. 1 Corinthians Chapter 14) church fathers thought it appropriate to have some parts of the liturgy translated into local vernaculars while keeping the essential prayers in Syriac. The Church does not confine itself to the use of this liturgy alone, but uses other liturgies drawn up through time by some Apostles like Peter and John. There are also liturgies composed by learned men like Moses bar Kepha, Bar Salibi, Bar Hebraeus and others. However, the liturgy of St. James occupies the first place among other liturgies. In fact, the Church ruled that every newly ordained priest should celebrate the Eucharist first by using this liturgy.

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CHAPTER FIVE: ON THE CELEBRANTS OF THE EUCHARIST The celebration of the Eucharist is restricted to the lawfully ordained priests. The priestly ranks are of three kinds: that of the bishop, the priest and the deacon. The priest, regardless of his rank, represents, first, the Lord Christ in the celebration of the Eucharist by reason of uttering the same words of Jesus Christ at the Last Supper. Second, he acts as a deputy of the people, offers prayers on their behalf and invokes the grace for their forgiveness. Third, he demonstrates spiritual matters by means of the mysteries. Four, he acts as a mediator between God and man. The deacons assist the priest in consummating the mystical service. In this sense, they are like the angels. Therefore, they should conduct themselves with awe and dignity. Deacons are of three ranks: 1. Full Deacons, (Greek Diaconi). A deacon usually stands at the right hand of the officiating bishop or priest. Two more deacons stand on both sides of the table of offering (altar) holding fans, (long staves with round plates on top, encircled with bells), which they shake over the elements at certain times during the celebration of the Eucharist. If deacons are too many, an elder will be chosen as Archdeacon. The duty of the deacon is to set in order the table of offering and the vessels it contains. He carries the Gospel at the beginning of the service, shakes the fan, and draws the veil across the table of offering during the breaking of the bread. He wears a white alb and a huroro (stole) on his left shoulder which drops down on both sides. The left side signifies the weakness of man. The huroro signifies the wing of the seraph which is the power that strengthens the weakness of man. 2. Hypo-diaconus (half-deacon). In ancient times, the duty of the half-deacon was to guard the doors of the church, carry candles, prepare the pitcher and basin for the washing of the hands of the officiating bishop or priest, and perform the duty of the deacon if 21

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LITURGY OF THE SYRIAN ORTHDODOX CHURCH OF ANTIOCH the latter is not present. He wears a white or colored alb. He wraps the huroro (stole) around his left shoulder, front and back 3. Readers. They usually wear a white surplice and huroro tied crosswise, front and back, and they chant prayers. 4. Psaltes. They wear a white surplice and participate in the chanting of hymns and Psalms.

THE DUTIES OF PRIESTS In his commentary on the Liturgy, Mar Iyawannis of Dara (d.860) related the qualifications of the priest as follows: Iyawannis said that the priest is the mediator between God and the people. He typifies Christ. Therefore, the priest should understand his office and endeavor to guard it with spiritual honor. He should liken himself to the righteous priests of the Old and the New Testaments. He should emulate the angles in order to be able to serve the mysteries of the New Testament properly as St. Paul said in Ephesians 4:1–2, “As a prisoner of the Lord, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Furthermore, the priest is light to the world and the salt of the earth. His duty is to lead the faithful to spirituality, piety, and holiness, as St. Paul said in Galatians 6:1, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin; you who are spiritual should restore him in the spirit of meekness.” If these, then, are the qualities and duties of the priest, how much more the priest should distinguish himself by purity and holiness, not for himself, but for the faithful, as the Lord said in John 17:19, “And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth”. Otherwise, he will invoke the wrath of God and grieve the Holy Spirit as Isaiah said, “But they rebelled and vexed his holy spirit; therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.” (Isaiah 63:10) Or, as St. Paul said in Ephesians 4:30, “And grieve not the holy spirit of God, whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption.” In addition to what has been said, the deacon 1. Should keep his body and soul pure and clean, and prepare the vessels needed for the service. He should endeavor not to do anything which might denigrate the propriety of this sacrament, especially when he is ready to serve. 2. He should perform the midnight prayer. 3. He should cleanse and prepare the table of offering and set the vessels in their proper places.

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4. He should begin the service with great solemnity and not with pride or vainglory. 5. He should always be alert, turning his heart and mind toward God. What is noteworthy is that, whether these qualifications are found in a priest or not, his administration of the sacrifice (Eucharist) is canonically appropriate and accepted because the laying of the hand he has received at his ordination is canonical.

THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE COMMUNION When the priest administers the communion to the people, 1. He should be wearing a stole, and on his side stands a deacon carrying a lighted candle. 2. Administering the communion, bread should be done by the fingers of the right hand, that is the thumb and the forefinger of the priest. 3. No multiple particles of the bread should be offered to a single communicant. However, it is permissible to break a single piece of the communion bread into two or three particles and administer them to several communicants. 4. Communion should be done by administering the body (bread) dipped in the blood (wine) instead of giving the two elements separately. It is understood by the sayings of some Fathers of old like St. Ephraim, that in times past, some pieces of the communion holy bread were placed in the palms of the partakers who would then put them in their mouths. They were given a little of the blood (wine) from the chalice. This usage, however, was dropped off after the sixth century.

NECESSARY INFORMATION FOR THE PRIEST 1. In case deacons are not available, the priest is not permitted to celebrate the Mass for the laity. 2. Communion should not be offered in houses if churches are available. However, it could be administered in houses in case of sickness. 3. If the holy blood was poured out unintentionally on dust or a piece of wood, it should be scraped and the dust and the wood thrown into the fire. If it is dropped on a stone, it should be covered with embers. 4. If crumbs of the communion bread fell on the floor, they should be searched for with great care. Whether they are found or not, the

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LITURGY OF THE SYRIAN ORTHDODOX CHURCH OF ANTIOCH place on which they fell should be scraped and the dirt should be kneaded with water and given to the faithful for a blessing. 5. If by sheer negligence of the priest, the body (bread) becomes moldy, it should be soaked with wine and eaten by the clergy, but not by lay people. In any case, it should not be thrown away. He who dares throw it away will be under the judgment of the canons. Some Church fathers found it appropriate to cast the putrid body into a well, but the water has to be preserved for the use of the faithful. In the case of cleaning the well, the mud should be cast into a clean field. In fact, there are many other things connected with such cases of the communion which we did not mention because they mainly belong to Church commentators.

CHAPTER SIX: ON THE SPECIAL DAYS AND TIMES OF ADMINISTERING THE COMMUNION Daily celebration of the Eucharist is commendable. But since Sunday on which the Lord Christ was raised from the dead is holy, the Church decreed that offering the oblation on this day is imperative. It is also necessary to offer it on festival days and regular seasons according to the Church’s dispensation, and on every Wednesday and Friday of the week. The Church, however, forbade its administration in Lent except on Saturdays and Sundays, and festivals. Also, it forbade its administration on Good Friday because on this day Christ offered Himself a sacrifice on the cross. Therefore, there is no need to offer another sacrifice. At times other than those mentioned above, the celebration of the Eucharist should be celebrated in the early morning. It could also be celebrated at midnight on Christmas, Epiphany and Whit Sunday. What is worth mentioning is that the Church forbade the celebration of the Eucharist twice on the same day and on the same table of offering. The reason is that the table of offering denotes the tomb, and Christ died and was buried only once. It follows that repeating the celebration of the Eucharist on the same day is not permissible except in a dire necessity specified by the Church, and endorsed by the Patriarch.

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CHAPTER SEVEN: ON THE ORDER OF PRAYERS AND OF ATTENDING THE MASS The Mass (celebration of the Eucharist) is the most commendable worship and solemn prayer offered to God. Attending it daily is proper and beneficial. Indeed, its attendance is imperative on Sundays and festival days. He who neglects this spiritual duty commits a grave error and loses manifold graces. The faithful person who attends the Mass should fulfill the following requirements: 1. He should be of pure heart and clean body. 2. He should girdle his loins with a sash or belt as St. Paul said in Ephesians 6:14. 3. He should be present at the church half an hour before the celebration of the Mass in order to offer the obligatory prayer. 4. He should have fasted before attending the church. 5. He should stand erect and then bow down or genuflect and raise his hands, beat his breast, and raise his head or lower it as the different prayers demand. In brief, he should pay great attention to this solemn mystery in order to participate with the hosts of angels who surround the holy altar. 6. He should keep silent, serene and cause no commotion. 7. He should be one with the priest as he worships. 8. He should not recite any prayer, whether obligatory or private, during the celebration of the Eucharist except saying, “Lord have mercy on us. Amen.” 9. He should not leave the church before receiving the priest’s blessing. 10. He should offer thanks to God for the grace of having the opportunity to partake of the heavenly table.

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CHAPTER EIGHT: THE COMMUNION ITS BENEFITS The body and blood of the Lord Christ are in fact the life and strength of the soul. As God said, “If any man eats of this bread, he shall live forever.” (John 6:51) Mar Iyawannis of Dara summarized the graces we receive from the Eucharist as follows: 1. It purifiers our souls and hearts, and grants us immense power to overcome the whims of sin. 2. It renders us, the children of God, equal to the angels. 3. It drives away from us spiritual death and stations us outside the circle of unbelievers. 4. It empowers our souls with a spiritual weapon to combat evil thoughts which the power of the evil one agitates within us. Iyawannis goes on to say that the oblation is the food which nourishes our spiritual life, unites us with Christ and strengthens us in Him.

ITS NECESSITY It is the duty of every Christian to partake of the Holy Communion in order to receive the graces already mentioned and, eventually, eternal life. The Lord Christ commanded us to eat His Body and drink His Blood. He says, “Take and eat; this is my Body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying drink you all of it.” (Matthew 26:27) Thus, following the example of the Lord Christ, the Church issued canons to perpetuate the partaking of the two elements of the bread and the wine. It specified for the partaking of the communion during Lent, some days like Maunday Thursday of Passion Week. The learned Bar Hebraeus said, “He who neglects receiving the body and blood of the Lord for a long time commits an error. He who neglects to take it with the pretext that he is not worthy of it, errs even more. This is based on what St. Paul said, “For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” (1 Corinthians 11:28–29) This pretext is a trap set by Satan to en29

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snare the faithful and prevent them from partaking in the mysteries in order to accomplish his purpose. Therefore, we should endeavor to partake of these mysteries worthily and fulfill our duty.” Anyone who refrains from fulfilling this duty should contemplate the words of St. Paul who said, “Then Jesus said unto them, verily, verily, I say unto you, except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” (John 6:53) Or what St. Paul said in Hebrews, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.” (Hebrews 2:3)

PROPER PREPAREDNESS TO PARTAKE OF THE COMMUNION We have already explained the benefits of receiving the communion. Now we shall explain the conditions of its reception and the duties of those who partake of it. The partaking of the communion is not arbitrary. It requires conditions set by the fathers of the Church as follows. 1. The partaker should have a desire to receive the communion, “As the heart pants after the water brooks, so pants my soul after you, O God.” (Psalm 42:1) 2. The partaker should examine his conscience to be sure that he is worthy of receiving it as the Apostle Paul said, “But let man examine himself and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup.” (1 Corinthians 9:28) 3. The partaker should express true repentance and contrition by making confession to a lawful priest. 4. The partaker should purify his heart from malice, hatred, gossip or any other sin. 5. The partaker should receive the communion with utmost awe after he has fasted.

PART TWO: ON THE CHURCH AND ITS CONTENTS

CHAPTER ONE: ON HOW CHURCHES ARE BUILT AND WHAT THEY CONTAIN Church is a term applied by the New Testaments to the assembly of Christians. It is a place where Christians congregate to worship. In Syriac, it is called ‘Ito, a term taken from wa’eth, meaning to congregate. It is different from knushto, a term the Jews apply to their synagogue. See Ignatius II, Rahmani, al-Mabahith al-Jaliyya fi al-Lutirgiyyat al-Sharqiyya wa al-Gharbiyya (Liturgies: Orienal and Occidental), (Sharfa Monastery, 1924), p.56. The church building is consecrated by special prayers. Its four walls are anointed with the Holy Moron, Miron (Chrism). The act of consecrating and anointing the church is the privilege of the bishop alone. The church becomes desecrated if an unbeliever or unbaptized person is buried in it, or if blood shedding occurs in it. In these cases, special prayers are recited to remove the desecration. However, its consecration becomes completely annulled if it were destroyed or left deserted. The church building should be rectangular, looking toward the east which signifies the rise of the Sun of Righteousness (Christ). At the beginning, the structure of the church contained only one nave and altar. Then, two wings were added, separated from the main body by a row of pillars topped by arches stretching from east to west. The roof of the main church is usually higher than that of the two wings. The church is flanked by porticoes where the catechumen and those banned from attending the celebration of the Eucharist stood. In the narthex was placed a water basin for the attendants to wash their hands and faces. 31

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The church was made of three chambers. The upper chamber, facing east, is the Qdush Qudshin, or Holy of Holies, and separated from the nave by two steps. In fact, the altar itself is the actual Holy of Holies, the Throne, or Table of Offering. In ancient times, churches had only one sanctuary. Through time, however, Christians began to add side altars called Ghnize in Syriac. Behind the table of offering are the stalls where the throne or the seat of the bishop is set up on a higher platform signifying reverence of the divine authority of the priesthood. Between the Holy of Holies and the nave stands a wooden or stone wall across which a curtain is drawn to hide the table of offering from being seen by the worshipers during certain times. In front of the altar, at the top of the steps leading down to the nave, stands a wooden lectern called Goghulto in Syriac, (Golgotha). On it is placed the Gospel whose front is overlaid with silver impressed with the cross and portraits of the four evangelists. It is kissed by the worshipers for blessing. Next, and one step lower than the Holy of Holies, is the nave called Qanstrumo (chancel). It is specially used by priests and deacons. On each side of the nave stand lecterns called gode in Syriac, used for the recital of daily prayers. They signify the antiphonal choirs of angels which were beheld by Mar Ignatius the Fiery, third Patriarch of Antioch. The third chamber of the church is the haiklo (temple) or nave, where the believers worship. According to Book Two of the Apostolic Canons, special aisles are provided for men and women separated by a wooden partition, as John Chrysostom said in one of his homilies. It has doorways on its western, northern and southern sides. In the middle of it, facing the table of offering, is the bema. It is one step higher than the eastern or the western aisles. On it sits the bishop or the priest for delivering the homily. Parallel to the nave, hangs a bell which tinkles to call the faithful to prayer. According to tradition, the bell tinkles three times a day, the same as the righteous Noah called the laborers three times a day to build the Ark and to receive meals. God ordered the children of Israel to make trumpets to be blown by the priests in order to call the people to assemble, or to defeat their enemies. (Numbers 10:1) Now let us explain the reasons the church is divided into three chambers, based on the introduction of Mar Iyawannis of Dara to his commentary on the liturgy. Iyawannis said that the church was divided into three chambers: First, because it resembles the tabernacle which God ordered Moses to build in three parts: the Holy of Holies which we call the madhbho, or Place of Offering. Second, because the haiklo, the temple, or the nave, flanks the

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Holy of Holies. As the children of Israel stood in the temple to worship, so do the faithful stand in the nave. And as the priests and the Levites stood in the temple, so do the priests and the deacons stand in the nave. And as the chief priest alone enters the Holy of Holies, so does the officiating priest on the step of the altar. Second, because the church resembles the three ranks of angels: the high, the middle and the low. The Holy of Holies denotes the high church of the Seraphim, the Cherubim and the thrones. The nave resembles the middle church of the principalities, powers and hosts; the nave denotes the lower church of angels and archangels. Third, because within the church there are three spiritual gifts of perfection, illumination and sanctification. By perfection, the new creation of God is made perfect by spiritual gifts. Illumination is avoiding spiritual ignorance and moving closer to true knowledge. Sanctification is consummated by baptism and the washing away of sins. Four, because the man (Adam) committed sin by three means: by mind, by soul and by body. But when God became incarnated, he redeemed him by three means also: by mind as he forgave him, by soul which stood middle between the mind and the body, and by body because He himself assumed a body behind which hid his divinity. He concealed His divinity to prevent Satan from waging war against God and become vanquished. Thus, mankind gained redemption. Having expounded the reason the church is divided into three chambers, Iyawannis of Dara asks why partitions were placed between the Holy of Holies, the nave and the narthex? He answers that the chamber of the perfect is separate from that of the just, and the chamber of the just is separate from that of the righteous, and the chamber of the righteous is separate from that of the penitents. He goes on to say that the perfect are those who have not been polluted by sin; the just are those who fulfilled the needs of the body; and the righteous are those who, after falling into sin, gained forgiveness by great toil and hardships. Iyawannis based his idea on St. Paul who said, “There is one glory of the sun and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differs from another star in glory.” (1 Corinthians 51:41)

CHAPTER TWO: ON THE TABLE OF OFFERING The table of offering is set in the middle of the Holy of Holies because Christ was the mediator between God and man. It is open on four sides. The Syrians call it madhbho and tronos. It is consecrated by a special prayer and anointed by the Moron (Holy Chrism). It is usually made of select wood. Iyawannis of Dara said, “In the law of Moses, the table of offering was gold-gilded back and front signifying the unity of the divinity with the humanity. It also symbolized the purity of the Mother of God (Mary) from sin in order to be worthy for the Holy Spirit to descend upon her and bear the Second Person of the Godhead. But in the Christian era, the table of offering is made from wood without being gilded by gold. The reason is that when wood is burned, it becomes consumed and turns into ashes. Thus, the Word of God in the form of the elements of bread and wine placed on the table burns and consumes every sin and renders them null. Furthermore, as the wood, if it has roots, grows and flourishes, so also those who have slept in Christ. If the roots of faith are deep within them, they will live and flourish by means of the body and blood of Christ buried in them.” The table of offering (altar) is also made of stone or marble. It should be rectangular symbolizing the tomb of Christ. It rests on four pillars and canopied by a baldachin. Across the altar a curtain is drawn and opened at certain times of prayer and celebration of the Holy Eucharist. The altar is reached from the floor of the sanctuary by one or two steps. During the celebration of the Eucharist, no one but the priest is allowed to stand on these steps. It should not be renovated even if damaged. It should not be cleansed or anointed after it has been consecrated by the bishop, except on Good Friday when the vessels are removed from the altar to be dusted. The priest should dip the sponge in scented water and rub it. The Church forbade those who seek healing from approaching the table of offering.

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CHAPTER THREE: ON THE TABLITHO The tablitho is a rectangular board made either of wood, marble or special stone. It should not be decorated. The bishop consecrates it by reciting special prayer and anointing it by the Holy Chrism. This should be done either on Maunday Thursday or on Thursdays between the Resurrection and the Ascension. The tablitho signifies the cross. It is placed in the middle of the Table of Offering and covered by a cloth. According to custom, the bishop who consecrates the tablitho usually writes his name and the date of its consecration on it in the form of a cross. Vertically, he writes, “This tablitho is consecrated by bishop (name) of the diocese (name). Horizontally, he writes, “The Holy Trinity has sanctified this tablitho in the year...” The tablitho is necessary for offering the sacrament. The priest who neglects to use it will forfeit communion with the Church. In time of dire necessity, a folio of the Gospel can be used instead as affirmed by Quryaqos, Patriarch of Antioch (d. 817). It could be also supplanted by the priest’s hands or by a cloth wrapped around his neck while holding the paten and the chalice with his left hand. The purpose is to forbid the celebration of the Eucharist without the tablitho. It is also forbidden to use a broken tablitho or a tablitho consecrated by a non-Orthodox bishop. Also, cut off from the communion of the Church, is he who celebrates the Eucharist using a tablitho of cloth or hide. However, it became permissible that a tablitho could be used instead of the table of offering if an anointed table was not available. It is also permissible to transfer the tablitho from one place to another. What ought to be noticed and practiced is that the tablitho should not be washed except in very rare circumstances. Likewise, it should be used only once a day for the celebration of the Eucharist.

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CHAPTER FOUR: ON THE VESSELS OF THE TABLE OF OFFERING 1. The Veil. It covers the table on both sides of the altar signifying that Adam did not recognize the tree in the middle of Paradise. The veil should be of white linen, and if linen is not found, of silk. Wool is absolutely not accepted. The reason the veil should be of linen is that it is an allusion to the shroud of Christ, which was made of linen. Also, linen is pure white, and cold temperature preserves it from moth. It also signifies the immaculate nature of man before it was defiled by sin and ablaze by the fire of evil. The reason it should not be made of wool is because after man sinned, he wore a garment of wool. Wool, being rough, torments the body as does sin. 2. The Tablitho has already been already discussed. 3. The Band, placed on the table of offering, denotes the swaddling cloth in which the Lord Christ was wrapped at his birth. It also symbolizes the bond when the Holy Spirit binds the believer to the Holy Trinity after receiving the holy Sacrament of Baptism. 4. The Kerchief which covers the tablitho symbolizes the bandages placed on the wounds of the hands and feet of the Lord Christ. It also signifies the veil placed on Moses’s face when it became radiant by the power of the Holy Spirit. The children of Israel could not gaze at him because of their lack of purity and holiness. Thus, the Kerchief covers the tablitho in order that what is within will be seen only by those who are pure. The Kerchief is placed over the paten and the chalice. 5. The Paten and the Chalice. The paten is a plate where the sacrificial bread (furshono, antidoron) is placed. From the answer of St. Jacob of Edessa to his student, Addai, we learn that the paten was deep. The chalice is where the wine mixed with water is poured. Both the paten and the chalice could be made of glass, lead, silver or gold. But when the bishop offers the sacrifice, the paten should be of gold. If 39

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6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

gold is not available, the chalice could be made of a material gilded with gold. This is because the bishop is well versed in the sayings of the Prophets which bear resemblance to silver and those of the Apostles to gold. The paten and the chalice could also be made of tin. They may be decorated with the picture of a lamb which signifies the slaughtered Lamb (Christ). They may also be inlaid with gems which symbolize the ranks of those who partake of the body and blood of Christ. Some of them, the perfect, resemble gold while others, the righteous, resemble silver. Still others, those who preserved their baptism and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, resemble glass. The precious gems resemble the Fathers and the Malphone (learned men) who expounded the Scriptures and taught them to the faithful. Tin resembles the rest of the believers. The Star denotes the heaven and the star which appeared to the Magi at the birth of Christ. It is made of metal and consists of two parts: each is in the form of a circle. It is placed on the paten to avoid touching the body of the Lord. The Sponge resembles the throne of mercy on which the Lord Christ is seated in the age of grace. It is used to wipe the paten and the chalice, and with it the celebrant dries his fingers after touching the holy body. It also denotes the union of souls with bodies on the Day of Resurrection. This is because, when being soaked with water, the dryness of the sponge turns into dampness. The Pad. It is usually small and made of cloth. The priest places it under his tongue as he drinks the wine in order to avoid spilling the holy blood. It is placed next to the tablitho and resembles the throne of justice on which Christ will sit on the Day of Judgment. The Spoon is used for receiving the communion. According to St. Ephraim the Syrian, in ancient times, communion was not administered by a spoon. The believers placed the holy body in the palm of their right hand set on the left hand in the form of a cross and received it in this manner. The spoon signifies the tongs with which the seraph took a brand and touched the mouth of the Prophet Isaiah. Also, when being placed on the sponge and the pad, it resembles the Lord Christ. A small vessel in which the wine is mixed with water and poured into the chalice. Then, water is poured into it for the priest to wash the tips of his fingers whenever they touch the elements.

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11. A small chest in which some of the elements are placed after the celebration of the Eucharist is over. These elements are administered to the sick or those near death. In this chest, the body is kept wrapped with a piece of cloth or paper. According to St. Jacob of Edessa, the elements were placed in the paten in the past. 12. The Tabernacle is also called the Throne. It is located at the top of the table of offering and houses the chalice. It symbolizes the throne on which Lord was seated, (Isaiah 6:1), and the Ark of Covenant which contained the manna placed in a pot. ( Exodus 16:33) 13. Two covers: one is over the paten, the other over the chalice. According to Mar Iyawannis of Dara, in ancient times, these covers were eight for the four sides of the altar. The covers symbolize the throne on which the Lord was seated. (Isaiah 6:1) and to the Ark of Covenant which contained the manna inside a jar. (Ex 16:33) 14. The Shushayfo is a large veil covering the vessels. It is made of texture with a cross printed in the middle. It may be ornamented. This veil denotes the mysterious divine Dispensation and the Incarnation. It also symbolizes the rock from which came forth twelve water fountains for the drinking of the children of Israel, and the stone rolled over the tomb of the Savoir. In ancient times, the Veil was so large that it covered the entire table of offering. When opened, the priest and deacons, standing next to the altar, assisted the officiating priest in folding it, as affirmed by Mar Iyawannis of Dara. 15. The Cross is usually made of wood, silver or gold. It is positioned in the middle of the table of offering between two candles made of honey wax and lighted at the beginning of the celebration of the Eucharist (Mass). 16. The two Fans are long staves with a round plate at the top encircled with bells, on both sides of which are etched a portrait of an angel. Being long, the stave allows the deacon to hold and shake the fan with his hand over the elements, or over the head of the bishop at certain periods in the celebration of the Eucharist. The two fans are hung on both sides of the altar. They symbolize the Cherubim who covered the Ark of Covenant with their wings.

NOTICES REGARDING THE VESSELS OF THE TABLE OF OFFERING First, the church does not require anointment of the vessels with the Miron, or Moron (Holy Chrism), as it does with the table and the tablitho. It only

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commands that they be blessed by a special prayer composed for this purpose and uttered by the chief priest. Second, the church canons forbade the use of these vessels for mundane purposes. It even placed the one who dared to steal them or use them for a purpose other than what they were intended for under the sanction of excommunication. Third, placing foreign objects on the table of offering, next to these vessels, is forbidden, even if they were bones of holy saints. Fourth, if one of these vessels, especially those made of metal, became unsuitable for use, it should be melted down and reused for the same purpose. Or, it should be broken and buried in a sacred spot. If it is made of cloth, it should be burned and its ashes stored in a holy place such as the baptismal font. Or, it should be used for the treatment of the sick.

CHAPTER FIVE: THE PRIESTS’ VESTMENTS In honor of the holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, and following the guidelines of the Old Testament’s ordinances, the Church made it mandatory for the clergy to wear special vestments at the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. These vestments are: 1. The alb is a white tunic made of silk or linen. It symbolizes the purity and virtues of the priest. 2. The girdle (cincture) is a cloth slightly wide by which the priest girdles himself over the alb. It denotes the binding of lusts and worldly desires. It also signifies the sublime position of the priest and his readiness to officiate according to the Lord’s saying, “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning,” (Luke 12:35) and to take up the sword against the devil and his hosts. The girdle was worn by the high priest during the offering of the sacrifice. (Exodus 28:40) 3. The gauntlets, worn by the priest over the sleeves of the alb, signify his readiness to walk in the way of the Lord and keep his commands. They also indicate the power that the officiating priest receives during the service. The gauntlets remind the priest of the necessity to embattle the enemy. 4. The cloak whose bottom is round signifies the vestment of Aaron, the dress in which the angels appear, and the garment of Christ on which a lot was cast. 5. The head-cover is peculiar to the chief priest. It is made of white linen. Occasionally, the priest draws it over his head especially during the reading of the Gospel and the sanctification of the vessels. It symbolizes the kerchief with which the head of Christ was wrapped as he was laid in the tomb. It also symbolizes the turban the high priest wore during the service. (Exodus 28 4) 6. The chasuble is peculiar to the chief priest. He wears it over his chest with the other part which hangs down his back in the form of a cross. It reminds the chief priest of the cross Jesus carried on the 43

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way to be crucified. It also denotes the wings of the Seraphs, and that the chief priest is adorned with virtues. 7. The cross. The chief priest holds in his right hand a cross to the bottom of which a kerchief is fastened. In his left hand he holds a staff on top of which stands a snake or two snakes facing each other in an opposite direction. This is in accordance with the Lord’s saying,” Therefore be shrewd as snakes.” (Matthew 10:16) While vesting, the priest recites over every piece he puts on a verse or more from the Psalms. He sings the cross thrice over the alb, the gauntlets and the cloak. He signs the cross twice over the stole and once over the girdle. Likewise, the chief priest signs the cross thrice over the head cover.

CHAPTER SIX: THE CENSER AND CENSING The Church offers incense during the public service and the Mass in obedience to the commands of the Scriptures. According to the Book of Revelation, 8:3–4, “Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints.” The censer is a silver vessel with three chains fastened at the top with a hook. Church fathers say that the censer typifies the Virgin in whose womb the fire of the divinity dwelled but she was not consumed. They further say that from the Virgin the fire came out as a savoring smell which dispersed the bad odor of sin. It offered our souls freedom to inhale the breath of life, sanctity, and heavenly scent. The hook resembles the divinity, and the round plate fastened to it, represents heaven. The three chains signify the Holy Trinity, and the nine bells denote the nine ranks of angels. The incense is an allusion to the sanctity of the unity of the Two Natures (of Christ). The deacon, who sways the censer and stands behind the priest, represents the angel Gabriel who is very close to God. Thus, the deacon is the closest person to the officiating priest. The round the censing deacon makes from east to west denotes the wandering of the Lord Christ on earth and His return to heaven. Iyawannis of Dara mentioned that the censer was usually placed on the table of offering. This custom, however, has been suspended.

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CHAPTER SEVEN: ON USING LIGHTS IN THE CHURCH Using lights in the church like lamps and candles is an apostolic custom. According to the Acts of the Apostles, when the disciples met on the first day of the week to break bread, Paul spoke to the people and kept on talking until midnight. “There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting.” (Acts 20:7–8) These lights remind the believer to be a light to the world. As the Lord said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

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PART THREE: ON THE ORDER OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST SECTION ONE: THE PREPARATION OF THE SACRIFICE The preparation of the sacrifice consists of two services: The First includes: 1– Preparing to enter the altar, and 2– Preparing the bread and the wine. This service denotes the sacrifice of Melchizedek, who offered bread and wine. It also points to the lamb which Abraham slaughtered and offered as a sacrifice on behalf of his son Isaac with utmost sincerity. Thus, God wants us to do the same in offering this divine sacrifice.

THE FIRST SERVICE Preparing to Enter the Altar Before entering the altar the priest stands with utmost humility and submissiveness at its royal gate. He signs the cross thrice while reciting the prayer of the entry. He asks God to make him worthy to stand before Him in purity and holiness, and to serve Him spiritually with awe and trembling. Then, he recites Psalm 51. If the bishop is present, the priest approaches him and bows down to kiss his hand. He then greets his brothers, the priests, and returns to stand before the altar. He turns toward the clergy and the people, and with hands stretched out, asks them to forgive him and pray for him. He enters the altar and kneels down with humility. He goes around it kissing its corners. He kneels down before the altar and rises to climb the steps leading to it. He kisses the altar in the middle, and on the right and left corners. He lights the candle on the right and the left while reciting a special prayer. Then, he begins to prepare the bread and the wine.

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Preparing the Bread and the Wine The priest removes the cover from the vessels. He places the sponge and the spoon to the right of the tablitho (his left side). He places the pad and the star to the left of the tablitho (his right side). He places the cover of the paten to his right and that of the chalice to his left. He then wipes the paten and the chalice with the sponge. Of the sacrificial bread (furshonos) placed on the table, he chooses the best. He examines the chosen furshono to make sure that it has no holes or bruises, or burns. It should be free from blemishes like the sacrifices offered by the Hebrew priests. He holds the furshono with his fingers and raises it above the paten, in imitation of the Fathers who offered sacrifices by raising their hands. He then puts the furshono back in the paten in allusion to the descent of the Son of God from heaven and taking body from the Virgin. It also indicates that the Virgin wrapped Jesus with swaddling cloth and placed him in a manger. If more than one furshono is needed, the priest may use more. But he should set them in the form of a cross if the paten was large enough. Or, he should place them on top of each other if the paten was small, in accordance with the Book of Hodoye (Nomocanon) by Bar Hebraeus, Part Four: Chapter Four. Next, the priest takes the jar of wine in his left hand, the jar of water in his right, and mixes them both in a special vessel. The mixture signifies the blood and water that flowed from the side of Christ on the cross. He, then, pours them into the chalice while reciting a special prayer. The Church commanded that the bread and the wine should be administered separately as did Jesus when he ordained this sacrament. Then, the priest covers the paten and the chalice with their usual covers. He descends from the altar, and stretching his hands, recites the husoyo (a propitiatory prayer) of repentance which points to the Law of Moses. It also denotes the sanctuary towns of southern Jordan in which the tribes of Reuben and Jad and half the tribe of Manasseh escaped for refuge. It also signifies those whose sins are washed away by baptism. The priest follows with more prayers of penitence or prayers showing the angels’ delight for the forgiveness offered men by baptism, and without offering works worthy of repentance.

THE SECOND SERVICE This service typifies the sacrifices offered by Aaron and his sons according to the Law of Moses. This section consists of vesting, the prayer of dispensation, and censing the table and its contents.

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Vesting. Having performed the prayer of repentance, the priest descends from the altar and begins to put on his priestly vestments. After washing his hands and drying them, he stands facing the altar. He bows and recites silently a prayer asking for pardon, spiritual strength and worthiness to approach the altar. The Prayer of Dispensation. The priest climbs the upper step and kisses the altar in the middle and on both corners. He removes the covers from the paten and the chalice and places them on the table of offering. He holds the paten in his right hand and the chalice in his left, and crosses his arms with his right hand over the left. Meantime, he recites the prayer of dispensation which depicts the stages of the life of the Lord Christ, thanking God and praising Him for His abundant love, grace and mercy. He then selects the names of those for whom the oblation is to be offered. Generally, this prayer is said for the entire Church. Specifically, however, it is offered in commemoration of Mary as the Mother of God, the prophets, apostles, saints, fathers and martyrs, whose intercession he invokes. It was the custom of the Church to offer the sacrifice, sometimes in honor and in commemoration of the Virgin, saints and the righteous. In this case, it should be understood that the sacrifice is not offered to them, but to God who has crowned them with glory. Then, the priest remembers the living who contributed to the offering of the oblations. It was the custom of believers to donate to the churches baked bread for oblation, or an amount of flour to be baked into cakes (furshonos) for oblation. They also donated wine for communion. Usually, the deacon chooses the best of these cakes and mixes the wine with a necessary amount of water. Moreover, the believers offered gifts to the church to meet its needs and the needs of those who minister to it, according to the Lord’s command who decreed the payment of tithes. The Christians felt that this was their duty, and thus made their offerings with diligence and generosity. In fact, great amounts donated to the church were sufficient to meet its need and the need of those ministering to it. The surplus was distributed to the poor, the needy and the sick, to the penitent and the dead for whom they were offered. After reciting the prayer of dispensation, the priest sets the paten and the chalice over the tablitho. He covers them with the veil called shushayfo in Syriac that they may be hidden from the eye until the end of what is called the Mass of the Catechumens. The veil signifies the hidden divinity, the stone rolled over the tomb of the Redeemer and the new sacrifice which typifies the old one offered according to the Law of Moses.

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Censing. The priest descends the stairs of the altar. If the bishop is present, he approaches him with the censer, followed by the deacon carrying the incense pot. The bishop places incense in the censer. In the absence of the bishop, the priest himself places the incense in the censer. The priest, then, takes the censer from the deacon and censes the table of offering. He recites a husoyo (propitiatory prayer), asking pardon and mercy for the departed and strength for the living. This action points to those who sought a sanctuary in the towns of Palestine across the Jordan. The prayer also denotes the forgiveness of sins committed after baptism and gained by arduous act of penance. Then, he climbs the stairs of the altar and raises the censer above the elements. He censes them beginning with the east as he remembers the Mother of God. He then turns toward the west and remembers the prophets, the apostles and the martyrs. He turns toward the north and remembers the malphone (doctors), the clergy and the righteous. He turns toward the south and remembers the church and its children. Finally, he swings the censer twice over the vessels placed on the table of offering beginning from the right, and a third time in the opposite direction while reciting a special prayer. The priest lowers the censer. He holds the veil (shushayfo) in the middle with his left hand and swings the censer thrice saying, “Adoration to the Compassionate Father.” He kisses the veil and holds it on the left side while swinging the censer thrice saying, “Adoration to the Merciful Son.” He kisses the veil and folds it in allusion to the prophets who were given some knowledge about the Divine Incarnation. He then holds the right corner of the veil and swings the censer over it thrice saying, “Adoration to the Holy Spirit.” Having done this, the priest descends the stairs of the altar and repeats thrice Kyrie eleison, followed by the Lord’s Prayer and the Creed. It was decreed that the Creed should be recited after the second husoyo in allusion to the rules of the Gospel instituted for those who have received baptism in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Prior to the commencement of the rite of the Mass, portions of the Old Testament are read according to the church lectionary. Meantime, Psalms and hymns are chanted until the priest has completed the two services.

SECTION TWO: THE PREPARATION OF CELEBRATING THE EUCHARIST The Procession Around the altar and Censing; The Trisagion; Reading from the Scriptures; The Prayer of Entering the Altar and Censing; The Creed.

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Prelude: This part of the Mass was called “the Mass of the Catechumens” because only the catechumens were allowed to attend it. This is different from the regular celebration of the Eucharist which could only be attended by the baptized. The Catechumens. According to the Acts of the Apostles, the Jews and the gentiles who embraced Christianity were baptized immediately. This practice continued until the time of the Apostles’ disciples. But when the number of those who joined Christianity increased, many things happened which decreased confidence of their adherence to the faith. Thus, there was a need to designate a period during which they would be taught the Christian dogma and ordinances. Their teaching was supervised by instructors appointed by the bishop. These proselytized novices were called “Catechumens.” They were allowed to enter the church’s nave to hear the reading of the Scriptures and receive instruction. For this reason they were called “the Hearers.” Beside these, there were others not allowed to attend the celebration of the Eucharist in order to protect the sanctity of the holy mysteries according to the Lord who said, “Cast not your pearls before pigs.” (Matthew 7:6.) They were of four categories: (1) those who were possessed by evil spirits (actually tempted by the devil); (2) those who succumbed to the heavy weight of sin. Members of these two categories had been baptized and had already partaken of the mysteries but returned to sin, and thus were separated from the rest of the faithful; (3) the penitents who for a long time practiced penance but the period of penance had come to an end; (4) the novice penitents are those who spent a short time doing penance. These two categories had already been baptized and had partaken of the mysteries, but lapsed into sin. Members of these five categories were asked to leave the church after the reading of the Gospel. The deacon usually asked the congregation to pray for them. Each one of them proceeded to kneel down before the bishop who prayed for them. They were dismissed by the deacon who says, “Anyone dismissed let him depart.” After dismissing the members of these categories, the deacon cries out, “Recognize one another, and do not let anyone of them remain in the church.” He then turns to the half-deacons saying, “Shut the doors and guard them lest one of these people sneak through them.” Mar Jacob of Edessa said that this custom was practiced in his time but was then abolished due to circumstances and time. Then, the deacon

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addresses the faithful saying, “Stand well in order to be ready for the service of the mysteries.” The Procession and Censing Priest. Mary who gave birth to you and John who baptized you shall intercede for you on our behalf. Have mercy upon us. The priest utters these words audibly. The curtain is drawn and the procession around the altar begins. The deacon carries a candle followed by the priest who carries the censer. They go around the altar and, upon reaching the middle, bow their heads. The deacon, then, stands on the left side of the altar. The priest censes the altar thrice. If the bishop is present, he approaches him and censes him and the other clergy and people. After censing the objects at the altar, he hands the censer over to the deacon. Deacon. By the prayer of your Mother, who gave birth to you and the prayers of all your saints, I magnify you Lord and King, the only-begotten Son and Word of the heavenly Father, who is immortal by nature, who by His grace came for the salvation of mankind, and was incarnate from the holy and blessed and immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God. He became man without change and was crucified for us. Christ our God, who by His death killed and destroyed our death, and is one of the Holy Trinity, and together worshipped and glorified with his Father and His living Holy Spirit. Have mercy upon us. Exposition The procession around the altar signifies the celebration which took place at the birth of the Lord when the heavenly host appeared praising and glorifying God. As He, glory be to him, came down from heaven, lived on earth and returned to His Father, so also we march around the nave of the church, beginning from the altar to inculcate the people with divine instructions, enchant them with spiritual hymns, and invigorate their souls with spiritual fragrance. Then, we return to the altar. The procession begins at the upper part of the altar and ends at the southern point of the nave. It signifies that the Lord came down from high heaven with humility for our sake. The procession is preceded by the young deacons carrying candles in allusion to the prophets and St. John the Baptist, who shone like stars before the Sun of Righteousness. They are followed by the elderly deacons and the priests who represent the seventy evangelists. They also represent the twelve Apostles who proclaimed the

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Lord’s glad tiding to the world. As to the Gospel, which the priest carries, it symbolizes the message of life which the Apostles carried to the world. The incense burned by the priest signifies the pleasant aroma which disperses the odor of sin. The cross typifies the Lord who, after finishing His redemptive work, was nailed to the cross and drew up mankind unto himself. The cross preceding the bishop signifies the Lord Christ. And as the king’s royal banner precedes him, so it is when Christ comes again, His banner, the holy cross, shall precede him. The two fans, waving over the head of the bishop, signify the Cherubim who covered the altar, or the Seraphim who ministered to Christ during His temptation and passion. Then the clergy returns to the altar from which they began. The hymn the deacons chant during the procession was composed by Patriarch Severus of Antioch (d. 538). The Trisagion Priest. Holy are you, God. Deacons. Holy are you, Almighty, Holy are you, Immortal, who was crucified for us, have mercy upon us. Priest. Holy are you, God. Deacons. Holy are you, Almighty, Holy are you, Immortal, who was crucified for us, have mercy upon us. Priest. Holy are you, God. Deacons. Holy are you, Almighty, Holy are you, Immortal, who was crucified for us, have mercy upon us. Kyrie eleison, kyrie eleison, kyrie eleison The priest then climbs the steps of the altar and places his left hand on the right side of the table of offering, and his right forefinger on the edge of the tablitho, and says, “Holy are you, God.” And when the deacons respond with, “Who was crucified for us,” the priest signs himself with the cross. He places his forefinger on the edge of the paten and says, “Holy are You, God.” When the deacons respond saying, “Holy are you Almighty,” the celebrant moves his finger to the edge of the tablitho. And when the deacons say, “Who was crucified for us,” the celebrant moves his finger and places it on top of the chalice and says, “Holy are you, God.” He then moves it back to the paten as the deacons chant,” Holy are you, Immortal,” and then to

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the tablitho as they chant, “Holy are you, who does not die. ” Then the deacons respond saying, “Who was crucified for us, have mercy upon us.” The celebrant signs the cross and descends the steps. Also, the people sign the cross thrice. Exposition The Trisagion is an angelic hymn. It is a heavenly chant and a spiritual melody the Prophet Isaiah heard coming out of the mouths of the heavenly hosts. He recorded it in the Sixth Chapter of his significant book. It was adopted by the Christian church which added unto it the phrase “Who was crucified for us.” It inserted into its rite and became the core of its prayers like the Lord’s Prayer. Thus, the Trisagion, including the phrase “Who was crucified for us,” is ancient and of apostolic origin. Historians, however, differ over who originated it. Some say it was originated by Saint Ignatius the Fiery (d.107), third Patriarch of Antioch. Others say it was added to the angel’s Gloria by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus when they buried the Lord Christ. Still others say, that it was used by the church of Antioch since the time of Patriarch Eustathius (d. 337). Some ascribe it to St. Rabula of Edessa (d. 435). When later, dogmatic disputes arose in the church, the heretics removed it from the Trisagion. But our Church and the churches which held the same faith, kept it.1 The phrase of “Who was crucified for us” is the sweetest chant the Lord listens to. It is the symbol of His pleasure, the emblem of His glory and the banner of His victory, as he says, “Even so, Father: for so it seems good in your sight.” (Matthew 11:26.), that is Christ would die crucified. He also said, “Because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:39), that is not yet crucified. The pleasure and the glory of the Father are, therefore, the cross and the death of Christ. If this is so, how wonderful and pertinent then it is for the Church to make this expression the nucleus of its prayer. Accordingly, the Church applies the phrase of “Who was crucified for us” to the Second Person of the Trinity, because only the Son of God was crucified and died for us. We, therefore, thank Him for what he did for us. Our Church fathers have summarized the spiritual and theological connotation of this phrase. They said, “Holy are you, God,” because God, being rich, became poor on our behalf, and became man without change. 1 See Mar Severus Jacob, Metropolitan of Syria and Lebanon, (later Patriarch Jacob III, d.1980), History of the Syrian Curch of Antioch, 2:226.

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They say, “Holy are you, Almighty,” because the Son of God, by becoming man, suffered, was crucified, scourged and appeared to be weak, yet He was almighty and victorious throughout. He showed His power by rising from the dead. They say, “Holy are you, Immortal,” because although He died in His humanity, He was eternally alive by His divinity. He did not remain in the grave but rose from the dead on the third day. They say, “Who was crucified for us,” because this is the same thing the angel told the women to whom Christ appeared after His resurrection. The angel said, “I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.” (Matthew 28:5) The Lections Deacons. The chosen apostles, whom God sent to the whole world, went out to preach and spread the glad tidings of the Son of God and the Kingdom of Heaven among nations, and to the ends of the earth saying, blessed are those who believe. Deacon. The lesson from the Acts of the Apostles: Bless, O Lord. Upon reading the lection from the Acts of the Apostles, the deacon stands at the south side of the altar’s gate. He begins the reading with Beloved and ends it with Bless, O Lord. Deacons. Glory to the Lord of the Apostles and their prayer may be with us. Deacons. I heard the blessed Paul say, “If anybody preaches to you other than what we have preached, let him be eternally condemned by the church, even though he was an angel from heaven.” (Galatians 1:8–9) Behold, many teachings do arise everywhere. Blessed is he who began and ended in God’s teaching. Before reading the Epistles of St Paul, the deacon stands at the northern side of the altar’s entrance, and says, Deacon. The lesson from the Epistle of St. Paul to… Bless, O Lord. After performing the special secret prayer before the table of offering, the priest kisses the Holy Gospel and proceeds to the Gospel’s lectern followed by two deacons carrying candles. He opens the Gospel to the assigned reading. He signs the cross over the people and blesses them with his right hand and proclaims,

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The deacon, with censer in hand, stands facing the Holy Gospel placed on the lectern in the middle of the Royal Gate (altar) while the deacons chant the following hymn, Deacons. Halleluiah, halleluiah, halleluiah. Offer unto him sacrifices of praise, bring spotless offerings, and enter into the courts of the Lord. Worship him in His holy altar. Halleluiah. (Psalm 96:8) The deacons chant this hymn immediately after the end of the reading of the epistle. Deacon. Bless, O Lord. Let us listen with silence and awe to the words of the living God written in the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to be read to us. Priest. Peace to you all. Deacon. May the Lord make us worthy together with your spirit. Priest. The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Life-Giving taken from (one of the four Gospels) which announces life and salvation to the world. If the specific reading is from Matthew or John, the priest says, from the Apostles. If it were from Mark or Luke, he says, from the Evangelists. Deacon. Blessed is He who has come and shall come. Glory to God who sent Him for our salvation and on all of us is His mercy. Priest. These things have come to pass in the time of the Dispensation of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ, the very Word of the living God who took flesh from the Holy and Virgin Mary. Instead of Dispensation, the priest chooses the appropriate term for that day of the reading of the Gospel. At the end of this expression, whether Dispensation or otherwise, he blesses the congregation by signing the cross over them. He concludes the reading of the Gospel saying, “Peace and safety to you all,” as he blesses the people with the sign of the cross. Deacons. We believe and confess.

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Exposition 1. The holy Church ordained that the reading of the Bible was based on the belief that it contained knowledge of the Redemption, the tidings of the Kingdom, and the remedy of souls. Our learned men divided the lections with great meticulousness into chapters according to the Church’s calendar. Some of them were meant for Sundays and festivals for the whole year. They assigned for these occasions three readings from the Old Testament and five from the New Testament, three of which were from the Gospel. The first was to be read at vespers, the second in the morning and the third at the beginning of the Mass. The fourth was from the Acts of the Apostles or from the Pastoral Epistles. The fifth was from the rest of the epistles of St. Paul. Both of these were to be read at the beginning of the Mass and at the reading of the Gospel. As to Christmas, Resurrection, major feasts; Lent and Passion Week were assigned different lections. 2. The lection from the Old Testament is read first because it attests to the New Testament and declares that the New fulfills the Old. The reading of the Gospel is preceded by the prophets, the Acts of the Apostles, and the epistles of St. Paul, exactly as the messengers precede the king when he visits a certain country. As to St. Paul, he is the harbinger who alerts the faithful to receive the Divine King. For this reason, the people stand as they listen to his epistles in order to receive Him. But they keep seated when the Old Testament and the Acts of the Apostles are read because they contain historical anecdotes. Then comes the reading from the Gospel with great awe and sobriety, preceded by a chant from the Psalms with twice halleluiah. The celebrant stands at the Gospel’s lectern amidst the incense, lights and the rustling of the fans. This signifies the descent of the Almighty on Mount Sinai to speak to Moses amidst the smoke, thunder and lightning and the sound of the trumpet as He gave Moses the Law on two tablets. The two candles, carried by deacons on both sides of the lectern, represent the evangelists whom Jesus sent two by two before him. The deacon who carries the censer draws the attention of the people to stand well, keep calm and listen with great attention to the reading of the Gospel. The priests and chief priests who represent the Lord Christ are the only ones allowed to read the Gospel. They begin the reading by offering peace to the people in allusion to Christ who preached peace and united the earthly people with the citizens of heaven.

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Read the significant subject entitled “The Holy Bible in the Syrian Church of Antioch,” by His Holiness Mar Ignatius Patriarch Jacob III of Antioch and all the East, in the Patriarchal Magazine, 1962–1963, pp. 64–69, 110–111 and 163–168. 3. The reading from the epistle of St. Paul comes after that of the Acts of the Apostles, because St. Paul, although he became a disciple of Christ later, yet he surpassed the Apostles by his struggle as he himself said, “Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak foolishly,) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently.” (II Corinthians. 11; 23.) 4. The reading from the Acts of the Apostles begins with “Beloved.” The same thing Jesus said to his disciples, “My beloved (friends) and “I have called you my friends.” (John 15:14–15) This is because Luke, who wrote the Acts, addressed his words to friends and relatives. The reading from the epistles of St. Paul is preceded by “Brethren” because the apostle himself called brethren all of the gentiles who believed and became brethren by baptism. In fact, in his fourteen epistles, the term “Brethren” was mentioned fifty times. His purpose was to inculcate the gentiles with the spirit of love, implant it in their hearts, and establish peace and concord among members of the church. This is evident from reading his epistles. Indeed, the Lord Jesus called His disciples after his Resurrection, Brethren. (Matthew 28:10 and John 20:17) The Prayer of Entrance to the Altar and of Dispensation At the end of reading the Gospel, the deacons chant a hymn assigned for that particular day called qolo in Syriac. They end saying, Deacons. Lord, have mercy. Priest. Let us pray and ask the Lord for mercy and compassion. Merciful Lord, have mercy upon us and help us. We beseech the Lord to make us worthy to offer him at all times praise, glory and thanksgiving without ceasing. The celebrant recites this passage while standing facing the altar with stretched arms. If the bishop is present, he will say it instead of the celebrant and begins the introduction to the husoyo (propitiatory prayer), called

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proemion. Proemion is a Greek term meaning Introduction. It constitutes the first part of the husoyo. It comes in different forms. When it is ended, the priest climbs the step of the altar and unfolds the veil and puts incense into the censer. If the bishop is present he performs these things. Deacon. Before the merciful Lord, and before His altar of forgiveness, and before these holy and divine mysteries, incense is placed by the hand of the reverend priest, (or by the exalted bishop, if the bishop is present, or by the most exalted patriarch if he is present). Priest. Lord, grant us pardon, forgiveness and purification. Pardon us and overlook our trespasses. Forgive my manifold and enormous sins, and overlook the sins of your faithful worshippers. Benevolent Lord, have pity and mercy on us. Remembers us O Lord, and remember our departed fathers, brethren, leaders, teachers and the children of your holy and glorious Church who have departed this life. Give rest to their souls and bodies and sprinkle their bones with compassion. Lord Christ, our God and King, the Lord of majesty, look upon us with sympathy and be forgiving to them. O Lord our God, hearken unto us and be our help. Save us and accept our supplication by your benevolence. Remove from us by your mercy and patience severe punishments and harmful blows. Favor us to have peace and safety until we attain the righteous and perfect hereafter preserved for the people of peace. Award us with a Christian end which you love and cherish as befitting your divine majesty. We give praise to you, O God now and forevermore. Amen. The Sedro (the second part of the husoyo) Deacon. May the Lord accept your oblation and help us by your prayer. Priest. Peace to you all. From the Lord we receive forgiveness and pardon of sins in this world and the world to come forever. Deacons. Amen. The priest, facing the deacon who carries the censer, supplies it with incense. With the fingers of his left hand, he holds its first chain, and signs the cross over it, and says, Priest. I, the weak and sinful servant, cry out, Holy is the Hallowed Father.

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Deacons. Amen. Then he holds two more chains and signs the cross over them saying, Priest. Holy is the Hallowed Son. Deacons. Amen. The priest holds the last chain of the censer and says, Priest. Holy is the Hallowed and Living Holy Spirit who sanctifies the censer of his sinful servant, together with our souls and the souls of our fathers, brethren and of deceased believers of the Holy Church, who have departed this life, in both this world and the world to come. The priest holds the censer, signing the cross over it, shakes it twice from left to right, and a third time in the opposite direction. If the bishop is present, he performs all these movements while the priest takes the role of the censing deacon. After sanctifying the censer, the priest proceeds to cense the altar and the objects contained therein. Then, he censes the bishop and kisses his right hand. He turns to the deacons and censes them, and proceeds to the gate of the altar and censes the people. He proclaims the recital of the Creed. Then, he censes the altar for the second time and hands the censer to the deacon. With this ends the prayer of the Entering Altar and Dispensation. Exposition According to the ancient practice of the Church, the prayer of Entrance to the Altar and Dispensation was made particularly for the procession around the altar in allusion to the traveling of the Lord Christ (throughout Judea, Samaria and Galilee, and as far as Tyre and Sidon) to fulfill his redemptive work. Specifically, it represents His entry into Jerusalem surrounded by the Apostles and the crowds shouting Hosanna in the Highest. Similarly, the priest and deacons march with the bread and the wine around the nave, preceded and accompanied by candles, incense and fans and the choir singing special hymns. Then, they return to the altar. At the altar, the priest arranges the vessels as he recites a prayer called the sedro. Upon finishing the prayer, he stands to the west of the altar facing east. He places the sacrificial bread (furshono) in his left hand and draws it close to the jar of wine. Meantime, the deacon holds this jar with a silk kerchief in his right hand. The

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priest signs both the wine jar and the furshono with the cross saying, “Holy is the Hallowed Father, Holy is the Hallowed Son and Holy is the Hallowed Holy Spirit.” The reason is to glorify the Trinity because the Incarnation was accomplished by the Three Persons of the Trinity, also because the Trinity and the Oneness of God became manifest by the Incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ who died for us. Therefore, it is imperative to glorify the One God in Three Persons. The procession around the nave became out of use since the tenth century or the beginning of the eleventh century, as has been affirmed by the commentators. Only the prayer of the sedro and the censing by which the priest beseeches God to make him worthy to approach the altar and offer the bloodless oblation were kept. The reason these prayers were kept is to instruct the believers who commit sin after baptism to receive forgiveness by arduous strife and constant true repentance. Most of the sedros were composed by the Pariarch Yuhanna (d. 648), better known as the progenitor of the Sedros. Also, the sanctification of the oblations fell into disuse. It was supplanted by the sanctification of the censer while keeping the same expressions. In essence, the entire purpose was to glorify the Holy Trinity The Creed When the priest reaches the middle of the gate of the altar with censer in hand, the deacon cries out, Deacon. Sophia orthi preskomen (The wisdom of God cries out). Let us stand well, and together with this venerable priest say, Priest. We believe in one God. If the bishop is present he says, we believe in one God. The priest returns to the altar, censing it and then hands the censer to the deacon. During the recital of the Creed, the deacon carries a basin and a jug of water for the priest to wash his hands. The priest washes the tips of his fingers and dries them with a towel as he recites a special prayer. He approaches the bishop and while bowing, kisses his hand and asks him for forgiveness saying, “Bless me and pardon me my Lord.” He then walks to the gate of the altar and, facing the clergy and the people, bows and stretches his hand saying, “Beloved brethren, pray for me.” He returns to the altar and bows down while reciting the prayer thus, “Holy Trinity have mercy on me.” Meantime, he remembers the Virgin, the saints, the quick and the dead be-

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lievers for whom he is offering the oblation. As he mentions their names, he signs the cross in preparation for the commencement of the Mass (celebration of the Eucharist). Deacons and People. The Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God; born by God before all worlds; Light of light, true God of true God; born and not made; and being of one substance with the Father; by Whom all things were made; Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary, mother of God. He became man and was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered, died and was buried, and on the third day he rose according to His will, and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of his Father; and he will come again with great glory to judge the living and the dead; and His kingdom shall have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who together with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the Prophets and the Apostles, and in one holy and catholic and Apostolic Church. We confess one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the new life in the world to come. Amen Deacon. Lord have mercy. Exposition The first part of the Creed was composed in the year 325; the second in 381. It was introduced into the church by Patriarch Mar Peter II, the Fuller (d. 488). Prior to this date the celebrant, after reciting the prayer of Entering the Altar, proceeds to the altar to begin the celebration of the Eucharist, as said by Moses Bar Kepha. Bar Hebraeus, however, had a different opinion. He said, based on Mar Gregory Nazianzen, that before the commencement of the Mass, the believers recited a short version of the Creed called The Apostles Creed. He produced the idea of Mar Iyawannis of Dara as follows: We believe in the Father who is the Cause and the begetter. We believe in the Son who is the Effect and the begotten. And we believe in the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father.” This indicates the adherence of the believers to the true Apostolic faith. Be that as it may, the Church began to use the Nicene Creed exclusively since the time of the aforementioned Patriarch Peter II.

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The reason for the composition of the Creed was this: An Alexandrian priest named Arius at the beginning of the fourth century denied the divinity of Christ. Eighteen bishops met, by order of the Emperor Constantine the Great in the year 325 in the city of Nicaea, and condemned Arius and his abominable heresy. They composed the part of the Creed beginning with “We believe in One God,” and ending with “And His Kingdom shall have no end.” At the end of the fourth century, Macedonius, Bishop of Constantinople, denied the divinity of the Holy Spirit. One hundred and fifty bishops met at Constantinople in 381 and condemned him and his heresy. They continued the Nicene Creed with, “We believe in the Holy Spirit.” The Creed contains theological issues like the Incarnation, the Procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father, Baptism, the Resurrection and the Final Judgment, which are the bulwarks of the Christian faith. The Church found it appropriate to have the Creed recited in this suitable time in order that the believers would declare their straightforward faith in God and in His unity. Also, by means of its recitation, their tongues, hearts and minds will be sanctified. The priest begins the Creed saying, “We believe in one God,” on behalf of the people. Then the people will recite the rest. The individual believer is not allowed to say “We believe” in the plural because the Creed is not a prayer but a declaration of faith. An individual may pray for someone else saying, “Have mercy on us and help us.” But he cannot say “We believe,” that is he believes on behalf of others. He can only say “I believe” in the singular. The deacon goes about the nave censing the people as if to obtain their affirmation of the Creed. He then proceeds to the Royal Gate (the entrance to the altar) to tell the priest that the people are adherents to the Orthodox faith. He does this as he grasps the hook of the censer with his right hand and the last of its chains in his left which signifies concord. His round to cense the people signifies the going forth of the Lord Christ into the world. The priest’s washing of the tips of his fingers signifies that he is free from major sins. It is also an exhortation to the people to cleanse their hearts from the impurities of the world, and to purify their minds in accordance with the Prophet’s saying, “I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, O Lord.” (Psalm 26:6)

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SECTION THREE: THE MASS OF THE FAITHFUL (MISSA FIDELIUM) This Mass consists of five sections. Subsection One It consists of the prayer of the Kiss of Peace, the Prayer of Blessing the Congregation and the Prayer of the Veil. Most of the prayers recited during the Mass, except the prayer of consecrating the bread and the wine and the prayer of thanksgiving, are offered to the Father. It was the ancient custom of the Church to have the Book of Life (Diptychs) read before the Kiss of Peace. This book contains the works of the Lord Christ, the names of the apostles and evangelists, the angels, saints and anchorites, patriarchs, maphryone, metropolitans, and the names of select priests, deacons, monks and philanthropists for the purpose of perpetuating their memory. But it was dropped in the eleventh century A.D., and substituted by the names of those for whom the oblation was offered. The Kiss of Peace Bar Salibi, in his commentary on the liturgy based on Mar Jacob of Edessa, mentioned that the Mass commences with “Glory to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and forevermore. Amen.” It signifies the union of the humanity of Christ with His divinity. Mar Moses bar Kepha considered it an interpolation by some priests and argued that it has no place in this context. However, it is still kept in the Coptic and the Maronite Masses. The Kiss of Peace begins thus: When the deacon has finished the recital of the Creed, the priest kisses the altar in the middle and on both corners. He climbs the highest step and, feet close together, he places his hand over his breast and utters with humility the following: Priest. God of all and Lord, make us, we the unworthy, worthy of this redemption, that we may have peace with each other with a holy and spiritual kiss without guile, and may the bond of love bring us closer to each other. We give praise and thanksgiving to you, and to your only Son, and to your

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Holy Spirit, all-Holy and adored and life-giving. Blessed be your Son who is equal to you in essence, now and at all times and unto the age of ages. Deacons. Amen. Priest. Peace to you all. Bar Salibi mentioned that according to ancient custom, the priest signed the cross while uttering this prayer after the deacon has already urged the people to stand well, and other deacons answered “And with your spirit.” Then the celebrant commences the service of the mysteries. But the Fathers introduced some modifications according to which the celebrant turns toward the objects on the altar and draws the attention of the people to them. He bows his head and kisses the edge of the veil. Also, the deacon approaches and kisses the same edge of the veil. The celebrant signs the cross over the deacon’s forehead and kisses the censer. The deacon kisses the celebrant’s hand and receives from him the peace. The celebrant responds saying, “The peace of our Lord and God.” The deacon, then, proceeds toward the bishop and kisses his right hand. The bishop holds the chains of the censer and kisses them. He offers the peace to the deacon who stood at the gate of the altar and reciting the Creed. This deacon, in turn, passes the peace into the hands of the faithful. The clergymen who are present proceed one by one to the bishop and kiss his hand. The bishop addresses them saying, “The peace of our Lord and God.” If a bishop is not present, the deacon censes first the oldest of the priests and then the two corners of the altar. Those standing at the altar greet one another. Deacon. Let us impart peace, each one to his neighbor, by a holy and spiritual kiss, and by the love of our Lord and God. After imparting this divine peace, let us bow our heads before the merciful Lord. Deacons. Amen.

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Exposition The prayer of peace is offered to God the Father. It signifies the church of the heavenly hosts which consists of the dominions, archangels and angels. These hosts signify the middle church which consists of the powers, virtues and principalities to intercede to God on behalf of the faithful. It also signifies the bond between heaven and earth. This prayer connotes a supplication to God to grant the faithful a pure heart and soul. It urges them to avoid hatred and malice and calls them to greet one another with a kiss of love, free from guile in order to stand before God with decorum. As God said, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you; leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23) “Peace to you all” is a graceful expression which the priest repeats several times following the example of the Lord Christ who repeated it constantly. He ordered his disciples to use it in their pastoral visits. This is because peace is the firm bond which binds God to man and man to his neighbor. When the deacons respond “And with your spirit,” they intend that the priest himself partakes in this peace. They appear as if they are addressing these words to Christ, “And this peace may be with your Holy Spirit which you have granted us at baptism.” This peace is offered first to the clergy as the angels offered peace first to the shepherds. It is then offered to the faithful, who would pass it to each other as they exchange the kiss of reconciliation. The Prayer of Blessing the Congregation Priest. O Lord, who alone is a merciful God, who dwells in the highest and looks upon things lowly. Grant your blessing to those who have bowed their heads (or necks) before you. Bless them by the graciousness of your only Son Jesus Christ and your Holy Spirit. You are all holy and good and life-giving, and so is your Son, who is equal to you in essence, now and at all times and unto the age of ages. Deacons. Amen. When the deacon urges the people to say, “Let us bow down our heads,” they should stand with heads bowed down before the altar of God with humility. They wait to receive the blessing contained in this prayer.

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The priest utters this prayer on their behalf asking God to bestow on them heavenly and spiritual gifts. Exposition 1. This prayer follows immediately the prayer of the Kiss of Peace, but it is so intricately fused with it that both have become indivisible. The expression, “Let us bow down our heads,” binds them together. 2. This prayer signifies the middle church as it implores the high church of the seraphim, the cherubim and the thrones to intercede with God on behalf of the faithful. 3. Worshipping is of three kinds: First, it is bowing down heads and prostration. The first is used in the Mass fourteen times; the second is used in the prayers from the Resurrection to Pentecost. It is also used on Sundays, major feasts, at the communion and before the oblation and the cross. The third is used in the rest of the year. The use of the two last prayers is forbidden in the celebration of the Eucharist because they signify the fall (of Adam). They do not harmonize with the Holy Mass which signifies the rise (of man) after the fall. The Prayer of the Veil Priest. O Lord Father, who by reason of your unspeakable love for mankind, did send your Son to the world, that he might bring back the sheep that was gone astray. Turn not away your face from us while we perform this fearful and bloodless sacrifice, for we do not rely on our own righteousness, but on your mercies. We therefore beseech your goodness that this mystery, which was ordained for us unto redemption, be not for our judgment, but for blotting out the sins of your people and the forgiveness of our trespasses. We thank you for the grace and mercy and love that you have afforded us through your only Son and Spirit, who is equal to you not only in glory, honor and dominion, but in essence: both now and at all times and unto the age of ages. Deacon. Amen. Let us stand well, with piety, awe and holiness. Let us stand, brethren, with love, true conviction and purity. Let us behold this awesome and holy sacrifice placed before us on the table by the hands of this venerable priest (or the exalted bishop or most exalted patriarch) who offers it on behalf of all of us to God the Father, the Lord of the worlds, in peace and sobriety, a sacrifice of mercy, peace and thanksgiving.

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During this prayer, the priest removes the veil from the objects at the altar and waves it three times up and down while saying silently, “You are the rock from which twelve fountains of water gushed forth for the twelve tribes of Israel. You are the stone rolled over the tomb of our Savior. He then folds the veil and waves it twice around the mysteries and a third time in the opposite direction. He kisses it and puts it in the farthest right part of the table. Exposition 1. This prayer is called the Prayer of the Veil because the priest utters it while the curtain is drawn across the table of offering. But this custom has been suspended. 2. This prayer points to the supplication of the upper church to God. It raises to Him its own petition and the petitions of the middle and lower churches because it is closer than them to God. By means of this prayer, as the hearts become ready by faith, love and peace, the veil is lifted and the lights shine over all the heavenly hosts with their different ranks. What is worth noting is that the deacons symbolize the middle and the lower churches, while the priest symbolizes the upper church because he is closer to God than the other churches. 3. This prayer contains a supplication to God the Father to accept this bloodless sacrifice offered by the priest on behalf of the believing people. The priest confesses his weakness and the weakness of the people, while trusting in God’s mercy to accept this sacrifice in answer to his prayer. 4. The veil is removed at this prayer and not at the two previous prayers. This is because the angels of the upper church, being closer to God, can declare His will and unravel some of the mysteries whose lights pass to the other angels and to men. 5. When the veil is removed, the gates of heaven open up and the hosts of heaven become present accompanied by the souls of the righteous. The fans wave in allusion to the wings of the Seraphs. 6. Covering the objects on the table of offering signifies the stone which was rolled over the tomb of the Savior. It also represents the hiding of the divine mysteries from human minds which cannot comprehend the union of the humanity with the divinity in the Incarnate Word of God. Nor can they comprehend how the bread

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and wine are transubstantiated into the Body and Blood of our God, Christ. 7. Removing the veil from the mysteries denotes the earthquake which happened in the early morning on the Sunday of Resurrection and the coming down of the angel who rolled the stone from the tomb. It also signifies the mystery which was hidden for many past generations, but was revealed by the Incarnation of the Son of God. Lifting the veil only from the west, north and south points to the Incarnation of the Son of God who removed ignorance and darkness from the material world. As to lifting it up from the east, which is the source of light and rays, it signifies the spiritual realm, the realm of angels and saints who are forever closer to divine knowledge, and who praise God and acknowledge that he has Three Holy Persons. 8. The wavering of the veil three times up and down symbolizes the large sheet which Peter had seen being let down to earth. It contained all kinds of four footed animals declaring to him that salvation was not strictly for the Jews, but also for gentiles. (Acts 10: 915). 9. Let us stand well, proclaimed by the deacon, is a message received by the Church from Michael, the Archangel. Commentators say when Satan and his host were cast down to earth, Michael called his host to stand firm each in his own rank. The proclaiming deacon resembles Michael, and the people standing behind him resemble the angels who are resolute in holding their position. Thus, in honor of the awesome Prayer of the Veil and its concomitant events, the deacon calls the people to stand well in the fear of God. As the author of the Psalms said, “Worship the Lord in fear, shout unto Him with trembling.” By this prayer, the priest calls the people to purify their hearts and minds and to strengthen their relations with God by means of love and faith. This prayer also points to the greatness of the mystery borne by the veil. The priest calls all the people to give thanksgiving which God has granted them by His great mercy through this divine oblation. Subsection Two: From the beginning of the Celebration of the Eucharist to the Time of the Transubstantiation 1– Blessing the faithful by the priest and beseeching them to lift up their minds and thoughts on high together with the prayer of thanksgiving; 2– The Hymn of Victory; 3– The Essential Words of Transubstantiating the

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Elements; 4– The Lord’s injunction to remember his death; 5– The call of the Holy Spirit and the act of Transubstantiations; conclusion. The Blessing of the Congregation by the Priest, Calling them to lift their minds and thoughts on high, and the Prayer of Thanksgiving Priest. The love of God the Father and the grace of His only Son, and the communion and the descent of the Holy Spirit be with you all my brethren, forever. Deacons. And with your spirit. Priest. On high be the minds, thought and heart of us all at this hour where Christ is sitting on the right hand of the Father. Deacon. We have them unto the Lord. Priest. Let us glorify God with fear. Deacon. It is right and worthy. The priests should notice that the signs of the cross are not made over the objects of the table of offering, and that the expression “brethren” should not be neglected. Moreover, the priest places his finger on the tablitho and signs himself once with the cross, and signs the cross the second time north of the altar, and a third time south of the altar. Otherwise, he should sign himself thrice with the cross. He should do the same if a bishop is present at the church. Then, the priest should turn to the right facing the people and signs the cross three times as he utters the Trisagion. He should place his foot on the lower step of the altar as he blesses the people. After blessing the people, he turns toward the altar with hands lifted upward and says “On high be the minds, etc.” He also utters, “Let us glorify God with fear. Then, he bows his head and waves his hands over the mysteries while saying in silence, “It is right and worthy to give thanks to the Lord of the creation. We worship and glorify Him.” Exposition 1. The priest signs the cross over his person in recognition that God Himself carried the cross. He signs the cross to the left of the altar to indicate that those in error and darkness are still where they are.

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He signs the cross to the right as an indication of those who were to the left (lost) but have been transferred to the right (saved). He makes three signs of the cross over the people as he blesses them to show that he has rendered their condition better by submitting them to the Holy Trinity. His words, “The love of God,” show that the Father loved us and sent His Son to atone for our sins. He submits them to “the grace of his only Son,” because by His grace, the Son suffered death for us and justified us freely by His grace, for “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17) Then, he submits them to the communion of the Holy Spirit through whom this sacrifice is accomplished and transubstantiated. Finally, the priest calls the people “Brethren” because he is their brother by baptism. 2. After the revelation of the mysteries, and the opening of the gates of heaven, and the alighting of the angels, the priest beseeches the people to lift up their hearts on high and direct their thoughts and emotions to heavenly things, because through the cross, we received salvation. And since the crucified (Christ) is dwelling in heaven, we should turn our attention to the Lord of our Redemption. As the Apostle Paul said,” Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your hearts on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:1 and 2) Then, the priest responds confirming that their thought and minds are on high. 3. The prayer of thanksgiving should be uttered with fear because the hidden Mysteries have been manifested and are surrounded by angels. It should also be presented as an estimation of God’s benevolence, especially that He has first given us himself in this holy mystery, and urging the faithful to be Christians not by word alone, but by deed. Finally, it should be presented with fear because Almighty God redeemed us freely by grace and demanded no reward for this redemption except thanksgiving and good works. As to the deacon proclaiming, “It is meet and right,” it means that God, glory be to him, deserves glory. As He said, “You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power; for you created all things, and by your will were created and have their being.” (Revelation 4:11) The Hymn of Victory Priest. He whom the heavens of heaven glorify and all the hosts of them, the sun and the moon and all the choir of the stars, the earth and the seas

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and all that is in them, Jerusalem the heavenly, the church of the firstborn who are written in heaven, angels, archangels, princedoms, authorities, thrones, dominations, the powers which are above the world, the heavenly armies, the cherubim with many eyes, and the seraphim with six wings, who with two wings cover their faces, with two their feet, and with two do fly one to another, glorifying, rejoicing, and saying, Deacon. Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord of power, of His glory heavens and earth are filled. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Deacons. Glory in the highest. The priest stretches his hands as he utters the Prayer of Victory. And when the deacons utter the Thrice Holy (Ter-Sanctus), the priest waves his hands over the mysteries and says silently, Priest. Truly you are Holy and who hallows all O Lord of the world. Holy is likewise your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ; and Holy is your Holy Spirit who fathoms your secret thoughts. You have created man from dust and stationed him in Paradise. And when he transgressed your command, you did not leave him in error but sent your prophets to guide him. Also, you sent your only Son to the world, who was incarnate by means of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, to renew your form which has been distorted. Exposition 1. Two hymns are recited during the Mass. One is the Thrice Holy (Ter-Sanctus), already discussed; the other one is the Hymn of Victory under discussion. This hymn is of two parts: first, the hymn of the angels as seen by Isaiah. With the eye of the spirit, Isaiah saw the Incarnate God in a human form seated on the throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory. (Isaiah 6:1–3) This signifies the hymns of each of the three heavenly churches. Second, the hymn of the babes of Hosanna which the deacon recites saying, “Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord our God. Hosanna in the highest.” This

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hymn is meant to praise the Second Person of the Holy Trinity (Christ). 2. What the priest recites in silence, gives the same meaning. 3. Generally, the purpose of this hymn is the following: 1– confessing that there is One God, the creator of all; 2– that Jesus Christ is one of the Persons of the Trinity before and after His Incarnation. He is equal to the Father in essence; and that he suffered and died for the redemption of men; 3– making manifest the eternal attributes of the divinity; 4– confessing the holiness of the Holy Spirit, as equal in essence with the Father, and distinguished from false spirits which claim divine attributes; 5– the incomprehensibility of the divinity which is beyond the understanding of angels and men; 6– the desire of men to join the angels in praising God; 7– testifying that God alone is worthy of praise. The Essential Words of Transubstantiating the Elements Priest. When He who had no sin was about to receive a voluntary death for us, the sinners, He took bread upon his Holy hands. He gave thanks, blessed, hallowed, brake, and gave His holy apostles saying: Take, eat of it, all of you: this is my Body, which for you and for many is broken and given for forgiveness of sins and for life everlasting. Deacons. Amen. Priest. In like manner He took the cup also, and having blessed and hallowed it, He gave it to His apostles, saying: Take drink of it, all of you: this is my Blood which for you and for many is shed and given for forgiveness of sins and for life everlasting. Deacons. Amen. When the priest says, “He took bread,” he lifts the furshono from the paten with his right hand and places it on his left, he raises his eyes to heaven and signs the cross twice over it. He signs the cross over it for the third time. He holds the furshono with the fingers of both hands and makes it in two halves but without breaking it. He should be cautious not to separate the two halves of the furshono. He turns in a semi-circle and draws it toward the middle, close to the cross without breaking it. Then, he holds it back with his fingers as he did in the beginning. He kisses the furshono and places it in the paten with utmost reverence. As to the response of “Amen,” Mar

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Moses bar Kepha said it is superfluous and has no meaning. But Bar Hebraeus affirmed it. Then the priest holds the chalice with his hands and then transfers it from his right hand to the left one. He signs the cross twice over the chalice and does the same for the third time. He places his right hand on the brim of the chalice and moves it in the form of a cross. He kisses the chalice and puts it in its proper place. Exposition 1. The priest relates the story as written by the evangelists concerning how the Lord Christ ordained this mystery in the upper room. This account is informational and historical and nothing else. For this reason the claim of some churches that transubstantiation occurs at the recital of these words is completely without foundation. 2. When the priest is lifting up the furshono from the paten, it means that Christ has truly taken a body from the Holy Virgin. He raises his eyes to indicate that God’s will has to do with this redemption. Like Christ, he offers thanks on our behalf to the Father for his dispensation of this redemption. He also offers thanks to God for the gifts He offered us with abundance and pleasure. Then, the priest blesses as Christ blessed humankind and removed the curse which came to it through man’s transgression of God’s command. He hallows as Christ hallowed humankind after it was stained by sin. The three signs of the crosses over the furshono, which the priest makes as he says, “blessed and hallowed,” indicate that the elements are blessed and sanctified by the crucifixion of Jesus, and according to the will of his Father, and with the confirmation of the Holy Spirit. The word, “breaking,” signifies the suffering, crucifixion and death of Christ. Keeping the two halves of the furshono undetached signifies that although Christ’s human soul left his body, his divinity never departed his body or soul but remained united with them in a natural and hypostatic union. It also points to the prophecies about the death of Christ. Therefore, the priest should be careful not to detach the two halves of the furshono in conformity with the principle of the holy mystery. The priest’s saying, “He gave His holy apostles saying: Take eat of it,” is an indication that all the disciples ate the Body of Christ. This is not to forget that the Lord Christ himself ate His own Body and drank His own Blood as He said, “I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29) “This is my Body,” in-

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dicates that the bread which Christ blessed, hallowed and broke, is His true Body which He took from the Virgin. Finally, the bread and the wine reveal the efficacy of this mystery which forgives sins and grants eternal life. 3. In like manner, the prayer over the chalice should be explained. However, the Lord added the words, “Drink all of you,” intending to explain that some disciples were nazirites who have vowed not to drink wine in fulfillment of the Law of Moses. But the lord wanted them to drink the wine (his Blood) in fulfillment of this mystery, since He has abolished the Law of Moses in this regard, and instituted a new law and a new covenant. The Lord’s Instruction to Remember His Death Priest. This is done in remembrance of me; for whenever you partake in this mystery (you shall eat this bread and drink this cup), my death you commemorate, and my resurrection you confess until I come. Deacon. Your death, our Lord, we commemorate, and your resurrection we confess, and your coming again we await. Have mercy upon us. As he says this, the priest holds the pad in his right hand and the spoon in his left and places it on the pad. He shows them to the people with his right hand as a proclamation that the second coming of Christ will be like lightning. He places them on the south corner of the table of offering. He then picks up the star from the southern corner and places it on the sponge at the northern corner. Exposition 1. When uttering the phrase, “For whomsoever you partake in this mystery,” the priest does not mean the mysteries and the oblations placed before him, but those which Jesus took into his hands and blessed them and hallowed them in the upper room and gave to his disciples in a mysterious manner. They are but a continuation of the former mysteries and oblations. 2. The sacrifice of the Eucharist points to the death and resurrection of Christ. Its commemoration will be continued forever. This is why the deacon emphasizes the words the priest says, “Your death, our Lord, we commemorate.” Here we find a strong incitement to commemorate the death of the Lord who granted us the grace of

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The Divine Dispensation, Supplication and Praise Priest. Remembering, therefore, your death and your resurrection on the third day, and your ascension into heaven, sitting on the right of the Lord, and your second coming, when you come to judge the living and the dead, when you are about to reward every one according to his works: we offer to you this bloodless sacrifice, that you would deal with us according to your abundant mercy, we your servants, for also because of these things, and by reason of these things, your Church, now penitent, beseech you, and through you and with your Father, saying: Deacon. Have mercy on us, O God Almighty Father. Deacons. We praise you; we worship you, and supplicate to you O Lord God. O merciful, have mercy and compassion upon us. Exposition This prayer contains briefly the story of the Divine Dispensation. It is followed by a supplication coming out of the hearts of the sons of the Church and the distinct flock of Christ. The deacon follows by a supplication hymn. The priest follows him reciting a prayer of thanksgiving to God for His grace and benevolence, and especially for His Incarnation, and for forgiving us our sins, and for giving us the gifts as sons and for inheriting the Kingdom of Heaven. Invocation of the Holy Spirit and the Transubstantiation Deacon. How fearful this hour is, and how solemn this time is as the Holy Spirit descends from the highest heaven upon this Eucharist placed on the Table and hallows it. Stand and pray with awe and silence. Peace to our people and safety to us all. Priest. Hear me O lord, hear me O Lord and have mercy on us. Deacons. Kyrie eleison, Kyrie eleison, Kyrie eleison. Priest. He may make this bread indeed the body of Christ: the life-giving body, the body redemptive of our souls, the body of Christ our God.

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Deacons. Amen. Priest. And the mixture in this cup is the blood of Christ, our God and our redeemer, the expiatory blood of the new covenant. Deacons. Amen. The priest recites silently the following prayer: “We also Lord, your weak and sinful servants, do accept your grace and offer thanks for your compassion, on account of this consecration of the body and blood, and for your benevolence.” Again the priest recites the following prayer silently while waving his right hand over the bread and his left over the chalice saying, “Lord the Father, have mercy on us and send upon these offerings your Holy Spirit, that heavenly Lord, who is equal to you and to the Son in essence and session, who spoke in the Law and the Prophets, and in your Old and New Testaments, who descended in the form of a dove in the river Jordan, who descended upon your holy apostles in the form of tongues of fire in the upper room.” The priest stretches his right hand and waves it over the paten and signs it thrice with the cross. He then moves it to the chalice and waves over it as he signs it thrice with the cross. Exposition 1. Quietness and calmness, accompanied by fear, are two important requirements for the invocation of the Holy Spirit and his lighting on the mysteries. For this reason, the deacon alerts the people to observe them. Meantime, the priest prays and waves his hands over the hosts asking the Father to send His Holy Spirit for the following reasons: A– The gifts of God are granted in quietness, B– The Word of God dwelled in the womb of the Virgin in quiescence; C– Lest the faithful be agitated and receive the spirit of bondage, as happened to the children of Israel who received the gifts amidst thunder and lightning and plenty of tumult, because they were callous and under bondage. But we have not received the spirit of bondage with fear, but the spirit of adoption by which we could cry out, “Abba, Father,” as St. Paul the apostle said. (Romans 8:15) 2. The silent prayer which the priest recites while bowing contains the most distinctive attributes of the Holy Spirit, which are the Divine attributes of the Godhead. They distinguish him from other spirits for being co-equal with the Father and the Son in essence, and for being eternal, and for his descent upon Christ and His apostles.

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LITURGY OF THE SYRIAN ORTHDODOX CHURCH OF ANTIOCH 3. After the descent of the Holy Spirit, the calm and stillness, mentioned earlier, will be rent by the prayer of the priest when he repeats three times, “Hear me Lord,” and by the response of the deacons saying, “ Kyrie eleison,” three times. This is a proof of the faith of the priest and the people that the Holy Spirit has descended on the mysteries. It is an indication that sin had dominion over three parts of man: his mind, soul and body. But when man was redeemed, his redemption was of three folds: liberation of mind, sublimation of soul, and purification of body. Indeed, the Holy Spirits dwells in these three parts of man. 4. The sanctification and the transubstantiation of the oblations, which denote the body and blood of Christ, are done as follows: 1– By the descent of the Holy Spirit with quiescence, and by the recitation of prayers audible and silent; 2– By signing the cross thrice over both the elements (the bread and wine), as the priest says, “In order by his descent,” when he consecrates the body, and “It is done,” when he consecrates the blood. The transubstantiation, discussed earlier, occurs as the Holy Spirit transforms the bread and the wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. Indeed, the Incarnate God unites Himself with them in the same manner as the Word God was incarnated by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin, and that the divinity and the humanity were united in the womb of the Virgin. There is nothing strange about this. In fact, the hand which formed man from the dust of the earth and rendered him a rational being can make this bread a body. Likewise, the Spirit which made the Passover lamb in Egypt a means of salvation can transform this bread into a body. And if God, the simple and incorporeal, appeared as a man, it is no wonder that He can turn this bread into the body of Christ and the wine into His blood. 5. Objection. Is there a need for the Holy Spirit to descend upon the bread and the wine, since the Son of God is united with them? The answer is yes; there is a great need for this. As the Holy Spirit descended and dwelled in the womb of the Virgin, as the angel announced to her saying, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the most high shall overshadow you.” (Luke 1:35–36), and made of the flesh of the Virgin a body for the Word of God, he could likewise descend upon the bread and the wine and transform them into the body and the blood of Christ.

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Conclusion Priest. That the lighting down of the Holy Spirit may be to all those who receive and partake of it a sanctification of souls and bodies. They may be for the bearing of fruits of good works and for the confirmation of your holy Church which you did found upon the rock of faith and the gates of hell shall not prevail against her. Deliver her from all heresy and from the stumbling blocks of them that work lawlessness, even unto the end of the world. We praise you and offer thanks to your only Son, and to your Holy Spirit, the ever hallowed and worshipped and equal to you in essence, now and at all times and unto the age of ages. Exposition This conclusion contains a supplication to God to sanctify the faithful by these mysteries which have been transubstantiated into the body and blood of Christ, and help them against the powers of evil and sin. Subsection Three 1– The Commemorations (Diptychs); 2– The Universal (catholic) Prayer; 3– The Benediction; 4– The Breaking of the Bread and Sprinkling it with the Wine; 5– the Universal (catholic) Hymn. The Commemorations (Diptychs) Prelude: Since ancient times the Church followed the instructions of St. Paul, who said to Timothy, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone.” (1 Timothy 2:1) Thus, such commemorations in the celebration of the Eucharist are instituted because they remind everyone of the people and urge to pray for them. These commemorations were said after the invocation of the Holy Spirit and the transformation of the bread and the wine into the body and blood of Christ. These commemorations are of two kinds: one for the living, and the other for the saints and the departed faithful. The Commemorations of the Living include: 1. The Commemoration of Living Fathers: The Church prays for the Patriarchs, bishops, priests and deacons and all the clergy, beseeching the Lord Jesus Christ, the chief shepherd, to grant them safety and repose.

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LITURGY OF THE SYRIAN ORTHDODOX CHURCH OF ANTIOCH 2. Commemoration of Living Faithful Brethren: Because the faithful are one body and soul, they should do what is beneficial to all their brethren, like the body which sustains all of its parts. Thus, prayers should be offered on behalf of the sick, the oppressed, the sorrowful, the penitents and the sinners. A special prayer should be offered on behalf of those who attend the Mass, and for whom the oblation has been offered for their good works or donations. 3. The Commemoration of Living Kings: Prayers are offered for kings because they are ordained by God to maintain peace, protect the people and sustain peace and safety. The names of the living should be mentioned before those of the dead because they need the body and blood of the Lord more than the latter.

The Commemoration of Saints and the Departed include: a. The Virgin and the saints, but most specifically the Virgin because she is the Mother of God, and that we may benefit from her intercession. John the Baptist is also remembered because no one born of women is greater than him. This is followed by the commemoration of Stephen because he was the first martyr and the Apostles Peter and Paul. b. Famous Fathers and Saints of the Church: The Fathers who attended the three Ecumenical Councils of Nicaea, Constantinople and Ephesus are remembered. Among those remembered are St. James, brother of the Lord and first bishop of Jerusalem, followed by the most renowned Fathers in virtue and piety who struggled for the cause of the Orthodox faith, and some ascetics. c. The Departed Faithful: The priest remembers the departed faithful of the location and church where he is celebrating the Eucharist, especially those for whom the Eucharist is celebrated, or their relatives have asked him to remember. He prays to Christ to forgive their sins and make them worthy for His heavenly kingdom. As to the manner of reciting the commemorations, the deacon usually stands behind the celebrating priest and recites each of these commemorations. He asks for a prayer for those on whose behalf they are uttered. The call for these commemorations is called Diptychs in Greek and Canons in Syriac. The deacon represents the angels who unceasingly intercede with God on behalf of the world. The celebrating priest follows the calls of the deacon by saying two prayers for each commemoration. The first is called “khunto,” which he recites while bowing; the other is called “talwitho,” which

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he recites while he is erect with hands raised high at the end of each commemoration. He asks the Holy Spirit to descend upon the faithful, while the deacons cry out, “Kyrie eleison.” Notice: In case a deacon is not available, the commemorations could be overlooked, unlike those parts of the celebration of the Eucharist, which cannot be dropped in any case. The Commemorations are as follows: The Commemoration of Living Fathers Deacon. Bless Lord. Again, let us pray and beseech the Lord our God at this holy, solemn and fearful time for our fathers and managers who direct us in this life, and minister to your holy Churches in the four corners of the earth, especially our blessed and exalted Patriarch Mar Ignatius (name), and our Metropolitan Mar (name) that they may stand firm with God together with other Orthodox bishops. May their prayer be to us a stronghold. Let us beseech the Lord. Deacons. Kyrie eleison. As the deacon proclaims this diptych, the priest recites the following prayer in silence. “We offer to you, Lord, this bloodless sacrifice for Holy Zion, mother of all churches, and for your holy Church throughout the whole world that you may grant her your Holy Spirit. Remember Lord, the righteous and orthodox fathers, our Patriarch Mar Ignatius (name) and our Metropolitan Mar (name). (As the celebrant mentions the name of the patriarch and the metropolitan, he makes signs of the cross with the thumb of his right hand over the tablitho), and all the priests, deacons and all Church order. Since I am weak, Lord, mention not the sins of my youth, but enliven me according to your mercy. Remember Lord our captive brethren, those who are sick, suffering and oppressed by evil spirits. Bless Lord the weather all year round and grant every living being a good will.” The Commemoration of Living Faithful Brethren Deacon. Bless Lord. Again, we should remember all our faithful and true Christian brethren who have already urged and instructed us, we the wretched and weak, to remember them at this time and at this hour. We also have to remember those overwhelmed by severe ordeals and found refuge in the Lord God for their salvation and speedy visitation by you.

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And for this Church which is protected by God and for the harmony and success of its faithful people, we beseech the Lord that they may attain virtuous life. Deacons. Kyrie eleison Priest. Remember, Lord, those whom we have mentioned and those we have not mentioned. Reward them with the exultation of your redemption, and accept their sacrifices in your vast heaven, and hold them worthy of thanksgiving and the succor that is from you. Strengthen them with your power, and arm them with your might, for you are God, our helper and protector. To you we send up praise and thanksgiving, and to your only Son, he who is of your Spirit, all-holy, good and worshipped and life-giving and equal to you in essence, now and at all times and unto the age of ages. Deacons. Amen. During this commemoration, the priest prays the following in silence: “Remember, Lord, our fathers and brethren who are joining us in prayer, and who departed this life and intended to offer the oblation but could not. Grant each one according to his gracious request. Then, he makes a sign of the cross over the southern corner of the table of offering next to the tablitho, especially when he mentions the sick, the penitent and all the living for whom he offered the sacrifice. The Commemoration of Living Kings Deacon. Again, we should remember all the faithful and true Christian kings who confirmed and supported the true faith of God’s churches and monasteries all over the world. We beseech the Lord to protect the Christian region, with its clergy and faithful people, that they may maintain a virtuous conduct. Deacons. Kyrie eleison. The priest then prays in silence the following: “Remember, O Lord, the faithful kings and queens and help him with your spiritual armor. Subdue their enemies and haters that we may live a quiet life.” He makes signs of the cross on the southern corner of the table of offering, next to the tablitho as he mentions the names of kings, rulers and judges and all the Orthodox who occupy positions in the government.

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Deacon. Kyrie eleison Priest. You always save all those who put their trust in you; help them and give them victory. We offer you praise and thanksgiving. The Commemoration of the Virgin and the Saints Deacon. Again, we remember her who is worthy of blessing throughout the whole world, the holy and glorious Mother of God, and ever-virgin, Mary. Likewise, we remember the prophets, apostles, evangelists, martyrs, and confessors, and the blessed St. John the Baptist the forerunner of his Lord, and the holy and glorious Stephen, the first of deacons and the first of martyrs, and the chief Apostles and glorious St. Peter and St. Paul, and all saintly men and women. May their prayer be a stronghold for us. Let us beseech the Lord. Deacons. Kyrie eleison In silence, the priest prays the following: “And because you have authority over life and death, remember our holy fathers, prophets, apostles and the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and John the Baptist and the martyr St. Stephen and all righteous men. As he mentions the name of the Virgin, the celebrant makes a sign of the cross with the thumb of his right hand over the eastern brim of the paten. And when he mentions the other saints, he makes a sign of the cross with the thumb of his right hand on the brim of the paten to the west. Priest. We therefore beseech you, O Lord, who can overcome every impossible situation, to join us to that blessed assembly; set us by your grace in the rank of the firstborn who are written in heaven. We do commemorate them, that they also may remember us to you, and may offer with us this spiritual sacrifice for the admonition of those who are living, and also for the encouragement of us, the wretched and unworthy; and we do this for the repose of all of them that in the true faith have already fallen asleep, our fathers, brethren and teachers: by the grace of your Son, and the mercies of your Spirit, all-holy and good, he who is worshipped and life-giving and equal in essence to you, now and at all times and unto the age of ages. Deacons. Amen.

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The Commemoration of the Fathers, Malphone and Ascetics Deacon. Remember, Lord, also those who have already fallen asleep, who preserved and handed to us one apostolic doctrine without blemish, especially the members of the three holy Ecumenical Councils of Nicaea, Constantinople and Ephesus, and our exalted fathers, teachers and luminaries who were clothed with God: James, the chief bishop of Jerusalem and the martyr and apostle, Ignatius, Qlemis (Clement), Dionysius, Athanasius, Julius, Basilius, Gregorius, Dioscorus, Timothy, Philoxenus, Anthimus and Iyawannis. We especially commemorate St. Cyril that strong and lofty tower who made manifest the incarnation of the Word of God, who assumed flesh; and we also remember our Patriarch St. Severus, crown of the Syrians, the eloquent teacher and pillar of the holy Church of God; and our Father, the Metropolitan St. Jacob Baradaeus, who confirmed the Orthodox faith, and St. Ephraim, St. Jacob, St. Ishaq, St. Balai, our lord St. Barsoum, the chief ascetic, and St. Simon the Stylite and the chosen one Mar Abhai, and those who came before them, with them and after them, who preserved one Orthodox faith without blemish and handed it to us. May their prayer be a stronghold for us. Let us beseech the Lord. Deacons. Kyrie eleison Priest. Instill in our souls the teachings of the Malphone (teachers or learned men), the exponents of truth, who carried your holy name before people and kings and the sons of Israel. Destroy heresies which disturb us and grant us a standing without fear or shame before your fearful Tribunal, for you are holy, takes pleasure in the holy and perfects the saints, with whom we also send up glory to you, Father and Son and Holy Spirit, allholy and good, worshipped and life-giving and equal to you in essence, now and at all times and unto the age of ages. Deacons. Amen. The priest prays in silence: Remember, Lord, the true shepherds who have in continuous succession administered your Church and established the rectitude of its faith, beginning with James, the chief bishop, and all bishops unto this day. As he mentions the name of each one of these Fathers, the priest makes a sign of the cross with the thumb of his right hand on the edge of the paten to the north.

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The Commemoration of the Faithful Who Have Fallen Asleep Deacon. Again, we remember all the faithful who have already departed this holy altar, this church, this country and all other places, and who have fallen asleep in the orthodox faith and reached the Lord, God of all souls and bodies. We beseech our Lord and God, Christ, who has taken unto himself their spirits and bodies, to make them worthy by his abundant mercy of the forgiveness of sins, and help us and them to attain His heavenly kingdom. Let us cry out three times: Deacons. Kyrie eleison, Kyrie eleison, Kyri eleison The priest prays in silence. Remember, Lord, those who have already fallen asleep in the orthodox faith, and for whom these oblations are offered. (Upon mentioning the names of those for whom the oblations are offered, the priest makes a sign of the cross on the edge of the paten to the south). Priest. Lord, Lord, God of the spirits and of all flesh. Remember all of those who have orthodox faith and have departed from this world. Give rest to their souls, bodies and spirits. Deliver them from the unending condemnation. Make them rejoice in the light of your countenance. Forgive their sin and do not bring them into judgment, for there is none sinless in your sight save your Son, for whose sake and through whom we also hope to find mercy and forgiveness of sins both for us and for them. The Common Prayer Deaon. Give them rest, O Lord, remit and forgive our transgressions and theirs, voluntary and involuntary, with knowledge and without knowledge. Preserve us to the end of our lives without sin, and gather us at the feet of your elect, when you will and where you will, only without the shame of our transgressions, so that by your grace, your all-honored and blessed name be glorified and praised, with the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and your allholy Spirit, good, worshipped, life-giving and equal to you in essence, now and unto the age of ages. Deacon. As it was and will ever be to the end of the age of ages. Amen.

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Exposition 1. Bar Salibi says that some churches included in the Six Commemorations more names than we have mentioned. The Fathers, however, restricted these commemorations to six and summarized the rest in this prayer, which is usually called the Common Prayer. This prayer included all the faithful as indicated by the words of the priest thus, “Those whom we have mentioned and those whom we have not mentioned.” 2. The deacon points to the fact that God is unchangeable and His promises never change. He also emphasizes that God is truthful, just, almighty, eternal and everlasting. He was in the past as He is in the present, and will be forever. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. However, commentators disagree whether these words refer to the Father or the Son. Moses bar Kepha maintains that they refer to the persons of the Trinity. St Jacob of Edessa says that these words are peculiar to the Son alone, who is immutable by His divinity before and after the Incarnation. The Offering of Peace and Blessing Priest. Peace to you all. Deacon. And with your spirit. Priest. May the mercies of God the Father, and our Savior Jesus Christ, be with you all forever. Exposition In this prayer, the priest proclaims that the sacrifice which was offered once on the cross is the sacrifice of love and peace. It was granted by mercy and grace, but now it is on the table of offering for all the faithful. It will remain with them as they partake of it, as the Lord said, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.” (John 6:56) The Prayer of Breaking the Bread and Sprinkling it with the Wine Priest. Thus truly the Word of God suffered in the flesh. He was slain and broken on the cross; His soul departed His body but His divinity never left His soul or body. He was pierced in the side with a lance, and blood and water poured out for the redemption of the whole world, and blood stained

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his Holy Body. And for the sin of the whole world, the Son died on the cross, and His soul returned and united with His body. He turned us away from our wrong path to the right one. By His blood, He reconciled and united the heavenly hosts with earthly men, and the people (Jews) with the gentiles, and the soul with the body. On the third day He rose from the dead. One is Immanuel and not divided into two natures after the unity which is indivisible. Thus we believe, confess and confirm that this body belongs to this blood, and this blood belongs to this body. The priest, receiving power from the mysteries, stretches out his right hand and points to the people without turning his face or moving. He makes a sign of the cross over the chalice and another one over himself. He also makes signs of the cross to the north and then to the south. He turns toward the people and makes over them three signs of the cross. While the priest is performing this service, the curtain is drawn and the breaking of the bread and commixing the holy body with the precious blood is carried silently. He lifts up the furshono (sacrificial bread) of the paten. He breaks it into two even parts signifing that, God the Word, Truly suffered and died on the cross. He separates the two parts, portion by portion, indicating that Christ’s soul was separated from his body, but his divinity was in no wise separated from his soul or body. Then, the priest separates the two parts. Holding the upper portion between the fingers of his right hand, he dips it in the chalice while signing the cross over it from east to west and from north to south, without wetting his two fingers. He then removes the furshono from the chalice and touches the middle of the second part. This signifies the piercing of the side of Christ with a lance. This also shows that the Slain One was besprinkled with His blood in the upper room when He said, “This is my blood.” It also signifies the blood and water which poured out of His side. Then, he joins the two parts. The priest shifts both parts of the furshono between his fingers from right to left in a way that the top of the wet part, which was between the fingers of his right hand, will now be between the fingers of his left hand, and vice-versa in allusion to the coming of Christ to the world. He dips the lower part, held between the fingers of his right hand, in the chalice and makes a sign of the cross in the opposite direction from west to east and from south to north. He takes it out of the chalice and draws a reversed cross signifying the death of Christ. It is worth noting that one part of the furshono should be signed with two crosses which indicate that salvation is vouchsafed to both Jews and gentiles. Only one cross should be signed on the second part signifying sal-

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vation for those who have fallen asleep. Thus, by now the priest has signed three crosses on the body and three on the blood. Then, he joins the two parts in allusion to Christ’s soul which returned and united with His body. The blood signifies the soul as the Scriptures says, “the soul of every being is his blood.” He, then, moves back the two joined parts of the sacrificial bread from left to right facing up. This signifies the coming down of Christ to earth and transferring the faithful from darkness to light and truth. The union, which happened after Christ’s death, shows that Immanuel, died, but His soul returned to His body and rose from the dead. He is one and not divided into two natures after the union. The priest, bowing, elevates the two joined parts of the bread over his head, and waves them in a circular manner from right to left in allusion to the death of Christ for the world. Again, he waves them from left to right to show that Christ brought us back from error to truth, as he says, “He is risen.” Meantime, the fans are being waved as an indication of the quake which happened at His resurrection. The priest brings down the two parts of the sacrificial bread (furshono) with a great care. He puts the right part over the left. He presses them with the two fingers of his left hand in allusion to the fact that, after His death, God has united the heavenly hosts with the people on earth, and the Jews with the gentiles. He separates the upper particle of the right part and puts it in the chalice in manifestation that this body is of this blood, and this blood is of this body. Indeed, they are one Body of the Incarnate, God the Word. It also points to the word of God who, unlike the angels and human beings, was singled out to die for the whole world, because the cup signifies the cup of death. He, then, separates the particle of the second part and dips it in the chalice. He touches with it: first the left part from which it was detached, and then the other part to show that this blood points to the soul which returned and united with the body after His resurrection. He, then, places it in the paten. Also, he puts in the paten the two parts which are between the fingers of his left hand after the breaking of the bread. At the end of the order of breaking the bread, the priest follows by reciting a solemn memro (metrical hymn) by St. Jacob of Sarug (d. 521). The Metrical Hymn of Mar Jacob of Sarug O Father who is Truth, this is your Son offered as a sacrifice that pleases you. Receive Him since He died for me and vouchsafed my forgiveness. Accept this sacrifice from my hands and be pleased with me. Do not remember the sins I committed against your Lordship. His blood, which sinful men shed on Golgotha, pleads for me. So, accept my petition for His

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honor. How manifold are my sins and how great are your mercies! If you weighed my sins, your compassion would surpass the heave load of the mountains in the balance. Contemplate my sins and consider the sacrifice offered on their behalf. No doubt, immolation and sacrifice are much greater than sins. For my sins, your beloved Son, suffered the nails and the lance. There is in His suffering what pleases you and saves me. Praise to the Father who delivered His Son for our redemption, and adoration to the Son who died on the cross and offered life to all of us. Praise to the Holy Spirit who began and consummated the mystery of our salvation. O Trinity, exalted above all, have mercy on us all. During the recital of this prayer in silence, the priest begins to break the consecrated bread into particles, each called gmurto (a live coal. It is socalled in this liturgy in allusion to Isaiah 6:6. It is interpreted as a type of Christ). He arranges them in the form of a crucified person or a lamb. He puts one gmurto on top, separate from the others, to signify the head of the crucified Christ. Upon finishing the hymn of Jacob of Sarug, the priest says the following prayer in silence. Prayer You are the Christ God, who was pierced by lance in His side on the heights of Golgotha in Jerusalem for our sake. You are the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world and redeemed it. Forgive us our sins and make us stand on your right hand. The priest lifts up the paten with his left hand and draws it close to the chalice. He takes the broken particle (gmurto) with the fingers of his right hand and dips it in the blood. He signs the cross over all the particles without leaving one particle not sprinkled with the blood. He does this in allusion to the soul (of Christ) which departed His body and then returned and was united with it. And when he calls on the Lamb of God and beseeches Him to forgive the sins of the world and sets the faithful up on His right hand, the priest repeats what he already performed in allusion to the slain Lamb being sprinkled with blood. He signs the cross in reverse. Exposition 1. The curtain is drawn at the time of breaking the sacrificial bread and sprinkling it with wine, 2– when the clergy partake of the communion, and 3– after the offering of the sacrifice. This signifies the distance between God and the angels and between the ranks of the angels. After breaking the bread, which points to the crucifixion

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The Catholic (General) Hymn The catholic hymn is chosen by the deacons to suit the season of the celebration of the Eucharist, like a festival or commemoration of saints, according to the Church’s order. It is called catholic, because it is general and comprehensive. It was inserted into the order of the Mass in order to have

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the worshippers sing while the priest is engaged in breaking the bread and commixing it with the wine. At the end of this hymn, the deacon utters the following prayer: The Prayer of Thanksgiving We offer thanksgiving to you, O God the Father, the Lord of the whole world. We adore your only Son and praise your Holy Spirit. We commit to you our lives, O God and merciful Father, and ask for your graciousness. Have pity on us, O Good Lord, and be merciful to us. Exposition This prayer signifies the purity and piety within the church. It also indicates that the Holy Spirit has descended upon the sacrifice and hallowed it, thus it became consummated. Again, it alludes to the fact that the Lord Christ is the angel of peace who reconciled mankind with the Father. It is Christ who carries the souls of the righteous who have partaken of this sacrifice from their bodies to join the hosts of angels.

SUBSECTION FOUR: THE LORD’S PRAYER; THE PRAYER BEFORE ADMINISTERING THE MYSTERIES; THE BENEDICTION; THE CONDITIONS OF THE COMMUNION; THE HOMILY; THE PROCESSION The Lord’s Prayer Priest. O God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is glorified by the Cherubim and praised by the Seraphim, and exalted by thousands and ten thousands of rational heavenly hosts. You, who sanctify these oblations and fruits offered to you as sweet fragrance, do sanctify us body and soul that we may call you with a pure heart and cheerful countenance, O God Father, and pray saying, “Our Father in heaven.” Deacons. Hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our trespasses as we also forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, forever. Amen. The priest stretches his hands as he recites the Lord’s Prayer. If the bishop is present, he starts the prayer.

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Priest. Yes, O Lord, our God. Do not test us with what we have no power to endure. But deliver us form evil. In our ordeal, find a way for our deliverance, that we may praise and offer thanksgiving to you and to your only Son, and to your ever Holy Spirit, the good, worshipped, life-giving, and who is equal to you in essence, now and at all times and unto the age of ages. Deacons. Amen. Exposition 1. This prayer is addressed to the heavenly Father. It is set at the end to proclaim that the Father is the Cause of all Causes, together with His Son, and His Holy Spirit, who are equal to Him in essence. He is also the Cause of Causes of those not equal to Him in essence, like the angels and human beings. 2. The priest beseeches God to sanctify and purify the faithful, body and soul from sin, that they may become good sons of the holy heavenly Father and worthy to partake of these divine mysteries. 3. Describing this prayer, St. Jacob of Sarug said, “How beautiful and gracious this prayer is taught by the Son of God. Blessed is he who contemplates it and utters it continuously. It connotes all meanings of purity, holiness and perfection. The one who prays it will find in it all his needs and requests. Truly, the Christian who recites this prayer feels that he is standing before God in a fraternal Christian milieu. 4. It is more appreciable to have this prayer recited collectively in confession of the Fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of Christians, and for being sons of the Father, and for distinguishing them from the unbelievers. The Prayer before Administering the Mysteries Priest. Peace to you all. Deacon. And also with your spirit. Before receiving these mysteries, let us bow down our heads before the merciful Lord and God. Deacons. Before you, your servants have bowed down their heads beseeching your abundant mercy. Lord, bestow your blessings upon us and sanctify our bodies, souls and spirits, and make us worthy to receive the mysteries of

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Christ, our Savior. We praise and offer thanksgiving to you and your only Son, and to your ever Holy Spirit, the good, worshipped, life-giving, and who is equal to you in essence, now and at all times and unto the age of ages. Deacons. Amen. Exposition The priest invites the people to reconcile with each other in order to be worthy to receive the divine mysteries. Also, the deacon calls on the people to bow down. He urges them to maintain peace and holiness as a preparation for the blessing to be given by the priest on their behalf before partaking of the mysteries. The Offering of Blessings and Peace Priest. Peace to you all. Deacons. And also with your spirit. Priest. The grace and mercies of the Holy, and exalted Trinity, uncreated, eternal, everlasting, and equal to you in essence, be with you all, my brethren, forever. The priest points with his right hand to the people. He stretches it to receive power from the chalice and the paten and from the tablitho. He, then, signs the cross over himself, and to the north, and to the south in accordance with the usual custom. He, then, turns facing the people and keeping some distance from the mysteries. He makes three signs of the cross over the people. Exposition The priest offers peace as the Lord offered it to His disciples in the upper room. He proclaims that these mysteries which have been presented and sanctified for the people who are ready to receive them, have been performed and consummated by the grace of the Holy Trinity. But they belong only to One Person of the Trinity (Christ). The priest offers blessing by the grace of the Holy Trinity in order that it may preserve them, perfect them, and sanctify them. Then, he signs the cross three times to save them from sin and evil and to make them worthy to receive the holy mysteries.

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The Conditions of Receiving the Communion, and the Hallowing of the Altar’s Vessels The priest turns toward the altar. Two deacons with lighted candles stand, one on his right and the other on his left. He holds the paten in his hands and waves it round the tablitho from west to east. He signs a cross from east to west and from north to south circle wise. He puts the paten back in its proper place. He raises the chalice with his hands over the tablitho and sanctifies it by moving it in a cross form. He waves it over the tablitho making another sign of the cross. He puts it back in its proper place. Then, he holds the paten in his right hand and the chalice in his left crosswise. The Deacon Standing on the Right. Let us behold (the mysteries) with adoration and awe. The Deacon Standing on the Left. Lord be compassionate and have mercy on us. Priest. These mysteries are only for the holy and the pure. Deacons. One is the Holy Father, One is the Holy Son, One is the Holy Spirit. Deacon. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. They are One, forever and ever. Amen Priest. One is the Holy Father who created the world by His compassion. Deacons. Amen Priest. One is the Holy Son who redeemed the world by His suffering. Deacons. Amen. Priest. One is the Holy Spirit who perfects and fulfills all that has been and will be. Blessed is the name of the Lord, now and forevermore. The priest utters these litanies while holding the paten and the chalice in his hands. Then, he places them on the table of offering and covers them. He kisses the altar and steps down. He proceeds toward the bishop asking his blessing, while the deacons chant the usual prayers.

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Exposition 1. The deacon alerts the people to behold the mysteries in fear and trembling. He beseeches God to have mercy on them and offer them the holy mysteries freely by grace. 2. The priest warns the people that no one, except those who have been purified from sin, proceed to receive the holy mysteries because they have been sanctified in the name of the Holy Trinity. Thus, no one should partake of the mysteries undeservedly, having been unable to recognize the body of the Lord, as the apostle said. The deacon declares the weakness of men and their unworthiness on account of their sins. He confesses the holiness and purity of the Trinity, which is alone infallible. He praises the Trinity as the priest confirms his words concerning the weakness of men and the Holiness of the Godhead. 3. The sanctification of the vessels at the altar is for the sake of testimony, for revealing the mysteries, and in allusion to the ascension of Christ into heaven. Covering the paten and the chalice signifies that, by ascending to His Father, the Son is hidden from the eyes of earthly beings. If they desire Him to appear to them, He will do that through His body and blood. The Tishmeshto and the Homily Tishmeshto is a Syriac term, meaning service or worship. It is seeking the intercession and blessing of the Virgin and the saints, and asking forgiveness and rest for the departed faithful. It is of three kinds: one for the Virgin, the second for the saints, and the third for the dead. Conducting the tishmeshto in the celebration of the Eucharist shows that the faithful are truly expecting to receive the Virgin and the saints as people receive kings, leaders and prominent men, and extend honor to them. They also feel that the souls of the departed faithful are present at the service. Preaching, which permeates the tishmeshot, is a tirgam (targum), that is a homily meant to expound the portion of the Gospel already read. According to the old custom, the homily followed the reading of the Gospel, but for some considerations, the Church moved it to this place in the Mass. Preaching is necessary as the apostle says, “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.” (1 Timothy 4:13) Thus, the Church has continued to practice preaching since apostolic time. It is imperative that the clergy preach the word of God and never neglect it because it is important to the faithful. The people, too, should listen

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to the homilies with joy. The Council of Carthage had this to say to those who neglect to listen to homilies, “Everyone who leaves the church at the time of the sermon should be set apart, because leaving is a stumbling block to the people and indifference to the clergy.” The Procession Before the procession, the priest gets ready to receive the communion with adoration, humility and eagerness. If a bishop is present, he proceeds and asks him for blessing and forgiveness. He turns and shakes hands with the clergy; and, facing the people, he asks their forgiveness. He returns to the altar and prostrates before it. He rises and kisses the altar in the middle, on the right and on the left corners. He climbs the step to the altar and removes the covers from the paten and the chalice. With the spoon in his right hand, he scoops the particle of the sacrificial bread (furshono) which he had placed in the chalice. While doing so, he recites a special prayer in silence. He takes the particle and eats it. Then, with the spoon, he picks up the other particle from the paten and drops it in the chalice. With the spoon, he scoops some of the blood and drinks it as he recites a special prayer. He then puts back the spoon in the paten. He covers it and the chalice and says, “Let us cry out and say.” If several clergymen are present, he should administer the communion to them after he had partaken of it himself. If the bishop is present and desired to receive the communion, he should proceed to the altar and partake of it himself. As to the people, the priest should administer the communion to them after the dismissal prayer. To proceed with the communion, the priest lifts up the paten with his right hand and the chalice with his left and places the right over the left crosswise. Two deacons carrying lighted candles, one on his right and the other on his left, proceed ahead of him. A third deacon carrying the censer, proceeds ahead of him and of the two deacons. As he proceeds, the priest stretches out his right hand and proclaims that this is the cup which contains the Blood. He stretches out his left hand and proclaims that this is the paten which contains the Body. He draws two steps forward and blesses the people with the Holy Body like a sign of the cross. He takes further steps with his right hand over the left crosswise. Priest. Let us cry out saying: Deacons. Praise and adoration to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Glory to Him from everlasting to everlasting.

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Priest. From you atoning altar, remission of sins descends upon your servants, O Son of God. For you have come for our redemption, and you will come again for our resurrection and the restoration of our kind, forever and ever. Deacons. Amen. Priest. Stretch out, O Lord, your invisible right hand and bless these worshippers who are about to receive your precious body and blood so that their sins are forgiven and their offences are pardoned; thereby they can stand before you with confidence. Deacons. Amen. Priest. May God’s mercies rest upon those who are administering these mysteries, and those who are receiving them, and those who have labored and participated in preparing them in both this world and the world to come, and unto the age of ages. Deacons. Lord, have mercy upon us. Lord, have compassion and mercy upon us. Lord, have mercy upon us. Lord, hearken unto us and have mercy upon us. Glory to God in the highest, exultation to His mother, a crown of praise to the martyrs, and mercy and compassion to the departed. Halleluiah. Priest. Glory be to you, glory be to you, our Lord and God forever and ever. Glory be to you our Lord Jesus Christ. Your Body which we have eaten, and your redeeming Blood which we have drunk, may not be for our punishment and judgment, but for eternal life and redemption for us all. Have mercy on us. Deacons. The whole world adores and worships you, and every tongue blesses your name. You are the One who resurrects the dead and you are their only hope. We thank you for the abundant benevolence and grace you have bestowed on us. Have mercy upon us. Exposition 1. The priest’s participation in the Holy Communion before the people signifies Christ’s participation in the mysteries in the upper

100 LITURGY OF THE SYRIAN ORTHDODOX CHURCH OF ANTIOCH room before His disciples. It also indicates that the priest is in need of communion because he is mortal and under sin. But, he has been entrusted with these mysteries by grace. The clergy and the people receive the communion in allusion to the Lord administering His Body and Blood in the upper room. 2. According to ancient custom, the procession inside the church was conducted during the elevation of the elements. The clergy, carrying lighted candles, marched at the head of the procession, followed by the deacon who carried the censer. He was followed by the celebrant carrying the mysteries while the fans waved over them. When the procession ended, the mysteries were administered to the people. This custom, however, was shortened to the form practiced at present. 3. The chalice is elevated in allusion to the death of Christ, because it is well known that blood poured out of Christ’s side first. 4. The priest’s return to the altar signifies that although the Lord, the Second Person of the Trinity, descended from heaven, was incarnated and lived on earth, yet, having fulfilled His mission of redemption, He ascended to His Father from whence He had first come. It also means that, in both cases, the Son is not separate from the Father.

SUBSECTION FIVE: THE THANKSGIVING PRAYER Priest. We offer thanks to you, O Lord, for your abundant mercy, and for making us worthy to partake of your heavenly table. May our participation in your holy mysteries be not for our condemnation, but for rendering us worthy to partake of your Holy Spirit and obtain a share of the inheritance that was prepared for the righteous from eternity. We praise you and offer thanksgiving to you and to your only Son, and to your ever Holy Spirit, good, worshipped, life-giving, and equal in essence to you, now and at all times and unto the ages of ages. Deacons. Amen. Priest. Peace to you all. Deacon. And with your spirit. After partaking of these holy mysteries which have been administered to us, let us bow down our heads before you, our Lord and God.

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The priest crosses his hands and says, Priest. Almighty and marvelous God, who for the salvation of our humankind, did leave heaven and descend to earth. Have compassion and mercy on us, that we may praise you without ceasing and glorify God the Father, who begotten you, and your Holy Spirit, good, worshipped, life-giving, and equal in essence to you, now and at all times and unto the age of ages. Deacons. Amen Expositon 1. The priest concludes the prayer of thanksgiving, reciting a hymn fitting the occasion of celebrating the Eucharist. The deacons respond by chanting a hymn. 2. All the prayers mentioned in the celebration of the Eucharist are addressed to the Father, the First Person of the Holy Trinity, because the celebrating priest represents Christ who is the mediator between God and man. These prayers, particularly include the prayer of the Kiss of Peace, the Thanksgiving Prayer, the Prayer of Invoking the Holy Spirit, the Prayer of the Veil and the Lord’s Prayer. 3. The Thanksgiving prayer alone is addressed to the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity. First, because He descended to earth for our salvation and offered us His Body and Blood, which assume the form of bread and wine; second, to beseech Him in order to make these mysteries fit for salvation, and not for judgment or condemnation; third, beseeching Almighty God to keep us pure and holy, that we may become worthy of the inheritance preserved in heaven. The Dismissal The priest turns toward the east with his right foot on the second step of the altar, if a bishop is present. Otherwise, he keeps standing on the upper step. He, then, stretches out his hand and blesses the faithful, reciting the following prayer. Upon reciting the prayer, he signs three crosses over the people. Priest. Go in peace, brothers and beloved. We commit you to the grace and mercy of the Holy Trinity, as you have received blessing and provisions from the atoning altar of the Lord. For those who are far and near, for the living as well as the dead who are saved by the victorious Cross of

102 LITURGY OF THE SYRIAN ORTHDODOX CHURCH OF ANTIOCH the Lord and stamped with the seal of Holy Baptism. May the Holy Trinity forgive your sins, remit your offences, and grant rest to the souls of your departed. And I, weak and sinful, hope to receive succor and mercy by your supplication. Go in peace rejoicing and praying for me.

GENERAL APPENDIX The Signing of the Cross During the Mass The Church used to begin prayers by signing the holy cross on the face. It was done by raising the forefinger on the forehead and saying, “In the name of the Father,” because He is above all. We move it down to the breast and say, “And to the Son,” in allusion to the Son who came down from heaven and took flesh from the Virgin. Then, we place it on the left shoulder and transfer it to the right and say, “And the Holy Spirit,” as an indication that by the death of Christ on the cross and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we have been transported from darkness to light. We conclude saying, “One God. Amen,” in recognition of unity in Trinity. The Church also used to draw the sign of the cross on its walls, altars, veils and vestments. The purpose is, 1. That the faithful will always remember the death of Christ on the cross. 2. That they may succeed in their works. 3. By the sign of the cross, the mysteries and all the rites of the Church are sanctified. After all, everything within the Church is sanctified by prayer, by the word of God, and by the signs of the holy cross. Indeed, baptism, the consecration of churches and altars, the solemnization of weddings, the confession and forgiveness of sins, penitence, the laying of the hand in ordination, consecration of the Holy Chrism, blessing of olive branches on Palm Sunday, consecration of water on Epiphany and many other occasions could not be sanctified without the sign of the cross accompanied by prayer. Thus, the sign of the cross sanctifies the holy mysteries, as said earlier. Commentators on the liturgy maintain that the number of crosses signed over the bread and the wine is eighteen, and repeated three times. In each time, six are signed over the bread and three over the wine as follows: 1. three over the bread and three over the wine at the Lord’s Supper in allusion to the will of the Father, the consent of the Son, and the sanctification of the Holy Spirit.

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2. three over the bread and three over the wine at their transubstantiation, in allusion to the will of the Father, the consent of the Son and the perfection of the Holy Spirit. 3. three over the bread and three over the wine at the breaking of the bread and sprinkling it with the wine in allusion to the will of the Father, the consent of the Son, and the perfection of the Holy Spirit. Also, a sign of the cross is made when the priest blesses the people saying, “The love of God the Father,” and when he blesses them saying, “May the grace of the Holy Trinity, etc. The net total of the crosses the priest signs during the celebration of the Eucharist is thirty six: eighteen over the elements, nine over himself and nine over the people. To these are added three more when the priest dismisses the people at the end of the Mass, three when he reads the holy Gospel, and one when he elevates the mysteries saying, “Stretch, O Lord, your invisible right hand.” Notice. No member of the congregation or the deacons is allowed to sign the cross over himself during the Mass except at the time of the Trisagion (Thrice Holy). The Post Dismissal First. After dismissing the people, the priest kneels down before the altar reciting a prayer in silence. Second, he climbs the step of the altar and removes the covers from the paten and puts the paten in its usual place. He puts the spoon in its proper place while reciting, “The Lord is my shepherd.” (Psalm 23) He begins to divide the sacrificial bread into individual particles and then partake of the communion. If a clergyman asks him to offer him the communion, the priest should divide the sacrificial bread and offer him a particle. If one of the faithful asked to receive the communion, the deacon should hold in his hand a kerchief and a lighted candle. The priest, holding the paten in his hands, steps down to the right side of the altar and says, “From your atoning altar, etc.,” until he reaches the gate of the altar known as the Royal Gate, where the person who would receive the mysteries is standing. The priest picks a particle between his thumb and forefinger and draws the paten close to the mouth of the recipient. He administers it to him saying, “The atoning gmurto (particle).” In like manner, he administers the communion to the people, whether many or few. When he finishes the administration of the communion, the priest returns to the altar and puts the paten in

104 LITURGY OF THE SYRIAN ORTHDODOX CHURCH OF ANTIOCH its place. He eats whatever is left of the body in the patent with humility. If tiny particles are still left, he picks them up with his forefinger and eats them. Then, he removes the cover from the chalice and places the paten over it and wipes it, saying, “If any tiny piece is left, etc.,” He returns the paten to its place. Third, he scoops with the spoon some Blood from the chalice and pours it in the water vessel. He holds the chalice with both hands and drinks the Blood reciting a special prayer. Then, he places the chalice over the tablitho. Four, the priest takes the water vessel and pours it in the paten and washes it. He pours its contents in the chalice and dips the tips of the four fingers of his hand which have touched the mysteries, and makes two signs of the cross on the palm of his left hand. He sucks his fingers to wash out the trace of the Blood while he says a special prayer. Then, he drinks the cup and puts it back on the tablitho. He dips the fingers of his left hand and makes with them a sign of the cross on the palm of his right hand and sucks them, saying a special prayer in both cases. Five, he wipes the chalice, the paten, the spoon and the star with the sponge while reciting a special memro (hymn). Six, he folds the anaphora (the veil) and puts the star, the spoon and the pad in the paten. He puts the sponge in the chalice and covers it. He kisses the altar and climbs down. Seven, he washes his hands and dries them up. He takes off his celebration vestment and puts on his regular garments. He prostrates before the altar and kisses it three times, in the middle, and on both corners while bidding it farewell. He goes home.

ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR Matti Moosa, a native of Mosul, Iraq, and an American citizen since 1965, holds a Law degree from Baghdad Law School, Iraq, a United Nations Diploma of Merit from the University of Wales in Swansea, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Middle Eastern history and culture from Columbia University in New York City. His publications include The Wives of the Prophet (ed.); Gibran in Paris (ed.); The Origins of Modern Arabic Fiction, 1983, 2nd. ed.., 1997) The Maronites in History (1986), translated into Arabic under the title Al-Mawarina fi al-Tarikh (Damascus, 2004), Extremist Shiites: the Ghulat Sects (1988); The Early Novels of Naguib Mahfouz: Images of Modern Egypt (1994); Theodora (ed), The Crusades: Conflict Between Christendom and Islam (2008), History of Tur ‘Abdin (ed), History of The Syrian Dioceses (ed), History of St. Matthew’s Monastery (ed) and History of the Syrian Church of India (ed), History of the Za’faran Monastery (ed). He has also contributed numerous articles on Middle Eastern history and culture to leading periodicals.

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