In order to understand the richness of the East Syrian liturgical tradition one must go to the great and vast world of the Hudra of the Church of the East. The Hudra is a principal liturgical book, which contains primarily, the Divine Office and the variable prayers of the Qurbana for the entire cycle of the liturgical year. At present many liturgical scholars are particularly interested in the Hudra as it contains a large number of liturgical chants of great theological interest which are important sources for our knowledge of the theology of the Church of the East. Hence, in order to arrive at a comprehensive understanding of the eschatological vision of the East Syrian Qurbana it is necessary to turn to the prayers in the Propria which form the variable part of the Qurbana. The present chapter begins with an examination of the eschatological character of the East Syrian Hudra through an analysis of the liturgical year and important feasts and proceeds to study the important eschatological themes found in the variable prayers of the Qurbana.
1.1. The Origin of the East Syrian Propria
Although not much is known about the early history of the East Syrian Hudra, its antiquity, theological richness and magnificence call for no proof or confirmation. The primitive Hudra consisted mainly of Psalms and readings from the OT and NT to be read on different days and feasts. To this primitive basis of the Hudra were added, in the course of time, hymns and prayers taken mainly from the ecclesiastical writings of the famous Syriac Fathers like Ephrem (d. 373), Jacob of Nisibis (d. 350), Catholicos Simon Bar Sabbae (d. 341), Marutha of Maipharkat (d. ca. 420), Narsai (d. 502) and Babai the Great (d. 608/609). The compilation of Hudra for the whole liturgical yearis traditionally attributed to Catholicos Išo Yahb III (650-658) and his collaborator, the monk ‘Enaniso’ at the Upper Monastery of Mar Gabriel and Mar Abraham in Mosul. A final and decisive redaction of these hymns and prayers was done again at the Upper Monastery around 1250. The Chaldean Lazarist, Paul Bedjan, after consulting different manuscripts, brought to light in 1886-1887 his edition of the present three volume Chaldean breviary: Breviarium iuxta ritum Syrorum Orientalium id est Chaldaneorum. A reprint of this breviary was made under the supervision of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches in Rome, in 1938, for the use of the catholic Chaldeans and Syo-Malabarians. These volumes contain the various hymns and prayers from the Hudra, Gazza and Kaskul. In 2002 the Congregation for the Oriental Churches issued a new edition of the Chaldean breviary in one volume. The AssyrianChurch of the East uses the breviary of the Church of the East edited by Darmo (+1969), the Metropolitan of the Church of the East in Trichur, India. Both the breviary of the ChaldeanChurch and that of the AssyrainChurch contain the Divine Office and the variable prayers (Propria) of the Qurbana. Each Church in the East Syrian tradition has made its own editions of the Propria of the Qurbana in different languages, of which the most important ones are the Proprium Missarum de Tempore et de Sanctis, Juxta Ritum Ecclesiae Syrorum Orientalium id est Chaldaeorum, Mousul, 1901, made by the Chaldean Church,in Syriac language and the SupplementumMysteriorum, sive Proprium Missarum de Temporeet de Sanctis iuxta Ritum Ecclesiae Syro-Malabarensis, Romae, 1960, made by the Congregation for the Oriental Churches in Rome, in Latin translation, for the use of the Syro-Malabar Church.
1.1.1. The Constituent Parts of the Propers
The variable parts of the Qurbana are usually divided into three groups: Anaphoras, Lectionary and Propria. We have already examined the eschatological character of the three Anaphoras which are used in different liturgical seasons and days in the Church of the East. The Lectionary of this Church is a combination of the monastic and cathedral usages in which the biblical lections are given according to the spirit of the liturgical seasons and the liturgical importance of particular days. In the present study we do not enter into the vast area of the biblical lections of each day but limit ourselves to the prayers of the Propria as given in the liturgical texts of the three Churches in the East Syrian tradition. Following is the schema of the variable parts of the Qurbana.
Readings from the Old Testament
Reading from the Apostle
Anthem of the Gospel
Reading from the Gospel
Bathe d’ Unaya d’Yauma
1.1.2. The Eschatological Orientation of the Liturgical Year
The sanctification of time through the celebration of the mysteries of Christ and those of the Church throughout the year is an important theme in the writings of the Fathers. The East Syrian tradition, with its integral vision of Christian life, has a meaningful arrangement of its liturgical year with nine seasons. The liturgical year is a dynamic, ‘cyclic’ re-living of the economy of salvation which originates from heaven with the period of Annuciation – Nativity and concludes in heaven with the period of the Dedication ofthe Church . The other seven seasons of the liturgical year – piphany, Great Fast , Resurrection, Apostles, Summar, Elia-Cross and Moses – are organized in such a way that the faithful are offered a system by which they are helped to reach their celestial goal celebrating and participating in the mysteries of Christ and that of the Church. The Vatican II points out the basic eschatological orientation of the liturgical year in the following words:
In the course of the year, moreover, she unfolds the whole mystery of Christ, from the incarnation and nativity to the ascension, to Pentecost and the expectation of a blessed hoped of the coming of the Lord.
The East Syrian liturgical year assumed its present form of nine seasons as a result of the liturgical reforms made by Catholicos Išo Yahb III. Before this reform the liturgical year began with the season of Moses in the month of Octorber and extended to the whole of November November and this season was known as the Economy of Moses . The main salvific mystery celebrated in the period of Moses is the mystery of the second coming of the Lord. This system was based on the Jewish practice of beginning their year in the month of October . The significance that the Jews attached to the arrangement of the year was the celebration of the mystery of salvation. According to a Jewish saying: “In Nisan they were redeemed and in Teshri they will be redeemed in time to come”. At the end of the year they celebrate the Messianic salvation, while at the beginning of another year they show in a mystery the beginning of salvation.
Later, Christmas was fixed on the 25th of December and the feast of Epiphany on the 6th of January. Gradually, the period of Annunciation, as the time of preparation for the birth of Christ, became the beginning of a new liturgical year with the reform of Išo Yahb III. This period is followed by the period of Denha in which the baptism and public life of Jesus are commemorated and in the next seasons His death and resurrection and so on. Here again we find a tendency of historization of the liturgical year in which the economy of salvation is celebrated. Modern liturgiologists are conscious of the defects of this new system. A. Adam points out that it is a wrong conception about the liturgical year that the annual celebration of the mysteries of Christ is to set before the faithful the entire life of Jesus from his birth to his second coming. R. Berger also speaks about the danger of this style of explanation:
There is a widespread tendency, when instructing the people, to understand the liturgical year as a representation of the life of Jesus: from the expectation of his birth, through his incarnation, public ministry, suffering and resurrection, to his sending of the Spirit and second coming. Anyone can immediately see that this approach does not account for the details of the liturgical year. But it is not even verifiable if we look only at the broad lines of this year.
In the final analysis every liturgical season is an encounter with the exalted Lord in which we look back with grateful recollection at the historical accomplishment of salvation, while also looking to the future with hope for the eschatological fulfilment of the same salvation. Although the arrangement of the liturgical seasons of the East Syrian tradition appears to be ‘historical’ in the celebration of the economy of salvation, the prayers and hymns in the Hudra for all the nine seasons bear witness to the eschatological character of the liturgical year and that of the East Syrian liturgy as a whole. In the East Syrian liturgical ‘cycle’ (Hudra) the last periods- Elia-Cross, Moses and Dedication of the Church, which are filled with eschatological themes, lead to the first periods of Annuciation- Nativity and Denha which, as we shall see, are also closely linked with the notion of Parousia (2 Thes 2:8).
184.108.40.206. The ‘Eschatological Periods’ of the Liturgical Year
When we look at the present arrangement of the East Syrian liturgical year from the point of view of the systematic theology, we can see that the first four periods of the liturgical year (Annuciation – Nativity, Epiphany, Great Fast and Resurrection) deal with Christological themes; the following two periods (Apostles, Summar) are concerned with ecclesiological themes and the last three periods (Elia-Cross, Moses and Dedication of the Church) are filled with eschatological themes.Without entering into the details regarding the history of their development, we make a rapid survey of the spirit of the last three seasons. Generally speaking, the periods of Elia-Cross and Moses deal with the eschatological fulfilment of the individual Christians and the period of Dedication of the Church speaks about the eschatological fulfilment of the Church.
According to the arrangement of the East Syrian liturgical year this period must begin at least on the Sunday before the Feast of the Cross. The period of Elia reminds us of the Parousia of our Lord at the end of the time and the last judgement. The Jews believed that the prophet Elia, who was taken up to heaven (2Kings 2:11) will come back before the glorious coming of the Messia (Mal 4:5-6), to prepare His way. The NT shows that the ministry of the Elia has been fulfilled in the mission of John the Baptist by preparing the people for receiving the Messia (Mt 11:14; Jn 1:23). So the period of Elia in the liturgical year is a time of fasting and prayer as a preparation for the universal judgement at the coming of the eschatological Lord.
The Propria of this period speak about the second coming of the Lord and the universal judgement. The Anthem of the Gospel of the third Sunday of the period of Elia is a good example:
O Lord, I have contemplated your appearance at the end and I have wondered at its terror. The watchers hasten at your command to gather out the tares from the wheat, and they complete indeed that which they desired to do when they had previously petitioned you. The evil are cast down into Gehenna, and the good inherit delight, and I, who have been sorely guilty, where shall I flee from your judgment? O my Lord, let me not be a tare which has grown up among the wheat. Gather me into your storehouse.
The period of Cross is the second half of the period of Elia. It continues the same eschatological spirit of the period of Elia and the prayers of this period are also filled with allusions to the Parousia of the Lord and last judgement. This period highlights the victory and power of the cross and recalls the glorious second coming of our Lord with the sign of the cross. The feast of the Exaltation of the cross on September 14 is the nucleus of this period. In the East Syrian tradition the feast of the cross is taken as the symbol of the Parousia of our Lord and eschatological reward. On the feast of the cross the Divine Liturgy sings: “Your cross reigns in the heavens; your cross reigns on earth. Your cross crownsthe companies of those who have acknowledged your cross”.
The Period of Moses can be considered as a continuation of the periods of Elia and Cross because we find the same eschatological spirit and themes in this period also. J. Mateos considers this period as a promulgation of the feast of the cross and it represents the time of eschatological consummation. The two important themes of the prayers of this season are those of penitence in view of the Parousia of the Lord and of the victorious cross. There can be up to four Sundays in this period depending upon the date of the Easter. Rabban Brik-Išo (14th) explains the eschatological significance involved in this uncertainty of the number of weeks in the period of Moses:
The Sundays that follow the period of Elias (and Cross) are sometimes one or two or three. They come before the season which celebrates the Dedication of the Church. The uncertainty of this period is the symbol of the uncertainty of our Lord’s Second Coming. Our Lord Himself said, ‘but, for that day and hour, no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only’ (Mt 4:36). We understand this also from other words of our Lord.
The periods of Elia and Moses are intimately connected with the Feast of the Cross and the period of the Cross stands in between them. The cross reminds us of the second coming of our Lord, which was symbolised by His transfiguration on mount Tabor, where Elia and Moses stood by, conversing with Him (Mt 17: 1-18).
220.127.116.11.3. Dedication of the Church
The Dedication of the Church is the last period of the East Syrian liturgical year in which the Church reflects on her own final glorification and eschatological fulfilment. Here the liturgy is concerned with the ecclesial dimension of Christian salvation which will be fully achieved only at the end of times when Christ the bridegroom leads His Bride, the Church into the heavenly bridal chamber, which is the symbol of eternal celestial happiness. The last four weeks of the liturgical year are set apart for the celebration of this heavenly nuptial festival, which is the symbol of eternal divine communion of human soul with God and with all saints and angels. Rabban Brik-Išo elucidates the spirit of period of the Dedication of the Church as follows:
Isho-Yahb codified the weeks of the Dedication of the Church at the end of the Liturgical Year, after the advent of Elias (and Moses) and the defeat of the son of perdition. Then the heavenly Bridegroom will appear from the holy and glorious heavens … Christ’s bride, the HolyChurch, saints and believers will start to receive Him with joy, praising and glorifying Him with all honour. The real Bridegroom and our Saviour Jesus will accept His Bride, the Church and will take her up with Him to heaven. He will lead her into the eternal bride-chamber and will make her sit at His right hand…
Thus the period of the Dedication of the Church, which is the last period in the liturgical year arouse in the minds of the faithful great eschatological hope of the final communion of the entire Church with her Lord. The East Syrian liturgy leads the believers beyond the narrow outlook of personal salvation to the wide horizon of the eschatological glorification of the whole Church and sets it before them as the ultimate goal of the liturgical prayer and of the Christian life.
1.1.3. Feasts and Commemorations
The Jewish liturgical year revolved around the agrarian feasts of the Unleavened Bread (Passover), the Harvest (Pentecost) and the Ingathering (Tabernacles) all of which are noted for their eschatological character. The Early Christians were also conscious of the theological significance of the feasts in the life of the Church as is evident from the words of Ephrem: “Behold, the first-born has opened His feast day for us like a treasure house”. A feast was an occasion of continual revelation and self-giving of God to the Church. The early Christians were conscious of being a people living in the ‘end time’ and their only feast was the Pascha, the annual celebration of the mystery of salvation, which culminated in an experience of the eschatological Parousia of the Lord. They continued to live in the same experience throughout the year through the weekly Eucharistic celebration on the Sundays. The tendency to remember and celebrate each event in the history of salvation separately was a later development which emerged especially in connection with the pilgrimages in the holy land. G. Dix speaks about the historicizing tendency that began to take place in the JerusalemChurch at the time of Cyril, which has changed the rhythm of the liturgical cycle:
The key point of the old conception lay in the eschatological conception of the Pascha. Once this had begun to be interpreted as a primarily historical commemoration of the event of our Lord’s resurrection (in the fashion of our Easter) the way was clear to the combination and fusion of the two cycles, historical and eschatological…When we enquire as to the date and circumstances of this liturgical revolution, we are forced, I think, to see its original motive and impulse in the personal ideas and liturgical initiative of that interesting person, S. Cyril of Jerusalem.
Taft is of opinion that in the development of Christian feasts in the first four centuries one can observe more local variations and a clear-cut degeneration from the experience of the whole mystery of redemption to a series of singular observances reflecting a narrative historicizing mentality. But he disagrees with the theory of Dix and argues that the evolution of the liturgical feasts in the early Church is considerably complex and it cannot be neatly schematised as ‘eschatology vs. sanctification of time’, as Dix has proposed. In the Oriental Churches one can find an organic incorporation of the liturgy and the historical events and a more ‘realized eschatology’ prevailed as the driving force of the liturgy. Thus the fourth-centuary fragmentation process can indeed be traced, but cannot be totally generalized in the evolution of the feasts of the EastSyrianChurch.
The East Syrian tradition follows a liturgical cycle based mainly on the mysteries of Christ (Temporal cycle); but due importance is given to the commemoration of the saints (Sanctoral cycle) according to the spirit of the liturgical seasons. The feasts and commemorations are connected with our Lord or Virgin Mary or saints. Accordingly, feasts of our Lord are classified as the feastsand the feast-days related to Virgin Mary and saints are called commemorations. The commemoration of Mary is arranged in intimate relation to the celebration of the mysteries of Christ. For example the feast of the ‘Mother of Christ the Lord and God’ is celebrated on the second Friday after the Nativity of Our Lord. The apostles, saints and martyrs are commemorated usually on Fridays, especially Fridays during the periods of Epiphany, Resurrection and Summer. In the East Syrian liturgical calendar we do not find a sanctoral cycle parallel to the temporal cycle as we find in the Roman Calendar. The feast of a particular saint is fixed not according to the day of his death but according to his role in the economy of salvation. Thus the feast of John the Baptist is celebrated on the Friday following the feast of Denha and the Seventy Two Disciples are commemorated on the last Friday of the period of the Apostles. In this arrangement of the feasts, one can find an organic integration of the celebration of the mysteries of Christ and the commemoration of saints. It helps us to avoid certain imbalances that emerge in the Church regarding the veneration of saints and devotion to them, forgetting the unique role of Christ in the salvation of mankind.
18.104.22.168. The Eschatological Character of Some Important Feasts
The oldest reference to the liturgy of the Church of the East has conventionally been sought in the canons of the first synod of the Church of the East which was held in A D 410 under the leadership of the Catholicos of Seleucia – Ctesiphone, Mar Isaac, in the presence of Mar Maruta, bishop of Maipherqat and envoy of the East Roman Emperor. The earliest attempt to unify and fix liturgical feasts and commemorations of the Church of the East took place at this synod. The canon 13 of the synod presents Nativity, Epiphany and the Resurrection of our Lord as the most important feasts and the synod made regulations to celebrate them uniformly in all parts of the Church of the East. Here we make and analysis of the eschatological character of these important feasts.
22.214.171.124.1. The Feast ofthe Nativityof our Lord
In the East Syrian tradition, the liturgical year begins with the period of Annunciation-Nativity. In the annual cycle of the liturgical year this season immediately follows the period of the Dedication of the Church in which the Church remembers and celebrates her eschatological union with the heavenly Bridegroom. The period of Annunciation-Nativity continues the same eschatological spirit and it focuses itself upon the coming of the Messiah. Here the Church commemorates the manifestation of the Son who was sent by the Father in the fullnessof time (Gal 4:4, Eph 1:10). The Feast of the Nativity of our Lord is considered as the celebration of the entire economy of salvation. The prayers of the Divine Liturgy during this period address the themes of incarnation, life, death, resurrection, ascension and Parousia. In his ‘Hymns on Nativity’ St. Ephrem exclaims: “This is the month that bears entirely all victories: it frees the spirit; it subdues the body; it brings forth life among the mortals”.
In the Roman liturgical calendar the first two weeks of the Season of Advent are concerned with the final Parousia of our Lord. The readings in the Divine Liturgy and the prayers in the Liturgy of the Hours are concerned with the second coming of Christ and the preparation to face the eschatological judge. With the birth of Christ the messianic hopes of the OT were fulfilled and the eschatological age was inaugurated. According to the renewed liturgical calendar published by Vatican in 1969, the Season of Advent (tempus adventus) is a season of penitence and joyful expectation. Bar Hebraeus (1226-1286) points out that among the Syrian Churches, some have observed 40 days of fast from 15th of November while some others have 25 days of fast from the 1st of December. Among the Malabar Christians this period is known as Irupathanchu Nombu (25 days fast) and from time immemorial there is an established custom among them to fast from December 1 until the Christmas. According to Gabriel Basra (9th centaury) monks were bound to fast during the period of Annunciation instead of the period of Moses. The fasting and penance prescribed here can be seen as the preparations not for the historical incarnation of Jesus but for the eschatological manifestation of the Messiah. But now the period of Annunciation is considered as a preparation for the nativity of our Lord.
The name of this period ‘Annunciation’ needs more clarification. The Syriac name of this period is Subaraand it comes from the root Sabbar which means to hope or to tell a good news. This word is not used in the annunciation of the angel Gabriel to Mary but it is found in the angelic message to the shepherds of Bethlehem: “I bring you good news of a great joy which will cometo all the people” (Lk 2:10). Here the birth of Christ is presented as a sign of great hope and happiness which will come to all the nations. We have already seen the eschatological significance of this angelic hymn which is sung at the very beginning of the Qurbana with the liturgical addition of “good hope . A prayer in the Hudra in this period says: “The heavens and the earth were renewed through the glorious Child who appeared from the Virgin. From the time that the angels proclaimed peace, creation was filled with a good hopeby their songs”. So Annunciation is a period of hope which began with the birth of Christ and which awaits its fulfilment in the age to come.
The variable prayers of the Qurbana speak about the eschatological nature of the nativity of our Lord. On the first Sunday of the period of Annunciation the Divine Liturgy says that John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way for the glorious coming of our Lord: “He will tread out the pathway before the son of the King, who is coming in glory for the salvation of all creatures”. The Ontiha d’ Raze of the second Sunday of the period of Annunciation presents Christ as the One who comes to judge the world:
Let us in awe and love prepare ourselves for the fearful gift of the mysteries of Christ, and let us adorn ourselves with deeds with which we may be acceptable to the Judge of all, that he may have pity on us when he judges the generations of the world.
Through His incarnation, Christ transcended the limits of space and time and filled the earth with His glory without losing His presence in heaven. On the Christmas day the Divine Liturgy proclaims: “the Only-begotten was revealed to us in the flesh, His power was proclaimed among the nations, and he was taken up in glory to his Father”. The liturgical prayer points out that it is the Son of the King who descended to us that made our mortal race worthy of the exalted gifts of heaven.
The general spirit of the liturgical prayers on the feast of the Nativity of our Lord and during the period of Annunciation-Nativity is that the Christmas is the celebration of the historical manifestation of Christ; but it also raises eschatological hope in the believers. The Nativity of our Lord marks the ‘fullness of time’ and the beginning of the eschatological age. A liturgical hymn written by Narsai and sung during the morning prayers (Sapra) on Sundays and feast days presents the time from Adam till Christ as night and the time from the birth of Christ as day.
126.96.36.199.2. The Feast of Epiphany
The Holy Feast of the Epiphany of our Lord is the central episode in the period of Denha which continues the same eschatological spirit of the Annunciation-Nativity period. J. Talley explains the close relation between the Christmas and the Epiphany and the eschatological implications involved in them as follows:
In the four weeks of Advent, in other words, the meaning of the coming of the Messiah shifts from the expectations of the consummation of history itself to preparation for the nativity of the Saviour…on December 25. Twelve days later the Church celebrates the festival of the Epiphany, which has, as we shall see, an uncommonly rich themeology, and the name of the feast itself is closely linked with the notion of Parousia (cf. 2Thessalonians 2:8). In all this, it is clear that the Advent/ Epiphany complex is a time of beginning that carries with it a strong note of eschatological expectation.
Epiphany is the feast of the manifestation of our Lord. A correct appreciation of the notion of ‘manifestation’ is necessary for a clear understanding of the Annunciation-Nativity-Epiphany cycle in the liturgical year. In the first half of the fourth century the easterners used to celebrate the birth of Christ and His baptism together on the 6th of January. They commemorated birth of Christ in the night between 5th and 6th of January and they celebrated His baptism on the 6th of January. Thus the feast was celebrated all night and into the morning as a divine mystery (raza) of the original event, the manifestation of our Lord. The feast was held with the eschatological expectation of the manifestation of Christ at the rising sun. To keep vigil was to be prepared for the coming of salvation. Ephrem speaks about the glorious manifestation of Christ, during the liturgical celebration, accompanied by angels and archangels leading all those who have kept the night vigil to great joy and delight. By the end of the fourth century the Eastern Churches began to celebrate the birth of Christ on the 25th of December and His baptism and manifestation on the 6th of January. Thus Christmas began to be considered as a commemoration of the historical event of the birth of Christ neglecting its original significance as the celebration of His manifestation.
The Greek term Parousia is closely related to the Aramaic expression Maranatha, which with its double meaning clearly expressed the eschatological aspirations of the primitive Church. In the early Church, Parousia was a familiar term and it was also used in double meaning in the homiletical and liturgical usages: (1) the coming of Christ at the consummation of history, (2) His first coming in the flesh at the incarnation. St. Irenaeus repeatedly uses the term in the sense of His historical incarnation and Justin the Martyr wrote:
For the prophets have proclaimed two advents [Parousias] of His: the one, that which is already past, when He came as a dishonoured and suffering Man; but the second, when, according to prophecy, He shall come from heaven with glory, accompanied by His angelic hosts…
In the East Syrian tradition the Epiphany of our Lord is called Denha which means manifestation. In the prayers of the Qurbana the Parousia of the Lord is “the day of yourDenha “. The variable prayers of the Divine Liturgy recited on the Feast of Denha refer to the eschatological nature of the Epiphany of our Lord. In the Anthem of the Chancel the liturgical prayer speaks about the glorious manifestation of our Lord:
Cherubim surround the awful throne of your greatness, O Lord, and fearfully, with quaking, they cover their faces with their wings, for they are not able to lift up their eyes and look upon the fire which is your Godhead; and you, who are thus glorious, dwelt among men, not to set them ablaze but to enlighten them. Great is your mercy and grace, O my Lord, for you visited our race . Glory be to you!
The Denha was the first occasion in the history of salvation when confirmation of the teaching of the Trinity was magnificently revealed to the world. The believers are invited to witness to the glorious revelation of this fearful and perfect mystery on the Feast of Denha. On this feast the Divine Liturgy sings “Halleluia, Halleluia” in the place of D’hilat and it clearly brings out the heavenly atmosphere of the Denha of our Lord:
A thousand thousands stand before him, and ten thousand times ten thousand hallow his name, halleluia, halleluia!…There was a voice from heaven saying, ‘This is my beloved Son in whom I have been well-pleased’. Let us all continue with him and serve his Lordship with all our heart, saying, You are holy, you are holy, you are holy, O Friend of men, halleluia!
The baptism of Christ at the Jordan is the basis of Christian baptism. Christ has renewed the human nature and the whole material universe in His baptism. Through their baptism the Christians participate in the baptism of Christ and witness the coming of the Lord: “O Good One who fashioned us from the dust, through water and the Spirit you renewed our image; through water and the Spirit you fashioned us anew. Glorious is your renewal and lovely is your coming”. The baptism of Christ in the water is the symbol of the renewal of the material universe. In the Onitha d’Raze on the Feast of Denha the Divine Liturgy sings: “The creation shall be freed from the bondage of corruption…Creation was gladdened by its Lord and acknowledged it’s Saviour”. The renewal of the humanity and of the material universe which Christ began at His baptism will be completed at His Denha at the end of the world.
The Feast of Denha is important from the point of the eschatological fulfilment of the Church also. The liturgical prayers reveal that Christ has received the Church as His bride at His baptism in Jordan. We will speak more on this topic in the next chapter when we deal with the eschatological fulfilment of the Church. By the fifth century, both Christmas and Epiphany fell within the full light of history and they lost the original eschatological meaning and interpretation given by the Fathers of the Church and the liturgical prayers, both in the Western and EasternChurches.
188.8.131.52.3. The Feast of Resurrection
The celebration of the resurrection of our Lord was the centre of the liturgical year in the early Church. The Christian celebration of the Pascha can be seen as a continuation of the Jewish Passover celebration to which Jesus gave a new meaning through His Last Supper, death and resurrection. Although the Jewish Passover celebration was primarily the occasion for the remembrance of Israel’s redemption from slavery, in much of the rabbinic tradition it was also an occasion for the sharing of the hope for final redemption. The Palestinian Targum on Exodus contains a “Poem of Four Nights”, which assigns four events to Passover: the creation of the world, the sacrifice of Abraham, the deliverance from Egypt, and the coming of the Messiah. This Targumic interpretation of the Passover had a significant impact on the Christian conception of Pascha.
The Christian Pascha, from the beginning, was the memorial of the death and resurrection of Jesus. But the documents from the early Church show that in the paschal celebration of the early Christians, the death and resurrection of Christ was not seen as an isolated event in an extended Holy Week scenario; rather, the content of the celebration was the entire work of redemption: the incarnation, the passion, the resurrection, the ascension and the Parousia, all focused upon the cross as the locus of Christ’s triumph. Cyrus of Edessa presents the resurrection of Christ as a new creation by which everything has been renewed afresh by God in Christ. The paschal observance is described as a watch, a vigil, and is kept past the midnight hour, which terminated the Jewish Passover, extending to cockcrow when it was concluded with the Eucharist. None of the early Christian document seems to associate a particular event with the hour of cockcrow, neither Peter’s denial, nor the resurrection nor any other. However, the references to watching and vigil in these texts carry a particularly strong eschatological significance and must have grown out of some element of expectation of Messiah in connection with the paschal vigil. The early Christians experienced the Parousia of the Lord in the celebration of the Eucharistic at the end of the vigil, with which the Paschal celebration came to an end. The night vigil related to the Feast of Resurrection is very ancient and was observed in all Churches. As regards the tradition of the Church of the East, Ps. George of Arbel refers to the authority of Išo Yahb III for establishing the practice of beginning the mysteries (Qurbana) on this day on the third hour in the morning. Since this night vigil prolonged till the cockcrow in the Eastern Churches it was called ‘Pannuchia’ which means ‘the whole night’. Although the Roman Church had left out this vigil for more than thousand years, it has been reinstituted in 1955, thereby ‘the Easter Mass’ has regained its lost eschatological significance.
Another important rite celebrated in the early Church in connection with the Easter celebration was the baptism of the catechumens on the Holy Saturday. The baptism conducted on this day signifies that Christian baptism is a participation in the death and resurrection of our Lord (Rom 6:3-5). Ps. George of Arbel comments:
Moreover on the evening of the Sabbath [Holy Saturday]-because, when the baptism is finished, we say that our Lord rose together with those baptized persons who stand forth from Jordan [the baptismal font].
The baptized becomes a ‘new man in Jesus Christ’ (Eph 4:24; Col 3:10) and becomes a participant in the glorified life of the resurrected Lord. It is in fact an eschatological existence in the sense that the baptized are already participating in the life of the risen Lord and it points towards their bodily resurrection as the ultimate object (Rom 8: 11). The ‘Easter Mass’ which follows the baptism becomes an occasion for the newly baptized to encounter the glorified Lord who makes His sacramental Parousia in the Eucharistic celebration.
The Easter-Vigil or evening liturgy of the East Syrian Rite is rather long and is concluded late in the night. It includes, the Ramsa (Liturgy of the Hours of evening), the Mamodita (baptism), very often Taksa d’Hussaya (ther Rite of Pardon) and the Taksa d’Qudase (the Order of the Eucharistic celebration). The solemn celebration of the resurrection of our Lord begins towards the daybreak, generally after 3 O’clock in the morning. It includes Leliya- Sapra (the night and morning Liturgy of Hours), Taksa d’Hugayad’Šlama d’Qamta (the Order of Celebrating the Peace of the Resurrection), Taksa d’Qudase (the Order of the Eucharistic celebration). According to Ps. George of Arbel on the great day of the resurrection of our Lord, the liturgy does not sing the selected Psalms as usual but sings the Hullala because this is the symbol of the resurrection and Parousia of the Lord.
The Propria of the Evening Mass of the Holy Saturday and the Morning Mass of the Easter Sunday explain the eschatological significance of this most important feast. The Evening Mass of the Holy Saturday seems to be the Eucharistic celebration following the baptism of the catechumens and variable prayers speak about the eschatological character of the Christian baptism. The Onita d’Qanke of this Qurbana refers to the glorified nature of the baptized: “All you who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ through the water and the Spirit, that you may reign with him in the heavenly dwelling-place”. They have been baptized into the one Spirit and have acknowledged one Lord that they “may be called by His name and may take delight in the dwelling-place full of blessings ”. Here the Divine Liturgy shows that the baptized are no more the citizens of this world but the citizens of the heavenly kingdom.
The variable prayers of the Easter Sunday celebrate the triumph of Christ over death and Satan through His glorious resurrection. Christ who has resurrected as the first fruitfrom the world of death is the cause of great hope for the entire humanity. So the Divine Liturgy gives “glory to him who gives life through his resurrection to the race of men which was perishing”. The bodily resurrection of Christ has given a new hope and optimism to the entire material universe. It has shown the new heights of glory to which a man who is formed from the dust of the earth can reach. Christ has become a connecting link between heaven and earth. The Divine Liturgy expresses the eschatological hope of the ‘new heaven and new earth’ (2 Pet 3:13; Rev 21:1): “Heaven and earth wait for Him to come and renew everything in them”. The Propria of the Resurrection Sunday emphasize the victory of Jesus as the messianic King and the establishment of the Church as the messianic kingdom. The Marmitha recites the Psalms 96-98, which are called the ‘royal Psalms’ or ‘enthronement Psalms’. They praise the glories of the messianic king and the messianic kingdom. The Onitha d’Raze of this day begins with the exclamation: “I will exalt you, O my Lord the king”. In the body of the hymn, the splendour of the Church, established at the resurrection of Christ, is narrated and she is presented as the glory of all thekingdoms on earth .
184.108.40.206.4. The Commemorations of All Saints and the Departed
In the early centuries the Church commemorated and venerated the martyrs on the day of their martyrdom because she saw the martyrdom as their birthday in the kingdom of heaven. When the number of the martyrs increased to a great number, the Church began to commemorate all of them together on a particular day. In Antioch such a celebration was conducted on the Sunday following the Pentecost. The AntiocheanChurch selected this Sunday at the end of the Season of Resurrection because the Martyrs are the ones who have participated in the resurrection and glorification of our Lord. Because of the same reason the Roman Church celebrated this feast on the 13th of May which also comes between Easter and Pentecost. In 835 the Roman Church shifted the celebration of the Feast of All Saints from the 13th of May to the 1st of November.
The EastSyrianChurch celebrates this feast on the Friday following Easter. This day is known as theFriday of the confessors. Mar Simon Bar Sabbae the Catholicos of Selusia-Ctesiphone and many other Christians together with him were martyred on the Good Friday in 341. Since they died for their faith in Christ on the Good Friday, their commemoration began to be celebrated in the East Syrian tradition on the following Friday. In the course of time this day became the commemoration of all the saints because of its relation and nearness to the resurrection and glorification of our Lord; because the saints are the persons who have participated in the death and resurrection of our Lord.
The Roman Church celebrates the commemoration of all the dead on the 2nd of November. In the East Syrian tradition the commemoration of the dead is celebrated on the last Friday in the period of Denha. The Fridays in the period of Denha are set apart for the commemoration of saints and martyrs, because they are the persons who have born witness to the mystery of the revelation of Christ. On the first Friday, John the Baptist is commemorated. Then come Peter and Paul, the evangelists, Stephen etc. in the following Fridays. Finally, on the last Friday all the dead are commemorated together. It is quite meaningful to commemorate and pray for all the departed faithful after celebrating the memorial of the saints and martyrs who have attained the eternal reward. Behind the commemoration of all the dead on this particular day is the faith of the Church that the Church on earth can help the departed faithful through its prayers to overcome their imperfections and attain the crown of eternal glory, which the saints and martyrs have already received. More over, at this point in the Liturgical Year, the Church is at the threshold of the period of Great Fast and this is an appropriate opportunity for her to remind the faithful of their responsibility to do penance and reparation during the period of the Great Fast for the shortcomings of their beloved departed ones also. It is to be noted that in the liturgical prayers of the period of Great Fast there are many references to the eschatological realities like the second coming of our Lord, the judgement, heaven, hell etc. It is appropriate that the faithful enter into the period of Great Fast with the celebration of the memorial of all the dead which gives them a suitable opportunity to think about their own death and to observe the Great Fast more meaningfully.
The liturgical prayers recited during the Qurbana on these two feast days are filled with beautiful reflections on the eschatological realities. The Divine Liturgy reminds the liturgical assembly that the departed members of the Church are waiting for the resurrection of their bodies at the Parousia of the Lord and they shall be raised from the tombs at His voice. The Eucharistic Communion serves as an assurance for the resurrection of the bodies: “Mortals heard the voice which proclaims salvation and were revived: through the Body and Blood the resurrection of their bodies is proclaimed”. The resurrection of the dead will be followed by a universal judgement in which each one will be rewarded according to his deeds on earth:
Before your fearful judgment-seat , where all of us are going to stand, each one to be requited in his own body at the terrible trial of your justice, according to what he has done, whether good or evil; have pity upon those who have received your Body and Blood, O Lord.
The Divine Liturgy asks the pardon of debts from Christ when He sets up the throne of judgment and it points out that Christ Himself had once experienced the weaknesses of human nature, in which He suffered and was tempted for salvation of mankind. The members of the liturgical assembly hope that Christ will be their protector on the day of resurrection, and they shall be delivered from the Gehenna, and with the angels they shall be lifted up in great glory to meet Him in the heights of heaven.
The martyrs and saints have received the glorious crown of victory from Christ after their hazardous journey in the way of the cross. On the day of their memorial, the Divine Liturgy points out that they have participated in the sacrifice of Christ throughout their life: “For your sake we are slain daily and accounted as sheep for slaughter”. The martyrs were crowned with the crowns of sufferings while they were on earth, but now they are crowned with the crown of glory in heaven. The saints and martyrs are the splendour of heaven and earth and the whole universe is blessed by their presence and prayers: “You are pleasant blossoms in holy Church, as it were in Paradise, O athletes of Christ, and through the sweet fragrance of your triumphs, behold, every place is hallowed by you…”.
The saints and martyrs are advocates before God on behalf of the members of the Church. The faithful receive spiritual and physical benefits through their intercessions and prayers before God. The Divine Liturgy exclaims: “…for you were slain for Christ, and in Him, lo, you bestow healing for all diseases”. The celebration of the Qurbana is a special occasion when the liturgical assembly recognizes the eschatological experience of the communion of saints and it sings praises to God together with the apostles, martyrs and saints, in the holy house in which the holy table is arranged. The liturgical assembly implores the heavenly assistance of the saints and martyrs during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy:
O martyrs, who were made spiritual stewards, assist our company by your prayers, for He has appointed your memorial upon His Altar and caused hidden power to dwell in your bones that they may bestow all assistance in holy Church, in which we sing, Hallelujah!
Here the bone refers to the relics of the saints which were kept in the church. We have already seen that in the East Syrain church structure there is a special place for keeping the relics of the martyrs and saints and it is called Bet-Sahde or the shrine of the martyrs. The presence of the relics of the martyrs and saints in the church is the symbol of the presence of the persons themselves.
1.2. Important Eschatological Themes in the Propria
The variable prayers of the East Syrian Qurbana present an integral vision of the Christian fulfilment. While some periods in the liturgical year concentrate more on the eschatological themes, we can find references to eschatological vocation of man and that of the Church in prayers of all the periods of the annual liturgical cycle. Here we make a survey on the prayers of the Propria of East Syrian Qurbana, in order to arrive at a deeper understanding of the Eschatological vision of the Divine Liturgy.
1.2.1. Sacramental Participation in the Death and Resurrection
We have already seen that different prayers and ceremonies in the common parts of the Qurbana lead the faithful to a sacramental participation in the eschatological experiences of death and resurrection. The variable prayers of the Qurbana give us more details regarding these eschatological realities.
220.127.116.11. Baptism: The Participation in the Death and Resurrection ofChrist
St. Paul presents Christian baptism as a participation in the death and resurrection of Christ (Rom 6:3-6). The East Syrian liturgical tradition follows the same line of thought and presents baptism as a sacrament of death and resurrection. It is this participation in the paschal mysteries of Christ that enables a Christian to inherit the kingdom of God. Thus the Divine Liturgy advises the believers: “O brothers who are in Christ through baptism and sharers in themystery of death and entombment , stay away from unbelievers and depart from pagans, that you may be participants and heirs in the kingdom”. Christian baptism is a participation in the baptism of Christ in Jordan which also symbolizes the mysteries of death and resurrection: “Your baptism in water sanctifies our souls and proclaims our resurrection”. So Christian life here on earth is already an anticipation of the eschatological life.
18.104.22.168. Baptism – New Birth as the Citizens of the Kingdom of God
In His discourse with Nicademus, Jesus said: “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit” (Jn 3:5). The Christian baptism is a new birth in water and Spirit. The baptized become the children of the Most High and citizens of the kingdom of heaven. The epiphany and baptism of Christ raised the humanity to the new heights of glory: “By your epiphany, O our Lord, you freed us from the bondage of sin… Blessed is Christ, who by his baptism saved our race from the curse”. By His death and resurrection Christ has “made the earth a heaven… and the cloud of debts cannot cover those who ascend from baptism!”. The Christians live as citizens of heaven here on earth. Christ has freed them from all debts and bondages and has given them the freedom of the children of God.
22.214.171.124. Eucharist: The Pledge of Eternal Life
The Eucharist is the food for those who are born anew in and through baptism. It is the medicine of life for those who are affected by the venom of sin and death. The prayers in the Propria present the Eucharist as thepledge of eternal life which effects the pardon of sins in the recipient and makes him an heir of the eschatological kingdom. “Let us receive from the absolving altar the earnest of life which spiritual beings have ministered”. The Eucharist is the medicine of new life which has been given to the members of the Church, one which slays the cause of death, the sin. The liturgical assembly is advised to draw near and receive the life-giving mysteries , by which Satan, the enemy of humanity is condemned. The Divine Liturgy sees the sinful condition as a state of death and the real life is the divine life which is given through the sacraments and especially through the sacrament of Eucharist.
1.2.2. The Christological Dimension of Christian Fulfilment
126.96.36.199. Victory of Christ over Death through the Cross
The East Syrian liturgical tradition is very emphatic about the central role of Jesus in the history of salvation. Jesus is the victorious king who saved the human race by His cross, putting an end to the dominion of death, and putting to shame Satan and his host. The death of Christ has made sin and death toothless and by the power of His cross the humanity has attained life and resurrection. The Divine Liturgy acclaims the victory of Christ over death and Satan:
The cross of Christ slew sin, which was destroying our nature, and companies of eye-witnesses marvelled at the victory at the head of the wood, for the man who was hung on the cross conquered two mighty things: Satan and corrupting death .
The victory of Christ on the cross has opened the way for man to the heaven and regained all the celestial blessings that he had lost through the sin of Adam. The last stanza of the Onitha d’Qanke is always a glorification of the cross and in each celebration of the Holy Qurbana it glorifies the victory of the cross over sin, death and Satan.
188.8.131.52. Jesus the King and Lord of Eternity
The Divine Liturgy presents Christ as the King of heaven and earth. The celestial and terrestrial spheres are filled with His presence and glory. On the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord the Hudra sings: “This birth was hidden from the hosts who serve you on high, O Lord, and while you did not depart from the place among the cherubim, you filled the earth, O Savior of all, with your revelation in the flesh”. The whole universe was filled with praise and great joy at the birth of Christ the King . The Qurbana commemorates the victory of Christ the King over all enemies and offers Him praise and glory with the host of the angels. It proclaims the eternal kingship of Christ as follows:
You are unceasingly extolled by holy cherubim and spiritual seraphim, O King of all ages , who in your mercifulness and in the multitude of your loving-kindness saved the whole race of men.
The kingship of Christ extends to the eternity transcending the limits of space and time. At the Parousia of the Lord the kingdom of Christ will be definitely established and all the elected ones will be the citizens of this eternal kingdom.
184.108.40.206. Christ the Hope of Mankind
The birth of Christ on earth gave great hope for those who remained in the shadow of death and darkness. During the period of Annunciation, the Divine Liturgy sings: “In the month of Kanon, in which the earth does not yield fruit, the Lord was pleased to show forth the fruit in the Virgin which is the cause of all good things and the good hope of all creatures”. Christ came into the world as life in a lifeless situation and hope in a hopeless condition. The resurrection of Christ became a source of new hope and confidence for the entire humanity. The Easter liturgy refers to the joy and hope of earth and heaven at the resurrection of Christ:
Exult and cry out, O mortals, for the dominion of death has been destroyed. Lo, Heaven and earth wait for him to come and renew everything in them. Today the dominions in Heaven rejoice, for the hope for which they waited is perfected indeed.
The resurrection of the Lord is presented here as the first step of the eschatological renewal of all things which will be completed at the Parousia of the Lord. The Christian life is a pilgrimage to heaven with an eschatological hope in Christ. The Divine Liturgy assures the faithful that no one who hopes in Him will be put to shame, but will possess the land. It is this hope that encourages man to face the difficulties in life and go forward in this terrestrial pilgrimage and attain the final eschatological goal.
220.127.116.11. Christ the Heavenly High Priest
The Divine Liturgy presents Christ as the heavenly High Priest, who makes intercession before the Father on behalf of the Church. He is the priest and victim in the eternal heavenly sacrifice. “O High Priest of our confession and our absolver, O Christ who became for us a spotless and acceptable sacrifice, we ask of you the pardon of our debts when you set up your throne of judgment”. He performs the ministry of the high priest in the ‘holy of holies’ of the heavenly sanctuary. The tabernacle into which our Lord entered is not like that which Moses previously made; He entered into the heavenly sanctuary in order to minister and to make ready the kingdom which does not pass away. Christ has pardoned our debts and reconciled us with His Father through His sacrifice on the cross. Taking inspiration from the Book of Revelation, the Divine Liturgy presents the glorified Christ as the Lamb of God who is eternally sacrificed in the heavenly sanctuary (Rev 6: 6-14):
Come, let all of us who believe acknowledge without wavering that we see upon the holy altar the Lamb of God who, behold, is daily sacrificed in a mystical fashion, and though he lives for ever, he is administered to each one without increase or decrease.
The Eucharist of the Church is a participation in the heavenly sacrifice of Christ. “He gives to our race fellowship in the food of new life, here mystically and there in truth, when glory will shine forth at His great coming”. The priest of the earthly sanctuary acts as a representative and a symbol of the heavenly priest who is the real minister and victim of the sacrifice. The Eucharistic sacrifice in the earthly sanctuary has meaning and value only when it is seen as a participation in the eternal sacrifice in the heavenly sanctuary.
1.2.3. Life on Earth with Eyes in Heaven
The Christians are the citizens of the kingdom of God, which has present and future dimensions. The Christian community is eagerly waiting for the final establishment of the kingdom of God, for which it prays repeatedly in its liturgical assemblies. The earthly things have value only in so far as they help the Christians to reach their final goal in heaven. “The word of our Lord teaches us to hate the passing world and to love the coming world through virtuous ways and love toward the poor”.
18.104.22.168. Call for a Heaven Oriented Moral Life
The prayers of the Divine Liturgy are clear about the internal dispositions a person should have, in order to attain his highest goal in heaven. The believers are advised to prepare their bodies and souls for the heavenly reward and to cleanse their thoughts of wrath and wickedness and to despise and cast out all hateful things. They have to cultivate in themselves the good qualities that enable them to stand before the judgement seat of God with confidence and courage. “Let us adorn our bodies and souls with modesty, virtue and holiness, lest there be a blemish in our service and we should be found guilty before the judgment seat of Christ”. The Divine Liturgy tries to give guidance to the believers for an integral moral life which leads them to personal and social well-being. “Keep your tongue from evil, and let not your lips speak deceit. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it”. The Christians are admonished to be cautious of mixing with pagans and apostates, lest their faith become impoverished by the customs they acquire from the unbelievers.
22.214.171.124. The Word of God – The Way to Eternal Life
The unfailing guide in the way of a Christian to his celestial goal is the word of God. The Divine Liturgy accompanies the Christian faithful in the path of his pilgrimage with proper guidance and direction. The Propria try to give readings from the sacred scripture according to the spirit of each liturgical season. The believers are asked to reflect upon the word of God that they have heard during the celebration of the divine mysteries and bear fruits in their day-to-day life accordingly:
Our Saviour sowed the seeds of truth, the teaching of life, in the souls of men. Those which fell beside the roadway were trodden down and came to an end… The glorious fruit of those which were sown on good ground appeared thirty-fold, sixty-fold, and a hundred-fold. Make your good seed to fall in our souls, O our Lord, and have pity upon us.
The priests and pastors of the Church have a serious obligation to teach the flock entrusted to them the word of God and guide them in the ways of the Lord. When the leaders of the Church neglect their duty, the false teachers appear and mislead the people of God and steer them astray:
Thorns grew up and choked the seed of truth, the teaching of Jesus, and from the neglect of the husbandmen the fields became trodden down. The pastors slumbered and slept, and wolves corrupted at will, and there was no shepherd to stand against them.
The word of God is the rule of life for the Christians in this world and it will be the ultimate criterion which decides their eschatological destiny. The Divine Liturgy reminds the believers that a just judge is coming at the end who will examine their hidden words and deeds and they have to fear His judgement. They are admonished to walk in the law of the Lord and to be spotless in their ways. The righteous man meditates upon the law of the Lord and he never forgets His commandments because they give him eternal life. The word of God teaches him the lessons of love and mercy through which he will reach his heavenly abode.
126.96.36.199. The Apostles and Saints as Models for a Heaven OrientedLife
The apostles and saints stand before the Christian community as models of a radical witness to Christ and His gospel. The Church is built on the strong foundation of apostolic preaching. The apostles are the reliable witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus; they went out and proclaimed the gospel in the four corners of the earth and they brought the nations to the knowledge of the truth. In the period of Apostles the Divine Liturgy sings:
The apostles, the friends of Christ and preachers of Jesus our Saviour, bore the cross in their hands in the likeness of a plough-share. And they cleared the earth, which was perishing through the error of idols, and cultivated it with the faith, sowing in it the word of life.
The Church celebrates the memorial of the martyrs and saints in the Divine Liturgy, for they are established in her as pillars to be teachers of her children. They have carried on a great battle with satan and his partisans and have brought to an end the stupidity and folly of the heretics and the pagans. They reproved kings and rulers and did not fear the threat of their persecution. Their lives and their true faith are models for Christians in every generation:
Through temporal sufferings the saints acquired the kingdom on high, and they did not consider anything in creation its equal. Let us, my brethren, imitate the sufferings which they endured that we may enter with them the indestructible kingdom.
The celebration of the Qurbana is an occasion for the worshipping community not only to commemorate the memorial of the apostles and saints but also to sing the divine praises together with these saintly hosts and ask their intercession and help for a meaningful Christian life. We will speak about the intercession of the saints in the next chapter.
1.2.4. The Eternal Bliss of Man
The heavenly bliss is beyond human perception and description. The Hudra uses different imageries to speak about the eschatological fulfilment of man.
188.8.131.52. The Heavenly Abode of Ineffable Blessings
The Christian life is a journey towards the heavenly abode which Christ has prepared for His chosen ones (Jn 14:2). The fruit of the forbidden tree made a wide path to death and destruction; but Christ has opened for us the way to heaven. The Divine Liturgy presents heaven as “the land of light which is “desirable, glorious and radiant and there is nothing like it in creation”. This is the reward which Christ has prepared for His friends who have undergone and endured torments and afflictions for His sake. So the liturgical prayer warns the faithful: “Alas for him who has not laboured to take delight in the habitation where all your saints have accepted and received the recompense for which they laboured and wearied themselves here”.
The martyrs and saints have fixed their eyes on heaven and entered into the ineffable delight of the kingdom of God through their labours. All the children of the Church have received the same Spirit which guided the apostles and saints in their journey towards the heavenly abode. With humble obedience to the inspiration of the Spirit all the baptised persons can reach their ultimate goal and “take delight in the dwelling-placefull of blessings”.
184.108.40.206. The Everlasting Glorification of God
The greatest blessing of Heaven is the presence of God and the eternal adoration of the Triune God that is going on there. The liturgical prayers present the heaven as a place of perpetual worship and adoration of God by the angels and the saints: “Thousands upon thousands and ten thousand times ten thousand of the companies on high hallow his honour in fear and trembling”. The celebration of the Qurbana is an occasion for the believers to participate in the eternal worship of the heavenly choir. Here the liturgical assembly is making the angelic hymn of glorification its own: “With thousands of cherubim and ten thousands of seraphim come, let us make melody together, singing, you are holy, you are holy, you are holy, O holy nature, for the holy gift which you have given us”. The aroma of the heavenly worship which the believers experience in the Eucharist inculcates in them a strong desire to reach the heavenly sanctuary after their death and participate in the everlasting adoration. They are reminded of the promise of Christ that every one who believes in Him shall inherit the kingdom and eternal life. The saints stand before them as models and guides in the way to the heavenly kingdom. Thus the Divine Liturgy supplicates: “Make us worthy, O my Lord, that with your saints we may sing to you within your Kingdom, Glory be to you!”. Here the liturgical experience becomes the guiding principle and the source of inspiration for a heaven oriented life for the believers.
220.127.116.11. The Glorious Throne of Christ in Heaven
Through His death and glorious resurrection Christ has defeated Satan and his hosts and has become the victorious king of the universe. God made Him the king of heaven and earth (Phil 2:10) and His glorious throne is established in heaven at the right hand of the Father. Now He is “the heavenly king of kings ”. The heavenly kingship of Christ is a cause of great eschatological hope of the Christians because they believe that one day they too shall reign with Him in the kingdom of heaven. On the Feast of Ascension the Divine Liturgy proclaims:
He made peace between the height and the depth, and gladdened them on the day of his ascension; and he entered to minister in the divine holy of holies for our salvation, and sat down on the throne of the kingdom at the right hand of the Father who had sent him, exalting his people and raising us up at his right hand, as it is written.
The liturgical prayers present a beautiful picture of the glorious kingship of Christ in Heaven, where He reigns with glory, majesty and splendour . The Cherubim surround the terrible throne of His majesty; with fear and trembling they cover their faces with their wings, for they are unable to lift up their eyes and look at the face of the glorious king.
18.104.22.168. Christ the Lord of Heaven of Heavens
Christ is the lord and king not only of the earth and heaven but also of the “heaven of heavens”. The Divine Liturgy sings praises to the king “who rides in the heaven of heavens”. Christ is incomparable in the heaven of heavens because nobody in the companies of angels is like Him. He has dominance in the heaven of heavens; the heavenly hosts of the seraphim and cherubim stand before Him and praise Him incessantly with love and affection. The special expression “heaven of heavens” points to the heights of the glorious state to which Christ is elevated through His redemptive work. Through this expression the Divine Liturgy refers also to the glorious condition to which human nature is exalted as a result of the incarnation, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ:
The First-fruits which the only-begotten Word of the Father took from us ascended to the heaven of heavens on high, borne upon a chariot of cherubim, and treading out the way for our race.
The heights of the glorious position to which Christ ascended as the first fruit of the human race point to the ultimate destiny of the human nature to which each member of the human family is called.
22.214.171.124. Eucharist as the Foretaste of the Heavenly Bliss
The liturgical assembly experiences a real foretaste of the heavenly bliss through its participation in the celebration of the Qurbana. The Holy Communion is the heavenly gift which is given to us for the pardon of our debts. The heavenly gifts are received from the table of the kingdom . During the celebration of the Eucharist the believers can see the companies of angels and saints standing in front of the glorious throne of Christ, praising His name. They can hear sweet sound of the hymns of the angels: “lo, the rustling of the angels calls to You, and the companies of cherubim and seraphim with unceasing voices hallow Your honour”. They stand together with the companies of heavenly beings, worshipping in awe and joy when the heavenly sacrifice is offered, and they sing with the heavenly choir the ‘thrice holy hymn’. The Hudra depicts the Qurbana as “a heavenly type” which is prepared for the believers and it invites them: “Draw near and take delight in the life-giving mysteries. Drink the cup of salvation which Christ has mixed for you”. The Propria present the liturgical prayer as the key to the heavenly treasure and it admonishes that our words and deeds also must be as beautiful as the prayers and hymns that we recite in the liturgical celebrations.
1.2.5. The Eternal Death
The Divine Liturgy gives not only a beautiful picture of delightful life in heaven but also a sad portrait of the eternal death and destruction of man in hell. The Hudra speaks about the eschatological punishment that awaits the wicked ones. Here we find the distressing story of a man who has failed to reach his ultimate eschatological goal.
126.96.36.199. Gehenna the Place of the Wicked
The liturgical prayer presents Gehenna as the eternal punishment that is set apart for the evil doers. The wicked people are like the weeds which have grown up among the wheat. The weeds shall be separated from the wheat on the awful day of judgement. “The watchers hasten at your command to gather out the tares from the wheat … The evil are cast down into Gehenna, and the good inherit delight”. One has to keep himself away from all acts of wickedness because each one will have to answer to a just Judge for what he has done in this life; for everything is uncovered and revealed before Him. Man’s ultimate fate will be decided by what he has done in this world and what he has failed to do. One has a serious obligation to help the poor and the needy: “He who did not give cheerfully to the need of Lazarus was unable to be at peace while burning in unquenchable Gehenna”. The Hudra always uses biblical imageries to speak about the nature of the Gehenna and the condition of the wicked that fall there. It is presented as a place of death and darkness under the control of the evil powers.
188.8.131.52. Satan the Lord of Gehenna
Gehenna is the kingdom of satan and all the inhabitants of the hell are under his command. He always tries to lead the people away from the right path and bring them to his wicked kingdom. The seeds of the word of God are sown in the hearts of the people. But Satan sows the seeds of the tares in the same hearts. Finally, those who followed the ways of the devil come under his dominion. But Christ has won victory over Satan and his host through His death and resurrection: “On the day of your resurrection death was destroyed and Satan was cast down, and new life reigned over all”. Christ has instituted the sacrament of reconciliation in the Church in order to save the repenting sinners who try to escape from the snares of Satan:
Our Lord gave the medicine of repentance to the skilled physicians who are the priests of the Church. He whom Satan smites with the diseases of wickedness may come and show his sores to the disciples of the wise Physician and they will heal him with spiritual medicine.
Only those who persist in their wickedness will be eternally condemned to the sufferings in Gehenna. The victory of Christ over sin, death and Satan is the source of the eschatological hope of the Christians.
184.108.40.206. The Heavenly Bread Saves the Believers from Gehenna
The Eucharist is the medicine of life with which the physicians of the Church heal the patients who are affected by the venom of sin and Satan. The gift of new life which defeats the causes of death and sin has been given to the believers in the Qurbana. The Divine Liturgy advises them to receive the life-giving mysteries, by which the deadly influence of Satan is overcome. The Eucharist has the power to save the believers from the sufferings of Gehenna and it leads them to the eternal happiness of heaven:
This is the bread by which any who eats of it is delivered from Gehenna. Then stretch out your hands, O mortals. Receive and be pardoned; acquire life and reign with Christ.
The Eucharist is the absolving body and blood which is offered for the pardon of our debts and sins.The prayers of the Divine Liturgy affirm that Christ will not remember the offences of His servants who have received the mysteries of His body and blood. He will be their saviour on the day of judgement and will deliver them from the eternal damnation in Gehenna.
We can notice two things regarding Gehenna, when we go through the prayers of the Propria. (1) Very often the Propria speak about Gehenna in the Onitha d’Evengalion which gives the believers an occasion to reflect about their own life in the light of the word of God and to keep them away from the path of eternal death. (2) The prayers in the Propria are very emphatic about the power of the Holy Communion to save one from the eternal death and damnation in Gehenna.
1.2.6. The Victory over Death and Sheol
The death and resurrection of Christ is the symbol of the absolute liberation of human race from all its enemies. The Divine Liturgy celebrates the victory of Christ over death and Sheol through hymns and prayers throughout the liturgical year.
220.127.116.11. The New Hope of the Mankind
Christ came into the world as the unique symbol of a new hope of salvation for the human race that was through the transgression of the first parents thrown into the dark valley of sin and death. The incarnation of Christ is a sign of good hope for all creatures. At His baptism in Jordan, Christ clothed the humanity with incorruptibility through water and the renewing Spirit. The liturgical prayers testify that the death of Christ on the cross was a turning point in the history of the whole mankind: “By your Cross, O our Lord Jesus, our race was renewed. By your Cross we gained life and by the same death was destroyed”. In the Divine Liturgy the Church confesses that the Son of God has delivered her children through the mystery of His death.
18.104.22.168. The Celebration of the New Life in Christ
During the celebration of the Qurbana the Church commemorates the victory of Christ on the cross and she distributes to her children the fruits of this great victory in the form of the life-giving body and blood. The recollection of the defeat of death and Satan by Christ fills the heart of the Church with great joy and happiness and she cries out:
Exult and cry aloud, O mortals, for the dominion of death has been destroyed. Christ by his suffering has conquered death, and he has promised life by his resurrection. Behold, the heavens and the earth rejoice, and companies of angels call aloud, Glory to him who gives life through his resurrection to the race of men which was perishing.
The liturgical prayer asks the faithful to prepare their souls and bodies for the reception of the life-giving mysteries which save them from death and corruption and give them life in the heavenly habitation. The Hudra presents the main effects of the Eucharistic Communion as the pardon of debts, the complete annihilation of death and sin and immortal life. The believers are asked to receive with faith and joy the body and the blood of Christ, for by His death, which was on our behalf, we have hope in resurrection and eternal life.
22.214.171.124. The Devastation of Sheol
Sheol is the house of the dead. The victory of Christ over the death was a victory over the power of Sheol, which had hitherto held all the dead under its bondage. Christ delivered all the good souls who were under the bondage of Sheol. The descend of Christ into the house of the dead, after His death on the cross, terrified the powers of Sheol: “If the lions were terrified at the body of Daniel, how much more are Sheol and sin terrified at the body of our Saviour”. The resurrection of Christ marked the devastation of Sheol. On the eve of the Resurrection Sunday the Divine Liturgy acclaims: “Today my heart is glad and my honour rejoices; indeed, my body rests in hope. For you have not left my soul in Sheol, nor have you allowed your holy one to see corruption”. The Hudra presents Christ as the physician who descended into Sheol and healed those who had been afflicted by the venom of sin. Although the strength of Sheol was destroyed by Christ, it still exercises its influence on the people who walk in the ways of the devil. The Eucharist serves as a protection for the believers to guard themselves against the evil influence of the powers of Sheol. Thus the Hudra admonishes the faithful:
Lo, within the Church the medicine of life is administered, which comes down from on high and is hidden mystically in bread and wine. Then stretch out your hands, O mortals, who by your sins have laid hold of habitations in Sheol.
The descend of Christ into Sheol and the breaking of the bars of Sheol is an important subject in the writings of the East Syrian Fathers. We will deal with this theme in detail in the next chapter. The Syriac tradition proposes the idea of Sheol as the habitation of the dead in order to accommodate the departed ones till their resurrection on the last day. Sheol is to be seen not as a particular place but as the condition of the dead who are waiting for their final reward at the Parousia of the Lord.
1.2.7. Man before the Heavenly Judge
The Divine Liturgy persuades the faithful to walk in the ways of the Lord and reminds them that one day they will have to give the account of their life to a judge who is “no respecter of persons”, but a righteous judge who rewards everyone according to his deeds. So the evil-doers are asked to change their minds and turn to the Lord.
126.96.36.199. The Throne of Judgment in Heaven
The Hudra presents Christ as the eschatological judge whose throne is established in heaven. The eschatological judgement is an integral part of the paschal mystery of Christ: “Christ was crucified, died, and was buried, and the great King of Glory rose and obtained new life. He ascended to heaven and reigns over all, and he is going to come to judge the living as well as the dead”. The wicked persons have to fear the judgment of Christ because He is a just judge who will thoroughly examine the life of each person. A person will be judged by the heavenly judge according to the manner in which he has judged others during his life on earth. One who judges himself and does not judge others will not be judged by the eschatological judge also. He who keeps his hands in purity and does not do evil will be rewarded by the heavenly judge. The Divine Liturgy advises the believers to adorn themselves with virtues and holiness that they may be able to stand before the judgment-seat of Christ with confidence and courage.
188.8.131.52. The Merciful Judge
The Hudra presents Christ as a just judge who rewards everyone according to the merit of his attitude towards God and man. At the same time He is a merciful minister of divine justice who is sympathetic towards the shortcomings of the weak and fragile human nature. “O High Priest…we ask from you the forgiveness of debts when you set up your throne of judgment, for you are acquainted with the sufferings of our nature, in which you suffered and were tempted for our salvation”.
The Divine Liturgy is confident that Christ will be merciful towards the mankind when He comes to judge and to pay the wages of His labourers and it supplicates the loving-kindness of the merciful Lord to treat His servants as the labourers who came to work in the vineyard in the eleventh hour. Although many, through their negligence of the ways of the Lord, have given themselves in service to wickedness and sin, the divine judge is asked not to recompense their wickedness with punishment, but in His grace to have mercy upon them:
Before your fearful judgment-seat, where all of us are going to stand to be recompensed there, each one of us in his own body, in the fearful searching of your justice, according to what he has done, whether good or evil, have pity upon those have received your body and blood, O Lord.
The body and blood of Christ are given to the faithful for the remission of their sins and debts and they are saved from the eternal judgement and condemnation by the power of the same body and blood. The victory of Christ over death and Satan has saved the believers from the eternal condemnation and they receive the bread of life in the Qurbana as the assurance of eternal salvation and a glorious life with Christ. Although the Propria speak about the strict and impartial judgement of the eschatological Judge, the prominent picture that we find here is that of a loving and merciful Judge.
1.2.8. The Eschatological Nuptial Celebration
An important eschatological theme that we find in the prayers of the Hudra is that of the nuptial celebration in the kingdom of heaven. The Divine Liturgy presents the supreme blessing in the kingdom of heaven as a participation in the wedding feast of the eschatological Bridegroom and His bride. All the believers are invited to participate in this nuptial celebration: “O you, who are bidden, O children of the light, draw near and take delight in the wedding-feast of the Bridegroom who has summoned us to new life, and has appointed us heirs in his kingdom on high”. The Divine Liturgy presents the bride–chamber as the place of perfect communion between Christ and His bride and all the elected ones will participate in this everlasting divine communion. We will speak more on the theme of the eschatological marriage feast in the next chapter.
1.2.9. The Glory of Saints in Heaven
The saints are the citizens of the heavenly kingdom and they are models and inspiration for the Christians who are on their way to the kingdom of heaven. The Propria give a beautiful picture of the celestial glory of the saints, apostles and martyrs and seek their heavenly intercession in the difficult life situations of the struggling Christians on earth.
184.108.40.206. The Crown of Glory
The apostles and saints have attained the victorious crown of glory through their strenuous life on earth in the ways of the Lord. The cross of Christ was the inspiration for them to confront all the sufferings in their life: “With the strength of your assistance, O our Saviour, the saints triumphed in the trial of their ways, who by your Cross were crowned; for you gave them to drink of your wisdom through the sacrifice of yourself”. They were zealous to imitate the ways of the angels and they struggled against the ways of the devil and defeated the powers of the evil one. They struggled with all false religions with the armour of faith and overcame whatsoever was standing up against the teaching of the Lord. They stood mightily in the contest, conquering and defeating all heresies. Christ has exalted them in glory and crowned them with honour and gave them participation in the magnificent life of the kingdom of heaven. On the memorial days of the saints and apostles the liturgical assembly sings the glory to the grace of the Holy Spirit through which they received the crowns of victory. It hopes to inherit the same glorious crown in the life to come because Christ has “promised us delight in the Jerusalem above where the just receive their crowns”. There are two trends in the thoughts of East Syrian Fathers and liturgical texts regarding the idea about the eschatological reward of the righteous. Sometimes they present all the dead as ‘sleeping’ in the Sheol until the Parousia of the Lord and say that the just have not yet received their reward. But as we have seen above, at times they hold that the saints have already received the crown of victory and they are now enjoying the heavenly bliss. It will be a futile task to try to reconcile both these views and formulate a consistent system from the writings of the Fathers and liturgical texts.
220.127.116.11. Apostles and Saints: The Guides in the Heavenly Pilgrimage
The prayers of the Hudra are very clear about the apostolic foundation of the Church: “The Apostles built an indestructible building on unshakable rock through the power which they received from their Lord, uprooting paganism and building the Church”. The apostolic teaching is the touch stone for the orthodoxy of the faith of the Church and the Christians of every generation are obliged to uphold the apostolic teachings. On the Memorial of the Seventy TwoDisciples the Divine Liturgy exclaims:
On the Memorial of the Apostles, lo, the glorious and holy Church rejoices, for they stood in her in the place of pillars, to be teachers of her children. In every generation their teaching is celebrated, and their true faith…
The apostles and saints are the faithful and wise stewards, the Master of the house has appointed to watch over His household, who reproved, corrected, and comforted, that they might provide for the children of His house. They fulfilled the will of the Father; they demonstrated the truth of His Begotten and they revealed the power of the Holy Spirit. Their souls were pure, serene, and filled with love and mercy, and they lighted their lamp with the oil of piety. The apostles, martyrs and saints are the guides for the Christians in their heaven-oriented pilgrimage on earth. The Divine Liturgy gives thanks to Christ who through His apostles has called us and has brought us to the right knowledge of the divine truth. There are many feasts and a period in the liturgical year dedicated to the apostles in the East Syrian calendar which are occasions for the faithful to reflect on the teachings of the apostles; they also show the fidelity of this Church to the apostolic tradition.
18.104.22.168. The Heavenly Assistance of the Saints
The apostles and saints were the ambassadors of Christ who have sowed the seeds of peace on earth. They were given the throne of glory in heaven as the reward for their labour and toil for the establishment of the kingdom of God. Now they are continuing the same work in heaven through their prayers and intercession on behalf of the Church. The Christians take refuge in the intercession of the saints and the celebration of their feasts are occasions to keep their memory alive in the Church and to ask their help and protection in the daily life of the believers. On the feast of the first martyr St. Stephen, the Divine Liturgy prays:
O distinguished and holy Martyr Stephen, the First-born of the Martyrs, the first to be crownedand to be summoned to the bridal-chamber of light, beseech your Lord to make his tranquillity dwell in creation. May we be assisted by your prayers, and with you be made joyful in the light.
The celebration of the Qurbana is a special occasion to remember the saints and martyrs who had taken the courage and strength for their life witness from the same Eucharistic sacrifice. The liturgical assembly experiences the eschatological presence of the celestial assembly of saints during the celebration of the Qurbana. On the feast of Peter and Paul the Hudra sings:
How appropriate to sing praise in this holy house, in which there are the prophets, apostles, martyrs, priests, and teachers, and in which the holy table is made ready for the pardon of the offspring of Adam.
The Divine Liturgy presents the Eucharistic celebrations on the feasts of the saints as a foretaste of the heavenly nuptial celebration to which all the believers are invited “to take delight in His wedding feast, that He may gladden His guests in the merry feast of his friends”. The celebration of the Qurbana gives the faithful an experience of the communion of saints in which the heavenly and earthly assemblies of saints come together and they become one Church. The earthly assembly celebrates the memorial of the heavenly assembly which makes intercession for the former.
1.2.10. The Blessed Virgin Mary the Queen of Heaven
The East Syrian tradition is quite emphatic about the exalted position of the Holy Virgin Mary  in the Church and in heaven. The memorial days of Mary are celebrated with solemnity in this liturgical tradition. The variable prayers in the Divine Liturgy recited on these occasions clearly bring out the important role that the mother of God played in the salvation of mankind.
22.214.171.124. The Blessed Mother of the Heavenly King
The Blessed Virgin Mary is the mother of the heavenly King of kings. The liturgical prayer is very lavish in exalting the high dignity of the mother of the Saviour:
Blessed are you, O Mary, whom women and virgins, the daughters of princes, envy. Blessed are you, O Mary, whose name is high and exalted because of your Offspring. Blessed are you, O Mary, for you were deemed worthy to be made mother and handmaid of the Son of the Lord of all. And it is proper that we should sing to Him with the angels, Hallelujah! 
Mary is the King’s daughter who is internally and externally ornamented. She is internally adorned with glory and her external clothing is decorated with fine gold. “With gifts she shall go to the King, and they will admit her virgin companions after her”. Here the Divine Liturgy presents Mary as the daughter of God the Father, mother of the Son and the spouse of the Holy Spirit. She is most blessed among women, for she was an important instrument in the salvation of mankind and now she occupies a dignified position in heaven.
126.96.36.199. The Role of Mary in the Salvation of Mankind
The Blessed Virgin Mary had an important role to play in the economy of salvation. The human race became the victim to sin and death through the sin of Adam and Eve. Christ, the new Adam saved the humanity from the bondage of sin and death through His incarnation, death and resurrection. While Christ stands as the antitype of Adam in the history of salvation, Mary stands there as the antitype of Eve. Through a woman the first Adam transgressed; through the Virgin Mary he was restored from corruption by Christ. God had chosen Mary from among all the women to be the mother of Christ and the co-worker with Him in the divine economy of salvation. Thus Mary stands as the symbol of dignity and pride of all the women: “O Lord of all, holy women who love your name give thanks to you, for you chose Mary from their sex…and lo, holy Church celebrates the day of the memorial of the Virgin”. The image of Adam was restored through Mary, a descendant of Eve. Mary gave Christ a human body which covered His brightness and redeemed our race.
Mary became an instrument of salvation for the whole universe. No longer would the earth be occupied with the wearisome toil of sin because the blessed fruit of the Virgin Mary has renewed the heaven and earth and has taken way all the evil inclinations of sin. Now Mary continues her salvific work in heaven through her intercession for the children of the Church and for the whole world. The Divine Liturgy petitions Mary for her mediation and intercession before the heavenly King of kings on behalf of the humanity and the universe:
O holy Virgin Mary, petition and beseech Christ, that He may work mercies for the world, which takes refuge in your prayer, and that the Church may rejoice, and the children within her may be protected from the harm and adverse activity of the cruel accuser.
Mary has a special place in the history of the whole material universe as the one who as a part of this universe gave it a redeemer. She has overcome the snares of the devil into which Adam and Eve had fallen. The salvific role of Mary is to be seen in her relation to Christ her Son and it does not diminish His role as the unique and only saviour. So the Divine Liturgy praises her on account of her Son: “Blessed are you, O Mary, whose name is high and exalted because ofyour Offspring.The East Syrian liturgical tradition is well aware of the salvific role of Mary in the history of mankind and of the heavenly assistance now she renders to the Church and the world through her intercession before her beloved Son.
188.8.131.52. The Announcement of the Good News of Salvation
The annunciation which Mary received from the Angel Gabriel inaugurated a new age of hope and salvation to the humanity and to the whole created universe. The East Syrian tradition gives much importance to this great event in which Mary played a prominent role and which altered the destiny of this world. The East Syrian liturgical year begins with the period of Annunciation and the liturgical prayers bring out the historical and eschatological importance of the event of annunciation.The announcement which Mary received was filled with all salvation , for she conceived Christ without seed or intimacy, in that the Holy Spirit descended upon her alone, and the power of the Most High overshadowed her.
The annunciation was the beginning of a new creation by the agency of the Holy Spirit which marked the inauguration of the eschatological age (Acts 2: 17). This great incident in the history of the world was the sign of hope in a depressing situation, the symbol of life in a lifeless state and the mark of fruit in a fruitless condition. Mary was troubled and alarmed by the greeting which she received from the angel of the Lord. But the distress of Mary became the cause of “peace on earth, glory in the heavens, and a good hope to all creatures”. No more would the humanity be left to the corruption of death but it rejoices and exults in the salvation which the creator brought about in His love through the mediator who assumed the human nature from the Blessed Virgin Mary. All the evil effects of the sin which Adam and Eve brought about in the world through their disobedience to the word of God were overcome by Mary through her obedience to the word of God spoken by the angel.
184.108.40.206. The Regina of Heaven
The heavenly perfection achieved by Mary surpasses that of all angels and men. From the very beginning of her life she was endowed with a plenitude of grace, which was always on the increase throughout her life, in her beautiful soul. The angel of the Lord seeing the plenitude of grace in Mary saluted her “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women” (Lk 1:28). It is a divine acknowledgement of the abundance of grace in her. The Divine Liturgy also, salutes her ‘blessed’ respectfully . The invocation “Blessed are you, O Mary” is repeated many times, adding to that, her honourable epithets and attributes.Christ has exalted His mother above all angels and saints. “The Redeemer…shed on her a river of graces and made her queen of angels”. The Blessed Virgin Mary was the model of Christian perfection for the saints while they were living in the world; now she is their queen in heaven. “The Lord bestowed the mighty power on the virgin and she obtained a singular dignity above all the just”. Sanctity draws the soul to the union with God. The greater the sanctity and divine grace, the closer will be the union. As Mary had a plenitude of grace, she had sanctity in the greatest degree; she is closest to God in heaven.
The EastSyrianChurch has been looked upon with much suspicion and has faced much criticism for calling Mary “Mother of Christ” as if this Church is not accepting the divine motherhood and the high dignity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. But a rapid survey of the liturgical prayer of this Church is sufficient to find out the ‘orthodoxy’ of this Church on Mariological doctrines. The prayers in the Propria present her as the perfect model of the eschatological glorification and she helps the children of the Church to attain the same heavenly glory.
When we make a review of the variable prayers of the East Syrian Qurbana, we can see that many prayers in the Propria have an obvious eschatological colour and they furnish us with a clear idea about the Christian fulfilment. The present arrangement of the liturgical year and Hudra, organized by Išo Yahb III, is apparently based on a vision of the yearly celebration of the mysteries of our salvation, which includes the mysteries of Christ and that of the Church. The mysteries of Christ celebrated in the first half of the liturgical year begin with the annunciation of the ‘Good News’ and then follow the birth of Christ, His baptism, death, resurrection and culminate in His glorious ascension into heaven. The mysteries of the Church begin with the birth of Church on the day of Pentecost and then follow its growth and culminate in the heavenly glorification of the individual Christians and that of the Church. Thus the eschatological glorification of Christ, Christians and the Church is the peak point of the liturgical year. This eschatological goal is always present in front of the liturgical assembly as it goes forward through different periods of the liturgical year.
When we look closer into the prayers of the Propria of the different periods we can see that although the last three periods of the liturgical year are especially noted for their eschatological overtones, the eschatological themes and ideas are not concentrated in these periods alone but are spread out throughout the year right from the very beginning. Thus a historical approach in examining the prayers of the Propria will not do justice to the spirit of the East Syrian liturgical year. If we approach the mysteries of Christ and that of the Church from an eschatological point of view and look at the Annunciation-Nativity-Epiphany episode as a continuation of the eschatological events that we have celebrated in the last periods of the previous liturgical year- as it should be in the case of the liturgical ‘cycle’ in which both the end and beginning meet-, our understanding of the liturgical year will be very different. Then celebration of the mysteries of our salvation will not be just remembrance and commemoration of some past events but celebration of our hope which makes the Christian life more optimistic and meaningful.
 In some older manuscripts Hudra is supplemented by Gazza and Kaskol, see below footnote no. 9.
Macomber, “Hudra”, 121-122; Brock, “Concordance”, 117.
 For details regarding the authenticity and antiquity of the East Syrian Hudra, see Clerus, “Part of Mary”, 136-138. In the introduction of the Breviarium (1938) Cardinal Tisserant says : “Oriental Rites in their own wonderful perfection are like the precious stones that adorn the brilliant crown of Christ the Eternal King”: Bedjan, Breviarium I, II, III, 6.
Bedjan, Breviarium I, 7; Pudichery, Ramsa, 2-4; Taft, Liturgy of the Hours, 226; Kuruthukulangara, Feast of the Nativity, 78; Moolan, “Evolution of the East Syrian Divine Office”, 74-76; Mateos, “Les matines Chaldeenes”, 52-55; TrÉvedy, “Le Cycle Annuel”, 14-20.
IŠo Yahb III, Liber Epistularum, 2; BAUMSTARK, Geschichte, 198. According to Macomber there is no compelling reason for doubting this traditional attribution; cf. Macomber, “Hudra”, 121. For details regarding the life and liturgical reforms of Išo Yahb III, see Moolan, Calendar, 14-15; TrÉvedy, “Le Cycle Annuel”, 25-29.
Badger, TheNestorians II, 22; Kuruthukulangara, Feast of the Nativity, 80; Moolan, “Evolution of the East Syrian Divine Office”, 70.
 For biographical information concerning P. Bedjan (1838-1920), see Vosté, “Paul Bedjan”, 45-102.
 See Bedjan, Breviarium.
Hudra means ‘cycle’ and is the principal liturgical book containing offices for the entire liturgical year. Gazza means ‘treasury’ and it contains additional chants for the feasts and commemorations. Kaskul means ‘collection from all’ and contains the complete text of offices for the week days throughout the liturgical year. In the old manuscripts the chants from the Kaskul and Gazza are also frequently incorporated into Hudra in abbreviated form, either in the body of the text or in appendix; cf. Macomber, “Hudra”, 212. See also Badger, The Nestorians II, 22-23; Mateos, Lelya–Sapra, 5-11; Pudichery, Ramsa, 6-7. Macomber gives a detailed chronological list of the known Hudra manuscripts; cf. Macomber, “Hudra”, 124-134; See also Mateos, Lelya-Sapra, xix; Moolan, Annunciation, 147-153. For a list of the manuscripts of the East Syrian Gazza, see Kuruthukulangara, Feast of the Nativity, 85- 89.
 This new edition is the same as the breviary published in 1938 but with the omission of all the duplications to be found in the three-volume edition and an addition of the ‘Commemoration of St. Ephrem’. It has corrected some errors in printing. The task of correcting Bedjan’s edition was undertaken by P. Yousif.
 See Ktaba. For biographical details concerning Darmo (1903-1969), see Aprem, Mar Thoma Darmo. Both the Chaldean and Assyrian breviaries are identical in structure and content except for some occasional minor discrepancies. The texts in Darmo’s edition are rather fuller than those in Bedjan and they provide a more traditional form of the East Syrian liturgical year and its texts. But the main difference lies in the changes introduced in the catholic version in the name of “purification of Nestorian errors”. Thus Bedjan has introduced various feasts of western origin, such as the Circumcision and the Sacred Heart and has altered terms such as ‘Mother of Christ’ into ‘Mother of God’. For details, see Payngot, “Corrections”, 217-237. For a comparison between the two editions, see Brock, “Concordance”, 117-136.
 For details regarding the contents of these breviaries, see Brock, “Concordance”, 120-136. They give the variable prayers for the Qurbana for all those days when there is a celebration of the Qurbana.According to the custom of the EastSyrianChurch there should be a celebration of the Qurbana on every Sunday and Friday, and on every Church festival throughout the year. It is also directed that the Qurbana is to be celebrated every day in the first, middle, and last week of the Lent, with the exception of Good Friday; also on every day of the week following the feast of Easter; cf. Badger, TheNestorians, 242.
 See Prorprium Missarum, and Supplementum. See also Rusma d-qeryane. Now the Syro-MalabarChurch is using a free Malayalam translation of the Supplementum; see Propria I-IV. In our study we will make references to this Propria also, but will be careful not to consider all the newly added prayers and hymns incorporated in this text without any basis in the original sources. There is an unofficial English translation of the Propria of the Qurbana which also is not fully faithful to the original sources; see Pathikulangara, Crown of the Year. For the citation of texts in English in the present study we will be depending on the internet edition of the variable prayers of the Qurbana given in the official website of the Church of the East under the title: ‘Propers Appointed for Qurbana” in www. cired. org/ace. europe. html as on 4 January 2007. This English edition of the Propria is a good translation of the original sources. Since this is an electronic magazine we are not able to give the page numbers but only the corresponding page numbers of the Syriac texts (Prorprium Missarum, Ktaba) Latin text (Supplementum) and Malayalam text (Propria), which are used in the Divine Liturgy of the three Churches of the East Syrian tradition.
 For discussions regarding the East Syrian Lectionary System, see MACOMBER, “The Lectionary”, 483-516; KANNOOKADAN, TheEast Syrian Lectionary. See also Liturgical Calendar.
 For details regarding different elements in the Propria, see Yousif, “Déroulement”, 74-75. We have already seen the general eschatological character of most of these variable parts in the previous chapters. Here we will be examining the prayers of these liturgical elements as given in the liturgical texts.
Ephrem,Hymns on Nativity, 4:5; 22:1,8; 23:7; 25:1. For discussions on the sanctification of time in Ephrem’s thought, see Yousif, “Histoire et temps”, 3-35; Bertaina, “Christmas with Mar Ephrem”, 54-61.
Kollamparampil, “Treasures of Liturgical Patrimony”, 77.
 For details regarding the celebration of the Christian mysteries throughout the liturgical year, see Ps.GEORGE OF Arbel, Expositio I, 25-27. See also Mateos, Lelya-Sapra, 462-464; TrÉvedy, “Le Cycle Annuel”, 13-45; Yousif, “Déroulement”, 73-76.
Sacrosanctum concilium, no. 102.
 Baumstark, Geschichte, 198. See also Moolan, Annunciation, 11-12; Macomber, “The Lectionary”, 483-484; Kannookadan, “Origin and Development”, 54-63.
 Ps. GEORGE OF Arbel, Expositio I, 5, (Syriac section, 2); Expositio I, 21-23, 25. See also Mateos, Lelya-Sapra, 107, 286; TrÉvedy, “Le Cycle Annuel”, 30-34. There was also a system of fasting attached to the period of Moses which can be seen as a preparation to receive the Lord at His Parousia; cf. Mai, Nova Collectio, 89.
 Ps.GEORGE OFArbel, Expositio I, 5, (Syriac section, 2). For more details regarding the Syriac Calendar and its relation to the Jewish Calendar, see Ps.GEORGE OFArbel, Expositio I, 20-21. See also Roberts, Writings of the Fathers, 666.
Cited in Talley, Origins of the Liturgical Year, 81. The Jewish year could begin in the first month, Nisan (April) or in the seventh month Teshri (October). The practice of beginning the year with Teshri is from Babylonian tradition, taken over during the exile; cf.Pathikulangara, DivinePraises, 109-110.
 Ps.GEORGE OFArbel, Expositio I, 21; Chittilappilly, Madabbranuta, 46.
Adam, Liturgical Year, 29. See also Häussling, “Sinn des Kirchenjahres”, 206. Crum, “Church Year”, 24-31.
Berger, “Jahr der Kirche-Jahr des Herren”, 165. ET cited in Adam, Liturgical Year, 29.
 The historical and eschatological approaches to the liturgical year parallel the distinction often made between Kairos and Chronos in biblical theology; cf. Crum, “Church Year”, 25.
 It is to be noted that the West Syrian liturgical year begins with the period of the ‘Dedication of the Church’ in which the Church meditates on the eschatological glorification of the Church. The liturgical year of the Roman Church begins with the season of ‘Advent’ which deals with historical and eschatological Parousia of the Lord. The Byzantine tradition, which is the heritage of thirteen individual Churches, begins in the month of September with the Exaltation of the Cross.
 For details regarding the periods of the Easy Syrain liturgical year, see Mateos, Lelya-Sapra, 105-298; Pathikulangara, Divine Praises, 128-207; “Liturgical Year”, 173-196; Payngot, Arathanavalsaram, 17- 182; Moolan, Calendar, 25-124; Annunciation, 11-56.
Bedjan, Breviarium, III 256; Mateos, Lelya-Sapra, 274.
 According to the directions given in the Hudra the fast begins on the first Sunday of this period called “the Sunday Entering the fast of Elia : Ktaba III, 404; Bedjan, Breviarium, III, 257; and ends on the 7th Friday (4th of the Cross) “…those who are fasting end it today : Ktaba III, 503; Bedjan, Breviarium, III, 340. This fast seems to be observed not by all but only by the monks. For details see Moolan, Annunciation, 46-47; Moolan, Calendar, 101-102.
Proprium Missarum, 227; Ktaba III, 440.
Proprium Missarum, 229, 234; Ktaba III, 742; 455; Supplementum, 144, 243-244; Propria IV, 778-779, 794.
 In the ancient tradition of the Church of the East the Feast of the Cross was on 13th September and it was known as the ‘Feast of the Finding of the Cross ; cf. Ps. George of Arbel, Expositio I, 86; According to many scholars the reason for this change in the ‘Nestorian Tradition’ may be that it was on the 13th of September the cross was discovered by the queen Helena and on the following day (September 14) it was recognized as the genuine cross of Christ through different miracles and the cross was given for the public veneration and it became the ‘Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross’ Cf. Mateos, Lelya-Sapra, 283, Moolan, Calandar, 102-104. For the variable prayers of the Qurbana of thefeast of the holy cross , see Proprium Missarum, 228-231; Ktaba III, 741- 744; Supplementum, 243-245; Propria IV, 775-787.
According to J. Mateos, “La fête de la Croix représente la Parousie de Notre-Seigneur et la résurrection générale”: Mateos, Lelya-Sapra, 286. See also DaniÉlou, Jewish Christianity, 269; Payngot, Thirunaalukal, 283-286.
Proprium Missarum, 229; Ktaba III, 742; Supplementum, 244; Propria IV, 780.
 Some ancient lectionaries present the periods of Moses and Cross as one, just as they integrate the periods of Elia and the Cross; cf. Payngot, Aradhanavalsaram, 167.
 Mateos, Lelya-Sapra, 286.
Proprium Missarum, 243, 247, 249; Ktaba III, 513, 536, 549; Supplementum, 152; 153, Propria IV, 844, 852.
Rabban Brik-Išo, Préface au Hudra, 463 , ET cited in Pathikulangara, DivinePraises, 198-199.
Pathikulangara, DivinePraises, 199; “Liturgical Year”, 191-192; Moolan, Annunciation, 49-50. See also chapter 6. 1. 2. 3.
 For citations from the prayers of the Propria of the period the Dedication of the Church, expounding the different aspects of the final communion of the Church with her eschatological Bridegroom, see chapter 6. 2. 2. 3.
Rabban Brik-Išo, Préface au Hudra, 463-464, ET cited in Pathikulangara, Divine Praises, 200-201.
 For details regarding the eschatological character of these three feasts, see Thankachan, Feast of the Epiphany, 10-15.
Ephrem, Hymns on Nativity, 5:85.The East Syrian theologians were aware of the salvific significance of the feasts celebrated in the Church and they have made theological explanations of the various aspects of the mystery celebrated by liturgical feasts. These discourses are known as causes. The most important among these ‘causes’ were made by Thomas and Cyrus of Edessa and they treat the central mysteries of the Christian dispensation: the Nativity, Epiphany, Fast, Pasch, Passion, Resurrection, Ascension and the Pentecost; see Cyrus of Edessa, Six Explanations; MACOMBER, “Theological Synthesis”, 5-38.
Dix, Shape of the Liturgy, 347-359; Payngot, Thirunaalukal, 305-306.
Dix, Shape of the Liturgy, 348-349.
Taft, “Historicism Revisited”, 98-104.
Taft, “Historicism Revisited”, 97.
 Cf.Thankachan, Feast of the Epiphany, 19.
 For details see Yousif, “East Syrian Spirituality”, 25-27; Chittilappilly, Madabbranuta, 49-55; Neelankavil, Feast Discipline of St .Thomas Christians, 94-161.
Proprium Missarum, 17-20; Ktaba I, 585-615; Supplementum, 14-15; Propria I, 69-76; The Assyrian Church calls this feast ‘Commemoration of Mary Mother of Christ’.
Kollamparampil, “Treasures of Liturgical Patrimony”, 79; TrÉvedy, “Le Cycle Annuel”, 37-41. See also Fiey, “Le sanctoral syrien”, 21-54; Kallaranngatt, “Feast of the Apostles”, 303-317.
 The Vatican Council II reminds us that the feasts of saints should not take precedence over the feasts which commemorate the very mystery of salvation; cf. Sacrosanctum concilium, no. 111.
Macomber, “History”, 109.
Kannookadan, The East Syrian Leciotnary, 163.
Synodicon (synod of Mar Isaac), 27. 266-267. See also Kuruthukulangara, Feast o Nativity, 25.
 For details regarding the eschatological vision of the letters to the Ephesians and Colossians, see Fuller, Catholic Commentary, 1182, no. 900b; 1199, no. 911g.
Ephrem, Hymns on Nativity, 5:2, ET: Mc Vey, Ephrem, 106. Ephrem’s Madrashe for the Nativity Feast also deal with all the above said themes; cf. Bertaina, “Christmas with Mar Ephrem”, 58.
 For details see Payngot, Thirunalukal, 14-17.
 “…non amplius habetur tantum ut tempus poenitentiale; quinimmo tempus est laetae expectationis”: Calendarium Romanum, 61, cited in Payngot, Thirnaalukal, 15.
“At Jejunium Nativitatis sunt qui à quintadecima Novembris per integros quadraginta dies auspicantur; alii à Kalendis Decembris per viginti quinque dies”: Assemanus, Bibliothecae Orietalis II, 305.
Cf. Mai, Nova Collectio, X, 89; Mateos, Lelya-Sapra, 115-116; Moolan, Annunciation-Nativity, 14.
 Cf. Thelly, Syriac Lexicon, 225. See also Payngot, Thirunaalukal, 22.
 See chapter 3. 1. 1.
Proprium Missarum, 21; Ktaba I, 180: Supplementum, 16; cf. Propria I, 82.
Proprium Missarum, 3; Ktaba I, 120-121; Supplementum, 3; Propria I, 11.
Proprium Missarum, 6; Ktaba I, 132; Supplementum, 5; Propria I, 24.
Proprium Missarum, 12; Ktaba I, 581-582; Supplementum, 10.
Proprium Missarum, 13; Ktaba I, 582; Supplementum, 11; cf. Propria I, 55.
Proprium Missarum, 21-22; Ktaba I, 180-181; Supplementum, 16; Propria I, 83.
Bedjan, Breviarium I, 321.
Bedjan, Breviarium I, II, III, 36. For more details regarding the eschatological character of this hymn, see Mateos, Lelya-Sapra, 72-75.
Talley, Origins of the Liturgical Year, 80.
Cullmann, Early Church, 25.
Payngot, Thirunaalukal, 9; Pathikulangara, “Liturgical Spirituality”, 122-124.
Bertaina, “Christmas with Mar Ephrem”, 62.
Ephrem, Hymns on Nativity, 21:3. For more details regarding the Ephrem’s description of the ‘night vigil’ on 5-6 January, see Hymns on Nativity, 1:63, 81, 88; 21:2-4. The Anonymous Author also speaks about the night vigil on the Feast of Epihany; Ps. GEORGE OF Arbel, Expositio I, 191-193.
 See chapter 1. 6. 4.
 Irenaeus, Adv. haer. 1. 7. 1; 4. 26. 1; 4. 38.
 Justin, 1 Apol. 52. 3; cited in Talley, Origins of the Liturgical Year, 84.
Raza, 58; Taksa, 49; Liturgy, 58; Mysteries, 202-203. Thelly, Lexicon, 67. In the East Syrian tradition Christ is often compared to the sun Who will come from the east on the last day. The rising of the sun gives the liturgical assembly, that remains in the church facing the east, the new hope of the Parousia of the Lord.
Proprium Missarum, 22; Ktaba I, 654; Supplementum, 17; Propria I, 88.
Proprium Missarum, 24; Ktaba I, 654; Supplementum, 18; Propria I, 92.
Proprium Missarum, 24; Ktaba I, 656; Supplementum, 18; Propria I, 93.
Proprium Missarum, 25; Ktaba I, 656; Supplementum, 19.
Proprium Missarum, 24; Ktaba I, 655; Supplementum, 18; Propria I, 92. A hymn in he Liturgy of the Hours on the Feast of Denha says that Christ has sanctified all rivers through his baptism in the river of Jordan and His baptism has opened the way to heaven for all those who receive baptism in the name of the Trinity; cf. Bedjan, Breviarium I, 396. Another hymn says that through His revelation Christ has liberated the creation from the bondage to sin and Satan; cf. Bedjan, Breviarium, I, 420.
 Proprium Missarum, 36; Ktaba I, 678; Supplementum, 21; Bedjan, Breviarium I, 407; III, 424.
 See chapter 6. 2. 2. 3. 1.
In the early Church there were differences of opinion regarding the day on which the resurrection of our Lord is to be celebrated. Depending on ‘the tradition of Apostles John and Philip’ the Church in Asia Minor celebrated the resurrection of our Lord on the day of Jewish Passover, that is, on the 14th of Nissan. But the WesternChurch celebrated the Passover on the Friday following the 14th of Nissan and the resurrection on the following Sunday. But later all began to celebrate the resurrection on a Sunday between 21st of March and 25th of April. For more details, see Jungmann, Early Liturgy, 25; Payngot, Thirunaalukal, 227-230.
 For details see chapter 1. 4. 2.
Etheridge, Targums of Onkelos, 479-481.
Talley,Origins of the Liturgical Year, 6.
Cyrus of Edessa, Six Explanations (Explanation of the Resurrection), 93-94.
 See chapter 1. 6. 5. See also Vööbus,Didascalia, 199-200.
Talley, Origins of the Liturgical Year , 6.
 Ps. GEORGE OF Arbel, Commentary on the Mass, 27.
 Righetti, Storia liturgica II, 252; Payngot, Thirunaalukal, 231. St. Augustine presents this night vigil as the mother of all Christian vigils: see, P. L. 38, 1088, cf. Righetti, Storia liturgica II, 251. According to the Apostolic Constitutions this vigil had to be begun on Saturday at sunset; see Book V. 19, cf. Payngot, Thirunaalukal, 231.
 For details see Payngot, Thirunaalukal, 213- 214.
 Ps. GEORGE OF Arbel, Commentary on the Mass, 143, According to our Author during the Mass that follows the baptism the OT lessons are not read “[we omit OT] because the old world has passed away, and we are representing a new one: that is, the state of things (which is to be) after the resurrection”: Commentary on the Mass, 143
Cyrus of Edessa, Six Explanations (Explanation of the Fast), 7-8; See also Pathikulangara, Resurrection, 155.
 For a study on the Easter-Vigil of the EastSyrianChurch, see Pathikulangara, Resurrection, 128-163. See also Mateos, “Les différentes espèces de vigiles”, 46-63.
 For details see Mateos,Lelya–Sapra, 233-235; Payngot, Thirunaalukal, 234-235.
 For the liturgical prayers of the East Syrian Rite on “The Great Sunday of Our Lord’s Resurrection”, see Bedjan Breviarium, II, 390-415; Ktaba II, 528-558. For English translation of these prayers, see Pathikulangara, Resurrection, Life and Renewal,359-411.
 “In festo autem resurrectionis, quae dies magna est, non delectos psalmos adhibemus, sed illum hullalam dicimus, qui typus est resurrectionis et manifestationis Domini nostri” : Ps.GEORGE OFArbel, Expositio I, 188. Here Mateos observes that this affirmation of the Anonymous Author shows a difference of practice between the present custom and that of his days; Mateos, Lelya – Sapra, 235.
Proprium Missarum, 128; Ktaba II, 530; Supplementum, 85; Propria II, 386-387.
Proprium Missarum, 128; Ktaba II, 530; Supplementum, 85; Propria II, 387.
Proprium Missarum, 131-134; Ktaba II, 556-558; Supplementum, 86-88; Propria II, 395-403.
Proprium Missarum, 132; Ktaba II, 557; Supplementum, 87; Propria II, 401.
Proprium Missarum, 132; Ktaba II, 556; Supplementum, 87; cf. Propria II, 397.
Proprium Missarum, 129; Ktaba II, 530; Supplementum, 85; Propria II, 390.
 For details see chapter 6. 2. 1.
Proprium Missarum, 133; Ktaba II, 557; Supplementum, 88; cf. Propria II, 391.
Proprium Missarum, 131; Ktaba II, 332-333; Supplementum, 86.
 For details see Pathikulangara, Resurrection, Life and Renewal, 217-218.
Proprium Missarum, 132; Ktaba II, 557; Supplementum, 87; Propria II, 401.
Proprium Missarum, 132; Ktaba II, 557; Supplementum, 87; cf. Propria II, 401.
 Jungmann, Public Worship, 218.
Payngot, Thirunaalukal, 378.
 Jungmann, Public Worship, 219. In 609 Pope Boniface IV (608-615) chose the 13th of May as the appropriate date for converting the pagan templePanteon of Rome as a Basilica dedicated to Our Lady and all the martyrs and he installed the relics of many martyrs in this Basilica for the veneration of the faithful; cf. Righetti, Storia liturgica II, 468.
It was Pope Gregory IV who established the 1st of November as the Feast of All Saints in the Roman Church. The scholars do not find any solid reason for instituting this particular day for the celebration of this feast. Moreover, they point out that the shifting of this feast from the 13th of May to the 1st of November has destroyed the original significance of this feast as a celebration of the participation of the saints in the resurrection and glorification of our Lord. Cf. Righetti, Storia liturgica II, 469; Payngot, Thirunaalukal, 381.
Proprium Missarum, 140; Ktaba II, 570; Supplementum, 93. We find references to the commemoration of martyrs already in ‘the Doctrine of Addai’; cf. VÖÖBUS “Canons in the Doctrine of Addai”, 18.
 Mateos, Lelya–Sapra, 242; Righetti, Storia liturgica II, 467.
 For details regarding the origin and theological meaning of the Feast of All Saints in the EastSyrianChurch, see Scher, “Traité sur les Martyrs”, 15-52. See also Yousif, “Il sangue”, 1401-1418.
 For details regarding the origin and development of the commemoration of all the dead in the Roman Church, see Righetti, Storia liturgica II, 512-515; Payngot, Thirunaalukal, 382-384.
Proprium Missarum, 77-80; Ktaba I, 506-536; Supplementum, 48-49; Propria I, 230-240.
 Moolan, Annunciation, 54; Chittilappilly, Mdbbranuta, 53; Pathikulangara, “Liturgical Year”, 179.
Proprium Missarum, 80; Ktaba I, 535; Supplementum, 49; Propria I, 238.
Proprium Missarum, 80; Ktaba I, 535; Supplementum, 49; Propria I, 238.
Proprium Missarum, 79; Ktaba I, 535; Supplementum, 48-49; Propria I, 237.
Proprium Missarum, 78; Ktaba I, 535; Supplementum, 48; Propria I, 233.
Proprium Missarum, 78; Ktaba I, 535; Supplementum, 48.
Proprium Missarum, 141; Ktaba II, 591; Supplementum, 94. Cf. Ps 44:22.
Proprium Missarum, 142; Ktaba II, 591; Supplementum, 94; Propria II, 413.
Proprium Missarum, 141-142; Ktaba II, 591; Supplementum, 94; Propria II, 412-413.
Proprium Missarum, 142; Ktaba II, 591; Supplementum, 94; Propria II, 413.
Proprium Missarum, 141; Ktaba II, 591; Supplementum, 94. See also AJT, 6-7.
Proprium Missarum, 142; Ktaba II, 592; Supplementum, 94-95; Propria II, 414.
 For details see chapter 2. 1. 8.
 In Syriac Ah´GØ means ‘bone’, ‘kernel or stone of a fruit’ and ‘self’, thus ]h¸G¸ means ‘myself’; cf. Thelly, Lexicon, 53.
 Cf. Molitor,Chaldäisches Brevier, 35-36.
Proprium Missarum, 51; Ktaba I, 247; Supplementum, 31; Propria I, 95. See also Theodore, Commentary on Eucharist, 73, 78; Narsai, LiturgicalHomilies XXI, 54; XXII, 41.
Proprium Missarum, 187-188; Ktaba III, 235; Supplementum, 120; cf. Propria III, 590.
Proprium Missarum, 51; Ktaba I, 247; Supplementum, 31; Propria I, 163.
Proprium Missarum, 64, 258; Ktaba I, 478; III, 589; Supplementum, 42, 158; cf. Propria I, 203; IV, 879.
Proprium Missarum, 86; Ktaba II, 125; Supplementum, 52; cf. Propria I, 329.
Proprium Missarum, 36; Ktaba I, 194; Supplementum, 21-22; cf. Propria I, 106.
Proprium Missarum, 136; Ktaba II, 564; Supplementum, 90.
Proprium Missarum, 97, 100, 144, 222; Ktaba II, 603, III, 411; Supplementum, 60, 64, 96, 140; cf. Propria I, 340; II 420; IV, 752.
Proprium Missarum, 222, 246; Ktaba III, 411, 525; Supplementum, 140, 151; Propria IV, 753, 774, 840.
Proprium Missarum, 236; Ktaba III, 468; Supplementum, 146; Propria IV, 803.
Proprium Missarum, 103; Ktaba II, 290; Supplementum, 65; cf. Propria I, 351.
Proprium Missarum, 64, 153; Ktaba I, 478; II, 628; Supplementum, 43, 99; Propria I, 203; II, 433.
Proprium Missarum, 154, 156; Ktaba II, 633, 648; Supplementum, 99-100; 101; Propria II, 436, 443.
Proprium Missarum, 194; Ktaba III, 273; Supplementum, 124; Propria III, 614-615.
Proprium Missarum, 12; Ktaba I, 581-582; Supplementum, 10; Propria I, 50.
Proprium Missarum, 13; Ktaba I, 582 Supplementum, 11; Propria I, 55.
Proprium Missarum, 115; Ktaba II, 390; Supplementum, 75; cf. Propria II, 365.
Proprium Missarum, 12, 21; Ktaba I, 180, 582; Supplementum, 10, 16; Propria I, 50, 81.
Proprium Missarum, 5; Ktaba I, 131; Supplementum, 4; cf. Propria I, 20.
Proprium Missarum, 20, 129, 236; Ktaba I, 525, II, 530, III, 468; Supplementum, 15, 85, 146; Propria I, 390, IV, 804.
Proprium Missarum, 133; Ktaba II, 558; Supplementum, 87-88; Propria II, 402.
 For details see chapter 6. 2. 2. 2.
Proprium Missarum, 223, 240; Ktaba III, 426, III, 498; Supplementum, 140, 148; Propria IV, 758, 818.
Proprium Missarum, 232; Ktaba III, 454; Supplementum, 144; Propria IV, 789.
Proprium Missarum, 206, 239; Ktaba III, 311, III, 486; Supplementum, 130, 147; Propria III, 654; IV 813.
Proprium Missarum, 205; Ktaba III, 300; Supplementum, 129; Propria III, 651.
Proprium Missarum, 205; Ktaba III, 300; Supplementum, 129; cf. Propria III, 650.
Proprium Missarum, 161; Ktaba II, 677; Supplementum, 104; Propria II, 454.
Proprium Missarum, 236; Ktaba II, 468; Supplementum, 146; cf. Propria IV, 802.
Proprium Missarum, 156; Ktaba II, 642-643; Supplementum, 101; cf. Propria II, 440-441.
 See chapter 2. 2. 3. 1. 2.
 See chapter 3.1.2.
Proprium Missarum, 195; Ktaba II, 274.
Proprium Missarum, 85, 232; Ktaba II, 124; III, 454; Supplementum, 51, 144; Propria I, 323; IV, 789.
Proprium Missarum, 85; Ktaba II, 124; Supplementum, 51; cf. Propria I, 323.
Proprium Missarum, 86; Ktaba II, 125; Supplementum, 52; cf. Propria II, 326.
Proprium Missarum, 86; Ktaba II, 125; Supplementum, 52; Propria I, 326.
Proprium Missarum, 224; Ktaba III, 426.
Proprium Missarum, 224; Ktaba III, 426.
Proprium Missarum, 97; Ktaba II, 243; Supplementum, 61.
Proprium Missarum, 172; Ktaba III, 152; Supplementum, 110; Propria III, 522.
Proprium Missarum, 184; Ktaba III, 223; Supplementum, 118; Propria III, 578.
Proprium Missarum, 179; Ktaba III, 201.
Proprium Missarum, 195; Ktaba III, 274.
Proprium Missarum, 194; Ktaba III, 273; Supplementum, 124; Propria III, 614.
Proprium Missarum, 181-182; Ktaba III, 212; Supplementum, 117; cf. Propria III, 568-569.
Proprium Missarum, 63; Ktaba I, 778; Supplementum, 42.
Proprium Missarum, 62; Ktaba III, 777; Supplementum, 41.
Proprium Missarum, 186; Ktaba III, 224; Supplementum, 119; cf. Propria III, 581-582.
Proprium Missarum, 40; Ktaba I, 700; Supplementum, 23; Propria I, 116.
 See chapter 220.127.116.11.
Proprium Missarum, 80; Ktaba I, 535; Supplementum, 49; Propria I, 238.
Proprium Missarum, 185; Ktaba III, 224; Supplementum, 119; Propria III, 581.
Proprium Missarum, 182; Ktaba III, 212.
Proprium Missarum, 185; Ktaba III, 224; Supplementum, 119; Propria III, 581.
Proprium Missarum, 182; Ktaba III, 212-213.
Proprium Missarum, 128; Ktaba II, 530; Supplementum, 85; Propria II, 386.
Proprium Missarum, 225; Ktaba III, 427; Supplementum, 141; cf. Propria IV, 763.
Proprium Missarum, 183; Ktaba III, 213; Supplementum, 117; cf. Propria III, 572.
Proprium Missarum, 158; Ktaba II, 655; Supplementum, 102-103.
Proprium Missarum, 158; Ktaba II, 675; Supplementum, 103; cf. Propria II, 450.
Proprium Missarum, 190; Ktaba III, 246; Supplementum, 122; Propria III, 600.
Proprium Missarum, 160; Ktaba II, 676.
Proprium Missarum, 162; Ktaba II, 678; Supplementum, 105; Propria II, 456.
Proprium Missarum, 159; Ktaba II, 675; Supplementum , 103; Propria II, 450. See also Raza, 8-9; Taksa, 5-6; Liturgy, 5-6; Mysteries, 138-139, 216-217.
Proprium Missarum, 221; Ktaba III, 410; Supplementum, 139; cf. Propria IV, 749.
Proprium Missarum, 8; Ktaba I, 141; Supplementum, 7; Propria I, 31.
Proprium Missarum, 221; Ktaba III, 410; Supplementum, 139; Propria IV, 749.
Proprium Missarum, 225, Ktaba III, 427; Supplementum, 141; Propria IV, 763.
Proprium Missarum, 160; Ktaba II, 676.
Proprium Missarum, 24; Ktaba I, 656; Supplementum, 19; Propria I, 94.
Proprium Missarum, 239; Ktaba III, 486; Supplementum, 147; Propria IV, 812-813.
Proprium Missarum, 224; Ktaba III, 426-427; Supplementum, 141; Propria IV, 761.
Proprium Missarum, 180; Ktaba III, 201-202; Supplementum, 114.
Proprium Missarum, 190; Ktaba III, 246; Supplementum, 122; cf. Propria III, 599.
Proprium Missarum, 224; Ktaba III, 426-427; Supplementum, 141; Propria IV, 762.
Proprium Missarum, 158; Ktaba III, 655; Supplementum, 103; cf. Propria II, 446.
Proprium Missarum, 180 ; Ktaba III, 201-202; Supplementum, 103; Propria III, 552.
Proprium Missarum, 227; Ktaba III, 440.
Proprium Missarum, 207; Ktaba III, 311.
Proprium Missarum, 209; Ktaba III, 322; Supplementum, 132; Propria III, 665.
Proprium Missarum, 209-210; Ktaba III, 322.
Proprium Missarum, 224; Ktaba III, 426.
Proprium Missarum, 133; Ktaba II, 558; Supplementum, 88; Propria II, 403.
Proprium Missarum, 215; Ktaba III, 366; Supplementum, 134; cf. Propria III, 676.
Proprium Missarum, 103; Ktaba II, 290; Supplementum, 65; Propria II, 351.
Proprium Missarum, 208; Ktaba, III 312; Supplementum, 131.
Proprium Missarum, 215; Ktaba III, 366; Supplementum, 135; Propria III, 677.
Proprium Missarum, 78; Ktaba I, 535; Supplementum, 48.
Proprium Missarum, 5; Ktaba I, 132; Supplementum, 4; cf. Propria I, 20.
Proprium Missarum, 37; Ktaba I, 194; Supplementum, 22; Propria I, 110.
Proprium Missarum, 10; Ktaba I, 154; Supplementum, 8; cf. Propria I, 39.
Proprium Missarum, 130; Ktaba II, 530; Supplementum, 86; Propria II, 392.
 Proprium Missarum, 131; Ktaba II, 556; Supplementum, 86-87; cf. Propria II, 397. See also Proprium Missarum, 133; Ktaba II, 557; Supplementum, 87-88; Propria II, 402.
Proprium Missarum, 246; Ktaba III, 525; Supplementum, 151; cf. Propria IV, 839.
Proprium Missarum, 202-203; Ktaba III, 288; Supplementum, 126; Propria III, 629.
Proprium Missarum, 20; Ktaba I, 615; Supplementum, 15; Propria I, 74.
Proprium Missarum, 158; Ktaba II, 655; Supplementum, 103; cf. Propria II, 447.
Proprium Missarum, 129; Ktaba II, 530-531; Supplementum, 86; cf. Propria II, 391.
Proprium Missarum, 144; Ktaba II, 203; Supplementum, 96; cf. Propria II, 420. Cf. Ps 16: 9-10.
Proprium Missarum, 144; Ktaba II, 203; Supplementum, 96; cf. Propria II, 420.
 See chapter 6. 1. 1. 3. 2.
Proprium Missarum, 97; Ktaba II, 243; Supplementum, 61. Awµ°A¸DD²oµk´Ac´ lliterally means one who does not look at the faces or one who does not judge by appearances.
Proprium Missarum, 147; Ktaba II, 616; Supplementum, 97-98; cf. Proria II, 426.
Proprium Missarum, 97; Ktaba II, 243; Supplementum, 61.
Proprium Missarum, 182; Ktaba III, 212-213.
Proprium Missarum, 85; Ktaba II, 124; Supplementum, 51.
Proprium Missarum, 205; Ktaba III, 300; Supplementum, 129; cf. Propria III, 650.
Proprium Missarum, 243; Ktaba III, 513.
Proprium Missarum, 202; Ktaba III, 287; Supplementum, 126; cf. Propria III, 629.
Proprium Missarum, 153; Ktaba III, 628; Supplementum, 99; Propria II, 433.
Proprium Missarum, 22, 258; Ktaba I, 654; II, 576-577; Supplementum , 17, 156-157; Propria I, 89; IV, 868-869.
Proprium Missarum, 258; Ktaba III, 589; Supplementum, 157-158; cf. Propria IV, 879.
Proprium Missarum, 50, 256; Ktaba I, 740; III, 577; Supplementum, 30, 156; Propria I, 154; IV, 868.
 See chapter 6. 2. 2. 3.
 Proprium Missarum, 193; Ktaba III, 263; Supplementum, 123; cf. Propria III, 608.
Proprium Missarum, 193; Ktaba III, 263; Supplementum, 123; Propria III, 607.
Proprium Missarum, 196; Ktaba III, 275.
Proprium Missarum, 63; Ktaba I, 778; Supplementum, 42. A Prayer during the Eucharist celebration in the AJT supplicates to Christ: “And because you received the crown of thorns for us, let us receive from you the crown that does not wither”: AJT, 158, ET: Klijn,Acts of Thomas, 242.
Proprium Missarum, 193; Ktaba III, 263; Supplementum, 123; Propria III, 608.
Proprium Missarum, 33; Ktaba I, 677; Supplementum, 20; cf. Propria I, 99.
 See above 5. 2. 6. 3. See also chapter 6. 1. 1. 3.
Proprium Missarum, 195; Ktaba III, 274.
Proprium Missarum, 191; Ktaba III, 262; Supplementum, 122; cf. Propria III, 603. The Song of the Church in the AJT refers to the dynamic presence of the apostolic teaching in the Church: “The twelve Apostles of the Son; and the seventy- two thunder forth in her”, AJT, 6-7, ET: Klijn,Acts of Thomas, 29.
Proprium Missarum, 197; Ktaba III, 275-276.
Proprium Missarum, 49; Ktaba I, 740; Supplementum, 30.
Proprium Missarum, 196; Ktaba III, 275.
 The East Syrian Chruch celebrates the feast of the Seventy Two disciples on the last Friday of the period of the Apostles; the feast of Twelve Apostles on the first Sunday of the period of Qaitha, the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul on the second Friday of the period of Denha, feast of the Evangelists on the third Friday of the period of Denha and the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, the Father of the East Syrian tradition on the third of July.
Proprium Missarum, 200; Ktaba I, 810; Supplementum, 226; Propria III, 704.
Proprium Missarum, 35; Ktaba I, 677-678; Supplementum, 21; Propria I, 103.
Proprium Missarum, 50; Ktaba I, 740; Propria, 30.
Proprium Missarum, 40; Ktaba I, 700; Supplementum, 23; cf. Propria I, 116.
Proprium Missarum, 197; Supplementum, 125; Ktaba III, 276.
Proprium Missarum, 18; Ktaba I, 613. For details regarding the place of Mary in the liturgical prayers of the East Syrian Church, see Yousif, “Marie, mère du Christ”, 57-85; Yousif, Marie et l’économie”, 829-839; Clerus, “Part of Mary”, 135-164; Pallath, Eucharistic Liturgy, 101-108; Molitorer,Chaldäisches Brevier, 34-35. For prayers in the Hudra for the feast days of our Lady, see Pathikulangara, Mary Matha.
 The Important feasts celebrated are (1) Immaculate Conception; cf. BEDJAN, Breviarium I, 305-317; (2) Mother of God; cf. BEDJAN,Breviarium I, 354-372; (3) Annunciation; cf. BEDJAN, Breviarium II, 536-551; (4) Protectress of Fruits; cf. BEDJAN, Breviarium II, 592-604; (5) Visitation of Our Lady; BEDJAN, Breviarium III, 442-452; (6) Assumption of Our Lady; BEDJAN, Breviarium III, 511-523; (6) Nativity of Our Lady; BEDJAN, Breviarium III, 523-536. The original feasts are underlined; they are celebrated in the AssyrianChurch of the East also.
Proprium Missarum, 20; Ktaba I, 615; Supplementum, 15; cf. Propria I, 75. See also Proprium Missarum, 287; Supplementum, 236.
Proprium Missarum, 287; cf. Supplementum, 235-236. Cf. Ps 45:14.
Proprium Missarum, 7; Ktaba I, 142; Supplementum, 6; Propria I, 29.
Proprium Missarum, 287; Supplementum, 236; Propria IV, 733.
Proprium Missarum, 18; Ktaba I, 613; Supplementum, 14; cf. Propria I, 69.
Proprium Missarum, 21; Ktaba I, 180; Supplementum, 16; Propria I, 82.
Proprium Missarum, 18; Ktaba I, 613; Supplementum, 14; cf. Propria I, 70.
Bedjan, Breviarium I, 345.
Proprium Missarum, 20; Ktaba I, 615; Supplementum, 15; cf. Propria I, 75.
 The WesternChurch and many EasternChurches celebrate the Feast of Annunciation with great solemnity on the 25th of March. But in the tradition of the EastSyrianChurch, the whole season of Annunciation is an occasion to meditate on this great event in the history of salvation and the liturgical prayers of this season bring out the salvific significance of the annunciation. For details see Payngot, Thirunaalukal, 338-339.
Proprium Missarum, 7; Ktaba I, 142; Supplementum, 6; cf. Propria I, 29.
Proprium Missarum, 9; Ktaba I, 154; Supplementum, 8; Propria I, 39.
Proprium Missarum, 5; Ktaba I, 132; Supplementum, 4; Propria I, 20.
Proprium Missarum, 9; Ktaba I, 154; Supplementum, 8; Propria I, 39.
Proprium Missarum, 11; Ktaba I, 154; Supplementum, 9; cf. Propria I, 43.
Proprium Missarum, 21; Ktaba I, 180; Supplementum, 16; Propria I, 81-82.
Proprium Missarum, 20, 287; Ktaba I, 615; Supplementum, 15, 236; Propria I, 75, III, 734.See also BEDJAN, Breviarium 1, 356, 357; II, 544; III, 518 etc.
 BEDJAN, Breviarium I, 314; See also BEDJAN, Breviarium I, 312.
 BEDJAN, Breviarium I, 99.
 For details regarding the objection of the Synod of Diamper of the expression “Mother of Christ” to be used in the prayers of the Divine Liturgy see the decrees of this synod, session V, part II, decree 1, cf. Zacharia, Acts and Decrees, 133-134.