The Structure and content of the anaphora of Addai and Mari

The Structure and content of the anaphora of Addai and Mari

Dr Thomas Mannooramparampil


          The purpose of this paper is to study the structure and content of the anaphora of Addai and Mari[1] which is the oldest anaphora of apostolic origin. As the first part of the research into the antiquity of AM, its titles and its place and language of origin are looked into. The earliest available manuscripts of AM are Mar Esaya text of the 10th or 11th century. Its later structural evolution can be ascertained with the help of commentaries, manuscripts and printed texts of the same anaphora. But early commentaries are not of much help to verify the actual text of that time. By means of the comparison of Mar Esaya text with sarrar, Birkath Ha Mazon and Didache scholars have come to the conclusion as to its earliest written form. From there we are enabled to point out its structural evolution till today.[2] The general theology of the text and the predominant theological themes come under our discussion. Since these themes and the structure of the anaphora are equally applicable to other East Syrian anaphoras, they may become guidelines for the formation of new anaphoras in view.

              St.Thomas Christians were using the anaphoras of  Addai and Mari, Theodore, Nestorius and Diodore till the Synod of Diamper in 1599 which prohibited all of them except the anaphora of AM in the second decree on the doctrine of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: “ Whereas in the Missals of the Diocese there are some Masses that were made by Nestorius, other by Theodore and other by Diodore their master, which are appointed to be said on some certain days, and which , carrying those Names in their titles , are full of errors and heresies, the synod doth command all such Masses ,entire as they are, to be taken out, and burnt , and in virtue of obedience and upon pain of excommunication ,latae sententiae , doth prohibit all priests from henceforward to presume to use them ,  ordering them to be forthwith cut of books, and at the next visitation to be delivered by them to the most illustrious  Metropolitan or to such as he shall appoint to correct their books, that so these Masses may be burnt”.[3] AM was the only anaphora which was in use in the Syro-Malabar Church till recently, though in a Latinized form.  The Patriarch Joseph ll (1696-1712) suppressed the anaphoras of Theodore and Nestorius from the Chaldean liturgy.[4] But Patriarch Khayyath restored them and omitting the names of Theodore and Nestorius in the 1901 taksa entitled them as the second and third anaphoras.

                  On June 26, 1957 Pope Pius Xll approved the restoration of the anaphoras of AM, AT and AN. But only the anaphora of AM was introduced into the Malabar liturgy in 1962. The fact that the Anaphora of Mar Theodore which was withdrawn from use after the Synod of Diamper is being used again in our Church after 415 years is  indeed an important historical reality.

              This paper is divided into three parts:

A. The historical evolution of the text of AM

B. The general theology of the text

C . Predominant themes in the Qurbana

A. The Anaphora of Addai and Mari

1. The titles of the anaphora

            Different titles are given to the anaphora of AM in different printed taksas: the first qudasa, Qudasa of the Apostles, Qudasa of the holy Apostles Mar Addai and Mari doctors of the East etc. It is interesting to note that the names Addai and Mari are   not found in most of the ancient texts. It is simply called “the first Qudasa or Qudasa of the Apostles. The title of the anaphora in the Mar Esaya text of the anaphora is “ Qudasa of the Apostles” and the names Addai and Mari are missing. The commentaries of fourth and fifth centuries do not speak about Addai and Mari. The question is whether this addition of the names of Addai and Mari was made after the tenth or eleventh century .The answer seems to be ‘yes’. The Maronite version of this anaphora supports this conclusion.

           Instead of giving the names of Addai and Mari, the Maronites give the titles ‘the anaphora of St.Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and ‘anaphora of the Apostles’ or ‘sarrar’ The absence of the names of Addai and Mari is an indication that these names were added later to the proper title which was simply ‘qudasa of the Apostles’. We are not sure about when this insertion took place. But there is an indication in an 11th century document in which it is stated: “The Mass of the Apostles was composed by Addai and Mari and Catholicos Ishoyahb abbreviated it.[5]Following this conclusion we are lead to think that the original title might have been changed with the addition of the names of Addai and Mari whom they venerated as their Apostles.

2. The Importance of the original title

The title ‘qudasa of the Apostles’ takes us back to the Apostolic time and to the Apostolic nucleus of the Eucharistic liturgy which is known as ‘breaking of the bread. We find this nucleus in Acts. 2:42. The first Christians devoted themselves to the teaching of the Apostles and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and prayer. This was the first form of the Eucharist common to all the Apostles. Wherever they went, they conducted such a celebration .The prayers and praising of God must have been different according to different Apostles, but the elements of celebration must have been the same every where. So the Eucharistic celebration or breaking of bread must have been the same with differences of prayers and other items according to the specific qualities and experience of each Apostle. Therefore qudasa of the Apostles means the qudasa of the college of the Apostles. In the Maronite rite it was called the anaphora of St.Peter. In the East Syrian Church it could be called the anaphora of St. Thomas because it was given to them by St.Thomas or the anaphora of the Apostles as in the Maronite rite.

3. The  place and language of its origin 

It is generally agreed that the anaphora of the Apostles was composed in Syriac in Syriac speaking region. Macomber observes: “The first step in the process was the original composition of the anaphora somewhere in the Aramaic speaking region in Syria”.[6]Dix claims that this anaphora was not originally a translation from Greek but was composed in Syriac.[7]The place it was composed must have been a stronghold of Semitic culture and language. In the first century Edessa was such a centre of Semitic culture and language and therefore it is believed to have been composed there and the Chaldean Church received it from there. So the anaphora is not originally Chaldean but Edessan.This anaphora was the common heritage of the Churches of St.Thomas whether in Edessa, Chaldea , Persia or India.[8]

                   The Western Church was persecuted in the first three centuries but that was not the case with Edessa. So the development of the liturgy could take place in Edessa quickly and easily. It is considered to be the most ancient anaphora in the whole of Christendom. Its further development happened gradually and its present shape was finally fixed by Patriarch Ishoyahb lll . `

           The oldest available text of AM is the Mar Esaya text of the 10th or 11 th century. A comparison with the present text proves that they are almost the same and that no further changes happened to the text after Mar Esaya text.[9]

4. ( Mar Esaya text)

Section 1

  1. a) Worthy of glory from every mouth and thanksgiving from every tongue is the adorable and glorious Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, who created the world in his grace and its inhabitants in his compassion, has redeemed mankind in his mercy ,and has effected    great grace toward  mortals
  2. b) Your majesty, O Lord a thousand heavenly beings worship and myriad

Myriads of angels, hosts of spiritual beings, ministers of fire and spirit with cherubim and holy seraphim, glorify your name, crying out and glorifying

  1. c) Holy, Holy, Holy, God almighty. Heaven And earth is full of His glories
  2. d) Hosanna in the highest. Hosanna to the Son of David.

Blessed is he who has come and will come in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Section ll

And with these heavenly powers

  1. d) We give to you, O Lord, even we your lowly, weak and wretched servants because you have affected in us a great grace which cannot be repaid, in that you put on our humanity so as to quicken us .You lifted up our poor state and righted our fall. You raused up our mortality and you forgave our debts. You justified our sinfulness and enlightened our understanding and you, our Lord and God vanquished our enemies and made triumphant the lowliness of our weak nature through the abounding compassion of your grace.
  2. e) And for all your help and graces towards us, we raise to you glory, honour thanksgiving and adoration, now and for ever and ever. Amen.

Section lll

f) You, Lord, through your unspeakable mercies make a gracious remembrance of all the upright and just fathers who have pleased you, in the commemoration of the body and blood of your Christ.

g) Which we offer to you upon the pure and holy altar as you have taught us:

h) And grant us your tranquillity and your peace all the days of the world, that all the inhabitants of the earth may know you, that you alone are the true God and Father, and you have sent our Lord Jesus Christ, your beloved Son

and he, our Lord and our God, taught us through his life-giving gospel all the purity and holiness.

i) of prophets ,apostles ,martyrs and confessors ,bishops and priests and deacons ,and of all the children of the holy catholic  Church, who have been marked with the mark of holy baptism.

j) And we also, O Lord, your lowly weak and wretched servants who are gathered together and stand before you at this time, have received by tradition the example (Tupsa) which is from you, while rejoicing, glorifying and magnifying, commemorating and praising and performing this great and dreadful mystery of the passion and death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

k) May he come, O Lord, your Holy Spirit and rest upon this  oblation of your servants and bless it and hallow it, that it may be to us, O Lord, for the pardon of debts ,the forgiveness of sins, and a great hope of resurrection from the dead and new life in the  kingdom of heaven with all who have been pleasing before you.

l) And for all your wonderful economy for us, we give you thanks and glorify you unceasingly in your Church , redeemed by the precious blood of your Christ ,with open mouths and un covered faces as we offer up praise , honour, thanksgiving and adoration , now and for ever and ever .

                      The italics indicate the same words used in both the anaphoras of Mar Esaya text and sarrar.

5. Comparison between them shows the following

                  Except the Para. ‘and we also’   every Para. in AM has a parallel in sarrar, but not vice versa. That is, not every Para. in sarrar has a parallel in AM. It means that the reviser of sarrar had the text of AM basically as it is in Esaya to redact the sarrar. Thus AM is the Urtext of Sarrar.This does not exclude the possibility of the prior retouching of AM which the reviser of sarrar used. So sarrar represents the earlier text of AM. We have to note that it is not a unanimous theory among the liturgiologists. This anaphora in its earliest form was in use till the synod of 410.The aim of this synod was to introduce changes in the customary liturgical usages of the East as its canon 13 shows: “Also, the Western liturgy which Is-haq and Marutha the bishops taught us and all of us saw them celebrating here in the church of Seleucia, henceforth we shall celebrate ourselves in like manner… and the argument of that ancient memory shall no longer exist among us.” While the Churches in the West and East composed new anaphoras in the third, fourth and fifth centuries, the Church of the East had only one anaphora to cope with developments, namely AM. Therefore there is the need of discovering the different strata of liturgical development in the same text.

6. The connection between AM and Birkath Ha Mazon

The similarity of words in both the documents are given below.




Birkath Ha Mazon

1.Blessed are you, Lord our God, king of the universe…the whole world with goodness ,grace and mercy

– Blessed are you Lord, for you nourish the universe…

2. We give you thanks, Lord our God…

(Embolism on the feasts of Hanukah and purim)[10]

-For all these things we give you thanks and bless your name for ever and beyond.


3.a. Have mercy, Lord or God, on us your people Israel…



b.(Epicletic embolism Ya alèh we – Yaho)[11]-embolism on the feast of pasch.


-c.Blessed are you Lord for you build Jerusalem.Amen.

-d.Versicles of the cup of Elijah (Easter meal): ‘Pour out your wrath on nations that reject you, on kingdoms that do not call your name. For they have devoured Jacob, laid waste his home. Pour out your wrath upon them, let the fury of your anger overtake them. Purse them in wrath and destroy them from under your heavens.’ Ps.79:6-7;69:25;Lam 3:66)



1. Glory to you the adorable and glorious Name…who created his grace and its inhabitants in his compassion…



2. We give you thanks…

-For all your help and graces towards us ,we raise to you praise, honour ,

Thanksgiving and adoration…

3. Lord, through your many mercies which cannot be told, do make… a gracious remembrance for all pious and righteous father…




-We give you thanks and glorify you unceasingly in your Church





           The Eucharistic prayer is primarily a blessing. It finds its origin in the Jewish berakah.It is a prayer-form consisting of a blessing of God. Jewish blessing concentrates on God and not on creature. It praises God. Because God is praised the person or object which is the motive for praise is made holy. A typical berakath has the following parts:1) a stylized beginning.2) motive for praise.e.g. “You have sanctified us..”3) in large version is added  ‘ a seal’ which is the resumption of the praise.e.g. “Blessed are you Lord who gives us food to eat”.

                        Scholars today agree that Birkath Ha Mazon is the main source of the Eucharist. The basic structure of Birkath Ha Mazon is blessing for creation, thanksgiving for redemption and supplication for the present needs. Christians gave more importance to thanksgiving for redemption .This eventually led to the omission of blessing while thanksgiving included creation. Those anaphoras which kept a Jewish structure replaced the term ‘bless’ by ‘ praise’. Then the pattern became praise ,thanksgiving and supplication. As a result Christian anaphoras begin with “it is right and just to give you thanks…”.AM begins with “worthy of praise..” The term ‘thanksgiving ‘ is too narrow to describe what a Jew means by berakah.The Hebrew word  nodah or Syriac word ‘audi’ usually translated as ‘thanks’  means ‘acknowledge, confess , praise . Hebrew misses an exclusive word to express gratitude .So the change from ‘bless’ to confess or thanks is specifically Christian.

                         Dix is accredited with being the pioneer who tried to explain the origin of the anaphora by having recourse to the Chaburah meal and particularly to the prayer after meal (Birkath Ha Mazon). [12] Following Dix, L.Bouyer holds that the anaphora is modelled exclusively on the Birkath Ha Mazon in which the first part is a praise for creation, the second is a thanksgiving for the preservation and redemption and the third is primarily a supplication that the creative and the redemptive action of God in the past, which is commemorated in the first part of the third berakah may be continued and renewed today and be fulfilled in the coming of the Messiah. The first part of the anaphora is a praise of God for the creation; the second is a thanksgiving for the saving action; the third, which is a memorial of these actions, develops into a petition that these saving acts of God may be continued today and be fulfilled in the eschatological kingdom, and concludes with a doxology.  Two major questions of importance for the explanation of the structure remain:  how to fix the place of the Narrative-anamnesis block and of the epiclesis. They can be placed as embolisms in the anaphora parallel to those of Birkath Ha Mazon.[13] Institution Narrative can be inserted into the second periscope in the place of the embolism of the feasts of Hanukkah and Purim[14] or in the third periscope of the anaphora in the place of the epicletic embolism called “Ya aleh we- yavo” Ligier attributes the origin of the epiclesis to the paschal form of the third berakah of the Birkath Ha Mazon.[15]In the place of the epicletic embolism of the Birkath Ha Mazon the early Christians invoked for the actualization of the parousia. With the evolution of the sense of the epiclesis[16], the descent of the Holy Spirit as compared with the descent of fire on the sacrifice of Solomon and Elia came to mean the acceptance of the offering by God and the transformation of the oblation into the body and blood of Christ on the Eucharistic altar.[17]Although epiclesis was originally only a prayer over the elements it evolved itself to be a rite as the IN became a rite.[18]L.Bouyer has sufficiently developed the view that the effect of the recitation of the Eucharistic prayer of AM is the actual consecration, because it has been modelled on the three berakoth of Birkath Ha Mazon which are self-consecratory by nature.[19] In short, the anaphora of AM does not require originally IN and epiclesis for the consecration. AM in its first and earliest stratum preserves the basic pattern of the Eucharistic prayer similar to that of the Didache and therefore close to the Apostolic age.

7. Comparison between AM and Didache


1) Almighty Lord, you created all things for your Name’s sake…


2) we thank you, holy Father…

3)Lord, remember your Church…



1) Glory to you, the adorable Name who created the world in his grace and its inhabitants in his compassion….


2) We give you thanks to you, Lord…

3)Make ,Lord, a gracious remembrance for all

the Fathers…

               The similarity of structure and content between them allows us to conclude that the first and early structure of AM still preserves the basic pattern of the Eucharistic prayer similar to that of Didache.

8. The Original Stratum

            From the comparison between the present text of AM and that of sarrar and from the studies on the original stratum of AM scholars in general have concluded that the following might be the most ancient text of AM:

Section 1

a) Glory to you the adorable and glorious Name who created the world in his grace and its inhabitants in his compassion has redeemed in his mercy and has affected great grace toward mortals.

 Section ll

b) We give thanks to you, O Lord, we your lowly, weak and wretched servants, because you have effected in us a great grace which cannot be repaid, in that you put on our humanity so as quicken us by your divinity .And lifted our poor state and righted our fall .You raised up our mortality and you forgave our debts. You justified our sinfulness and enlightened our understanding and you, our Lord and God, vanquished our enemies and made triumphant the lowliness of our weak nature through the abounding compassion on your grace.

c) And for all your help and graces toward us, we raise to you glory, honour, thanksgiving and adoration, now and for ever and ever .Amen.

  Section lll

d) Lord ,through your unspeakable mercies do make ,in the commemoration of your Christ, a gracious  remembrance of all the upright and just fathers who  have pleased you ,the prophets ,apostles ,martyrs  and confessors , bishops and priests and deacons, and of all the children of  holy Catholic Church ,who have been marked with the mark of holy baptism.[20]

            There is no difference of opinion with regard to the first two prayers, whether ending with Sanctus or not. If the third prayer ( the memorial prayer) was there in the beginning it had a slightly different wording, and  was anamnesis proper ( Botte, Bouyer), or part of the intercession ( Engberding, Pitt) or the beginning of epiclesis (Raes).The intercession was at least in part in the original form (Botte, Bouyer, Engberding); it was entirely a later addition (Ratcliff,Dix). The epiclesis was part of the original prayers and is a genuine epiclesis (Botte,Bouyer, Raes), part of the original Intercession (Engberding); later addition at least in the present position (Ratcliff, Dix) .The final doxology was continuation of the anamnesis (Botte). This opinion was weakened by the Mar Esaya text in which epiclesis comes in between the memorial prayer and doxology (Cutrone).

             Botte observing the continuity between para (h) and (i)maintains the actual prayer,” He our Lord taught us all purity and holiness of the prophets and the Apostles…” evidently has sense only if he placed the words “ be mindful” at the beginning of the para ( i). as Renaudot did .[21] Bouyer feels that despite such an addition para.(i) is out of place.[22]

        Botte denies para (i) because it forms part of para (h) whose absence could be explained by the absence of the corresponding para. in sarrar.Following are the observations resulting from a comparison of the para.f-i with sarrar. The inner relation between these two expressions becomes evident from the fact that “through the Gospel” which is joined to the first word in sarrar, is attached to the second word in AM with the addition of “life-giving”. The object of “ he taught” in sarrar is “ I am the living bread”. Although AM has no object for “he taught” in the first place, the second takes for its object “all purity and sanctity”. This cannot be original because the content of Christ’s teaching should explain why we pray for the dead in the Eucharistic sacrifice. When  the original prayer was changed into two parts the introduction of these words might have been necessitated for restoring the connection between the enumeration of the classes of the saints and the “the fathers and the just” by supplying an object to the second “he taught”. The observation led Engberding to conclude that the original form is obtained when it passes from the first “he taught “to the second “he taught”: “Make a good and acceptable memory of all the right and just fathers who were pleasing before you, in commemoration of your body and blood which we offer to you on the holy altar as he taught us: prophets, Martyrs confessors, Bishops, doctors..”[23]

                  Favouring the conclusion of Engberding that the fourth g’hantha belongs to the original stratum of AM , Ligier modifies the argument of Engberding that “ as he taught us” does not allude to the commandment of repeating the supper but to the precept of commemorating the saints as in the Alexandrian St.Basil where it is said: “ preceptum existit unigeniti tui Filii  ut memoriae sanctorum participemus nos”[24].This reference helps us to confirm the right understanding of the prayer of AM in that it deals not only with the divine commandment for the commemoration of the body and blood of Christ but also with the petition to God for the memory of the right and just.[25]

                The fourth g’hantha has two main parts1) You ,Lord.. taught us ( Para h and g). 2) And grant us your tranquillity… holy baptism (para h and i).The first part is for the dead and the second for the living. The second part is not a prayer for the Church but a prayer for the inhabitants of the earth. The enumeration of the various offices and grades of the Church is not the object of a direction petition but the result of what happens if we accept Christ. These observations led E.J.Cutrone to hold that the original petition of the anaphora was para f and g and the rest was later addition.[26] Ratcliff has pointed out that the first part of the g’hantha is principally a commemoration of the departed in terms which suggest a connection with the book of the dead in the diptychs.[27] It can be said that the later addition of the Book of the living to that of the dead occasioned the insertion of a parallel anaphoral part for the living to the prayer for the dead.

                 What has been said suffices to show that the fourth g’hantha in its reconstructed form of Engberding or para f and g belong to the original text of AM. [28]

                  The Para (J)’and we also’ is the third part of the fourth g’hantha added to the preceding part later. Sarrar omits it fully . Dix eliminates from it “rejoicing and praising and exalting and commemorating and performing this great and fearful and holy and life-giving and divine mystery of Jesus Christ’ since it is of later origin. Ms.Chaldean Patri. 209 and Mar Esaya add a new participle ‘praising” before “performing”. This indicates that these participles of similar meaning were added to the text at different times according to the Semitic style. Ratcliff takes away from this paragraph “great and fearful and holy and life-giving and divine”. Macomber also prefers a simple reading of the text in his critical study of the Mar Esaya text.[29] “Holy and divine” are missing in the Mar Esaya text. Although “ awesome” appears in Mar Esaya its absence in Diarbekir Hudra, Mardin Ritual and Berlin 41 suggest that it also may not be original. Engberding has tried to prove that the whole para (J) is secondary and is an extension of the preceding prayer.[30]

            B.Botte observed that this para (J) remains detached from the preceding para (I) Nobody begins a prayer with “ and we also”. And so it betrays a hiatus.[31]Engberding, however, makes a surprising discovery that in the concluding part of the intercession of many anaphoras, the prayer for the living which is immediately preceded by the prayer for the dead is introduced by words “and we also”[32].It can be reasonably presumed that the composer of AM, desiring to add an appropriate prayer for the living to the prayer of the dead at the end of the intercession, introduced it with the already familiar phrase “and we also”. He did not give a main verb to this clause with “and we also”, because it is only an additional link in the long chain of prayer. Therefore, he joined it with the relative clause “who have been signed with the sign of holy baptism” so that it might separate itself as a new group which is very organically linked to the usage: “of the children of the holy Catholic Church”. Such a construction is designated as casus pendens ( Nominative absolute) by which a word or a clause is incorporated into another ,being itself detached from the very sentence construction. In that case, as relative word in the clause should indicate the casus pendens .But in the present case this casus pendens is incorporated into the preceding clause. In conclusion, he finds the main verb of “and we also” in the main verb of the preceding part of the fourth g’hantha. [33]

       In order to show that “and we also” is part of the fourth g’hantha let us see the sequence of ideas within the prayer. “ We” here means the priest and the assembly as it means in the third g’hantha where the same usage occurs “and we also”. Thus the whole usage “and we also” seems to refer immediately to the command of Christ “as you taught us” and to the oblation of Christ “in commemoration of Thy body and blood”. Taken in this context “and we also” has a double meaning: And from our part we remember Thy command and again we offer this oblation in commemoration of Thy body and blood. In the first part of the g’hantha which deals with the remembrance which God makes is related here to the anamnesis which we make. Thus two commemorations- that which God is requested to make and that which we make- are in agreement

           Raes calls this prayer “and we also” as a preparation to epiclesis. The matter is clearer when this para (J) is compared with the prayer introducing epiclesis in Nestorius and Theodore. In the anaphora of Nestorius  “ Therefore we”(nos igitur) Lord, your deficient ,feeble and miserable servants… May there come ,O my Lord the grace of the Holy Spirit.. .”  “ Therefore “ is not a conclusion of the previous sentence but a mere enclic, a vague link with the preceding sentence. This is a clear allusion that “and we also” in AM has the same function as in the anaphora of Nestorius. In this sentence of the anaphora of Nestorius there is “ servants” with three adjectives and a relative close, which shows that the priest stands before God and performs the liturgical service. The theme comes close to that of AM. Although the object of the petition is not expressed, it is implied in the invocation of the Holy Spirit which follows it. In the same way para (J) introduces the epiclesis. In similar manner in the anaphora of Theodore “We beseech you, O my Lord, and supplicate..May there come upon us and upon this oblation the grace of the Holy Spirit…”Here “ we beseech you” is the petition which introduces the following epiclesis. The author of (J) wanted to emphasize here that the priest stood at the moment before God, before the altar to accomplish an important rite, a rite which had come from the Lord and had reached us through a continuous process of tradition, a rite which recalled the death and the resurrection of Christ. It is the rite of the Lord’s Supper. Here arises a difficulty that the prayers of Nestorius and Theodore have a main verb and include a petition to God before the epiclesis whereas the prayer of AM lacks both the elements. But what is interesting is not the grammatical construction but the meaning of the rite. The close parallel between the para (J) and the prayers preceding the epiclesis in Theodore and Nestorius evokes this conclusion. If   Mt 18:20 and 1 Cor. 11: 24 are associated, the general idea of the whole of the epiclesis and “and we also” would be:’ According to the East Syrian tradition, Christ’s salvific mysteries are celebrated when invocation is made in the epiclesis in accordance with the command of the Lord to gather in His name, to invoke His name and to commemorate His passion.


       The qanona reminds us that the whole dispensation with which the second and third g’hanthas deal is ‘towards us”.It further distinguishes the special acts of the Eucharistic prayer: praise is the purpose of the second g’hantha whereas the theme of the third g’hntha is thanksgiving .The fourth g’hantha acknowledges that these acts of praise and thanksgiving are and will be perpetually offered in the Church through the celebration of the holy mysteries. Besides, the Divine mysteries are completed and perfected in the epiclesis.

The addressee of the AM

                       The first section is addressed to the name. Later it was expanded to mean the Trinity. The second section is addressed to Christ and the third addresses to the Father. It is generally held that the anaphora in its origin was addressed to Christ

9. The second stratum

a. Modification in the first section

1)The addition of Qaddysh

          The Jewish use of the Is.6:3 Qeduscha in Yotzer and in the third Tefillah of the 18 benedictions of the Jewish Morning Prayer was introduced into the Eucharistic prayer.[34]Regarding the time of its introduction it is not found till the anaphora of the Apostolic Tradition  (3/4 century) The introduction of the Qedusch into the Mesopotamian anaphora might have happened before 340 A.D. which marked the beginning of the persecution in the Persian church, which disrupted the relation between the Persian church and the Roman West. The Mesopotamian church which was very close to Jewish congregations found it fitting especially because it belonged to the Morning Prayer. Transferring it from Morning Prayer to the morning Eucharist should have been smooth. Macomber holds that the insertion of sanctus antedates the Synod of Mar Isaac in 410. [35]According to Ligier it is the oldest element to be inserted into the anaphora in the East and owes its origin to the Jewish Qedusha.The oldest witness to the use of sanctus in the Qurbana is Origen of Alexandria (A.D.230) The Syriac liturgies adopted it by inserting it into the introduction of the Eucharistic prayer instead of its place in the Alexandrian liturgy as a conclusion to the thanksgiving in the form : ‘Holy,holy,holy Lord of Sabaoth .Syriac liturgies modified it into ‘holy holy, holy is the Lord God of Sabaoth’.The present position and the form of sanctus  are  of  Syriac origin.[36] An introduction was composed in the same literary style  for its insertion ( “Your majesty…”) following the same initial address in the second person ( “Glory to you,.. the name”).The grammatical style of changing from the third person (  “ the Name who created the world by his grace…)  to the second person ( “Your majesty…Your Name ..your grace … your compassion”.)  is Syriac.

2) The modification of the opening sentence

              The modification of the opening sentence  from“ glory to you the Name to  “worthy of glory from every mouth and of thanksgiving from every tongue ,the Name..”evidently should have a reason. This could not have been due to the addition of the O.T Qaddysh to the first stratum, because it was meant to be chanted by the heavenly choir. The modification was motivated by the addition of N.T.  Hosanna and Benedictus ( adopting Ps.118:25-26 and Ez 3:12) which require by its meaning to be sung by the pilgrim Church on earth. The Isaiah Qaddyah was part of the anaphora when it passed to the Maronite Church because it is found in sarrar basically as it is in AM with its introduction. The Hosanna and Benedictus are later additions. This is indicated from the fact that each anaphora has made patch work to adjust the new addition. Sarrar added a phrase “so that we may become worthy to say with them” just before the trisagion and “crying out and saying” at the end of the introductory sentence.  AM framed it with the addition at the beginning of the section” worthy of glory…from every tongue is” “and “with these heavenly hosts even”(in the second section)

b. Addition in the third section

                      The second stage has been obtained at the appearance of the present form of the epiclesis and the ‘and we also’. The addition of epiclesis in AM is according to the”Maranatha form of 1 Cor 16:22 and Didache 10 in the Eucharist. The Holy Spirit is requested to come to do what Christ has done at the Last Supper. The text of the second stratum maintains the apostolic originality and adopted itself to the theological development.

                    The addition of Sanctus and epiclesis may have happened in different moments but we consider them in the second stratum.

   Thus the second stratum runs thus

 Section l

a) Glory to you, the adorable name..

b) Your majesty, O Lord, a thousand…

c) Holy,holy,holy,God almighty .Heaven and earth are full of his glories.

Second ll

d) We give you thanks…

e) And for all your benefits..

Section lll

f) You, Lord, through…

g) May he come, O Lord, your Holy Spirit…

h) And for all your wonderful…

10. Third Stratum

          The third section of the third stratum is concerned with the point to confirm the connection between the act of the Church and the Last Supper .In other words, to show that the Church is doing as Christ has ordered her to do. The reviser expanded the commemoration at the beginning of the third section (   para f., fourth ghantha) to include “the body and blood of your Christ which we offer to you upon your pure and holy altar as you have taught us (Para g).It is not according to the liturgical or biblical style to commemorate the body and blood of Christ but to commemorate Christ in the Eucharist mentioning his salvific acts. This new insertion actually interrupts the flow of the commemoration of the Fathers at the beginning.

            In order to link the act of the Church  with the Institution of the Eucharist the reviser composed a new prayer “  and we also” which also is regarded in connection with the following epiclesis “ As we commemorate you ,Lord Jesus  according to your example , let your Holy Spirit come.”.Sarrar does not have this prayer probably because it has modified the g’hantha in order to insert an Institution Narrative… which can be regarded as a substitute for the prayer “and we also”.

            Fourth g’hantha was originally diptychs for the dead : “ Lord, in your  abundant and ineffable mercies , make a good and acceptable  memorial   for  all the right and just fathers who were pleasing to you , in the commemoration of your Christ : prophets,Apostles,Martyrs ,confessors, bishops, priest and deacons and of all the children of the holy catholic Church who have been signed with the sign of holy baptism”. Later the diptychs for the living was inserted into the original prayer: “And grant us your tranquillity and your peace all the …holy baptism”

        The third stratum is the accepted and well known text of AM which we find in Mar Esaya text.

11. The  The History of the structural Evolution

a. Till G.Qatraya

                    The original form of AM with its undeveloped form of epiclesis which was structured according to Birkath Ha Mazon seems to be the earliest form of the anaphora. The next stage is the appearance of the present form of the epiclesis and “and we also”.  It seems that the first g’hantha existed as a personal prayer of the celebrant by the time of Narsai because he gives its content in the following words:” He now prays with a contrite heart before God and confesses his debts and the debts of the ecclesiastical body. The priest asks for hidden power together with (divine) help, that he may be performing his gifts according to his desire”.[37]As for the qanona, although there is no direct mention in Narsai, its existence is probably alluded to when he says that the people concur to what the priest says and seal his ministry with Amen. Now this’ Amen’ comes at the end of the Qanona.

When G.Qatraya later speaks of thanksgiving  he may simply mean the qanona which is mainly a Thanksgivng: “And we may offer up to thee praise, honour, thanksgiving and worship”.[38]By saying thatthe priest recites the prayer of conclusion in an audible voice to which the people answer “ amen” , George of Arbel clearly hints at the qanona since the qanona was recited aloud and the g’hantha, always in secret.[39]Other elements found in Narsai are the diptychs which is concluded with the prayer: ‘On behalf of all Catholici’[40], the rite of peace[41], the karozutha of the deacon[42], the removal of the veil which he mentions without any accompanying prayers [43]and the dialogue prayer[44]. The liturgical elements introduced by Mar Ishoyahb 1 are the prayers to the Father ‘I thank You’ which is found as prayer for the great entrance. Incensing in the first g’hantha is the new element found in the commentary of G.Qatraya.

b. The prayers introduced between the eleventh and the thirteenth centuries are:

‘Lord, Lord, give us confidence,’ Holy art thou’, ‘Woe to me’[45], the invitation for the prayer: Bless us, O Lord and its response: ‘May Christ hear your prayers,’[46]the qulasa ‘Lift up your eyes’ [47]and ‘O Lord, strong God’ They were introduced after the time of Mar Esaya text which does not include them.[48]Special mention is to be made about the kussape in the anaphora. While reconstructing the anaphora of AM as it existed ca. 500.A.D.Ratcliff observed rightly that Narsai’s homilies have no place for the prayers styled as kussape.[49]R.H.Connolly supported him in agreeing that all the prayers in the Urmi text under the title of kussape were later additions. and therefore did not belong to the earlier part of the liturgy.[50] The same is concluded of the corresponding prayers in Renaudot, Badger and the Malabar Taksas although they are not given this title. Nor do the medieval commentators like Bar Lipha and Ps. George of Abel describes these prayers. Though they are found in the Diyarbakir Hudra (12t57 (1240.A.D.) and Chal. Patri 333 ( 15th cent) they are absent from Mardin 22 (1287.British Museum Or. 750 (15th can) and the 16th century Seigh Hudra and Borgia Syriaca150. Since it is difficult to suppose that the Chaldean liturgy would have been celebrated without kussape in the 16th century. It cannot be concluded immediately from their absence in a text that they were not said at the time when the text was copied. Macomber concludes from the study of the manuscripts discovered by himself that the kussape were not, in all probability, a universally accepted part of the Qurbana until the 16th century. The fact that later manuscripts omit them can be explained by assuming that they were copied from older texts which lacked the kussape or were copied at a time and place where the kussape were not introduced. That thelatter explanation is applicable to Mardi 22 is indicated by Chal.Patri. 36 which was copied in the same century and probably in the same region as the former, where the anaphoras of Theodore and Nestorius also lacked kussape. The Bishop’s ritual includes kussape for the anaphora of the Apostles, but these are the 15th century additions.[51]  It is possible that even at the time of Mar Esaya Hudra, priests may have said some private prayers, analogous to the present kussape, without a fixed formula and according to their personal devotion. It can be speculated that, since the priest could not begin the g’hantha until the deacon ended his elaborate chants he filled the long pause during the prolonged chanting with appropriate private prayers. Macomber holds that in an article written in Orientalia Christiana Periodica that such prayers took the shape of fixed formularies and were introduced as such into the Qurbana in the 12th century because some of them are attributed in Chal. Patri. 209 to the Patriarch Elias lll Abu Halim (1176-1199). But his conclusion does not seem to be very sound because the Diarbekir Hudra, which has the kussape as now, indicates that there was already in the12th century an established tradition for these prayers. Therefore it is reasonable to think that the kussape like the actual ones had been said by the priests in the Qurbana for along period of time before they were written down. Kussape are East Syrian by origin. It is probable that they were in existence originally as private prayers since the fourth century and later they acquired written forms before the 13tcentury.Spinks is of the opinion that their spirituality goes back to the writings of St.John Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia and Narsai.[52]

c. Restructuring of the AM in 1957 and 1962

It seems that the 1962 text adopted a new structure which B.Botte proposed as original as aresult of his study on AM seemingly on the basis of the Latin theology. He holds that the third part of the fourth g’hantha ( “and we also”) and the second Qanona constitute the anamnesis. Epiclesis was later added into it. The present text lacks the IN. Botte argues that the very presence of the anamnesis is a proof for its presence in its original text. He follows the principle of Lietzmann: “No anamnesis without an Institution“.[53]There is an apparent lack of connection between the “and we also” (anamnesis) and the preceding third and fourth g’hanthas.They remain detached from the anamnesis which itself displays a lack of connection with them in its opening sentence ‘and we also’. No one begins a prayer by Saying,’and we also’. The problem is solved if IN narrative is put immediately after the third g’hantha followed by ‘and “we also’ prayer and second qanona. The liturgical commission followed this theory and reconstituted the original anaphora.[54]


1962 Taksa

1.Third G’hantha


3.fourth g’hantha ( second part)

4.Qanona ll

5. lV kussapa

6. lV G’hantha ( first part )

7. Epiclesis

8 Qanona 1




1986 Taksa

a.Third g’hantha (first sentence)

b. Introduction to IN

c. IN

d. Third G’hantha(second part)

e. Qanona 1

f. lV kussapa

g. lV g’hantha ( first  part)

h .lV g’hantha ( second part)

i. Epiclesis

j. Qanona ll


d) Restoring the original structure

Botte’s theory was disproved.. Since there is close sequence of ideas between the early part of the fourth g’hantha, ‘and we also’ and the following epiclesis, there is no need of accepting a non existing structure on less convincing ground. May be because of that reason 1985 document asked to go back to the original and insert the IN and an introduction imitating the Chaldean Qurbana.[55] The anaphora structure of 1986 and 1989 taksas corresponds to the traditional anaphoral structure given in the printed taksas, commentaries of the Fathers and in all available manuscripts: Dialogue prayer, second kussapa, second g’hantha,  qanona ( crying..),third kussapa, request for prayer, third g’hantha,qanona, proclamation of the deacon, lV kussapa,request for prayer, lV g’hantha , epiclesis and qanona.The new structure of the 1986 and1989 taksas has the defect of having inserted the IN and its introduction into the original structure.[56] The recent Roman document ‘Guidelines for Admission to the Eucharist between the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Church of the East, dated, July 20, 2001 can offer a solution to this defect. It admits that the Anaphora of Addai and Mari can be considered valid without a coherent IN in it.[57] It says : “the words of Eucharistic Institution are indeed present in the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, not in a coherent narrative way and ad litteram,but rather in a dispersed eucological was, that is, integrated in successive prayers of thanksgiving ,praise and intercession.”. The whole anaphora was considered consecratory in the early Church.

The present structure of AM is given below





A. Introduction



B.First Cycle














E.Preface dialogue






F.Second Cycle






H. Third Cycle










I. Fourth g’hantha












1.Blessing of the deacon


3 Prayer of access


4.Invitation to prayer











12.Removal of veil

13.Blessing of incense






18.Admonition of  the deacon



20. Invitation to prayer



23.Qaddish (sanctus)



25.Invitation to prayer


27.Institution Narrative

28.G’hantha (continues)


30.Admonition of deacon



33.Invitation to prayer


35.Admonition of deacon

36 Epiclesis

37.qanona (qanona of the Epiclesis)

38 Qanona

B. Theology of the Anaphora of AM

The anaphora of AM is divided into four sections or g’hantha cycles, each of which comprises a kussapa, a

request for prayer, a g’hantha and a Qanona.

a. The first cycle

1) Request for prayer

Realizing the greatness of the sanctuary and his own unworthiness the celebrant prays for God’s blessing and seeks the prayer of the community. He offers the Eucharist in the name of the community and together with them. Therefore he needs the support of their prayer. They pray that God may be pleased with sacrifice which he offers for them, for himself and for the whole world.

2) Kussapa

It is a supplication of the celebrant arising out of the awareness of his own sins, which is a necessary condition to render God praise and thanksgiving .It contains the following petitions:

i) May God forgive the multitude of their sins and not be displeased with them.

ii) May He sanctify the Qurbana  and impart to it virtue and power to blot out our sins. This prayer reflects the firm

faith in the propitiatory nature of the Qurbana.

iii) May we find grace and mercy and be made worthy to sing his praises with the heavenly angels when he visits us

on the last day.

This kussapa is Christo-centric. Christ is addressed in it as Lord and God.

3) G’hantha 1

It is a personal prayer of thanksgiving recited by the celebrant for himself as a preparation for offering the sacrifice. It renders thanks to God the Father for the abundant grace which he has showered on us .For, in spite of his  sinfulness and weakness he chose him to be the minister of his body and blood. God is prayed to strengthen him so that he may administer his valuable gift with perfect love and true faith. The fact that Narsai and Gabriel Qatraya commented on this g’hantha is a clear evidence of its antiquity.

4) Qanona 1

The priest signs himself with the sign of the cross in such a way that his fingers are visible over his head. This gesture symbolizes that he is blessing also the community. Crossing of oneself expresses one’s eagerness to render God  glory and honour. Since the priest acknowledges his unworthiness here to celebrate the divine mysteries on behalf of the community the ‘Amen’ uttered by the people is a ratification of this attitude. Therefore the reason why he signs himself is applicable to the people also. The following rites stand appended to the preceding G’hantha  cycle:Handing over of peace, diptychs, karozutha ,removing of the veil and incensing.

i)Handing over of peace   

The Malabar formula “ peace be with you” symbolized even in the early Church that the Church was  alone with God at the Eucharist and was not mingled with the world which was represented by the Catechumens. The response to this greeting is “ And with you and with your Spirit”.Narsai in unequivocal terms interprets it as “ with thee and with thy sacerdotal office”. Here the people arouse their faith in their priest and acknowledge his priestly dignity .Since he is a human being with imperfections and shortcomings which may even adversely affect his service for others., they pray expressly and specifically for him through this response. The deacon after receiving peace from the priest turns to the people and says:” My brethren, give peace one to another in the love of Christ “. He gives peace to another and thus the peace is transmitted to each member of the liturgical assembly. It symbolises that all are to be reconciled among themselves and with God and should be united in the peace of Christ for the worthy and fruitful  celebration of the Eucharist. It is a kind of profession of unity and charity and calls for reconciliation among the faithful.

ii) Diptychs

While the members of the liturgical assembly give peace, one of the deacons reads the diptychs which is the list of the living and the dead who are to be remembered in the Qurbana, signifying that they profit by it. The concluding prayer requests that the Qurbana be accepted for the dead and the living .It specially prays for the peace of the world, crowning of the year, for all the children of the Church who are found worthy to receive this offering and for those who now stand before the divine presence.

iii) Proclamation of the deacon

It invites to a suitable disposition for the participants to beseech the Lord with pure and contrite heart, to stand with due reverence and attend, pray in heart etc. It also advises to attend to the mysteries that are being sanctified . The deacon here guides the thoughts of all to the sacrifice of Christ which is here a re-presented reality. The word ‘tremendous’ in the announcement signifies that the Eucharist is a communitarian celebration in which the faithful should participate consciously and intelligently. The advice for silence points to the arcane discipline once prevalent in the history. A feature deserving attention is the stress on awe and fear attaching not only to the Eucharistic service but also to the presence at it. The unspeakable holiness of God, his transcendence and majesty and sublimity of divine things lead the people to the feeling of unworthiness and lowliness and from them arises the attitude of fear and awe of the faithful.

iv) Removal of veil

  The priest first recites a kussapa in which he supplicates to help his weakness and to make him worthy to offer the living and holy sacrifice. The desired fruits of it are the good of the congregation and the glory of the holy Trinity. Then he removes the veil from the mysteries and winds it round them, reciting the prayer “ O Lord, by your grace..”which reflects the eschatological hope, derived from this Eucharistic celebration.

v) Incensing

It expresses the reverence  to the gifts on the altar. The altar symbolizes now the tomb of our Lord and the gifts on it symbolize Christ who is dead and buried. The first part of the anaphora till here is a preparation for the anaphora proper which begins with the Pauline salutation.

Pauline salutation. Although originally it was a blessing of the people,  it is now on the gifts, probably in order to make it parallel to the  blessings found in all sacraments. It is the proclamation of the salvific presence of the most Holy Trinity .It throws light on the Trinitarian significance of the Eucharistic prayer and points to the derived fruit of it: the grace of our Lord, the love of the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

5) Dialogue prayer

The priest says with arms raised: “ Let your minds be on high””.  Raising hands is the symbol of raising hearts to God. All our internal movements- movements of our internal faculties are  lifted up to God. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob of the O.T. is Christ in the N.T. We have to raise our hearts to Him who is the real High priest. It also indicates the heaven-wardness of the Qurbana. The real liturgy of praise, adoration and thanksgiving is the heavenly liturgy. We celebrate the earthly liturgy in union with it. The one who performs the liturgy is the Risen Christ. Heaven and earth embrace together during their Eucharistic liturgy. “Qurbana is offered to the Lord of all” means it is a sacrifice which is offered to God, who is the Lord of everything and not to created things. The response “ It is right and just” recognizes the content of the dialogue prayer and offers faithfuls’ support to the priest .It is an expression of approval and means that the celebrant is not celebrating alone but with the community .To sum up, the dialogue prayer leads the participants to a necessary disposition for a fruitful participation in the Eucharist.

b. The Second cycle

1) Kussapa ll

The first part is a prayer that the celebrant may have confidence to perform the divine mysteries with pure conscience whereas in the second part he prays that God may instill in the hearts of the participants a spirit of charity and mutual understanding. As a prayer for peace, common order and quietness , it serves as introduction to the general spirit of the whole anaphora. It makes clear the attitude which is needed to celebrate the Eucharist. It is a penitential prayer to remind the community of its fallen state and the need for redemption. The central ideas of any kussapa are priesthood and oblation. Since the priest is anointed as minister and mediator of the mysteries , his power of prayer is great. Being aware of his own lowliness he prays for worthiness.

2) G’hantha ll

The first part invites all to render glory, praise, adoration and exaltation to the glorious name of the holy Trinity . These acts of glory, praise and adoration which rise from all mouths , all tongues and  all creatures respectively are suited to introduce the Sanctus because among all creatures which exalt and adore God are included the celestial beings with whom the adoring community joins in this divine praise. The celebration of God is universal in which not only all the creatures but also the whole person of the adorer has an active and full part. The reason for praising is the creation of the whole world and its inhabitants and the great favours bestowed on mankind. The consideration of the salvific acts of God stimulates priest’s sense of gratitude and moves him to sing divine praises with the heavenly choir. From among the angels only the Seraphims and Cherubims are mentioned by name. When the priest says with lifted hands ‘they offer worship’ as if by an inner compulsion, these words of the priest serve as an invitation to join him in the singing of the Sanctus , together with the angelic choir.

3) Qanona-Holy

The present ‘Holy’ hymn is constituted of Is. 6:3 and Mt 21:9 with modifications.

c. The Third  Cycle

1) Kussapa lll

It can be designated as an embolism of the Holy hymn and is applied to the Holy Trinity, to the celebrant and to the participants. In the first part  the celebrant glorifies and confesses the three divine persons as the source of holiness. The second part is the prayer of  man who in spite of his sinfulness  is called to the sanctuary to  encounter the Lord face to face.This prayer in general reflects the spirit of awe and fear. The third part is a prayer for the purification of all. Having been thus purified the participants become worthy to join their terrestrial voice with those of the angels in the hymn of divine praises.

2) Request for prayer and its response

They remind the priest and the people of their mutual relationship. The priest on his part becomes aware that the support for his sacrifice is the prayer of the people and they on their part become convinced of their duty to pray for the priest who is one among them and is weak in nature so that he may offer the holy sacrifice more worthily. The response is a beautiful Christological prayer in  which the personality of Jesus Christ and his salvific mysteries are confessed.

3) Institution Narrative and its Introduction

All available manuscripts show that there was no IN in AM[58]. Since IN is  historical and not theological if it has to be inserted into the third g’hantha which is theological it requires a historical introduction which says that the Word of God became man and that at the end of his earthly life he left us the Eucharist as his memorial. It consists of the context of the last Supper, action and words of Christ on the bread, the action and words of Christ on the chalice and the command of Christ to do what he has done in His memory. G’hantha lll . IN and its introduction are inserted after the first sentence of the third g’hanta and it continues after them.

4) G’hantha lll

It recalls the divine mysteries of Christ as the mysteries of the human nature assumed in Christ.Incarnation which is the only historical fact mentioned in it is also viewed in its salutary aspect. The g’hantha in itself deals with the stupendous effects of the salvific works of Christ. Even the resurrection and exaltation are referred to in relation to their eternal effects in us. The scope of this g’hantha is theological rather than historical. It  begins with “ and with these heavenly hosts, we also”.It is followed by a list of reasons why man feels that he has to thank God. 1. God has given us grace which cannot be repaid. 2. His incarnation for our divinization. 3. our reestablishment and reconciliation. 4. condemnation of our enemies. 5. grant of victory.

5) Qanona lll 

It is just a conclusion of the g’hantha.

d. The fourth  cycle

1) Deacon’s announcement and qulasa

This g’hantha is introduced by the deacon’s announcement  and is concluded with another announcement which is at the end of the epiclesis proper. These announcements show the importance of this  g’hantha   cycle in which the epiclesis is placed. The qulasa advises the participants to understand the glorious mysteries performed here and to render homage to it and to take part in it meditatively. When the faithful raise the eyes of their hearts to the world of faith they see three categories of people: the Seraphims who glorify and sing praises to the body and Blood Christ,the people who beseech Him and the priest who supplicates mercy on the whole world.

2) Kussapa lV

  The priest begins to pray for the assembled community so that it may draw divine help and graces through the active participation in the celebration of Christ’s redemptive mysteries. As in the Jacob’s vision of the ladder (Ge.28:11-12) there is an ascending and descending movement in the Eucharistic celebration. Church makes her sacrifice, praises and petitions ascend so that God’s blessings and graces may descend on the participants. The priest as the mediator carries out the task of intercession in the following kussapa and g’hantha.

3) G’hantha lV

It is  Holy Spirit centered and deals with the themes of Church and sanctification. Holy Spirit dwells in the Church and carries out the work of sanctification. Whatever happens in the Church from the beginning till now is the work of the Holy Spirit in the process of sanctification. The whole g’hantha is addressed to the Father and not to Christ who is spoken of in the third person . The g’hantha in its earliest form is said to be a prayer for the dead and later the prayer for the living was added.

It has three parts. The first part is a prayer for the dead and remembers the just and righteous fathers who found favour in God’s presence in the commemoration of the Body and Blood of Christ. It distinguishes between the good remembrance of the dead and the commemoration of the Body and Blood of Christ.

The second part is a prayer for the faithful and the inhabitants of the earth. It prays for peace and tranquility of the world and for the knowledge of God revealed in Christ and in the Church. It is a missionary prayer that the world may know God the Father and Jesus Christ whom He sent and what Christ has done for us. It remembers three categories of people: a) four divisions of leaders” Apostles, prophets, Martyrs and confessors. b) Those that are in the three grades of ministry: bishops, priests and deacons. c) All the baptized. These two parts together remember the living and the dead and constitute a priestly prayer parallel to the diptychs before the anaphora proper.

The composer of this g’hantha has definitely drawn inspiration from the canticles of Zacharias( Lk 1:69-79), the sermon  of Jesus after the Last Supper (Jn. 14:27;17:3) and from the prayer of Solomon

(1 king 3:60ff).Athough its Christian colouring is supplied by St.John, the prayer itself seems to have been modelled on the prayer of Solomon which alone furnishes the three terms in the same order: our fathers, people of Israel and all the people of the earth , and supplies the theme for the g’hantha.

In the third part, the priest reminds that we make memorial of the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the first part God is asked to remember the dead and here we from our part remember the command of Christ “as he taught us” and offer this oblation “in the commemoration of the body and blood “. “we ” here includes the priest and the assembly and this prayer asserts that the Eucharist is the celebration of the whole liturgical assembly.

The third part “and we also’ is regarded as the preparation to epiclesis. ‘Received by tradition (1 Cor.11:23) ‘the example which is from you’ relates to the last supper. The last supper is the basis and type of today’s Eucharistic celebration. This usage is considered by many as a substitute for IN.

Thus the g’hantha has the following ideas” 1. Remember all the just and holy fathers. 2. Grant us peace. 3. We have received by tradition the example which is from you. 4. We celebrate this mystery of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ.

4) Position of the intercession

Ancient Eucharistic prayers are classified on the basis of the position of the intercession in it: 1. Syro-Oriental type which puts the intercession before epiclesis. 2. Syro-Antiochean type which has intercession after the epiclesis. 3. Alexandrian type which places intercession before Sanctus. East Syrian anaphoras fall into the first category. The g’hantha preceding the epiclesis in East Syrian anaphoras comprises memorial and supplication. What is offered is the holy sacrifice which is the memorial of the passion, death, burial and resurrection of our Lord. Most essential is the offering aspect of the Eucharist. The concepts of memory and offering are linked together and expressed through the word ‘remembering’.The Church offers also supplications and intercessions. Epiclesis is the culmination of the intercessions and is put at the end of the intercessions. The ultimate end of all our prayers and intercessions is the sanctification. The most typical example is the prayer of Solomon for the dedication of the temple of Jerusalem. When Solomon ended his prayer, fire came down and burnt the offering. Here it is clear why the epiclesis is the last part of the anaphora and is related to and coming from the anamnesis and offering

5) Epiclesis

It is incorporated into the fourth g’hantha. It has three parts: 1) that the Holy Spirit may come down and dwell in the oblation.2) that He may bless it and sanctify it. 3) that the reception of the offering on which the Holy Spirit descends and dwells may bear the fruits of pardon of debts, remission of sins, great hope of resurrection from the dead and new life in the kingdom of heaven.

Since the Holy Spirit is invoked on the offering to bless and to sanctify, the effects in the participants of this offering are the results of the Holy Spirit changing the bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood . The word ‘bless’ bears the full profundity of its meaning in the Jewish liturgy. The Jewish blessing has sanctifying effect. Christ blessed the offering and through the blessing it was sanctified. Sanctification is the technical term which means the transubstantiation of the gifts into the body and blood of Christ. Epiclesis is seen as a moment when the consecration is completed.  The first part is the epiclesis. The second and third parts are the consequences of the Holy Spirit’s descent on the oblation because as Cyril of Jerusalem states, whatever the Holy Spirit touches is sanctified and changed.

The whole anaphora reenacts the death and resurrection of Christ. His death is celebrated till the epiclesis and at the epiclesis His resurrection is re-presented.  First g’hantha is preparatory. Second g’hantha is theological; the third is Christological and the fourth pneumatological, ecclesiological and eschatological.

6) Qanona lV/1

Its function is to bring the anaphora to a close. It reminds that the whole dispensation with which the second and the third g’hanthas deal is towards us. It further distinguishes the special acts of the Eucharistic prayers: praise is the aim of the second g’hantha whereas the theme of the third g’hantha is thanksgiving .The fourth g’hantha acknowledges that these acts of praise and thanksgiving are and will be perpetually offered in the Church through the celebration of the Eucharist. Since the mysteries are completed at the epiclesis this qanona is well suited here to render honour, thanks and worship to God for the divine dispensation.

Qanona lV/2 serves as the conclusion of the fourth g’hantha cycle.

C. Predominant Themes of AM

a. Biblical

One of the main characteristics of the East Syrian Qurbana is that it is biblically rich in its content. Biblical piety is a norm for liturgical piety. No sensus cultus without sensus Scritturae. Liturgical piety is in continuity with the Biblical piety. Liturgy is the cultic expression of the richness of the Bible. Liturgy is the patristic synthesis based on the Holy Scripture and tradition which are the sources of divine revelation. The Judeo-Christian view that the O.T. is he prophecy and type and N.T. is their fulfillment and the Semitic way of presenting Biblical ideas are expressly found in its prayers and rites. The prayers and rites of the Qurbana are very rich with Biblical allusions and references.[59] We shall point out some predominant theological themes of the anaphora of Addai and Marri.

1) Praise, Thanksgiving and Supplication

AM is rich with the expressions of praise, thanksgiving and supplication. The first part is praise. The second part is thanksgiving and the third is supplifation.Since praise and thanksgiving are very related we treat them together. Because of the predominance of praise and thanksgiving the whole anaphora is called Eucharistic prayer. The words of praise mean public profession or proclamation of God’s glory.Thanksgiving expresses sentiments of gratitude for the gifts received. It is also praise with acknowledgement. It is to be noted that the second and third g’hanthas have no supplication. Prayers ofsupplication are found throughout the Qurbana and especially in the anaphoral parts: kussape, first g’hantha, requests for prayer, prayer at the exchange of peace, the diptychs, karozutha of deacon, prayer at the winding of sosapa, prayer of blessing the incense, fourth g’hanta and epiclesis. The first kussapa is:”We may… be made worthy to sing your praise with the hosts of spirituals”.[60]First g’hantha is a thanksgiving in general terms:” We thank you for the abundant graces you have showered on us…you made us worthy to minister the holy mysteries of the body and blood of your Christ”[61]It is concluded with a doxology : “ We offer you praise and honour ,worship and thanksgiving ..”The karozutha after the Diptychs invites all to thank the Lord with purity and contrition. The reason is that priest is going to pray that peace may flourish”.[62] The second g’hantha acknowledges the appropriateness of praising God:” Worthy of praise from every mouth, of confession from every tongue and of worship and exultation from every creation is adorable and glorious name of the blessed Trinity”.[63]The reason is that the Triune God created the whole world and its inhabitants and bestowed great grace on mortal man. Praising and thanksgiving God with mouth is found also in the final qanona:”We will thank and glorify you…with unveiled face and unclosedmouth.[64]We pray in the introduction to the Our Father before the communion : “ Let our tongues proclaim your truth and let your cross be protection to our souls, while our mouths be turned into new harps and sing hymns with fiery lips”[65] Such references are not rare in the Holy Scripture. For example Ps.34:1,145:21 and 71:8 say that worshippers praise God with their mouths. Praise and thanksgiving of the earthly community are joined to the heavenly beings: “O my Lord, thousands of those on high bow down and worship your majesty…Myriads upon myriads of holy angels, host of Spiritual ministers of fire and spirit glorify your name, and with the holy Cherubim and the spiritual Seraphim, they offer worship to your Lordship”. The earthly church joins the heavenly beings in singing “holy, holy holy”.[66]It shows the manner in which heavenly beings glorify God in heaven.’Crying out and glorifying ‘refers to the Sanctus in the anaphora (Is 6:3;Rev.4:8).It is through Sanctus that the earthly beings render thanks and praise just as the heavenly beings do. The beginning of the third g’hantha:”And with these heavenly hosts we give you thanks,O my Lord” indicates its direct connection with the Sanctus. The admonition of the deacon observes that when the people lift their eyes to heaven above and look through the understanding of hearts, they see that the Seraphims together with the priest and the people glorify and sing praises to the body that is prepared and the chalice that is mixed. The final motive for praise and thanksgiving is the divine economy which means Christ’s life and redeeming work.[67]The gift of God finds its fullness in the person of Christ:. “ That it is you who are the only true God, the Father, and that you have sent our Lord Jesus Christ your Son and your beloved”. Thanksgiving for the divine dispensation is referred at the conclusion of the anaphora:” And for all this great and admirable dispensation towards us we will thank and glorify you unceasingly in your Church…”As the anaphora proper opens with the glorification of the name of God, it is also concluded with the praise and glory to the name of God:” offering glory, honour, thanksgiving and worship to yourliving ,holy and life-giving name”[68] As to the nature of the supplication it can be classified as follows:

  1. sacrificial. It expresses the aim of the Eucharistic sacrifice. E.g. The first kussapa prays:”sanctify this sacrifice and impart through it virtues and power”.[69]
  2. Personal. Priest prays to make him worthy to celebrate the Eucharist.e.g.” make me worthy to offer before you this living and holy sacrifice”.
  3. Ecclesial. It aims at the good of the Church.e.g.the fourth kussapa:” accept this Qurbana for the entire holy Catholic Church”.
  4. Pneumatologicval.In the Pauline salutation we say:” The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ… fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all”.[70]
  5. Eschatological. It is prayer for the eschatological benefits.e.g. :” O Lord, may I come before you withconfidence on the day of judgment.”

Intercessions are supplications

Fourth kussapa and fourth g’hantha are intercessions for the Church. They are  concluded with the epiclesis which is the supplication for the coming down of the Holy Spirit on the oblation.

2) Holistic Vision

Qurbana contains a holistic view of the world that is expressed in several levels. First of all, this vision is found in prayers which depict the worshipping community as comprising men and angels who join together in glorifying God. This solidarity includes also saints. The prayer before communion says that we, being united to the Body and blood of Christ may, together with all the saints shine brightly at his great and glorious manifestation.[71] The prayer after the Holy Communion speaks of praising Christ in company with the just and with the thief in paradise.[72] So we have the vision of the community which comprises of men here on earth and saints and angels in heaven, all united in worship. This integral vision of the Qurbana is viewed as affecting the whole man at all his dimensions in his life. The sanctification worked by Christ is the sanctification of the whole man: spirit, mind and body. The hymn of laku mara confesses that Christ gives life to our bodies and salvation to our souls. The mention of the bodily health along with the life of the soul is a significant expression of the holistic anthropology of the Qurbana.

3) Ecclesiology of the Qurbana

Another element of the holistic vision is about the Church. It is the place where we can thank and glorify God.  The English word Church as well as its Scottish equivalent ‘Kirk’ and the word ‘Kirche’ is derived from the Greek word Kyriakon which is the neutral adjective of kyrios. Kyrios means Lord and therefore kyriakon signifies ‘belonging to the Lord’.

The term ‘church as a building symbolizes the whole cosmos. The expression ‘heaven and earth alludes to this truth .Church is the type of  both the  world. The concept of church as the temple of God is not restricted to the church –building alone. Man in whom God dwells is also the temple of God.

The term Church occurs in the text of the Qurbana several times. The basic themes of the fourth g’hantha are the Church and the sanctification by the Holy Spirit who dwells in her. The creed recited in it defines the characteristics of the Church: one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic.[73]The fourth kussapa prays for the entire holy Catholic Church.[74] The prayer after the anaphora requests:” Establish, O Lord, your peace and tranquility in the four corners of the world and especially in the holy Catholic Church”.[75] The prayer of the imposition of hands asks: “ Lord, our God, stretch out your right hand of mercy on the Catholic and Apostolic Church which is spread from one end of the earth to the other”[76].In the karozutha after the Gospel reading we ask grace from the Lord for the Church.[77] In relation to Christ or to God it is called ‘your Church’ or his Church .We pray: “Lord God Almighty, yours is the holy Catholic Church”.[78]” “We thank you and glorify you unceasingly in your Church”[79].We recite: “glory be to him in his Church”[80].”Praise be sung in his Church”.[81]

The Church  invites the faithful to receive the Body and Blood of Christ.[82]The karozutha before the litany of forgiveness invites:” Let us participate in the mysteries of the Church”[83]The prayer of consignation throws light on the fruit the Holy Communion : “ May they ( the divine mysteries) be unto us and to the holy Church of Christ , O our Lord, here and in all places, for the pardon of offences”.[84]

The following prayers seem to be a recognization of the plurality of sister Churches or of the fact that Catholic Church is the communion of individual Churches: “For peace, harmony and stability of the whole world and of all Churches we beseech you.”[85] “May I administer to you people …the peace and tranquility of all the Churches “.[86]The Church is qualified as redeemed community, community of reconciliation, people of God, flock of God, Body of Christ, pilgrim Church, Bride of Christ, paradise, kingdom, Jerusalem above, queen and mother [87]

4) Worshipping community

The Greek word ekklesia means a people who have been convoked. It was applied to the people of Israel, especially when they were gathered for religious purpose. N.T. references show that the term ecclesia assumed a technical sense of being a specific Christian community applying also to the universal Church (Acts 8:1-3). It is a community of worshippers (Jn.4:23-24). St.Peter says: “ You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people set apart to sing the praises of God who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light”.(1 Pet.2:9).Christian community is a priestly community .It is a plebs sancta, the holy people of God, and its most beautiful and most sacred task is to glorify God in its cult, to worship the Father in Spirit and truth.

At the liturgical level the term ekklesia means primarily the liturgical assembly as a sign and realization of the universal Church and as the mystical body of Christ.  The fact that liturgy is the celebration of a particular liturgical assembly is well brought out in the rites and prayers of the Qurbana. Almost all liturgical prayers are in the first person plural. The fourth g’hantha says:” We also, O my Lord, your weak, frail and miserable servants who are gathered together in your name…”[88] This ‘we also ‘is connected with the third g’hantha: “ We also, your weak..”[89] ‘We’ here means the liturgical assembly

Salvation which is offered to the members of the Church in liturgy is communitarian and ecclesial. In order to show this truth even the celebrant priest was not allowed to receive the Holy Communion by himself in the East Syrian Church. He had to receive it from another person. Liturgy calls for active, conscious, full and intelligent participation of all the participants according to their rank, offices and states of life.  The structure of the Qurbana calls for the active participation of all the participants. There are prayers and rites reserved to the main celebrant, concelebrants, assisting

deacons, and faithful. The community responds to the prayers of the celebrant and to the proclamations and instructions of the deacons. The celebrant requests the prayers of the community and they pray for

him. There are also prayers which they recite together.

5) Horizontal dimension

In the liturgy as a communitarian celebration every one is related to the community and everything tends to its perfection. Theologically speaking, an individual is minister only in so far as he is related to the community which confers a collective nature to his action.  It is in the name of the Church and by the power of the ordination that a priest is authorized to officiate at the liturgy. This truth about liturgy is brought to light with the concept of appointment about priesthood as is stated in the prayer after the consignation: “Glory to you, O our Lord Jesus Christ, for though I am unworthy you have in your grace appointed me a minister and mediator of your holy….and divine mysteries”.[90]There is no self appointed priesthood. It is conferred and appointed by a higher authority. This is referred to in the prayer of the imposition of hands:”Through the grace of the Holy Spirit …are conferred, by the imposition of hands, the order of priesthood”.[91]Hence a priest or a bishop is not expected to use the liturgy according to his personal whims and fancies, ignoring the instructions of the legitimate ecclesiastical authority. The ‘Amen’ of the congregation in response to priest’s prayer has to be understood in the light of the common priesthood of all the faithful. It means the active involvement of the whole community in the liturgical celebration. Priest is not the only celebrant of the liturgy but the leader of the community He is acting on behalf of the congregation.`

The Eucharistic celebration strengthens the union of all Christians because this union is the effect produced by the Eucharist and leads them to a common commitment.[92]A celebration becomes fruitful only if the participants become the sign of hope in a firm commitment to unity and solidarity. This solidarity is well expressed in the Qurbana.The object of many prayers is the prosperity of the whole world. Thus the priest prays: “Lord God, stretch forth your hand of mercy on your Catholic and Apostolic Church which extends from one end of the earth to the other. Preserve her from all harms seen and unseen”.[93] The congregation often prays for the ecclesiastical authorities.[94]The celebrant seeks the prayers of the community. [95]The proclamation of the deacon serves as a typical example for the great concern of the Eucharistic assembly and for the individual members whether living or dead.:” Let us prayer for our Fathers, the patriarchs and bishops, priests and deacons and young men and virgins, our parents, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters , all the faithful rulers that love Christ, and for all who have departed from this world in true faith. Let us remember all prophets and Apostles, martyrs and confessors of this place and of every place[96].The prayer for mankind[97] radiating from the Church is reflected in various ways as the following example testifies: “For the peace, concord and welfare of the whole world and of all the Churches .we beseech you. For our country and for all the countries, and for all the faithful everywhere we beseech you. For favourable seasons, plentiful harvest and the prosperity of the whole world we beseech you”.

Several prayers reflect the great concern of the Church for peace in the world. For example, the prayer after the epiclesis reads:” Establish your peace and tranquility in the four corners of the world and especially in the holy Catholic Church. May there be peace between the Church and State.”[98]The final huttama summarizes the whole attitude of the brotherly love and concern for the world:” May his grace and mercy be showered upon us and upon the whole world, upon the Church and her children, ..” [99]

If the Eucharist is the continuation of Christ’s redeeming love, it involves also the opposition to all kinds of evils which oppress men of our day. In his public ministry Christ attacked evil, taught against errors, dishonesty, prejudice and hypocrisy of men and spoke against the social injustices of his time. The implementation of Eucharistic activity of Christ should also imply the continuation of the same opposition to evil and demand the self-dedication of the Church to the work of effective charity.

6) Heavenly Church and Liturgy

The glorified Church in heaven and the Church on earth are not two separate entities. They are the two phases of one Church. The earthly phase is the downward extension of the heavenly Church .The heavenly Church and her liturgy are the source of the  earthly Church and her liturgy. There is only one liturgist who is Christ and there is only one liturgy which is that of Christ.

The liturgical assembly feels the presence of the angels with them. They constitute one adoring community with them. The qanona of Our Father says:”Angels and men cry out to you: holy, holy holy are you”.[100]When we join our prayers with those of angels the prayer becomes more powerful and acceptable to God. Therefore the prayer before the anthem of the sanctuary says:” Before the glorious throne of your majesty, O Lord, we …with thousands of cherubims and archangels who sing to you ‘holy.”.[101]The Anthem of the Mysteries says:” Let us sing his praises with the angels ‘holy.” [102]The second g’hantha says:” O my Lord, thousands of those on high bow down and worship your majesty .Myriads upon myriads of the holy angels, hosts of spiritual ministers of fire and spirit, glorify your name; and with the holy cherubim and the spiritual seraphim they offer worship to your Lordship”[103]The third kussapa prays:” Mingle, O my Lord, the voices of our feebleness with the hallowing of the seraphims and archangels. Glory to your mercies who have associated the earthly with the spiritual beings”.[104]The third g’hantha says:” And with these heavenly beings we give you thanks..”[105]The heavenly beings join with the earthy Church in the worship of the Eucharist :” Together with the priest and the people the seraphims glorify and sing praises in loud unending hymns to the Body that is prepared and the chalice that is mixed”.[106]

7) Eschatological Dimension

By eschatology is meant the doctrine on the last things. It is very often understood in an individualistic way. Christian eschatology should be understood in the perspective of the history of salvation. This history is moving to its end at which God’s salvific plan will reach its fulfillment. The end of the world will be the victory of Christ which will come about by a free intervention of God.

The death and resurrection of Christ marked the inauguration of the final era of the world. The promise of his return implied that the end of the world would occur in two stages. The present stage is the final stage in which the new order of things exists fully in Christ and in a hidden way in the world.   The aim of this period is to offer men the occasion to cooperate with the new order and to help it to penetrate into the world. The second coming of Christ will mark the second stage which will manifest fully the new order in the world. Then he will all to completion. When he comes again, all men will rise again with their bodies. There will happen to us what happened to Christ in his resurrection.

Eschatological hope is inherent in the very notion of the Eucharist which is the sacrifice of the new Israel that has been called into being as the eschatological community. It is the prognostic sign because it enkindles in us the hope of the final manifestation of our Lord. Last things as viewed in the Qurbana are the following:


There are explicit references to the parousia in the text of the Qurbana. Referring to it the credo confesses: “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead”. We pray again:” He offers himself for us on our altar till his glorious second coming. Therefore, let us approach him and offer this sacrifice with the hope of eternal bliss”.[107] The Eucharistic community that prays for the return of the Lord anticipates that hour by reciting the jubilant Hosanna which serves as the form of greeting at the parousia.[108] The following prayer shows how the adorers are strengthened in the hope that they will find grace through the sacrifice to sing praises eternally: “So that when you shall manifest yourself at the end of time in that humanity of ours which you assumed, we may find grace and mercy in your sight and be made worthy to sing your praises with the hosts of angels”. [109]

Resurrection. Faith in the resurrection of the body is expressed in many prayers. Epiclesis says:” May He bless it and hallow it that it may be unto us, Lord..for the great hope of the resurrection from the dead.”.[110]The karozutha before the Holy Communion exhorts:” Let us have hope in the resurrection and in the new life in the kingdom of heaven”.[111] What is the basis of this faith?. The response sounds thus: “Behold , the dead have fallen asleep in the hope that through your glorious resurrection you will raise them up again in glory.”[112]

ii. Last judgement

The liturgical season of Elia is devoted to symbolize particularly the end of time and the Last judgement and to prepare the faithful for the same especially by advising them to purify themselves through the works of penance.[113]

iii. End of the world 

As the following prayer indicates the assembly eagerly awaits the last day:” When God crowns them on the last day, let us be also received with them into the kingdom of heaven”.[114] The eschatological tension of the Church is expressed through imageries like pilgrim Church on the way, church as kingdom, bride, queen, heavenly Jerusalem and paradise [115]

iv. Anticipation of the eschatological benefits [116]

Vigilance for the present opportunities and the courage to resist the temptations occupy the central place among the eschatological virtue. The gift of faith enriches every Christian with joy because he experiences the future already in anticipation .This spirit of joy is tangible throughout the prayers in the Qurbana .For example, the prayer on the Friday of the third week of the resurrection reads:” Our heart rejoices in Him..”[117]

8) Trinitarian Faith

The anthropological vision of the Qurbana is manifested also in the relation of God with us. The fundamental relationship between God and man is that between the creator and creatures. According to Bible mystery is the divine plan of salvation which consists in God’s self revelation to man. The ultimate mystery is God himself who communicated himself in the plan of salvation. The ultimate mystery is the mystery of the Holy Trinity as our creator. It is the foundation of Christian faith. Second g’hantha says: “ worthy of praise …is the adorable and glorious name of the most holy Trinity, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit who created the world by your grace and its inhabitants by your mercy and bestowed great grace on mortal men.”[118]In the Bible, especially in the O.T.  name is used as a substitute for God who is present and active where His name is invoked. So the name of the holy Trinity means the Triune God who dwells in man. In this prayer the works of creation and salvation are attributed to the Trinity after the fashion of the O.T. Yahweh is usually praised as creator ( ps.8; 19:1;95:5 ).Saving acts also belong to the Trinity but without prejudice to the salvific acts of Christ. That God saves is stated often in the O.T (Hos13:4;Jer.3:23;1 Mc 38;Is 17:10) The Church belongs to the Trinity.  The liturgy is set apart, consecrated and perfected in the name of the Trinity: the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Trinity.[119] God accepts his creatures as his partners .The conclusion prayer of Trisagion expresses this salvific experience of the Triune God as of the one who dwells in the holy ones[120]. This mystical union of the indwelling of presence of God in human beings is the sublime element in N.T.( J0 14:15 17).The corresponding sentiments evoked in us are those of gratitude and mercy. God is presented as merciful by nature. Fourth kussapa runs thus:” O our Lord and our God, deal with your people and with me according to your mercies”[121].God is our wise ruler who cares for his household. Pauline salutation reflects this: “ Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all”[122] Karozutha ll asks us :” Let us commend ourselves and each one of us to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit”[123] May we note some more remarkable confessions and exaltations of the Blessed Trinity in the text of the Qurbana:

1. “ May the adorable and glorious name of your blessed Trinity , be worshipped, glorified, honoured, exalted, confessed and blessed in heaven and on earth, at all times, Lord of all, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for ever.Amen”[124]

2. “ Lord of all, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. From eternity and for ever.Amen”[125]

3.”Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit .From eternity and for ever.Amen alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.”[126]

4. “ In the name of your most Holy Trinity…Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for ever. Amen”[127]

5. “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit .men”[128]

6. “ I give you thanks, my Father, Lord of heaven and earth, Father, Son and Holy Spirit”[129]

7. “Holy are you, God; You alone are the father of truth from whom is all fatherhood in heaven and on earth .Holy are you, eternal Son, through whom all things were made. Holy are you, Holy Spirit, the Being by whom all things are sanctified”.[130]

8.” For, to you and to him and to the Holy Spirit belong glory [131]and hour, thanksgiving and worship, now and always and for ever and ever”

9. One alone is holy, the Father; one alone is holy, the Son; one alone is holy, the Spirit. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.Amen”[132]

10. “ We are bound, O Lord, to offer to your blessed Trinity glory and honour, praise and worship and perpetual thanksgiving …”[133] .The divine dispensation is the function of the three divine persons.   Liturgy has very clear and precise ideas about the persons of the Holy Trinity.

i. Father

He is the Yahweh ,the God of Abraham,Isaac and Jacob who is revealed as the Father, as the Father of Jesus Christ and as our Father. He is the father of truth from whom is all fatherhood in heaven and on earth .[134]  He did not deal with us according to our sins, but in his mercy deprived us from the power of darkness and invited us to the kingdom of… our Lord Jesus Christ.[135] Before taking the Gospel from the altar the celebrant recalls the mercy of the Father:  “O Christ, light of the world and life of all, glory to the eternal mercy which sent you to us, for ever.Amen.”[136]The fourth g’hantha prays: “ grant us your tranquility and peace all the days of the world that all the inhabitants of the earth may know you the Father, that you have sent our Lord Jesus Christ your Son..”.[137]

ii. The Son

The community’s faith in Jesus Christ as God is based on the faith of the universal Church. In the Niceo-Constantinopolitan creed we say: “We believe one Lord Jesus Christ the only begotten Son of God.. consubstantial with the Father”. It means the community’s faith in the unity and diviniy of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God who assumed our humanity, the splendour of the Father’s glory, the image of the Father‘s person, Lord of all by whom all things were created. He is the Offerer , Victim and receiver of the sacrifice, He is the vivifier of our bodies and the Saviour of souls.The divine liturgy is the commemoration of the mystery of His passion, death and resurrection In the third g’hantha which is addressed to Christ his incarnation is mentioned in terms of putting on our humanity.[138] This reflects the Christology of Mar Theodore who explained the incarnation as ‘putting on of humanity’. The redemptive work of incarnation is the vivification of our nature by Christ’s divinity. It reminds us of the patristic understanding of redemption  as divinization .God became what we are to make us what He is. The third g’hantha speaks of the Divine Word who is  pre-existent. The succeeding part points to the equality with God and His divine Sonship.The scriptural passages behind this text are Col.1:15;2 cor. 4:4;Heb.1:3;Phil 2:6ff ;Gal.4:4f. The text refers to the real and full human nature of Christ. The recalling of Christ’s salvific works fills us with gratitude and appreciation. “ We give you glory and honour,thanksgiving and adoration for all your favours and graces you have granted us.”   The fourth g’hantha expresses explicitly the faith that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Qurbana is the commemoration of the divine mystery of the passion, death, burial and resurrection of our Lord. The Christocentrism is evidently found in the Pauline salutation: “The grace of our lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit are with us all…”[139]It is through the revelation of Christ that we have the true revelation of the Father and of the Holy Trinity. It is the Grace of Christ that makes us experience and enjoy the love of the Father and the fellowship of the Spirit. The economy of salvation and its revelation is thus centered around Christ and the Christ event.[140] In the rite of reconciliation we prayer:” O Christ peace of those in heaven above and great hope of those on earth”.[141]This implies that Jesus not only brought peace but also he is the peace. During the Qurbana priest offers this peace to the congregation and each one offer it to another Priest does it in the sign of the cross. This symbolizes that Christ has brought peace and reconciliation through his atoning death on the  cross. In order to highlight the greatness of Christ the text speaks of His superiority over the angels. The Hymn after the elevation of the Host says:” His ministers who do his will, the Cherubim, the Seraphim and the  archangels , stand with reverence and awe before the altar and the priest.”[142]The announcement of the deacon after the elevation of the Host says: “The Seraphim stand in awe before the glorious throne of Christ … the seraphim glorify and sing praises ..”[143]

iii. Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit is the Spirit of sanctification. The celebrant addresses  the Holy Spirit:’ Holy are you, Holy Spirit, the principle by which all things are sanctified”.[144] The sanctifying function of the Holy Spirit is mentioned  during the ceremony of prostration:” The priest invokes…the Holy Spirit; and the Spirit descends from above and sanctifies the body”. It is not only the Father but also the Holy Spirit is involved in the Christ -event. After the Holy Communion the deacon says that it is by the gift of the Holy Spirit that we have approached the holy altar and have been accounted worthy to participate in the holy mysteries.[145]The prayer of epiclesis points to the special role of the Holy Spirit in the Qurbana.The fact that it is addressed to Christ shows the intimate connection between Christ and the Holy Spirit who came down after the glorification of Christ. So it is chronologically fit to make the prayer of epiclesis after the commemoration of the resurrection of the Lord in the fourth g’hantha. Epiclesis shows that the Qurbana is blessed and sanctified by the Spirit of Christ that it may be to us unto the pardon of debts, remission of sins  and the great hope of resurrection from the dead and new life in the kingdom of heaven. In the concluding prayer of the epiclesis attention is given to the Father and thanks are rendered in the Church redeemed by the precious blood of Christ for the wonderful divine dispensation. His dispensation is the Christ-event and its culmination in the coming of the Holy Spirit. Thus the fourth g’hantha and the following epiclesis reveal the community’s faith in the role of the Holy Trinity in the dispensation of salvation in Christ. The final qanona in its Trinitarian addressing can be understood against this background.

9) God’s Holiness and man

The anthropological vision of the Qurbana is well elucidated in its prayers. The ‘word ‘holy’ and ‘holiness’ reveal the essence and nature of God. Creaturely holiness is derived from the divine by some contact with the ‘holy’. In O.T. Yahweh alone is holy. The whole of Christian understanding of God and his relationship to his people can be summed up in the following Biblical verse: ‘Be holy, for I, the Lord your God am holy”.(lk 19:2).By participating in the holiness of God man becomes holy. This happens in the Church through the liturgy.

Christ through his paschal mystery makes man participate in the life of God. In the Eucharist we remember and celebrate this mystery and participate in it sacramentally. Syro-Malabar Qurbana remembers the whole history of salvation from the creation of the world till the Parousia. Anaphora is the central part of the Qurbana where the community commemorates and celebrates the central event of the mystery of salvation, namely the passion, death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

10. Affective Love

The Italian poet Dante in his famous classical work” The Divine Comedy” speaks of love that moves the sun and the other stars”. The power of love of God is manifested in the history of the love of God in the world. Worship of God is not primarily a matter of the head but of the heart. It is the loving acknowledgement of God who is the Saviour. After the peace ceremony the deacon instructs the congregation to lift up their hearts to heaven.[146]The mention of the heart points to the affective side of the whole set up. The hymn of Trisagion is another expression of the sentiments of praise in the Qurbana[147] .The celebrant concludes the first g’hantha by kissing the altar, crossing over himself and saying:”we offer you praise and honour…”[148] The same affective expression is found also in the second g’hantha:”worthy of praise from every creature….”.[149].Sentiments of gratitude are an important component of the affective dimension of the Qurbana. In the third g’hantha we say:” you have done us great favours which cannot be repaid”.[150]

The affectionate gratitude is expressed for personal and communitarian reasons. In the prayer of entrance to the altar, addressing God the celebrant says:” My father, for though I am a sinner, you have made me worthy by your grace to offer before you these holy…”[151]This personal awareness of one’s unworthiness is a recurring theme in the Qurbana. After the peace giving the celebrant prays to make him worthy to offer this sacrifice [152] then he proceeds to say: “you have made me worthy.”[153]

This affectionate gratitude is expressed in a communitarian way in the fourth g’hantha:”We thank you, O Lord…”[154]The subsequent prayer is for strength “so that we may with perfect love… give us”[155]The primary concern is to administer the Qurbana with perfect love.

11. Affective address to God

While entering the sanctuary the celebrant calls God ‘my father’.[156]After entering the sanctuary the celebrant kisses in the middle, at the right corner and at the left symbolizing the ardent love for the father, Son and the Holy Spirit. We have in the Qurbana five fold kissings, namely on the cross, gospel, veil, altar and the Host. This shows the strong affective love.

Repetition of prayers is another way of expressing affectionate love. They are of three kinds’) By way of synonyms. For example, “great, holy, awesome, adorable, divine, vivifying” or predicates such as “worshipped, glorified, honoured, exalted, confessed, blessed or gerundial adverbs: rejoicing, glorifying, commemorating, celebrating…” b) By way of repeating the same idea. For example, the idea of thanks and praise. c). By way of repeating the similar ideas.

12. Remission of sins

The vision of holiness elicits in man the awareness of his sinfulness and littleness. In the Sanctus the priest feels like Isaiah 6:5 “woe to me…” [157]One basic perception of the Qurbana is the humble awareness of man’s weak and sinful nature. This is very important in a world that is increasingly loosing the sense of sin. This awareness is the result of being in the presence of God.

According to the early Christian tradition the sacrament of penance effects the Christian reconciliation not as the only form but as a proper and specific form celebrating conversion and reconciliation in particularly grave cases of rupture in the ecclesial communion. Another fact to which history and Bible point is that the Holy Eucharist is a perfect means for the remission of sins.

i. Remission through the sacrifice

The words of institution over the bread: “This is my body which is broken for you” is a witness to the emphasis given to the purificatory effect of the holy sacrifice because “remission of sins” here which is non-biblical is an addition in the East Syrian formula. The common use of ‘remission’ in the text of the Qurbana clearly testifies to the belief of the early Church that the Eucharistic sacrifice effected the remission of sins.

A few texts in the ordinary of the Qurbana can elucidate this point. Alluding to the desired end of the Qurbana the prayer which commences the anaphora says: “Lord Jesus Christ, through your ineffable grace, hallow this sacrifice and impart to it the virtue and power to blot out our sins”. The prayer after the initial ‘Our Father ‘designates Qurbana as “Propitiatory sacrifice which sanctifies body and blood.” The congregation raises the following appeal in the first karozutha: “For the forgiveness of sins and all that enhances our life and wins pardon for your people’s offences and forgiveness for the sins of the sheep.” In the prayer after elevation of the Host people acknowledge the effect of the Eucharist: “His ministers… divide the body of Christ unto the forgiveness of sins.” The power of the Qurbana to remit the sins of the living and the dead is recapitulated in the final hut tama for the dead: “Receive O Lord, this sacrifice on his behalf, pardon and forgive his offences and blot out his iniquities; let those who participated in today’s holy sacrifice be made worthy of the forgiveness of sins through God’s mercy.”

ii. Remission of sins through the Holy Communion

Holy Communion is the communion in the victim of the sacrifice and is a means to enter into the movement of the sacrifice rendered present in the consecration. Numerous prayers explicate the belief that the participants receive the remission of their sins through the reception of the Holy Communion:” “These and I, who through your mercy receive in true faith this sacred body, may become worthy of the pardon of faults and forgiveness of sins”. The epiclesis prays:” That it may be unto us, Lord, for the pardon of our offences and for the forgiveness of sins”. In the elevation of the Host priest says:” Those who receive it are saved by it and are pardoned by it”. In the consignation the priest says:” The sacred body is signed with the propitiatory blood our lord Jesus Christ…May they be unto us, O my Lord, for the pardon of offences and forgiveness of sins”.[158]

Eucharist is the sacrament of forgiveness because it sacramentally presents and communicates the act which remits sins. As memorial of the cross it applies the expiatory effect of the cross to those who celebrate the memorial by putting them in touch with the paschal event in itself through the bread and cup of the meal and invokes the infinite mercy of God on the whole world. The forgiveness that makes the Church worthy to communicate in the Eucharistic meal is directly produced by the memorial itself, and this effect is [159] consummated in sacramental contact with the body and blood given in the salvific sacrifice.


[1] Hereafter referred as AM

[2] Thomas Mannooramparampil, The Origin and Development of the Syro-Malabar Qurbana,in:Ecclesial Identity of the Thomas Christians ,Kottayam 1985,p191-204

[3] M. Geddes, The History of the Church of Malabar ,London 1694 ,245.

[4] W.  Macomber, A History of the Chaldean Mass, Worship 51(1977.) 107-120.

[5] Rahmani, Les Liturgies orientales et Occidentales ,Beyrouth 1929,p.33.

[6] W.F. Macomber, The Maronite and Chaldean Versions of the Anaphora of the Apostles ,OCP 37(1971)79.

[7] G.Dix, Shape of the Liturgy,London 1964,p.180.

[8] Thomas Mannooramparampil, The Anaphora and the Post anaphora of the Syro-Malabar Qurbana ,kottayam 1984,p.1-25,

[9] Ibid,49-52

[10] PE 52-53.; L.Ligier, De la Cène de Jesus a l’ anaphore d’Église,in La Maison Dieu 87 (1966)30-32.

[11] Prex Eucharistica ,Textus e variis liturgiis antiquioribus selecti,ed.A. Hanggi-I.Pahl,Freiburg 1968, p. 27,51

[12] Thomas Mannooramparampil The anaphora and the Post-anaphora,86-102.

[13] Ibid. 94-99.

[14] PE 52-53.

[15] L Ligier, De la cène du Seigneur  à l’Eucharistie in Assemblèes du Seigneur,serie 1,p. 37.

[16] Thomas Mannooramparampil, Epiclesis (Christian Orient 1998 June) 134-147.

[17] L.Ligier, DE la Cane de Jesus  45.

[18] Ligier, The Origins of the Euchariatic prayer,Studia Liturgica (1973) 180-181; Id., De la Cane de Jesus 44-45; De la Cane du Seigneur a l’Eucharistie 46.

[19] L.Bouyer, Eucharist. Theology and Spirituality of the Eucharistic prayer,Notre Dame 1968,p.48-49,86-88.

[20]  Bosco Puthur(ed),Studies On The Anaphora of Addai and Mari,L.R.C. Publications N.9 Kochi 2004.,p.15-16.

[21] LOC ll 586.Yet Bouyer feels that despite such an addition para (i) is out of place.

[22] L.Bouyer, Eucharist, 150.

[23] H. Engberding, Zum anaphorischen Fürbittgebet der ostsyrischen Liturgie der Apostel Addai und Mari, OS (1957) 108.

[24] L.Ligier, Magnae Orationis Eucharisticae seu anaphorae origo et signification,Romae 1964,252,142.

[25] Ligier,  Magnae Orationis  79,252.

[26] E.J.Cutrone, The Anaphora of the Apostles-Implication of Mara Esaya Text,Text and Studies 43(1973) 637

[27] E.C.Ratcliff, The Original Form 27.

[28] Cfr.Thomas Mannooramparampil, The Anaphora and the Post –anaphora ,56-59.

[29] W.F. The Oldest Known Text 309.

[30] H.Engberding, Zum anaphorischen Fürbittgebet 119

[31] B.Botte,L’Anaphore Chaldéenne des Apôtres 270.

[32] H.Engberding. Zum anaphorischen Fȕrbittgebet 114-115.

[33] Thomas Mannooramparampil,Anaphora and the Post-anaphora 74-77.

[34]  Cfr.For the detailed study of sanctus in the anaphora .cfr. Thomas Mannooramparampil, The anaphora and the post-anaphora p.53-56.

[35] W.Macomber , The Maronite and Chaldean Versions of the Anaphora of the Apostles, in Orientalia Christiana Periodica 37 (1971) 84.

[36] G.Dix 538.

[37] The Liturgical Homilies of Narsai,(ed) Connolly .R.H.,Cambridge 1909,p. 3.

[38] G.Qatraya Bar Lipah,Homilies and Interpretations on the Qurbana,Changancherry 1977,p. 97.

[39] Anonymi auctoris Expositio Officiorum ecclesiae Georgio Arbelensi vulgo adscripta,CSCO Scriptores Syri,series 2a.t.91,Romae 1911, p. 41; Bar Zobi

[40] Syro-Malabar Qurbana (Trivandrum 1989)36. Herefater- R.

[41] Ibid.35.

[42] Ibid.36

[43] Ibid.36..

[44] Ibid37

[45] The Syro-Malabar Qurbana 37,38,39.

[46] Ibid.34,39,43.

[47] Ibid 42.

[48] Thomas Mannooramparampil, The Commentary of an anonymous Author, Harp,Vol.XXVll 2011,303-333.

[49] E.C.Ratcliff, The Original Form of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari : A suggestion,in JTS 30(1929) 26.

[50] R.H.Connolly, The Work of Menezes on the Malabar Liturgy,JTS 15(1914)424.

[51] W.F. Macomber, The Oldest known Text 344.

[52] Spinks, Priesthood and Offering in the Kussape of the East Syrian Anaphoras,in SL 15(1982-1983) 107-110.                

[53] H.Lietzmann, Mass and Lord;s Supper, Leiden 1953)50-55.

[54] Thomas Mannooramparampil,Problem of the Institution Narrative in the Syro-Malabar Qurbana (Harp,vol.XVl 2002)224-230.

[55] Final judgement of the S.Congregation for the Oriental Churches Concerning the Order of the Syro-Malabar Qurbana .n.34. Cfr. Thomas Mannooramparampil, The Structure of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari in the Syro-Malabar Qurbana (Christian Orient ,March 2002)26-36;Id., The Anaphora and the post Anaphora of the Syro-Malabar Qurbana,60-86.

[56] Thomas Mannooramparampil, The Structure of the Anaphora of Addai and Marin in the Syro-Malabar Qurbanan, Christian Orient(March 2002,Vol XXlll)26-35.

[57] Cfr.Robert Taft S.J., Mass Without Consecration ? The Historic Agreement on the Eucharist Between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East Promulgated 26 October 2001,in  Thomas Mannooramparampil(ed),Theological Dimensions of Christian Orient ,Kottayam 2005., 66.-88

[58] Thomas Mannooramparampil, Problem of the Institution Narrative, p.228-236.

[59] Thomas Mannooramparampil. Biblical Allusions in the Anaphoral and Post-Anaphoral parts of the Syro-Malabar Qurbana (CO June 1997)71-91; Id.,  Biblical Allusions in the Pre-anaphoral part of the Syro-Malabar Qurbana ( CO June 1995) 74-83.

[60] R.41.

[61] R.42.

[62] R.43.

[63] R.51

[64] R.59.

[65] R.59

[66] R.45.

[67] A.Gelston, The Eucharistic Prayer of Addai and Mari, Oxford 1992,113-114.

[68] R.51.

[69] R.35.

[70] R.37.

[71] R.58.

[72] R.64.

[73] R.39.

[74] R.48.

[75] R.51.

[76] R.31

[77] R.28.

[78] R.31.

[79] R.15.

[80]R. 60

[81]  R.69.

[82] R.63.

[83] R.57.

[84] R.55.

[85] R.26.

[86] R.40.

[87] For further study refer,Thomas Mannooramparampil, Ecclesiology of the Syro-Malabar Qurbana ( CO 2000,Vol.XXl

No 1)4-22.

[88] R.51.

[89] R.49..

[90] R.56.

[91] R.31.

[92] Thomas Mannooramparampil, Horizontal Dimension of the Syro-Malabar Qurbana,( CO 1992.June)99-104.

[93] R.60.

[94] R.13

[95] R.29-30

[96] R.22.

[97] R.60

[98] Taksa 60,p.35.

[99] Id.53,30.

[100] R.6-7.

[101] R.12.

[102] R.35.

[103] R.45.

[104] R.46.

[105] R.46.

[106] R.48.

[107] Taksa 60, p.96..

[108] Id  28-29

[109] Id 24. For further study  refer , Thomas Mannoramparampil,Eschatological Dimension of the Syro-Malabar Qurbana (CO 1991.June)77-94.

[110] Taksa 60,p.34-35.

[111] Id 42.

[112] Id 20.

[113] Bedjan , Breviarium lll,257,258 and 289.Taksa 60,p.27; Supplementum 40,48,49 etc.

[114] Taksa 60,p. 17,24.

[115] For details refer, Thomas Mannoramparampil,Eschatological dimension,p.86-92.

[116] Cfr. Ibid,8792-94.

[117] Supplementum 98

[118] Syro-Malabar Qurbana 1986.45..Hereafter refer as R.

[119] R.55.

[120] R.17.

[121] R.49.

[122] R.44.

[123] R.29.

[124] The Order of Raza 4; a similar one in p.9.

[125] R.This form is used to conclude the orations .It is used 14 times in the text.

[126] R.p. and 59.

[127] R.10.

[128] R.22,24 and48.

[129] R.33

[130] R.38.

[131] R.51.

[132] R.53.

[133] R.60.

[134] R.46.

[135] R.58.

[136] R.22.

[137] R.50.

[138] Sebastian Attappilly, Christological Faith- Expressions in the Syro-Malabar Qurbana .(CO  June 1993)76-90.

[139] R.44

[140] James Aerthayil, The Trinitarian Dimension as the essential Element of the Syros-Malabar Spirituality, CO ,July-September 1981)9—105.

[141] R.51

[142] R 54

[143] R.48.

[144] R.46.

[145] R.66.

[146] R.43.

[147] R.12.

[148] R.42

[149][149] R.45.

[150] R.47-48.

[151] R.40

[152] R.43.

[153] R.44.

[154] R.42.

[155] R.42.

[156] R.40.

[157] R.46.

[158] Thomas Mannooramparampil, Penitential Service in the Post-panaphora of the Syro-Malabar Qurbana ,in:J.Madey and G.Kaniarakath,The Church I Love,p13-50

[159] Cfr.Thomas Mannooramparampil, Syro-Malabar Qurbana and Reconciliation,(CO 2006.June) 47-58; Id. Remission of sins through the Participation in the Syro-Malabar Qurbana (CO1983.Marxh)64-82.

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