Maronites and the Anaphora of Patriach Mikhail the Great – Fadi BARUDI

Posted by on Mar 13, 2014 in Articles, Library | Comments Off on Maronites and the Anaphora of Patriach Mikhail the Great – Fadi BARUDI

The maphrian Grigorios Ibn-al’Ibri (Barhebraeus-13th c.) is the author ofa book entitled “Manarat al-Aqdaas”. The same title was given to a book by the Maronite patriarch and historian Istifan ad-Duwayhi (17th c.) which implies that he was inspired by the title used by his predecessor. However, what concerns us in ad- Duwayhi’s book here is the part in which the historian refers to the anaphora of Patriach Mikhail the Great and which was used among other Syriac anaphorae current in the liturgy of the Maronite Church.

In his description of the word anaphora, the number of Syriac ones, their history and differences, etc… ad-Duwayhi in chapter two of volume two enumarates: «. ..the anaphorae found in the Antioch Church of God and names of the fathers who wrote them.». In other words, these anaphorae where henceforth acceptable in the Maronite Church and permissible for Maronites to use them in their liturgy. In chapter seven, ad-Duwayhi enumarates those anaphorae that where not acceptable to the Maronites Church, warning the clergy from using them in their services. This means that it was no longer permissible for the Maronite Church to include them in their liturgy. He says: «In the study of non-permissible anaphorae -Other than those we have mentionned previously, there exist many anaphorae in the liturgy of the Syriac followers of Butrus al-Qassar (peter the Fuller), Dioscoros, Eutachi and many others, which are among the anaphorae that are included in the liturgy of the disciples, their students and the fathers who were responsible for the schism between us and them, as well as in the anaphorae of their scholars. Herunder is a  list of their names…for the information of the clergy and as a warning for them to avoid their invocation (to use them in the mass):

From among the patriarchs of al-lskandaria (Alexandria): Dioscoros… Timotawos… From among the patriarchs of Antioch and Mardin: Sawirios… Butros al-Qassar … Yashu’ bar Shushan… Mikhail the oatriarch… Yuhanna bar Ma’dani… 19natios Yusuf bar Wahib…Ya’qub al-Baraadi’… Philoxinos bishop of Manbij… Liazar bar Sabta… Sim’an al-Faarisi… Ya’qub Sawro… Basilios bishop of Bagdad… Musa bar Qifa… Dionysios bar Salibi… Grigorios bar lbrayo (Barhebraeus)… Yusuf Aksanyo… Yuhanna Sobo… Tuma al-Harqali…».

It is notable that all the names mentionned where members of two sister Churches who believe in the «one incarnate nature of the divine Logos», the Coptic Church and the Syriac Orthodox Church which was known as the Syriac Jacobite Church.

Chapter eight of the same book is entitled: «The mass in which these non-acceptable anaphorae are used is itself not acceptable», and among the reasons given is that «… it is evident that the mentionned anaphorae repudiate the fourth council and call for the excommunication of Lawun (Leon) the Pious and the fathers who convened this council and further only acknowledge three of the councils».

However, what is confusing is that ad-Duwayhi in enumarating the acceptable anaphorae to the Maronite Church, also allows the usage of the anaphorae of Ya’qub as-Srugi, Marutha at-Takriti and Ya’qub al-Rahawi.

It is therefore to be concluded that both the acceptable and non-acceptable anaphorae were in use by the Maronite Church, which fact was responsible for Patriarch Nuh al-Bqufawi of the Syriac Jacobite Church to address the Maronites by saying: «. ..Your mass uses the words of our fathers and your supplications are in the words of our fathers, as are your funeral services. All your holy books only confirm that you are all Syriacs». I have in one ofmy articles (in arabic) referred to some Maronite manuscripts which mention some of the above names ( authors of the non-acceptable anaphorae ), or which include the texts of some of them, among whom are Mar Sawirios the Patriarch, Mar Philoxinos bishop ofManbij, Mar Ya’qub al-Baraadi’, Marutha at-Takriti, Ya’qub al-Rahawi, Tuma al-Harqali, Liazar bar Sabta, Musa bar Qifa, Yashu’ bar Shushan, Dionysios bar Salibi, Grigorios Ya’qub Qindasi al-Malti, Yuhanna bar Ma’dani (see: Vat. Syr. XXVIII, XXIX, XXXI, XXXII, XIVIII, LII, CCCXVII, CCCCXI, CCCCXIV, CCCCXIVIII; Vat. Syr. Borgia 56; Paris Syr. 73, 78).

What is still not available to us is a Maronite manuscript which includes the anaphora of Patriarch Mikhail the Great, the subject of our present discourse; this is due to the scarcity of such Maronite manuscripts. The question therefore is why this dirth despite the fact that the Maronites have used these in there liturgy for over long periods and why has the Maronite Church discontinued their use since the 17th c.; I will therefore discuss in brief the conditions which were prevalent in Mt. Lebanon and its coastal area before the 17th c. between the Maronites and the Jacobites, especially during the 15th and 16th centuries.

It is a non-contestable fact that following the Council of Chalcedon, a faction of the Syriac people in Mt. Lebanon accepted the «one incarnate nature of the Divine Logos» according to references mentioned in manuscripts and historical annals of the Syriac Church, later known as the Syriac Jacobite Church. It is also certain that until the mid 15th c., and more specifically, before the Council of Florence (1438-1445 A.D.) both J acobite and Maronite Churches in Mt. Lebanon lived in harmony with each other . This is attested to by the fact that no conflict is reported in either the manuscripts or histories of the period between the two Churches. What is of significance is that the Maronite Patriarch Yuhanna Daud (d. 1404) moved his seat to Hardin (in Mt. Lebanon) which was then the important centre of the Syriac Jacobite Church in the area.

The situation between the two Churches changed to the worse about the second half of the 15th c., seemingly due to two (indirect) causes: the results of the Council of Florence (especially with regard to the Maronites), and the arrival of the Franciscan Order to Mt. Lebanon and its missionary activities among the Maronites, resulting in antagonistic feelings between the two Churches. The direct cause for this deterioration can be found in the annals of ad-Duwayhi.

The year 1488 was the watershed which changed the amicable relations between the two denominations into hostilities and at times into violent confrontation. Under continued pressure, the majority of Jacobites were forced into migrating from Jibbat Bsharri in the direction (according to ad-Duwayhi) of Hardin in the mountain heights and Kfarhawra in the flat lands close to the coast and to Tripoli.

This escalation of pressure to latinize the Maronite Church eventually even affected the Maronite Patriarcate itself, when some of the Patriarchs (including some Maronites hermits) were accused of being Jacobites or sympathetic to the Jacobite Church. This pressure went further to incorporate a number of Maronite manuscripts. During his investigative visits to the Maronite Church in Mt. Lebanon ( on two occasions, first from 1578-1579 and later from 1580-1582) the Papal Nuncio Father Eliano undertook the «…examination of the ritualistic manuscripts such as the gospels and their interpretations, the anaDhorae used as well as other religious references. He used to study each manuscript separately and if he came across any text that contravened the beliefs or rituals or traditions adopted by the Chuch (Roman Church), he would annotate them and separate them from others and would then present them to the (Maronite) Patriarch and the Bishops, to prove to them their deviation from the accepted dogma. They would then agree to amend the texts on some pages or else to burn them, should the contraventions be too many. In this way a number of books were burnt in the presence and acceptance of the clergy and the congregation who desired nothing but to please Rome in their beliefs ».

For all these reasons. the Maronite texts which included these “non-acceptable”

Anaphorae are very rare to come by.

As I mentioned earlier, I did not have a Maronite document that includes the anaphora of Patriarch Mikhail the Great, however, I was fortunate to come across it through the efforts of Dr. Lucas Van Rampay to whom I am grateful. It was Mr. Barsum Can, a student of professor Van Rampay, who had published a brief study about this rare manuscript. I shall not go into a detailed description of this document, but I will content myself by mentioning the colophon and list the names of the authors of the anaphorae, the prayers or invocations, making some relevant annotations were needed.

Manuscript no.1572 or. is the property of Leiden University in Holland. It is a Syriac Maronite manuscript containing Syriac anaphorae.

The colophon say (karshuni): «Oh father the reader, remember the humble writer in your service for he is lowly and miserable. May God remember you in his heavenly kingdom, Amen. Do not blame the humble writer for his little knowledge» .

«This blessed book is for the blessed Saint Sarkis of Ras al-Nahr monastery and as-Saydeh and Mar’ Abda. May their prayers be for us and be of help to the humble person who wrote it, Amem>.

(Syriac) «In the name of the living and eternal God. Abraham the Bishop. (Karshuni) In the greek year one thousand eight hundred and six (1494-1495 A.D.) hajjeh Turkieh from the village of Kfarshakhna  brought this book and presented it to the monastery of Ras al-Nahr as a donation, and whosoever removes it from

its place shall be disinherit ted…».

That the manuscript is a Maronite one is ascertained by two factors:

A- The deacon makes reference in the prayer to the four Councils: Nicea, Constantinople, Ephesus and Chalcedon, which means that the congregation which uses the prayer in this document acknowledges the Council of Chalcedon.

B- In the same prayer is mention of among the holyfathers «…the Chosen Mar Marun the Blessed one, the Eloquent and the Pillar of all the Holy Churches» .

The document, as mentioned above, contains a collection of anaphorae which at that time were an integral part of the liturgy current in the Syriac Maronite Church:

1- «Anaphora of Matta al-Ra’i…» (used in the liturgy of the Syriac Jacobite Church; see Paris Syr. 720). Accepted by ad-Duwavhi.

2- «Anaphora of Patriarch Mar Yuhanna who is bar Ma’dani…» (the Patriarch of Antioch for the Syriac Jacobite Church -died 1263); he has a sermon about the sacrements in Kitab al-Huda which constituted the basic dogma of the Maronite Church in the Middle Ages. This anaphora was also referred to in another maronite manuscript Vat. Syr. XXXI. Not accepted by ad-Duwavhi.

3- «Anaphora of Mar Ignatios the Patriarch who is Mar Yusuf Wahib al-Mardini…» (the first of the Mardin Patriarchs of the Syriac Jacobite Church -d. 1333); this is the only reference we have been able to find for this anaphora in Maronite litterature. Not accepted by ad-Duwavhi.

4- «Anaphora of Saint Dionisios bar Salibi the Bishop interpreter of the Holy Books…» ( d. 1171 ); his anaphora is referred to in two Maronite manuscripts: Vat. Syr. XXXI, Paris Syr. 73. Not accepted by ad-Duwavhi.

5- «Anaohora of the Saint and our Blessed Father Mar Mikhail Patriarch of Antioch…» (d. 1199); we have been unable to find any reference to this anaphora in Maronite litterature except in this document, therefore this manuscript can be considered as rare. Not accepted by ad-Duwayhi.

6- «Anaphora of Saint Mar Ya’qub al-Rahawi interpreter of the Holy Books…» (d. 708). Accepted by ad-Duwayhi.

7- «Anaphora of Saint Julius Patriarch of Rome…» ( 4 th c. ); this anaphora is used in the liturgy of the Syriac Jacobite Church, see B.M. CCLXI, CCLXIII, CCLXVII. Julius Pope of Rome appears in the calendar of Saints of the Syriac Jacobite Church, see Nau Martyrologes. Accepted by ad-Duwayhi.

8- «Anaphora of Saint Mar Yuhanna Patriarch of Antioch who is Yashu’ bar Shushan…» (d.1073); this anaphora was mentioned in a Maronite manuscript, Paris Syr. 78. Not accepted by ad-Duwayhi.

What is also significant in this manuscript is the inclusion of Saints that had their holy days in the Maronite Church, but have been now excluded from it; in the anaphora of Marta al-Ra’i mentioned above, we find in the last prayer mention ofholy days for some of the Holy Fathers, such as:

«The Blessed Mar Barsuma…» the most virulent enemy of the Council of Chalcedon, and it is to be wondered at, that he should have had a holy day in the Maronite calendar (16th) which was on the 3rd of February, the same date given him in the calendar of the Jacobite Church.

«…Mar Addai…» he is given the same date in the Maronite calendar ( 16th c. ) and in that of the Jacobite Church.

«…Mar Qiriacos and his mother Yulita…» the same as mentioned above.

«…Mar Rubil…» has a holy day in the calendar of the Jacobite Church.

«…Mar Azazail…» the martyr of Samosate ( 4th c. ), has a holy day in the calendar of the Jacobite Church.

Bibliography

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Salibi Church: Kamal Salibi, The Maronite Church in the Middle Ages and its union with Rome, in Oriens Christians, band 42, (1958) pp. 92-104.

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Vat. Syr.: AB Angelo Maio, Scriptorum veterum nova collectio e Vaticanis codicibus edita, tomus V, Romae 1831.

Vat. Syr.: Stephanus E. Assemanus et Joseph S. Assemanus, Bibliothecae Apostolocae Vaticanae codicum manuscriptorum, codices Chaldaicos sive Syriacos, Paris 1926.