Syriac Orthodoxy and Ecumenism

rakovsky

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It was less frustrating than the chart tracing the community of the Mar Thomas Christians, who were portrayed as divided between Protestants, Catholics, Oriental Orthodox, and Assyrian Nestorians, with no existence of Eastern Orthodox among them. Maybe we don't?
 

dzheremi

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rakovsky said:
It was less frustrating than the chart tracing the community of the Mar Thomas Christians, who were portrayed as divided between Protestants, Catholics, Oriental Orthodox, and Assyrian Nestorians, with no existence of Eastern Orthodox among them. Maybe we don't?
That's pretty much correct, as far as I understand it. The Protestants are the so-called "Mar Thoma", the Catholics are a bunch of different things (Syro-Malabar, Syro-Malankara, Knanaya to the extent that they're different than the others, etc.), the Oriental Orthodox are the Malankara Syriac Orthodox, and the Nestorians are...well, Nestorians, but according to Indians I've talked to they apparently call themselves "Chaldean" despite not being of that Eastern Catholic Church. If there are EO (and I seem to remember that there now are, but they're quite new compared to the others mentioned above), they're very small in number and not organized into any kind of distinctively Indian church, for lack of a better way to put it (IIRC, the EO there are some kind of Russian something or other...mission or outpost or what have you).
 

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dzheremi said:
rakovsky said:
It was less frustrating than the chart tracing the community of the Mar Thomas Christians, who were portrayed as divided between Protestants, Catholics, Oriental Orthodox, and Assyrian Nestorians, with no existence of Eastern Orthodox among them. Maybe we don't?
That's pretty much correct, as far as I understand it. The Protestants are the so-called "Mar Thoma", the Catholics are a bunch of different things (Syro-Malabar, Syro-Malankara, Knanaya to the extent that they're different than the others, etc.), the Oriental Orthodox are the Malankara Syriac Orthodox, and the Nestorians are...well, Nestorians, but according to Indians I've talked to they apparently call themselves "Chaldean" despite not being of that Eastern Catholic Church. If there are EO (and I seem to remember that there now are, but they're quite new compared to the others mentioned above), they're very small in number and not organized into any kind of distinctively Indian church, for lack of a better way to put it (IIRC, the EO there are some kind of Russian something or other...mission or outpost or what have you).
dzheremi,

I think you're speaking of the 'Assyrian Orthodox' mission that was formed by Bishop John of Urmia, of blessed memory, and ultimately subsumed into ROCOR. See here

Many years,

Neil
 

dzheremi

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No, this was something established much more recently. I probably read about it on here, I just can't remember the details. The Russian interaction with the Assyrians is much older. The Indians, of any confession, are not Assyrians.
 

Mor Ephrem

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rakovsky said:
It was less frustrating than the chart tracing the community of the Mar Thomas Christians, who were portrayed as divided between Protestants, Catholics, Oriental Orthodox, and Assyrian Nestorians, with no existence of Eastern Orthodox among them. Maybe we don't?
The "Thomas Christians", as they exist today, include OO and Assyrians, their Eastern Catholic split-offs, and the "Mar Thoma  Syrian Church", a Syrian-rite (and Syrian-lite, IMO) Protestant denomination.  There were never any EO in this community.  The RC's, AFAIK, also were not part of this community, but were the result of Portuguese missions.  Most of the other Protestants are also the result of foreign missionary activity and so were not a part of this community.  There is an EO presence in Northern India--Greeks (EP) in Bengal, Russians (ROCOR and MP) in Delhi, UP, and a couple of other places--but they are also not "Thomas Christians", they are recent missions (younger than I).     
 

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kijabeboy03 said:
This is why there were so few Orthodox churches in the States for so long - people were advised to go to the local Episcopalian church since 'we're basically the same' (sometimes blessed to commune, sometimes not - to give one example, St. Raphael (Hawaweeny) of Brooklyn first blessed Syrian-Americans to commune at Episcopal services, then withdrew that blessing), and they were lost to Orthodoxy. If the priests of those people had trained the able to lead basic services (in the Byzantines' tradition, something easy and relatively unchanging like the day Hours, an akathist, Sunday Typica, et cetera) they might have actually started more of their own missions and churches, been able to raise their children in the faith, et cetera.

Father Peter said:
If someone I was responsible for had to move to a place with no Orthodox Churches I would not consider it wrong for them to attend a Catholic Church for prayer and fellowship. I would not agree that they should take communion there.

I think I would also consider that the Catholic culture is different in different countries and that this might also colour my views.
It is true that at one time St. Raphael blessed his people without a nearby Orthodox Church to attend an Episcopal Church. However, after he took the time to study the Episcopal Church he revoked that blessing and wrote a very strongly worded letter instructing his people to stay away from the Episcopalians. http://southern-orthodoxy.blogspot.com/2013/02/st-raphael-on-episcopalians.html

Fr. John W. Morris
 

ialmisry

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Nephi said:
rakovsky said:
I found this graph to be pretty enlightening:

The separation dating (i.e. 431/451) is simplistic, as Robert Wilken mentions in his The First Thousand Years, the west Syrians didn't join the Copts as non-Chalcedonians until the early 6th century under the Syriac St. Jacob Baradaeus.

Not to mention the graph makes no sign of Melkite Antioch's Syriac Rite usage until as late as the 11th-12th centuries.
The Maronites also should be show as breaking off of the line that continues as the "Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch."  It would seem that the ignorance of this latter line using the Antiochian rite until c. 1200 is what threw the chart makers.
 

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ialmisry said:
Nephi said:
rakovsky said:
I found this graph to be pretty enlightening:

The separation dating (i.e. 431/451) is simplistic, as Robert Wilken mentions in his The First Thousand Years, the west Syrians didn't join the Copts as non-Chalcedonians until the early 6th century under the Syriac St. Jacob Baradaeus.

Not to mention the graph makes no sign of Melkite Antioch's Syriac Rite usage until as late as the 11th-12th centuries.
The Maronites also should be show as breaking off of the line that continues as the "Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch."  It would seem that the ignorance of this latter line using the Antiochian rite until c. 1200 is what threw the chart makers.
Most historians argue that the Maronites broke from Antioch because they rejected the 6th Ecumenical Council which condemned the heresy of Monothelitism. The Maronites fled to the mountains of Lebanon and joined Rome during the Crusades.

Fr. John W. Morris
 

Nephi

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ialmisry said:
The Maronites also should be show as breaking off of the line that continues as the "Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch."  It would seem that the ignorance of this latter line using the Antiochian rite until c. 1200 is what threw the chart makers.
True, as it wouldn't appear to make sense for the chart-makers if Melkite Antioch had always been Byzantine (as so many assume it was).

As an aside, are there any hierarchs or scholars in our church that do favor a return to, or at least the reintroduction of, the Syriac Rite?
 

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Nephi said:
ialmisry said:
The Maronites also should be show as breaking off of the line that continues as the "Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch."  It would seem that the ignorance of this latter line using the Antiochian rite until c. 1200 is what threw the chart makers.
True, as it wouldn't appear to make sense for the chart-makers if Melkite Antioch had always been Byzantine (as so many assume it was).

As an aside, are there any hierarchs or scholars in our church that do favor a return to, or at least the reintroduction of, the Syriac Rite?
Why would we want to change the way that we have worshiped for centuries? If there is one thing that Eastern Orthodox do not like it is change. "How many Eastern Orthodox does it take to change a light bulb? Change, what is this change. I do not like this change." Our Byzantine Rite unites us with the rest of world Orthodoxy.

Fr. John W. Morris
 

Nephi

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frjohnmorris said:
Why would we want to change the way that we have worshiped for centuries? If there is one thing that Eastern Orthodox do not like it is change. "How many Eastern Orthodox does it take to change a light bulb? Change, what is this change. I do not like this change."
If our church could drop the Syriac Rite to become Byzantine, there's no reason it couldn't drop the Byzantine Rite to become Syriac. The only difference is it being "now" instead of "then."

Our Byzantine Rite unites us with the rest of world Orthodoxy.

Fr. John W. Morris
It may be a point of commonality with other Byzantine Orthodox, but that sort of comment makes Orthodoxy sound too much like a Byzantine-monolith, which I vehemently disagree with. Not to mention our church recognizes the Orthodoxy of Orientals without their needing the Byzantine Rite.
 

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Nephi said:
As an aside, are there any hierarchs or scholars in our church that do favor a return to, or at least the reintroduction of, the Syriac Rite?
St James' Liturgy, the Syriac liturgy, is used around Christmas and St James' Day, as I understand it.
 

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Nephi said:
frjohnmorris said:
Why would we want to change the way that we have worshiped for centuries? If there is one thing that Eastern Orthodox do not like it is change. "How many Eastern Orthodox does it take to change a light bulb? Change, what is this change. I do not like this change."
If our church could drop the Syriac Rite to become Byzantine, there's no reason it couldn't drop the Byzantine Rite to become Syriac. The only difference is it being "now" instead of "then."

Our Byzantine Rite unites us with the rest of world Orthodoxy.

Fr. John W. Morris
It may be a point of commonality with other Byzantine Orthodox, but that sort of comment makes Orthodoxy sound too much like a Byzantine-monolith, which I vehemently disagree with. Not to mention our church recognizes the Orthodoxy of Orientals without their needing the Byzantine Rite.
I do not think that anything that I have ever written on this site could be interpreted as a demand that the Oriental Orthodox abandon their liturgical practices and adopt the Byzantine Rite. Why should the Oriental Orthodox expect us to abandon our liturgical heritage? Why should it bother you that we value our position as part of a world wide Church? The 1991 agreement between the Syriac Patriarchate of Antioch and the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch stated, "The integrity of both the Byzantine and Syriac liturgies is to be preserved."

Fr. John W. Morris
 

Nephi

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frjohnmorris said:
I do not think that anything that I have ever written on this site could be interpreted as a demand that the Oriental Orthodox abandon their liturgical practices and adopt the Byzantine Rite. Why should the Oriental Orthodox expect us to abandon our liturgical heritage? Why should it bother you that we value our position as part of a world wide Church? The 1991 agreement between the Syriac Patriarchate of Antioch and the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch stated, "The integrity of both the Byzantine and Syriac liturgies is to be preserved."

Fr. John W. Morris
Father, my point with the Orientals had nothing to do with the EO-OO rapprochement itself, but rather to show that our being Byzantine and our being Orthodox are two different things. I personally would love to see a reintroduction of our church's original liturgical heritage, even if just alongside the Byzantine (as it was in our church for about a couple centuries before becoming solely Byzantine). I didn't say that you, or anyone else, was actually demanding any sort of change from anyone.
 

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Nephi said:
frjohnmorris said:
I do not think that anything that I have ever written on this site could be interpreted as a demand that the Oriental Orthodox abandon their liturgical practices and adopt the Byzantine Rite. Why should the Oriental Orthodox expect us to abandon our liturgical heritage? Why should it bother you that we value our position as part of a world wide Church? The 1991 agreement between the Syriac Patriarchate of Antioch and the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch stated, "The integrity of both the Byzantine and Syriac liturgies is to be preserved."

Fr. John W. Morris
Father, my point with the Orientals had nothing to do with the EO-OO rapprochement itself, but rather to show that our being Byzantine and our being Orthodox are two different things. I personally would love to see a reintroduction of our church's original liturgical heritage, even if just alongside the Byzantine (as it was in our church for about a couple centuries before becoming solely Byzantine). I didn't say that you, or anyone else, was actually demanding any sort of change from anyone.
I do not think that you would find much support from the clergy or laity of the Antiocian Orthodox Church for your proposal. It would be very difficult for a parish to correctly serve both the Byzantine and the Syriac Rite. The vestments and chant are different as is the arrangement of the Altar.

Fr. John W. Morris
 

Nephi

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frjohnmorris said:
I do not think that you would find much support from the clergy or laity of the Antiocian Orthodox Church for your proposal. It would be very difficult for a parish to correctly serve both the Byzantine and the Syriac Rite. The vestments and chant are different as is the arrangement of the Altar.

Fr. John W. Morris
I didn't mean for a single parish to serve both.
 

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Nephi said:
frjohnmorris said:
I do not think that you would find much support from the clergy or laity of the Antiocian Orthodox Church for your proposal. It would be very difficult for a parish to correctly serve both the Byzantine and the Syriac Rite. The vestments and chant are different as is the arrangement of the Altar.

Fr. John W. Morris
I didn't mean for a single parish to serve both.
I think that the more realistic idea is to establish Communion between the Chalcedonian and non-Chalcedonian Churches, while each keeps its own liturgical traditions and administration.

Fr. John W. Morris
 

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It's a misunderstanding to think that the Chalcedonian Orthodox Churches in Syria once had a liturgy identical to the non-Chalcedonian Syriacs. For one thing, the liturgy practiced by the latter underwent a huge amount of development after 451-- their prodigious number of anaphorae is the most famous example of this, but their liturgy also contains a great deal of hymnographical development and a substantial amount of Byzantine borrowings as well-- especially the genre of the canon, the Qonune Yawnoye, a great example of Byzantine-Syriac cultural exchange.

On the other hand, the "Byzantine" liturgy, also Antiochene in origin, underwent its own development, as much in the Palestinian monasteries  as in Constantinople (and even there, the canon's initial development, by St Romanos, a native of Homs, was certainly influenced by earlier Syriac hymnography). Additionally, while no one has edited or printed any of it, we have pretty much the entire modern Byzantine liturgy, as it existed ca. 1200 available in Syriac in manuscripts. I do hope that eventually the Patriarchate of Antioch will assemble texts from these manuscripts such that the liturgy for St Ephrem's Day can be celebrated occasionally in Syriac, to express the deep cultural roots shared by Chalcedonians and non-Chalcedonians in the Middle East. Some notes I've made about 'Byzantine' liturgy in Syriac, as well as a transcription of the Akathist hymn in Syriac, can be found here: http://araborthodoxy.blogspot.fr/search/label/Syriac
 

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Samn! said:
Additionally, while no one has edited or printed any of it, we have pretty much the entire modern Byzantine liturgy, as it existed ca. 1200 available in Syriac in manuscripts. I do hope that eventually the Patriarchate of Antioch will assemble texts from these manuscripts such that the liturgy for St Ephrem's Day can be celebrated occasionally in Syriac, to express the deep cultural roots shared by Chalcedonians and non-Chalcedonians in the Middle East. Some notes I've made about 'Byzantine' liturgy in Syriac, as well as a transcription of the Akathist hymn in Syriac, can be found here: http://araborthodoxy.blogspot.fr/search/label/Syriac
Very interesting, thanks!!
 

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Samn! said:
It's a misunderstanding to think that the Chalcedonian Orthodox Churches in Syria once had a liturgy identical to the non-Chalcedonian Syriacs. For one thing, the liturgy practiced by the latter underwent a huge amount of development after 451-- their prodigious number of anaphorae is the most famous example of this, but their liturgy also contains a great deal of hymnographical development and a substantial amount of Byzantine borrowings as well-- especially the genre of the canon, the Qonune Yawnoye, a great example of Byzantine-Syriac cultural exchange.

On the other hand, the "Byzantine" liturgy, also Antiochene in origin, underwent its own development, as much in the Palestinian monasteries  as in Constantinople (and even there, the canon's initial development, by St Romanos, a native of Homs, was certainly influenced by earlier Syriac hymnography). Additionally, while no one has edited or printed any of it, we have pretty much the entire modern Byzantine liturgy, as it existed ca. 1200 available in Syriac in manuscripts. I do hope that eventually the Patriarchate of Antioch will assemble texts from these manuscripts such that the liturgy for St Ephrem's Day can be celebrated occasionally in Syriac, to express the deep cultural roots shared by Chalcedonians and non-Chalcedonians in the Middle East. Some notes I've made about 'Byzantine' liturgy in Syriac, as well as a transcription of the Akathist hymn in Syriac, can be found here: http://araborthodoxy.blogspot.fr/search/label/Syriac
I do not agree with your proposal. Why would I want to serve a Liturgy in Syriac, or Arabic for a congregation that does not understand Syriac or Arabic? I use English because that is the language that my people understand. Antiochian Eastern Orthodox in America come from many different ethnic backgrounds. We are not all of Middle Eastern heritage. In my parish even the people whose grand parents came from Lebanon do not understand liturgical Arabic. They certainly would not understand Syriac. It would be best for both Syriac and Eastern Orthodox to retain the integrity of their own liturgical practices. I would not want the Syriac Orthodox to lose their liturgical patrimony any more than I want to give up my Byzantine liturgical heritage. It would be a major tragedy for either side to give up their ancient liturgical traditions. Remember part of the heritage of Antioch was that it was the first Church to welcome Gentiles into the Church. Antioch is not an ethnic heritage. It is an heritage of inclusiveness in which Orthodoxy rises above ethnicism.

Fr. John W. Morris
 

Nephi

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Samn! said:
It's a misunderstanding to think that the Chalcedonian Orthodox Churches in Syria once had a liturgy identical to the non-Chalcedonian Syriacs. For one thing, the liturgy practiced by the latter underwent a huge amount of development after 451-- their prodigious number of anaphorae is the most famous example of this, but their liturgy also contains a great deal of hymnographical development and a substantial amount of Byzantine borrowings as well-- especially the genre of the canon, the Qonune Yawnoye, a great example of Byzantine-Syriac cultural exchange.

On the other hand, the "Byzantine" liturgy, also Antiochene in origin, underwent its own development, as much in the Palestinian monasteries  as in Constantinople (and even there, the canon's initial development, by St Romanos, a native of Homs, was certainly influenced by earlier Syriac hymnography). Additionally, while no one has edited or printed any of it, we have pretty much the entire modern Byzantine liturgy, as it existed ca. 1200 available in Syriac in manuscripts. I do hope that eventually the Patriarchate of Antioch will assemble texts from these manuscripts such that the liturgy for St Ephrem's Day can be celebrated occasionally in Syriac, to express the deep cultural roots shared by Chalcedonians and non-Chalcedonians in the Middle East. Some notes I've made about 'Byzantine' liturgy in Syriac, as well as a transcription of the Akathist hymn in Syriac, can be found here: http://araborthodoxy.blogspot.fr/search/label/Syriac
I personally wasn't expecting it to be the same since even modern Syriac Rites differ (to what degree, I'm unaware) from each other, but all of that was interesting.
 

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Shant said:
Lastly, and maybe most importantly, the official view of the Armenian Church is that all of the ancient apostolic churches together constitute the "one, holy, catholic and apostolic church".
Wait, seriously?
 

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No, although I can see how people would think that with all the ecumenical prayer services our clergy attend. 
 
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