East Syrian Rite
The East Syrian Rite is a Christian liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

, also known as the Assyro-Chaldean Rite, Assyrian or Chaldean Rite, and the Persian Rite although it originated in Edessa
Osroene, also spelled Osrohene and Osrhoene and sometimes known by the name of its capital city, Edessa , was a historic Syriac kingdom located in Mesopotamia, which enjoyed semi-autonomy to complete independence from the years of 132 BC to AD 244.It was a Syriac-speaking kingdom.Osroene, or...

, Mesopotamia. It was used historically in the Church of the East
Church of the East
The Church of the East tāʾ d-Maḏnḥāʾ), also known as the Nestorian Church, is a Christian church, part of the Syriac tradition of Eastern Christianity. Originally the church of the Persian Sassanid Empire, it quickly spread widely through Asia...

, and remains in use in churches descended from it; namely the Assyrian Church of the East
Assyrian Church of the East
The Assyrian Church of the East, officially the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East ʻIttā Qaddishtā w-Shlikhāitā Qattoliqi d-Madnĕkhā d-Āturāyē), is a Syriac Church historically centered in Mesopotamia. It is one of the churches that claim continuity with the historical...

, the Ancient Church of the East
Ancient Church of the East
The Ancient Church of the East was established in 1968. It follows the traditions of one of the oldest Christian churches, the Church of the East, whose origins trace back to the See of Seleucia-Ctesiphon in central Mesopotamia...

, the Chaldean Catholic Church
Chaldean Catholic Church
The Chaldean Catholic Church , is an Eastern Syriac particular church of the Catholic Church, maintaining full communion with the Bishop of Rome and the rest of the Catholic Church...

, and the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in India is an East Syrian Rite, Major Archiepiscopal Church in full communion with the Catholic Church. It is one of the 22 sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches in the Catholic Church. It is the largest of the Saint Thomas Christian denominations with more than 3.6...

. The latter two churches are Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...


Scope of usage

The Syrian and Mesopotamian Catholics are now commonly called Chaldean
Chaldean Catholic Church
The Chaldean Catholic Church , is an Eastern Syriac particular church of the Catholic Church, maintaining full communion with the Bishop of Rome and the rest of the Catholic Church...

s (or Assyro-Chaldeans). The term Chaldean
Chaldean may refer to:* Historical Babylon, in particular in a Hellenistic context* Chaldea, "the Chaldees", Hellenistic designation for a part of Babylon...

, which in Syriac generally meant magician or astrologer, denoted in Latin and other European languages Syrian nationality, and the Syriac or Aramaic language. For Aramaic, it especially refers to that form which is found in certain chapters of Daniel. This usage continued until the Latin missionaries at Mosul in the seventeenth century adopted it to distinguish the Catholics of the East Syrian Rite from those of the West Syrian Rite, whom they call "Syrians". It is also used to distinguish from the Nestorian Christians, some of whom call themselves "Syrians" (Surayi), and even "Christians" only, though they do not repudiate the name "Nestorayi". Modern Nestorians distinguish themselves from the rest of Christendom
Christendom, or the Christian world, has several meanings. In a cultural sense it refers to the worldwide community of Christians, adherents of Christianity...

 as the "Church of the East
Church of the East
The Church of the East tāʾ d-Maḏnḥāʾ), also known as the Nestorian Church, is a Christian church, part of the Syriac tradition of Eastern Christianity. Originally the church of the Persian Sassanid Empire, it quickly spread widely through Asia...

" or "Easterns", as opposed to "Westerns", by which they denote Latin Catholics, Orthodox, Monophysites, and Protestants.

In recent times they have been called, chiefly by the Anglicans, the "Assyrian Church", a name which can be defended on archaeological grounds. Brightman, in his "Liturgies Eastern and Western", includes Chaldean and Malabar Catholics and Nestorians under "Persian Rite", and Bishop Arthur Maclean of Moray and Ross (Anglican) who is the best living authority on the existing Nestorians, calls them "East Syrians", which is perhaps the most satisfactory term.

The catalogue of liturgies in the British Museum
British Museum
The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its...

 has adopted the usual Roman Catholic nomenclature:
  • Chaldean Rite: that of the East Syrian Catholics and Nestorians
  • Malabar Rite: South Indian Syrian Catholics and schismatics
  • Syrian Rite: West Syrian Monophysites and Catholics

Most printed liturgies of these rites are Eastern Rite Catholic.

The language of all three forms of the East Syrian Rite is Syriac, a modern form of which is still spoken by the Assyrian Church of the East and some of the Catholics.


The origin of the rite is unknown. The tradition — resting on the legend of Abgar and of his correspondence with Christ, which has been shown to be apocryphal — is to the effect that St. Thomas the Apostle, on his way to India, established Christianity in Mesopotamia, Assyria, and Persia, and left Adaeus (or Thaddeus), "one of the Seventy", and Maris
Maris (disambiguation)
Maris may refer to:* the Mari peoplePeople:* Maris, brother of Atymnius in Greek mythology*Maris, a saint and martyr of the group Maris, Martha, Abachum and Audifax* Maris of Chalcedon, a 4th century bishop...

 in charge. To these the normal liturgy is attributed, but it is said to have been revised by the Patriarch Yeshuyab III in about 650. Some, however, consider this liturgy to be a development of the Antiochene.

After the First Council of Ephesus (431), the Church of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, which had hitherto been governed by a catholicos
Catholicos, plural Catholicoi, is a title used for the head of certain churches in some Eastern Christian traditions. The title implies autocephaly and in some cases is borne by the designated head of an autonomous church, in which case the holder might have other titles such as Patriarch...

 under Antioch, refused to accept the condemnation of Nestorius
Nestorius was Archbishop of Constantinople from 10 April 428 to 22 June 431.Drawing on his studies at the School of Antioch, his teachings, which included a rejection of the long-used title of Theotokos for the Virgin Mary, brought him into conflict with other prominent churchmen of the time,...

. As part of the Nestorian Schism
Nestorian Schism
The Nestorian Schism was the split between the Orthodox Church and churches affiliated with Nestorian doctrine in the 5th century. The schism rose out of a Christological dispute, the key figures in which were Cyril of Alexandria and Nestorius...

, the Church of Seleucia-Ctesiphon cut itself off from the Catholic Church. In 498 the Catholicos assumed the title of "Patriarch of the East", and for many centuries this most successful missionary church continued to spread throughout Persia, Tartary, Mongolia, China, and India, developing on lines of its own, very little influenced by the rest of Christendom.

At the end of the fourteenth century the conquests of Tamerlane all but destroyed this flourishing Church at one blow, reduced it to a few small communities in Persia, Turkey in Asia, Cyprus, South India, and the Island of Socotra
Socotra , also spelt Soqotra, is a small archipelago of four islands in the Indian Ocean. The largest island, also called Socotra, is about 95% of the landmass of the archipelago. It lies some east of the Horn of Africa and south of the Arabian Peninsula. The island is very isolated and through...

. The Cypriote Nestorians united themselves to Rome in 1445; in the sixteenth century there was a schism in the patriarchate between the rival lines of Mar Shimun
Shimun VIII Yohannan Sulaqa
Mar Shimun VIII Yohannan Sulaqa was the first Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, from 1553 to 1555....

 and Mar Elia; the Christianity of Socotra, such as it was, died out about the seventeenth century. The Malabarese Church divided into Uniate Catholics and Schismatics in 1599; the former community deserted the pure East Syriac rite for a Latinized Roman Catholic version, while the latter deserted Nestorianism for Miaphysitism and adopting the West Syrian Rite
West Syrian Rite
The West Syrian Rite, also known as the Syrian Rite or the Syro-Antiochene Rite, is a Christian liturgical rite chiefly practiced in the Syriac Orthodox Church and churches related to or descended from it. It is part of the liturgical family known as the Antiochene Rite, which originated in the...

 about fifty years later. In 1681 the Chaldean Unia, which had been struggling into existence since 1552, was finally established, and in 1778 received a great accession of strength in the adhesion of the whole Mar Elia patriarchate, and all that was left of the original Nestorian Church consisted of the inhabitants of a district between the Lakes of Van and Urmi and Tigris, and outlying colony in Palestine. These have been further reduced by a great massacre by the Kurds in 1843, and the secession of a large number to the Russian Church within the last few years.

In the late nineteenth century there was an attempt to form an "Independent Catholic Chaldean Church", on the model of the "Old Catholics". This resulted in separating a few from the Eastern Rite Catholics.

The Eucharistic service

There are three Anaphora
Anaphora (liturgy)
The Anaphora is the most solemn part of the Divine liturgy, Mass, or other Christian Communion rite where the offerings of bread and wine are consecrated as the body and blood of Christ. This is the usual name for this part of the Liturgy in Eastern Christianity, but it is more often called the...

e; that of Apostles
Holy Qurbana of Addai and Mari
The Holy Qurbana of Addai and Mari belongs to the East Syrian liturgical family and is in regular use in the Assyrian Church of the East, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and the Chaldean Catholic Church. Saint Addai and Saint Mari are credited with having written it...

 (Sts. Adaeus and Maris
Maris was an Etruscan god often depicted as an infant or child and given many epithets, including Mariś Halna, Mariś Husrnana and Mariś Isminthians. He was the son of Hercle, the Etruscan equivalent of Heracles...

), that of Nestorius
Nestorius was Archbishop of Constantinople from 10 April 428 to 22 June 431.Drawing on his studies at the School of Antioch, his teachings, which included a rejection of the long-used title of Theotokos for the Virgin Mary, brought him into conflict with other prominent churchmen of the time,...

, and that of Theodore the Interpreter. The first is the normal form, and from it the Malabar revision was derived. The second is used by the Chaldeans and Nestorians on the Epiphany
Epiphany (Christian)
Epiphany, or Theophany, meaning "vision of God",...

 and the feasts of St. John the Baptist and of the Greek Doctors, both of which occur in Epiphany-tide on the Wednesday of the Fast of the Ninevites, and on Maundy Thursday. The third is used by the same (except when the second is ordered) from Advent Sunday
Advent Sunday
Advent Sunday is the first day of the liturgical year in the Western Christian churches. It also marks the start of the season of Advent. In the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, and Methodist churches the celebrant wears violet-coloured or blue vestments on this day, and the first violet or blue...

 to Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday is a Christian moveable feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four Canonical Gospels. ....

. The same pro-anaphoral part serves for all three.
Three other Anaphorae are mentioned by Ebedyeshu (metropolitan of Nisibis, 1298) in his catalogue, those of Barsuma, Narses, and Diodore of Tarsus; but they are not known now, unless Dr. Wright is correct in calling the fragment in Brit. Mus. Add. 14669, "Diodore of Tarsus".

The Eucharistic Liturgy is preceded by a preparation, or "Office of the Prothesis", which includes the solemn kneading and baking of the loaves. These among the Nestorians are leavened, the flour being mixed with a little oil and the holy leaven (malka), which, according to the legend, "was given and handed down to us by our holy fathers Mar Addai and Mar Mari and Mar Tuma", and of which and of the holy oil a very strange story is told. The real leavening, however, is done by means of fermented dough (khmira) from the preparation of the last Eucharistic Liturgy. The Chaldean Catholics now use unleavened bread.

The Liturgy itself is introduced by the first verse of the Gloria in Excelsis and the Lord's prayer, with "farcings" (giyura), consisting of a form of the Sanctus. Then follow:
  • The Introit Psalm (variable), called Marmitha, with a preliminary prayer, varying for Sundays and greater feasts and for "Memorials" and ferias. In the Malabar Rite, Pss. xiv, cl, and cxvi are said in alternate verses by priests and deacons.
  • The "Antiphon of the Sanctuary" (Unitha d' qanki), variable, with a similarly varying prayer.
  • The Lakhumara, an antiphon beginning "To Thee, Lord", which occurs in other services also preceded by a similarly varying prayer.
  • The Trisagion
    The Trisagion , sometimes called by its opening line Agios O Theos or by the Latin Tersanctus, is a standard hymn of the Divine Liturgy in most of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, Oriental Orthodox Churches and Catholic Churches.In those Churches which use the Byzantine Rite, the Trisagion is chanted...

    . Incense is used before this. In the Eastern Rite at low Mass the elements are put on the altar before the incensing.

There are four or five Lections: (a) the Law and (b) the Prophecy, from the Old Testament, (c) the Lection from the Acts, (d) the Epistle, always from St. Paul, (e) the Gospel.
Some days have all five lections, some four, some only three. All have an Epistle and a Gospel, but, generally, when there is a Lection from Law there is none from the Acts, and vice versa. Sometimes there is none from either Law or Acts. The first three are called Qiryani (Lections), the third Shlikha (Apostle). Before the Epistle and Gospel, hymns called Turgama (interpretation) are, or should be, said; that before the Epistle is invariable, that of the Gospel varies with the day. They answer to the Greek prokeimena. The Turgama of the Epistle is preceded by proper psalm verses called Shuraya (beginning), and that of the Gospel by other proper psalm verses called Zumara (song). The latter includes Alleluia between the verses.
The Deacon's Litany, or Eklene, called Karazutha (proclamation), resembles the "Great Synapte"
Ektenia , often called simply Litany, is a prayerful petition in the Eastern Orthodox/Eastern Catholic liturgy...

 of the Greeks. During it the proper "Antiphon [Unitha] of the Gospel" is sung by the people.

The Offertory
The Offertory is the portion of a Eucharistic service when bread and wine are brought to the altar. The offertory exists in many liturgical Christian denominations, though the Eucharistic theology varies among celebrations conducted by these denominations....

The deacons proclaim the expulsion of the unbaptized, and set the "hearers" to watch the doors. The priest places the bread and wine on the altar, with words (in the Nestorian, but not in the Chaldean Catholic Rite) which seem as if they were already consecrated. He sets aside a "memorial of the Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ" (Chaldean; usual Malabar Rite, "Mother of God"; but according to Raulin's Latin of the Malabar Rite, "Mother of God Himself and of the Lord Jesus Christ"), and of the patron of the Church (in the Malabar Rite, "of St.Thomas"). Then follows the proper "Antiphon of the Mysteries" (Unitha d' razi), answering to the offertory.

The Creed.
This is a variant of the Nicene Creed
Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

. It is possible that the order or words "and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost and was made man, and was conceived and born of the Virgin Mary", may enshrine a Nestorian idea, but the Chaldean Catholics do not seem to have noticed it, their only alteration being the addition of the Filioque. The Malabar Book has an exact translation of Latin. In Neale's translation of the Malabar Rite the Karazutha, the Offertory, and the Expulsion of the Unbaptized come before the Lections and the Creed follows immediately on the Gospel, but in the Propaganda edition of 1774 the Offertory follows the Creed, which follows the Gospel.

The first Lavabo, followed by a Kushapa ("beseeching", i.e., prayer said in kneeling) and a form of the "Orate fratres", with its response. Then the variations of the three Anaphora begin.

The Kiss of Peace, preceded by a G'hantha, i.e., a prayer said with bowed head.

The prayer of Memorial (Dukhrana) of the Living and the Dead, and the Diptychs; the latter is now obsolete among the Nestorians.

The Anaphora.
As in all liturgies this begins with a form of a Sursum corda
Sursum corda
The Sursum Corda is the opening dialogue to the Preface of the Eucharistic Prayer or Anaphora in the liturgies of the Christian Church, dating back to at least the third century and the Anaphora of the Apostolic Tradition. The dialogue is recorded in the earliest liturgies of the Christian...

, but the East Syrian form is more elaborate than any other, especially in the Anaphora of Theodore. Then follows the Preface
A preface is an introduction to a book or other literary work written by the work's author. An introductory essay written by a different person is a foreword and precedes an author's preface...

 of the usual type ending with the Sanctus
The Sanctus is a hymn from Christian liturgy, forming part of the Order of Mass. In Western Christianity, the Sanctus is sung as the final words of the Preface of the Eucharistic Prayer, the prayer of consecration of the bread and wine...


The Post-Sanctus (to use the Hispanico-Gallican term. This is an amplification (similar in idea and often in phraseology to those in all liturgies except the Roman) of the idea of the Sanctus into a recital of the work of Redemption, extending to some length and ending, in the Anaphorae of Nestorius and Theodore, with the recital of the Institution. In the Anaphora of the Apostles the recital of the Institution is wanting, though it has been supplied in the Anglican edition of the Nestorian book. Hammond (Liturgies Eastern and Western, p. lix) and most other writers hold that the Words of Institution belong to this Liturgy and should be supplied somewhere; Hammond (loc.cit) suggests many arguments for their former presence. The reason of their absence is uncertain. While some hold that this essential passage dropped out in times of ignorance, others say it never was there at all, being unnecessary, since the consecration was held to be effected by the subsequent Epiklesis alone. Another theory, evidently of Western origin and not quite consistent with the general Eastern theory of consecration by an Epiklesis following Christ's words, is that, being the formula of consecration
Consecration is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service, usually religious. The word "consecration" literally means "to associate with the sacred". Persons, places, or things can be consecrated, and the term is used in various ways by different groups...

, it was held too sacred to be written down. It does not seem to be quite certain whether Nestorian priests did or did not insert the Words of Institution in old times, but it seems that many of them do not do so now.
The Prayer of the Great Oblation with a second memorial of the Living and the Dead, a Kushapa.
The G'hantha of the Epiklesis, or Invocation of Holy Spirit. The Epiklesis itself is called Nithi Mar (May He come, O Lord) from its opening words. The Liturgy of the Apostles is so vague as to the purpose of the Invocation that, when the words of Institution are not said, it would be difficult to imagine this formula to be sufficient on any hypothesis, Eastern or Western. The Anaphorae of Nestorius and Theodore, besides having the Words of Institution, have definite Invocations, evidently copied from Antiochean or Byzantine forms. The older Chaldean and the Malabar Catholic books have inserted the Words of Institution with an Elevation, after the Epiklesis. But the 1901 Mosul edition puts the Words of Institution first.

Here follow a Prayer for Peace, a second Lavabo and a censing.

The Fraction, Consignation, Conjunction, and Commixture.
The Host is broken in two , and the sign of the Cross
A cross is a geometrical figure consisting of two lines or bars perpendicular to each other, dividing one or two of the lines in half. The lines usually run vertically and horizontally; if they run obliquely, the design is technically termed a saltire, although the arms of a saltire need not meet...

 is made in the Chalice with one half, after which the other with the half that has been dipped in the chalice. The two halves are then reunited on the Paten. Then a cleft is made in the Host "qua parte intincta est in Sanguine" (Renaudot's tr.), and a particle is put in the chalice, after some intricate arranging on the paten.

The veil is thrown open, the deacon exhorts the communicants to draw near, the priests breaks up the Host for distribution. Then follows the Lord's Prayer
Lord's Prayer
The Lord's Prayer is a central prayer in Christianity. In the New Testament of the Christian Bible, it appears in two forms: in the Gospel of Matthew as part of the discourse on ostentation in the Sermon on the Mount, and in the Gospel of Luke, which records Jesus being approached by "one of his...

, with Introduction and Embolism, and the Sancta Sanctis, and then the 'Antiphon of the Bema" (Communion) is sung. The Communion
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

 is in both species separately, the priest giving the Host and the deacon the Chalice. Then follows a variable antiphon of thanksgiving, a post-communion, and a post-communition, and a dismissal. Afterwards the Mkaprana, an unconsecrated portion of the holy loaf, is distributed to the communicants, but not, as in the case of the Greek antidoron, and as the name of the latter implies, to non-communicants. The Chaldean Catholics are communicated with the Host dipped in the Chalice. They reserve what is left of the Holy Gifts, while the Nestorian priests consume all before leaving the church.

Properly, and according to their own canons, the Nestorians ought to say Mass on every Sunday and Friday, on every festival, and daily during the first, middle, and last week of Lent and the octave of Easter. In practice it is only said on Sundays and greater festivals, at the best, and in many churches not so often, a sort of "dry Mass" being used instead. The Chaldean Catholic priests say Mass daily, and where there are many priests there will be many Masses in the same Church in one day, which is contrary to the Nestorian canons. The Anglican editions of the liturgies omit the names of heretics and call the Anaphorae of Nestorius and Theodore the "Second Hallowing" and "Third Hallowing". Otherwise there are no alterations except the addition of Words of Institution to the first Anaphorae. The recent Catholic edition has made the same alterations and substituted "Mother of God" for "Mother of Christ". In each edition the added Words of Institution follow the form of the rite of the edition. The prayers of the Mass, like those of the Orthodox Eastern Church, are generally long and diffuse. Frequently they end with a sort of doxology called Qanuna which is said aloud, the rest being recited in a low tone. The Qanuna in form and usage resembles the Greek ekphonesis.

The vestments used by the priest at Mass are the Sudhra, a girded alb with three crosses in red or black on the shoulder, the Urara (orarion) or stole worn crossed by priests, but not by bishops (as in the West), and the Ma'apra, a sort of linen cope. The deacon wears the Sudhra, with a urara over the left shoulder.

Divine Office

The nucleus of this is, as it is usual, the recitation of the Psalter
A psalter is a volume containing the Book of Psalms, often with other devotional material bound in as well, such as a liturgical calendar and litany of the Saints. Until the later medieval emergence of the book of hours, psalters were the books most widely owned by wealthy lay persons and were...

. There are only three regular hours of service (Evening, Midnight, and Morning) with a rarely used compline. In practice only Morning and Evening are commonly used, but these are extremely well attended daily by laity as well as clergy. When Nestorian monasteries existed (which is no longer the case) seven hours of prayer were the custom in them, and three hulali of the Psalter were recited at each. This would mean a daily recitation of the whole Psalter. The present arrangement provides for seven hulali at each ferial night service, ten on Sundays, three on "Memorials", and the whole Psalter on feasts of Our Lord.

At the evening service there is a selection of from four to seven psalms, varying with the day of the week, and also a Shuraya, or short psalm, with generally a portion of Ps. cxviii, varying with the day of the fortnight.

At the morning service the invariable psalms are cix, xc, ciii (1–6), cxii, xcii, cxlviii, cl, cxvi. On ferias and "Memorials" Ps. cxlvi is said after Ps. cxlviii, and on ferias Ps. 1, 1–18, comes at the end of the psalms. The rest of the services consist of prayers, antiphons, litanies, and verses (giyura) inserted, like the Greek stichera, but more extensively, between verses of psalms. On Sundays the Gloria in Excelsis and Benedicte are said instead of Ps. cxlvi.

Both morning and evening services end with several prayers, a blessing, (Khuthama, "Sealing" ), the kiss of peace, and the Creed. The variables, besides the psalms, are those of the feast or day, which are very few, and those of the day of the fortnight. These fortnights consist of weeks called "Before" (Qdham) and "After" (Wathar), according to which of the two choirs begins the service. Hence the book of the Divine Office is called Qdham u wathar, or at full length Kthawa daqdham wadhwathar, the "Book of Before and After".

Liturgical calendar

The year is divided into periods of about seven weeks each, called Shawu'i; these are Advent (called Subara, "Annunciation"), Ephiphany, Lent, Easter, the Apostles, Summer, "Elias and the Cross", "Moses", and the "Dedication" (Qudash idta). "Moses" and the "Dedication" have only four weeks each. The Sundays are generally named after the Shawu'a in which they occur, "Fourth Sunday of Epiphany", "Second Sunday of the Annunciation ", etc., though sometimes the name changes in the middle of a Shawu'a. Most of the "Memorials" (dukhrani), or saints' days, which have special lections, occur on the Fridays between Christmas and Lent, and are therefore movable feasts, but some, such as Christmas, Ephiphany, the Assumption, and about thirty smaller days without proper lections are on fixed days. There are four shorter fasting periods besides the Great Fast (Lent); these are:
  • the Fast of Mar Zaya, the three days after the second Sunday of the Nativity;
  • the Fast of the Virgins, after the first Sunday of the Epiphany;
  • the Rogation of the Ninevites, seventy days before Easter;
  • the Fast of Mart Mariam (Our Lady), from the first to the fourteenth of August.

The Fast of the Ninevites commemorates the repentance of Nineveh at the preaching of Jonas, and is carefully kept. Those of Mar Zaya and the Virgins are nearly obsolete. As compared with the Latin and Greek Calendars, that of the Chaldeans, whether Catholic or Nestorian, is very meagre. The Malabar Rite has largely adopted the Roman Calendar, and several Roman days have been added to that of the Chaldean Catholics. The Chaldean Easter coincides with that of the Roman Catholic Church.

Other sacraments and occasional services

The other Sacraments in use among the Nestorians are Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

, with which is always associated an anointing
Oil of catechumens
Oil of the Catechumens is the oil used in some traditional Christian churches during baptism; it is believed to strengthen the one being baptized to turn away from evil, temptation and sin....

, which as in other eastern rites answers to Confirmation, Holy Order and Matrimony, but not Penance or Unction of the sick. The latter appears to be unknown to the Nestorians, though Assemani ("Bibliotheca Orientalis", pt. Ii, p. cclxxii) considers it might be shown from their books that its omission was a modern error. The Chaldean Catholics now have a form not unlike the Byzantine and West Syrian. The nearest approach to Penance among the Nestorians is a form, counted as a sacrament, for the reconciliation of apostates and excommunicated persons, prayers from which are occasionally used in cases of other penitents. Assemani's arguments (ibid., cclxxxvi–viii) for a belief in Penance as a Sacrament among the ancient Nestorians or for the practice of auricular confession among the Malabar Nestorians are not conclusive. The Chaldeans have a similar form to that of the Latin Rite. The Nestorians omit Matrimony from the list, and according to Ebedyeshu make up the number of the mysteries to seven by including the Holy Leaven and the Sign of the Cross, but they are now rather vague about the definition or numeration.

The only other rite of any interest is the consecration of churches. Oil, but not chrism, plays a considerable part in these rites, being used in Baptism, possibly in Confirmation, in the reconciliation of apostates, etc., in the consecration of churches, and the making of bread for the Eucharist. It is not used in ordination or for the sick. There are two sorts of oil; the one is ordinary olive oil, blessed or not blessed for the occasion, the other is the oil of the Holy Horn. The last, which, though really only plain oil, represents the chrism (or myron) of other rites, is believed to have been handed down from the Apostles with the Holy Leaven. The legend is that the Baptist caught the water which fell from the body of Christ at His baptism and preserved it. He gave it to St. John the Evangelist, who added to it some of the water which fell from the pierced side. At the Last Supper Jesus gave two loaves to St. John, bidding him keep one for the Holy Leaven. With this St. John mingled some of the Blood from the side of Christ. After Pentecost the Apostles mixed oil with the sacred water, and each took a horn of it, and the loaf they ground to pieces and mixed it with flour and salt to be the Holy Leaven. The Holy Horn is constantly renewed by the addition of oil blessed by a bishop on Maundy Thursday.

The baptismal service is modeled on the Eucharistic. The Mass of the Catechumens is almost identical, with of course appropriate Collects, psalms, Litanies, and Lections. After the introductory Gloria, Lord's Prayer, Marmitha (in this case Psalm 88) and its Collect, follow the imposition of hands and the signing with oil, after which follow an Antiphon of the Sanctuary and Ps. xliv, cix, cxxxi, with giyuri, Litanies, and Collects, then the lakhumara, Trisagion, and Lections (Epistle and Gospel ), and the Karazutha, after whch the priest says the prayer of the imposition of hands, and the unbaptized are dismissed. An antiphon answering to that "of the mysteries" follows, and then the Creed is said. The bringing forward of the Holy Horn and the blessing of the oil take the place of the Offertory. The Anaphora is paralleled by Sursum corda, Preface, and Sanctus, a Nithi Mar, or Epiklesis, upon the oil, a commixture of the new oil with that of the Holy Horn, and the Lord's Prayer. Then the font is blessed and signed with the holy oil, and in the place of the Communion comes the Baptism itself. The children are signed with the oil on the breast and then anointed all over, and are dipped thrice in the font. The formula is: "N., be thou baptized in the name of the Father, in the name of the Son, in the name of the Holy Ghost. Amen." Then follows the post-baptismal thanksgiving. Confirmation follows immediately. There are two prayers of Confirmation and a signing between the eyes with the formula: "N., is baptized and perfected in the name, etc." It is not quite clear whether oil should be used with this signing or not. Then any oil that remains over is poured into the Holy Horn, held over the font, and the water in the font is loosed from its former consecration with rather curious ceremonies. The Chaldean Catholics have added the renunciations, profession of faith, and answers of the sponsors from the Roman Ritual, and anoint with chrism.

The marriage service (Burakha, 'Blessing") has nothing very distinctive about it, and resembles closely the Byzantine, and to some extent the Jewish rite.

The orders of the Nestorians are those of reader (Qaruya), subdeacon (Hiupathiaqna), deacon (Shamasha), priest (Qashisha), archdeacon (Arkidhyaquna) and bishop (Apisqupa). The degree of archdeacon, though has an ordination service of its own, is only counted as a degree of the presbyterate, and is by some held to be the same as that of chorepiscopus (Kurapisqupa), which never involved episcopal ordination among the Nestorians. When a priest is engaged in sacerdotal functions, he is called Kahna (i.e., lereus; sacerdos) and a bishop is similarly Rab kahni (Chief of the Priests, archiereus
Archiereus is a Greek term for bishop, when considered as the culmination of the priesthood.It is used in the liturgical books of the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Church, for those services which correspond to the pontifical services of the Roman Rite...

, pontifex
PONTIFEX was a mid-1980s project that introduced a novel approach to complex aircraft fleet scheduling, partially funded by the European Commission’s Strategic Programme for R&D in Information Technology.Since the mathematical problems stemming from non trivial fleet scheduling easily become...

). Quashisha and Apisqupa only denote the degree. Kahnutha, priesthood, is used of the three degrees of deacon, priest, and bishop. The ordination formula is: "N. has been set apart, consecrated, and perfected to the work of the diaconate [or of the presbyterate] to the Levitical and stephanite Office [or for the office of the Aaronic priesthood], in the Name, etc., In the case of a bishop it is : "to the great work of the episcopate of the city of ..." A similar formula is used for archdeacons and metropolitans.

The Consecration of churches (Siamidha or Qudash Madhbkha) consists largely of unctions. The altar is anointed all over, and there are four consecration crosses on the four interior walls of the sanctuary, and these and the lintel of the door and various other places are anointed. The oil is not that of the Holy Horn, but fresh olive oil consecrated by the bishop.

Manuscripts and editions

Few of the manuscripts, except some lectionaries in the British Museum, were written before the 15th century, and most, whether Chaldean or Nestorian, are of the 17th and 18th. The books in use are:
  • Takhsa, a priest's book, containing the Eucharistic service (Qurbana or Qudasha) in its three forms, with the administration of other sacraments, and various occasional prayers and blessings. It is nearly the Euchologion
    The Euchologion is one of the chief liturgical books of the Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches, containing the portions of the services which are said by the bishop, priest, or deacon...

     of the Greeks (see Rite of Constantinople).
  • Kthawa dhaqdham wadhwathar or Qdhamuwathar, "Before and After", contains the Ordinary of the Divine Office except the Psalter
    A psalter is a volume containing the Book of Psalms, often with other devotional material bound in as well, such as a liturgical calendar and litany of the Saints. Until the later medieval emergence of the book of hours, psalters were the books most widely owned by wealthy lay persons and were...

    , arranged for two weeks.
  • Dawidha (David), the Psalter, divided into hulali, which answer more or less to the kathismata of the Greeks. It includes the collects of the hulali.
  • Qiryana, Shlika w'Iwangaliyuna, lections, epistles, and gospels, sometimes together, sometimes in separate books.
  • Turgama, explanatory hymns sung before the Epistle and Gospel.
  • Khudra, containing the variables for Sundays, Lent and the Fast of the Ninevites, and other holy days.
  • Kashkul, a selection from the Khudra for weekdays.
  • Geza
    Géza can refer to any of the following:* Géza of Hungary, Grand Prince of the Magyars* Géza I of Hungary, King of Hungary* Géza II of Hungary, King of Hungary...

    , containing variables for festivals except Sundays.
  • Abukhalima, a collectary, so called from its compiler, Elias III, Abu Khalim ibn alKhaditha, Metropolitan of Nisibis
    Nusaybin Nisêbîn) is a city in Mardin Province, Turkey, populated mainly by Kurds. Earlier Arameans, Arabs, and Armenians lived in the city. The population of the city is 83,832 as of 2009.-Ancient Period:...

    , and patriarch (1175–99).
  • Ba'utha d'Ninwayi, rhythmical prayers attributed to Saint Ephraem, used during the Fast of the Ninevites.
  • Takhsa d'amadha, the office baptism.
  • Burakha, the marriage service.
  • Kathnita, the burial service for priests.
  • Anidha, the burial service for lay people.
  • Takhsa d'siamidha, the ordination services.
  • Takhsa d'khusaya, the "Office of Pardon", or reconciliation of penitents.

These last six are excerpts from the Takhsa.
Of the above the following have been printed in Syriac:

For the Nestorians:
  • The Takhsa, in two parts, by Archbishop of Canterbury
    Archbishop of Canterbury
    The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

    's Assyrian Mission (Urmi
    Urmi may refer to:* Urumee, a Carnatic "talking" drum from South India* The Urmi River in Khabarovsk Krai, Russia* Urmi, Estonia, village in Palupera Parish, Valga County, Estonia* The Urmia city or province in Iranian Azerbaijan....

    , 1890–92) The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge has published an English translation of the first part of the Takhsa, both parts "unmodified except by the omission of the heretical names" (Brightman);
  • Dhaqdham wadhwathar, by the same (Urmi, 1894); Dawidha, by the same (Urmi, 1891).
  • Khudra, in three volumes, by Mar Narsai Press (Trichur, 1960; reprint 1993).

For the Chaldean Catholics:
  • Missale Chaldaicum, containing the Liturgy of the Apostles
    Holy Qurbana of Addai and Mari
    The Holy Qurbana of Addai and Mari belongs to the East Syrian liturgical family and is in regular use in the Assyrian Church of the East, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and the Chaldean Catholic Church. Saint Addai and Saint Mari are credited with having written it...

     in Syriac and Epistle
    An epistle is a writing directed or sent to a person or group of people, usually an elegant and formal didactic letter. The epistle genre of letter-writing was common in ancient Egypt as part of the scribal-school writing curriculum. The letters in the New Testament from Apostles to Christians...

    s and Gospels in Syriac with an Arabic translation, in Garshuni
    Garshuni or Karshuni are Arabic language writings that use the Syriac alphabet.Garshuni originated in the seventh century AD, when Arabic was becoming the dominant spoken language in the Fertile Crescent, but Arabic script was not yet fully developed and widely read...

     (Propaganda Press fol., Rome, 1767). A new and revised edition, containing the three liturgies and the lections, epistles, and gospels was published by the Dominicans at Mosul
    Mosul , is a city in northern Iraq and the capital of the Ninawa Governorate, some northwest of Baghdad. The original city stands on the west bank of the Tigris River, opposite the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh on the east bank, but the metropolitan area has now grown to encompass substantial...

     in 1901. The Order of the Church Services of Common Days, etc., from Kthawa dhaqdham wadhwathar (octavo
    Octavo to is a technical term describing the format of a book.Octavo may also refer to:* Octavo is a grimoire in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett...

    , Mosul, 1866). *"Breviarium Chaldaicum in usum Nationis Chaldaicae a Josepho Guriel secundo editum" (16mo, Propaganda Press, Rome, 1865).
  • "Breviarium Chaldaicum", etc., [8vo, Paris (printed at Leipzig, 1886].

For the Malabar Catholics:
  • "Ordo Chaldaicus Missae Beatorum Apostolorum, juxta ritum Ecclesiae Malabaricae" (fol., Propaganda Press, Rome, 1774).
  • "Ordo Chaldaicus Rituum et Lectionum", etc., (fol., Rome, 1775).
  • "Ordo Chaldaicus ministerii Sacramentorum Sanctorum", etc., (fol., Rome, 1775).

These three, which together form a Takhsa and Lectionary, are commonly found bound together. The Propaganda reprinted the third part in 1845.
  • "Ordo Baptismi adultorum juxta ritum Ecclesiae Malabaricae Chaldaeorum" (octavo, Propaganda Press, Rome, 1859), a Syriac translation of the Roman Order.

The Malabar Rite was revised in a Roman direction by Aleixo de Menezes
Aleixo de Menezes
Aleixo de Menezes was Archbishop of Goa, Archbishop of Braga, Portugal, and Viceroy of Portugal during the Iberian Union.-Biographical sketch:Aleixo was born in 1559. It is known that he joined the Augustinians...

, Archbishop of Goa, and the revision was authorized by the controversial Synod of Diamper
Synod of Diamper
The Synod of Diamper, held at Udayamperoor/Diamper, is a diocesan synod by which Latin usages were formally adopted by the Christians of Saint Thomas. It was convened on June 20, 1599, under the leadership of Aleixo de Menezes, Archbishop of Goa. Archdeacon George was forced to comply with the...

 in 1599. So effectively was the original Malabar Rite abolished by the Synod in favour of this revision, and by the schismatics (when in 1649, being cut off from their own patriarch by the Spaniards and Portuguese, they put themselves under the Jacobite patriarch) in favour of the West Syrian Liturgy, that no copy is known to exist, but it is evident from the revised form that it could not have differed materially from the existing Nestorian Rite.
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