The Anaphora of Addai and Mari:
A Study of Structure and Historical Background by
Bishop Sarhad Yawsip Jammo
Benefiting from the results of a long list of researchers, starting
with I. Rahmani in 1899,1 different scholars have undertaken many
attempts to study the text of the Anaphora of the Apostles Addai and
Mari (A&M) in order to reconstruct a putative original version, especially
through comparison with the Maronite Anaphora of Peter III. Among those
who have presented their conclusions on the reconstruction attempt,
the latest and those deserving special mention are: Sanchez Caro, Jean
Magne, and A. Gelston.2
While the envisioned Urtext remains as elusive as ever, major gaps still
persist regarding the reasons presented to explain the actual tortuous
text. Therefore the subject still calls for fresh contributions. Our aim
in this article is:
a) to search for the reasons that
motivated the formulation of the actual text of A&M, searching thus
for an explanation, based on historical data, of the deviations and
discontinuities that we encounter in its texture; furthermore:
b) to identify and define the variant
strata of development of the anaphoral text.
In my article "The Quddasha of the Apostles Addai and Mari,"3
I have explained why the Eucharistic Institution narrative could not
belong to the original text of our Anaphora. This "gemma
orientate"* belonged to a primordial era when the euchology of
the Church had not yet inserted the Institution Narrative in the text of
the Eucharistic Prayer. The era of A&M is close to the era of the
Eucharist of chapter 10 of the Didache and to the paleoanaphora
of the Apostolic Constitutions VII, 25,5 as well as to the
Eucharistic synaxis of Justin.6
Building upon that conclusion, our point of departure in this research
is a comparison of structure between the Mesopotamian A&M7 and the
basically similar tenure of the Maronite anaphora of Peter III,8 of
which we give here the texts, marking similarities with boldface and
indicating later additions with italics.
|The Anaphora of A&M
|Peter III or Sharrar
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.
a) Glory to you,
the adorable and glorious Name of the Father and of the Son and
of the Holy Spirit, who created the worlds by his grace and its
inhabitants by his mercy, and has effected redemption toward
mortals by his grace.
b) Your majesty, O Lord,
a thousand 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:
majesty, O Lord, a thousand thousand heavenly angels worship
and myriad myriads hosts ministers of fire and spirit glorify in
fear. With the cherubim and seraphim, who from one to another
bless and sanctify and cry out and say:
c) Holy, Holy, Holy, God
Heaven and earth are full of His
So that may we also, O Lord,
your grace and your compassion be
made worthy to say with them three
c) Holy, Holy, Holy...
cc) 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.
cc) Hosanna to the Son of David...
And with these heavenly powers
d) We give thanks to you, O
Lord, even 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 to quicken us by
your divinity. And lifted up our poor estate 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 of your grace.
d) We give thanks
to you, O Lord, we your sinful servants because you have
effected in us your grace which cannot be repaid. You put on our
humanity so as to quicken us by your divinity. You lifted up our
poverty and righted our dejection and quickened our mortality,
and you justified our sinfulness and you forgave our debts. And
you enlightened our understanding and vanquished our enemies
and made triumphant our lowliness
e) And For all your help
and graces toward us, we raise to you glory, honor, thanksgiving
and adoration, now and for ever and ever. Amen.
e) And For
all your graces toward us, let us offer to you glory and honor
in your holy Church before your propitiatory altar, now....
|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
f) You, O Lord, in your many mercies
make a gracious remembrance for all the upright and just fathers
in the commemoration of your body and your
g) which we offer to you upon the pure and holy
altar as you have taught us:
g) which we offer to you
upon your living and holy altar, as you, our hope, have
taught us in your holy and living gospel
and have said: I am the bread of life which came down from
heaven so that mortals may have life in me. We make, O Lord,
the memorial of your passion as you have taught us:
in that night when you were delivered up to the
crucifiers, you took bread... <the Narrative>
h) And grant us your tranquility 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
that 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.
h) We remember you, only-begotten of the Father...
make us ... that we may stand before you in
purity and serve you in holiness... Yes,
we beg you, only-begotten of the Father; through
him peace has been proclaimed to us, Child
of the Most High by whom the things above were reconciled
with the things below, the good shepherd...
i) of the
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.
i) We offer before you, O Lord, this oblation
in memory of all the upright
and just fathers, prophets and apostles, martyrs and
confessors,[and of all our patriarchs, the Pope...] bishops
and chorepiscopoi and perio-deutai, priests
and deacons and deaconesses, young men celibates
and virgins, and all the children of the holy Church
who are marked with the mark of saving baptism, and
whom you have made participate in your holy body.
j) And we also, 0 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.
j) intercessions in Antiochian man-ner>
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 a new life in the kingdom of heaven with
all who have been pleasing before you.
k) And may he come, O
Lord, your living and Holy Spirit and
dwell and rest upon this oblation of your servants,
And may it be for those who partake for
the pardon of debts and the forgiveness of sins and for a blessed
resurrection from the dead and a new life in the
kingdom of heaven, forever.
1) 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
uncovered faces, as we offer up praise, honor, thanksgiving and
adoration, now and for ever and ever. Amen.
1) And for your glorious economy toward us we give you
your sinful servants redeemed by your innocent
blood, with open mouth which give thanks in your holy
Church before your propitiatory altar, now...
A) Basic Question
The first question that we pose in this our study is: which one of the
two texts is the original, or if neither is, what and where is the
common original core of both.
In order to answer the posed question, we first take note with I.
Rahmani — an observation which is still valid at the present time —
that no trace can be found of a putative original Urtext for A&M
significantly different from the text in our posession.9 Then we realize
with B. Spinks that:
Every paragraph in the Mar Esha'ya text [of A&M] has a parallel with
the Maronite anaphora with the sole exception of the Anamnesis. If...
the text of Sharrar must be taken seriously, then why is the Anamnesis
missing? Its absence suggests the possibility that the Anamnesis is a
later East Syrian addition to the original form of the anaphora.10
As far as the Anamnesis of A&M is concerned, we will deal with it
later, indicating as well its parallel, or rather its substitute, in
Peter III. The fact remains that, this Anamnesis aside, every paragraph
in A&M has a parallel in Peter III, but not vice-versa, i.e.
not every paragraph in Peter III has a parallel in A&M. That
should mean that the "Maronite" reviser had the text of
A&M, basically as we find it in Mar 'Eshaya's Hudhra, in front of
him, to be able to produce a parallel to every paragraph in it while
redacting Peter III. This very fact eliminates the need for a phantom
common core for both. A&M is the Ur-text of Peter III.
This conclusion does not eliminate the possibility of a later
Mesopotamian retouching of the A&M prior version, i.e. the version
used by the reviser who produced Peter III. In fact, we will identify
one instance, at the beginning of Section I (paragraph a) where we think
that the actual parallel text of Peter III preserves better the original
text of A&M.
B) General Observation in regard to the
While we must be appreciative of the respected scholars for the wealth
of information and insights they have provided us in their analysis of
our anaphora, we have to recognize that those who attempted to
reconstruct a phantom original text of A&M presume that either: a)
our anaphora had been produced as one piece, composed in its entirety at
one time (like Sanchez Caro or A. Gelston. Macomber is not consistent:
he thinks it has been produced at once but allows an exception in regard
to the Epiclesis), or b) it is a collection of preformulated hymns to
Christ (J. Magne). Their approach led them to produce different
hypothetical models, reflecting a great body of knowledge, but yielding
objectively inconclusive results.
Concerning the first group of authors (Sanchez Caro, A. Gelston and
W. Macomber) a differentiation should be made. Taking the conclusion
of Botte that paragraph (J) is an anamnesis of sorts11 induced some
scholars like Macomber12 to consider the possibility of a missing
Institution Narrative in A&M, and therefore to consider Peter III as
being, in that regard, of equal historic value or even as preserving
better the original version. Thus, we can find several reconstructed
models, like the one formulated by Sanchez Caro, which include in their
structure the narrative of the Last Supper.
This kind of approach does not pay sufficient attention to the fact that
the anaphora of A&M is a formulary that accompanied the development
and growth of the Church of Mesopotamia. That Church, though it
maintained a mutually recognized communion with the "Western
Fathers" — clearly until the Synod of Mar Dadysho' (A.D. 424)
—, remained somehow distant from them because of its existence in a
different empire and culture. To the best of our knowledge, A&M was
the only anaphora in general and continuous use by that Church of the
East from time immemorial until the time of Mar Isaac the Catholicos and
his synod of A.D. 410.
While all other Churches in East and West composed through the third,
fourth, and fifth centuries, new anaphoras reflecting contemporary
developments in theology and liturgy, the Church of the East had only
one original and commonly used anaphora to cope with those developments:
the anaphora of A&M. That is why I suggest that scholarly research
on this topic should aim not at the reconstruction of a phantom original
text of this eucharistic prayer, different from the one we possess, but
at the discovery of different strata of liturgical development
within the very text itself.
Searching for the first stratum
A) The Birkat Ha-Mazon and the Eucharistic
Since 1968, my professor of blessed memory L. Ligier had advised
scholars in search of the origin of the eucharistic prayer:
To clear the passage from the Supper to the eucharistic prayer of the
Canon, one must certainly begin from the Birkat Ha-Mazon, and solely
from it. But on two conditions: most of all we must consider this prayer
in its entirety, then, we have to consider the Birkat Ha-Mazon in its
Furthermore, the connection between the Birkat Ha-Mazon and the earliest
surviving formula of eucharistic prayer, chapter 10 of the Didache, is
generally acknowledged by scholars. I concur with E. Mazza, in his
Following the studies of L. Finkelstein, of M. Dibelius, and of K. Hruby,
the connection between the Birkat Ha-Mazon and the Didache 10 no longer
But before dealing with relationship between the Birkat Ha-Mazon and
the Anaphora of A&M, I have to make some remarks about how the
Jewish teachers and later the Christian formularies have dealt with the
Birkat Ha-Mazon regarding its structure, content, and style.
According to the Babylonian Talmud:
Our Teachers taught: the order of the blessing of food is the following:
the first blessing is the one that is for "the One who
nourishes", the second one the blessing for the land, the third
is "for the One who will build Jerusalem"...
Our Teachers taught: From where it results that the blessing for the
food is contained in the Law? From where it says: "When you have
eaten your fill, you shall bless" (Deut. 8, 10).ls
The connection between the three concepts contained in the three
blessings is evident. In fact, after a meal, it is fitting to give
thanks to the creator and provider of nourishment. That is the first
Then, connecting the food to its origin, i.e. to the fertile land that
produces it, is nothing else than expanding the awareness of the divine
favor, and, in continuity with the first concept, requiring the corresponding
duty of gratitude. Moreover, giving thanks for the land brings with it
all the memories of the circumstances that surrounded conquering it:
first the exodus from slavery in Egypt to freedom, and from Moses to the
Law. Land and Redemption in this case are interwoven concepts. That is
the second blessing. Then, because of the close connection between the
themes of these two blessings, which we see in the very style of their
redaction, we may consider them as a single block of
The third blessing or supplication connects the past to the present and
future. It moves from the whole world to a particular land, then to a
particular nation, praying for the preservation of that nation and the
unity of its people, as well as for the protection of its pivotal institutions.
The earliest surviving formularies of the Christian eucharist, Di-dache
10, the Mystical Eucharist of the Apostolic Constitutions VII,
25, and the Anaphora of A&M, all follow the Birkat Ha-Mazon in
structuring their text in three sections. For the Church of the East,
the Catholicos Isho'yahb I (ca. 587), in his response to the bishop of
Darai, describes a common feature of the Mesopotamian anaphora:
(The priest) at the end of each of the consecutive sections (Yubal
Pasoqe), duly glorifying with his tongue, draws with his hand over
the divine mysteries — according to the norm — the sign of the
lordly cross. When he finishes the three sections (Tlatheyhon Pasoqe),
he draws near to sign.16
But, we should emphasize, in none of these formularies is thanksgiving
for the food the content of the first section. Instead, thanksgiving
for creation and redemption is the topic of the first section in all of
them. It is worthwhile noting how the passage from the theme of
nourishment to the theme of creation is formulated in the second
paragraph of Didache 10: "You, Lord Almighty, have created every
thing by Your Name, both food and beverage..." This is quite
similar to the opening sentence of the first section in A&M:
"Glory to You, the adorable Name ... who created the world by his
It seems to me that Christians celebrating the Lord's Supper could not
begin their eucharist with a thanksgiving for the food, because:
a) the community dinner preceding the
eucharist had been quickly eliminated in the early years,
b) the spiritual bread and wine they were
sharing were not part of the plan of creation but a climax of the
B) The Connection between A&M and Birkat
The connection between the Birkat Ha-Mazon and the Anaphora of the
Apostles Addai and Mari has been recognized since it was brought to
light remarkably by L. Bouyer,17 but no further follow-up research has
been made to show the successive strata in its development to the
In our attempt to establish the points of contact with the
Birkat-Ha-Mazon, our first step is to extract from the actual text of
our anaphora three segments that in my opinion did not pertain to the
initial early stratum of the text, i.e.: the Sanctus, the Epiclesis, and
the expanded references to the Last Supper. I fully concur with R. Taft
that: "... there is more or less consensus that the most primitive
original eucharistic prayers were short, self-contained benedictions,
without Sanctus, institution narrative, or epiclesis, comparable to the
Jewish Birkat ha-mazon, Didache 10, and the papyrus Strasburg
If A&M belongs to the same era and its patterns, by excising the
three segments we should be able to extract a remnant formula parallel
to Birkat Ha-Mazon in its structure and basic themes, and similar to Didache
10 and to the Mystic Eucharist of the Apostolic Constitutions
VII, 25. The three segments extracted comprise:
a) the Sanctus, its introduction, and the
adjustments made for its insertion in the anaphora in the first
b) the paragraph containing the
Epiclesis in the third section, and
c) the expansion of the references to
the Last Supper in the third section, explicitly connecting the act of
the Church to that Supper. Here are the texts for comparison:
1) Blessed are you,
Lord our God, king of the universe, for you nourish
us and the whole world with goodness, grace, kindness,
Blessed are you, Lord, for you nourish the universe
|1) Glory to
you 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 men in his mercy and has effected great grace toward
2) We give you thanks,
Lord our God,
for you have given us for our inheritance a desirable land,
good and wide, the covenant and the law, life and food
For all these things we give you thanks and
bless your name for ever and beyond.
|2) We give
you thanks, Lord,
we your lowly, weak, and wretched servants, because you have
brought about in us a great grace which cannot be repaid. For
you put on our humanity to give us life through your divinity,
you extalled our lowly state, you raised our fall, you restored
our immortality, you forgave our debts, you justified our
sinfulness, you enlightened our intelligence. You, our Lord
and God, conquered our enemies, and made triumphant our weak
nature through the abundant mercy of your grace.
And for all your help and graces toward us, we raise to
you praise, honor, thanksgiving and adoration, now
and for ever and ever. Amen.
3) Have mercy, Lord our God, on us your people
Israel, and your city Jerusalem, on your sanctuary and
your dwelling place on Zion the habitation of your glory, and
the great and holy house over which your name is invoked.
Restore the kingdom of the house of David to its place in our
days, and speedily build Jerusalem.
Blessed are you Lord for you build Jerusalem.
3) Lord, through your many mercies
which cannot be told, do make, in the commemoration of
your Christ, a gracious remembrance for all the pious
and righteous fathers who were pleasing in your sight,
the prophets, the apostles, the martyrs and confessors, the
bishops, the priests and deacons, and all the sons who have been
sealed with the living seal of holy baptism.
And for all your wonderful plan 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 uncovered faces, as we offer up praise, honor, thanksgiving
and adoration, now and for ever and ever. Amen.
Section I: As Christians, the
Mesopotamian faithful, as we clarified above, had to begin their
eucharist with the themes of creation and redemption, which became the
topic of the first section.
Section II: This section maintained,.as
in the Birkat Ha-Mazon, its focus on the redemptive economy, but with
clear Christological content.
Section III: Following the structural
pattern of the Birkat Ha-Mazon, the third section is formulated in the
manner of a supplication, but its real content is a commemoration.
A&M produces here a very fitting, particular, even unique way to
make the memorial of the Lord weaving it into the section of
"commemorations" in the structure of the Anaphora, instead of
placing it in the section of Theological Celebration, thus
establishing a new pattern of commemoration of the Lord according to the
following structure: Lord God, as we do the memorial of your Christ,
remember us, your Church. The Lord Christ, in fact, requested his
disciples toward the end of his blessing to: "Do this in memory of
Furthermore, the points of contact between A&M and the Birkat go
even beyond the structure and text of the three sections, to the
post-supper Finale of Easter meal, when before singing the
Hallel (Ps 113) some other psalmic verses were recited to accompany what
was called the Cup of Elijah.19
Here are the texts for comparison:
The Last Chalice, of Elijah
(Psalm 79, 6-7; 69, 25; Lam 3, 66)
The Anaphora A&M
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, Pursue them
in wrath and destroy them from under your heavens.
And grant us your tranquility 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 that 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.
A careful reading of both columns in the above exposed tables, should
suffice to show that both the basic structure and the Finale of
the Judaic Passover have a parallel in the Mesopotamian anaphora; a
parallel which at the same time surpasses its original with great
Christian spirituality. Instead of invoking the wrath of God on the
gentiles who did not recognize him and have battled his people, A&M
invokes peace for the Church in her earthly journey, and the conversion
of all men to God and his Christ.
C) Comparison with Didache
Based on the comparison and analysis presented, I think it is valid to
conclude the original euchological structure of A&M follows basically
the pattern of the Birkat Ha-Mazon in its Passover environment. This
basic original structure of A&M could be considered as a first
stratum in the Formgeschichte of its final text in the
manuscripts, close in style, content, and therefore in date of
composition, to the eucharist of the Didache 10, with one
advantage for A&M: the paragraph invoking peace for the Church and
conversion for the world brings the Mesopotamian eucharist closer to the
Jewish Passover meal, and consequently closer to the Last Supper of
Jesus with his disciples. For easier verification, compare the following
Almighty Lord, you created all things for your Name's
Glory to you, the adorable Name (of the
Father and of the Son and of 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.
We thank you, holy Father, for your holy
name which you have made to dwell in our hearts...
|We give thanks to you, Lord...,
Lord, remember your Church...
Make, Lord, a gracious remem
brance for all the fathers ...
While recognizing the different development of the original content of
the Birkat Ha-Mazon in each of the two formularies presented, we can
verify, at the same time, a sufficient similarity of structure and
initial content between them, allowing us to conclude that A&M in
its first and early stratum still preserves the basic pattern of
eucharistic prayer similar to that of the Didache, and consequently
close to its apostolic era. But, while the early known formularies of
eucharistic prayer, the Didache, the paleoanaphora of the Apostolic
Constitutions VII, 25 and the anaphora of the Apostolic Tradition 4, 20
are but historic literary monuments of Christian euchology, A&M
continued to be the vital liturgical expression of a living Church, a
Church that kept adding to its ancient and venerated anaphora successive
strata to update it with the theological and liturgical developments
of the Church universal.
After having excised from the total text of A&M those segments that
we have shown did not belong to its initial formulation, it would be
useful, for the purpose of clarity, to put together the original
segments in one formula that constitutes the first stratum of our
The Anaphora of A&M
a) Glory to you
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.
d) 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 up our poor estate 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 of your grace.
e) And For all your help and graces toward
us, we raise to you glory, honor, thanksgiving and adoration, now and
for ever and ever. Amen
f) 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 the holy catholic
Church, who have been marked with the mark of holy baptism.
h) And grant us your tranquility
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 that 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.
1) 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
uncovered faces, as we offer up praise, honor, thanksgiving and
adoration to your holy and life-giving name, now and for ever and ever.
The Addressee of the Anaphora
One of the major intrigues scholars faced in understanding and
explaining the known text of A&M was the unstable and incoherent
address of the anaphora, both in its entirety as well as in its individual
sections, especially the third one. But, as we can see, the text is
quite coherent and continuous when restored to its initial stratum. The
address in this first stratum does not present a difficulty but a
particularity: the first section is addressed to the divine Name, which
was later expanded to mean the Trinity, the second section is addressed
to Christ, the third section returns in its address back to the Father.
It is unusual, but it is clear.
The passage from the Father, Lord of the Universe, to Christ the Savior,
is a Mesopotamian euchological pattern eloquently reflected in the most
archaic hymn of the Assyro-Chaldean liturgy, to be found at the present
time at the beginning of every liturgical service:
Lakhu Mam d-kulla Mawdenan, w-lakh ysho' Mshyha mshabhynan... (To
you Lord of the Universe, we give thanks. To you Jesus Christ, we give
glory, because you are the one who will raise our bodies and save our
Without changing anything in the text of the Anaphora A&M, and
without adding anything to it, but only
a) by using the methodology of comparison
with Peter III,
b) by putting aside what is known to be
later successive developments in the structure of the anaphoras in all
the resulting text is a wonderful piece of euchology, a eucharist structured
following the Birkat Ha-Mazon in its Passover context, and close to the
eucharist of Didache 10.
Now we must bring back the three excisions, explain the circumstances
of their introduction into the anaphora, and the impact they have had on
the second stratum The addition and modification in the First Section's
A) The Addition oflsaian Qaddysh
Recent scholars, starting from A. Baumstark,21 have concluded that the
Jewish use of the Isaiah 6:3 Qedusha in Yoser and in the 3rd Tefilla of
the Eighteen Benedictions of the Jewish morning prayer, effected the
introduction of it in the Christian eucharist, first among the Churches
close to the Jewish congregations, then expanding to the rest of
Christianity. As far as the time of introduction of Qaddysh into the
general structure of the anaphoras, we notice first that it is not found
in any known text of the eucharistic prayer up to the Apostolic
Tradition anaphora (3/4th c.). That could be considered a terminus
a quo. And since it is found in the anaphora of the Apostolic
Constitutions, VIII, 12:2722 (ca. 380) in a version that
reproduces the Tefilla Qyddusha, we can consider that date as
a terminus ad quern for its introduction in the Syrian
The Mesopotamia!! Church, one of the Christian communities closest to
Jewish congregations, would have easily found how fitting it is to
insert this heavenly hymn into its eucharist, especially given the fact
that it belonged to the morning prayer. Transfering it from morning
prayer to morning eucharist should have been a smooth passage at the
place dedicated to the glorification of God in the Anaphora. An
introduction was composed for its insertion ("Your
Majesty...") in the same literary style, following the same
initial address in second person ("Glory to You, the
Name...") without modifying at all the original primitive text.
Nevertheless, we can still detect in the texture of this introduction
some indication pointing to the relative novelty of the Qaddysh segment.
1) while the addressee in the primitive
segment of the Anaphora (a) is the divine "Name," we observe
that the addressee in the introduction to the Qaddysh (b) is "My
Lord" in both A&M and Peter III,
2) the grammatical style of the discourse switches from the third
person ("the Name who created the world by his grace... by his
compassion... etc.) to the second person: ("Your Majesty... Your
Name.../ Your grace... Your compassion").
As to the date when of the Qaddysh was introduced into the Mesopotamian
anaphora, it should precede the year 340, which marked the beginning of
forty years of brutal persecution, which forced the severing of
ecclesial relations between the Persian East and the Roman West.
B) 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. It could not have been motivated by addition of the
veterotestamen-tarian Qaddysh to the first stratum of the anaphora,
since this hymn, according to its origination in Isaiah 6:3 and as
formulated in its introduction, is to be chanted by the heavenly
The modification was in fact motivated by the later new addition of a
neotestamentarian "Hosanna and Benedictus" (adopting Ps. 118,
25-26 and Ez. 3, 12), imitating the liturgy of St. James in Jerusalem, a
hymn which requires by its meaning to be sung by a journeying Church.
This new addition required a new adjustment of the first section that
would put the enriched and expanded Qaddysh in a new proper context.
That the Isaian Qaddysh was already part of A&M when it passed to
the Fathers of the Maronite Church is indicated by the fact that Peter
III has it with its introduction basically as it is in A&M. That the
Hosanna-Benedictus pericope is a later new addition is indicated by the
fact that each of the two anaphoras patch a new context for it in
different, awkward, and clearly artificial ways:
a) Peter III, interrupts the Isaian text
itself, by adding a phrase ("so that (sic) we may
become worthy to say with them...") at the end of the introductory
sentence of the Isaian text ("crying out and saying:") which
had formed a cohesive pericope with the rest of the angelic hymn, a
cohesiveness that was disrupted by the new patching phrase.
b) A&M by framing it with two
sentences, one at the very beginning of the section (Worthy of glory
from every mouth and of thanksgiving from every tongue, the
adorable...), and the other at the end of the hymn at the place that
marks the beginning of the second anaphoral section ("With
these heavenly hosts, even we, give you thanks"). This is
a clear indication of the patching effort.
This analysis that sees two strata in the text of Qaddysh in both
anaphoras of A&M and Peter III could be confirmed first by the tenure
of the anaphora in the Apostolic Constitutions VIII, which does
have the veterotestamentarian Trisagion but without the
neotesta-mentarian Hosanna-Benedictus pericope:
Holy, Holy, Holy, God Almighty, heaven and earth are full of his glory;
you are blessed forever. Amen.24
Also by Narsai (t 502) in his Exposition of the mysteries as he describes
in his Memra 17 this section of the celebration paraphrasing it as
The priest continues (saying): "All (heavenly beings) cry out
together and say the one to another," the people then respond: Holy
the God that dwells in the light. Holy, Holy, Holy the Lord, cry
out the people, Heaven and the whole earth are full of his glories...
The whole Church shout up with those (words) then they revert to
silence, while the priest follows up conversing with God.25
Similarly, in his treatise N. 21 on the Mysteries of the Church, Narsai
paraphrases the acts of the liturgy with no word at all about either
Hosanna or Benedictus.
(The Priest) resembles the spiritual beings by his words when he intercedes
and when in holy manner teaches the people to say: Holy. He recites
to men the voice of heavenly beings, so that they shout: Holy, Holy,
Holy is the Lord... As he makes (the people) hear it, he is passionate
like Isaiah, remembering how much the lowliness of man has been
Origin of the Addition Hosanna-Benedictus
If the Hosanna-Benedictus pericope is a later addition to the Isaian
Qaddysh, when and why would it have been introduced in to A&M? It
should be after the time of Narsai (t 502), certainly. It was Mar Aba,
who was sent in 530 by the hierarchy of his Church of the East to update
his Church's liturgy, in harmony with the liturgical developments in
"western" Christianity, who visited the Byzantine Metropoles
and edited two additional anaphoras, the one in honor of Theodore the
Interpreter, the other in honor of the Patriarch Nesto-rius. They have
both the Sanctus with the addition of Hosanna-Benedictus, in the
manner of the Liturgy of St. James. Expectedly, the Qaddysh of the
liturgy of A&M was aligned with them and provided a patchwork
textual frame, possibly by Mar Aba himself.
The failure to draw the right conclusion from the comparison between
A&M and Peter III in regard to the Incipit of our Anaphora, and also
not to take into sufficient consideration the distinction between the
two segments of the Sanctus (a: Qaddysh, b: Hosanna-Benedictus), and the
different moments of their insertion into this anaphora, has misled some
scholars like Gelston — building here on Macomber's analysis — to a
The most significant point indeed to emerge from a comparison of Section
C (Qaddysh... Hosanna... Benedictus...) with its counterpart in Sharrar
is the fact that both anaphoras contain the Sanctus, which
creates a presumption in favour of its having belonged to the original
As we have seen
a) The Common Core theory lacks any
b) The Isaian Sanctus should have belonged to A&M at the
moment of its passage to the Maronite tradition, which did not require
any modification of the Incipit of the Anaphora: "Glory to
You" as preserved in Sharrar. At the moment of that passage (A.D.
410, as we shall see), the neotestamentarian addition (Hosanna-Benedictus)
had not yet made its way into the general structure of the anaphoras,
as indicated by the anaphora of the Apostolic Constitutions VIII,
12: 27 (A.D. 380) and by Narsai.
c) After the passage of A&M to the
Maronite tradition, the insertion of the Hosanna-Benedictus pericope,
independently implemented by both Mesopotamian and Maronite Churches,
prompted each of them, on its own, to make the needed adjustment to the
original text. That is the reason behind the different patching in the
The Addition and Modification in the Second
This second anaphoral section has remained basically unchanged since its
early formulation, except for the Incipit, the cause and circumstance
of which we have just shown.
The Additions and Modifications in the Third Section
a) The Epiclesis:
The Epiclesis of A&M is clearly according to the "Maranatha"
form (Come O Lord) of 1 Cor 16:22, as well as in the Didache 10
in connection with the eucharist. In fact, as the "coming" of
the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin effected the conception of the
Savior, similarly here the Spirit is invoked to "come" do
what Christ did at the Last Supper when he "blessed" the bread
and wine so that they became for us the food for the new life in the
kingdom of heaven. It is also to be noticed that the text of Peter III,
especially if we consider the variants in the manuscripts, remains very
close to that of Addai and Mari.
The introduction of the Isaian Qaddysh into the anaphora of A&M,
then the addition of the developed Epiclesis text, may have happened in
two different moments of history, but in the context of our present
research we can consider them here as belonging to the second stratum
(before A.D. 340) in the development of our anaphora.
Putting the validity of our considerations again to the test, let us see
if the resulting text of our Second Stratum presents a coherent
SECOND STRATUM OF A&M
a) Glory to you, the
adorable 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
b) Your majesty, O Lord,
a thousand thousands of 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
c) Holy, Holy, Holy, God
almighty. Heaven and earth are full of his glories. II Section
d) 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 to quicken us by your divinity, you lifted up
our poor estate, you righted our fall, and you raised up our mortality.
And you forgave our debts. You justified our sinfulness and you
enlightened our understanding and you, our Lord and God have vanquished
our enemies and made triumphant the lowliness of our weak nature,
through the abounding compassion of your grace.
e) And for all your
benefits and graces toward us we offer you glory and honor and
thanksgiving and adoration now and all times for ever and ever. Amen.
f) You, Lord, through your unspeakable
mercies 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 the holy catholic Church, who
have been marked with the mark of holy baptism.
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 that 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.
k) And May he come, O
Lord, your Holy Spirit and rest upon this obla tion of your servants and
bless it and hallow it, that it may be to us C Lord for the pardon of
debts, the forgiveness of sins, and a great hope ol resurrection from
the dead and a new life in the kingdom of heaven with all who have been
pleasing before you.
I) 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
uncovered faces, as we offer up praise, honor, thanksgiving and
adoration, now and for ever and ever. Amen.
The text presented here as the second stratum is a marvelous euchology.
It has maintained its apostolic originality and adapted itself
wonderfully to the development of theology. That was, in my estimation,
the liturgy that sustained a heroic Church in her faithfulness to
Christ during the pains of the 4th century in the Persian Empire.
The third stratum
What I call the third stratum is the accepted and well
known text of A&M that we can find in all the ancient manuscript
rituals, a text W. Macomber edited critically in 1964.28 This is the end
result of the textual development of the principal Mesopotamian
eucharistic prayer, a development that was mostly well done, but
partially not so well done, as we will see. But we have to distinguish
two moments in the development of this stratum: the first is concerned
with the formulation of an explicit connection between the eucharistic
act of the Church and the Last Supper of the Lord, the second is related
to the addition of the Osanna-Benedictus segment to the Sanctus in the
first section of the Anaphora, and the textual adjustment that required.
We have already reviewed the latter. Now we will focus on the first.
A) The Connection with the Last Supper
The third section of A&M in its third stratum version is a most
complicated one. It has confused and puzzled the scholars, and rendered
futile many attempts to resolve it. The major points that have confused
the whole section are two. Both points have one concern: to confirm and
expand the connection between the act of the Church and the Last Supper,
i.e. to show that the Church is doing as Christ ordered her to do: not
only "to commemorate" a historic Christ, but also to offer hie
et nunc his sacrifice. Here is how this concept was inserted into
a) At the beginning of this third section
(paragraph f), taking advantage of the pericope that commemorates
Christ and his Church, the reviser found a fitting opportunity to expand
the commemoration in order 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" (paragraph g). The character of this insertion reveals
itself to the analytical eye, because:
1) it is not according to the biblical or
liturgical style to "commemorate the body and blood of
Christ," but to commemorate in the Eucharist Christ himself,
mentioning the events of his saving passion, death, and resurrection;
2) the new insertion interrupts the flow
of the commemoration of the Fathers at its beginning. Therefore, we can
observe that the reviser, unwilling to waste or destroy any part of
the original commemorative pericope, tries to patch the sliced segment
and relocates it at the end of the following paragraph, where a
composition opportunity presented itself, i.e. after "taught us
in his holy gospel all the purity and holiness," thus completing by
this recuperation the original diptychs. But, by doing so he confuses
the limpid meaning and accuracy of the latter sentence.
b) By composing a new paragraph (paragraph
"j" in the table), that dedicates itself to expressing the
linkage between the act of the Church and the institution by Christ,
styling it as an introduction to the Epiclesis. That is the reason for
the absence in this paragraph of any verb in the present tense. In fact,
this paragraph is conceived in connection with the subsequent Epiclesis,
in the following manner: "As we commemorate you, Lord Jesus,
according to your 'typical example,' let your Holy Spirit come
...," eliminating the letter "Waw" from "let
come" to form a continuous discourse.
B) Hasty Composition and Patchwork
While these additions established the connection with the Last Supper
and explicitly expressed the offering act of the Church, the patching
procedure and the newly composed text of this particular anamnesis
created serious problems in regard to both the diptychs segment as well
as to the quasi-anamnesis.
1) In regard to the diptychs:
The diptychs were cut from the Memorial segment of this section then
patched into the following Supplication for Peace, distorting both
paragraphs, the one from which they were excised and the one into which
they were interpolated. Furthermore, the address of this section lost
its original direction and became confused, changing the addressee from
the Father ("of your Christ") to the Son ("As you have
taught us"), then back to the Father ("You have sent our Lord
Jesus Christ, your beloved Son").
Based on these considerations, we may feel ready to attempt the
restoration of the original tenure of the diptychs. Thus, by putting the
original text back together, we can see clearly a fluent formulation of
Lord, in your manifold and ineffable mercies, make, in the commemoration
of Your Christ, a gracious remembrance for all the upright and just
fathers who did please you, the prophets and apostles, the martyrs and
confessors, the bishops, the priests, and the deacons, and of all the
children of the holy catholic Church who have been signed with the sign
of holy baptism.
2) In regard to the quasi-anamnesis:
Understandably, the short addition inserted in the diptychs could not
deal adequately with the concern of the reviser. Therefore a new
paragraph ("J") was composed, dedicated solely to connecting
the act of the Church to the prototype that originated from the Lord.
Here again, the weaknesses are evident and serious:
a) The quasi-anamnesis, styled as a
linkage with the Last Supper from one side and with the following
Epiclesis from the other, though containing wonderful and genuine
euchological elements, is not well constructed in itself. After stating
the reception "by tradition the example (tupsa) which is
from you," it continues with a flow of verbs without a clear order;
"while rejoicing, glorifying and magnifying, commemorating and
praising and performing...." I think that this sentence could have
been better arranged.
b) Furthermore, all the above-mentioned
verbs are in the adverbial tense. It looks like the intent of the
reviser was to connect the quasi-anamnesis with the following Epiclesis
which has the verb
"and let come" in the present tense. That intent required grammatically
the elimination of the letter "waw" (= and) from the in-cipit
of the Epiclesis making it "let come," and becoming thus the
principal verb of the sentence. In fact, the Mar Isha'ya text, edited by
Macomber, has it without the "waw."
c) But the most serious problem created by
the addition of this paragraph is the confusion it produces concerning
the one to whom this paragraph itself as well as the whole of this
section is addressed. From its incipit the paragraph changes the
original addressee from the Father to the Son ("... we...
gathered together in your name... have received the example which is
from you"), then turns back again to the Father at the end of the
paragraph ("performing the mystery of the passion... of our Lord
C) The redaction with the third stratum and
its transmission to the Maronites
The Mesopotamian Fathers, in order to update their anaphora, had
considered sufficient the insertion of an explicit linkage with the Last
Supper at the beginning of the third section, enforced by the
composition of a new paragraph in the sense of an anamnesis. The later
Maronites, living in the theological and liturgical atmosphere of
Antioch, were understandably concerned by the difference in pattern
between A&M, their adopted anaphora, and the rest of the Antiochian
anaphoras they used, almost all of them having the Institution Narrative
within their text. They felt the need, therefore, to conform the
Mesopotamian anaphora to the common pattern of western anaphoras by
the insertion of the Institution Narrative.
Nevertheless, both the Mesopotamian and the Maronite Fathers recognized
the particularity of the Mesopotamian pattern and knew exactly in what
part of their anaphora the linkage with the founding Supper of the Lord
should have been made: not in first section, within the theological
celebration, according to the Antiochian pattern, but in the third,
where the commemorations are made. The Maronite reviser, in fact,
carried on at exactly the same spot retouched by the Mesopotamian
Fathers, and expanded the same concept expressed by them, that the
oblation of the Church is done "as You have taught us,"
completing it by the insertion of the Institution Narrative. Then the
reviser returned to recuperate the sliced segment of the diptychs,
introducing it with the sentence: "We offer you, O Lord, this
oblation in memory of all the upright and just fathers: the prophets and
apostles, the martyrs and confessors..." etc. Consequently, inserting
the Institution Narrative, rendered the so-called anamnesis (paragraph
"j") redundant, and it was therefore eliminated. Also the
paragraph ("h") invoking peace had to be reformulated. The
fact is that the "anamnesis" of A&M is not lacking in
Peter III, but has been substituted by the Institution Narrative.
The search for an explanation
The confusion existing in the third section of A&M in its actual
status as exposed above, contrasts sharply with the clearly conceived
theological structure of the Anaphora. Why and how did that happen?
Surely, the Fathers of the Mesopotamian Church knew quite well their own
Aramaic language and produced in fact a liturgy that is a treasure of
the Church universal. Why, then, is this section of their anaphora so
confused? It reflects, indeed, the condition of someone working hastily,
under pressure, in response to an urgent request. Can we identify a
historic moment when that kind of ecclesial circumstance actually
A Synodal Text in the Historical Context
In the year 313 Constantine, directly after winning under the banner
of the cross his battle at the Milvian Bridge, triumphantly entered
Rome. Shortly afterwards, gradually but inexorably, the Roman Empire
would opt for Christianity first as its favored, then as its official
religion. While Christians celebrated their freedom in the West,
Christians of the East became the scapegoat for the military misfortunes
of the Persian Empire, and were forced to curtail their relations with
their brothers in the West. Theological studies and liturgical development
came to a halt. Survival in faithfulness to Christ became the imperative
of Church shepherds.
Following the martyrdom of three successive chief hierarchs, Mar Shim'on
Bar Sabba'e (t 341), Mar Shahdost (t 343), and Mar Barba' Shmin (f 346),
the see of Seleucia remained vacant for about forty years (348-388),
until the death of Shapur II and the installation of Behram TV.
Immediately after, Tomarsa was elected to the see of Seleucia. His
major task was the healing of broken hearts and rebuilding of
destroyed churches. He was succeeded by Qayyuma, an elderly leader who
resigned shortly after his election in favor of an energetic organizer,
Yazdegerd and His Era
Yazdegerd was installed on the Sassanid throne in 399 A.D. The advent of
his reign was an occasion for good-will exchanges between the two
superpowers of the time. Arcadius of Byzantium sent to the newly
installed emperor a delegation of well-wishers headed by a bishop from
the Mesopotamian frontier: Marutha of Mayferqat, who possessed
recognized medical skills in addition to diplomatic manners. These
qualities plus his Aramaic culture were all quite useful in fulfilling
his embassy with great success, not only with the Shahin-shah but also
toward the Church of his empire.
As soon as religious liberty had been guaranteed to Christianity in the
Constantinian era, Christians of the West showed interest and concern
for their brothers in the Persian Empire. Eusebius of Cae-sarea reports
in his Life of Constantine (IV, 9-13)29 the content of the letter that
Emperor Constantine wrote to Shapor regarding the protection of
Christians within his empire.
While the schools of Nisibis and Edessa were, at this junction of
history, an active and efficient point of encounter and communion
between western and eastern Christianity, it was an official synod of
the Church of the East that presented a formal setting for the Bishop of
Seleucia and Catholicos of the East to undertake the task of the reorganization
of ecclesiastic life in the Persian Empire, to be sought in unity and
harmony with the Western Church in all matters: theological,
liturgical, and administrative. That was the Synod of Mar Isaac in A.D.
The Synod of Mar Isaac The Occasion
A letter, to the Shahinshah Yezdegerd was entrusted to Mar Marutha,
written by the bishops of Syria and Upper Mesopotamia: Porphyrius,
Bishop-Catholicos of Antioch, Acacius, Bishop of Aleppo, Peqidha Bishop
of Urhay, Eusebius Bishop of Telia, and Acacius Bishop of Amida. Marutha
showed the letter to the Bishop of Seleucia and Ctesiphon, the
Catholicos Mar Isaac, and "with one accord and one perfect will
they translated the letter from the Greek tongue to the Per-
sian, and it was read before the victorious and illustrious King of
The Subject Matter
From the favorable reaction of the king to the letter we may devine its
contents. The Shahinshah reportedly said at the reading of the letter:
"East and West are but one authority in the dominion of my
kingdom."31 The implied meaning is that Christianity in the East,
within his empire, should be ruled by the same laws as in the West. Thus
the King recognized the validity of ecclesiastic law that was legislated
in the Roman Empire in regard to his own Christian subjects. That was
doubtless the request of the "Western Fathers."
The aim of Mar Marutha as delegate of the Western Fathers was more
explicit: "He concerned himself with the restoration of the
churches of Christ the Lord, and was assiduous that the laws, divine
ordinances, upright and trustworthy canons which had been established
in the West by our honored fathers, the bishops, might also be
established in the East, as an edifice of steadfastness and truth for
the people of God."32
A great synod was convoked under the patronage of the King of kings, and
consequently, forty bishops gathered together at the cathedral of
Seleucia on Jan 6, 410. During the first and following sessions, the
acts of the synod included:
a) Communion of Faith The synod accepted
the Nicean profession of faith, including it within the acts of the
b) Canonical Unity
The code of canons that Marutha brought with him from the west was read,
approved by the fathers of the synod, and signed.
c) Liturgical Unity, expressed in several
canons, here is the one that concerns our subject:
Thirteenth Canon: concerning the ordinances and canons which are appropriate
to the liturgy, and to the Holy Mysteries, and to the glorious feasts of
Also, the western liturgy which ls-haq and Marutha the bishops taught
us and all of us saw them celebrating here in the church of Se-leucia,
henceforth we shall celebrate ourselves in like manner. The deacons in
every city shall proclaim the proclamation like this, and the Scriptures
shall be read thus, and the pure and holy oblation shall be offered upon
one altar in all the churches, and the argument of that (d-haw) ancient
memory shall no longer exist among us. The oblation shall no longer
be offered from house to house.33
1) So after a century of isolation from
the Western Fathers in the Roman Empire the Church of the East saw it
was time to update her theology, canon-law, and liturgy. She accepted
the updating quite willingly. In liturgical matters, to be able to call
a liturgy "Western Liturgy," it should have included at least
some changes in the customary liturgical usage of the East. We are
informed by the Acts of the Synod that the Catholicos Mar Ishaq and the
Delegate of the Western Fathers Mar Marutha, after having instructed the
bishops about the changes to be introduced into the Eastern liturgy,
celebrated that "westernized" liturgy in the Cathedral.
Seemingly, the new elements should have been of theological importance
to be given so much relevance.
2) From the report of the synod, it is
evident that the liturgy celebrated in the Cathedral of Kokhe was a
solemn Holy Mass, therefore, the "westernized" liturgy should
have included the anaphora among the usages that were brought into line
with liturgical developments in the West.
We have to remember here that we are talking about the year 410, and
that the Synod of Mar Isaac is the first official encounter between
the hierarchy of the Church of the East and a western hierarch after
almost a century of isolation. It was also an encounter that had been
well prepared from the side of Mar Marutha, a person quite knowledgeable
and much concerned about the fate of Christianity across the border from
his diocese. Those were the years when the anaphora of the Apostolic
Tradition had been long ago formulated, when the Apostolic
Constitutions with their ideal-anaphora were edited, and when the
liturgy of St. James was composed and became the model
eucharistic prayer for Jerusalem and Antioch. In all of these
formularies the narrative of the eucharistic institution found a solid
place in the structural heart of every anaphora, establishing a clear
connection with the Last Supper and consequently with its scriptural
But A&M was left as it was since the beginning of the third century.
Expectedly, Mar Marutha should have brought the attention of Mar Isaac
to the matter and the need for adjustment. From the Acts of the Synod,
it seems that there was resistance from the part of bishops toward any
modification of the text, arguing that what they had was "of
ancient memory." Nevertheless, the willingness of the Catholicos to
come close to the Western Fathers and what the delegate represented
prevailed. Under pressure, hastily as we see the circumstances of the
synod, the bishops agreed to use uniformly a modified, or so-called
"Western," version of their anaphora, as formulated in those
3) Expectedly, Mar Marutha, the delegate
of the Western Fathers, had to communicate the result of his embassy to
his brother bishops of the frontier. Expectedly as well, he would have
showed them a copy of the anaphora in its modified version. It appears
that the Fathers of the Maronite Church liked the Eastern anaphora and
decided to use it, making it part of their own liturgical patrimony. At
a later period, they would adjust it to the pattern that became common
in their usage, thus inserting the Narrative. In due time they would insert
as well the Osanna-Benedictus with its introduction, and later still
they would add the intercessions in line with the rest of their An-tiochian
If Mar Maron, the acclaimed Father of the Maronite Church, is the same
historic figure to which John Chrysostome wrote a letter between A.D.
404 and 407,34 and if he is as well the same ascetic monk about whom
Teodoret (t 458), the disciple of Theodore of Mopsues-tia, wrote a short
biography in his Historia Religiosa,33 then he would fit quite
well in the historic period and geographic sphere of Mar Marutha, and so
the passage of A&M to the Maronite Church may find in him a suitable
1) As far as the structure of A&M is
concerned, we have accounted for every section and every paragraph and
word of our anaphora, resorting only to what is known from the general
history of eucharistic prayer, the particularity of A&M in the
context of the history of the Mesopotamian Church. We have dealt with
the text of A&M as it is found in the most ancient manuscripts,
without need for any putative and non-existent Urtext or Common Core,
and without the need to reconstruct any hypothetically missing paragraph
or segment foreign to the actual text itself.
2) The summary of our conclusion is this:
A&M is a eucharistic prayer that preserves the mark of the apostolic
era, and reflects the same basic structure of Birkat Ha-Mazon in its
paschal context. It reveals in its consecutive strata the layers of
development of eucharistic euchology in the early liturgy. Peter III is
A&M itself, adopted in its third stratum version, then modified by
the Maronite Fathers to include the narrative of eucharistic
institution and other Antiochian features.
3) This conclusion is not only of
relevance to the Chaldean liturgy, especially in the prospect of a
liturgical reform, but also to the history of the Assyro-Chaldean Church
of the East as a whole, where this eucharistic prayer is still very much
in use, because it adds a liturgical argument in favor of the
apostolicity of the Mesopotamian Church, the Assyro-Chaldean Church of
the East. It shows as well the originality of its liturgical usages as
being in direct connection with Jerusalem, independently of Antioch.
Therefore, the attribution to Addai and Mari, the Apostles of the East,
is not to be considered a mere honorary title.
4) The uncovering of the first stratum of
this "gemma orientale" may be even useful for the
exegetical study of the Last Supper biblical narrative, because of its
connection with the apostolic era and the Jewish formulas of banquet
The Quddasha of the Apostles Addai and Mari is a blessing not only to
the heirs of that apostolic legacy but to the whole Church universal.
Therefore, the recent recognition by the Holy See of the validity of the
eucharistic consecration by this venerated anaphora is a tribute to its
genuine value since apostolic times.36
11. Rahmani, Testamentum D.N.J.-C., Mainz 1899, p. 192; Les
liturgies orientates et occidentales, Beyrouth 1929.
2 J. M. Sanchez Caro, "La anafora de Addai y la anafora maronita
Sarar, intento de reconstruction de la fuente primitiva comun," OCP
43 (1977) 41-49; J. Magne, "L'anaphore nestorienne dite d'Add6e et
Mari et 1'anaphore maronite dite de Pierre III, fitude
comparative," OCP 53 (1987) 107-158; A. Gelston, The Euchristic
Prayer of Addai and Mari, Oxford 1992, pp. 118-123.
Published by the Pro Oriente Foundation in their series Syriac
Dialogue, vol 1, Vienna 1994, pp.168-182.
4 C. Giraudo, Eucaristia per la Chiesa, Rome 1989, p. 463.
Metzger III, 52-55.
6 Justin, Apologia I, 65, and 67, 3-5.
7 W. Macomber, "The Oldest Known Text of the Anaphora of the
Apostles Addai and Mari," OCP 32 (1966) 335-71.
8 Edit J. M. Sauget, in Anaphorae Syriacae, II/3, Rome 1973,
9 I. Rahmani, Les Liturgies (note 1 above), pp. 338 & 352.
10 B. Spinks, "The Original Form of the Anaphora of the
Apostles," Ephemerides Liturgicae 91 (1977) 160.
11 B. Botte, "Problemes de 1'anaphore syrienne des apdtres Addai et
Mari," OS 65 (1965) 100-104.
12 W. Macomber, "The Maronite and Chaldean Versions of the Anaphora
of the Apostles," OCP 37 (1971) 77-79.
13 L. Ligier, "De la Cene du Seigneur & 1'Eucharistie," Assemblies
du Seigneur, s6rie 2, vol 1, Paris 1968, pp. 31-32.
14 E. Mazza, L'anofora eucaristica, Roma 1992, pp. 24-25; L.
Finkelstein, "The Birkat ha-mazon," The Jewish Quarterly
Review 19 (1928-1929) 211-262; M. Dibelius, "Die Mahl-Gebete
der Didache," Zeitschrift fur die neutestamentliche
Wissenschaft 37 (1938) 32-41; K. Hruby, "La Birkat ha-mazon,
La priere d'action de grace apres le repas," Melanges
Liturgiques, Offerts au R.P. Dom Bernard Botte, Louvain 1972, pp.
205-222, also "L'action de grace dans la liturgie juive," Lex
Orandi 46 (1970) 23-51.
15 S. Cavalletti, // Trattato delle Benedizioni del Talmud
babilone.se, Torino 1968, pp. 321-322.
16 J.-B. Chabot, Synodicon Orientate, Paris 1902, Aramaic text,
17 L. Bouyer, Eucharist, University of Notre Dame Press 1968,
18 R. Taft, S.J., "The Interpolation of the Sanctus into the
Anaphora," OCP 57 (1991) 290. In regard to A&M, the first two
elements were recognized as a posterior addition since 1929 by a
remarkably well written article of E. C. Ratcliff, "The Original
Form of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari: A Suggestion," ITS 30
19 See C. Giraudo, Eucaristia (note 4 above), p. 159.
20 B. Botte (ed.). La Tradition apostolique de Saint Hippolyte. Essai de
reconstitu-tion (LQF 39) Munster 1963, 12-17.
21 A. Baumstark, "Trishagion und Qeduscha," Jahrbuch ftir
Liturgiewissenschaft 3 (1923), pp. 18-32.
22 Metzger III, 192-93.
23 Apost Const. VII, 35: 3-5, Metzger II, 76-77.
24 Metzger, III, 178-205.
25 A. Mingana, Narsai Homiliae et Carmina, Mossoul, 1905, vol
1, pp. 281-282.
26 Ibid, pp. 361-62.
27 Gelston, The Eucharistic Prayer (note 2 above), p. 88.
28 See note 6 above.
29 PG 20, col. 1157-1161.
30 Synodicon Orientale, p. 19 of the Aramaic text, Ln 2-4.
31 Ibid., p. 19, In. 8-9
32 Ibid., p. 18, In. 19-22.
33 Ibid, p. 27, In. 3-11 (the underlining is mine). The sentence —
close to the end of the previous text — "and the argument of that
ancient memory shall no longer exist among us" is a literal
translation of a text that lacks clarity. It is not indicated to what
"ancient memory" the Fathers are referring to. Grammatically,
if we consider the dot on top of the Syriac pronoun "Haw"
(meaning "that") to be a copist's error and place the
dot under the same pronoun, making the text to read "Hu"
(meaning "it is" or "this is," the
sentence would read as follows: "and the argument that 'this is [a
usage of] ancient memory' shall no longer exist among us," then the
meaning is clear.
34 PG 52, 630.
35 PG 82, 1279-1495.
36 Pontificio Consiglio per la Promozione dell'Unita del Cristiani,
"Orientamenti per 1'ammissione all'Eucaristia fra la Chiesa Caldea
e la Chiesa Assira dell'Oriente," Osservatore Romano, 26
ottobre 2001, p. 7. See also C. Giraudo, "Addai e Mari, 1'ana-fora
della Chiesa d'Oriente: "ortodossa" anche senza le parole
istituzionali," Rivista Liturgica 89 (2002) 205-215.