Glossary of Terms

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ALTAR/TABLE OF PREPARATION A small altar or table at the right side of the sanctuary at which the offerings of bread and wine used in the *Qoorbono are prepared.

ANAMNESIS (an um NEE sis) (Greek: “remembrance”):  The part of the *Qoorbono after the *Words of Institution which recall the saving deeds of the Lord for His people. However, far from being mere recollection, this special kind of remembrance invites the worshiper to realize that the Eucharistic Banquet is the sacramental and mysterious participation in the Lord’s Last Supper and Death on the Cross, made present again in the *Eucharistic Prayer, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

ANAPHORA (an APH or a) (Gr.:”offering”): The *Eucharistic Prayer of the *QoorbonoThe Anaphora is the central prayer of thanksgiving of the Liturgy in which the Trinity is invoked to accomplish the sanctification of the *Offerings. The Anaphora is the second basic part of the worship service (the *Service of the Word being the first). While trinary in structure, the emphasis differs in the East and West. In the Eastern *Liturgies, the trinary pattern of prayers is Father-Son-Spirit, culminating in the *Epiclesiswhile in the West, the pattern is Fatherly-Spirit-Son, culminating in the *Consecration, a decidedly Christological emphasis.

ANTIOCH (AN tee ok):  Prominent Roman Imperial city in northwestern *Syria which played an important role in the development of early *Church expansion. St. Paul writes about his travels to the Church at Antioch, and St. Peter was bishop there. Here, the followers of Jesus were first called “Christians” (Acts 11:26). Antioch also became an influential center of Christianity, where a very famous theological school was established. It eventually became the center of an important Eastern Church *Tradition, the *Antiochene Tradition, which includes the three West *Syriac Churches, of which the *Maronite Church is one. It also later became the seat of certain Patriarchates, Catholic – such as the *Maronite Patriarchate of Antioch – and others. Antioch produced such famous men as Bishop *Ignatius and *John Chrysostom.

ANTIOCHENE (an tee oh KEEN) (Also designated, “ANTIOCHIAN” [an tee oh KEE un]) of or relating to *Antioch.


APHRAHAT (AF ra hat): Called the “Persian Sage,” Aphrahat was a contemporary of St. *Ephrem. A convert to Christianity, he became a cleric. More important, he was a profound writer on Christian subjects, and his most famous work was entitled the Demonstrations. He is the earliest and one of the most renowned Fathers/Teachers of the *Syriac *Church.

ARAMAIC (air a MAY ic):  The language of the ancient Aramaean people. The language, also used in parts of the Bible, survived down through our Lord’s time and into the seventh century as a written and a spoken language. It was then gradually replaced with Arabic with the Arab conquerors. Aramaic developed different dialects, divided into eastern and western Aramaic. While on earth, Jesus spoke a western (Palestinian) form of the language. *Syriac is a language related to Aramaic.


BEMA (BAY ma)(Syriac):  Following Jewish Temple roots, some *Syriac church buildings – found from *Antioch to Mesopotamia – contain a special lace or area at which the Scriptures were read. This U-shaped structure was located often in the midst of the congregation, in front of the curtain of the sanctuary area of the church. This area was called the bema, and many *Antiocheneand Syriac texts attest that the *Service of the Word was conducted here. Scholars are divided over the existence of the bema in *Maronite churches.

BYZANTINE (BIZ an teen):  Pertaining to that *Tradition of the *Churchwhich had its beginnings in the city of Constantinople (present-day Istanbul), otherwise known in ancient times as “Byzantium” (biz AN tee um). This largest Eastern *Rite of the Church embraces 13 *sui iuris (self-governing) Churches, such as the Ukrainian Church, the Melkite Church, and the Ruthenian Church. Christians of the Byzantine Tradition are either Catholic or Orthodox.


CANTOR:  The person who chants liturgical responses.

CATECHUMEN (kata KYOO men):  An adult who is in the process of preparing for the reception of the Mysteries of Initiation. In the early *Church, the process for such preparation usually took two years, and culminated in key times of the Liturgical Year. For the largest part of the Church this was the Easter Vigil Liturgy, which followed Great Lent, a time of purification. In some Syriac Churches this time of reception was the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (6 January). Today, the Latin Church has revived the process; it is know as the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (R.C.I.A.)

CELEBRANT:  The leader of a religious service, especially of the Divine *Liturgy. It is usually a priest or *deacon, but not necessarily so.

CENSER:  A decorated metal container which holds burning charcoal, onto which incense is placed for fragrant smoke in liturgical services. In Eastern Churches, there may be bells on the chains that support the bowl.

CHURCH This term has two basic meanings: its most universal meaning is that of the Community of the Believers in Jesus, which finds its fullness in the Catholic Communion. In a more narrow, yet no less important sense, “church” also means a group of Catholics who are 1) *sui iuris, or otherwise known as a *”Particular Church,” or self-governing (by their own hierarchy: patriarch, major archbishop, exarch or metropolitan), and 2), if also in communion with the See of Rome, is “Catholic.”  

                A “church” is to be distinguished from a “rite.”  A rite is a liturgical tradition, which members of a Particular Church follow. For example, members of the Melkite Church follow the *Byzantine Rite; members of the Syro-Malabar Church (India) follow the Chaldean Rite (Church of the East); members of the Maronite Church follow the West Syro-Antiochene Rite. (For a listing of the six, basic Rites of the Catholic Communion, see RITE.) See SUI IURIS.

CONSECRATION:  Traditional Latin *Rite term for the *Words of Institution.


DEACON In Holy Orders, the major ministerial order that precedes that of *Presbyter (Priest). In the early *Church, deacons were called upon to take care of the needs of the poor, orphans, windows. They soon gained a position of service second only to the bishops. Many often remained deacons, even after the Order of Presbyter gained prominence over deacons. Deacons had a special role in the Divine *Liturgy, especially so in the *ByzantineChurch. Today, the order of permanent deacon – many are married – has been re-established. St. *Ephrem was a deacon.

DIAKONAL (dee AK o nal) PROCLAMATION:  Any liturgical proclamation made by a *deacon. It may be a statement of church order (“stand,” “sit,” etc.), a response (see KOROOZOOTO), or the proclaiming of the *Diptychs. Important diakonal proclaiming of the *Diptychs. Important diakonal proclamations are the reading of the Holy Gospel and preaching.

DIPTYCHS (DIP tiks) (Greek: Petitions or Intercessions):  The intercessory prayer of the faithful, usually proclaimed by the *deacon or, in the absence of a deacon, the *presbyter, who in any case always prays the first and last intercessions.

DOXOLOGY:  From the Greek, “as speech of glory” or “of praise.” It usually begins with such words as, “Glory be to the Father…”


EDESSA (e DESS a):  An ancient city in northeaster *Syria, between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (ancient province of Osrhöene) which was the center of a very famous school of theology. Many saints and theologians came from this city, and it was to Edessa that St. *Ephrem eventually went to live and write. The School of Edessa had a considerable influence on the formation of *Maronite *Tradition, especially through the writings of Ephrem.

EED L’KABEER (eed l’ka BEER)(Arabic: “the Greatest Feast”):  In the *Maronite *Church, the traditional Arabic designation for the Feast of the Resurrection.

EPHREM (EF rem) Famous 4th-century spiritual Father/Teacher and *deacon of the *Syriac *Church. Born in *Nisibis, he moved to *Edessa. He wrote many prose theological treatises and commentaries on the Scriptures. He is equally famous for his composition of metrical verses (memray), which found their way into the *Syriac liturgical *Tradition. The quality of this metrical work is widely judged to be so fine as to credit Ephrem as one of the greatest liturgical poets of the Universal Church. In addition, Ephrem is considered a (theological) Doctor of the Universal Church.

EPHREMIAAT (ef frem ee AT)(Arab.):  Arabic name for verses attributed to *Ephrem, and used in the *Syriac *Liturgies, including the *Maronite *Tradition.

EPICLESIS (ep i KLEE sis, or e PIK le sis) (Gr.: “invocation”):  The calling upon the Holy Spirit in a sacramental prayer context for the purpose of sanctification or enlightenment. In the Eucharistic *Liturgies of the East, the Epiclesis occurs very soon after the *Words of Institution and is distinctly noticeable; while in the Latin *Mass an abbreviated *invocation is found though not as distinguishable or pronounced. The reason for this is that the theologies of the East have always laid greater liturgical emphasis on the action of the Spirit in the Holy Mysteries.

ETRO (E tro)(Syr.: “perfume [of incense]”):  The usual final part of the *HoosoyoThe ‘Etro acts as kind of summary of the ideas of the Hoosoyo, petitioning God to accept the incense offered and answer the prayer of the faithful, in the spirit of the theme of the day.

EUCHARIST:  From the Greek word, eucharistein (yoo kar is TAIN), “to give thanks”: to the Heavenly Father for giving us the Divine Son, Jesus, for salvation and for the Eucharist Itself, in which we meet Jesus again.

EUCHARISTIC PRAYER:  The central prayer of the Divine *Liturgy, which follows the *Service of the Word. It centers around the notion of thanksgiving for the mystery of Christ-made-present. See ANAMNESISANAPHORATRINITARIAN PRAYER.

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FENQITHO (fen KEE to)(Syr.: “a treasury of feasts”):  A collection of liturgical texts for feast days of Our Lord, Our Lady and the Saints. It is also called the *”SANCTORAL CYCLE.” The texts of the Fenqitho are coordinated with the Liturgical Calendar.

FETGOMO (fet GO mo)(Syr.):  The Alleluia verse after the First Reading(s) of the *Service of the Word. It is variable with the text of the feast or commemoration.


HANDCROSS:  A small cross used by some Eastern *Traditions for blessing in the Divine *Liturgy, in the sacramental Mysteries and other occasions. In the *MaroniteTradition, ribbons or a scarf – often white or gold, but other colors may be used – are attached the handcross. These materials on the handcross are a symbol and reminder of the strong Eastern emphasis on the Resurrection, as well as St. John’s theological idea that the Cross IS Resurrection.

HOMILY:  A preaching on the *Lectionary Readings and on the theme of the day’s Service, in a clear, conversational style.

HOOSOYO (hoo SOY o)(Syr.: “prayer of forgiveness”):  This is the most important prayer of the *Introductory Rites of the *Syriac *Liturgies. The Hoosoyo has liturgical and exegetical functions: A) it highlights the character of forgiveness God offers to the penitent; B) it commemorates the special feast or saint of the day, and expresses its liturgical theme; and C) full of Scriptural allusions, often in Syro-*Antiochene *typology, the Hoosoyo actually provides a liturgical commentary on at least the Gospel of the Feast or commemoration. Thus, one can look to the Hoosoyo as the foundation of *Maronite liturgical scriptural interpretation.

                The Hoosoyo is traditionally divided into four parts: the *Proemion, the *Sedro, the *Qolo and the *’Etro.


ICON (EYE kon)(from the Gr.)A stylized painting or *mosaic depicting Christian religious persons or events. The style differs with the different Eastern *Traditions. The most prominent use of icons is found in the *Byzantine Church, but it is by no means limited to that Tradition.

ICONOSTASIS (eye kon o STAH sis, or eye kon AH sta sis)(Gr.):  In some Eastern *Churches, the screen or wall that divides the altar area from the main body of the church and into which *icons are placed. In the Syriac Church, a curtain separates the sanctuary from the body of the church; however, its use in *Maronite churches is still debated by scholars.

IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH:  Second-century bishop ( 110) of that city whose theology of the Church and ministry – especially the triple orders of bishop, *presbyter, *deacon as fundamental – has been revived in current theology. An early martyr for the Faith, he was the first to apply the term “Catholic” (“Universal”) to the Christian *Church.

INCENSE:  Fragrant – smelling smoke produced by grains of various resins placed on burning charcoal in a *censer. An indispensable element of Eastern *Liturgies, incense in the East has various meanings. The Introduction to the Qoorbono mentions three: A) praise of the Lord: this meaning came from the custom in the Roman Empire of burning incense before the image of a god, or of a deified emperor; B) purification, covering up the “foul stench of sin”, and C) forgiveness. Especially these last two meanings are seen clearly in the *Hoosoyo: as we acknowledge our sinfulness, we seek to be pardoned and purified to heed the lessons of the Word of God. Of all the *Traditions, the East uses incense more frequently.

INTRODUCTORY RITES:  In the *Maronite *Qoorbono, those prayers and actions that lead to the *Service of the Word. They include: the *Preparation of the Offerings; the *Lightning of the Church; the Opening Chant (often a Psalm or *Qolo); ministers’ Entrance into the Sanctuary; Opening Prayers; *Hoosoyo; *Trisagion. These rites have as their purpose to bring the worshiper to a change of heart and to purification (*metanoia), so as to move the worshiper to be able more fruitfully to hear God’s Word.

INVOCATION (of the Holy Spirit):  See EPICLESIS.


JAMES OF SAROOGH (sa ROOG):  5th/6th-century theological writer (d. 521) whose writings about the *Mother of God are considered by some to rival those of St. *Ephrem. His influence on *Maronite *Tradition is considerable, and he is considered one of the spiritual Fathers/Teachers of the *Syriac *Tradition. A Maronite *Anaphora is named after him.

JOHN CHRYSOSTOM (KRIZ os tum):  4th/5th-century contemporary of St. *Maron. St. John was born in *Antioch and there wrote many commentaries on the Gospels. He was subsequently chosen bishop of Constantinople. He was dedicated to eradicating the considerable decadence of the City, especially in the Emperor’s court, and imperial neglect of the poor. John paid the price for this by being exiled by the Emperor to Komana, where he died. The most frequently used *Anaphora of the *Byzantine *Rite is named after him.

JOHN MARON:  Elected Bishop of the Maronites in 685 A.D., John filled the previously vacant Chalcedonian See of *Antioch, establishing the * Maronite Patriarchate of Antioch in the 8th century.


KOROOZOOTO (kor oo ZOO to)(Syr.): Diaconal proclamation in liturgy.


LECTIONARY:  A systematic pattern of Scripture Readings, for Sundays, weekdays, feasts and special occasions, according to a proper liturgical *Tradition. The distinctive way in which a lectionary organizes its Readings reveals a Tradition’s uniqueness.

LIGHTNING OF THE CHURCH:  The first action of the *Introductory Rites of the *Maronite *Qoorbono. During the lightning, a hymn such as the “Hymn of Light” is sung.

LITURGY:  From the Greek word leitourgia meaning “a work of the people.” In ancient times, liturgy was very often a public action in civil events, such as the dedication of a public building, although it could have religious meaning as well. In specifically Christian, religious terms, it refers to the liturgical action of the *Church: Eucharistic (Divine) Liturgy, * Divine Office, the seven Sacramental *Mysteries, and devotional prayers.

LITURGY, DIVINE:  The proper general term for the Eucharist Service in Eastern *Traditions. In the *Maronite Tradition, the Divine Liturgy is also known properly as the *”Service of the Holy Mysteries,” or *Qoorbono, as it is called in Syriac.


MARON:  The 4th/5th-century hermit-monk from Northwest *Syria (d. ca. 410), who journeyed from the area of the city of Antioch to the banks of the Orontes River near Apamea. He led a life of extreme austerity and self-denial, and his powers of miracles – spiritual and physical – are well-attested. Literary evidence exists from Bishop Theodoret of Cyrrhus, who acknowledges the existence and sanctity of St Maron in his History of Monks of Syria; also a fragment of a letter from * John Chrysostom to his “friend and fellow priest Maron.”

MARONITE:  Referring to that *Church of the *Antiochene *Syriac *Tradition that claims the disciples of St. *Maron, and to the tradition of the great monastery which was established in Maron’s name after his death.

MASS:  Latin *Rite term for the eucharistic worship service, from the Latin, missa. See LITURGY, DIVINE.

MAZMOORO (maz MOOR o)(Syr.: “psalm of praise,” or “psalm of the Readings”):  In the *Qoorbono variable verses before the First Scripture Reading that alternate between Congregation and *Celebrant.

METANOIA (met a NOY a)(Gr.: “change of heart in total conversion”):  An important biblical concept (see, for example, Mk 1:15, or Mt 4:17), metanoia is a central idea to Eastern *Liturgy, especially in the *Syriac *Hoosoyo.

MONASTIC: Referring to monks and monasteries. Because the *Maronite *Tradition had its origins with the monk St. *Maron, a knowledge of monasticism is essential for not only a theological understanding of the tradition but also its liturgical life and spirituality. Monastic themes permeate Maronite liturgical tradition. It is also seen in the way the Psalms and *Qolos are chanted from side to side, antiphonally.

MOTHER OF GOD:  Mary, the Virgin Mother of Jesus. A focus of great devotion in the Eastern Churches, she is venerated as Mother of God; Model of the Church; Model of faith and discipleship; Protectress of the Chruch and the People of God; among the Saints the greatest Intercessor to her Son. She goes by a myriad of titles, many of which express theological reflection about her See THEOTOKOSOOM ALLAH.

MOZAIC (mo ZAY ik) A form of artistic image using small stones of different colors, worked into a design pattern. Mozaics were a prominent art form of the ancient world, and consequently became a prominent expression of the religious art of the Christian *Church, found in all *Traditions. Very fine examples of mozaics existed at *Antioch.

MYSTERY:  An important concept of Eastern theologies, “mystery” denotes the otherness, the hiddenness of God, who chose to reveal Himself, most especially in Jesus, the *Icon of God, through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. Mystery also signals the proper attitude of the Eastern Christian when reflecting upon the encounter of the Lord in the Sacramental *Mysteries. See ROZO.

MYSTERIES, HOLY, or SACRAMENTAL:  An Eastern *Church way of naming the *Sacraments. Opposed to a static view, Eastern Christians refer to these special times of the Christian life as sacramental Mysteries, realizing that the Lord visits his people in a totally free and gratuitous manner, often undefinable by human standards. It might be said that the Eastern Christian “participates in the Mysteries” rather than the more properly Latin “receives the *Sacraments.”


NISBIS (NIZ i bis):  With *Edessa, this city formed one of the two focal points of East *Syriac Christianity. Located in the frontier province of Adiabene, this province and city of the Roman Empire frequently came under Persian attack and rule. Nisbis was the first home of St. *Ephrem and academic home of *Aphrahat and was the site of a famous Catechetical School dominated by the influence of “The (biblical) Interpreter,” Theodore of Mopsuestia.


OBLATIONS:  Another word for Offerings.

OFFERINGS: In Liturgical terms, the bread and wine used in the Divine *Liturgy. At one time, in all of the liturgical *Traditions, the bread the wine were brought to the church by the people, and the *Celebrant selected them personally for the Service. Some of the Traditions still maintain this practice.

OFFICE, DIVINE:  The prayer traditionally chanted by men and women religious and the laity in all *Traditions, coinciding with certain hours of the day and based on the Psalms. For this reason, the * Divine Office has also been know as the *”Liturgy of the Hours,” or in the *Maronite Church as the “Prayer of the Faithful.” The purpose of this patters of Prayers is the sanctification of the entire day through prayer. Outside of the monastery only evening and morning prayer are usually prayed.

OOM ALLAH (oom UL lah): Arabic for *”Mother of God.” See THEOTOKOS.



PRE-ANAPHORA:  The section that precedes the *Service of the Eucharist (*Anaphora). It consists of the transfer of the *Offerings, (i.e., procession, with accompanying hymn), Prayers of Offering and Commemoration, Prayer of the Veil, Incensing and *Service of Peace. In this third part of the * Divine Liturgy we commemorate both the living and departed, as well as reflecting on our eternal destiny.

PREPARATION OF THE OFFERINGS At the very beginning of the * Divine Liturgy, even before it begins, the bread and wine used for the Service are prepared at the *Altar of Preparation. As each is prepared, a prayer is recited; then, the *Offerings are covered with veils.

PRESBYTER (PRES bi ter)(Gr.:”elder”):  In the early *Church bishops were the principal *celebrants of the * Divine Liturgy, aided by the *deacons. It was not until later, as the Church expanded, that the position of presbyter (already attested in the New Testament) became more prominent, for then the presbyter became the local head of a congregation in the place of the bishop.

PROEMION (pro AY mee on)(Syr.: “introduction”):  The Proemion is the first part of the *Hoosoyo. Its funtion is to introduce the Hoosoyo of the feast or day. Usually beginning with a note of praise, the Proemion continues with a statement of one or another aspect of the person or event commemorated. This section is most often an expanded *doxology to the Holy Trinity.


QOLO (KO lo)(Syr.: “hymn”): The Qolo  is a metrical hymn, used at various parts of liturgical services. One prominent use of the Qolo is a the third section of the *Hoosoyo, where it amplifies the theme of the feast or day.

QOORBONO (koor BO no)(Syr.: “offering”):  This is the *Syriac word for the Maronite *Service of the Holy Mysteries. This term captures the meaning of the nature of the *Eucharistic prayer: an offering in thanks.


RA’BONO (ra BO no)(Syr.: “pledge”)Among the many elements of the *Maronite *Service of the Holy Mysteries, the notion of ra’bono is important. As Christians await the Second Coming of their Lord in glory, they find themselves in, but not totally of, the world. The reception of the Lord in Sacramental *Mystery stands as a present pledge of future triumph with the Lord. This lends to the notion of Christians as pilgrims on the way to heaven, a journey on which they travel, not unaided, but full of hope with the Pledge of Life Eternal. (See the Letter to the Hebrews for the notion of Christian as pilgrim.) This latter notion was taken up by the Second Vatican Council in its description of the Christian life. The idea of ra’bono is clearly seen in Maronite *Tradition in the *Trinitarian Prayer in the “Holy, holy…,” the *Words of Institution, and the thematic thrust of the liturgical Season of the Holy Cross.

RAMSHO (RAM sho)(Syr.):  Evening Prayer of the West *Syriac *Churches. The *Maronite Church has its own proper form.

RITE:  General word for ritual, or set order of prayers for worship. One may speak, for example, of the Rite of Initiation (Baptism, Chrismation and Eucharist); the Rite of Holy Crowning; the Rite of Ordination; the Rite of Kneeling on Pentecost. Formerly, rite was incorrectly used to describe a particular *Tradition of the *Church, for example, the “Ukrainian Rite.” Doing so, however, too narrowly limited a particular Catholic Tradition is much broader. See TRADITION.

ROZO (RO zo)(Syr.: “mystery”): *Syriac term for sacrament. See MYSTERY.


SACRAMENT: Taditional Western (Latin) term for one of the seven sacramental *Mysteries.

SAFRO (SAF ro)(Syr.):  Morning Prayer of the West *Syriac *Churches. The *Maronite Church has its own proper form.


SEDRO (SED ro) (Syr: “rank,” “order of petitions”): The Sedro is the second major of the *Hoosoyo. It celebrates the theme of the feast or day. In addition, according to its name, it presents a series of petitions – a kind of litany – based on the theme: As the Lord once did a gracious deed for his people, may the Lord again favor us. The Sedro is the heart of the Hoosoyo. Many Scriptural allusions are found in it, often in the form of *typology. It usually closes with the standar *doxology.


SERVICE OF THE HOLY MYSTERIES: The *Maronite worship service. See QOORBONO.

SERVICE OF THE WORD: In *liturgy in general, the first, main part of the worship service (the second part is the *Anaphora). It centers around the reading of and expounding upon the Holy Scriptures. (See HOOSOYOHOMILY). In the *Maronite *Tradition, the Service of the Word of the *Qoorbono begins after the *Introductory Rites and concludes with the *Trisagion. The Service of the Word is consistently patterned on the canoical prayer hour of the *Divine Office.

SERVICE OF PEACE:  In the *Syriac *Tradition, part of the *Pre-Anaphora. It is the liturgical action that immediately precedes the *Anaphora. The Service of Peace is done before the central action of the Eucharist, following (very logically) from St. Mathew’s recording of Jesus’ words: We should make peace with our neighbor before making our *offering at the altar (Mt 5:23-24).

SOOTRO (soo TOR o)(Syr.): Night Prayer of the West *Syriac *Churches. The *Maronite Church has its own proper form.

SUBDEACON:  In the *Maronite *Church, the ministerial order before that of *deacon. Subdeacons are charged with “ministering at the altar,” lighting the church and caring for the church building. In the *Qoorbono, besides proclaiming some of the responses, subdeacons are charged with reading certain passages from the Scriptures. In the past, subdeacons have served in a liaison capacity between civil authorities and their religious communities in secular dealings affecting the villages in which they lived and served, particularly in the Middle East. Today, along with the temporary subdiaconate in seminary, a revived permanent subdiaconate exists.

SUI IURIS: From the Latin, meaning “of its own right”; also “self-governing,” or “particular,” as in Particular Church. Applied to a Catholic Church structural context, it means a group of Catholics of one of the siv liturgical *Traditions of the Catholic Communion of Churches that has its own hierarchy (for example, patriarch, or other high administrating bishop, and clergy), in communion with the Vatican. For example, the *Maronite Church is a sui iuris Church of the West Antiochene Tradition; the Ukranian Church is a sui iuris Church of the *Byzantine Tradition.

SYRIA:  For purposes of this book, the name Syria refers to the provinces of the Roman Empire located at the Eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, extending eastward to Parthia (Persia, Mesopotamia). Syria was divided into smaller districts: the Northern with its administrative capital at *Antioch, and the Southern, with its capital at Jerusalem. The eastern frontier, which included Adiabene and Osrchöne, included the famous cities of *Edessa and *Nisibis. These two frontier towns often found themselves as the pawns on the ongoing wars between Rome and the Persian Empire.

SYRIAC (SEER ee ak):  A language related to *Aramaic. Syriac is divided into two basic dialects; eastern (centered in ancient *Nisibis and *Edessa, in modern-day southern Turkey), and western (centered in *Antioch and Palestine). Syriac survived as an academic language for several centuries, as the bible and many Greek classics were translated into Syriac; and a whole body of original Syriac literature exists. It also served as a liturgical language in the Syriac *Churches (of which the *Maronite Church is one) even to this day. The metrical homilies of St. *Ephrem are a good example of the use of Syriac. See ARAMAIC.

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TARGUM:  A translation of the books of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) into Aramaic, made when Aramaic was the common spoken language in Palestine. They were produced between about 250 B.C. and 300 A.D. and were usually read in the synagogues.

THEOTOKOS (thay oh TOH kos):  Greek word for *”Mother of God” (literally, “God-bearer”). See OOM ALLAH.

TRADITION:  A) The collective, historic experience and life of the Christian Community. This includes many things: history, theology, spirituality, worship (*rite), customs, literature, law and discipline, and understanding of the Bible. Tradition, as a way of Christian life, involves a process of growth and development in continuity with the past. One speaks, for example, of the “Catholic Tradition.”

                    B) Within Catholic Tradition are to be found particular Traditions, which have their origins in the historic and cultural circumstances to which they adapted in the early missionary expansion of Christianity, as well as their particular expressions of the elements named above. One recognizes here the six major Traditions of Eastern and Western Catholicism (tied to cities and regions in the Roman Empire): The five Eastern Traditions, with their areas and languages of origin, are:1) *Antiochene, (West) Syriac (ancient *Syria/West Syriac; the *Maronite Church belongs here) – three Churches; 2) Chaldean/East Syriac (“Church of the East”/Mesopotamia) – two Churches; 3) Alexandrine  (Egypt, Coptic and Ge’ez) – two Churches; 4) *Byzantine (Constantinople/Greek, Old Slavonic) – 13 Churches; 5) Armenia (Cappadocia/Armenian) – one Church. The Western tradition is basically the Latin (Rome), and a few other, local Western Churches. From these basic Rites developed more than 20 self-governing (*sui iuris) *Particular Churches of the present-day Catholic Communion of Churches, 21 of them Eastern.

                    C) This is not to be confused with the more common understanding of traditions (with a lowercase t), by which is meant the particular customs that reflect the uniqueness and particularities of each Tradition and enhance one’s appreciation of one’s Tradition.

                    One should not confuse Tradition with the older, less accurate use of the term rite. Compare RITE.

TRINITARIAN PRAYER:  Strictly speaking, those prayers within the *Anaphora that are addressed respectively to each Person of the Holy Trinity, from the beginning of the Anaphora until before the Rite of Communion. For the Eastern *Traditions, the Trinitarian part of the *Eucharistic Prayerpreserves the Scriptural order of revelation of the Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. For example, in the *Maronite *Divine Liturgy these are the Praise of the Father, *Words of Institution Narrative of the Last Supper, and *Epiclesis. The Latin *Tradition centers the eucharistic action around the *Consecration: Preface (Father), Invocation (Spirit), Last Supper Narrative (Son). See ANAPHORA.

TRISAGION (tree SAH gee on):  Greek word for “thrice (tris) holy ([h]agios).” This prayer, which begins, “Holy are You, O God,…” (or in Syriac, Qadeeshat aloho…), is a standard element of the Eastern *Liturgies. It has, at various times during the history of the *Church, been understood as addressed to the Trinity or only to Christ. Both are correct. In *Maronite Tradition the response to the Trisagion varies with the liturgical season.


TYPOLOGY:  The biblical literary device that links persons, places or events from the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) – called a “type” – to New testament persons (preeminently Christ), places or events – called an “antitype” – in such a way that the former things foreshadow the later ones. For example, the Israelites’ crossing of the Red (Reed) Sea is a type of Christian Baptism, which is a journey from the slavery of sin to the freedom of forgiveness of sin (antitype). Typology was the preferred tool for biblical interpretation in the Syriac Church in general. However, the East *Syriac *Tradition (of Ephrem and Aphrahat) made more extensive use of typology than did the West Syriac Tradition of Antioch.


VERNACULAR:  The language naturally spoken by the natives of an area.

VIATICUM (veye AT i kum):  Latin word for “(that which is) with you on the way (to the Kingdom).”  This word refers to the Holy Eucharist as received and remaining with the faithful, especially in the moments of death. Viaticum is one primary reason that the Eucharist is reserved in churches, especially for use in bringing to the sick. See ZWODO.

W, X, Y

WORDS OF INSTITUTION (of the Eucharist at the Last Supper):  In the *Eucharistic Prayer, the Narrative of the Last Supper wherein Jesus offered his sacramental Body and Blood, under the appearance of bread and wine, to be consumed by the believer for eternal life. The form of this narrative is extremely varied among the *Rites of the *Church. See CONSECRATION.


ZWODO (ZWO do)(Syr.: “pledge”):  *Syriac word for *viaticum.