Egypt

The liturgical evidence suggests that within Egypt, as in Syro-Palestine, usage differed from diocese to diocese. Strasbourg Papyrus Gr.254 appears to preserve a eucharistic prayer which may be pre-Nicene. Like Addai and Mari, it has no institution narrative, but anchors the rationale of the eucharist in Malachi 1.11 ('"My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations," says the Lord Almighty'). The main liturgy of Egypt is from Alexandria, called St Mark. The eucharistic prayer has a unique structure, being mainly intercessory. After an initial praise for creation the prayer mentions the sacrifice that is offered, and switches to petition, with intercessions. The intercessions provide also the context for the sanctus which becomes a springboard for petition for consecration, leading into the institution narrative, an anamnesis, an epiklesis and final doxology.

From the fourth century we have the so-called 'euchology' (liturgical service book) of Serapion, and the Canons of Hippolytus. The latter is a recension of the so-called Apostolic tradition, with clear adaptations to what was Egyptian usage. The former is a collection of prayers purported to have been made by Serapion, bishop ofThmuis (sed. 330-62), a friend of Anthony and Athanasius.11 The collection represents the needs of a rural bishop. The prayers are blessings of oil, a burial prayer, the eucharist, baptism and ordination, though the copyist of the manuscript has muddled the sequence. The anointing prayers provide for a pre-baptismal anointing and a post-baptismal anointing, but there are also prayers after reception as a baptisand (one being baptised), and after coming up from the baptismal waters. The burial prayer, which asks for the repose and rest of the person, is one of the first liturgical witnesses we have for a burial liturgy. The prayers of the eucharist include one for the Lord's Day, and after the sermon. There are also prayers of intercession for various groups of people such as catechumens and the sick, as well as for the harvest. A eucharistic prayer has some characteristics in common with West Syrian eucharistic prayers, but also with the Egyptian tradition. Its openingthanksgiving centres on the Logos,

11 Bernard Botte, finding Christological subordination in some of the prayers, wanted to call the author 'pseudo-Serapion', but most scholars accept that Serapion was the compiler; see further Maxwell E.Johnson, The prayers ofSarapion ofThmuis.

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