Eucharistic rites

The usual liturgy used is that of the Twelve Apostles, the anaphora of which is the Syriac form of the Anaphora of St John Chrysostom. Scholars speculate that the Syriac preserves an earlier version than the Greek, but, according to Sebastian Brock, the Syriac style and vocabulary date it to the sixth or seventh century. The present ordo also contains the Anaphora of St Peter, St James, and 'Anaphora of the Roman Church'. Other anaphoras were once used but have now fallen in disuse, a process which began at least as early as the authorization of the first printed missals in 1596. Amongst these is 'Sharar' or St Peter III. This anaphora is a twin of the East Syrian Addai and Mari. The Maronite version has a distinctive form of institution narrative and anamnesis, as well as lengthy intercessions. It has been argued that this anaphora perhaps preserves the institution narrative which somehow fell out of the East Syrian prayer. This is unlikely; it seems rather that the Maronite version has been expanded and modified to bring it into line with later expectations of what constitutes a eucharistic prayer (for a recent attempt, but one that is flawed by presuppositions of Jewish origins, see Jammo 2002). Sharar seems to have been suppressed in the missal of 1716, though an abbreviation was made for use as the liturgy of the presanctified (Hayek 1964).

The present ordo begins with prayers of preparation at the altar and preparation of the offerings, echoing the Syrian Orthodox rite, but much shorter. What was apparently the original beginning is now entitled 'Preparing the faithful' and has a doxology, a prayer, a form of the Gloria in excelsis, followed by husoyo, promion and sedro. As in the Syrian Orthodox rite, the trisagion introduces the readings, though in the Chalcedonian version. Provision is made for a homily, followed by the Creed and the Peace. The modern division here suggests western influence, where the Creed seems to belong to the Liturgy of the Word rather than being part of the pre-anaphoral liturgy. A sure sign of Latinization is the enlargement of the printed words of institution in the printed missal, whereas the epiklesis is in the same print as the rest of the anaphora. It is true that the congregation is unlikely to be aware of this, but the Maronite clergy tend to do manual acts and elevations which underscore the Latin view of the importance of the words of institution as words of consecration. A penitential prayer follows and then sancta sanctis and communion. There is a short thanksgiving and dismissal.

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