The West Syrian Tradition Syrian Orthodox

The West Syrian Syriac tradition is represented by the Syrian Orthodox Church, which is the descendent of those Antiochene Christians who refused to accept the Christology of Chalcedon. Their patroness was the Byzantine Empress Theodora, and their founding theologians were Severus of Antioch, Jacob Baradeus, Jacob of Serug and Philoxenus of Mabbug. Though the tradition was originally bilingual, Greek usage gave way to the vernacular Syriac, and all the liturgical rites were translated into Syriac. Since the Antiochene hinterland had in any case used Syriac, the hymns of Ephrem provided a rich resource. However, it was the Palestinian or Jerusalem usage which seems to have formed the heart of the eucharistic liturgy, St James, together with a version of the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom known as the Twelve Apostles. A collection of chants for the liturgical year, known as the Oktoekhos, was reputedly made by Severus of Antioch, and translated into Syriac by James of Edessa. In fact, translation and retranslation seems to have taken place more than once (Varghese 1998). Borrowing from Byzantine and Jerusalem usage continued long after the Christological divisions.

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