User Tools

Site Tools


The Holy Qurbono

The Syrian Church

Over time, the Syrian Church, with its liturgy conducted in Syriac, extended its influence across the East, spanning from Syria to Mesopotamia, Persia, and even reaching China and India. While Antioch served as a central hub, located in present-day Turkey near the border with Syria, Edessa, known as Urfa in modern-day Turkey, emerged as another significant centre, situated on the borders of modern-day Turkey and Syria.

The liturgical practices at Edessa, known as the East Syrian or Chaldean rite, differed from those in Antioch and were enriched by St. Ephrem and his successors with a plethora of hymns and spiritual compositions, contributing to the Church's rich poetic tradition. Embracing a robust ascetic ethos, the Syrian Church evolved into a bastion of monasticism, with its hermits and monks rivalling their counterparts in Egypt in ascetic rigour and spiritual depth. Monasteries played a pivotal role in the development of liturgy, deeply influenced by the monastic pursuit of Christian perfection.

Amidst periods of persecution, particularly in Persia during the 4th and 5th centuries, the Syrian Church bore witness to numerous martyrs, thereby cultivating a distinctive calendar of martyrs and saints. Rooted in Semitic language and culture, the Church maintained close ties with the biblical world, venerating Old Testament Patriarchs, Prophets, and New Testament Apostles, with a profound devotion to Mary, the Mother of God.

Despite its spiritual vibrancy and missionary zeal, the Syrian Church underwent a schism in the 5th and 6th centuries, primarily due to theological disputes concerning the nature of Christ. Nestorius was a theologian who emphasized the distinction between the divine and human natures of Christ to such an extent that it seemed to divide Christ into two persons. This stance led to the Nestorian controversy and the subsequent formation of the Nestorian Church.

Monophysitism, on the other hand, is a theological doctrine that emphasizes the unity of Christ's nature to the point of denying the existence of two distinct natures (divine and human) in Christ. This view was prominent in the West Syrian Church and led to its condemnation as heretical at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D.

In subsequent centuries, efforts to restore unity with the Catholic Church led to various groups from these churches reuniting. Presently, several Syrian churches are in communion with Rome, including the Maronites, Chaldeans, and Antiochene Syrians in the Middle East, along with the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara churches in India. Despite historical schisms, these churches retain a rich inheritance of liturgy, doctrine, and spiritual life, constituting invaluable treasures within Christian tradition.

holy_qurbono/the_syrian_church.txt · Last modified: 2024/02/18 17:58 by smcc