Rorate Caeli

Pictures of the Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Liturgy in Saint Mary Major last June 18





As previously reported on this blog, His Beatitude Mar Ignatius Joseph III, Syrian Catholic Patriarch of Antioch celebrated a Patriarchal Divine Liturgy in the Syro-Antiochene (or West Syriac) Rite last June 18, 2009, at the Papal Basilica of St. Mary Major. The occasion was the granting of ecclesial communion to the Patriarch by Pope Benedict XVI. (Upon their election, Eastern Catholic Patriarchs ask for, and receive, the ecclesiastica communio from the Roman Pontiff.)




Without in any way wishing to be critical of the Syrian Catholics in this time of great joy for them, and solely for the information of our readers, I would like to note the extensive influence of Roman liturgical vesture on the vestments of Syrian Catholic clergy, an influence also present in the Chaldean and Maronite Catholic Churches. Thus, their use of tall Latin-style miters and lace albs, and vestment decor that is more Western than Oriental.
The more authentic style of Syrian liturgical vesture has been preserved by the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church in India, which is co-heir to the West Syrian tradition along with the Syrian Catholic Church.
(NB: I am aware that some prefer to use "Syriac" rather than "Syrian". I do not wish to enter into that discussion here.)

H/t: ByzCath Forum.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would note that Santa Maria Maggiore is the Basilica proper to the Patriarch of Antioch. Hence, it is especially fitting that the Syrian Patriarch of Antioch should celebrate the Liturgy there.

-- Bonifacius

Iakovos said...

It is nothing to start a fuss about, but it is unfortunate, I believe, for the Syrian Catholics to have adopted Western vestments. Since Leo XII to Benedict XVI, Eastern Churches in communion with Rome have been urged if not even warned by the Holy Fathers to remove traces of Latinization from their liturgies, theology and spirituality, customs, and so on, and in the words (paraphrased) from Vatican II return to their ancient roots.

Gideon Ertner said...

"I would like to note the extensive influence of Roman liturgical vesture on the vestments of Syrian Catholic clergy"

Yeah, except their vestments are considerably more dignified than most of those used in the Latin Church.

Iakovos said...

Leo XIII (13th) that is.

Anonymous said...

One problem with the removal of Latinisms is that, hey, what if the people of those rites like them? Most of them have been raised within a Latinized tradition and hence it may seem authentic to them.

-- Bonifacius

dcs said...

Most of them have been raised within a Latinized tradition and hence it may seem authentic to them.

Right, and they might be scandalized if the Rite is purged of "Latinizations" (some of which might be authentic traditions anyway).

New Catholic said...

DCS,

You are exactly and absolutely right. An artificial rejection of all "Latinizations" and of all acts which merely seem to look like "Latinizations" is much more dangerous and pernicious than the "Latinizations" themselves.

NC

Anonymous said...

Even if the vestments seem improper but they have been the practice for a long time. The rejection of Latin influences for its own sake would be unhealthy. Just look at what happened to the traditional roman rite. The desire to go back to the past or archaeologism as Pope Pius XII called it resulted in the current mess that we have in the Roman Catholic Church.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"...but it is unfortunate, I believe, for the Syrian Catholics to have adopted Western vestments"

They haven't adopted Western vestments. What they've done is to decorate their vestments in a style much nearer to Western sensibilities. This is not surprising given that Catholics of the Syrian tradition (Syrian Catholics, Malabars, Maronites, and Chaldeans, with the notable exception of the Malankara) have been historically more receptive to Western liturgical and devotional influence than, say, Byzantine-Rite Catholics.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"The desire to go back to the past or archaeologism as Pope Pius XII called it resulted in the current mess that we have in the Roman Catholic Church."

I would counsel great caution in using "archaeologism" as an argument against any attempt to revert to older liturgical practices. Pope Pius XII clearly had in mind, when condemning archaeologism, the desire of some liturgical reformers of the 1940's to do away with liturgical developments that were already around a millennia old in order to go back to the earliest centuries of the Christian liturgy.

He certainly did not mean to condemn any and all attempts to revert to the more recent past. If that were his intention, then the Missal of St. Pius V stands condemned as well because it did away with many accretions that had accumulated in the period 1000 - 1570 (most notably the use of tropes, the abundance of sequences, elaborate ceremonies of high medieval provenance, novel prefaces, etc.). The various reforms of the liturgical calendar by the pre-Conciliar popes in order to restore the importance of Sundays and some ferial days would also stand condemned.

In the case of the Eastern Catholic Churches, the "latinizations" tend to be of relatively recent vintage (17th-20th centuries) with the possible exception of the Maronites, whose indisputably unbroken union with Rome since the 12th century has produced a unique synthesis of Eastern and Western traditions.

I think everyone agrees that the restoration of authentic Eastern traditions in the Eastern Catholic Churches should be accomplished in a way that will neither do violence to the piety of the faithful, nor throw out legitimate enrichments of the Eastern rites by the Western rites. The only "forcible" attempt that I am aware of, to impose near-complete Orientalization on a long-latinized Eastern Church occured in the 1950's and 1960's, when Rome imposed a thoroughly re-Chaldeanized liturgy on the Malabar Catholics (the Malabars belong to the Chaldean tradition). The resistance of the faithful and the clergy resulted in the pendulum swinging to the opposite direction in the 1970's and 1980's, with a spate of Malabar modernizations modeled on the post-Conciliar Roman liturgical reform.

At any rate, Rome has simply issued general guidelines, while leaving the process of restoring Eastern traditions to the Patriarchs and other heads of the various sui juris Eastern Catholic Churches.

Anonymous said...

Latinization in the Malabar, Maronite and Chaldean rites seems perfectly natural. These "rites" started off through proselytization of Nestorians a few hundred years ago by Roman Catholics and it was Catholic countries who supported and protected these converts from the murderous Nestorians who detested the converts.as such, with these "rites" we are not necessarily talking about particular churches with Ancient apostolic roots in every case. Of course, in the case of Greek, Ukrainian and Coptic rites these were ancient orthodox rites. But in the Malabar, Chaldean and Maronite cases not necesssarily so I believe and in these cases Latinizations to some degree seems a natural extension of the special affiliation and relationship that Rome had in their creation.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Palad,

The idea of Roman curial officials of the 1950s and 1960s, when the Roman Rite was being deformed, forcing Eastern Catholics to remove Latinizations they wanted to keep is ironic on multiple levels.

-- Bonifacius

Anonymous said...

I see that Fr. Demets is stationed at Star of the Sea Village.

Can you report to us about traditional Catholic Life at this Traditional Catholic Village?

Gil Garza said...

Keep in mind that Islam has in the past regulated the dress of Christian clerics. Sharia Law prevented Christian clerics from wearing the traditional turban mitres and from wearing any color but black. Most Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox still adhere to the dress imposed upon them by Islamic Law.

Sharia Law also prevented clerics from different Churches from wearing the same dress. The Syrian Catholics, therefore, had no choice but to adopt Latin style dress and have recently returned to wearing traditional colored vestments.

Anonymous said...

Like it or not, these pictures remind us that Syria - Iraq gone - is the islamic country where christians enjoy the biggest freedom of worship.

J.S.

Iakovos said...

Carlos Antonio Palad said... in regard to the Syrian vestments, thank you for your comments -- I believe this is the case.

Gideon Ertner said...

CAP,

True, latinizations should not be purged simply for the sake of it - and most of the latinizations were freely and gladly adopted by the Eastern churches in the first place.

But are the latinizations not in some cases a cause of scandal for their schismatic 'sister churches'?

Iakovos said...

St. Pius X was particularly insistent that Eastern Churches, at least those in communion with the Bishop of Rome, retain their oriental roots, spirituality and liturgy. Does this apply to vestments as well? That question might by the occasion for the famous "ekonomia", properly understood, and dear to the Christian East.

Another point: I am curious as to the source that Eastern vestments, Orthodox, or Orthodox-Catholic, are derived from Islamic rule. Even if this is absolutely true, is that not also an occasion of the genius of "ekonomia"?

Finally, C.A. Palad wrote: "I think everyone agrees that the restoration of authentic Eastern traditions in the Eastern Catholic Churches should be accomplished in a way that will neither do violence to the piety of the faithful, nor throw out legitimate enrichments of the Eastern rites by the Western rites."

Well, I'm not sure I agree: at least with the Ukrainian (the largest of Eastern Churches), Greek and Coptic Rites, and by the consistent wishes of the Holy See up to and beyond Vatican II, these Eastern churches, while admiring the full grandeur of the Roman Mass (TLM), do not believe their Rites can be "enriched" by Western liturgies. The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (or St. Basil) is complete, perfect, whole, as it is from holy tradition. It is this Divine Liturgy that the Popes of Rome and the Council have urged us to retain. So, it is not a question of "enrichments" being accepted or even desired from Western liturgies to the long standing Orthodox and Orthodox-
Catholic (in communion with Rome)Divine Liturgy.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 2:19 (boy, it makes things difficult when people don't adopt some name),

The Maronites were not Nestorians. Some people say they had been Monothelites, others say that they were always orthodox and in communion with Rome. Additionally, the Copts were Monophysite heretics.

Iakovos,

The Melkites adopted the Rite of Benediction and the Feast of Corpus Christi from the Latins. It makes no sense to purge these Eucharistic traditions, which are good and of blessing to the entire Church, simply because they originated in the West. Many Ukrainian Catholics have long been accustomed to say the Rosary and to pray the Stations of the Cross. It is a source of much scandal to them to attempt to suppress such devotions, such as by removing the Stations from churches. The Roman Church has never looked askew at the devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help simply because it is an Eastern icon.

Additionally, I must confess that I don't know what "ekonomia" means in the sense you use it. What principle are you advancing, defending, etc.?

-- Bonifacius

Anonymous said...

P.S. Same with the devotion to the Sacred Heart or Our Lady of Fatima. I would hate to hear that Byzantine-Rite Catholics rejected such a devotions as "Latin." The Roman Rite has been updated with various liturgical recognitions of new devotions. I'd hate to think that the Eastern Rites would simply be frozen as they were and not be susceptible to the impact of new devotions and apparitions, etc., that would be of value to the Church Universal and not just to Catholics of the Latin Rite. That, I think, is where enrichment is a true possibility.

-- Bonifacius

Iakovos said...

The Rosary, perhaps even the Divine Mercy devotion, have been naturally taken in by some of the faithful and clergy of Eastern Rite churches. But I was speaking to the comments on enrichment of Eastern Liturgy (The Divine Liturgy) by Western forms and practices. That was the original inspiration for my comments.I have not heard of any rejection of Fatima apparitions of devotion to the Sacred Heart -- but the daily devotions, the total ambiance and all embracing experience of Eastern Rite worship is so replete with the Mother of God and Christ the Lover of Mankind, it isn't as if there is something missing from our devotions. On the contrary, the Ukrainian Rite of which I am the most familiar (and I as a former traditional RC) have never known such presence of the Mother of God and the deep heart of Jesus in rite of worship.

As to, "Economia" -- I am a novice at this and nearly every thing, really. But it is an act related to kindness, to keeping peace without surrendering truth, it is an alertness and sympathy to human weakness as well as a hedge against the human tendency of domination. Here's a better definition though all agree it is more an experience of charity rather than strictly words to a definition:

"economia is “the suspension of the absolute and strict applications of canon and church regulations in the governing and the life of the Church, without subsequently compromising the dogmatic limitations. The application of economia only takes place through the official church authorities and is only applicable for a particular case.”

Even that is a bit too formal for we should practice economia in our daily Christian lives. Our Lord Himself gives an example of economia: " “The Sabbath is made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2, 27)."

A negative sign due to the lack of economia is found in the stiff necked, Puritanical Christians of our day -- Phariseeism, Jansensim, and the like.

In the way of economia, an Eastern Catholic might look upon Syrian Rite clergy wearing Western Vestments and celebrating at a Latin altar and church setting, and sigh, but love, in economia.

Anonymous said...

"In the way of economia, an Eastern Catholic might look upon Syrian Rite clergy wearing Western Vestments and celebrating at a Latin altar and church setting, and sigh, but love, in economia."

Thank you for the clarification.

However, I don't even see a need for a sigh as far as the altar goes. They are saying the Liturgy at a suitably large venue, which in Rome would need to be a church of the Roman Rite. Additionally, the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore is the Patriarchal Basilica proper to the Patriarch of Antioch, of which the Syrian Catholic Patriarch is one legitimate claimant. I believe that this explains why they are using a Latin altar and church setting. It is not as though they would use a Latin altar or church setting if they were in Syria or Lebanon (to my knowledge).

-- Bonifacius

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"...these Eastern churches, while admiring the full grandeur of the Roman Mass (TLM), do not believe their Rites can be "enriched" by Western liturgies. The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (or St. Basil) is complete, perfect, whole, as it is from holy tradition. It is this Divine Liturgy that the Popes of Rome and the Council have urged us to retain."

I completely agree, if we are talking about the rubrics and ceremonies of the Divine Liturgy itself. The Russian recension of the Divine Liturgy strikes me as particularly glorious and in no need of improvement.

When I spoke of enrichments, I had in mind the cautious and time-honored importation of a few Western feasts and a few Western para-liturgical devotions into Eastern Catholic calendars. And I am of the opinion that these should complement, not supplant, the rich storehouse of Eastern devotions and feast days. I think that the example left by Andrei Sheptytsky and Joseph Slipyj are particularly valuable in this regard.

George Abhayanand OIC said...

I belong to the Syrian Malankara Catholic Church of India. I guess that the whole issue of vestments is to preserve the concept of unity in diversity. Yesterday our Major Archbishop-Catholicos His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis was created Cardinal at the Vatican. Among the other Cardinals he stood out due to his Anthiochean vestments. Even the cardinal's cap was designed specially for the occasion in keeping with the Anthiochean traditions which we share with our Syrian Orthodox and Jacobite Churches of India. The message is that one can remain Catholic even though one is rooted in one's own culture. When Bishops of various hues line up the Vatican, it is indeed a witness to the open-mindedness or 'catholicity' of the Catholic Church.