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Syro-Catholic Rite
Syriac Church of Antioch
Syriac Patriarchal Church of Antioch

This rite is professed by those Syriac Christians who were subjects of the ancient Patriarchate of Antioch; these are spread throughout the plains of Syria and Western Mesopotamia, whereas the Maronites live principally on Mount Lebanon and the sea coast of Syria. The Syriac Mass and liturgy is, like the Maronite (which is but a variation of it), the Liturgy of St. James, Apostle and Bishop of Jerusalem. For this reason, but principally for the reason that Jacob Baradaeus and the greater part of the Syriac Church embraced the Monophysite heresy of Eutyches, the schismatic branch of this rite are called Jacobites, although they call themselves Suriam or Syrians.

Thus in the three Syrian rites there is the historic remembrance of the three greatest heresies of the early Church after it had become well-developed. Nestorians and Chaldeans represent Nestorianism and the return to Catholicism; Jacobites and Syro-Catholics represent Monophysitism and the return to Catholicism; the Maronites represent a vanished Monothelitism now wholly Catholic.

The Syro-Catholics like the Maronites vary the Ordinary of their Mass by a large number of anaphoras or canons of the Mass, containing changeable forms of the consecration service. The Syro-Catholics confine themselves to the anaphoras of St. John the Evangelist, St. James, St. Peter, St. John Chrysostom, St. Xystus the Pope of Rome, St. Matthew, and St. Basil; but the schismatic Jacobites not only use these, but have a large number of others, amounting perhaps to thirty or more. The epistles, gospels, and many well-known prayers of the Mass are said in Arabic instead of the ancient Syriac. The form of their church vestments is derived substantially from the Greek or Byzantine Rite. Their church hierarchy in union with the Holy See consists of the Syrian Patriarch of Antioch with three archbishops (of Bagdad, Damascus, and Homs) and five bishops (of Aleppo, Beirut, Gezireh, Mardin-Diarbekir, and Mossul). The number of Syro-Catholics in 1900 was about 25,000 families, and of the Jacobites about 80,000 to 85,000 persons.

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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 15:51:07 ZULU