Portal:Syriac Christianity
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Portal:Syriac Christianity

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Syriac Christianity

Holy Qurbono of the Syriac Orthodox Church Celebration of the Divine Liturgy of St James

Syriac Christianity (Syriac: ?‎ / m?iyu sury?y) refers to Eastern Christian traditions that employ Syriac language in their liturgical rites. The Syriac language is a dialect of Middle Aramaic that emerged in Edessa, Upper Mesopotamia, in the early first century AD, and is considered to be closely related to the Jewish Palestinian Aramaic spoken by Jesus. Tracing back their historical heritage to the 1st century, Syriac Christianity is today represented in the Middle East by the Maronite Church, Syriac Catholic Church, the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Ancient Church of the East, as well as by the Saint Thomas Christians of respective communions centered in Kerala, India.

Christianity began in the Middle East in Jerusalem among Aramaic-speaking Jews. It quickly spread to other Aramaic-speaking Semitic peoples, in Parthian-ruled As?rist?n (modern Iraq), Roman Syria. Syriac Christianity is divided into two major liturgical rite traditions: the East Syrian Rite, historically centered in Upper Mesopotamia and the West Syrian Rite, centered in Antioch in the Levant by the Mediterranean coast.

The East Syrian Rite tradition was historically associated with the Assyrian founded Church of the East, and it is currently employed by the Middle Eastern churches that descend from it: the Assyrian Church of the East, the Ancient Church of the East, and the Chaldean Catholic Church (the members of such churches are Eastern Aramaic-speaking ethnic Assyrians). As well as by the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church of India, and the Chaldean Syrian Church of India which is an archbishopric of the Assyrian Church of the East.

The West Syrian Rite tradition is used by the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Syriac Catholic Church, the Maronite Church as well as by the Malankara Church of India, which follow the Malankara Rite tradition of the Saint Thomas Christian community. Adherents sometimes identify as "Syriacs" or "Assyrians".

Selected article

Rabban Hormizd.jpg
Rabban Hormizd Monastery is an important monastery of the Chaldean Church. It is carved out in the mountains about 2 miles from Alqosh, Iraq, 28 miles north of Mosul. Founded on about the 640 AD, it has been the official residence of the patriarchs of the Eliya line of the Church of the East from 1551 to the 18th century, and after the union with Rome in the early 19th century, it became a prominent monastery of the Chaldean Church.

The monastery is named after Rabban Hormizd (rabban is the Syriac for monk) who founded it in the seventh century.

Selected picture

A Syriac manuscript written with Serto script.
Credit: Elizabeth G. Sørenssen & Jingru Høivik

A Syriac manuscript written with Serto script.

Selected biography

Ephrem the Syrian
B. 306 – d. 9 June 373

Ephrem the Syrian was a Syriac and a prolific Syriac-language hymnographer and theologian of the 4th century. He is venerated by Christians throughout the world, and especially in the Syriac Orthodox Church, as a saint.

Ephrem wrote a wide variety of hymns, poems, and sermons in verse, as well as prose biblical exegesis. These were works of practical theology for the edification of the church in troubled times. So popular were his works, that, for centuries after his death, Christian authors wrote hundreds of pseudepigraphous works in his name. Ephrem's works witness to an early form of Christianity in which western ideas take little part. He has been called the most significant of all of the fathers of the Syriac-speaking church tradition.

Did you know ...

Daqin in Sancai Tuhui.jpg
...that ancient Chinese called Syriac Christian missionaries Daqin, the same term which was used for the Romans... ?



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