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LITURGY OF THE PATRIARCHATE OF ALEXANDRIA.
THE patriarchal see of Alexandria, founded by the holy evangelist Mark", has for eleven hundred years been in the possession of the sect of Jacobites, or Monophysites. This sect was originated by Eutyches in the fifth century; and as almost all the Copts, or native Egyptians, speedily embraced his doctrines, the see of Alexandria was soon occupied by Monophysite patriarchs: and although, through the favour of the eastern emperors, the orthodox were generally in possession of that see, the Monophysites preserved an unbroken succession of bishops amongst themselves, until, in the seventh century, the Mahommedans conquered Egypt from the eastern emperors, and, being received with open arms by the Monophysites, placed their patriarch in possession of the churches at Alexandria and throughout Egypt. From that period to the present, the Monophysites have held possession of all
a Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. ii. Alexand. p. 120, &c. c. 16, et 24. Renaudot, Liturg. Orienb Renaudot, Hist. Patriarch. tal. Coll. tom. i. p. lxxxii.
the churches of Egypt; and the orthodox, or Melchites, have been at all times a small and unimportant section of the community.
The Egyptian Monophysites use three liturgies, written in the ancient Coptic language, which prevailed in Egypt before, and about the time of, the Mahommedan invasion. These liturgies they ascribe to Basil, (as we have seen in the second section of this Dissertation,) to Gregory Nazianzen, called Theologus, and to Cyril, patriarch of Alexandriaa.
It appears probable, that they were not originally written in Coptic, but in Greek. This idea is supported by the occurrence of several Greek phrases in the Coptic liturgies as now extant. These phrases are of such a simple and ordinary nature, being directions to the people to "stand up," "bow their heads," &c., that it is impossible to assign any adequate reason for their use in a foreign language, except by supposing that the liturgy was originally in Greek, and that the people were made particularly well acquainted with these formulæ, which it was therefore thought inexpedient to alter. The same supposition is confirmed by the knowledge we have that Greek was commonly spoken at Alexandria and in the neighbourhood, when the Gospel was first preached in Egypt, and that the Egyptian Fathers generally wrote in Greek; and it is rendered still more probable by the existence of very ancient Greek MSS., which appear to be copies of the
d They use Basil's liturgy on all fast days, Cyril's in Lent and the month Cohiac, and Gregory's on feast days. Renaudot, tom. i. p. 171.
• As στάθητε, Renaudot, tom. i. p. 13. εἰς ἀνατολὰς βλέπετε, ibid. οἱ καθημένοι ανάστητε, ibid. τὰς κεφαλὰς ὑμῶν τῷ Θεῷ κλίνατε, p. 21, &c.
originals from which the Coptic version was made. It is very probable, however, if not certain, that the Coptic language, though not employed in divine service in Lower Egypt, was used in Upper Egypt from the time that Christianity penetrated there. It appears that Antony, the great founder of the monastic institute in Egypt, did not understand Greek; neither did many of his most celebrated disciples. Many who lived in the monasteries of Nitria and Scetis, and the Tabennesiotæ in the furthest part of the province, and the ascetics of Antony's rule in the deserts near the Red Sea, only understood the Coptic language, and yet they spent days and nights in psalmody and reading the Scriptures. We also find the subscriptions of Egyptian bishops to the councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon in Coptic, because they were unacquainted with Greek. How could all these have performed the liturgy and offices of the church, unless the Coptic had been used in divine service in many parts of Egypt?
It is difficult, if not impossible, to assign the period when the Greek language was completely relinquished by the Copts in the celebration of their liturgy. Renaudot is inclined to ascribe the substitution of the Coptic for the Greek to Benjamin, patriarch of the Monophysites, who was placed in possession of the see of Alexandria by the Mahommedans".
That the primitive rite of the church of Alexan
f Renaudot, tom. i. p. cv. linguæ vulgaris usus in sacris &c. and p. 57. fuisset?" Renaudot, tom. i. p. 205, 206.
"Quomodo igitur sacra fecissent, officiaque celebrassent, nisi publicus multis in locis
b Tom. i. p.
dria is to be found amongst the liturgies used by the Egyptian Monophysites, will appear probable, when we consider the scrupulous care with which they seem to have preserved ancient customs. In fact, when the division took place at the council of Chalcedon, A.D. 451, the Monophysites adhered to all ecclesiastical traditions which did not interfere with their own peculiar doctrines, with as much care as the orthodox themselves.
As the Monophysite liturgies, however, differ from each other, it becomes a question, which is to be considered as the best representative of the ancient Alexandrian rite. And here it would seem at the first glance, that the liturgy of Cyril, which bears the name of a patriarch of Alexandria, is more likely to represent the Alexandrian rite, than those of Basil and Gregory Nazianzen, who were bishops of cities in Cappadocia. A further light is thrown on this by an actual inspection of the three liturgies. For while Basil's and Gregory's liturgies appear to be (as they profess) derived from the rite used in Cappadocia and the adjoining countries; the liturgy of Cyril stands distinguished from them all in many remarkable particulars.
These arguments, intended to shew the probability of Cyril's liturgy being the ancient Alexandrian rite, are supported by the tradition of the Egyptians themselves. Abulbircat calls Cyril's liturgy, "the liturgy of Mark which Cyril perfected," and this must mean the liturgy of the church of Alexandria founded by St. Mark. In the sixteenth century an ancient monument was published, which gives
i "Secunda est liturgia lus." Adulbircat, cited by ReMarci, quam perfecit Cyril- naudot, tom. i. p. 171.
force to this tradition. A manuscript of the tenth or eleventh century, written in Greek, was discovered amongst other MSS. of rarity and value in a remote monastery of Calabria, inhabited by the oriental monks of St. Basil. This MS. bears the title of St Mark's liturgy, was evidently intended for the use of the Alexandrian church', and is perhaps the only liturgy, except the Ethiopian general canon, which resembles the Coptic liturgy of Cyril in the order of its parts.
The difference between St. Mark's liturgy, and that of Cyril Alexandrinus, occurs chiefly in the introductory part. In the Anaphora there is very little difference; and it will appear in the sequel, that the variations in the liturgy of St. Mark are chiefly to be attributed to the dependence of the orthodox, (who used it,) upon the church of Constantinople. But on comparing Cyril's and Mark's
* St. Mark's liturgy was first published at Paris, A. D. 1583, edited by Johan. à S. Andrea. It is found in the Bibliotheca Patrum, in Assemani's Codex Liturgicus, tom. vii. in Fabricius's Codex Apocryph. Nov. Testamenti, tom. iii., and in Renaudot's Liturg. Orient. Collectio, tom. i. p. 131, to which last I refer in this section.
1 In this liturgy there are prayers that the waters of the river (Nile) may be raised to their just measure, p. 148; St. Mark is commemorated as the person who shewed to them the way of salvation, p. 149; and there are prayers for the holy and blessed pope, i. e. the patriarch of Alexandria, p. 151.
Dionysius, bishop of Alexan-