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THE FAMILIES OF LITURGIES1, AND THEIR CHARACTERISTICS.
UNDER the term 'Antient Liturgies' we include all Liturgies Meaning of which can trace their descent directly from some known early Liturgies.' form. It is true that those which are in actual use, as the Roman, and the present Liturgies of S. Chrysostom or of Armenia, have undergone modifications from time to time; some of which are known by direct evidence to have taken place, others are matters of inference. But these modifications have not altered their essential forms, which remain still what they were 1200, perhaps nearly 1400, years ago. Such Liturgies then have a clear right to be denominated 'antient.' And, as long as it is borne in mind that modifications have taken place, particularly if we can trace on the whole the direction of the development, not only need no harm ensue from studying some Liturgies in their present form side by side with others now disused, but there are some positive advantages to be derived from doing so. The greater wealth of rubrics in the living rite enables the corresponding services to be much better understood than could be the case with the older Liturgies, the rubrics of which are very much more scanty. Moreover, we are at all events upon safe ground. It is possible to prove that these living Liturgies represent the essential features of their ancestral stock it is not so certain that we could reproduce exactly the original form itself. If this should ultimately be found possible in any case, it cannot be until a great deal of preliminary critical work shall have been done, which has not been done yet.
1 Without denying that the term may properly bear a wider signification we use 'Liturgy' throughout as the name of the Eucharistic service.
Five Groups, or Families,
It is now thoroughly recognised that there are five main
of Liturgies. Groups, or Families, of Liturgies; which are distinguished from
each other chiefly, though not solely, by the different arrangements of their parts. Three of these are Oriental; one holds an intermediate position, being Western in regard to the countries in which it was used, and to its wealth of Collects, Prefaces, and other variable elements, which are part of its characteristic features; while at the same time it presents such unmistakeably Eastern peculiarities as to point to the East (and, not improbably, to Ephesus in particular) as the region of its origin and one is purely Western.
It is not easy to find a satisfactory nomenclature for these Groups. Sometimes they are connected with the name of the Apostle, or Apostolic man, who evangelized the locality in which the chief Liturgy of each group is supposed to have originated. These names are S. James, S. Mark, S. Adaeus (Thaddaeus), S. John, and S. Peter. Sometimes they are connected with the name of the Mother Church to which each chief Liturgy is thought to have belonged, viz. Jerusalem, Alexandria, Edessa, Ephesus, and Rome respectively. It involves less of hypothesis than either of these plans if we denominate them as far as possible by the names of the countries in which their type-liturgies were current. We should thus have for Group I. the Liturgies of Western Syria and derivatives; for No. II. the Liturgies of Alexandria and derivatives; for No. III. the Liturgies of Eastern Syria and derivatives; for No. IV. the Hispano-Gallican Liturgies; and for No. V. the Roman Liturgy and derivatives. We have to add 'derivatives,' because no single term would cover all the members of the groups. For instance, from an original1 Greek
Nomenclature of the Groups.
1 We mean by this phrase to imply that there existed at some early period Liturgies, called by the names of S. James and S. Mark respectively, and presenting the characteristic features of the two Liturgies, actually existing, which are called by these names; but that these last Liturgies are really modifications of those original forms, belonging to a time when the influence of the See of Constantinople had made itself felt in the countries where these Liturgies were current.
S. James in Group I. sprang the numerous Syriac Liturgies (amounting to some eighty, headed by the Syriac S. James), and the Liturgy of S. Basil, belonging to Caesarea (of Cappadocia); and thence again, that of S. Chrysostom (belonging to Constantinople) on one side, and the Armenian Liturgy on the other. An original1 S. Mark's Liturgy in Group II. seems to have been the direct parent of the Coptic S. Cyril, and of the Ethiopic Liturgies, and the source of the most characteristic features of the other two Coptic Liturgies of S. Basil and S. Gregory. From the original Liturgy of SS. Adaeus and Maris came the Nestorian Liturgies and the old Malabar Liturgy. The connexion of Group IV. with Ephesus is a matter of inference: the only forms which we know to belong to it are the Mozarabic, and various Gallican uses, current in Spain and Gaul. Lastly, all the notices that we have of the African Liturgy go to prove that it was very closely allied to, if not once identical with, that of Rome while certainly the Ambrosian and the Sarum uses are off-shoots from the Roman stem, which have developed under special local influences.
We cannot here enter upon the question of the ecclesiastical The heretical relations of the bodies who used these various Liturgies, munions. further than just to mention (as necessary for a just appreciation of the Liturgies reprinted below) the few following general facts. The whole of the Orthodox Eastern Church now uses the Liturgy of S. Chrysostom, except on certain days in the year, when either that of S. Basil3, or that of 'the Presanctified,' is
1 See note on preceding page.
2 The student will find information in :
1. The two Introductory volumes of Dr. Neale's 'History of the Holy Eastern Church.'
2. The 47th chapter of Gibbon's History of the Roman Empire.'
3. ‘Edinburgh Review,' vol. 207, art. on The Eastern Church.'
4. 'The Christian Remembrancer,' vol. xlii. art. on 'Modern Studies
of the Eastern Church.'
5. Dean Stanley's Eastern Church,' Lectures i, vii, ix.
3 All Sundays in Lent (except Palm Sunday), Maundy Thursday, Easter Eve, the Vigils of Christmas and the Epiphany, and the Feast of S. Basil. ✦ All days in Lent, except Saturday and Sunday, and the Feast of the Annunciation.
of the here-
substituted. The Liturgy of SS. Adaeus and Maris is the chief Liturgy of the Nestorian Church, now confined to the province of Kurdistan, but once spread over the greater part of Asia, which has been separated from the Orthodox Church since the Council of Ephesus (A. D. 431). The Coptic Liturgies in Egypt, and the Syriac Liturgies, all now belong to the Monophysite Churches of these two countries. The Monophysites, who have been commonly known by the name of 'Jacobites' since the sixth century, so called after James Baradaeus, Bishop of Edessa, one of their principal leaders, have held aloof from the Orthodox Church since the Council of Chalcedon (A. D. 451), which condemned the error of Eutyches. The Monophysitism of the sixth century was but a refinement of Eutychianism. That the Armenian Church has also been separate since this same epoch seems really to be owing partly to accidental circumstances, and partly to a want of certain philosophical terms1 in the Armenian language, which caused them to misunderstand, and so to reject, the decrees of Chalcedon. It is very difficult to define the exact divergence of this Church from orthodoxy: and their position seems rather that of schism than of heresy. At all events neither in their Liturgy, nor in the principal Liturgies of the Nestorians, Copts, or Syrian Jacobites, is there any trace of unorthodoxy. This does not hold of the later, subordinate Liturgies of these bodies. Just as the orthodox, when errors were broached, inserted expressions into their Liturgy explicitly referring to and contradicting the errors in question, so did the unorthodox in some of their later Liturgies emphasize and give expression to their heresy in direct language; but not in their principal Liturgy, which was their hereditary possession from the period previous to their separation. Here they were more conservative for the most part than the orthodox Church, and preserved the language of the old formularies unaltered. The reason why they should do so is not far to seek. Until
1 See note 3, P. 145.
e.g. ὁμοούσιος, ἀδιαιρέτως, ἀτρέπτως, etc., of which the Greek Liturgy of S. James affords many examples.