The Liturgy of St James as presently used

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Joint Liturgical studies 40

The Liturgy of St James is the ancient order of the church in Jerusalem. It appears to have come into a form that is recognizable as St James in the fourth century,’ It is still used in a number of churches Oriental and Orthodox.” The Byzantine Churches use the Greek version. It would appear that it was once more commonly used in these churches but has been largely replaced by the Liturgies of St John Chrysostom, and St Basil, so that St James is now celebrated only very occasionally in them. The Syrian Orthodox Churches use the liturgy in a slightly different form. This is their main liturgy and although there are many anaphoras, for more than 70 have been found, St James is the model for the rest.’ It is also the main liturgy of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church but in a reformed version. This church has its origins in a reformation in the Syrian Orthodox Church in Kerala India in 1836.4 Their revised version is a modification of the Syrian Orthodox liturgy according to a ‘Protestant’ agenda,” Some Eastern Catholic Churches also use St James and have made modifications according to their particular agenda.

This Study looks at the anaphora of three English translations of the liturgy. The Greek version comes from the edition in the Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 7. The Syrian Orthodox version has been downloaded from the Syrian Orthodox Resources web page and is the same as found in Anaphoras: The Book of Divine Liturgies” The Mar Thoma version comes from 1988 English edition of their liturgy? These churches through their diaspora have come to use English as a medium for worship. Indeed, the Liturgy of St James is now celebrated in a wide variety of languages, Greek, Syriac, Arabic, Malayalam, German, English, and Hindi, to name a few. It was also used in the Armenian Church and in Ethiopia.

I have retained in the English the use of capitals from the sources, but I have done some other minor standardization of presentation.

Phillip Tovey