Sunday, 3 May 2015

Vitaly Permiakov: "Thine Own of Thine Own": Prayers for Animal Sacrifice in Byzantine and Non-Byzantine Euchologia

While the importance of animal sacrifice in the context of various non- and pre-Christian rituals, including the liturgy of ancient Israel, is without question, the position of animal sacrifice within the Christian liturgical life has often been a precarious one. Thus, for the Byzantine church, canon 99 of the Council in Trullo (692) explicitly forbade what "is done in the land of Armenians": the offering of sacrificial meat and its distribution in the sanctuary.
Nevertheless, the presence of prayers for the sacrificial offerings of animals in Byzantine euchologia (such as Barberini gr. 336, f. 222v-223v), as well as in the Georgian witness to the Jerusalem euchologion (Sinai Georgian O.12) attest to some continuation of sacrificial offerings in Byzantine and non-Byzantine Christian churches. Previous studies of animal offerings in Christianity have focused on the social context for the survival of sacrificial practices in Late Antiquity and Byzantium and scrutinized the reception of this practice by the Armenian Apostolic Church, where it is present as a rite for a "blessing of matał [young (calf)]."
This paper will examine the prayers for the animal sacrifice that are found in the euchologia of the traditions other than that of the Armenian church - primarily, the Byzantine and Jerusalem euchologia. It will focus on the theological content of these prayers and, by comparing different regional traditions of the liturgy, will try to discern the specific liturgical setting of such prayers in the liturgical year and in the cycle of Christian life.

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