Friday, 17 May 2019

Daniel Galadza: Prayers and Rites of Holy Week in the Euchologion: The Patristic Background

From the fourth century onward, events from Christ’s life were celebrated and remembered in liturgical rites that came to form the highpoint of the Christian liturgical year — Holy Week and Pascha. By the eighth century, prayers and rites for processions with palm branches on Palm Sunday, for preparing chrism and washing feet on Holy Thursday, and exorcisms for those preparing for baptism on Holy Saturday, are known in the earliest Euchologion manuscript, Barberinus graecus 336. Within the following centuries, additional rites are also known in later Euchologia.This paper presents the corpus of prayers for Holy Week and Pascha found in Euchologia manuscripts and investigates the biblical and patristic background of these prayers. Apart from biblical allusions and particular quotations incorporated into their texts, close attention will be paid to patristic commentaries on these biblical events and their responses to popular piety (i.e. carrying palm branches on Palm Sunday or blessing and eating meat on Pascha). By focusing on the prehistory of these prayer texts, before their first appearance in Euchologia manuscripts, the paper seeks to fill in the gap between the first known appearance of many of these liturgical rites in the fourth century and their codification by the eighth century. The paper will also examine whether there are regional themes in patristic texts related to these prayers and rites, in the way that some of these prayers and rites appear to have particular regional origins connected to local liturgical traditions, whether from Jerusalem, Antioch, Constantinople, or elsewhere.

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