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East Syrian Rite

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==History and origin ==
This rite is used by the [[Assyrian Church of the East]] and certain [[Eastern Catholic]] Churches -in Syria, Mesopotamia, Persia, and Malabar- who have separated from them. The Syrian and Mesopotamian Catholics are now commonly called [[Chaldean Catholic Church|Chaldean]]s, (or [[Chaldean Assyrians|Assyro-Chaldeans]]); the term Chaldean, which in Syriac generally meant magician or astrologer, denoted in Latin and other European languages Syrian nationality and the Syriac or [[Aramaic ]] language (especially that form of the latter which is found in certain chapters of Daniel), until the Latin missionaries at Mosul in the seventeenth century adopted it to distinguish the Catholics of the East Syrian Rite from those of the West Syrian Rite, whom they call "Syrians", and from the Nestorians. The last latter call themselves "Syrians" (Surayi), and even "Christians" only, though they do not repudiate the name "Nestorayi", and distinguish themselves from the rest of Christendom as the "Church of the East" or "Easterns", as opposed to "Westerns", by which they denote Latin Catholics, Orthodox, Monophysites, and Protestants.
In recent times they have been called, chiefly by the Anglicans, the "Assyrian Church", a name which can be defended on archaeological grounds. Brightman, in his "Liturgies Eastern and Western", includes Chaldean and Malabar Catholics and Nestorians under "Persian Rite", and Bishop Arthur Maclean of Moray and Ross (Anglican) who is the best living authority on the existing Nestorians, calls them "East Syrians", which is perhaps the most satisfactory term. The catalogue of liturgies in the British Museum has adopted the usual Catholic nomenclature, calling the rite of the East Syrian Catholics and Nestorians the "Chaldean Rite", that of the South Indian Catholics and schismatics the "Malabar Rite', and that of the West Syrian Monophysites and Catholics the "Syrian Rite", a convenient arrangement in view of the fact that most printed liturgies of these rites are Eastern Rite Catholic.
The language of all three forms of the East Syrian Rite is [[Aramaic|Syriac]], a modern form of which is still spoken by the Nestorians and some of the Catholics. The origin of the rite is unknown. The tradition -resting on the legend of Abgar and of his correspondence with Christ, which has been shown to be apocryphal- is to the effect that [[Apostle Thomas|St. Thomas the Apostle]], on his way to India, established Christianity in Mesopotamia, Assyria, and Persia, and left [[Thaddeus of Edessa|Adaeus]] (or Thaddeus), "one of the Seventy", and [[Maris]] in charge. To these the normal liturgy is attributed, but it is said to have been revised by the Patriarch Yeshuyab III in about 650. Some, however, consider this liturgy to be a development of the Antiochene.
After the [[Third Ecumenical Council|Council of Ephesus]] (431), the Church of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, which had hitherto been governed by a [[Catholicos|catholicos]] under Antioch, refused to accept the condemnation of Nestorius, cut itself and the Church to the East of it off from the Catholic Church. In 498 the catholicos assumed the title of "Patriarch of the East", and for many centuries this most successful missionary church continued to spread throughout Persia, Tartary, Mongolia, China, India, developing on lines of its own, very little influenced by the rest of Christendom.
==Other sacraments and occasional services ==
The other Sacraments in use among the Nestorians are [[Baptism]], with which is always associated an [[Oil of catechumens|anointing]], which as in other eastern rites answers to Confirmation, [[Holy OrderOrders]] and [[Matrimony]], but not [[Penance ]] or Unction of the sick. The latter appears to be unknown to the Nestorians, though Assemani ("Bibliotheca Orientalis", pt. Ii, p. cclxxii) considers it might be shown from their books that its omission was a modern error. The Chaldean Catholics now have a form not unlike the Byzantine and West Syrian. The nearest approach to Penance among the Nestorians is a form, counted as a sacrament, for the reconciliation of apostates and excommunicated persons, prayers from which are occasionally used in cases of other penitents. Assemani's arguments (ibid., cclxxxvi-viii) for a belief in Penance as a Sacrament among the ancient Nestorians or for the practice of auricular confession among the Malabar Nestorians are not conclusive. The Chaldeans have a similar form to that of the Latin Rite. The Nestorians omit Matrimony from the list, and according to Ebedyeshu make up the number of the mysteries to seven by including the Holy Leaven and the Sign of the Cross, but they are now rather vague about the definition or numeration.
The only other rite of any interest is the consecration of churches. Oil, but not chrism, plays a considerable part in these rites, being used in Baptism, possibly in Confirmation, in the reconciliation of apostates, etc., in the consecration of churches, and the making of bread for the Eucharist. It is not used in ordination or for the sick. There are two sorts of oil; the one is ordinary olive oil, blessed or not blessed for the occasion, the other is the oil of the Holy Horn. The last, which, though really only plain oil, represents the chrism (or myron) of other rites, is believed to have been handed down from the Apostles with the Holy Leaven. The legend is that the Baptist caught the water which fell from the body of Christ at His baptism and preserved it. He gave it to St. John the Evangelist, who added to it some of the water which fell from the pierced side. At the Last Supper Jesus gave two loaves to St. John, bidding him keep one for the Holy Leaven. With this St. John mingled some of the Blood from the side of Christ. After Pentecost the Apostles mixed oil with the sacred water, and each took a horn of it, and the loaf they ground to pieces and mixed it with flour and salt to be the Holy Leaven. The Holy Horn is constantly renewed by the addition of oil blessed by a bishop on Maundy Thursday.
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