Circular - New Liturgical Texts of the Syro-Malabar Church::Syro Malabar News Updates Circular - New Liturgical Texts of the Syro-Malabar Church

Prot. No. 2185/2013

Circular Letter

New Liturgical Texts of the Syro-Malabar Church


GEORGE ALENCHERRY, the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, to the Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, Men and Women Religious and Lay faithful of the Syro-Malabar Church, Praise be to Jesus Christ!


My dear brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus,


Two new liturgical texts are published for the Syro-Malabar Church: The Second Anaphora of Qurbana (The Anaphora known in the name of Mar Theodore) and Lectionaries for the readings during the liturgical celebrations.  There is no doubt that these Texts which are the result of patient waiting and hard work will be a great asset to the liturgical life of the Church.  I wish that the Anaphora of Mar Theodore which came to be effective from 15 August 2013 and the Lectionaries which will be effective from 1 December 2013 may become the means for all faithful of the Syro-Malabar Church to celebrate their faith fruitfully and to grow in that faith!


The Anaphora of Mar Theodore:  Besides the Anaphora of Mar Addai and Mari being used currently in our Liturgy, there are two more Anaphorae known as Anaphora of Mar Theodore and Anaphora of Mar Nesthorius.  The fact that the Anaphora of Mar Theodore which was withdrawn from use after the Synod of Diamper is being used again in our Church after 415 years is indeed an important historical reality.   Pope Pius XII during the process of restoration of the Syro-Malabar Qurbana in 1957 had requested the restoration of the Anaphorae of Mar Theodore and Mar Nesthorius.  The draft of the Anaphora of Mar Theodore was restored after meticulous study by the Central Liturgical Committee, Liturgical Research Centre, various Sub-Committees and the eparchial liturgical commissions.  Many changes befitting to the times have been made in the prayers maintaining maximum fidelity to the original text of the Second Anaphora.  It was this Text so prepared that was sent to Rome for the recognitio of the Apostolic See in accordance with the decision of the Syro-Malabar Synod.   The Congregation for the Eastern Churches on 15 December 2012 gave its approval for using this Anaphora on an experimental basis for three years.


Even though attributed to Mar Theodore, the opinion of the scholars who have made authentic research is that Theodore is not the author of this Anaphora.  The theological ideas of Theodore were once looked upon with suspicion.  The modern theological scholarship, however, is of opinion that the works of Theodore contain unadulterated Christian teaching.  Today the Catholic Church does not hold any hesitation about the authenticity of the teachings of Theodore.  The authoritative position of the Catholic Church is that the Anaphora of Theodore is theologically and from the point of faith is accurate.  The theological thoughts in this Anaphora are true to Catholic faith and very much scriptural. 


The hallmark of this anaphora which came into popularity in the sixth century is a developed theology and distinct ideological structure.  We can look at the Anaphora of Mar Theodore as a sign of the growth of the East Syrian theological tradition.  Since the different Anaphorae are capable of making the celebration of the paschal mystery of Christ more meaningful and experiential, the celebration of Qurbana using the Second Anaphora in the name of Mar Theodore will be a blessing to the Syro-Malabar Church.  Let us hope that the celebration of the Second Anaphora which contains deep theological insights will advance the theological growth and faith life of the Syro-Malabar Church.


According to the tradition, this Anaphora was intended to be used during the period from the first Sunday of the season of annunciation to the Palm Sunday.  Nevertheless, let me kindly request the faithful of our Church to celebrate Qurbana using this Anaphora whenever possible during every season of the liturgy, in order to understand and experience our faith deeply.


Lectionaries: All the liturgical rites in the Christian Church use for the liturgy of the Word specially arranged lectionaries.  Lectionary is a book in which the readings from the scriptures for each day is organized systematically according to the seasons and specific dates of the liturgical year.  The Lectionary will be greatly helpful to choose the readings easily and to read the different scriptural passages indicated by the calendar continuously with ease. 


We had the goal of preparing the Lectionaries right from the inauguration of the revised taksa of the Qurbana in 1986.  Only now we could realize that goal.  The Lectionaries being published now are prepared with maximum fidelity to the scriptural readings followed in the two books, Ordo Celebrationis Quddasae andSupplementum Mysteriorum which were given from Rome in 1959 and 1960. At the request of the Syro-Malabar Bishops’ Synod, some very necessary changes have been made in the readings as a result of the careful study over many years done by the Central Liturgical Committee and other Sub-Commitees.  Readings for the ordinary days have been prepared according to the spirit of the liturgical seasons by Sub-Committees of liturgical experts and biblical scholars.  It is the Lectionaries approved by the Synod of 2013 that are being published now as three books – Old Testament, Epistles and Gospels.  Also readings for all days of the liturgical year, for the feasts and special occasions have been included in these Lectionaries.


These Lectionaries are clear signs of the liturgical growth of the Syro-Malabar Church.  I wish that these Lectionaries be helpful for the more fruitful ministry of the Word in the whole Church.  I exhort every member of the Church to begin to use the Lectionaries for the Liturgy of the Word during the Holy Qurbana in all our churches, religious houses and institutions from 1 December, when the new Liturgical Year begins.


With love in Jesus,



George Cardinal Alencherry

Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church 


Given from the Major Archiepiscopal Curia of the Syro-Malabar Church at Mount St Thomas, Kakkanad on 7 November 2013.


N.B: This circular is to be brought to the attention of the priests, religious and laity of the respective eparchies/archeparchies through suitable means.

Source: smcim


Back to Top

Never miss an update from Syro-Malabar Church