In his Ut Unum Sint, John Paul II famously wrote, “the Church must breathe with her two lungs! In the first millennium of the history of Christianity, this expression refers primarily to the relationship between Byzantium and Rome.”
Sebastian Brock, the world-renowned Syriac scholar, correctly points out that “-unlike a human being!- The Church is in fact endowed with three lungs, from all of which she needs to breathe. This third lung, which can for convenience be designated as the ‘Syriac Orient‘, consists primarily (for the purpose of this paper) of the various Churches of the Syriac tradition, both Chalcedonian and non-Chalcedonian, although it should be seen as also covering the other Oriental Orthodox Churches as well. These three traditions, Latin West, Greek East and Syriac Orient, should properly be viewed as three interlocking circles, forming a triangle: all three share a common core of fundamental Christian doctrine, but each also has, on the one hand, features in common with one of the other two traditions, and on the other hand, features which are distinctive to itself, but which should be seen as constituting an enrichment to the Church as a whole, and from which the other two traditions can derive benefit. Six particular features of the ‘Syriac Orient’ are identified, each of which represents an aspect that can be seen as being of significance for the Church as a whole. This third tradition of the Syriac Orient has largely been neglected by both the Latin West and the Greek East, and it still remains little known. Some of the main historical reasons for this are indicated. By way of conclusion it is suggested that the loving interpersonal gaze of Rublev’s well-known icon of the Trinity provides an excellent model for the way in which these three main traditions of the Church should interact.” (Brock, S.P.. (2005). The Syriac orient: A third “lung” for the church?. 71. 5-20.)
The objective of the thehiddenpearl.org is to introduce you, beloved readers, to this valuable third lung by publishing translations of liturgical texts and works that various Syriac Church Fathers composed and by sharing articles written from the Syriac theological worldview.