By Armando Elkhoury
This study deals with the life story of Jacob of Sarug (A.D. 451-521) and the various typologies of the Church scattered in his copious mimre. Jacob of Sarug is one of the most prolific, distinguished, and influential Syriac authors, yet a systematic examination of his symbolic language referring to the Church remains a desideratum. The following research satisfies this want which stems from the fact that the Church is next to Jesus Christ in importance, as her subject is prominent in Jacob’s poetic works. The work presented herein complements and contributes to the scholarly works already published in the theological field of Syriac Ecclesiology. Moreover, it is a foundational study for further researchers and theologians wishing to investigate Jacob’s comprehension of the Church.
This study shows that the question about the person of Jacob of Sarug shall remain unsatisfactorily answered, for his life stories discovered in extant manuscripts are hagiographical. Next, it reveals the Church as a building on Golgotha based on the actions of Melchizedek, Abraham, Jacob, and Moses. Then, it explains Jacob’s depiction of the Church as a fisherman and life-giving fishnet. Next, it deals with the topic of the Church as the Garden of Eden on Earth in whose midst is the Tree of Life. Lastly, this study explicates the notion of the Church as the Virgin Bride of Christ.
The Church as such emerges as a permanent reality solidly founded on the cross, a sacramental and missionary Church, and sacrifice is central to her understanding. The Mysteries and the proclamation of the Good News are essential to the continuation of her Lord’s mission. Moreover, she is a return to the Garden of Eden which anticipates God’s promise of salvation in the afterlife.
Finally, Christ will always be united to her no matter what, for she is in effect his created body. Therefore, she remains with him wherever he is, and her actions mimic his deeds. She follows him to Sheol, breaks down its gates, frees Adam, resurrects with her Lord, is victorious over sin and death, and nothing overcomes her.
Maronite Clergy Enrichment Conference
April 17, 2018
Chorbishop Seely Beggiani, S.T.D. was Rector of Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Seminary from 1968 to 2013, and Adjunct Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America from 1967 to 2014. He has researched and written on a variety of subjects including systematic theology, Maronite Church history, Maronite liturgy, Syriac theology, and Eastern Christian Spirituality.
His doctoral dissertation at The Catholic University of America in 1963 is entitled: The Relations of the Holy See and the Maronites from the Papacy of Pope Gregory XIII (1572-1585) to the Synod of Mount Lebanon in 1736. His book, Early Syriac Spirituality: with special reference to the Maronite Tradition, was published by Catholic University Press in 2014. Among his published articles during the past 50 years are: “A Case for Logocentric Theology,” Theological Studies 32 (1971): 371-46, “Theology at the Service of Mysticism: Method in Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite,” Theological Studies 57 (1996): 201-23, “The Typological Approach of Syriac Sacramental Theology,” Theological Studies 64 (2003): 543-557, and “The Incarnational Theology and Spirituality of John the Solitary of Apamea,” Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies 21.2 (2018):391-421. In retirement, Chorbishop Beggiani is preparing a manuscript for publication entitled: “A Thematic Introduction to Syriac Spirituality.” He continues to offer courses in Maronite and Syriac studies at the Maronite Seminary and to offer lectures to various audiences.
Themes in Syriac Spirituality (Outline)
Chorbishop Seely Beggiani
The goal of the spiritual life: “This is true perfection: not to avoid the wicked life because like slaves we servilely fear punishment, nor to do good because we hope for rewards, as if cashing in on the virtuous life by some business-like and contractual arrangement. On the contrary, . . . we regard falling from God’s friendship as the only thing dreadful and we consider becoming God’s friend the only thing worthy of honor and desire.” Gregory of Nyssa, The life of Moses.”
|Syriac Melody: ܒܳܥܘܽܬܳܐ ܕܡܳܪܝ ܝܰܥܩܘܽܒ|
|Just Father, behold Your Son, a sacrifice [sc. the Eucharist] [that is] pleasing to You. Receive this [sacrifice], [him] who died for me, that I might be pardoned by it.||
ܐܰܒܳܐ ܕܩܘܽܫܬܳܐ ܗܳܐ ܒܪܳܟ ܕܶܒܚܳܐ ܕܰܡܪܰܥܶܐ ܠܳܟ . ܠܗܳܢܳܐ ܩܰܒܶܠ ܕܰܚܠܳܦܰܝ ܡܺܝܬ ܘܶܐܬܚܰܣܶܐ ܒܶܗ.
|Behold the offering! Receive [it] from my hands, be pleased with me, and do not remember the sins I have committed before Your Majesty.||
ܗܳܐ ܩܘܽܪܒܳܢܳܐ ܣܰܒ ܡܶܢ ܐܺܝ̈ܕܰܝ ܘܶܐܬܪܰܥܳܐ ܠܺܝ . ܘܠܳܐ ܬܶܬܕܟܰܪ ܠܺܝ ܚ̈ܛܳܗܶܐ ܕܣܶܥܪܶܬ ܩܕܳܡ ܪܰܒܘܽܬܳܟ .
|Behold His blood shed on Golgotha for my salvation, and it is praying for my sake! Accept my offering for its sake.||
ܗܳܐ ܕܡܶܗ ܐܰܫܺܝܕ ܥܰܠ ܓܳܓܘܽܠܬܳܐ ܡܶܛܽܠ ܦܘܽܪܩܳܢܝ . ܘܒܳܥܶܐ ܚܠܳܦܰܝ ܩܰܒܶܠ ܩܘܽܪܒܳܢܝ ܡܶܛܽܠܳܬܶܗ .
|How numerous are my sins! How great is Your love! If you weighed Your compassion, it would outweigh the mountains which are carrying You!||
ܟܡܳܐ ܠܺܝ ܚܰܘ̈ܒܶܐ ܟܡܳܐ ܠܳܟ ܪ̈ܰܚܡܶܐ ܐܶܢ ܬܳܩܶܠ ܐܰܢ̱ܬ . ܚܢܳܢܳܟ ܢܳܬܰܥ ܛܳܒ ܡܶܢ ܛܘܽܪ̈ܶܐ ܕܰܬܩܺܝܠܺܝܢ ܠܳܟ .
|Consider my sins, and consider the oblation [offered] on their account: the oblation and sacrifice [sc. of Your Son] are exceedingly greater than [my] faults.||
ܚܘܽܪ ܒܰܚ̈ܛܳܗܶܐ ܘܚܘܽܪ ܒܰܥܠܳܬܳܐ ܕܰܚܠܳܦܰܝܗܘܽܢ . ܕܣܰܓܺܝ ܪܰܒܳܐ ܥܠܳܬܳܐ ܘܕܶܒܚܳܐ ܡܶܢ ܚܰܘ̈ܒܳܬܳܐ .
|Since I have sinned, Your loved One [sc. Jesus Christ] bore the nails and spear [on the cross], and His sufferings are enough to appease You.||
ܡܶܛܽܠ ܕܰܚܛܺܝܬ ܨ̈ܶܨܶܐ ܘܪܘܽܡܚܳܐ ܣܒܰܠ ܚܰܒܺܝܒܳܟ . ܘܣܳܦܩܺܝܢ ܚܰܫ̈ܰܘܗ̱ܝ ܕܰܢܪܰܥܘܽܢܳܟ ܘܰܒܗܘܽܢ ܐܺܚܶܐ .
|Glory [be] to the Father who sent His Son for our sake, and adoration [is due] to the Son who freed all by His crucifixion.||
ܫܘܽܒܚܳܐ ܠܰܐܒܳܐ ܕܠܰܒܪܶܗ ܫܰܕܰܪ ܡܶܛܽܠܳܬܰܢ . ܘܣܶܓܕܬܳܐ ܠܰܒܪܳܐ ܕܒܰܙܩܺܝܦܘܽܬܶܗ ܚܰܪܰܪ ܟܽܘܠܳܐ .
|Thanksgiving [be] to the Spirit through whom the mystery of our Savior is accomplished. Blessed is the One who gave us life. Glory be to Him!||
ܬܰܘܕܺܝ ܠܪܘܽܚܳܐ ܕܒܶܗ ܐܶܫܬܰܡܠܺܝ ܪܳܐܙ ܦܘܽܪܩܳܢܰܢ . ܒܪܺܝܟ ܕܰܒܚܘܽܒܶܗ ܐܰܚܺܝ ܠܟܽܠܰܢ ܠܶܗ ܬܶܫܒܘܽܚܬܳܐ .
Enjoy this hymn sung in Syriac.
|St. Ephrem’s Hymn on the Angel’s Announcement to Mary (an excerpt) (Translated by Fr. Ephrem Adde and edited by the staff of thehiddenpearl.org)||ܣܘܽܓܺܝܬܳܐ ܕܡܳܪܝ ܐܦܪܝܡ ܕܥܰܠ ܣܘܽܒܳܪ ܥܺܝܪܳܐ ܠܡܰܪܝܰܡ|
|Glory to You, Lord, whom heaven and earth, and everything in [heaven] and on [earth] worship.||ܫܘܽܒܚܳܐ ܠܳܟ ܡܳܪܝ ܕܠܳܟ ܣܳܓ̈ܕܺܝܢ ܫܡܰܝܳܐ ܘܰܐܪܥܳܐ ܘܟܽܠ ܕܰܒܗܘܽܢ|
|[O] Father’s Power, whose love compelled Him to come down and dwell in a virgin womb, grant me a mouth to speak about this mysterious, extraordinary event.||ܚܰܝܠܶܗ ܕܰܐܒܳܐ ܕܰܢܚܶܬ ܫܪܳܐ ܒܥܽܘܒܳܐ ܒܬܘܽܠܳܐ ܕܚܘܽܒܶܗ ܥܨܶܐ . ܗܰܒ ܠܺܝ ܦܘܽܡܳܐ ܕܶܐܡܰܠܠܺܝܘܗ̱ܝ ܠܫܰܪܒܳܐ ܪܰܒܳܐ ܕܠܳܐ ܡܶܬܒܨܶܐ ܀|
|The mouth is feeble to speak about You; both voice and word are inadequate to praise Your humility [lacuna]||ܙܥܘܽܪ ܗ̱ܘܽ ܦܘܽܡܳܐ ܕܰܢܡܰܠܠܶܟ ܘܰܒܨܺܝܪ ܩܳܠܳܐ ܐܳܦ ܡܶܠܬܳܐ . ܕܫܘܽܒܚܳܐ ܢܶܬܠܘܽܢ ܠܡܘܽܟܳܟܳܟ [lacuna]|
|O discerners, come; pay attention; listen to the altogether awe-inspiring event, and sing glory to Him who lowered Himself to grant life to Adam, who had sinned and died.||ܐܳܘ ܦܳܪ̈ܘܽܫܶܐ ܬܰܘ ܨܘܽܬܘ ܫܡܰܥܘ ܫܰܪܒܳܐ ܕܟܽܠܳܗ ܬܶܗܪܳܐ ܡܠܶܐ . ܘܰܙܡܰܪܘ ܫܘܽܒܚܳܐ ܠܗܰܘ ܕܶܐܬܪܟܶܢ ܕܢܰܐܚܶܐ ܠܳܐܕܳܡ ܕܰܚܛܳܐ ܘܡܺܝܬ ܀|
|Mercy appeared to David’s daughter that she might become a mother to Him who brought into existence Adam and the world, and whose name existed before the sun.||ܨܶܕ ܒܰܪ̱ܬ ܕܰܘܺܝܕ ܪܳܚܡܳܐ ܕܢܰܚ ܕܗܺܝ ܬܶܗܘܶܐ ܠܶܗ ܐܶܡܳܐ ܠܗܰܘ . ܕܰܐܘܠܶܕ ܠܳܐܕܳܡ ܘܰܠܥܳܠܡܳܐ ܘܰܩܕܳܡ ܫܶܡܫܳܐ ܐܺܝܬܰܘܗ̱ܝ ܫܡܶܗ܀|
|He [sc. the angel Gabriel] brought to the world the letter that was sealed with an awesome mystery, announced peace to the girl, and good tidings to the entire world.||ܫܩܰܠ ܐܶܓܰܪܬܳܐ ܕܰܡܚܰܬܡܳܐ ܒܐ̱ܪܳܙܳܐ ܪܰܒܳܐ ܡܶܢ ܥܳܠܡܳܐ . ܘܡܰܠܳܗ݀ ܫܠܳܡܳܐ ܠܰܥܠܰܝܡܬܳܐ ܘܣܰܒܪܳܐ ܛܳܒܳܐ ܠܟܽܠ ܥܳܠܡܳܐ ܀|
|The Virgin says, “Who are you, Sir? What is this that you are saying? What you have [just] said is far from me. Besides, I do not know the Power of your Lord.||ܐܳܡܪܳܐ ܒܬܘܽܠܬܳܐ ܡܰܢ ܐܰܢ̱ܬ ܡܳܪܝ ܘܡܳܢܰܘ ܗܳܢܳܐ ܕܰܡܡܰܠܠܰܬ . ܪܰܚܺܝܩ ܗ̱ܘܽ ܡܶܢܝ ܡܘܽܢ ܕܶܐܡܰܪܬ ܘܚܰܝܠܶܗ ܕܡܳܪܳܟ ܠܳܐ ܝܳܕܥܳܢܝ ܀|
|I beseech you, Sir, do not frighten me; do not set me on fire with burning coals that are from you, for it is difficult for my virginity to receive the Almighty, whom you are announcing.||ܒܳܥܝܳܢܳܐ ܡܳܪܝ ܠܳܐ ܬܰܪܗܒܰܢܝ ܒܓܘܽܡܪ̈ܶܐ ܕܡܶܢܳܟ ܠܳܐ ܬܰܘܩܕܰܢܝ . ܕܥܳܛܠܳܐ ܒܬܘܽܠܘܽܬܝ ܕܰܬܩܰܒܶܠܝ ܠܗܰܘ ܥܰܙܺܝܙܳܐ ܕܰܐܢ̱ܬ ܡܰܟܪܙܰܬ ܀|
|You are a blaze; do not frighten me. You are arrayed in burning coals; do not set me on fire. Fiery one, why have you come to me, and why do you also talk to me about novelties?||ܓܰܘܙܰܠܬܳܐ ܐܰܢ̱ܬ ܠܳܐ ܬܰܪܗܒܰܢܝ ܓܘܽܡܪ̈ܶܐ ܥܛܺܝܦ ܐܰܢ̱ܬ ܠܳܐ ܬܰܘܩܕܰܢܝ . ܢܘܽܪܳܢܳܐ ܠܡܘܽܢ ܐܶܬܰܝܬ ܠܺܝ ܘܳܐܦ ܚ̈ܰܕܬܳܬܳܐ ܥܰܡܝ ܡܰܠܰܠܬ ܀|
|Sir, I am afraid to consent to the words of your fiery mouth, for even my mother, Eve, died after she consented to the message of the snake.”||ܕܳܚܶܠܐ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܡܳܪܝ ܕܶܐܩܰܒܶܠ ܡܶܠܰـܝ̈ ܦܘܽܡܳܟ ܢܘܽܪܳܢܳܐ . ܕܳܐܦ ܐܶܡܝ ܚܰܘܳܐ ܟܰܕ ܐܰܩܒܠܰܬ ܣܒܰܪܬܳܐ ܕܚܶܘܝܳܐ ܡܺܝܬܰܬ ܠܳܗ݀ ܀|
|“This subject which I have talked to you about is elementary for the Lord, about whom all the prophets had proclaimed that He willed to become a human being.”||ܗܳܢܳܐ ܫܰܪܒܳܐ ܕܡܰܠܠܶܬ ܠܶܟܝ ܦܫܺܝܩ ܗ̱ܘܽ ܣܰܓܺܝ ܥܰܠ ܡܳܪܝܳܐ . ܕܟܽܠܗܘܽܢ ܢ̈ܒܺܝܶܐ ܥܠܰܘܗ̱ܝ ܐܰܟܪܶܙܘ ܕܰܨܒܳܐ ܕܢܶܗܘܶܐ ܒܰܪܢܳܫܳܐ ܀|
|“Your promise would have been appropriate if I were married to a man like everyone else; I am chaste and have never had relations.||ܘܰܥܕܳܟ ܫܰܦܺܝܪ ܐܶܠܘܽ ܡܛܳܢܝ ܙܘܽܘܳܓ ܓܰܒܪܳܐ ܐܰܝܟ ܟܽܠ ܐ̱ܢܳܫ . ܕܰܒܬܘܽܠܳܝܬܳܐ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܘܡܶܢ ܡܬܘܽܡ ܠܳܐ ܪܓܝܺܫܳܐ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܒܙܘܽܘܳܓܳܐ ܀|
|I am disquieted, Sir, alarmed, and afraid. Still, I am not convinced because nature does not instruct me that a virgin begets a child.||ܙܳܥܶܬ ܠܺܝ ܡܪܳܝ ܘܶܐܣܬܰܪܕܶܬ ܘܟܰܕ ܩܳܢܛܳܐ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܘܠܳܐ ܡܰܫܪܳܢܝ . ܕܳܐܦ ܗ̱ܘܽ ܟܝܳܢܳܐ ܠܳܐ ܡܦܺܝܣ ܠܺܝ ܕܢܶܗܘܶܐ ܝܰܠܕܳܐ ܠܰܒܬܘܽܠܬܳܐ ܀|
|Your appearance is venerable; your story is frightening, and the entire house is on fire. Your Lord’s matter is inscrutable; it is difficult for me to confirm this [matter].||ܚܶܙܘܳܟ ܝܰܩܺܝܪ ܘܫܰܪܒܳܟ ܕܚܺܝܠ ܘܟܽܠܶܗ ܒܰܝܬܳܐ ܡܶܬܓܰܘܙܰܠ . ܫܰܪܒܶܗ ܕܡܳܪܳܟ ܠܳܐ ܡܶܬܒܨܶܐ ܘܕܰܐܫܰܪ ܗܳܕܶܐ ܥܰܣܩܳܐ ܗ̱ܝ ܠܺܝ ܀|
|I am [but] a girl, and cannot give consent to a man of fire, for the subject you spoke about is hidden and makes me afraid to consent to it.||ܛܠܺܝܬܳܐ ܐܶܢܳܐ ܘܠܳܐ ܡܶܫܟܚܳܢܝ ܠܓܰܒܪܳܐ ܕܢܘܽܪܳܐ ܕܰܐܩܒܶܠܺܝܘܗ̱ܝ . ܕܰܟܣܳܐ ܫܰܪܒܳܐ ܕܰܡܡܰܠܠܰܬ ܘܰܡܣܰܪܶܕ ܠܺܝ ܕܰܐܩܒܶܠܺܝܘܗ̱ܝ ܀|
|Today, I have been amazed and astonished at all you have said to me. I am afraid, Sir, to give you consent, for deceit could be [lurking] in your word.||ܝܰܘܡܳܢ ܬܶܡܗܶܬ ܘܶܐܬܕܰܡܪܶܬ ܒܗܳܠܶܝܢ ܟܽܠܗܶܝܢ ܕܶܐܡܰܪܬ ܠܺܝ . ܕܳܚܠܳܐ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܡܳܪܝ ܕܰܐܩܶܒܠܳܟ ܕܰܠܡܳܐ ܢܶܟܠܳܐ ܒܓܰܘ ܡܶܠܬܳܟ ܀|
|All your words amaze me. I ask you, Sir, not to frighten me. Childbearing is never for a virgin, and no man has touched me.||ܟܽܠܗܶܝܢ ܡܶܠܰܝ̈ܟ ܠܺܝ ܡܬܰܗܪ̈ܳܢ ܡܦܺܝܣܳܐ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܡܳܪܝ ܠܳܐ ܬܙܺܝܥܰܢܝ . ܠܳܐ ܒܰܒܬܘܽܠܬܳܐ ܝܰܠـܕܳܐ ܡܬܘܽܡ ܘܶܐܢܳܐ ܓܰܒܪܳܐ ܠܳܐ ܦܓܺܝܥ ܒܺܝ ܀|
|I do, Sir, have a man; he does not have relations with me, and I am not married. How could it come to happen according to what you have said that a son is to be without having relations?||ܠܺܝ ܡܳܪܝ ܓܰܒܪܳܐ ܠܳܐ ܚܟܺܝܡ ܠܺܝ ܘܰܒܙܘܽܘܳܓܳܐ ܠܳܐ ܪܓܺܝܫܳܢܝ . ܘܰܐܝܟܰܢ ܬܶܗܘܶܐ ܐܰܝܟ ܕܶܐܡܰܪܬ ܕܰܕܠܳܐ ܢܶܩܦܳܐ ܒܪܳܐ ܢܶܗܘܶܐ ܀|
|Well then, Watcher [sc. angel], I will not refuse whensoever the Holy Spirit would come to me. I am his Handmaid; He has the power to make it happen to me according to your word.||ܡܳܕܶܝܢ ܥܺܝܪܳܐ ܠܳܐ ܡܗܰܦܟܳܢܝ ܐܶܢ ܪܘܽܚ ܩܘܽܕܫܳܐ ܐܶܬܳܐ ܠܘܳܬܝ . ܐܰܡܬܶܗ ܐܶܢܳܐ ܘܫܰܠܺܝܛ ܠܶܗ ܢܶܗܘܶܐ ܠܺܝ ܡܳܪܝ ܐܰܝ̱ܟ ܡܶܠܬܳܟ ܀|
|May my head, Sir, be raised according to your word, and I shall praise His name while rejoicing. Since you are His servant, and thus you are splendid, what does he resemble, if you know?||ܢܶܬܬܪܺܝܡ ܪܺܝܫܝ ܡܳܪܝ ܐܰܝ̱ܟ ܡܶܠܬܳܟ ܘܰܐܘܕܶܐ ܠܰܫܡܶܗ ܟܰܕ ܚܳܕܝܳܢܝ . ܕܶܐܢ ܐܰܢ̱ܬ ܥܰܒـܕܶܗ ܗܳܟܰܢ ܦܰܐܝܰܬ ܠܡܘܽܢ ܕܳܡܶܐ ܗ̱ܘܽ ܐܶܢ ܝܳـܕܥܰܬ ܀|
|You disturbed me greatly now! If He is a blaze according to your word, how would my womb not be injured by the Flame that dwells in it?||ܣܰܓܺܝ ܗܳܫܳܐ ܐܰܙܺܝܥܬܳܢܝ ܘܐܶܢ ܓܰܘܙܰܠܬܰܐ ܗ̱ܘ ܐܰܝܟ ܡܶܠܬܳܟ . ܥܘܽܒܝ ܕܺܝܠܝ ܐܰܝܟܰܢ ܠܳܐ ܡܶܬܢܟܶܐ ܒܫܰܠܗܶܒܺܝܬܳܐ ܕܒܶܗ ܫܳܪܝܳܐ ܀|
|Watcher, reveal to me why it pleased your Lord to dwell in a poor [girl]. Behold the world is filled with daughters of kings. Why did He choose me, a destitute?||ܥܺܝܪܳܐ ܓܠܺܝ ܠܺܝ ܠܡܘܽܢ ܟܰܝ ܫܦܰܪ ܠܡܳܪܳܟ ܕܢܶܫܪܶܐ ܒܡܶܣܟܺܢ̱ܬܳܐ. ܗܳܐ ܒ̈ܢܳܬ ܡܰܠ̈ـܟܶܐ ܥܳܠܡܳܐ ܡܠܶܐ ܘܒܺܝ ܠܡܳܢܳܐ ܨܒܳܐ ܕܰܡܓܰܙܝܳـܢܝ ܀|
|Announce to me, sir, if you know when He desires to come to me, and whether He will appear to me as fire whenever He [comes to] dwell in me according to your word.||ܦܰܫܶܩ ܠܺܝ ܡܳܪܝ ܐܶܢ ܝܳܕܥܰܬ ܐܶܡܰܬܝ ܨܳܒܶܐ ܕܢܺܐܬܶܐ ܠܘܳܬܝ . ܘܶܐܢ ܐܰܝ̱ܟ ܢܘܽܪܳܐ ܠܺܝ ܡܶܬܚܙܶܐ ܡܳܐ ܕܰܫܪܳܐ ܒܺܝ ܐܰܝ̱ܟ ܡܶܠܬܳܟ܀|
|Sir, I would like to ask you to explain to me the habits of my Son, for He will dwell in me, and I do not know what to do for Him lest He be insulted.||ܨܳܒܝܳܐ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܡܳܪܝ ܕܶܐܫܰܐܠܳܟ ܐܰܢ̱ܬ ܦܰܫܶܩ ܠܺܝ ܥܝ̈ܳـܕܰܘܗ̱ܝ ܕܒܶܪܝ . ܕܫܳܪܶܐ ܒܺܝ ܘܠܳܐ ܝܳܕܥܳܢܝ ܡܘܽܢ ܐܶܥܒܶܕ ܠܶܗ ܕܠܳܐ ܢܶܬܬܫܺܝܛ ܀|
|His name is holy, glorious and blessed, for He gave heed to the lowliness of His handmaid. Henceforth, the kings of the earth and all that is on it shall call me blessed.||ܩܰܕܺܝܫ ܘܰܫܒܺܝܚ ܘܰܒܪܺܝܟ ܫܡܶܗ ܕܰܒܡܽܘܟܳܟܳܗ܁ ܚܳܪ ܕܰܐܡܬܶܗ . ܡܶܟܺܝܠ ܛܘܽܒܳܐ ܠܺܝ ܢܶܬܠ̈ـܘܽܢ ܡܰܠ̈ـܟܶܐ ܕܰܐܪܥܳܐ ܘܟܽܠ ܕܰܥܠܶܝܗ݀ ܀|
|He is mighty, glorious, and inscrutable; He is unfathomable through lips. His Might is powerful, for He, the One who sent Him, and the Holy Spirit created all.”||ܪܰܒ ܗ̱ܘܽ ܘܰܫܒܺܝܚ ܘܠܳܐ ܡܶܬܒܨܶܐ ܘܰܒܣܶܦܘ̈ܳܬܳܐ ܠܳܐ ܡܶܬܬܡܺܝܫ . ܕܚܰܝܠܶܗ ܚܰܣܺܝܢ ܕܗܘܽ ܒܪܳܐ ܠܟܽܠ ܥܰܡ ܫܳܠـܘܽܚܶܗ ܘܪܘܽܚ ܩܘܽܕܫܳܐ ܀|
|Heaven and earth were awestruck because of His birth from Mary. Behold they witness that He became man for sinful Adam.||ܫܡܰܝܳܐ ܘܰܐܪܥܳܐ ܬܶܗܪܳܐ ܠܒܰܟ ܥܰܠ ܡܰܘܠܳܕܶܗ ܕܡܶܢ ܡܰܪܝܰܡ . ܘܕܰܗܘܳܐ ܐ̱ܢܳܫܳܐ ܗܳܐ ܣܳܗܕܺܝܢ ܡܶܛܽܠ ܐܳܕܳܡ ܚܰܝܳܒܳܐ ܀|
This talk was given at the 13th Colloquium of Syriac Patrimony under the title The Syriac Exegetes at the Maronite Patriarchal Seminary, Ghazir, Lebanon, in February 2015. It was published in English and Arabic by Centre d’Études et de Recherches Orientales (CERO) in its Patrimoine Syriaque: Les Exégètes Syriaques – Actes du Colloque XIII (2015). We thank CERO for granting us permission to republish the English version on the hiddenpearl.org. This links displays/downloads an Arabic Translation of this article in pdf.
The Treasury of Prophecy, i.e., the Old Testament, reveals the Son of God according to Jacob of Sarug. God the Father chose prophets to reveal this truth. Their prophecies disclose the only-begotten Son, his coming, crucifixion, and resurrection in numerous types and symbols. These prophets gaze upon the Son through the exalted or luminous Eye of Prophecy (ܥܰܝܢܳܐ ܕܰܢܒܺܝܘܽܬܳܐ). For example, with the luminous Eye of Prophecy, David saw the Son, who heals the earth by his blood. Moses perceived with the exalted Eye of Prophecy the creation of the world ex nihilo. With the same Eye, he saw the Son of God united to his Church in the waters of the Jordan. The objective of this presentation is to elucidate Jacob’s understanding of the Eye of Prophecy and its relationship to Jesus Christ.
|Syriac Hymn: ܒܳܥܘܽܬܳܐ ܕܡܳܪܝ ܝܰܥܩܘܽܒ|
|On account of love, He created the Creation while He was creating. And due to it, He also gave His Only-Begotten while He was saving.||ܒܶܗ ܗ̱ܘܽ ܒܚܘܽܒܳܐ ܒܪܳܐ ܒܶܪ̈ܝܳܬܳܐ ܟܰܕ ܒܳܪܶܐ ܗ̱ܘܳܐ ܃ ܘܒܶܗ ܬܘܽܒ ܐܰܫܠܶܡ ܠܺܝܚܺܝܕܳܝܶܗ ܟܰܕ ܦܳܪܶܩ ܗ̱ܘܳܐ ܀|
|In which king was there power to love thus: to give up his son for captives that they should return to their land?||ܒܰܐܝܢܳܐ ܡܰܠܟܳܐ ܐܺܝܬ ܗ̱ܘܳܐ ܚܰܝܠܳܐ ܕܢܰܚܶܒ ܗܳܟܰܢ ܃ ܕܢܰܫܠܶܡ ܠܰܒܪܶܗ ܚܠܳܦ ܓܳܠܘܽܬܳܐ ܕܬܶܦܢܶܐ ܠܰܐܬܪܳܗ݀ ܀|
|For which rich person was it easy to lavish his entire wealth on beggars that his love enrich them?||ܠܡܰܢ ܥܰܬܺܝܪܳܐ ܦܫܺܝܩ ܗ̱ܘܳܐ ܕܢܶܕܪܶܐ ܟܽܠܶܗ ܥܘܽܬܪܶܗ ܃ ܥܰܠ ܚܳܕܘܽܪ̈ܶܐ ܡܶܛܽܠ ܚܘܽܒܶܗ ܕܢܰܥܬܰܪ ܐܶܢܘܽܢ ܀|
|Who has surrendered his son to death as a sacrifice for the sake of slaves who fled from him to bring them back?||ܡܰܢ ܝܳܗܶܒ ܗ̱ܘܳܐ ܠܰܒܪܶܗ ܠܡܰܘܬܳܐ ܕܢܶܗܘܶܐ ܕܶܒܚܳܐ ܃ ܡܶܛܽܠ ܥܰܒ̈ܕܶܐ ܕܰܥܪܰܩܘ ܡܶܢܶܗ ܕܢܺܐܬܶܐ ܐܶܢܘܽܢ ܀|
|Who is the good person who is not afraid of laying down his life and tasting death for the sake of evil people to give them life?||ܡܰܢܘܽ ܛܳܒܳܐ ܕܠܳܐ ܕܳܚܶܠ ܗ̱ܘܳܐ ܕܢܰܪܡܶܐ ܢܰܦܫܶܗ ܃ ܘܰܚܠܳܦ ܒܺܝ̈ܫܶܐ ܡܰܘܬܳܐ ܢܶܛܥܰܡ ܕܢܰܚܶܐ ܐܶܢܘܢ ܀|
|Which living person has the power to touch the bottom of Sheol, release [its] prisoners, and imprison himself in the house of darkness?||ܐܰܝܢܳܐ ܚܰܝܳܐ ܡܨܶܐ ܗ̱ܘܳܐ ܕܢܶܓܘܽܫ ܥܘܽܡܩܳܐ ܕܰܫܝܘܽܠ ܃ ܘܢܶܫܪܶܐ ܚܒܺܝ̈ܫܶܐ ܘܢܶܐܣܘܽܪ ܢܰܦܫܶܗ ܒܶܝܬ ܚܶܫ̈ܘܽܟܶܐ ܀|
|Which heavenly being made a grave his habitation, and brought up the dead to the exalted heavenly habitation?||ܡܰܢ ܥܶܠܳܝܳܐ ܥܳܒܶܕ ܗ̱ܘܳܐ ܠܶܗ ܥܘܽܡܪܳܐ ܩܰܒܪܳܐ ܀ ܘܡܰܣܶܩ ܡܺܝ̈ܬܶܐ ܠܥܘܽܡܪܳܐ ܪܳܡܳܐ ܕܰܫ̈ܡܰܝܳܢܶܐ ܀|
|Love subjected the Son of God to this ordeal that He taste death in favor of human beings and give them life!||ܗܳܢܳܐ ܥܒܳܕܳܐ ܚܘܽܒܳܐ ܥܒܰܕ ܠܶܗ ܠܒܰܪ ܐܰܠܳܗܳܐ ܃ ܕܰܚܠܳܦ ܐ̱ܢܳܫܳܐ ܡܰܘܬܳܐ ܢܶܛܥܰܡ ܘܢܰܚܶܐ ܐܶܢܘܽܢ ܀|
The thief crucified on the right of Jesus said to him, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Lk 23:33-43) Jesus replied to him:
|Syriac Melody:||ܒܳܥܘܽܬܳܐ ܕܡܳܪܝ ܝܰܥܩܘܽܒ|
|Amen, Amen, I say to you, be assured that today you will rejoice with me in [my] Kingdom.||ܐܰܡܺܝܢ ܐܰܡܺܝܢ ܐܳܡܰܪ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܠܳܟ ܐܰܫܰܪ ܓܰܒܪܳܐ ܃ ܕܝܰܘܡܳܢܳܐ ܠܰܡ ܥܰܡܝ ܚܳܕܶܐ ܐܰܢ̱ܬ ܒܶܝܬ ܡܰܠܟܘܽܬܳܐ ܀|
|Since your tongue sang a hymn of praise among the faithless, you shall take delight in the banquet of life with Abraham.||ܕܒܶܝܬ ܛܳܠ̈ـܘܽܡܶܐ ܩܳܠ ܬܰܘܕܺܝܬܳܐ ܙܡܰܪ ܠܶܫܳܢܳܟ ܃ ܒܦܳܬܘܽܪ ܚܰܝ̈ܶܐ ܡܶܬܒܰܣܰܡ ܐܰܢ̱ܬ ܥܰܡ ܐܰܒܪܳܗܳܡ ܀|
|Since your lamp glared out of the thick darkness, you shall shine brightly in the bridal chamber of life with the heavenly beings.||ܕܰܒܥܰܪ̈ܦܶܠܳܐ ܚܶܫ̈ܘܽܟܳܬܳܐ ܕܠܰܩ ܠܰܡܦܺܝܕܳܟ ܃ ܒܰܓܢܘܽܢ ܚܰܝ̈ܶܐ ܒܢܘܽܗܪܳܐ ܬܰܦܪܶܓ ܥܰܡ ܥܶܠܳܝ̈ܶܐ ܀|
|Since your ears have heard the troubling voices of scoffers, I shall comfort you with the shout of joy of the children of light (the angels).||ܕܰܫܡܰܥ ܐܶܕܢ̈ܰܝܟ ܩ̈ܳـܠܶܐ ܫܓܺܝ̈ܫܶܐ ܕܰܡ̈ܒܰܙܚܳܢܶܐ ܃ ܒܗܰܘ ܝܘܽܒܳܒܳܐ ܕܰܒ̈ܢܰܝ ܢܘܽܗܪܳܐ ܡܒܰܝܰܐ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܠܳܟ ܀|
|Since you rejected the company of Caiaphas’ people, the defiled priests, I shall put on you the stole of light in the exalted wedding chamber.||ܕܰܐܣܠܺܝܬ ܓܘܽܕܳܐ ܕܒܶܝܬ ܩܰܝܳܦܳܐ ܟܳܗ̈ܢܶܐ ܛܰܡ̈ܶܐܐ ܃ ܐܶܣܛܰܠ ܢܘܽܗܪܳܐ ܒܰܓܢܘܽܢ ܪܰܘܡܳܐ ܡܰܠܒܶܫ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܠܳܟ ܀|
|Take the key of light, reach the Garden of delights, and prepare the way for the King of light, whom the Nation rejected.||ܩܠܺܝܕܳܐ ܕܢܘܽܗܪܳܐ ܣܰܒ ܠܳܟ ܘܰܡܛܺܝ ܠـܓܰܢܰܬ ܛܘܽܒ̈ܶܐ ܃ ܘܰܐܬܩܶܢ ܐܘܽܪܚܳܐ ܠܡܰܠܟܳܐ ܕܢܘܽܗܪܳܐ ܕܰܐܣܠܺܝ ܥܰܡܳܐ ܀|
|Ride on fire, travel on the blazing road, step on the abyss filled with fire, and do not be terrified.||ܪܟܰܕ ܥܰܠ ܢܘܽܪܳܐ ܘܰܪܕܺܝ ܒܐܘܽܪܚܳܐ ܕܫܰܠܗܶܒܺܝܬܳܐ ܃ ܕܘܽܫ ܥܰܠ ܦܰܚܬܳܐ ܕܡܰܠܝܳܐ ܢܘܽܪܳܐ ܘܠܳܐ ܬܶܣܬܰܪܰܕ ܀|
|Proceed without delay, reach the orders of the heavenly beings, make level the paths, and greet the angels with the peace that came to pass.||ܦܣܰܥ ܩܰܠܺܝܠܳܐ ܡܛܺܝ ܠܬܶܓܡ̈ܰܝܽܗܘܢ ܕܰܫ̈ܡܰܝܳܢܶܐ ܃ ܘܫܰܘܳܐ ܫܒܺܝ̈ܠܶܐ ܘܚܰܕܳܐ ܠܥܺܝܪ̈ܶܐ ܒܫܰܝܢܳܐ ܕܰܗܘܳܐ ܀|
|Pour into Eden the peace of your beautiful words, and say to those who perished that it (Eden) has been returned to the heir, Adam.||ܙܠܘܽܥ ܒܳܗ݀ ܒܰܥܕܶܢ ܫܰܝܢܳܐ ܒܡ̈ܶܠܰܝܟ ܫܰܦܺܝܪ̈ܳܬܳܐ ܃ ܐ̱ܡܰܪ ܠܰܐܒܺܝ̈ـܕܶܐ ܕܶܐܬܦܰܢܺܝ ܠܶܗ ܝܳܪܬܳܐ ܐܳܕܳܡ ܀|
|If the fiery ranks come upon you, do not be terrified, for they will rejoice in your imperial rescript, and receive you on their wings.||ܘܶܐܢ ܦܳܓܥܺܝܢ ܒܳܟ ܣܶܕܪ̈ܰܝ ܢܘܽܪܳܐ ܠܳܐ ܬܶܣܬܰܪܰܕ ܃ ܒܣܰܩܪܳܟ ܚܳܕܶܝܢ ܘܰܡܩܰܒܠܺܝܢ ܠܳܟ ܥܰܠ ܓܶܦ̈ܰܝܗܘܽܢ ܀|