Types and Symbols of the Church in the Writings of Jacob of Sarug (Doctoral Dissertation)


Abstract
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.


St. Ephrem’s Hymn on the Angel’s Announcement to Mary (an excerpt)

Annunciation
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 ܀

A Communion Hymn Sung in Syriac Churches (St. Jacob’s Tune)

Andreas Pavias Icon of the Crucifixion, the second half of the 15th-century egg tempera and gold on wood overall: 83.5 × 59 cm (32 7/8 × 23 1/4 in.) National Gallery, Alexandros Soutzos Museum, Athens (see the following blog: blog.historians.org)
The One on whose account the fiery beings [sc. the Seraphim] tremble and whom they fear to behold [see Is 6:2]: you gaze at Him [as] Bread and Wine on the [altar] table. ܗܰܘ ܕܢܘܽܪ̈ܳܢܶܐ ܙܳܝܥܺܝܢ ܡܶܢܶܗ ܕܰܢܚܘܽܪܘܽܢ ܒܶܗ ܃ ܠܰܚܡܳܐ ܘܚܰܡܪܳܐ ܠܶܗ ܗܘܽ ܚܳܙܶܝܬ ܥܰܠ ܦܳܬܘܽܪܳܐ ܀
If those arrayed in lightning would see Him, they would be consumed by Him; [yet] worthless dust [see Gn 2:7] eat Him unashamedly. ܥܛܺܝ̈ܦܰܝ ܒܰܪ̈ܩܶܐ ܐܶܢ ܚܳܙܶܝܢ ܠܶܗ ܝܳܩܕܺܝܢ ܡܶܢܶܗ ܃ ܥܰܦܪܳܐ ܫܺܝܛܳܐ ܓܰܠܝ̈ܳܢ ܐܰܦܰܘ̈ܗ̱ܝ ܟܰܕ ܐܳܟܶܠ ܠܶܗ ܀
The mysteries of the Son are fire among the heavenly beings. Isaiah who saw them [see Is 6:6-7] also testifies with us. ܪ̈ܳܙܰܘܗ̱ܝ ܕܰܒܪܳܐ ܢܘܽܪܳܐ ܐܶܢܘܽܢ ܒܶܝܬ ܥܶܠܳܝ̈ܶܐ ܃ ܣܳܗܶܕ ܥܰܡܰܢ ܐܳܦ ܐܶܫܰܥܝܳܐ ܕܰܚܙܳܐ ܐܶܢܘܽܢ ܀
These mysteries in the bosom of the Godhead are distributed on the [altar] table to the children of Adam. ܗܳܠܶܝܢ ܪ̈ܳܐܙܶܐ ܕܺܐܝܬ ܗܘܰܘ ܒܥܘܽܒܳܗ݀ ܕܰܐܠܳܗܘܽܬܳܐ ܃ ܥܰܠ ܦܳܬܽܘܪܳܐ ܗܳܐ ܡܶܬܦܰܠܓܺܝܢ ܠܝܰܠܕܰܘ̈ܗ̱ܝ ܕܳܐܕܳܡ ܀
The altar is established like the chariot of the cherubim [see Ez 1] and the heavenly hosts surround it. ܡܰܬܩܰܢ ܡܰܕܒܚܳܐ ܐܰܝܟ ܡܰܪܟܰܒܬܳܐ ܗܳܝ ܕܰܟܪ̈ܘܽܒܶܐ ܃ ܘܰܟܪܺܝܟܺܝܢ ܠܶܗ ܚܰܝ̈ܠܰܘܳܬܳܐ ܕܰܫ̈ܡܰܝܳܢܶܐ ܀
Behold the body of the Son of God is placed on the altar and the children of Adam carry Him with their hands. ܥܰܠ ܦܳܬܘܽܪܳܐ ܗܳܐ ܣܺܝܡ ܦܰܓܪܶܗ ܕܒܰܪ ܐܰܠܳܗܳܐ ܃ ܘܰܡܙܰܝܚܺܝܢ ܠܶܗ ܝܰܠܕܰܘ̈ܗ̱ܝ ܕܳܐܕܳܡ ܥܰܠ ܐܺܝ̈ܕܰܝܗܘܽܢ ܀
Instead of the man wearing linen [see Ez 10:2], the priest stands and he (sc. priest) goes out [of the sanctuary] to scatter pearls (sc. the Eucharistic Species) on the destitute. ܘܰܚܠܳܦ ܓܰܒܪܳܐ ܕܰܠܒܺܝܫ ܒܘܽܨܳܐ ܟܳܗܢܳܐ ܩܳܐܶܡ ܃ ܘܢܰܦܶܩ ܘܢܶܕܪܶܐ ܡܰܪ̈ܓܳܢܝܳܬܳܐ ܥܰܠ ܚܰܣܺܝܪ̈ܶܐ ܀
Were there jealousy among heavenly beings, the cherubim would be at the point of envying human beings. ܐܶܠܘܽ ܐܺܝܬ ܗܘܳܐ ܚܣܳܡܳܐ ܬܰܡܳܢ ܒܶܝܬ ܥܶܠܳܝ̈ܶܐ ܃ ܟܪ̈ܽܘܒܶܐ ܠܡܶܚܣܰܡ ܒܰܒ̈ܢܰܝܢܳܫܳܐ ܩܰܪܺܝܒܺܝܢ ܗ̱ܘܰܘ ܀
Where Zion set up the wood (sc. cross) to crucify the Son of God sprung that tree which brought forth the lamb [see Gn 22:13]. ܐܰܝܟܳܐ ܕܨܶܗܝܘܽܢ ܩܶܒܥܰܬ ܩܰܝܣܳܐ ܕܬܶܨܠܘܽܒ ܠܰܒܪܳܐ ܃ ܬܰܡܳܢ ܝܺܥܳܐ ܗܰܘ ܐܺܝܳܠܢܳܐ ܕܰܐܘܠܶܕ ܐܶܡܪܳܐ ܀
Where the nails were hammered into the hands of the Son were the bonds of Isaac cut loose [see Gn 22:12-13]. ܐܰܝܟܳܐ ܕܨܶܨ̈ܶܐ ܒܺܐܝ̈ܕܘܗ̱ܝ ܕܰܒܪܳܐ ܐܶܬܩܰܒܰܥܘ ܗ̱ܘܰܘ ܃ ܐܳܦ ܬܰܡܳܢ ܬܘܽܒ ܦܟܳܪ̈ܰܘܗ̱ܝ ܕܺܐܝܣܚܳܩ ܐܶܬܦܰܣܰܩ ܗ̱ܘܰܘ ܀
Come in peace, priest, who carries the mysteries of the Son and distributes life with his right hand to human beings. ܬܳܐ ܒܰܫܠܳܡܳܐ ܟܳܗܢܳܐ ܕܰܛܥܺܝܢ ܪ̈ܳܐܙܰܝ ܡܳܪܶܗ ܃ ܘܰܒܝܰܡܺܝܢܶܗ ܚܰܝ̈ܶܐ ܡܦܰܠܶܓ ܠܰܒ̈ܢܰܝܢܳܫܳܐ ܀
Come in peace, priest, who carries a pure censer; its fragrance burns and the whole world delights in it. ܬܳܐ ܒܰܫܠܳܡܳܐ ܟܳܗܢܳܐ ܕܰܛܥܺܝܢ ܦܺܝܪܡܳܐ ܕܰܟܝܳܐ ܃ ܘܡܰܥܛܰܪ ܪܺܝܚܶܗ ܘܰܡܒܰܣܶܡ ܠܶܗ ܠܥܳܠܡܳܐ ܡܶܢܶܗ ܀
Come in peace, priest, whom the Holy Spirit brought up and who carries on his tongue the keys [see Is 22:22; Mt 16:19] to the house of God. ܬܳܐ ܒܰܫܠܳܡܳܐ ܟܳܗܢܳܐ ܕܪܰܒܝܰܬ ܪܘܽܚܳܐ ܕܩܘܽܕܫܳܐ ܃ ܘܰܒܠܶܫܳܢܶܗ ܛܥܺܝܢ ܠܰܩ̈ܠܺܝܕܶܐ ܕܒܶܝܬ ܐܰܠܳܗܳܐ ܀
Come in peace, priest, who binds a human being on earth, and the Lord binds him in the height (sc. heaven) [see Is 22:22; Mt 16:19]. Alleluia (sc. God be praised)! ܬܳܐ ܒܰܫܠܳܡܳܐ ܟܳܗܢܳܐ ܕܳܐܣܰܪ ܐ̱ܢܳܫܳܐ ܒܰܐܪܥܳܐ ܃ ܘܡܳܪܝܳܐ ܒܪܰܘܡܳܐ ܗܘܽ ܐܳܣܰܪ ܠܶܗ ܗܰܠܶܠܘܽܝܰܗ ܀
Come in peace, priest, who looses a human being in the depth [sc. on earth], and the Lord looses him in the height [sc. heaven; see Is 22:22; Mt 16:19]. Kyrie Eleison [sc. Lord, have mercy]. ܬܳܐ ܒܰܫܠܳܡܳܐ ܟܳܗܢܳܐ ܕܫܳܪܶܐ ܐ̱ܢܳܫܳܐ ܒܥܘܽܡܩܳܐ ܃ ܘܡܳܪܝܳܐ ܒܪܘܰܡܳܐ ܗܘܽ ܫܳܪܶܐ ܠܶܗ ܩܘܽܪܝܶܐܠܰܝܣܳܘܢ ܀
Glory be to the Lord; may [His] mercy be upon you; may forgiveness of sins be [granted] to me, and may Mar Jacob, the doctor, be commemorated. ܠܡܳܪܝܳܐ ܫܘܽܒܚܳܐ ܥܠܰܝܟܘܽܢ ܪ̈ܰܚܡܶܐ ܘܠܺܝ ܚܘܽܣܳܝܳܐ ܃ ܘܰܠܡܳܪܝ ܝܰܥܩܘܽܒ ܗܰܘ ܡܰܠܦܳܢܳܐ ܢܗܶܐ ܕܘܽܟܪܳܢܳܐ ܀
Son of God, You redeemed debtors by your sacrificial offering; by Your life-giving sacrifice put an end to my sufferings and cure my sicknesses. ܒܰܪ ܐܰܠܳܗܳܐ ܕܒܰܕܒܺܝܚܘܽܬܶܗ ܦܪܰܩ ܚܰܝ̈ܳܒܶܐ ܃ ܒܕܶܒܚܳܟ ܚܰܝܳܐ ܛܰܠܶܩ ܚܰܫ̈ܰܝ ܘܰܐܚܠܶܡ ܟܺܐܒ̈ܰܝ ܀
Good One, who came and whose side was opened on Golgotha [see Jn 19:34], quench my thirst with the blood and water that flowed from You [see Jn 19:34]. ܛܳܒܳܐ ܕܶܐܬܳܐ ܘܰܬܪܰܥ ܣܶܛܪܶܗ ܥܰܠ ܓܳܓܘܽܠܬܳܐ ܃ ܒܰܕܡܳܐ ܘܡܰܝ̈ܳܐ ܕܰܪܕܰܘ ܡܶܢܳܟ ܦܰܝܶܓ ܨܰܗܝܘܽܬܝ ܀

For a Dutch translation, you may go to kole suryoye (ܩ̈ܳܠܶܐ ܣܘܽܪ̈ܝܳܝܶܐ)

Hear this hymn sung according to the tradition of the Syriac Orthodox Church:

Hear it sung according to the tradition of the Maronite Church:

Hear it sung according to the tradition of Malankara Church:

On Divine Love (excerpt) by Jacob of Sarug (ca. A.D. 451 – 521)

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 ܀

Balai of Qenneshrin – On Simeon Seeing God’s Mercy (Lk 2:22-35)

“Let me go in peace,” said Simeon, “for my eyes have seen your Mercy as You had said.” [See Lk 2:22-35]ܫܪܺܝܢܝ ܒܰܫܠܳܡܳܐ . ܐܶܡܰܪ ܗ̱ܘܳܐ ܫܶܡܥܘܽܢ . ܕܗܳܐ ܚ̈ܙܰܝ ܥܰܝ̈ܢܰܝ . ܚܢܳܢܳܟ ܐܰܝܟ ܕܶܐܡܰܪܬ ܀
Mary carried [Jesus] as an offering to the One who receives all to bring offerings to the Holy Temple according to the law.ܛܥܰܢܬܶܗ ܡܰܪܝܰܡ ܐܰܝܟ ܩܘܽܪܒܳܢܳܐ ܠܰܡܩܰܒܶܠ ܟܽܠ . ܕܰܐܝܟ ܢܳܡܘܽܣܳܐ ܬܰܝܬܶܐ ܕܶܒ̈ܚܶܐ ܠܗܰܝܟܰܠ ܩܘܽܕܫܳܐ ܀
On this day, Simeon was petitioning the life-giving Son, “Let me go, so then I should go rest until the resurrection.”ܒܗܳܢܳܐ ܝܰܘܡܳܐ ܡܦܺܝܣ ܗ̱ܘܳܐ ܫܶܡܥܘܽܢ ܠܰܒܪܳܐ ܕܚܰܝܳܐ . ܕܰܫܪܺܝܢܝ ܡܶܟܺܝܠ ܐܶܙܰܠ ܐܶܬܬܢܺܝܚ ܥܰܕ ܢܘܽܚܳܡܳܐ ܀
[Simeon] saw the girl who was carrying [Jesus], folded his hands [in prayers], bowed himself in fear and received Him from her affectionately.ܚܙܳܗ݀ ܠܰܛܠܺܝܬܳܐ ܕܰܛܥܺܝܢܳܐ ܠܶܗ ܘܰܦܟܰܪ ܐܺܝ̈ܕܰܘܗ̱ܝ . ܣܓܶܕ ܒܰܪܬܺܝܬܳܐ ܘܩܰܒܠܶܗ ܡܶܢܳܗ݀ ܚܒܺܝܒܳܐܺܝܬ ܀
Glory be to the Father, who bound Simeon symbolically, and adoration to the Son, who unbound his restraints by His birth.ܫܘܽܒܚܳܐ ܠܰܐܒܳܐ ܕܰܐܣܪܶܗ ܠܫܶܡܥܘܽܢ ܪܐܙܳܐܢܳܐܺܝܬ . ܘܣܶܓܕܬܳܐ ܠܰܒܪܳܐ ܕܰܫܪܳܐ ܐܶܣܪ̈ܰܘܗ̱ܝ ܒܺܝܠܺܝܕܘܽܬܶܗ ܀

Balai of Qenneshrin – On Jesus Consoling the Bereaved Woman

The widow was weeping over the bed of her only son and screaming, “With you, son, I shall go down into the grave.” However, when she reached the grave, she despaired. Suddenly, our Lord appeared and raised up her son. (See Lk 7:11-17)ܒܳܟܝܳܐ ܗ̱ܝ ܐܰܪܡܰܠܬܳܐ . ܠܥܰܪܣܳܐ ܕܺܝܚܺܝܕܳܗ݀ . ܘܩܳܥܝܳܐ ܕܥܰܡܳܟ ܒܶܪܝ . ܐܶܚܘܽܬ ܠܓܰܘ ܩܰܒܪܳܐ . ܘܡܳܐ ܕܰܡܛܳܬ ܠܩܰܒܪܳܐ . ܦܶܣܩܰܬ ܠܳܗ݀ ܣܰܒܪܳܐ . ܡܶܢܫܶܝܠ ܕܢܰܚ ܡܳܪܰܢ . ܘܰܐܚܺܝ ܠܺܝܚܺܝܕܳܗ݀ .
The Lord of the earth walked on the earth and uprooted its thorns. Consequently, the fruits of glory instead of tares began to sprout.ܗܰܠܶܟ ܒܰܐܪܥܳܐ ܡܳܪܳܗ݀ ܕܰܐܪܥܳܐ ܘܥܰܩܰܪ ܟܘܽܒܶܝ̈ܗ݀ . ܘܫܰܪܺܝܘ ܫܳܘܚܺܝܢ ܦܺܐܪ̈ܶܐ ܕܫܘܽܒܚܳܐ ܚܠܳܦ ܙܺܝ̈ܙܳܢܶܐ ܀
What would the mother of [the deceased] have heard her neighbors [say] except, “Woe is you! Woe is you henceforth for your bulwark had fallen!ܐܶܡܶܗ ܕܗܳܢܳܐ ܠܡܘܽܢ ܫܳܡܥܳܐ ܗ̱ܘܳܬ ܡܶܢ ܚܰܒܪ̈ܳܬܳܗ݀ . ܐܶܠܳܐ ܕܘܳܝ ܠܶܟܝ ܘܳܝ ܠܶܟܝ ܡܶܟܺܝܠ ܕܰܢܦܰܠ ܫܘܽܪܶܟܝ ܀
Sun that [lacuna] Who eclipsed you and extinguished your light? Behold! Death’s shadows encompass you from all sides.ܫܶܡܫܳܐ ܕ… ܡܰܢܘܽ ܚܰܦܝܳܟ ܘܰܐܕܥܶܟ ܢܘܽܗܪܳܟ . ܘܗܳܐ ܛܶܠ̈ܳܠܶܐ ܕܡܰܘܬܳܐ ܚܰܕܪܘܽܟ ܡܶܢ ܟܽܠ ܓܰܒܺܝ̈ܢ ܀
Behold! You were anxious to prepare a wedding feast, but death [suddenly] came and brought to nought your plans.”ܗܳܐ ܠܡܰܫܬܘܽܬܳܐ ܝܰܨܺܝܦܳܐ ܗ̱ܘܳܬ ܠܰܡܬܰܩܳܢܘܽ . ܘܶܐܬܳܐ ܡܰܘܬܳܐ ܘܒܰܛܶܠ ܐܶܢܶܝ̈ܢ ܠܰܥܒܺܝ̈ܕܳܬܳܟ ܀
Our Lord, who governs all, noticed this lamentation and desired to solace the bereaved woman, who was tormented.ܠܗܳܢܳܐ ܐܶܒܠܳܐ ܚܢܳܐ ܗ̱ܘܳܐ ܡܳܪܰܢ ܕܟܘܽܠܳܐ ܡܰܕܒܰܪ . ܘܰܨܒܳܐ ܕܢܰܪܘܰܚ ܠܰܡܓܰܙܰܝܬܳܐ ܕܰܐܠܺܝܨܳܐ ܗ̱ܘܳܬ ܀
I adore [You], Lord, for You made hope abound when there is no hope. Behold! You enriched the bereaved woman with Your gift.ܣܳܓܶܕ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܡܳܪܝ ܕܰܐܣܓܺܝܬ ܣܰܒܪܳܐ ܥܰܕ ܠܳܐ ܣܰܒܪܳܐ . ܘܗܳܐ ܐܰܥܬܰܪܬܳܗ݀ ܠܰܡܓܰܙܰܝܬܳܐ ܡܶܢ ܡܰܘܗܰܒܬܳܟ ܀
Glory be to You, Lord, who hastily went after death and rescued from it the soul that it had seized from its place.ܫܘܽܒܚܳܐ ܠܳܟ ܡܳܪܝ ܕܪܗܶܛ ܗܰܠܶܟ ܒܳܬܰܪ ܡܰܘܬܳܐ . ܘܰܐܥܕܺܝܬ ܡܶܢܶܗ ܢܰܦܫܳܐ ܕܚܰܛܦܳܗ݀ ܡܶܢ ܐܰܦܢܺܝܬܳܗ݀ ܀

Balai of Qenneshrin – On a Martyr by the Name of Theodore

When Theodore came before the judge, the king began talking to him furiously,

ܟܰܕ ܕܶܝܢ ܥܰܠ ܗ̱ܘܳܐ ܬܶܐܳܕܳܘܪܳܘܣ ܩܕܳܡ ܕܰܝܳܢܳܐ . ܫܰܪܺܝ ܡܰܠܟܳܐ ܢܡܰܠܶܠ ܥܰܡܶܗ ܚܰܡܬܳܢܳܐܺܝܬ ܀

“He too took fire and torched the images that were there. Consequently, the temples, images, wooden [idols] and their graven images went up in flames!”

ܫܩܰܠ ܬܘܽܒ ܢܘܽܪܳܐ ܘܰܐܘܩܶܕ ܨܰܠܡ̈ܶܐ ܕܺܐܝܬ ܗܘܰܘ ܬܰܡܳܢ . ܘܺܝܩܶܕܘ ܒ̈ܳܬܶܐ ܘܨܰܠܡ̈ܶܐ ܘܩܰܝ̈ܣܶܐ ܘܰܓܠܺܝ̈ܦܰܝܗܘܽܢ ܀

The martyr responded to the [heathen] king, “If you would throw me into the fire, I have Christ, who would deliver me.”

ܗܘܽ ܕܶܝܢ ܣܳܗܕܳܐ ܦܰܢܺܝ ܗ̱ܘܳܐ ܠܶܗ ܠܡܰܠܟܳܐ [ܚܰܢܦܳܐ] . ܕܬܰܪܡܺܝܢܝ ܒܢܘܽܪܳܐ ܐܺܝܬ ܠܺܝ ܡܫܺܝܚܳܐ ܕܰܡܦܰܨܶܐ ܠܺܝ ܀

Glory be to the Father, who chose the martyr to become an offering, and adoration to the Son, who was well pleased by the offering of the spotless lamb.

ܫܘܽܒܚܳܐ ܠܰܐܒܳܐ ܕܰܓܒܳܐ ܠܣܳܗܕܳܐ ܕܢܶܗܘܶܐ ܕܶܒܚܳܐ . ܘܣܶܓܕܬܳܐ ܠܰܒܪܳܐ ܕܶܐܨܛܒܺܝ ܒܕܶܒܚܶܗ ܕܶܐܡܪܳܐ ܕܰܟܝܳܐ ܀

Balai of Qenneshrin – On Jesus Sending Thomas to India

May the commemoration of [Saint] Thomas be blessings [to us] and his prayer a bulwark to our souls.ܕܘܽܟܪܳܢܶܗ ܕܬܐܘܽܡܰܐ. ܢܶܗܘܶܐ ܠܒܘܽܪ̈ܟܳܬܳܐ. ܘܰܨܠܘܽܬܶܗ ܬܶܗܘܶܐ. ܫܘܽܪܳܐ ܠܢܰܦ̈ܫܳܬܰܢ܀
The Apostle Thomas was sent to the land of India, and Christ, his Shepherd, comforted him as a human being,ܠܰܐܬܪܳܐ ܕܗܶܢܕܘܽ ܐܶܫܬܰܕܰܪ ܗ̱ܘܳܐ ܬܐܘܽܡܰܐ ܫܠܺܝܚܳܐ. ܘܰܐܝ̱ܟ ܒܰܪ ܓܶܢܣܳܐ ܡܒܰܝܰܐ ܗ̱ܘܳܐ ܠܶܗ ܡܫܺܝܚܳܐ ܪܳܥܝܶܗ܀
“I exalted that one [i.e., Joseph] after he interpreted the dream to the king [i.e., Pharaoh] (see Gn 41). However, I will exalt you, chosen one, after your death.”ܠܗܰܘ ܐܰܘܪܶܒܬܶܗ ܒܳܬܰܪ ܕܦܰܫܰܪ ܚܳܠܡܳܐ ܠܡܰܠܟܳܐ. ܠܳܟ ܕܶܝܢ ܓܰܒܝܳܐ ܡܰܘܪܶܒ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܠܳܟ ܒܳܬܰܪ ܡܰܘܬܳܟ܀
He also said to him, “What is it with you, Thomas? Why are you sad? [Is it] because you would not succeed [in fulfilling] your promises although they are true?”ܬܘܽܒ ܐܶܡܰܪ ܠܶܗ ܕܡܳܐ ܠܳܟ ܬܐܘܽܡܰܐ ܘܡܘܽܢ ܟܰܪܝܳܐ ܠܳܟ.ܕܰܠܫ̈ܘܽܕܳܝܰܝܟ ܠܳܐ ܟܳܫܰܪ ܐܰܢ̱ܬ ܟܰܕ ܫܰܪܺܝܪܺܝܢ܀
Glory be to the Father, who chose the feeble one to proclaim the Gospel, and adoration to the Son [lacuna] by the touch of His hands and side. (Jn 20, 27)ܫܘܽܒܚܳܐ ܠܰܐܒܳܐ ܕܰܓܒܳܐ ܠܫܰܦܠܳܐ[?] ܕܢܰܟܪܶܙ ܣܒܰܪܬܳܐ. ܘܣܶܓܕܬܳܐ ܠܰܒܪܳܐ … ܒܓܶܫܬܳܐ ܕܺܐܝ̈ܕܰܘܗ̱ܝ ܘܣܶܛܪܶܗ܀

Balai of Qenneshrin – Be Compassionate to Others

My brothers, do not be deprived of mercy like the rich man who did not have pity on another human being.ܐܰܚܰܝ̈ ܠܳܐ ܬܶܗܘܘܽܢ.ܓܠܺܝ̈ܙܶܐ ܡܶܢ ܪ̈ܰܚܡܶܐ. ܐܰܝ̱ܟ ܗܰܘ ܥܰܬܝܪܳܐ. ܕܠܳܐ ܚܰܢ ܠܒܰܪ ܒܶܣܪܶܗ܀
The poor man had been lying at this [rich man’s] door. Since he did not have pity on [the poor man], [the rich man] inherited Gehenna. (See Lk 16:19-31)ܡܶܣܟܺܢܳܐ ܪܳܡܶܐ ܗ̱ܘܳܐ. ܥܰܠ ܬܰܪܥܶܗ ܕܗܳܢܳܐ. ܘܥܰܠ ܕܠܳܐ ܚܰܢܶܗ ܗ̱ܘܳܐ. ܝܺܪܶܬ ܓܺܝܗܰܢܳܐ܀

Balai of Qenneshrin – Jesus Calming of the Storm at Sea

The Son of the Supreme Being, Whom the types of every seer [prophet?] depicted, slept on a boat and completed the types of Jonah the master.ܒܪܳܐ ܕܺܐܝܬܘܽܬܳܐ ܕܨܳܪܘ ܗ̱ܘܰܘ ܛܘܽܦ̈ܣܶܐ ܕܟܽܠ ܚ̈ܰܙܳܝܶܐ. ܕܡܶܟ ܒܰܣܦܺܝܢ̱ܬܳܐ ܘܚܰܬܶܡ ܛܘܽܦ̈ܣܶܐ ܕܪܰܒܳܐ ܝܰܘܢܳܢ܀
The disciples approached to wake up the One Who does not sleep, “Our Master, our Master, wake up, help us, for, behold, we are perishing!” (See Mt 8:23-27; Mk 4:35-41; Lk 8:22-25)ܩܪܶܒܘ ܬܰܠܡܺܝ̈ܕܶܐ ܕܰܢܥܺܝܪܘܽܢܳܝܗ̱ܝ ܠܗܰܘ ܕܠܳܐ ܕܡܳܟܳܐ. ܪܰܒܰܢ ܪܰܒܰܢ ܩܘܽܡ ܥܰܕܰܪܰܝܢ ܕܗܳܐ ܐܳܒܕܺܝܢܰܢ܀
The men in the boat witnessed a miracle and began to say, “Who is this One Whom sea and wind obey?“ܚܙܰܘ ܬܶܕܡܘܽܪܬܳܐ ܐ̱ܢ̈ܳܫܳܐ ܕܒܶܐܠܦܳܐ ܘܫܰܪܺܝܘ ܐܳܡܪܺܝܢ. ܕܡܰܢܘܽ ܗܳܢܳܐ ܕܝܰܡܳܐ ܘܪܘܽܚܳܐ ܡܶܫܬܰܡܥܺܝܢ ܠܶܗ܀
Glory be to the Father, Who sent His Son to earthly beings, and adoration to the Son, Who, as a human being, slept on a boat.ܫܘܽܒܚܳܐ ܠܰܐܒܳܐ ܕܫܰܕܰܪ ܠܰܒܪܶܗ ܨܶܝܕ ܬܰܚ̈ܬܳܝܶܐ. ܘܣܶܓܕܬܳܐ ܠܰܒܪܳܐ ܕܰܐܝ̱ܟ ܒܰܪܢܳܫܳܐ ܕܡܶܟ ܒܰܣܦܺܝܢ̱ܬܳܐ܀

Balai of Qenneshrin – Mary and the Martyrs, our Helpers with Prayers

Mother of our Lord, we put our trust in you truly, since Your majestic Son listens to you kindly.ܐܶܡܶܗ ܕܡܳܪܰܢ ܥܠܰܝܟܝ ܗ̱ܘܽ ܣܰܒܪܰܢ ܫܰܪܺܝܪܳܐܺܝܬ. ܕܫܳܡܰܥ ܗ̱ܘܽ ܠܶܟܝ ܝܰܠܕܶܟܝ ܦܰܐܝܳܐ ܒܰܣܺܝܡܳܐܺܝܬ܀
Help us fervently with prayer, martyrs (literally confessors), and expel the Evil One, since, behold, he constantly harms us.ܩܘܽܡܘ ܒܰܨܠܘܽܬܳܐ ܣܳܗ̈ܕܶܐ ܥܰܡܰܢ ܓܰܢ̱ܒܳܪܳܐܺܝܬ. ܘܰܛܪܘܽܕ ܠܒܺܝܫܳܐ ܕܗܳܐ ܡܰܐܟܶܐ ܠܰܢ ܐܰܡܺܝܢܳܐܺܝܬ܀
Call the departed and raise them by way of command, Son of God, since You are truly the Resurrection.ܩܪܺܝ ܠܥܰܢܺܝ̈ܕܶܐ ܘܰܐܩܺܝܡ ܐܶܢܘܽܢ ܦܳܩܘܽܕܐܺܝܬ. ܒܰܪ ܐܰܠܳܗܳܐ ܕܢܘܽܚܳܡܳܐ ܐܰܢ̱ܬ ܫܰܪܺܝܪܳܐܺܝܬ܀
To You be glory on the day of Your mother’s memorial unceasingly (lit. without repletion), Son of God, Who athletically strengthened His martyrs (lit. confessors).ܠܳܟ ܬܶܫܒܘܽܚܬܳܐ ܒܕܘܽܟܪܳܢ ܐܶܡܳܟ ܠܳܐ ܣܰܒܥܳܐܺܝܬ. ܒܰܪ ܐܰܠܳܗܳܐ ܕܚܰܝܶܠ ܣܳܗ̈ܕܰܘܗ̱ܝ ܐܰܬܠܺܝܛܳܐܺܝܬ܀

Balai of Qenneshrin – On Mary and the Departed

O blessed [Mary], come [and] be the protection of our weakness that we may live in grace with you through your prayers.ܐܳܘ ܡܝܰܩܰܪܬܳܐ ܬܳܝ ܩܘܽܡܝ ܒܰܐܦܶܝ̈ܗ݀ ܕܰܡܚܺܝܠܘܽܬܰܢ. ܘܰܒܛܰܝܒܘܽܬܳܐ ܢܺܐܚܶܐ ܥܰܡܶܟܝ ܒܰܨ̈ܠܰܘܳܬܶܟܝ܀
O holy ones, be our companions, [lacuna] mercy. Persevere in prayer and righteousness before God.ܐܳܘ ܩܰܕܺܝ̈ܫܶܐ ܗܘܰܘ ܠܰܢ ܚܰܒܪ̈ܶܐ … ܪܰܚ̈ܡܶܐ. ܩܘܽܡܘ ܒܰܨܠܘܽܬܳܐ ܘܰܒܟܺܐܢܘܽܬܳܐ ܩܕܳܡ ܐܰܠܳܗܳܐ܀
O departed, tomb-dwellers, be comforted. The Good News is upon you, since, behold, Resurrection is standing at the door.ܐܳܘ ܥܰܢܺܝ̈ܕܶܐ ܥܳܡܪ̈ܰܝ ܩܰܒܪ̈ܶܐ ܩܢܰܘ ܒܘܽܝܳܐܳܐ. ܣܒܰܪܬܳܐ ܥܠܰܝܟܘܽܢ ܕܗܳܐ ܢܘܽܚܳܡܐ ܒܬܰܪܥܳܐ ܩܳܐܶܡ܀
Glory be to the Father, Who chose Mary among all generations, and worship be to the Son, Whose hidden power dwells in the holy ones.ܫܘܽܒܚܳܐ ܠܰܐܒܳܐ ܕܰܓܒܳܗ݀ ܠܡܰܪܝܰܡ ܡܶܢ ܟܽܠ ܫܰܪ̈ܒܳܢ. ܘܣܶܓܕܬܳܐ ܠܰܒܪܳܐ ܕܚܰܝܠܶܗ ܟܰܣܝܳܐ ܫܪܶܐ ܒܩܰܕܺܝ̈ܫܶܐ܀

Balai of Qenneshrin – Another Hymn on Fasting

O You who fast, since you have distinctly pleased God, behold, the table of the kingdom is set before you.ܐܳܘ ܨܰܝ̈ܳܡܶܐ ܕܦܳܪܘܽܫܳܐܺܝܬ ܫܦܰܪܘ ܠܰܐܠܳܗܳܐ. ܗܳܐ ܦܳܬܘܽܪܳܐ ܕܒܶܝܬ ܡܰܠܟܘܽܬܳܐ ܣܺܝܡ ܩܘܽܕܡܰܝܟܘܽܢ܀
The one who has always loved fasting and has [always] rejoiced in it, their lives are joined to God and they delight in Him.ܐܰܝܢܳܐ ܕܰܐܚܒܶܗ ܠܨܰܘܡܳܐ ܟܽܠܙܒܰܢ ܘܶܐܬܓܰܐܺܝ ܒܶܗ. ܒܶܗ ܒܰܐܠܳܗܳܐ ܐܳܣܪܺܝܢ ܚܰܝ̈ܰܘܗ̱ܝ ܐܳܦ ܡܶܬܒܰܣܰܡ܀
The one who sustains their daily fast with God, the temporal hunger will not squash them, for God is their sustenance.ܐܰܝܢܳܐ ܕܰܣܡܺܝܟ ܥܰܠ ܐܰܠܳܗܳܐ ܒܨܰܘܡܶܗ ܟܽܠܝܘܽܡ. ܠܳܐ ܫܳܚܶܩ ܠܶܗ ܟܰܦܢܳܐ ܕܙܰܒܢܳܐ ܕܗܘܽܝܘܽ ܚܰܝ̈ܰܘܗ̱ܝ܀
May the Church worship the Father Who crowned her with the crown of fasting and her children give thanks unto the Son, who fasted for our sake.ܬܶܣܓܘܽܕ ܥܺܕ̱ܬܳܐ ܠܰܐܒܳܐ ܕܟܰܠܠܳܗ݀ ܒܰܟܠܺܝܠ ܨܰܘܡܳܐ. ܘܢܰܘܕܘܽܢ ܝ̈ܰܠܕܶܝܗ݀ ܠܰܒܪܳܐ ܕܨܳܡ ܗ̱ܘܳܐ ܡܶܛܽܠܳܬܰܢ܀

Types and Symbols of the Church According to Jacob of Sarug


By Armando Elkhoury

Known as the Flute of the Holy Spirit and the Harp of the Church, Jacob of Sarug (ca. A.D. 451 – 521) was among the Syriac Church Fathers such as Aphrahat (ca. A.D. 270 – ca. 345) and Ephrem (ca. A.D. 306 – 373) who interpreted and explained the Holy Scriptures using symbols and types. This prolific writer certainly possessed a great talent in searching them out throughout the Old Testament and in employing them in his mimre (verse homilies) to share the abounding riches he discovered in Scriptures, to propound his faith in Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son of the living God, and to call others to this faith.

The entire Scriptures are, for Jacob, an abundant source of immeasurable spiritual riches, treasures, and valuable pearls. He found the Old Testament to be the typological path of the Son of God and the path already paved leading to Him for each page and each line announces the coming of Christ. The mysteries of the Son inundate it and shine brighter than any luminary traversing the skies. The Holy Scriptures and the Son of God are so intertwined, that Jacob likens the Scriptures to body parts whose soul is the Son Himself. For this reason, the Church cherishes and venerates them. Types and symbols are the best vehicle that could have been exploited to bequeath uninterruptedly the promise of the coming of Christ, and each of them represents in a specific way the Christ. According to Jacob,

The whole Testament is veiled after the fashion of Moses:
in him all prophetic books are depicted;
within the veil which lies over the Scriptures
there sits resplendent Christ as judge. (trans. Brock, Sebastian)

These types and symbols, which Jacob tirelessly fished out of the Old Testament based on people, events and prophecies, foretell not only the coming of Jesus Christ but would also prefigure His Church, which is inseparable from Him. In fact, the symbols of the Son do not proceed without the Church. Along the glowing beauty of the Son of God, the definition of all that is beautiful shone also forth the beauty and brilliance of His Church in the book of the Father. Moses, the great prophet and the spring of prophecy, who spoke with God and buried in his book all treasures, riches, fortunes and valuable pearls, beheld, with the exalted Eye of Prophecy, Christ, and His Bride, the Church. Jacob of Sarug did not just rely on his knowledge of scriptures to speak of the Church but petitioned God to infuse into him her mysteries as well.

Scouring the available literature on the subject of the theology of the Church as expressed by Jacob of Sarug leaves the researcher wanting. Since western scholars took notice of him, they have studied and published on his writings. However, the notions of the Church as explicated in his œuvres have been left virtually unexamined. Tanios Bou Mansour published a two-volume book that dealt overarchingly with Jacob’s theology. He systematized Jacob’s theological comprehension of creation, anthropology, ecclesiology, and sacraments (volume I), schematized his insights into Christology, Trinity and eschatology and, lastly, he provided Jacob’s exegetical and theological methods (volume II). The one chapter that Bou Mansour dedicated on the subject of the Church is the most extensive study currently available on the topic. Apart from Bou Mansour’s treatment of the subject at hand, the seeker can also avail themselves to the few scholarly publications like Susan Ashbrook Harvey’s paper on biblical women as images of Church in Jacob of Sarug. Nevertheless, she expounds one aspect of his rich ecclesiological imageries.

Other scholars have written on the Syriac Fathers’ views on the Church and her nature, albeit in the wider realm of the Syriac world. They amassed Syriac works belonging to different authors to extract and summarize a global Syriac worldview on the notions of the Church. As valid as this method may be, it does not allow for a deep access to an individual Syriac author’s thoughts. Both Hieronymus Endberding and François Graffin explored the theme of the Church as Bride in Syriac Liturgies and writings. While the former concentrated his efforts on that which could be found in the liturgy of the Church of the East, the latter had recourse to the Chaldean and Syriac breviaries and the homilies of Jacob of Sarug. Graffin, like Harvey, dealt with one ecclesiological theme found in Jacob’s mimre, i.e., Church as Bride. Robert Murray employed the same approach as Hieronymus and Graffin in his book, Symbols of Church and Kingdom – a reference book for those interested in Syriac symbols and types. Jacob of Sarug, however, does not fall within the time span of the Syriac literature that Murray surveyed. He did not, therefore, avail himself to Jacob’s writings. Wilhelm De Vries also disregarded largely Jacob’s works, albeit for reasons other than Murray’s. His research interest lied in the time span that witnessed the divisions of the Church, mainly, after the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451) and, specifically, in Syriac authors who rejected it. Although Jacob of Sarug belongs to this time period, De Vries rarely quoted him for he did not count him as one of the non-Chalcedonian Syriac theologians since De Vries accepted Paul Peeter’s strong arguments which placed Jacob in the Chalcedonian camp.

Therefore, the objective of this doctoral dissertation (Director: Prof. Dr. Peter Bruns at the Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt in Eichstätt, Bavaria, Germany), aptly entitled Types and Symbols of the Church According to Jacob of Sarug, is to elucidate the typological approach that Jacob employed in his many mimre to explain his theological understanding of the Church.

Jacob the poet and biblical interpreter was no systematic theologian. Although his writings follow a certain order that fulfilled the purpose for which he tirelessly composed them, he did not arrange them following specific dogmatic themes, e.g., Christology, ecclesiology. Consequently, the student of Jacob has to ferret out the rich nuggets scattered throughout his impressive corpus and be satisfied with that which they could find knowing in advance that finding all of them could be a lifelong pursuit. Accordingly, the findings presented herein are in no way exhaustive but should provide the reader an ample overview of Jacob’s typological concepts of the Church.