On the Great Friday of the Crucifixion, the Maronite Church commemorates the death of the Son of God on the cross by celebrating the rite of the Adoration of the Cross. When one, however, closely looks at what the Church actually proclaims, one surprisingly discovers a fascinating and profound theological notion and a powerful biblical expression of salvation that one does not typically associate with a crucifixion: a wedding celebration. The objective of this article is to show that the Maronite Church announces that on the cross, Christ betrothed the Church. He is the Bridegroom, and she his Bride: his crucifixion is his wedding celebration to the Church.
This nuptial understanding of the crucifixion is common to all the Syriac Churches, and it is based on the writings of the Syriac Church Fathers, like Jacob of Sarug, who, in turn, inherited it from Scriptures. In this short presentation, we will limit our exploration of this theological interpretation of the historical event of the crucifixion only to certain scriptural passages and the current English edition of the Qurbono, or the Book of Offering According to the Rite of the Antiochene Syriac Maronite Church (2012)—henceforth, BO. Hence, it is advisable to have a Bible and the Book of Offering at hand when reading these few lines. As we will see, the liturgical text explicitly portrays salvation as a wedding celebration between Christ and the Church occurring on the cross.Continue reading