Archive for May, 2015

The Hymn of Praise of Mar Babai the Great

May 11, 2015
This hymn of praise that is sung during the seasons of the Annunciation and the Nativity {the form on this page is for “the day of His birth”}, was written by Mar Babai the Great.  In this hymn, the Christology of the Church is plainly expressed in a manner that cannot be accused of any unorthodox language.  As the Church believes, so it also prays singing.
The Hymn of Praise of Mar Babai the Great
Blessed is the Merciful One who, in his grace,
   has provided for our lives through prophecy.
Isaiah saw with a spiritual eye the amazing child of virginity.
For Mary gave birth to Emanuel, the Son of God, without copulation.
From her the Holy Spirit fashioned the united body, as it is written,
to become a dwelling and an adorable temple
   for the Radiance of the Father in one Sonship,
and from the beginning of his incredible conception,
   unite it to himself in one adoration,
that everything that is His will be fulfilled in it
   for the salvation of the people,
   as is fitting for him.
The angels glorify him on the day of his birth,
   with their praises in the heights above.
The earthly also offer adoration with their offerings in one honor.
Christ is one – the Son of God, more honored than all, in two natures.
In his Divinity he was born of the Father,
   without beginning and above time.
In his humanity he was born of Mary, in the latter times with a united flesh.
Neither is his Divinity from the nature of the mother,
   nor his humanity from the Nature of the Father
The natures are protected in their qnome, in one Person of one Sonship.
And wherever there is divinity, there are three Qnome and one Existence.
Thus is the Sonship of the Son: in two natures, one Person.
Thus has the holy Church learned of the faith of the Son who is the Messiah.
We adore you, O Lord, in your Divinity
   and in your humanity which are without division.
Mar Babai the Great was a saint and teacher of our Chaldean Church at the turn of the 7th century.  In his works, he clearly defines the terminology of the Church of the East in Trinitarian as well as christological contexts.  This was an important undertaking in the context of the great christological controversies that had been at the center of the Western world since the 5th century and which had spilled over into the realm of the Persian Church.
Much scholarship and dialogue has taken place in the last half a century to defend the christology of the Church of the East fathers {refer to the Pro-Oriente unofficial dialogues among the Syriac Churches for the latest scholars from the respective Chaldean, Maronite, Syriac, Assyrian and other Churches}.   For a better understanding of the terminology, refer to Fr. Andrew Younan’s lecture.

 

The Symbol of Faith – The Creed

May 4, 2015
The Creed is called “The Symbol of Faith of the Three Hundred and Eighteen Bishops” by the Chaldean Church.  By the 5th century, persecution of the Church of the East had subsided, and its isolation from its Western brethren within the Roman Empire was ended.  The Western bishop, Mar Maruta, the bishop of Maypherkat {in Modern Turkey}, had managed to gain access to our Church fathers through the Persian King Yazdegerd.  In 410 AD, Mar Isaac {Mar `Ishak}, the cathalicos in Seleucia-Ctesiphon was able to convene the first official council in which Mar Maruta presented “The Symbol,” which was accepted along with sweeping reforms, standardization, and the canons of the Church.
The Mesopotamian Church had until then used various creed formulations, but now would use the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed formulation.  Interesting enough, the Creed as recorded and recited in the Synod records did not match what was in the Roman Empire after the councils of Nicea, 325 AD, and Constantinople, 381 AD.  The Creed also evolved to take on more uniformity with the West by the 6th Century {cf Synod of Mar Isho Yahb I}.  An person familiar with the Creed in the West will realize a few points of difference in the currently recited form.

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