Church and Liturgy
Tuesday, March 11, 2008 -
Church and Liturgy
A church may be defined as the body of true believers in Christ. The word for church in Syriac is ‘Eeto’, which means ‘A feast place, an assembly.’ The church is the heavenly Kingdom on earth. The church is described as the kingdom of God, the bride of Christ, the people of God, the body of Christ, etc. The church unites people from different nations in Christ to be a unity in Godhead.
The Syriac Orthodox Church was established in 37 AD by St. Peter the Apostle in Antioch. He was the first bishop until 67 AD, and was succeeded by St. Evodius. It is important to note that it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians (Acts 11:26). The forms of worship, the liturgy, the Syriac language, the vestments of the celebrants, and their holy names proclaim the Antiochian origin of the church.
Our Lord and His disciples spoke in the Aramaic language, of which many churches celebrate the weekly Divine Liturgy. Liturgy is a symbolic action which affirms our faith. Faith manifests itself through liturgical gestures. The Church depends not only on the Holy Bible but also its doctrines, traditions, and teachings. All important themes –the Holy Trinity, the incarnation, the redemption, the ever-virgin Theotokos (Yoldath Aloho, God-bearer), and the holy mysteries are all associated with faith and a wealth of theological teachings.
Through the Liturgy we pronounce our devotion to the Living God and to the Holy Trinity-The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. In the Holy Trinity, prayers of adoration, praise, thanksgiving, love and petition are addressed. There is also adoration addressed to the Virgin Mary, Holy Angels, and Saints to be our intersession (which includes Old Testament prophets, Apostles, martyrs, and patriarchs)