The Eucharistic Prayer of Addai and Mari

The Eucharistic Prayer of Addai and Mari

The Eucharistic Prayer of Addai and Mari

The Eucharistic Prayer of Addai and Mari


The Eucharistic Prayer is the most central and distinctive form of Christian public prayer apart from the Lord's Prayer itself. It gradually evolved into fixed forms during the early Christian centuries, and the Eucharistic Prayer of Addai and Mari is almost certainly the oldest such prayer still in use. Gelston's study presents a critical edition of the medieval Syriac text of this ancient Eucharistic prayer. Accompanied by a critical apparatus and a translation, the book addresses such literary, critical, and historical questions as the parallels with the Maronite anaphora Sharar, and provides an opportunity to detect possible later accretions and modifications. A reconstruction of the Prayer as it may have been at the beginning of the fifth century is offered in an appendix.


The original form of the Anaphora of the Apostles has been the object of great speculation, and justly so. It is clearly one of the most ancient eucharistic prayers still in use today; it was, or at least became, the principal anaphora of those Syriac-using churches that were least influenced by the Hellenistic culture of the Roman Empire; and it can be considered a representative expression of the Judeo-Christianity of the early centuries of the Christian era. the time and place of its first composition are shrouded in the mists of time.

(W. F. Macomber, 1982)

Sparsity of evidence is a soil in which speculation can easily become rampant. the most serious obstacle confronting the modern student of this ancient Eucharistic Prayer is the lack as yet of any ms text earlier than the tenth century. On the other hand, the evident relationship between much of this anaphora and the Maronite anaphora commonly known (from its opening word) as Sharar, which has been recognized since Rahmani (1899) and Baumstark (1904), opens up the possibility of a critical examination of this relationship which can take us some way in our quest for the original form of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari.

The time is clearly not ripe to attempt a definitive study of this anaphora from the point of view of either textual or literary criticism. It has been thought useful, however, as a contribution to the continuing debate, to attempt to prepare a working critical text, on eclectic principles, of the medieval anaphora of the oldest extant mss. Macomber (1966) put all students in his debt by publishing 'the oldest known text of the Anaphora of the Apostles Addai and Mari' viz. that contained in the Ḥudra belonging to the Church of Mar Esh'aya in Mosul. Together with this text he published a list of fifty-two other known mss, a critical apparatus recording their readings where they differ from the Mar Esh'aya text, and notes on . . .

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