Tuesday, July 19, 2011

More Clear Signs of 'Egyptian Influence' on the Jerusalem Liturgy

In CH [Cyril of Jerusalem's Catechetical Instructions] 19, the candidates are anointed immediately upon leaving the font, while still naked: Then he comes up from the water. The presbyter takes the oil of thanksgiving and signs his forehead, his mouth and his breast, and anoints all his body, his head and his face, saying, 'I anoint you in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit'. And he wipes him with a cloth which he keeps for him.

This oil, earlier also referred to as the 'oil of anointing', was blessed by the bishop before the renunciation at the same time as the oil of exorcism and the baptismal water. At that point we are told that it was given to a presbyter by the bishop and that this presbyter stood on the right of the bishop; here however it says that the presbyter 'takes the oil of thanksgiving', which would only be appropriate if the number of ministers stipulated was not available. We have remarked already that the bishop takes no active part in this rite after consecrating the elements, and here again he delegates both the action and the formula.

Bradshaw commented that the list of locations which receive the oil show 'some similarity to the practice described by Cyril of Jerusalem' [sic MC] and that this might corroborate Cuming's suggestion of Egyptian influence upon the Jerusalem liturgy [Juliette Day, the Baptismal Liturgy of Jerusalem p. 116, 117]

An alternative attempt to explain the liturgical relationship between Jerusalem and her neighbours was proposed by Geoffrey Cuming in his analysis of the anaphora of MC [Mystagogic Catecheses] 5, where he asserted that, 'the Jerusalem rite, though showing clear signs of Syrian influence, is basically akin rather to the Egyptian Liturgv of St. Mark'. Cuming assessed the structure of the anaphora which lies behind MC to propose from the position of the diptychs and the epiclesis that it followed an Egyptian pattern. Further, he noted the linguistic parallels in the text of the pre-sanctus and the institution narrative between MC, Ser. 1 and Deir-Balyzeh, which are not shared by MC, Chrysostom and AC 1. He concluded that the origins of the Jerusalem eucharist lay in Egypt and then very briefly turned his attention to the baptismal rite. Having noted a similarity in the baptismal formula and the post-immersion anointing, he concluded that 'the affinities of the Jerusalem baptismal rite lie with Egypt and Africa rather than Syria' and that

At the beginning of the fourth century Egypt and Jerusalem were using essentially the same rite, which differed from that in use in Antioch.

During the course of the century innovations in theology and structure appear at Jerusalem which are also found at Antioch in the closing years of the century. [ibid p. 34]

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