Click for a printable PDF file of this lesson.

Faith of the Mountain

The Catholic Catechism
for the Maronite Church

Cedars in aShouf Lebanon

Where Two or Three Are Gathered

The Eleven Apostles Meet to Select a Successor to Judas from the Rabbula Gospels

Final blessing at the Divine Liturgy

Bishops and priests giving the final blessing at the Divine Liturgy

A Hymn from the Maronite Liturgy

By the cross priests are ordained
for the Church of Jesus Christ.
By the cross they have the power
to give us the Mysteries.
By the cross we are baptized
and are cleansed of all our sins.
By the cross the oils are blessed,
that we may be sanctified.

(From the Entrance Hymn for Mondays of the Season of the Glorious Cross, Book of Offering)

What do you think?

When do the people make the Sign of the Cross during the Divine Liturgy?

When does the bishop or priest make the sign of the cross during the Divine Liturgy?

The anointing of the deacon's hands in an ordination to the priesthood

The bishop makes the Sign of the Cross with chrism on the hands of the deacon when he ordains him to be a priest.

A Reading from the First Letter of St Paul to Timothy

From the Scripture reading that is sometimes used for Safro* for Tuesday after the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

A Reading from the First Letter of the Apostle Paul to Timothy.
I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For
“there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human,who gave himself a ransom for all...”
I desire, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument; also that the women should dress themselves modestly and decently in suitable clothing, not with their hair braided, or with gold, pearls, or expensive clothes, but with good works, as is proper for women who profess reverence for God.(1 Timothy 2:1-10)

*Safro is from the Syriac word for “morning”. It is the name of the Maronite morning prayer for the Liturgy of the Hours.

What do you think?

When you read these instructions from Paul, what parts of our Divine Liturgy do you recognize?

Thinking about what Paul wrote to Timothy, what do you think our purpose should be in coming to church for the Divine Liturgy?

How do you think we can best prepare ourselves for attending the Divine Liturgy?

The Cross and the Eucharist

A page from an old, bilingual Syriac-Garshuni manuscript of the Book of Offering

This is a reproduction of the first page of the Anaphora of the Twelve Apostles as found in a manuscript in the Patriarchal Archives in Bkerke, Lebanon. The text is written in Syriac in the right-hand column and Garshuni in the left-hand column. Garshuni is Arabic written in Syriac characters.

The black writing along the upright edges of the Cross painted on this manuscript page are the words of an ancient Syriac prayer to the Cross. Translated it says,

“Through you we wound our enemies† and by your name we crush those who hate us.”

In red writing along the diagonal lines around the Cross a prayer very similar to one we use in the Divine Liturgy is written in Garshuni, Arabic written in Syriac characters. Translated it says,

“Your Cross, O Lord, we worship, and we profess your Resurrection, and we wait for your Second Coming!”

†The Syriac word for “enemy” is “b3eldbobo,” which is related to the source of the English word “Beelzebub,” a name for the devil. This prayer is not against people we dislike or who oppose us; God tells us to love these people and pray for them. This prayer is against the devil and the demons who would destroy our souls.

The Rite of Preparation

Before the candles are lit and the Entrance Hymn is sung, our Divine Liturgy begins. The bread and wine that will be offered at the altar are set on a side table with two lighted candles and the celebrant, or someone he appoints to do this, says three short prayers.

When placing the Host on the paten, this prayer is said.

Like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth.

This is a verse from Isaiah prophesying Christ’s obedience and self-sacrifice (Isaiah 53:7).

When mixing the water and the wine in the chalice, this prayer is said.

I pour wine into this chalice and mix it with water as a symbol of the blood and water that flowed from the side of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross.

When covering the chalice and paten, this prayer is said.

His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. To him be glory forever.
Image of a lamb over which is written Isaiah 53:7

From Saint Maron’s Parish Church in Cleveland, Ohio; The Syriac text written in an arc over the lamb is Isaiah 53:7.

What do you think?

How would you describe the importance of the Cross in the Divine Liturgy of the Maronite Church?

A Prayer from the Maronite Liturgy

This is from the Sedro, the main prayer from the Prayer of Forgiveness or Husoyo, for Saturdays in the Season of the Glorious Cross.

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
O Christ, you are the Good Shepherd, who marked your flock with the sign of your cross. You are the Lamb of God, and while on the cross you called and gathered to yourself those who had been scattered like sheep without a shepherd, in the midst of non-believers and idolaters, and you received them in Baptism, cleansing them with pure water. You are our High Priest, who broke your body to feed us and gave us your life-giving blood to wash away our faults and forgive our sins. Count us among your chosen ones, that we may glorify you, your Father, and your Holy Spirit, forever. Amen.
The Elevation of the Chalice

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

The reference below each statement links to the official English translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the Web site of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

  • The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Divine Liturgy unites us to God and to each other in Christ’s sacrifice on the Holy Cross.
    CCC #1323; CCC#1362-1367; and CCC#1382-1383
  • In the Divine Liturgy we unite ourselves with Christ and with the whole Church in praising God, praying for the needs of the Church and the world, and celebrating the Mystery of Redemption in the Eucharist.
    CCC #1348-1355; CCC#1359-1361; CCC #1367-1369; and CCC#1373
  • We must prepare ourselves to receive Christ in the Eucharist with reverence and humility. This includes our attitude, our actions, our appearance, and our attention.
    CCC #1384-1390, especially CCC #1386-1387

  • © 2020, Saint Maron Publications,
    the publishing house of the Eparchies
    of the Antiochene Syriac Maronite Catholic Church
    in the United States of America.