The Syriac Christianity Portal
Syriac or Syrian Christianity (Syriac: ܡܫܝܚܝܘܬܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܬܐ, mšiḥāiūṯā suryāiṯā), the Syriac-speaking Christians of Mesopotamia, comprises multiple Christian traditions of Eastern Christianity. With a history going back to the 1st Century AD, in modern times it is represented by denominations primarily in the Middle East and in Kerala, India. Christianity began in the middle east in Israel among Aramaic speaking Semitic peoples. It quickly spread to Sassanid-ruled Mesopotamia & Assyria, Roman-ruled Syria (ancient Aramea), Phoenicia, India, and Egypt. From there it spread to Asia Minor, Greece, Armenia, Georgia and the Caucasus region.
Services in this tradition tend to feature liturgical use of ancient Syriac, a dialect of Middle Aramaic that is of direct relation to the Aramaic of Jesus.
Syriac Christianity is divided into two major traditions: Eastern Rite, historically centered in Assyria/Mesopotamia, and West Syrian, centered in Antioch. The Eastern Rite tradition was historically associated with the Church of the East, and is currently employed by the Middle Eastern churches that descend from it, the Assyrian Church of the East, Ancient Church of the East, and the Chaldean Catholic Church, (the members of these churches usually consider themselves to be ethnic Assyrians) as well as by the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church of India. The West Syrian tradition is used by the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Maronite Church, the Syriac Catholic Church, and churches that descend from them, as well as by the Malankara churches of the Saint Thomas Christian tradition in India.
The West Syrian Rite, also known as the Syrian Rite or the Syro-Antiochene Rite, is a Christian liturgical rite chiefly practiced in the Syriac Orthodox Church and churches related to or descended from it. It is part of the liturgical family known as the Antiochene Rite, which originated in the ancient Patriarchate of Antioch. The rite was largely an adaptation of the old Greek liturgy of Antioch into Syriac, the language more common in the Syrian countryside. Into this framework a great number of other anaphoras have been adapted, so that the West Syrian Rite has more variant forms than any other.
The rite is practiced in the Syriac Orthodox Church, an Oriental Orthodox body; the Syriac Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic Church in full communion with the Holy See; and to a great extent in the Maronite Church, another Eastern Catholic body. A regional variant, the Malankara Rite, developed in the Malankara Church of India, and is still practiced in its descendant churches.
[[File:|center|250px|Isaac_the_Syrian, a Russian icon.]]
Isaac_the_Syrian, a Russian icon.
Saint Maroun was a 5th century Syriac Christian monk who after his death was followed by a religious movement that became known as the Maronites. The Church that grew from this movement is the Maronite Church. St. Maroun was known for his missionary work, healing and miracles, and teachings of a monastic devotion to God. He was a priest that later became a hermit. His holiness and miracles attracted many followers and drew attention throughout the empire.
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