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Author Topic: Syriac Orthodoxy - Husoyo Prayers: Proemion, Sedro, Qolo, etc.  (Read 2945 times) Average Rating: 0
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john.a
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« on: July 04, 2013, 12:44:30 PM »

Hello! I'm doing an in-depth analysis on the origins and histories of the various liturgies and rites in Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy. I'm currently going through the Divine Liturgy of St. James of the Syriac Orthodox Church. To help me understand things in more detail, I'm watching a Youtube video while reading the structure and prayers of the Liturgy:

Youtube video: http://youtu.be/XTvhwILOLoA
Liturgy order: http://sor.cua.edu/Liturgy/Anaphora/

I was hoping some people could clarify some questions that I had:

1) At various points in the liturgy, the text indicates that there will be a Husoyo prayer which seems to be composed of a Proemion and a Sedro and sometimes a Qolo, Etro, Eqbo and Huthomo. What do all these words mean and what are their functions? I think I have a general idea but sometimes each of these words never appear alone and have to appear with the others, like a Proemion and a Sedro, while others can appear alone in the text without any of the others, like an Etro or a Huthomo.  Also, are they silent prayers or loud prayers?

2) During the video, however, they don't always talk about or show the praying of these Husoyo Prayers where the text indicates. They only show and talk about the Husoyo prayers that happen after the readings. What's going on here? I know sometimes in other liturgies that a litany or a hymn will be chanted by the deacon and congregation while the priest is performing rites and saying special quiet or silent prayers at the altar so am I supposed to think that the Husoyo prayer is being prayed by the congregation and the deacons outside of the veiled sanctuary while the priest is inside the veiled sanctuary doing the prothesis/preparation of the gifts, vesting, etc.?

3) The text says that the priest chants the beginning of the Husoyo but who says the rest of these prayers, the proemion, the sedro, etc.? Is it the priest or the deacon?

4) If you look at the left-hand side of the page and click "Supplications", you get to a page filled with Husoyo prayers. When are these supposed to be said? In between the Kiss of Peace and the Anaphora? Are they just replacements of the Husoyo prayers under "Public Celebration" and it depends on the feast or on the liturgical calendar?

5) Can anyone point me to more resources, on-line or off-line, that can shed some light on the origins and history of these prayers? Preferably something in-depth and scholarly that talks about the primary resources and manuscripts in which we can detect the forerunners of these prayers or when they first appeared.  Smiley

These prayers seem very unique to the Syriac tradition - I know the Maronites have them. (I'm not sure about the Assyrian Church of the East.) They're very interesting and some of them are very beautiful!
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« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2013, 01:01:27 PM »

For primary sources, check these out:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/135922001/Syriac-Anaphoras-liturgy-Bilingual

http://www.scribd.com/doc/135922376/Syriac-Feast-liturgy-maedono-Bilingual

http://www.scribd.com/doc/135956412/Syriac-Baptism-liturgy

http://www.scribd.com/doc/135956466/Syriac-Matrimony-liturgy

http://www.scribd.com/doc/135956602/Syriac-Burial-liturgy
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« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2013, 02:28:23 PM »

What a day to ask these questions...I'm avoiding barbecued meats in order to write this.  Tongue

I was hoping some people could clarify some questions that I had:

1) At various points in the liturgy, the text indicates that there will be a Husoyo prayer which seems to be composed of a Proemion and a Sedro and sometimes a Qolo, Etro, Eqbo and Huthomo. What do all these words mean and what are their functions? I think I have a general idea but sometimes each of these words never appear alone and have to appear with the others, like a Proemion and a Sedro, while others can appear alone in the text without any of the others, like an Etro or a Huthomo.  Also, are they silent prayers or loud prayers?

First, some terms. 

Proemion: a "preface" to the Sedro
Husoyo: prayer of "absolution" (forgiveness)
Sedro: a longer prayer, usually organised or "ordered" (hence the name) according to one or more themes

There is always a proemion attached to a sedro.  In the Liturgy of the Catechumens of the Holy Qurbono, and at Vespers and Matins before a Qurbono, the husoyo is read in between.  But these are not the only places where the proemion/sedro unit appear--they also appear in the orders of festal services, the canonical hours, the orders of sacraments, etc.  During these prayers, incense is offered by the priest.  Only a priest or a bishop can say the proemion and husoyo, while the sedro can, at times, be delegated to a deacon with the blessing of the presider.   

Etro: prayer of incense

Usually, but not always, services may have a separate prayer for the offering of incense.  This prayer, called "etro" ("fragrance") is also read by the priest, who offers the incense as well. 

Qolo: a "hymn"
Eqbo: a type of hymn which begins or ends ("termination") a series of qole, and is thematically linked to them (while not a perfect analogy, the eqbo functions like the irmos in a Byzantine canon)
Huthomo: a concluding prayer or hymn which "seals" the prayer

Generally, these units appear in a certain order.  I will use the pattern of the daily Vespers as an example:

Eqbo
Proemion-Husoyo-Sedro
Qolo
Etro
Qolo
Quqlion (select psalm verses sung to one of the eight tones)
Eqbo
Proemion-Sedro
Qolo
Bo'outho (a hymn of "supplication"; it has by and large replaced Litanies, which now appear only in the Liturgy and in some other sacramental/festal rites)
Huthomo

Depending on the type of service or rite, some of these elements may not always be present, but this is the basic order, and they wouldn't appear in a different order.  It's a fairly stable structure upon which all our services are built. 

Also, these prayers are generally said aloud.

Quote
2) During the video, however, they don't always talk about or show the praying of these Husoyo Prayers where the text indicates. They only show and talk about the Husoyo prayers that happen after the readings. What's going on here? I know sometimes in other liturgies that a litany or a hymn will be chanted by the deacon and congregation while the priest is performing rites and saying special quiet or silent prayers at the altar so am I supposed to think that the Husoyo prayer is being prayed by the congregation and the deacons outside of the veiled sanctuary while the priest is inside the veiled sanctuary doing the prothesis/preparation of the gifts, vesting, etc.?

Strictly speaking, the husoyo prayer is used once in the Liturgy and once each at Vespers and Matins on the day the Liturgy is served.  But in the Middle East, sometimes the whole unit (proemion-husoyo-sedro) is called "husoyo" as a sort of shorthand.  In India, "husoyo" is not the shorthand for this unit...people use either "proemion" or "sedro". 

That series of videos shows, among other things, the preparation of the gifts and the vesting of the priest.  These rites are usually performed by the priest during the singing of Matins; the singing you hear over the priest's silent prayers is Matins. 

Quote
3) The text says that the priest chants the beginning of the Husoyo but who says the rest of these prayers, the proemion, the sedro, etc.? Is it the priest or the deacon?

In the Liturgy of the Catechumens, the celebrating priest typically says all of these prayers.  The only exception is when a priest celebrates in the presence of a bishop: the bishop will read the proemion and husoyo, and the priest will read the sedro.  But he could also just let the priest do them all.   

Quote
4) If you look at the left-hand side of the page and click "Supplications", you get to a page filled with Husoyo prayers. When are these supposed to be said? In between the Kiss of Peace and the Anaphora? Are they just replacements of the Husoyo prayers under "Public Celebration" and it depends on the feast or on the liturgical calendar?

They are "replacements" for what you find under "Public Celebration".  A proemion is always matched to its own sedro, but there are a number of these specifically for use in the Liturgy.  You can pick any one set out of these, but you can't mix and match (e.g., you can't pick Proemion 2 and Sedro 9).  Some of the choices on that page have descriptions "for weekdays" or "for feasts of the Lord", but that's more of a suggestion than an actual rubric--the Indian books make no such distinctions, and I'd be surprised if the Syriac books had those distinctions early on and it never saw the light of day in India.     

Quote
5) Can anyone point me to more resources, on-line or off-line, that can shed some light on the origins and history of these prayers? Preferably something in-depth and scholarly that talks about the primary resources and manuscripts in which we can detect the forerunners of these prayers or when they first appeared.  Smiley

http://www.amazon.com/Liturgical-Theology-Liturgy-Worship-Society/dp/0754606198/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1372962852&sr=8-1&keywords=west+syriac+liturgical+theology

That's the best basic introduction available in English; the bibliography will be useful for further research.  Also, Robert Taft's book on the Liturgy of the Hours has a good section on the West Syriac divine office and the meaning of a lot of these terms, but he unfortunately uses Eastern Catholic liturgical books rather than Orthodox books as his primary source, and that leads to inclusions and exclusions that are foreign to Orthodox practice being labelled as "Syriac tradition".  Gregory Woolfenden's book on the Liturgy of the Hours is, IIRC, better than Taft in this regard.  Both are useful.
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« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2013, 02:30:37 PM »

Romaios,

Thanks for the links.  I have hard copies of the first two, but the last three have been out of print for years.  I didn't know someone put them online...you've made my day!  Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2013, 02:33:41 PM »

Pretty good concise history:

http://www.syriacstudies.com/AFSS/Syriac_Articles_in_English/Entries/2008/3/17_HUSOYOS_(PROPITIATORY_PRAYERS)_FOR_SUNDAYS,_FEASTS,_LENT_AND_PASSION_WEEK,_AND_OTHER_OCCASIONS_-_Mor_Ignatius_Aphram_Barsoum.html
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« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2013, 02:49:29 PM »

Romaios,

Thanks for the links.  I have hard copies of the first two, but the last three have been out of print for years.  I didn't know someone put them online...you've made my day!  Smiley

 Smiley

Have a look at the other books of that user. There's all of St. Ephrem's hymns (Dom E. Beck's edition) in Syriac and other interesting and rare stuff.
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« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2013, 04:09:45 PM »

Romaios,

Thanks for the links.  I have hard copies of the first two, but the last three have been out of print for years.  I didn't know someone put them online...you've made my day!  Smiley

Btw, Mor, you mentioned once that some of the hymns of St. John of Damascus made it into the Syriac Orthodox liturgy. Would they be found in these books? The Madedono, perhaps?
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« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2013, 11:08:16 PM »

Romaios,

I don't have, nor would I know where to find, a comprehensive list of all such occurrences.  I've come across references here and there.  For example, the Matins of Pascha is basically John Damascene's Paschal Canon as you use it in your Paschal Matins, except that we would read/sing the biblical odes in full.  After this comes the Proemion-Sedro unit, other hymns, and other "Syriac bits".  Excerpts of one of John Damascene's canons for Epiphany are used in the rite of Baptism (check the book you linked to, though it should be mentioned that this book differs from what is used in India, and differs from other Syriac orders still in use).  There are others, I'm sure, but those are a couple of notable examples off the top of my head.  

They are interesting because, when they occur in the services, they are usually titled "Konuno yaunoyo" (Greek Canon), and in most cases, the melodies to which they were sung have been lost over the centuries (not being a part of the Syriac chant system) and so we use a sort of "typewriter chant" in order to sing them, or else we read them.

You may look through the books you linked to (don't waste your time in the Anaphora book, they're definitely not there) and see if any hymns have this title, or if you recognise the text--you are likely more familiar with John Damascene's hymnography than I am.      

Edit: and thanks for the recommendation, that guy does have some interesting stuff.
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« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2013, 09:35:16 PM »

Glory to God. Thank you so much for this posting and thread .  It is so meaningful and a reminder of the precious treasures that our fathers before had left behind for us not to keep it buried but multiplying
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« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2014, 09:15:27 AM »

I have a question about the short tešmešto hymns/prayers such as tešmešto dyoldath aloho (of the mother of God) and tešmešto dqadishe (of the saints).

dyoldath aloho for example:

"bath malko bshubho qomath haleluyah w haleluyah wmalektho men yaminokh.
wat`oy `amekh wbeth abukh haleluyah w haleluyah dnethraghragh malko lshufrekh. barekhmor.
men `olam wa`damo l`olam `olmin amin.
qareb bo`utho hlofayn o shubhoro damhaymne, lihido dadnah menekh, dne`bed rahme `al kulan.
stawmenqalos quryelayson.
dukhrono dmaryam nehwe lburkothan waslutho tehwe shuro lnafshothan. barekhmor.
riho basimo ho foah boar labthulto maryam yoldath aloho.
moryo rahem `layn w`adarayn.
baslibokh moran yeshu` wbasluth maryam diledthokh, a`bar of batel menan mahwotho wshabte drughzo."

It starts with a quqlion, followed by eqbo, qolo and lastly bo'utho. Could one say that these prayers are like mini services since they also consist of different units? Does the word tešmešto apply to the daily vespers for example (so one could say these prayers are a miniature of the hours)? Is it know when and by whom these short tešmešto prayers were composed?

For example: "dukhrono dmaryam nehwe lburkothan waslutho tehwe shuro lnafshothan. barekhmor. riho basimo ho foah boar labthulto maryam yoldath aloho" is from qolo d'al 'etro dbesme from the šhimo?
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« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2014, 01:37:20 AM »

Could one say that these prayers are like mini services since they also consist of different units?

That's exactly what they are.  Smiley

Quote
Does the word tešmešto apply to the daily vespers for example (so one could say these prayers are a miniature of the hours)? Is it know when and by whom these short tešmešto prayers were composed?

The services of the canonical hours (e.g., daily Vespers) are certainly teshmeshte: this word can be applied, generally, to almost any service.  I have a feeling, however, that when it is used nowadays among Syrians (it's different in India), what is meant is specifically the type of prayer you cited above. 

I would not say that these prayers are a "miniature" of the hours: they are usually found as part of the order of the canonical hours, but are not "hours" on their own.  I suspect they were taken out of the daily services and used for devotional purposes, thus becoming popular.  They share a similar structure, but this is true of a number of services in the tradition. 

I'm not sure when the teshmeshte were composed. 

FYI: I hope soon to PM you with a few questions, so watch your inbox.  Wink 
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« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2014, 06:40:50 AM »

Thank you! Smiley

The reason I'm asking is because I'm writing a short introduction for these prayers for a small prayer book in swedish.

"tešmešto is the syriac word for service or rite and in the Syriac Orthodox Church the services and rites are constructed of various "elements" (various types of prayers or hymns), such as ʿetro (a prayer accompanying incense), qolo (a stanzaic hymn or melody) and ḥutomo (a concluding prayer or hymn). The word tešmešto is also applied to what can be viewed as miniature services. These tešəmšotho [plural] have a theme (such as the Virgin Mary) and may also consist of the various "elements". The following variant of tešmešto dyoldath aloho begins with a quqlion (a group of psalm verses with interpolated haleluyah; in this case from psalm 45:10-12), followed by an ʿeqbo, qolo and lastly a boʿutho."

What do you think? Anything you would remove/add/change?

Of course, PM me anytime!
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« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2014, 08:42:50 AM »

What do you think? Anything you would remove/add/change?

For a short introduction, I'd say that includes everything essential. 

A few years ago, an Eastern Orthodox friend from Sweden gave me a "small (Syrian Orthodox) prayer book in Swedish".  Not knowing a word of Swedish, I can't use it, but I was very impressed with how much such a small book could contain, and that was based just on what I was able to figure out was included. 

Quote
Of course, PM me anytime!

Thanks!
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Tags: Syriac Orthodox  liturgy  husoyo  proemion  sedro  qolo  etro  eqbo  huthomo Oriental Orthodox prayers 
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