The Jerusalem Euchologion
Prof. Dr. Claudia Sode Byzantine Studies, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Hammerstaedt, Institut für Altertumskunde, Classical Philology
Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)
ur Cologne DFG project, entitled “The Early Jerusalem Euchologion in Georgian Transmission. Comparative Edition, Translation and Commentary”, is examining so-called orationes praesidentiales (presidential prayers), i.e. texts addressed to God, spoken in general or specific religious gatherings by their presiders: patriarchs, bishops or presbyters, at ceremonies for core sacraments such as Eucharist, baptism and for wedding ceremonies, for feasts and daily common prayer, for special occasions such as birth, illness, dying and death. A collection of these kinds of prayers is traditionally called Euchologion – the Greek equivalent of the Latin sacramentarium or orationale.
The Euchologion used in Jerusalem and Palestine – as well as on Sinai – during the first millennium CE is the focus of this project. From around 1000 CE, the Old-Jerusalem Euchologion was increasingly replaced by Byzantine liturgy from Constantinople with the result that the original Greek Euchologion of Jerusalem is no longer extant. It has survived, however, in an Old-Georgian
translation in the form of manuscripts from the 9th to 10th centuries found in the Monastery on Mount Sinai. These so-called Sinaitica provide the basis of our research.
Through a detailed analysis of the content of the individual manuscripts, our knowledge of the prayers and festal liturgies of Jerusalem has been deepened since the project began in Spring 2014. Diverse worship practices, for example, of individual churches such as the Anastasis in Jerusalem (also known as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre), Mar Saba near Jerusalem as well as Saint Catherine’s Monastery (Sinai) could be identified and examined. In the process, it was established that the baptismal and funeral liturgies, which are soon to be published, essentially represent the high patristic time of their Palestine history.
A research trip to the Caucasus Mountains was a great success. Even today, treasures can still be discovered in Svaneti. At the Mestia Museum of History and Ethnography we were able, for example, to examine, determine the content of and record for our publication a previously unknown Euchologion fragment dated to the 10th century CE. This is the only copy of the Jerusalem Euchologion that has been found so far in Georgia.
After a positive evaluation in April 2017, the project is in its second phase. Planned is the editing, translation and commentary of monastic rites, the blessings of sacred buildings, prayers in the context of the offering of animals and other occasions as well as the organization of a conference on monastic celebrations and a research trip to the library of the Sinai Monastery.
Text: Dr. Tinatin Chronz