"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Friday, August 11, 2017

Liturgy and Byzantinization in Jerusalem

It is one of the undeserved gifts of my life that I can count Daniel Galadza as a friend as well as co-worker (we are editing a collection of papers on the 1946 pseudo-sobor of Lviv based on a conference at the University of Vienna in June of 2016, which I discussed a bit here). He is a scholar's scholar without any of the pretenses such men sometimes have, combining great erudition with great humility. I've never forgotten our conversation about six or seven years ago now when I was in Washington giving a paper at a conference, and he was a junior fellow at the most prestigious centre for Byzantine studies in North America, Dumbarton Oaks. As we were standing in the rain waiting to cross some street or other en route to lunch, I asked him what he'd been up to lately, and he very off-handedly remarked that he was teaching himself Georgian (to add to his fluent Ukrainian, English, German, French, Italian, and, as I saw this past June in San Felice del Benaco, not impassable Russian!), at which I doffed my cap yet again in amazement.

He has been teaching at the University of Vienna since completing his doctoral studies in Rome. That dissertation will be published next year in the very prestigious series, Oxford Early Christian Studies, from the publisher of the same name: Liturgy and Byzantinization in Jerusalem (OUP, 2018), 432pp.

About this forthcoming study, we are told:
The Church of Jerusalem, the "mother of the churches of God," influenced all of Christendom before it underwent multiple captivities between the eighth and thirteenth centuries: first, political subjugation to Arab Islamic forces, then displacement of Greek-praying Christians by Crusaders, and finally ritual assimilation to fellow Orthodox Byzantines in Constantinople. All three contributed to the phenomenon of the Byzantinization of Jerusalem's liturgy, but only the last explains how it was completely lost and replaced by the liturgy of the imperial capital, Constantinople. The sources for this study are rediscovered manuscripts of Jerusalem's liturgical calendar and lectionary. When examined in context, they reveal that the devastating events of the Arab conquest in 638 and the destruction of the Holy Sepulchre in 1009 did not have as detrimental an effect on liturgy as previously held. Instead, they confirm that the process of Byzantinization was gradual and locally-effected, rather than an imposed element of Byzantine imperial policy or ideology of the Church of Constantinople. Originally, the city's worship consisted of reading scripture and singing hymns at places connected with the life of Christ, so that the link between holy sites and liturgy became a hallmark of Jerusalem's worship, but the changing sacred topography led to changes in the local liturgical tradition. Liturgy and Byzantinization in Jerusalem is the first study dedicated to the question of the Byzantinization of Jerusalem's liturgy, providing English translations of many liturgical texts and hymns here for the first time and offering a glimpse of Jerusalem's lost liturgical and theological tradition.
Upon its publication next year, you can be sure I'll arrange an interview with the author to discuss his work in more detail.

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