Qurbana

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The chalice and paten with traditional covers, on the Altar.

In Aramaic the term Qurbana Qadisha קרבנא קדישאת, means "Holy Offering". This is the service that in English is called either the "Mass" or the "Divine Liturgy". It has taken eighteen years of work by scholars of both liturgics and the Aramaic language, to put together a version of the Holy Offering which truly represents the ancient teachings of the Church and the Holy Scriptures. The ritual is representative of both the Didache, which was a partial description of the divine service, the earliest manuscripts of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, and a number of other ancient texts, which outline the ancient liturgical practice of the Holy Church as she worshiped in her first two centuries.

It is by the divine command of the Meshikha(i.e. Christ / Messiah)that we enter into union with Him, and that we are called to partake as members of his Mystical body. Following His Ascension into Shamaya (Heaven), Meshikha continues His work of salvation, and of making holy His Divine body through the sacred mysteries. In the Nazarani tradition, the Qurbana (Sacrifice / Oblation) is seen as the pivotal mystery toward around which all other mysteries revolve.

Qurbana is thus the very pinnacle of Sacred Initiation by which we become Talmidin (Disciples) of Meshicha. Ahmada (Baptism) and Meshichtha (Chrismation) enable the members to receive the Holy Sacrifice. It is by this Holy Sacrifice that we enter into mystical union with the entire body of Meshicha throughout the ages, and the world. Meshicha Himself established the foundation of the mystery of the Holy Sacrifice by telling his followers that He Himself truly is: “The bread that came down from heaven”. This statement astounded all who heard it. Some immediately recognized Him as the Meshicha that had been prophesied. Others thought Him to be one of the Nabiyoun (Prophets). And still others rejected and followed Him only to find fault in His teaching, which they could use as cause for His ultimate arrest and crucifixion. They would mockingly request that He perform a miracle by calling to mind the descent of Manna from heaven upon their forefathers in the wilderness. In response to their statements, "Jesus said unto them, very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father Who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world " (Yuchanan 6:32-33). He then made a groundbreaking statement: "I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty" (Yuchanan 6:35). In response, “Then the Jews began to complain about Him because He said: “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” (Yuchanan 6:41). Even His own disciples inquired of each other saying: " how can He give us his body to eat?" In response, Meshicha stated: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat My flesh and drink My blood have eternal life and I will raise them up on the last day; for My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. Those who eat My flesh and drink My blood abide in Me, and I in them” (Yuchanan 6:53-56). For our great teacher and master in faith, Mar Aphrim Al Suryi (306 A.D. - 373 A.D.), these sacred mysteries in no way submit to logic or analysis by the faculties of thought, even to the very followers of Meshicha Himself. Here we see Illaha (God) not only entering a fleshly vessel, but becoming the very Lakhma (bread) which man consumes.

The entire Nazarani rite is sung rather than chanted or spoken. While any musical style can be used to express it, the original tunes are actually quite old and have a tremendous history behind them. They are for the most part ancient Syriac / Aramaic 'beth gazo', which were adapted by the Christian Malayali people of Kerala, India, to be used with their own Malayalam language. Upon the invasion of the Portuguese in the 16th Century, these same songs were retained but given new, more Catholic lyrics. When the Malayali communities moved to Canada, the United States and other diaspora countries, these same songs began to be sung in English, and it is that beautiful English adaptation which is now used in the Nazarani Rite. You can view each section and listen to recordings by clicking each heading below:

Outline of the Ritual