Nazarani Rite

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The Nazarani Rite is a liturgical rite which has its origins with the pre-third century use of the anaphora according to Saints Adai and Mari. It differs from this East Syrian Rite in a number of important respects, which make it a unique expression of the Aramaic speaking liturgical tradition in and of itself. In this sense, the Nazarani Rite is simultaneously both the oldest and the newest rite in existence. It is the oldest rite, because it represents the oldest form of worship, with a documented history dating back to apostolic times. It is the newest rite, because it has taken over 1600 years to be fully documented and practiced. Either way, the Nazarani Rîte is the most authentic liturgical patrimony of both Christian and Nazarani churches throughout the world.

The impetus for the creation of the Nazarani Rite was the 1999 mandate of His Excellency Hadrian Mar Elijah Bar Israel for his clergy to work with him in an effort to uncover the most primitive functional liturgy of the Aramaic speaking church, and make it possible for that rite to be able to be celebrated in our time, "in a way not just for liturgists and scholars, but also so that regular house church leaders, parishes and congregations can learn it, celebrate it and make it a functional part of the emerging church".

The Books


Musical instruments are created by man, but the voice of man was created by God, and so it is that the Nazarani rite does not allow the use of musical instruments in the celebration of the liturgy or other services. Better that the God-given voice of man be heard.

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 Aramaic beth gaza בת גצא meaning "treasury house", which were adapted by the Malayali people of Kerala, India. Upon the invasion of the Portuguese in the 16th Century, these same songs were retained but given new, more Catholic lyrics. When those same Malayali communities began moving to Canada, the United States and other diaspora countries, these same songs were adapted to be sung in English - and it is that beautiful English adaptation of these songs which are now used in the Nazarani Rite in much of the world.


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