Treatise on the Intercessions: In the Maronite Divine Liturgy
Treatise on the Intercessions in the Maronite Divine Liturgy by Patriarch Estephan Duwayhi
translated from Arabic by The Reverend Monsignor Assad Awad, Pastor Emeritus
Our Lady of Mercy Maronite Church
The Lamp of the Sanctuary
The Church of Christ has always taken at heart the recommendation of Saint Paul to his disciple Timothy when he wrote to him, saying: ‘I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity…’ (I Timothy 2:1-2). Therefore, all the different rites of the Church, East and West, in their different liturgies make mention of these supplications. However, the place and the content of these intercessions may vary sometimes from one church to another and most of the times from one anaphora to another: The Roman Rite Catholic Church makes the commemorations of the living before the Consecration and that of the departed after the Consecration. In the Maronite Church the ‘Anaphora of Sharar’ (like the Chaldean ‘Anaphora of Addai and Mari,’) places these commemorations just before the Epiclesis, while all the other anaphoras of the Syriac Church, at the likeness of the Anaphora of Saint James, place them after the Prayers of the Epiclesis.
As far as the number of these intercessions is concerned it also varies from one anaphora to the other but most of the anaphoras carry the number six, with a general conclusion. We find only four intercessions in the anaphora of Saint John Maron, also the two anaphoras of the Twelve Apostles I and II have four intercessions that were at some point included in only one intercession which was called the ‘Catholic’ or ‘Universal’ because all the petitions are included in only one prayer. The writer of the Maronite Anaphora of the Roman Church has also one intercession in the likeness of that of the Twelve Apostles. But all the anaphoras agree on two categories of subjects to pray for: the living and the departed. As far as the intentions are concerned every anaphora has a great variety of people to remember, which we will examine in detail when we study, later, each intercession in particular.