The Liturgy of St. James was an important early liturgy, probably
originating at Antioch but then revised in the 5th century or so in
Jerusalem. It exists in two major recensions, one Greek and one Syriac.
After the monophysite schisms, monophysite churches in Palestine and Syria
continued its use; in the Chalcedonian churches, it was replaced by the
so-called Liturgy of Constantinople. The liturgy is still used by Syrian
Jacobite (i.e. Monophysite) and Nestorian churches (particularly in India)
and by other communions which use the term "Antiochene." I don't think the
Coptic church uses it, but I am willing to stand corrected. Many Byzantine
rite and Orthodox communions use the liturgy on the feast of St. James.
The Maronite Rite uses a reformed/revised version of it.
Information is tricky to find. The most helpful general article on the
Liturgy of St. James is from the old Catholic Encyclopedia, under the title
"Liturgy of Jerusalem" (http://www.knight.org/advent/cathen/08371a.htm).
More basic info can be gleaned from the New Catholic Encyclopedia, under
There is a brief but helpful article by G. J. Cuming, "Further studies in
the liturgy of St James," Studia Liturgica, 18/2 (1988): 161-169.
Other texts you might be able to get, especially by interlibrary loan
(these are from my own handwritten notes, so you may want to use WorldCat
or something to get full references):
"Anaphora : the divine liturgy of Saint James, the first Bishop of
Jerusalem : according to the rite of the Syrian Orthodox Church of
Antioch," trans. Mar Athanasius Yeshue Samuel, 1967.
"The Greek liturgy of St. James, edited with an English introduction and
notes : together with a Latin version of the Syriac copy, and the Greek
text restored, etc." ed. and trans. W. Trollope. Edinburgh : T. & T.
"The liturgy of St. James as presently used," ed. and intro. Phillip Tovey.
Cambridge : Grove Books, 1998.
A Russian/Slavic version may be found in "The Divine liturgies of Saint
Apostles James and Mark" (bilingual English & Russian [I think]).
Columbus, Ohio: Resource Center for Medieval Slavic Studies, Ohio State U.,
I think Robert Taft, SJ, "Byzantine Rite: A Short History" may have a brief
discussion of the liturgy of St. James.
A source in German that I have not looked at: "Jacobus-Liturgie:
Liturgie der Vorgeweihten Gaben." Zürich: Ostreferat, 1986." I'm a little
suspicious of this one, since the "liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts" is
usually attributed to Gregory the Great / Gregory Diaolgos; but there may
be a connection there that I don't know.
I hope this helps!
Patrick J. Nugent
Department of Religion
Richmond, Indiana 47374 USA
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