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Liturgy of St. James - John Charmley - 06-06-2007

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I wonder if others who have entered the BOC have had the same experience as myself on this subject? One of the greatest joys, and indeed comforts, of conversion, has been the experience of the Liturgy of St. James. I have read some of the back issues in the GR to get some of the background to the Liturgy, but would love to know even more.

It is, as the various articles show, one of the oldest of the Liturgies. I find it astonishingly moving. Do we know how close to the original Eucharist it is? Some accounts say that it is a fusion of the very earliest Liturgy, St. Mark, with the Anaphora of St. Basil. Those here more knowledgeable than I will, perhaps, be able to enlighten us.

Do others share my love of this ancient and sonorous Liturgy?

In Christ,


- Fr Gregory - 07-06-2007

The Liturgy of St James is historically and liturgically of great interest, and of great beauty. It has long been of interest to English liturgical scholars.

Texts of the Liturgy with some commentary can be found in the following (listed in chronological order):

Thomas Brett ?A Collection of the Principal Liturgies, used by the Christian Church in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, particularly the ancient, viz, the Clementine, the Liturgies of S. James, S. Mark, S. Chrysostom, S. Basil, &c. Translated ... by several hands. With a dissertation upon them, shewing their usefulness and authority, and pointing out their several corruptions and interpolations? King, London, 1720

Thomas Rattray ?The Ancient Liturgy of the Church of Jerusalem, being the Liturgy of St James Freed from all later Additions and Interpolations of whatever kind, and so restored to its Original Purity: By comparing it with the Account given of that Liturgy by St Cyril in the fifth Mystagogical Catechism, And with the Clementine Liturgy, &c.? Bettenham, London, 1744 [reproduced in Grisbrooke, 1958 below]

W. Trollope ?The Greek Liturgy of St James? T. & T. Clarke, Edinburgh, 1848

J.M. Neale ?The Liturgy of St James? London, 1858

J. M. Neale and R.F. Littledale ?The Greek Liturgies? London, 1858

J.M. Neale ?Liturgies of St Mark, St James, St Clement, St Chrysostom and St Basil? 2nd edition, London, 1868

J. M. Neale and R.F. Littledale ?Liturgies of Ss Mark, James, Clement, Chrysostom and Basil and the Church of Malabar? 7th edition, Grifith Farran and Co., London, 1869: 30-64

Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson (eds) ?Ante-Nicene Christian Library Vol. XXIV Early Liturgies and Other Documents? T. & T. Clarke, Edinburgh, 1872:11-45

C.A. Swainson ?The Greek Liturgies chiefly from original authorities? Cambridge, 1884:214-332

F.E. Brightman ?Liturgies Eastern and Western Volume I: Eastern? Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1896:30-68 [Greek], 69-110 [Syrian St James in English]

W. Jardine Grisbrooke ?Anglican Liturgies of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries? SPCK, London, 1958:319-332 [the text of the translation by Thomas Rattray referred to above]

Gregory Dix ?The Shape of the Liturgy? Dacre Press, London, 1978:188-196 [Anaphora only - Dix notes variants between the Greek and Syriac texts, and compares both with Cyril?s summary of the Anaphora.]

Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson (eds) ?The Ante-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Volume VII? Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1985:537-550 [translated by William Macdonald]

R.C.D. Jasper and G.J. Cuming ?Prayers of the Eucharist. Early and Reformed? Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 1990:90-99 [Anaphora only]

Ancient commentaries on the Liturgy of St James are found in the writings of St Cyril of Jerusalem, James of Edessa [?Exposition of the Mysteries of the Oblation? (708)], and Denys bar Salibi [?Exposition of the Liturgy? (1171)]

Studies of and commentaries on the Liturgy are found in:

Archdale King ?The Rites of Eastern Christendom? First Volume Rome, Catholic Book Agency, 1947:129-203

G. J. Cumming ?The Litanies in the Liturgy of St James? ?Ecclesia Orans? 3 (1986) 175-80

G. J. Cumming ?The Missa Catechumenorum of the Liturgy of St James? ?Studia Liturgica? 17 (1987) 62-71

G. J. Cumming ?Further Studies in the Liturgy of St James? ?Studia Liturgica? 18 (1988) 161-9

Gregory Dix ?The Shape of the Liturgy? Dacre Press, London, 1978:175-207, 187-196

John Fenwick ?The Anaphoras of St Basil and St James? Orientalia Christiana Analecta 240 Pontificum Institutum Orientale, 1992

R.C.D. Jasper and G.J. Cuming ?Prayers of the Eucharist. Early and Reformed? Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 1990:88-89

M.H. Shepherd ?Eusebius and the Liturgy of St James? ?Yearbook of Liturgical Studies? 4 (1963):109-125

B.D. Spinks ?The Consecratory Epiclesis in the Anaphora of St James? ?Studia Liturgica? 11 (1976):19-32

John Witvliet ?The Anaphora of St James? in Paul Bradshaw (ed) ?Essays on Early Eastern Eucharistic Prayers? The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 1997

If any of the above texts are of particular interest and difficult to obtain, I have almost all of them and would be happy to scan and post. Some of the earlier (and thus out of copyright!) material might be usefully reproduced in ?The Glastonbury Review? or, if there was sufficient interest, perhaps compiled into a volume of ?St James Studies? to be published by the BOC.

It has been my hope to complete an annotated text of the BOC Liturgy of St James (to parallel the texts of the Coptic Raising of Incense and the Coptic Liturgy of St Basil): I only need the time!

Fr Gregory

St. James Studies - John Charmley - 07-06-2007

Dear Fr. Gregory,

I am much in your debt for this list. What a good idea to have a series of St. James studies - I hope this can be made possible.

If you did have the Cumming and the Dix articles scanned, that would be marvellous.

Perhaps it is the very ancient nature of the Rite, but it is a wonderful one to experience.

Many thanks, Father.

In Christ,


- Edward - 12-06-2007

Does anyone have or know of any DVDs (official or homemade) of a BOC celebration of the Liturgy of St James? For those of us who can't readily attend such a celebration it would be a great help to see it and perhaps follow the liturgical texts.



Liturgy of St. James - John Charmley - 12-06-2007

Dear Edward,

Excellent idea.

I shall ask Fr. Simon (in case he doesn't spot this) - he is usually a whiz on this sort of thing.

If you ever get the chance, do go - it is a wonderful experience. (That's my view, but my wife, who takes a somewhat different view of these things, thought it a little long).

In Christ,


- forum - 03-07-2007

After some delay (for some reason computer has not been letting me post replies for several weeks), so...

I have DVDs of my own ordination (2000) in highlights of St James Liturgy (about 30 minutes), consecration of Chatham Church with highlights of S James Liturgy (about an hour) and more recently (November 2006) ordination of Fr Seraphim with hgihlights St James Liturgy (about an hour). Anyone who wants to email me their postal address I will be happy to make a copy and post it.