Anaphora of Saint Gregory

The Liturgy of Saint Gregory the Theologian (or Anaphora of Saint Gregory) is one of the three Anaphoras retained by the Coptic Church.[1] The text is named after Saint Gregory of Nazianzus, one of the Cappadocian Fathers.

The anaphora or Eucharistic Prayer that is part of this liturgy has the particularity to be entirely addressed to Christ and not to the Father as usually the anaphoras are.[2]


This liturgy can be used at present by the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, as well as by the Coptic Catholic Church, in the solemnities of the Coptic calendar. This text doesn't cover the whole Divine Liturgy, but it extends only from the pre-anaphorical rites to the Fraction, so including the anaphora in the strict sense of the word. Along with this section the Liturgy of Saint Gregory includes also other additional prayers which can be used in place of the ones of the Coptic Liturgy of Saint Basil.[3]


This liturgical text derives from the West Syrian Rite, being imported in Egypt after the 6th-century from Syrian monks who settled in Wadi El Natrun.[4] The authorship of the core of this anaphora by Gregory of Nazianzus himself cannot be excluded.[1] The text however was adapted to the Egyptian use, and it was one of the three anaphoras which use was permitted by the canons of Patriarch Gabriel II in the 12th century.[5]

The oldest manuscripts of this liturgy date the High Middle Ages: the oldest is a 10th-century Sahidic incomplete manuscripts from the euchologion of the White Monastery, while the earlier Bohairic texts are 12th or 13th manuscripts from the Monastery of Saint Macarius.[4] Also a Byzantine Greek recension exists.

Structure of the anaphora

The Anaphora of Saint Gregory the Theologian follows the Antiochene (or "West Syrian") structure, which can be so summarized:


  1. 1 2 Spinks, Bryan (2010). "Oriental Orthodox Liturgical Traditions". In Parry, Ken. The Blackwell Companion to Eastern Christianity. Malden, Mass: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 316–362. ISBN 9781444333619.
  2. Varghese, Baby (2004). West Syrian liturgical theology. Ashgate Publishing. pp. 62–63. ISBN 978-0-7546-0619-2.
  3. Cody, Aelred (1991). "Anaphora of Saint Gregory". The Coptic encyclopedia. 1. Macmillan. 124a-125a. ISBN 002897025X.
  4. 1 2 Gabra, Gawdat (2009). The A to Z of the Coptic Church. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press. p. 29. ISBN 9780810868946.
  5. Chaillot, Christine (2006). "The Ancient Oriental Churches". In Wainwright, Geoffrey. The Oxford history of Christian worship. Oxford New York: Oxford University Press. p. 139. ISBN 9780195138863.

External links

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