ANAPHORA OF SAINT CYRIL
The most typically Egyptian of the three anaphoras retained in the euchologion of the Coptic church. It is basically the same as the anaphoric part of the Greek Liturgy of Saint Mark that was formerly used in the Melchite church of Alexandria. Although it is regularly called the Anaphora of Saint Cyril, it is introduced in Coptic euchologia as “the Anaphora of our holy father Mark the Apostle, which the thrice-blessed Saint Cyril the Archbishop established.
Although both the Coptic Saint Cyril and the Greek Saint Mark contain textual variants peculiar to the one or to the other, both seem to be derived from the same recension of the old Egyptian anaphora, whose earliest textual witnesses are fragments in Greek. A few Coptic fragments in the Sahidic dialect have also been found. The extant witnesses to the text of the present Coptic Saint Cyril, none of them earlier than the twelfth century, are in the Bohairic dialect, but a Greek text apparently meant for occasional use in the Coptic church survives in a few manuscripts, one of which has been published. It is still impossible to say whether the Bohairic version was made from a Greek text or from a Sahidic intermediary. In general, the readings of the early fragments, both Greek and Sahidic, are closer to those of Coptic Saint Cyril than to surviving manuscripts of the Melchite Saint Mark.
Superficial influence of the Syrian Liturgy of Saint James is less evident in Saint Cyril than in Saint Mark, and the Byzantinizing tendencies that appear in extant manuscripts of the Liturgy of Saint Mark are absent from the Anaphora of Saint Cyril. On the other hand, Coptic Saint Cyril has textual additions of its own that are not found in the anaphoric part of Melchite Saint Mark. In the Coptic euchologia the Anaphora of Saint Cyril in the strict sense, prefaced by proper prayers of the veil and of the kiss of peace and followed by proper prayers of the fraction (with its preface), of embolism and of inclination after the Lord’s Prayer, and of thanksgiving and of inclination after communion, is designed for insertion into the common order of the eucharistic liturgy which is given in connection with the Anaphora of Saint Basil. The three great prayers of intercession after the prayer of the veil are either to be omitted or to be substituted with shorter prayers when the Anaphora of Saint Cyril is used.
In modern times the Anaphora of Saint Cyril is rarely used, and most of the music proper to it has grown dim in the memory of the singers, if it has not been forgotten altogether. Some celebrants use prayers drawn from it in place of the corresponding prayers in the Anaphora of Saint Basil, and some efforts are made to restore its integral use. Traditionally it was seen as especially apt for use in Lent and in the Coptic month of Kiyahk before Christmas.
- A Greek text once used in the Coptic Church has been published by W. F. Macomber, “The Anaphora of St. Mark according to the Kacmarcik Codex.” Orientalia christiana periodica 45 (1979):75- 98.
- For a list of printed liturgical editions of the Bohairic and Arabic texts, see H. Malak in Mélanges Eugène Tisserant, Vol. 3. Studi e Testi 233, pp. 6-8, 27. Rome, 1964.
- An English translation is in F. E. Brightman, ed., Liturgies Eastern and Western, Vol. 1, pp. 144-88; Oxford, 1896; the Anaphora of Saint Cyril is combined with the Coptic common order of the liturgy. A Latin version can be found in E. Renaudot, Liturgiarum orientalium collectio, 2nd ed., Vol. 1, pp. 38-51. Frankfurt and London, 1847; reproduced without the intercessions, with editing by A. Raes, in A. Hänggi and I. Pahl, eds., Prex eucharistica, Spicilegium friburgense 12, pp. 135-39, Freiburg, 1968.
AELRED CODY, O. S. B.