St. Jacob of Serugh

Jacob of Serugh (451-521), also called Mar Jacob (Mar is a title of respect in Syriac, meaning ‘my lord’), was one of the foremost Syriac poet-theologians behind Ephrem the Syrian and Narsai of Nisibis.  While Ephrem is known as the ‘Harp of the Spirit’, Jacob is the ‘Flute of the Spirit’.  Jacob was born in the same year as the Council of Chalcedon and thus lived through the split of Eastern Christianity that led to most Syriac speakers being separated from Byzantine communion. In 519, Jacob was elected bishop of Serugh and the Catholic Church regards Jacob of Serugh as a Saint.

Quotes from Jacob of Serugh:

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Quotes from Various Homilies:

“The Mother Virgin and blessed, was even more beautiful than the Ark, full of mysteries of the house of God . . . while the Ark was being carried, David had danced for joy. . . He typified in figure the way of Mary with John the Baptist, for also that maiden was the Ark of the Godhead.”
-Homily III on the Mother of God (ca 490 A.D.)
-Comparing 2 Samuel 6:14-16 to Luke 1:41

 

“He bowed to the Virgin, the Mother of the King, and he spoke to her in speech of the country such as she was able to receive:  ‘Peace be with you, full of divine splendour!  Peace to you Mary, Mother of the Son of Justice!’”

-Homily III on the Mother of God (ca 490 A.D.)

“Together with the priest, the whole people beseech the Father that He will send His Son, that He may come down and dwell upon the oblation.  And the Holy Spirit, His Power, lights down in the bread and wine, and consecrates it and makes it the Body and the Blood.  And everyone in the house bestirs himself, crying out, ‘Our Father’; and the new sons sanctify and bless Him.  And by His brooding, He mingles them homily, and they become one with Him, as it is written, mystically.”

-Homily on the Reception of the Holy Mysteries (written 519 A.D.) translated by Dom Hugh Connelly (O.S.B.)

Wherefore Satan is concerned and uses much pains to drive men out of the holy place at the time of the Mysteries, lest the whole congregation cries out, “Forgive me my debts,”…
When the Body of the Son of God is set upon His table, bring in before Him all thy petitions earnestly. Reveal thy plagues, O thou sick soul, and show thy diseases, and pour out tears before the table of the Godhead. In that hour when the priest sacrifices the Son before His Father, gird thyself, enter, O soul, and ask for pardon with a loud voice. Say to the Father, “Behold Thy Son, a sacrifice to reconcile Thee: pardon me in Him who died for me and was buried. Behold Thine Oblation: accept from my hands Him who is from Thee.”

-Homily on the Reception of the Holy Mysteries (written 519 A.D.) translated by Dom Hugh Connelly (O.S.B.)

“Him who is not baptised ” the priest drives out when he is about to consecrate, not thee does he drive out, who art one baptized in (lit., “of”) the Divinity.6 Baptism, daughter of lights, is the King’s sign, (p. 656) and thou hast put on the great sign: why shouldst thou go forth? With the oil they have signed thee, with the cross of light thy face is signed: it is to ” him that is not signed ” as thou art signed that they say, “Let him go forth.” The sign of life has made thee a brother of the Only-begotten and a son of His Father; and thou art in the household: thou shouldst not go forth. Remain within the door, and cry, “Abba, our Father”; for thou, being a son, it is permitted to thee to cry, “Our Father.” “Whoso is not baptized”—-for this reason do they drive him out when the consecration is (begun), that it is not permitted to him to call the Heavenly One ” our Father.”

-Homily on the Reception of the Holy Mysteries (written 519 A.D.) translated by Dom Hugh Connelly (O.S.B.)

The bread that He brake and called His Body, Body they knew it (to be); and thus they thought, that yea, in truth His Blood was dropping 20 (there). Who would have been able to sacrifice the Son before His Sire, unless He had sacrificed Himself by His own hands before He suffered? He, our Lord, is the High Priest of the perfect Sacrifice; and therefore He sacrificed Himself before His Father. He is the Dead who when dead was alive, and was not investigated, Priest and Burnt Offering, whom to examine is too high for the disputers. He brake and divided His Body with His hands to His twelve, who, if they had not seen how He brake, would not have broken. He stood as Priest and performed the priest’s function upon Himself among His disciples, that He might depict a type to the priesthood for it to |287 imitate. He taught them how to break His holy Body and distribute it to the sons of the household of the faith, (p. 487) He made known to them how they should drink the cup of His Blood, and give the nations and worlds and regions to drink of it. With His Blood He sealed the new Covenant, which He made that it might be for remission of debts for ever.

A HOMILY of MAR JACOB of SERÛGH ON THE RECEPTION OF THE HOLY MYSTERIES
(Written 519 A.D.) Transl. Dom Hugh Connolly, (O.S.B.)

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