17 July 2007

Jacob of Serug

My good friend, Sister Sandy Bowers (deaconess), lent me her copy of Jacob of Serug's (born about 451 A.D.) *On the Mother of God* - it really is a beautiful work - I would highly recommend it. What struck me is how, though the Blessed Virgin is apostrophized in it, she is never invoked. The nearest we come is that Christ would hear her prayers for the peace of the world. Ever and again, Jacob turns the attention back to the mystery of WHO came to dwell in her womb and WHY He did so.


Anonymous said...

It seems that you're trying to build something out of this absense, as if you're claiming that he would be against asking for the intercessions of the Virgin Mary?

Am I right that you're trying to imply that?

Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

I don't see Fr. William doing that. He will speak for himself, but I see him simply praising this particular work, on those specific grounds. If other things are to be found in Jacob elsewhere, that won't take away from his observation here. If Fr. Weedon is referring to the edition from St. Vladimir Sem. Press, I can say that I read it for class a couple years ago, and was greatly edified by it.

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Do you suppose the fact that these are homilies would have anything to do with the Theotokos' not being invoked in them?

William Weedon said...


I confess that I was surprised that she was not invoked in them, and that's why I commented upon that fact. That they are homilies does not keep him from invoking our Lord constantly (as in all the great preachers - there is no hard and fast line between proclamation and prayer - for the proclamation takes place coram Deo and His presence is never forgotten).

Nevertheless, the point of my post was primarily to commend an outstanding and beautiful little book. It's worth reading.

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm still not clear on the answer. Do you think that the author would be against invoking the Theotokos?

William Weedon said...

Dear Anon,

The only thing I've read of the man is this wonderful little book; I expected to find such invocation in the book and was surprised when I did not. As to whether he did so in other contexts, I have no way of knowing. Do you?

I don't read Syriac, and I'm not familiar with the Syriac liturgy of the fifth century. I would be quite surprised if any liturgy post the Nestorian controversy did not contain some form of the Theotokian, but that, of course, does not invoke the Virgin; it praises her.