Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dies Iræ, Dies Illa

The Syrian Jacobite Anaphoras – there are over seventy extant – tend to feature rather sobering thoughts in their anamneses, which but briefly commemorate Christ's saving work, and offer Him His own Sacrifice of Himself given into the hands of the Church, and instead develop at great length eschatological themes, expatiating in rather terrifying words on Doomsday and the Last Judgement.  

Herewith, such a passage, upon which 'tis all too necessary soberly to meditate, from the Liturgy of Severus, as kindly translated into Augustan English (that best of styles) by Thomas Brett the Nonjuror, via the Latin of the scholarly Renaudot:

We therefore, O Lord Jeſu, offer this unbloody Sacrifice, and implore thy Pity towards Mankind, which induced Thee to give thyſelf a Sacrifice for us.  We are mindful alſo of thy Second, Glorious, and Dreadful Appearance, when Thou ſhalt ſit highly exalted upon thy Awful Throne, encompaſſed with Thouſand Thouſands of Angels ; and a Stream of Fire ſhall break forth and miſerably deſtroy the Wicked : When all Men ſhall give an Account of their Works, and there ſhall be no Occaſion for an Accuſer or an Advocate, but the very Works which they have done ſhall be made manifeſt, their own Conſciences accuſing or elſe excuſing them : When every Man's Work ſhall be tried by Fire, and the Wiſe and Learned ſhall not be able to offer any thing in their Defence ; but in that time of Terror, Fear and Dread ſhall fall upon the rational Part of the Creation, and every Mouth ſhall be ſtopped, and Confuſion ſeize the Fooliſh and the Ungodly ; their Fathers and Brethren ſhall give them no Aſſiſtance, nor their Pity and Compaſſion avail them any thing : When Vengeance, without Mercy, ſhall overtake them who have not ſhewed Mercy.  In that Day turn not thy Face from us, nor give up thine Inheritance to Eternal Torments.  Make us not Heirs of Darkneſs where there is no Light, nor alienate us from thy Fellowſhip ; do not deny us, and ſay, I know you not ; ſet us not on the Left-hand with thoſe who ſaw Thee hungry, and fed Thee not ; ſick, and viſited Thee not : But acknowledge us, and number us with thoſe who have done thy Will.  For theſe things thy People, thine Inheritance, make their Supplications to Thee, and by Thee to thy Father.

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