Source: Orthodox Theological Society in America
Join us for an online conversation as we begin to assess and tackle anti-Jewish hymns within the Byzantine rite of the Orthodox Church.
Registration is free and open to the public. Click “Request Tickets” below to register.
The issue of anti-Jewish texts within the Byzantine rite is longstanding and complex. The Orthodox Theological Society in America is establishing a working group of liturgical scholars and specialists in Jewish-Christian theological dialogue to study and make recommendations for liturgical renewal within the Orthodox Church.
To launch this endeavor, and in advance of this year’s Holy Week, a time when many of these anti-Jewish hymns are most prominent, our panelists will introduce some of the main issues involved and suggest some practical advice that can be implemented in local parish usage.
Sunday, 2 April, 3 pm to 5 pm ET (Zoom videoconference)
- Fr Geoffrey Ready, chair
- Dr George Demacopoulos
- Fr Dcn Michael Azar
- Svetlana Panich
You are invited to read and reflect on the following articles ahead of the seminar. The panelists will be referring to these materials during the presentations and discussion:
- “Anti-Jewish Rhetoric in Byzantine Hymnography: Exegetical and Theological Contextualization,” by Bogdan G. Bucur, from St Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 61:1 (2017):39-60
- “Anti-Judaism in the Present-Day Byzantine Liturgy” by Bert Groen, from The Journal of Eastern Christian Studies 60 (2008) 369-387
- “Prophetic Matrix and Theological Paradox: Jews and Judaism in the Holy Week and Pascha Observances of the Greek Orthodox Church,” by Michael G. Azar, from Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations 10 (2015):1-27
The following web page on the Greek Archdiocese of America website also provides some helpful resources relating to this conversation: Responding to Antisemitism
Fr Geoffrey Ready, chair
Fr Geoffrey is the director of Orthodox Christian Studies at Trinity College, University of Toronto, where he teaches liturgical theology, pastoral studies, and both Old and New Testament. His research interests include the narrative of God and Israel in the Orthodox liturgy, second Temple Judaism and Jewish-Christian origins, the “parting of the ways,” and Orthodox Christian theological dialogue with Judaism today.
Dr George Demacopoulos
George is Fr John Meyendorff & Patterson Family Chair of Orthodox Christian Studies at Fordham University. He is Co-Founding Director of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center and Co-Founding Editor of the Journal of Orthodox Christian Studies. His presentation on the “Anti-Jewish Rhetoric in the Good Friday Hymns” at the recent OTSA conference in Volos, Greece – which he will present again during this online event – was the catalyst for the establishment of the new working group on anti-Jewish hymns in the Orthodox liturgy.
Fr Dcn Michael Azar
Fr Dcn Michael is Associate Professor of Theology/Religious Studies at the University of Scranton. His current book project (tentatively titled, Orthodox Christianity and the Reframing of Jewish-Christian Relations) focuses on ancient and modern Christian-Jewish interaction, particularly in light of Orthodox Christian hermeneutics and historic presence in the Holy Land. His other scholarly pursuits focus on New Testament studies, especially apocalyptic thought and the “parting of the ways,” as well as the effects that contemporary sociopolitical policies have on scholarly understandings of the ancient world.
Svetlana has worked as a journalist, a coordinator for the Association of Christian Schools International, a researcher at the Institute of Jewish Studies and the Centre of European Studies in Humanities of the National University “Kiev-Mohyla Academy,” a lecturer in Literature at St. Andrew’s Biblical Theological Institute, and as a researcher at the Alexander Solzhenitsyn Centre of Russian Emigré Studies.
The Orthodox hymnology of Holy Week only reiterates what the Gospels say. No need to change anything. The truth, is the truth, is the truth.
I hope this is actually addressed, especially with the rise of anti-Semitism around the world yet again. I see those passages in the liturgy and wonder how they can still be in there.
Because we don’t change, it makes people in modern society feel uncomfortable
Why should passages that are or support the Gospels offensive? The Jewish leaders conspired with their Roman rulers to have Jesus put to death. Why is the truth offensive? Maybe to those who love lies.
You are correct. This topic is a perfect example of an answer in search of a problem. Enough of these calls for “dialogue” on the part of ultra-modernists like Demacopoulos, who never cease to find some facet of church tradition that needs to be watered down or jettisoned, so that we can turn Orthodoxy into some sort of Eastern Rite Anglicanism or Lutheranism. And pray tell, if we’re going to change Holy Week texts so that Jewish sensibilities aren’t offended, will this same crew go and ask Jews to revise the Talmud to remove references to Jesus boiling in excrement in Hell and pejoratives about Christians? I think we all know the answer to that question.
This response, like that of Nikolai’s, is shameful and unconscionable. It may be “Orthodox” but it’s definitely not Christian.
P.S. If you’re familiar with the Talmud, please site chapter and verse of the referred references to Jesus.
With all due respect, you may want to walk back some of your caustic comments. The counter missionary group Jews for Judaism claims the Gospel of John is the most anti- semitic book in the Bible. Our Lord Jesus Christ had some very critical comments directed toward the scribes and Pharisees, even accusing them of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. A lot of these accusations about anti- semitism are from the Anti- Defamation League, a group that carries very little credibility in the mainstream. In fact, there are many people who say they should be registered foreign agents of the Likud Party of the Israeli government. The Palestinian Christians and Muslims have been greatly suffering from the state of Israel’s apartheid government. The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem and all the other churches have bitterly complained about the abuse they suffer on a daily basis by the settler Israelis. The highly respected and prestigious organization Amnesty International has declared that some Palestinians appear to have been killed in acts that amount to extrajudicial executions , which constitute a crime under international law. Don’t forget there is no dual covenant. St. Paul makes that crystal clear throughout his writings in the New Testament.
This response is shameful and unconscionable. It may be “Orthodox” but it’s definitely not Christian.
Look Peter, the Truth in the Gospels does not and should not be changed because some group is offended. Is the Truth always the Truth? Of course it is…
First of all the new definition of antisemitism is taken from the International Holocaust Remembrance Association on antisemitism. It is overly broad and all encompassing , making the Jewish people impervious to just about any criticism. In my opinion, a person can criticize the state of Israel all day along without any antisemitism whatsoever. Let’s face it; Benjamin Netanyahu is a criminal, corrupt , evil thug. Having said all this many of the aforementioned hymns are antisemitic, and should be changed. Can we remember this? On the day of Pentecost, St. Peter absolved the Jewish people of deicide , and many became believers in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He said they put the Lord of glory to death through ignorance. When Christ called the scribes and pharisees a “brood of vipers, etc,, it was directed only toward the generation of Jewish rulers and leaders who rejected Him. None of that applies now. As far as the unbelieving Jews having Jerusalem as their capital, Christ made it clear when He wept over Jerusalem. “you will not see again until you say “Baruch Ha’ Ba B’Shem Adonai.” They haven’t recognized the Lord Jesus yet, therefore they can’t control Jerusalem.