Liturgy and Byzantinization in Jerusalem

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Daniel Galadza
Oxford Early Christian Studies
  • New York, NY: 
    Oxford University Press
    , February
     432 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


In the outstanding Liturgy and Byzantinization in Jerusalem, Daniel Galadza examines the liturgical rites of Jerusalem and how, during the period of Arab conquest (638-1187), the local liturgy gradually became “byzantinized”—adopting the liturgy of Constantinople over its own. Presented in the first paragraph of the introduction, the purpose of this book is “to investigate the Christian liturgy of Jerusalem and to understand how its indigenous Rite was supplanted by another tradition, the Byzantine rite” (1). Galadza’s text is the first to attempt to describe this shift and, more importantly, to explain it. The author takes up this difficult task by acting as a liturgical detective, thoroughly and diligently plowing through the available sources in a variety of languages and mapping out (as much as the available sources allow) the process of byzantinization of the Jerusalem liturgy. 

In the introduction, Galadza provides a detailed overview on the topic of the byzantinization of Hagiopolite Liturgy, offers an excellent setting of the parameters of the subject, and demonstrates the organized scope of his work. In chapter 1, Galadza provides a framework for this study with a comprehensive summary of the liturgical tradition of Byzantine Jerusalem through the available sources—Appendix 1 is an extremely valuable resource with its presentation of the manuscript evidence. Chapter 2, on the Historical Contexts of Byzantinization, offers a synopsis of the historical events within the scope of the chronological and geographical boundaries set by the author. Part 2 is the heart of the work and includes: chapters 3 (on the Liturgy of James), 4 (on the Liturgical Calendar of Jerusalem), and 5 (on the Jerusalem Lectionary System). Each are extremely valuable case studies for documenting, mapping, and explaining the process of byzantinization of the Hagiopolite Liturgy. 

In part 2, Galadza demonstrates his knowledge and use of the sources, critical acumen, and analytical and synthetic ability, as well as his significant contributions to the subject. He is the first to systematically examine the Eucharistic Liturgy of Jerusalem (JAS), its Lectionary and its Liturgical Year and their inter-relation, and identify in each those key elements that allows one to track the process of Byzantinization of Hagiopolite Liturgy. For example, the author demonstrates the key relationship between JAS, the Jerusalem lectionary, and the Jerusalem hymnography, and how the demise of the Jerusalem lectionary and hymnography led to the gradual disappearance of JAS, a result of “internal liturgical development and evolution” and not “external historical events” (218) as is generally believed. The detailed examination of the liturgical year is important as a Hagiopolite “stamp” can be found on every liturgical tradition. Additionally, in this part Galadza provides insight into aspects of the Jerusalem calendar—such as the beginning of the liturgical year, weekly cycle of commemorations, feasts of James and Stephen, just to mention a few—but through his analysis he is able to classify the sources into the three categories (with subcategories) of Hagiopolite, transitional, and Constantinopolitan, thereby tracing the process of byzantinization. The chapter on the Lectionary system of Jerusalem demonstrates the local character of its lectionary, highlighting unique theological themes for particular days reflected in the hymnography and also how, in the process of Byzantinization, the material was re-organized in such a way that “some of its constitutive elements were preserved or adapted in other forms” (349). Finally, Galadza’s conclusion is not just a summary of the chapters but points forward to new venues of research. 

Liturgy and Byzantinization in Jerusalem is destined to become a standard reference to any work on Hagiopolite Liturgy and the beginning point for any further research in the liturgical tradition of Jerusalem. It is of great value for liturgists and historians of Jerusalem as liturgy—the ritual expression of faith—was (and is) so central to the life of Christians in the Holy City of Jerusalem. Moreover, this study will be of interest to the non-specialist given the importance of Jerusalem to Christianity, as well as Judaism and Islam, and its location and proximity to current events in the Middle East which continue to affect the shrinking Christian population.

About the Reviewer(s): 

Stefanos Alexopoulos is Associate Professor of Liturgical Studies and Sacramental Theology at the Catholic University of America.

Date of Review: 
February 25, 2019
About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Daniel Galadza is Assistant Professor in the Department for Historical Theology at the University of Vienna. His research interests include Church History, Orthodox Christianity, and Byzantine Studies.


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