Mar Yakoub Burdhono, the sculptor of the Syrian Orthodox Church
- MAR YAKOUB BURDHONO, the sculptor of the Syrian
Syrian Orthodox Christians are really very proud to
bear the nickname 'Jacobites' as the name lends to the
most powerful and magnanimous figure in the history of
the Syrian Orthodox Church. Each of its members is
delighted to hear this name being called. The name
Jacobites were given to us as a nickname because we
were the followers of Mar Yakoub Burdhono. As we
celebrate the 'dukhrono' of our church's most
important and the most eminent Bishop on Nov.28, I
would like to share you some facts about this name and
other important incidents associated with the name
Jacob and our Holy Church.
The Syrian Orthodox Church has three very important
Jacobs, not withstanding the numerous others who have
sacrificed their entire life to the Holy Church, which
is the body of the Son of God.
The first one is Jacob, the Great, the man in the Old
Testament, son of Isaac. When we think of Jacob, the
Great in relation to church, we see that this Jacob
symbolically showed the inception of Church and laid
the baseline foundation of it. Jacob saw in his dream
angels ascending and descending the ladder to Heaven.
Upon awakening, he erected a stone, consecrated oil
upon it and offered sacrifice to God. This way he
symbolized the great sacrifice and inception of Holy
Church. This Old Testament incident was not a miracle;
rather it was the will of God.
The second most prominent character with the name
Jacob who comes into picture is Jacob, the brother of
Jesus Christ. He was not among the Apostles. He was
blood related to Jesus and so he got the opportunity
to celebrate the Holy Mass first. Our Lord himself
taught him the liturgy, now called as Anaphora of Mar
Yakoub. (St: John the Apostle who was the most pious
and celibate man among the Apostles got only a second
chance in celebrating the Holy Mass!).Jacob (Mar
Yakoub) later said, "I have neither added nor omitted
anything to it (the Anaphora)". This anaphora or the
Divine Liturgy is still used by Syrian Christians
without omitting or adding anything to it till now.
And in fact we are the only Christians in the world
who offer the Holy Mass as taught by our Lord Jesus
Christ. In this way Jacob, the brother of Jesus
revealed the real principle, which was only symbolized
by Jacob, the Great. This incident was not a miracle;
rather it was the will of God.
The third and the last prominent character with the
name of Jacob is Mar Yakoub Burdhono, who can be
rightly called as the sculptor of the modern Syrian
Orthodox Church .The church's base line was laid down
by Jacob, the Great symbolically. Our Lord himself
built it upon the great rock. St: Peter. St: Peter for
us is a synonym for the true faith and upon the true
faith church was built. Gates of hell can never
overturn it. And this was shown by the coming of Mar
Yakoub Burdhono to the forefront of the Syrian
Orthodox Church. Because the Church had truth in it,
the powers of hell couldn't defeat it and Mar Yakoub
Burdhono was raised from Constantinople when Church
was in severe trouble.
There was truth in the Son of God and that's why the
Jews became envious and they insulted and persecuted
our Lord. Because there was truth in our Church, it is
being persecuted for various reasons all over the
world. Because there is truth in our Church, we were
insulted being called upon as Jacobites. But it was
the will of God, to name it like that and we are proud
now being called so. So great is the value of the name
Jacob as we have seen above with regard to the various
names in the Church history.
In my opinion, Mar Yakoub Burdhono should be called as
the sculptor of modern Syrian Orthodox Church. The
Church that was created by our Lord and served by
Apostles was mutilated by persecutions under the
influence of Satan. The mutilated church was given a
new shining and powerful face by God through the hands
of mar Yakoub Burdhono.
Let's pray to God to give us more efficient hands to
protect the Holy Church form persecutors.
Let's intercede to Mar Yakoub Burdhono to give power
to our Holy Church's leaders.
Let's intercede to him to give strength and ability to
our beloved HH Patriarch and HB Thomas I Catholicose
to cruise the sea of turbulence.
Let's pray for our Church.
Let's keep a vow that we will never allow anyone to
mutilate the face of our Church that was nurtured and
nourished by Holy Fathers and Saints
Mar Yakoub Burdhono pray for us
(Ref: "Jacobites" written by Late Lamented Sleeba Mor
Osthathios Bava entombed at Kunnamkulam).
Dr. PAUL SAMUEL
St: Peters Jacobite Syrian Simhasana church