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Source: Pentecost depicted in a Syriac ms. dating to 13 cent. at Deir al-Za`faran

Pentecost is the celebration of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles (Acts 2:1). It is celebrated on Sunday, the fiftieth day after Easter.

During the Liturgy, after the service of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a special service is held. The service is called in Syriac Syom Burke "kneeling". It consists of three parts: The first is addressed to the Father, the second to the Son and the third to the Holy Spirit. During this service a bowl with pure water and a bundle of walnut leaves are placed on the first step of the altar.

Each of the three parts commences with an opening prayer by the celebrant followed by hymns, other prayers and readings from the Scriptures. After a Litany, a deacon cries in a loud voice chanting, "Let us beseech the Lord and kneel down."

The celebrant then kneels before the altar and the clergy and the entire congregation do likewise. They gently touch one another's back with the tips of their fingers repeatedly alerting each other, as did the disciples at the time of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon them, to prepare themselves for the coming of the Comforter. The deacons and the people chant "Kyrie eleison" repeatedly while the celebrant recites a prayer silently. Once the celebrant is done with the silent prayer, he shouts aloud "Stand up by the power of God."

All the faithful stand up reverently in their respective places. Once of the deacons holds the bowl of water and stands at the right side of the celebrant. The celebrant takes the bundle of walnut leaves from the bowl and sprinkles crosswise the altar three times. Likewise, he sprinkles the clergy and the deacons. He then goes down from the sanctuary and sprinkles the congregation with the drops of water which signify the gifts of the Holy Spirit that descended upon the disciples in the Upper Room, encircling the congregation and returning to the sanctuary. While sprinkling, the priest chants "May the Holy Spirit come and descend upon each one of you."

Likewise, the second and third parts are performed. At the end, the celebrant offers a Hutomo "closing prayer."


Ma`de`dono: The Book of the Church Festivals (1984).

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Last Update: April 4, 1998