Byzantine Liturgical Hymnography: a Stumbling Stone for the Jewish-Orthodox Christian Dialogue?

Alexandru Ioniță 1
  • 1 Institute for Ecumenical Research, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Sibiu, Romania


This article discusses the role of Byzantine liturgical hymnography within the Jewish-Orthodox Christian dialogue. It seems that problematic anti-Jewish hymns of the Orthodox liturgy were often put forward by the Jewish side, but Orthodox theologians couldn’t offer a satisfactory answer, so that the dialogue itself profoundly suffered. The author of this study argues that liturgical hymnography cannot be a stumbling stone for the dialogue. Bringing new witnesses from several Orthodox theologians, the author underlines the need for a change of perspective. Then, beyond the intrinsic plea for the revision of the anti-Jewish texts, this article actually emphasizes the need to rediscover the Jewishness of the Byzantine liturgy and to approach the hymnography as an exegesis or even Midrash on the biblical texts and motives. As such, the anti-Jewish elements of the liturgy can be considered an impulse to a deeper analysis of Byzantine hymnography, which could be very fruitful for the Jewish-Christian Dialogue.

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