The Byzantine Rite known as the Greek Rite or Constantinopolitan Rite, is the liturgical rite used by the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Greek/Byzantine Catholic churches, in a modified form, Byzantine Rite Lutheranism. Its development began during the fourth century in Constantinople and it is now the second most-used ecclesiastical rite in Christendom after the Roman Rite; the Byzantine Rite was developed and used in Greek language and with introduction of Eastern Orthodoxy to other ethnic groups it was translated into local languages and continued further development. Most important non-Greek variants of Byzantine Rite are: Byzantine-Slavonic and Byzantine-Georgian; the rite consists of the divine liturgies, canonical hours, forms for the administration of sacred mysteries and the numerous prayers and exorcisms developed by the Church of Constantinople. Involved are the specifics of church architecture, liturgical music and traditions which have evolved over the centuries in the Eastern Orthodox Church and which are associated with this rite.
Traditionally, the congregation stands throughout the whole service, an iconostasis separates the sanctuary from the nave of the church. The faithful are active in their worship, making frequent bows and prostrations, feeling free to move about the temple during the services. Traditionally, the major clergy and monks neither shave nor cut their hair or beards. Scripture plays a large role in Byzantine worship, with not only daily readings but many quotes from the Bible throughout the services; the entire psalter is read each week, twice weekly during Great Lent. Fasting is stricter than in the Roman Rite. On fast days, the faithful give up not only meat, but dairy products, on many fast days they give up fish and the use of oil in cooking; the rite observes four fasting seasons: Great Lent, Nativity Fast, Apostles' Fast and Dormition Fast. In addition, most Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year are fast days and many monasteries observe Monday as a fast day. There are two ancient liturgical traditions from which all of the Eastern Rites developed: the Alexandrian Rite in Egypt and the Antiochene Rite in Syria.
These two Rites developed directly from practices of the Early Church. Of these two traditions, the Rite of Constantinople developed from the Antiochene Rite. Prior to the see of Constantinople's elevation to the dignity of patriarch by the Second Ecumenical Council in 381, the primary jurisdiction in Asia Minor was the Patriarchate of Antioch. With the council's elevation of Constantinople to primacy in the East, with the words "The Bishop of Constantinople... shall have the prerogative of honour after the Bishop of Rome. Because the Rite of Constantinople evolved as a synthesis of two distinct rites — cathedral rite of Constantinople called the "asmatiki akolouthia" and the monastic typicon of the Holy Lavra of Saint Sabbas the Sanctified near Jerusalem — its offices are developed and quite complex. Further developments continued to occur, centered around Constantinople and Mount Athos. Monasticism played an important role in the development of the rituals. In Constantinople, the work of the monastery of the Studion enriched the liturgical traditions with regard to the Lenten observance.
Iconography continued to develop and a canon of traditional patterns evolved which still influences Eastern religious art to this day. Historical events have influenced the development of the liturgy; the great Christological and Trinitarian controversies of Late Antiquity are reflected in the glorifications of the Trinity heard in the numerous ekphonies encountered during the services. In response to Nestorius' attack on giving the title of Theotokos to the Virgin Mary, the Byzantines increased the use of the term in the liturgy, now every string of hymns ends with one in her honour, called a theotokion. All liturgical rites develop over time; as new saints are canonized, new hymns are composed. The rite profits from the fact that the Christian East is not so centralized in ecclesiastical polity as the West; this allows for greater diversity, as members of one church visit another, a natural cross-pollination occurs with resultant enrichment on all sides. In spite of its great emphasis on tradition, the Byzantine Rite comprises a growing and expanding ritual, with room for local practice.
The tradition of the Church of Constantinople ascribes the older of its two main Divine Liturgies to St. Basil the Great, Metropolitan of Cæsarea in Cappadocia; this tradition is confirmed by the witness of several ancient authors, some of whom were contemporaries. It is certain that St. Basil made a reformation of the Liturgy of his Church, that the Byzantine service called after him represents his reformed Liturgy in its chief parts, although it has undergone further modification since his time. St. Basil himself speaks on several occasions of the changes he made in the services of Cæsarea. and other contemporary witnesses attest his arrangement of the services. Basil had as his goal the streamlining of the services to make them more cohesive and attractive to the faithful, he worked to reform the clergy and improve the moral life of Christians. He wrote a number of new prayers; the most important work attributed to him is the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil, he took as his basis the Liturgy of St. James as it was celebrated at his time in the r
Caesarea Maritima known as Caesarea Palestinae, was an ancient city in the Sharon plain on the coast of the Mediterranean, now in ruins and included in an Israeli national park. The city and harbour were built under Herod the Great during c. 22–10 BC near the site of a former Phoenician naval station known as Stratonos pyrgos named after the 4th century BC king of Sidon Strato I. It became the provincial capital of Roman Judea, Roman Syria Palaestina and Byzantine Palaestina Prima provinces; the city was populated throughout the 1st to 6th centuries AD and became an important early center of Christianity during the Byzantine period, but was abandoned following the Muslim conquest of 640. It was re-fortified by the Crusaders, slighted by the Mamluks in 1265; the name Caesarea was adopted into Arabic as Qaysaria قيسارية. The location was all but abandoned in 1800, it was re-developed into a fishing village by Bosniak Muslim immigrants after 1884, into a modern town after 1940, incorporated in 1977 as the municipality of Caesarea within Israel's Haifa District, about halfway between the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa.
The ruins of the ancient city, on the coast about 2 km south of modern Caesarea, were excavated in the 1950s and 1960s and the site was incorporated into the new Caesarea National Park in 2011. The site of the former Phoenician naval station was awarded to Herod the Great in 30 BC. Herod built his palace on a promontory jutting out into the sea, with a decorative pool surrounded by stoas, he went on to build a city, which he named in honour of his patron Caesar Augustus. In the year AD 6, Caesarea became the civilian and military capital of Iudaea Province and the official residence of the Roman procurator Antonius Felix, prefect Pontius Pilatus; this city is the location of the 1961 discovery of the Pilate Stone, the only archaeological item that mentions the Roman prefect Pontius Pilate, by whose order Jesus was crucified. It is that Pilate used it as a base, only went to Jerusalem when needed; the city was described in detail by the 1st-century Roman Jewish historian Flavius Josephus. Josephus describes the harbor as being as large as the one at the major harbor of Athens.
Remains of the principal buildings erected by Herod and the medieval town are still visible today, including the city walls, the castle and a Crusader cathedral and church. Caesarea grew becoming the largest city in Judea, with an estimated population of 125,000 over an urban area of 3.7 square kilometres. According to Josephus, Caesarea was the scene in AD 26 of a major act of civil disobedience to protest against Pilate's order to plant eagle standards on the Temple Mount of Jerusalem; the emperor Vespasian raised its status to that of a Colonia, with the name Colonia Prima Flavia Augusta Caesarea. According to Josephus, the outbreak of the Jewish revolt of AD 66 was provoked by Greeks of a certain merchant house in Caesarea sacrificing birds in front of a local synagogue. In AD 70, after the Jewish revolt was suppressed, games were held here to celebrate the victory of Titus. Many Jewish captives were brought to Caesarea Maritima. After the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, Caesarea became the provincial capital of the Judaea Province, before the change of name to Syria Palaestina in 135, in the aftermath of the Bar Kokhba revolt.
Caesarea was one of four Roman colonies for veterans in the Syria-Phoenicia region. Caesarea is mentioned with respect to its non-Jewish population; when it was built in the 1st century BC, Sebastos Harbor ranked as the largest artificial harbor built in the open sea, enclosing around 100,000 m2. King Herod built the two jetties of the harbor between 22 and 15 BC, in 10/9 BC he dedicated the city and harbor to Caesar; the pace of construction was impressive considering complexity. The breakwaters were made of lime and pozzolana, a type of volcanic ash, set into an underwater concrete. Herod imported over 24,000 m3 pozzolana from Pozzuoli, Italy, to construct the two breakwaters: the 500 meter long on the south and the 275 meter long on the north. A shipment of this size would have required at least 44 shiploads of 400 tons each. Herod had 12,000 m3 of kurkar quarried to make rubble and 12,000 m3 of slaked lime mixed with the pozzolana. Architects had to devise a way to lay the wooden forms for the placement of concrete underwater.
One technique was to drive stakes into the ground to make a box and fill it with pozzolana concrete bit by bit. However, this method required many divers to hammer the planks to the stakes underwater and large quantities of pozzolana were necessary. Another technique was a double planking method used in the northern breakwater. On land, carpenters would construct a box with beams and frames on the inside and a watertight, double-planked wall on the outside; this double wall was built with a 23 cm gap between the outer layer. Although the box had no bottom, it was buoyant enough to float out to sea because of the watertight space between the inner and outer walls. Once it was floated into position, pozzolana was poured into the gap between the walls and the box would sink into place on the seafloor and be staked down in the corners; the flooded inside area was filled by divers bit by bit with pozzolana-lime mortar and kurkar rubble until it rose above sea level. On the southern breakwater, barge construction was used.
The southern side of Sebastos was much more exposed than the northern side, requiring sturdier breakwaters
Hagia Sophia is the former Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal cathedral an Ottoman imperial mosque and now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. Built in 537 AD at the beginning of the Middle Ages, it was famous in particular for its massive dome, it was an engineering marvel of its time. It is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have "changed the history of architecture"; the Hagia Sophia construction consists of masonry. The structure is composed of mortar joints that are 1.5 times the width of the bricks. The mortar joints are composed of a combination of sand and minute ceramic pieces displaced evenly throughout the mortar joints; this combination of sand and ceramic pieces could be considered to be the equivalent of modern concrete at the time. From the date of its construction's completion in 537 until 1453, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted by the Fourth Crusaders to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire.
The building was converted into an Ottoman mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931. It was secularized and opened as a museum on 1 February 1935, it remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520. The current building was constructed as a church between 532 and 537 on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I and was the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site, the prior one having been destroyed by rioters in the Nika Revolt, it was designed by the Greek geometers Isidore of Anthemius of Tralles. The church was dedicated to the Wisdom of God, the Logos, the second person of the Trinity, its patronal feast taking place on 25 December, the commemoration of the birth of the incarnation of the Logos in Christ. Although sometimes referred to as Sancta Sophia, sophia being the phonetic spelling in Latin of the Greek word for wisdom, its full name in Greek is Ναός της Αγίας του Θεού Σοφίας, Naos tēs Hagias tou Theou Sophias, "Shrine of the Holy Wisdom of God".
The church contained a large collection of relics and featured, among other things, a 15-metre silver iconostasis. The focal point of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly one thousand years, the building witnessed the excommunication of Patriarch Michael I Cerularius communicated by Humbert of Silva Candida, the papal envoy of Pope Leo IX in 1054, an act, considered the start of the East–West Schism. In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Empire under Mehmed the Conqueror, who ordered this main church of Orthodox Christianity converted into a mosque. Although some parts of the city of Constantinople were falling into disrepair, the cathedral was maintained with an amount of money set aside for this purpose; the Christian cathedral made a strong impression on the new Ottoman rulers and they decided to convert it into a mosque. The bells, altar and other relics were destroyed and the mosaics depicting Jesus, his Mother Mary, Christian saints, angels were destroyed or plastered over.
Islamic features – such as the mihrab and four minarets – were added. It remained a mosque until 1931, it was re-opened in 1935 as a museum by the Republic of Turkey. Hagia Sophia was, as of 2014, the second-most visited museum in Turkey, attracting 3.3 million visitors annually. According to data released by the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry, Hagia Sophia was Turkey's most visited tourist attraction in 2015. From its initial conversion until the construction of the nearby Sultan Ahmed Mosque in 1616, it was the principal mosque of Istanbul; the Byzantine architecture of the Hagia Sophia served as inspiration for many other Ottoman mosques, such as the aforementioned mosque, the Şehzade Mosque, the Süleymaniye Mosque, the Rüstem Pasha Mosque and the Kılıç Ali Pasha Complex. On 24 March 2019, the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the Hagia Sophia is to be reverted to a mosque; the first church on the site was known as the Μεγάλη Ἐκκλησία, or in Latin Magna Ecclesia, because of its larger dimensions in comparison to the contemporary churches in the City.
Inaugurated on 15 February 360 by the Arian bishop Eudoxius of Antioch, it was built next to the area where the imperial palace was being developed. The nearby Hagia Eirene church was completed earlier and served as cathedral until the Great Church was completed. Both churches acted together as the principal churches of the Byzantine Empire. Writing in 440, Socrates of Constantinople claimed that the church was built by Constantius II, working on it in 346. A tradition, not older than the 7th or 8th century, reports that the edifice was built by Constantine the Great. Zonaras reconciles the two opinions, writing that Constantius had repaired the edifice consecrated by Eusebius of Nicomedia, after it had collapsed. Since Eusebius was bishop of Constantinople from 339 to 341, Constantine died in 337, it seems possible that the first church was erected by the latter; the edifice was built as a traditional Latin colonnaded basilica with a wooden roof. It was preceded by an atrium, it was claimed to be one of the world's most outstanding monuments at the time.
The Patriarch of Constantinople John
Politics of Greece
The politics of Greece takes place in a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Greece is the head of government, of a multi-party system. Legislative power is vested in the Hellenic Parliament. Between the restoration of democracy in 1974 and the Greek government-debt crisis the party system was dominated by the liberal-conservative New Democracy and the social-democratic Panhellenic Socialist Movement; the Judiciary is independent of the legislature. The Constitution of Greece, which describes Greece as a "presidential parliamentary republic", includes extensive specific guarantees of civil liberties and vests the powers of the head of state in a president elected by parliament; the Greek governmental structure is similar to that found in many other Western democracies, has been described as a compromise between the French and German models. The prime minister and cabinet play the central role in the political process, while the president perform some executive and legislative functions in addition to ceremonial duties.
Voting in Greece is not enforced. The Cabinet of Greece, the main organ of the government, includes the heads of all executive ministries, appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister; the President of the Republic is elected by the Parliament for a five-year term, a maximum of two terms in office. When a presidential term expires, Parliament votes to elect the new President. In the first two votes, a 2⁄3 majority is necessary; the third and final vote requires a 3⁄5 majority. If the third vote is fruitless, Parliament is dissolved and elections are proclaimed by the outgoing President within the next 30 days. In the new Parliament, the election for President is repeated with a 3/5 majority required for the initial vote, an absolute majority for the second one and a simple majority for the third and final one; the system is so designed as to promote consensus presidential candidates among the main political parties. The president has the power to declare war, to grant pardon and to conclude agreements of peace and participation in international organizations.
An absolute or a three-fifths majority is required in exceptional cases. The president can exercise certain emergency powers, which must be countersigned by the appropriate cabinet minister; the president may not dissolve parliament, dismiss the government, suspend certain articles of the constitution, issue a proclamation or declare a state of siege without countersigning by the prime minister or the appropriate cabinet minister. To call a referendum, he must obtain approval from parliament; the prime minister is elected by the Parliament and he or she is the leader of the party controlling the absolute majority of MPs. According to the Constitution, the prime minister safeguards the unity of the government and directs its activities, he or she is the most powerful person of the Greek political system and recommends ministers to the President for appointment or dismissal. Greek parliamentary politics hinge upon the principle of the "δεδηλωμένη", the "declared confidence" of Parliament to the Prime Minister and his/her administration.
This means that the President of the Republic is bound to appoint, as Prime Minister, a person who will be approved by a majority of the Parliament's members. With the current electoral system, it is the leader of the party gaining a plurality of the votes in the Parliamentary elections who gets appointed Prime Minister. An administration may at any time seek a "vote of confidence". Conversely a number of Members of Parliament may ask. Both are rare occurrences with predictable outcomes as voting outside the party line happens seldom. On 4 October 2009, George Papandreou, president of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement party and son and grandson of Prime Ministers, was elected as the new Prime Minister of Greece, following five years of government under New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis, the nephew of long-time Prime Minister and President Konstantinos Karamanlis. Greece elects a legislature by universal suffrage of all citizens over the age of 18; the Greek Parliament has 300 members, elected for a four-year term by a system of reinforced proportional representation in 48 multi-seat constituencies, 8 single-seat constituencies and a single nationwide list.
288 of the 300 seats are determined by constituency voting, voters may select the candidate or candidates of their choice by marking their name on the party ballot. The remaining 12 seats are filled from nationwide party lists on a top-down basis and based on the proportion of the total vote each party received. Greece uses a complex reinforced proportional representation electoral system which discourages splinter parties and makes a parliamentary majority possible if the leading party falls short of a majority of the popular vote. Under the current electoral law, any single party must receive at least a 3% nationwide vote tally in order to elect Members of Parliament; the largest party gets a 50-seat bonus ostensibly to ensure elections return viable governing majorities. The law in its current form favors the first past the post party to achieve an absolute majorit
Christians are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The words Christ and Christian derive from the Koine Greek title Christós, a translation of the Biblical Hebrew term mashiach. While there are diverse interpretations of Christianity which sometimes conflict, they are united in believing that Jesus has a unique significance; the term "Christian" is used as an adjective to describe anything associated with Christianity, or in a proverbial sense "all, noble, good, Christ-like."According to a 2011 Pew Research Center survey, there were 2.2 billion Christians around the world in 2010, up from about 600 million in 1910. By 2050, the Christian population is expected to exceed 3 billion. According to a 2012 Pew Research Center survey Christianity will remain the world's largest religion in 2050, if current trends continue. Today, about 37% of all Christians live in the Americas, about 26% live in Europe, 24% live in sub-Saharan Africa, about 13% live in Asia and the Pacific, 1% live in the Middle East and North Africa.
About half of all Christians worldwide are Catholic. Orthodox communions comprise 12% of the world's Christians. Other Christian groups make up the remainder. Christians make up the majority of the population in territories. 280 million Christians live as a minority. Christians have made noted contributions to a range of fields, including the sciences, politics and business. According to 100 Years of Nobel Prizes, a review of Nobel prizes awarded between 1901 and 2000 reveals that of Nobel Prizes laureates identified Christianity in its various forms as their religious preference; the Greek word Χριστιανός, meaning "follower of Christ", comes from Χριστός, meaning "anointed one", with an adjectival ending borrowed from Latin to denote adhering to, or belonging to, as in slave ownership. In the Greek Septuagint, christos was used to translate the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ, meaning " anointed." In other European languages, equivalent words to Christian are derived from the Greek, such as Chrétien in French and Cristiano in Spanish.
The abbreviations Xian and Xtian have been used since at least the 17th century: Oxford English Dictionary shows a 1634 use of Xtianity and Xian is seen in a 1634-38 diary. The word Xmas uses a similar contraction; the first recorded use of the term is in the New Testament, in Acts 11:26, after Barnabas brought Saul to Antioch where they taught the disciples for about a year, the text says: " the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." The second mention of the term follows in Acts 26:28, where Herod Agrippa II replied to Paul the Apostle, "Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." The third and final New Testament reference to the term is in 1 Peter 4:16, which exhorts believers: "Yet if as a Christian, let him not be ashamed. The city of Antioch, where someone gave them the name Christians, had a reputation for coming up with such nicknames; however Peter's apparent endorsement of the term led to its being preferred over "Nazarenes" and the term Christianoi from 1 Peter becomes the standard term in the Early Church Fathers from Ignatius and Polycarp onwards.
The earliest occurrences of the term in non-Christian literature include Josephus, referring to "the tribe of Christians, so named from him. In the Annals he relates that "by vulgar appellation called Christians" and identifies Christians as Nero's scapegoats for the Great Fire of Rome. Another term for Christians which appears in the New Testament is "Nazarenes". Jesus is named as a Nazarene in Math 2:23, while Saul-Paul is said to be Nazarene in Acts 24:5; the latter verse makes it clear that Nazarene referred to the name of a sect or heresy, as well as the town called Nazareth. The term Nazarene was used by the Jewish lawyer Tertullus which records that "the Jews call us Nazarenes." While around 331 AD Eusebius records that Christ was called a Nazoraean from the name Nazareth, that in earlier centuries "Christians" were once called "Nazarenes". The Hebrew equivalent of "Nazarenes", occurs in the Babylonian Talmud, is still the modern Israeli Hebrew term for Christian. A wide range of beliefs and practices are found across the world among those who call themselves Christian.
Denominations and sects disagree on a common definition of "Christianity". For example, Timothy Beal notes the disparity of beliefs among those who identify as Christians in the United States as follows: Although all of them have their historical roots in Christian theology and tradition, although most would identify themselves as Christian, many would not identify others within the larger category as Christian. Most Baptists and fundamentalists, for example, would not acknowledge Mormonism or Christian Science as Christian. In fact, the nearly 77 percent of Americans who self-identify as Christian are a diverse pluribus of Christianities that are far from any collective unity. Linda Woodhead attempts to provide a common belief thread for Christians by noting that "Whatever else they might disagree about, Christians are at least united
Syria the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon to the southwest, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, Israel to the southwest. A country of fertile plains, high mountains, deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Syrian Arabs, Armenians, Kurds, Circassians and Turks. Religious groups include Sunnis, Alawites, Isma'ilis, Shiites, Salafis and Jews. Sunni make up the largest religious group in Syria. Syria is a unitary republic consisting of 14 governorates and is the only country that politically espouses Ba'athism, it is a member of one international organization other than the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement. In English, the name "Syria" was synonymous with the Levant, while the modern state encompasses the sites of several ancient kingdoms and empires, including the Eblan civilization of the 3rd millennium BC. Aleppo and the capital city Damascus are among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
In the Islamic era, Damascus was the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt. The modern Syrian state was established in mid-20th century after centuries of Ottoman and a brief period French mandate, represented the largest Arab state to emerge from the Ottoman-ruled Syrian provinces, it gained de-jure independence as a parliamentary republic on 24 October 1945, when Republic of Syria became a founding member of the United Nations, an act which ended the former French Mandate – although French troops did not leave the country until April 1946. The post-independence period was tumultuous, a large number of military coups and coup attempts shook the country in the period 1949–71. In 1958, Syria entered a brief union with Egypt called the United Arab Republic, terminated by the 1961 Syrian coup d'état; the republic was renamed into the Arab Republic of Syria in late 1961 after December 1 constitutional referendum, was unstable until the 1963 Ba'athist coup d'état, since which the Ba'ath Party has maintained its power.
Syria was under Emergency Law from 1963 to 2011 suspending most constitutional protections for citizens. Bashar al-Assad has been president since 2000 and was preceded by his father Hafez al-Assad, in office from 1971 to 2000. Since March 2011, Syria has been embroiled in an armed conflict, with a number of countries in the region and beyond involved militarily or otherwise; as a result, a number of self-proclaimed political entities have emerged on Syrian territory, including the Syrian opposition, Tahrir al-Sham and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Syria is ranked last on the Global Peace Index, making it the most violent country in the world due to the war, although life continues for most of its citizens as of December 2017; the war caused more than 470,000 deaths, 7.6 million internally displaced people and over 5 million refugees, making population assessment difficult in recent years. Several sources indicate that the name Syria is derived from the 8th century BC Luwian term "Sura/i", the derivative ancient Greek name: Σύριοι, Sýrioi, or Σύροι, Sýroi, both of which derived from Aššūrāyu in northern Mesopotamia.
However, from the Seleucid Empire, this term was applied to The Levant, from this point the Greeks applied the term without distinction between the Assyrians of Mesopotamia and Arameans of the Levant. Mainstream modern academic opinion favours the argument that the Greek word is related to the cognate Ἀσσυρία, Assyria derived from the Akkadian Aššur; the Greek name appears to correspond to Phoenician ʾšr "Assur", ʾšrym "Assyrians", recorded in the 8th century BC Çineköy inscription. The area designated by the word has changed over time. Classically, Syria lies at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, between Arabia to the south and Asia Minor to the north, stretching inland to include parts of Iraq, having an uncertain border to the northeast that Pliny the Elder describes as including, from west to east, Commagene and Adiabene. By Pliny's time, this larger Syria had been divided into a number of provinces under the Roman Empire: Judaea renamed Palaestina in AD 135 in the extreme southwest.
Since 10,000 BC, Syria was one of the centers of Neolithic culture where agriculture and cattle breeding appeared for the first time in the world. The following Neolithic period is represented by rectangular houses of Mureybet culture. At the time of the pre-pottery Neolithic, people used vessels made of stone and burnt lime. Finds of obsidian tools from Anatolia are evidences of early trade relations. Cities of Hamoukar and Emar played an important role during Bronze Age. Archaeologists have demonstrated that civilization in Syria was one of the most ancient on earth preceded by only those of Mesopotamia; the earliest recorded in
The Last Supper is the final meal that, in the Gospel accounts, Jesus shared with his Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper is commemorated by Christians on Maundy Thursday; the Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist known as "Holy Communion" or "The Lord's Supper". The First Epistle to the Corinthians contains the earliest known mention of the Last Supper; the four canonical Gospels all state that the Last Supper took place towards the end of the week, after Jesus's triumphal entry into Jerusalem and that Jesus and his Apostles shared a meal shortly before Jesus was crucified at the end of that week. During the meal Jesus predicts his betrayal by one of the Apostles present, foretells that before the next morning, Peter will deny knowing him; the three Synoptic Gospels and the First Epistle to the Corinthians include the account of the institution of the Eucharist in which Jesus takes bread, breaks it and gives it to the Apostles, saying "This is my body given to you".
The Gospel of John does not include this episode, but tells of Jesus washing the feet of the Apostles, giving the new commandment "to love one another as I have loved you", has a detailed farewell discourse by Jesus, calling the Apostles who follow his teachings "friends and not servants", as he prepares them for his departure. Scholars have looked to the Last Supper as the source of early Christian Eucharist traditions. Others see the account of the Last Supper as derived from 1st-century eucharistic practice as described by Paul in the mid-50s; the term "Last Supper" does not appear in the New Testament, but traditionally many Christians refer so to the event. Many Protestants use the term "Lord's Supper", stating that the term "last" suggests this was one of several meals and not the meal; the term "Lord's Supper" refers both to the biblical event and the act of "Holy Communion" and Eucharistic celebration within their liturgy. Evangelical Protestants use the term "Lord's Supper", but most do not use the terms "Eucharist" or the word "Holy" with the name "Communion".
The Eastern Orthodox use the term "Mystical Supper" which refers both to the biblical event and the act of Eucharistic celebration within liturgy. The Russian Orthodox use the term "Secret Supper"; the last meal that Jesus shared with his disciples is described in all four canonical Gospels. This meal became known as the Last Supper; the Last Supper was a retelling of the events of the last meal of Jesus among the early Christian community, became a ritual which recounted that meal. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians, written before the Gospels, includes a reference to the Last Supper but emphasizes the theological basis rather than giving a detailed description of the event or its background; the overall narrative, shared in all Gospel accounts that leads to the Last Supper is that after the Triumphal entry into Jerusalem early in the week, encounters with various people and the Jewish elders and his disciples share a meal towards the end of the week. After the meal, Jesus is betrayed, arrested and crucified.
Key events in the meal are the preparation of the disciples for the departure of Jesus, the predictions about the impending betrayal of Jesus, the foretelling of the upcoming denial of Jesus by Apostle Peter. In Matthew 26:24–25, Mark 14:18–21, Luke 22:21–23 and John 13:21–30 during the meal, Jesus predicted that one of his Apostles would betray him. Jesus is described as reiterating, despite each apostle's assertion that he would not betray Jesus, that the betrayer would be one of those who were present, saying that there would be "woe to the man who betrays the Son of man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."In Matthew 26:23–25 and John 13:26–27, Judas is identified as the traitor. In the Gospel of John, when asked about the traitor, Jesus states: It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him; the three Synoptic Gospel accounts give somewhat different versions of the order of the meal.
In chapter 26 of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus prays thanks for the bread, divides it, hands the pieces of bread to his disciples, saying "Take, this is my body." In the meal Jesus takes a cup of wine, offers another prayer, gives it to those present, saying "Drink from it, all of you. I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom." In chapter 22 of the Gospel of Luke, the wine is blessed and distributed before the bread, followed by the bread by a second, larger cup of wine, as well as somewhat different wordings. Additionally, according to Paul and Luke, he tells the disciples "do this in remembrance of me." This event has been regarded by Christians of most denominations as the institution of the Eucharist. There is recorded celebration of the Eucharist by the early Christian community in Jerusalem; the institution of the Eucharist is recorded in the three Synoptic Gospels and in Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians.
As noted above, Jesus's words differ in each account. In addition, Luke 22:19b–20 is a disputed text which does not appear in some of the early manuscripts of Luke; some scholars, believe that it is an interpolation, while others have argue