Thekso (Thaksa) and Stand for Thekso

Published by Jacob P Varghese on

The Thekso (Thaksa) is the text of the liturgy for the Eucharist celebration or the Liturgy or liturgical book or the book of Eucharistic rite, used by celebrant in the Holy Qurbana. It originates from the Greek word ‘Taxsis’ meaning ‘rite’ or ‘text’. The most original, ancient, and venerable one is St. James. The Thaksa is usually placed on the Altar, on the right side of the Celebrant, on a special stand, commonly called Thaksa Stand. The Thaksa should not be leather bound as no animal matter is allowed on the Thronos.

Thaksa, We have 70 to 80 liturgical versions written by different Holy Fathers, out of which, only 13 are used by us and that too, very few are translated into Malayalam. The earliest liturgical version is the one codified by St. James himself, ‘the brother of our Lord, and the first bishop of Jerusalem. St. James was the first to celebrant the Holy Eucharist, in the upper room; Sehion Malika. The oral form of St. James version was not elaborate. It took the written form only by 3rd century. During 4th century almost the present form was accepted. The original Thaksa of St. James, written in Greek, was translated into Syriac in the fifth century. This liturgy was revised in the 8th century by Jacob of Edessa and is the lengthiest of almost all available ones, even though the prayers in it were condensed by Bar Hebraeus, the famous Syriac Scholar and the Catholicos of the East in the 13th century. The Thaksa of St. James is used on occasions like the first Holy Qurbana celebrated by a priest, Consecration of a Church, Ordination service, and Maranaya festivals (festivals relating to our Lord).

The Malankara Orthodox Church initially used the Persian liturgy introduced by St. Thomas. But this was gradually replaced by the West Syrian liturgy, in the 17th century. All the Anaphoras follow the structure of Saint James liturgy, though the wording differs considerably. Only the Holy Church has the right to alter the liturgy. St. James’ Anaphora which was born in Jerusalem was accepted in Syria, Armenia, Georgia, Russia, Greece, Egypt etc. In Byzantine Churches, especially in Greece and Constantinople, St. James was used for centuries. However, today their preference is for the Thaksa of St. John Chrysostom, and they rarely use the St. James text. Besides the liturgy of St. James, five other liturgies are com­monly used in the Malankara Orthodox Church. They are:
1. Anaphora of Mar Dionysius Jacob Bar Slibi.
2. Anaphora of Mar Ivanios.
3. Anaphora of St. John, the Evangelist.
4. Anaphora of Mar Mathai Royo.
5. Anaphora of Mar Xystus.

It must be said that the Thaksa of St. John the Evangelist and St. Mathai Royo, contain some of the beautiful prayers in the Holy Liturgy. Various Thaksas has been translated Syriac into Malayalam. The liturgy of the Holy Eu­charist has translations in English, Hindi, Tamil, Kanada, Konkani, German etc.  

Various Translations in India
Metropolitan Mathews Mar Athanasius (HH Baselius Mar Thoma Mathews I) translated St. James’ Thaksa into English language; HG Paulos Mar Gregorios translated the Thaksa of St. John Chrysostom into English; HG Zachariah Mar Dionysius translated into Tamil language with the help of a few Tamil scholars. Dr. N. J. Thomas Ramban (Mount Tabor Dayara, Pathnapuram), into Kannada and Konkani. Prof K. M. Kuriakose (former Principal of St. Mary’s College, Pazhanji), as directed by Metropolitan Stephanos Mar Theodosius, translated the Taksa into Hindi language. Fr. Dr. K. M. George (formerly Principal, Orthodox Theological Seminary) has celebrated Holy Qurbana in French; and Fr. Dr. Reji Mathew (former Principal, St. Thomas Orthodox Seminary, Nagpur) in German.

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