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In the liturgical literature of the Church of East (the so-called Nestorian), the Wardā collection, meant for the liturgical performance at night services on the festival days and Sundays of the whole liturgical year, holds a special place. Strophic hymns – ʿōnītā (pl. ʿōnyātā) – contained in the collection are still a part of the liturgy of the East Syrian Church. Altogether, the collection comprises more than 120 hymns, most of which are ascribed to Gīwargīs Wardā (13th century), who is the eponym of this book. According to their content, the hymns can be divided into five categories: exegetic, hagiographic, apocryphal narratives, describing historical events and calamities, dedicated to other subjects.
The first part of the book is a detailed study of the textual, poetical and historical peculiarities of the Wardā collection. Ist evolution stages and the main types have been reconstructed. A special chapter focuses on the position of this book in Syriac church literature and defines ist main sources. The second part represents a critical edition of 35 hymns from the Wardā collection according to the existing manuscripts, including English translations. Many of these hymns have been translated for the first time.