Jacques Goar: A Mediator between the Catholic Church and Greek Orthodox Teachings

Authored by Megan Duffy

Title Page of Goar, Jacques. 1730. Euchologion Sive Rituale Graecorum Complectens Ritus Et Ordines Divinae Liturgiae. 2nd ed. Venice: Bartholomaei Javarina.









Unlike many Catholic theologians during his time, Jacques Goar spent his life not only studying about the Greek Orthodox Church, but understanding how similar they are with the Catholic Church. All of these efforts resulted in his work, Euchologion sive rituale graecorum complectens ritus et ordines divinae liturgiae.

In 1629, a French Dominican priest named Jacques Goar wanted to improve his knowledge in the Greek language, and was sent to the St. Sebastian convent on the island of Chios in Greece (Knowles 1998, 131). He not only studied at the convent and its library, but traveled around the island to study in multiple libraries, attended masses, spoke in-depth with the clergy and became friendly with them (1998, 132). In his Preface, he states how he studied in Chios for eight years to fully educate himself so he could describe the similarities between the Greek and Latin Rites (Goar 1730, 3). This explains his method of writing the Greek Rites on one side with the Latin on the other.

On the page titled, Lectiones (Readings), he is describing the Liturgical readings one would hear from the Masses  (1730, 93). Here, he goes into great detail on what would be said, who would say it, the response, etc.

On the page titled, Laudum(Praises), there are specific praises that are required to be said at a specific time every day by the clergy (1730, 41). Each hour has its own praises, and this page in particular explains the praises said at the Seventh Hour, Eighth Hour, and Ninth Hour.

In his work, Goar covers everything from chants to prayers. As a result of his in-depth research and experiences, along with its format, the Euchologion sive rituale graecorum complectens ritus et ordines divinae liturgiae was unrivaled during his time (Dominican Resources 2012).

Goar’s intentions for producing this body of work was to demonstrate that the Latin and Greek Churches were not as different as they were made to believe. “…as he makes clear in his Preface, his main purpose is to present the Greek rite to his Latin readers in order to overcome Latin prejudice” (Newman 2009, 462). In many ways, Goar can be looked upon as an ambassador, someone who wanted to unify the similarities of the Churches, and not highlight the differences. His gift was to show that the two churches were in fact one church with two traditions (1998, 138).

If Jacques Goar was able to make such an impact on the Latin and Greek churches in his time, and still be studied to the present day, then it is possible for anyone to make a change. As he believed, churches, like people, are more similar than they believe they are, and he wanted to change that mentality with this book.



Cross, F L, and E A Livingstone, eds. 2005. “Jacques Goar.” The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Oxford University Press. http://www.oxfordreference.com.jerome.stjohns.edu:81/view/10.1093/acref/9780192802903.001.0001/acref-9780192802903-e-2921.

Domcentral. 2012. “The Seventeenth Century, An Age of Absolutism The Dominicans ~ A Short History.” Dominican Resources. August 18. http://opcentral.org/resources/2012/08/18/the-seventeenth-century-an-age-of-absolutism/.

Goar, Jacques. 1730. Euchologion Sive Rituale Graecorum Complectens Ritus Et Ordines Divinae Liturgiae.. Translated by Megan Duffy. 2nd ed. Venice: Bartholomaei Javarina.

Hucke, Helmut. 1980. “Toward a New Historical View of Gregorian Chant.” Journal of the American Musicological Society 33 (3): 437–67. doi:10.1525/jams.1980.33.3.03a00020.

Leclercq, Henri. 1909. “Jacques Goar.” Catholic Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06606c.htm.

Newman, Constantine. 2009. “In Vestitu Deaurato Circumdata Varietate. Some Observations on the Commentary of Jacques Goar, O.p., on the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom.” St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 53: 461–76.