Skip to comments.The Orthodox Divine Liturgy, the Roman Catholic Mass and the Anglican Eucharist...
Posted on 10/09/2005 5:53:17 PM PDT by sionnsar
In the Orthodox Church there are four Eucharistic Liturgies used. The most common is the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, the liturgy used on all Sundays except those which fall during the Great Lent, and all holy days on which a eucharistic liturgy is served except for the eves of Pascha, Christmas and Theophany, Holy Thursday, and the feastday of St. Basil the Great (January 1). The Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, used on the Sundays of Great Lent, Holy Thursday, the Eves of Pascha, Christmas, and Theophany, and the Feast of St. Basil the Great. The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts which is actually an extended Vespers service at which Holy Communion which was consecrated on the previous Sunday is distributed. The Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts is used during weekdays of Great Lent when the full celebration of the Eucharistic liturgy is prohibited. The Liturgy of St. James, is served only in certain places on the feast day of St. James the "Brother of the Lord" and first Bishop of Jerusalem.
The differences between the Liturgy of St Chrysostom and St Basil are (from the perspective of doctrine, structure and content) minimal; and the very rarely used Liturgy of St James is similar to both. Further, what the Orthodox Churches decree and permit has remained the same for centuries and there is no sign of change in 2005.
Not too long ago the Roman Catholic Church had one basic structure and content of the Mass (so-called Tridentine form) and also allowed other ancient Rites (e.g., that of Milan and those of the Orthodox tradition [see above] in the Eastern churches under the Roman See).
Likewise not too long ago the Anglican family of Churches had one basic structure and content of the Eucharist (from the classic BCP of 1662 ) and with this were minimal variations of style, content and ceremonial, as required by local culture or by churchmanship.
Since Vatican II in the mid-1960s, the Roman Catholic Church has multiplied its offering of Liturgies for the Mass in its own Sacramentary. Now there are four basic ones and at least another eight possibilities.
Also since the 1960s, the Anglican Churches (primarily of the West/North) have multiplied their offering of Texts for the Eucharist so that there have been hundreds authorized by Synods in the last forty years or so. Of these many have been discarded for there is a continual stream of new ones being produced.
It is said that that which binds the modern RC and Anglican varied Rites together is that they each have a common structure with common elements. In the case of Rome, there is also a reasonable claim of a minimal common doctrine as well; but, in the case of the massive Anglican variety, it is most difficult to find within the usual common structure (the sandwich of the Ministry of the Word, the Peace, and the Ministry of the Sacrament) a common doctrine of The Holy Trinity, the Person and Work of Christ & the Nature of the Sacrament. This is highly regrettable for common structure/shape cannot be a substitute for common doctrine. (Even with the Creed, Commandments and Lords Prayer different translations or paraphrases are used!)
Thus it is that serious-minded Christians ask:
Why is it that some modern Christians require so much variety in that which is the central Service to God and for man of the Christian Church? What did Roman Catholics and Anglicans lack in terms of sacramental worship and grace before the modern variety was thrust upon them by their liturgists, synods and hierarchy? Would it not be wise to reduce the variety dramatically in the Anglican Way [as also in the R C Church] and return to the text of the classic BCP with perhaps the use of a sound, contemporary English version of the BCP Rite as an alternative? Are not two enough and are not Two more than sufficient to be one means of uniting the Anglican Family as it tears itself apart through controversy and distrust?
October 10, 2005 email@example.com
"Why is it that some modern Christians require so much variety in that which is the central Service to God and for man of the Christian Church?"
Do the laity require this, or is it merely that their hierarchs and some clerics, for reasons best known to them, require it?
I have a question. I've read here on FR about "evangelical" Anglicans. What are these, how long have they been around and do they/did they use the Anglican type liturgies I remember from my youth which for all the world looked like a Tridentine Mass?
In the case of the Destroying Worship a.k.a. "Renewing Worship" project of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America it seems to be purely (and crassly) market driven by a publishing house hell bent on foisting a new, improved, brighter, whiter (no, with political correctness, that should be rainbow hued) "constellation of resources".
The secondary agenda seems to be to make everything in the liturgy Propers...everything revolving around the Revised Common Lectionary instead of focused on the unchanging Eucharist.
Um. As I understand it (I am not a historian, among my various lacks), this goes all the way back to the "Elizabethan Compromise" under which anglo-protestant and anglo-catholic were forced to co-exist. A simplification is the distinction between "low-church" (more evangelical) and "high-church" (more catholic). The Book of Common Prayer (1928 and before) was a uniting factor; the same book was in use in the low-church diocese I grew up in (Eastern Michigan) and in the higher-church diocese to our west (Western Michigan). The form and practice of services was and is different between the two.
There have been "issues" on the Evangelical wing. The REC (Reformed Episcopal Church) was the result of such in the 1800s -- ironic that they are now in the process of unification with the rather catholic APA.
The Evangelical wing is probably the strongest numerically, as it incorporates the African churches. And in consistent faith too. The Anglo-catholic is (I am sad to report) likely by far the weaker numerically today; this is where the greatest liberal incursion has occurred and so many of our Evangelical brethren consider us all suspect (not that any great reason was ever needed for suspicion, one way or the other).
(I am far from expert in all these issues, and welcome correction/addition...)
It is also driven by the radical feminists (the ones I call feminazis here on FR) who have been eating away at the ELCA since before its founding in 1987, and who infest the committee that put together Destroying Worship! AF is completely in thrall to the feminazis, and anything published there must go through the language police to put everthing into "inclusive language". That is why the best American Lutheran theologians publish their books with Eerdmans, etc., and AF is left publishing the works of heretics and third-rate revisionist hacks!!!
No one who has experienced the glory and beauty of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom can stomach the "new" liturgies, whether Lutheran, Anglican, or Roman Catholic. There are classic Western liturgies that are approximately the age of the Orthodox liturgy. Western churches should base their liturgies on the classic Eastern and Western liturgies, translated into modern languages WITHOUT feminazi language-police "cultural translation". That will avoid the liturgical fictions that the long-suffering orthodox and moderate laity are forced to endure now, and the boredom and hokiness that is associated with them!!!!
"No one who has experienced the glory and beauty of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom can stomach the "new" liturgies, whether Lutheran, Anglican, or Roman Catholic."
That's probably a bit of hyperbole! :) Recently we had some ECUSAns come to the Litrugy and begin to attend our study classes. They haven't been back to the Liturgy. They said, with a remarkable degree of frankness I think, that it made them uncomfortable. They are still coming to the classes. But your observation isn't reall off the mark totally. For more than 1000 years, people have been "blown away" by the Divine Liturgy. In the 10th century, the prince of Kiev sent envoys to Constantinople as part of his search for a religion other than paganism for his people. When the envoys returned, having attended the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostomos, they reported to their prince:
"We knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth, for surely there is no such splendor or beauty anywhere on earth. We cannot describe it to you; we only know that God dwells there among men and that their Service surpasses the worship of all other places..."
I suspect that I will rightly be accused of the sin of pride, but I am compelled to say that I thank our Triune God every Sunday that I, an American in 2005, can experience the very same beauty and splendor, the same communion with God that those Kievan envoys did over 1000 years ago, in a little church in the woods that my great-grandparents and grandparents and their fellow Greek immigrants planted here nearly 100 years ago.
Thanks. I didn't know enough to even wonder, but I figured someone in this forum would pick up on anything not quite right.
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