Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Before the ballot box, maybe the doorposts and the lintel


Whither the upcoming Episcopal Assembly meeting?

It's scheduled for October 4th to 6th in Detroit and is the seventh such meeting since the Assembly of Bishops came together. Nothing earth shattering because the Assembly of Bishops doesn't do earth shattering. H/T: OCL.





The cathedral rite of the Exaltation of the Cross

(Catalogue St. Elizabeth) - The special service at the end of the All-night vigil or the rite of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross was established in Jerusalem shortly after the Finding of the Cross. In memory of that event and the restoration of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem Lectionary of the 5th century in Armenian language tells about the rite of the Exaltation of the Cross in front of the praying masses. In the Georgian version of the Lectionary of the 5-7th centuries there is a detailed description of this rite. It was held on September 14th (old calendar) and began at the third hour after the sunrise. The priests came into the sacristy, then vested, decorated the Cross (sometimes even three Crosses) and laid it on the altar stone. The rite included three episodes of exaltation (elevation) of the Cross. Each elevation was preceded by the prayers and chants and was accompanied by fifty “Lord, have mercy upon us” prayers. After the third elevation, the Cross was washed with aroma water, and people were allowed to venerate the Holy Cross. Then the Cross was placed into the altar stone again and the liturgy began.

By the 6th century the rite of the Exaltation was already known and performed not only in Jerusalem, but in other corners of the Christian world as well. According to the post-iconoclastic Great Church Typicon, in the Saint Sofia Church the Exaltation rite was held during the matins after the troparions to the Cross. The rite itself is described shortly: the Patriarch was standing on the ambon (a small rise with the stairs in the center of the church) while raising the Cross, at the same time people were exclaiming “Lord, have mercy upon us”. This was repeated three times. The picture of the priest raising the Cross became the traditional image of the feast’s iconography.

Monday, September 26, 2016

International Day for the Deaf: a Divine Liturgy in sign



Patriarch Kirill: "I call upon all our bishops to pay special attention to brothers and sisters who have disabilities. They are members of our Church, and we must do all we can for them so that there is nothing that makes them feel themselves less than full members of the Orthodox Christian community."

More on Orthodox-Catholic synodality & primacy commission

VATICAN CITY (Crux) - Catholics and Orthodox need to explore ways authority can be understood and exercised so that it is not an obstacle to unity, a group of top-level theologians said.

Members of the official Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue Between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church met near Chieti, Italy, Sept. 16-21 and approved a document called “Synodality and Primacy in the First Millennium: Toward a Common Understanding in Service to the Unity of the Church.”

“Primacy” refers to the authority of the lead bishop or pope, and “synodality” refers to the authority exercised collegially by the College of Bishops in the West or a synod of bishops in the Eastern churches.

While Orthodox patriarchs are recognized spiritual leaders and exercise authority over some areas of church life, they do not have the kind of jurisdiction the pope has over the Catholic Church and especially over its Latin-rite dioceses.

Monsignor Andrea Palmieri, Catholic co-secretary of the commission and an official at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, told Catholic News Service Sept. 23 that the document was being translated and would be published “as soon as possible.”

Twenty-six Orthodox bishops and theologians - two each from 13 of the 14 Orthodox churches - and 26 Catholic bishops and theologians participated in the meeting. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church did not send representatives.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A new bishop enthroned for the Serbian Church in Canada

(istocnik.ca) - September 18, 2016 will go down in history at the beginning of a new chapter in the mission of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Canada.

In a packed-to-capacity church of All Serbian Saints in Mississauga, with the prayers of 8 bishops, 20 priests, and 2 protodeacons, His Holiness the Serbian Patriarch Irinej, up to that moment the Administrator of the God-preserved Diocese of Canada, enthroned the new Bishop of Canada His Grace Right Reverend Dr. Mitrofan.

Hours before the Holy Liturgy commenced believers started to flow in so that at the start of the service the church was filled to capacity.

Children in traditional folklore dress preceded all of the priests of the Canadian Diocese, tens of guests from neighbouring Serbian dioceses, as well as representatives of other Orthodox jurisdictions in Canada, as they led the ceremonial procession of hierarchs into the church.

His Holiness the Serbian Patriarch celebrate the Divine Liturgy, along with Metropolitan Sotirions (Patriarchate of Constantinople), Archbishop Irinee (Orthodox Church in America), Bishop Andriy (Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Canada – Patriarchate of Constantinople), Bishop Christopher (Patriarchate of Constantinople), as well as Serbian bishops Vasilije of Srem, Longin of New Gracanica, Hrizostom of Zvornik-Tuzla, and Maksim of Western America.

The Holy Liturgy was prayerful and peaceful, especially because of the melodious responses sung by St. Sava Choir (John Lukich conductor), and the diocesan choir Kir Stefan the Serb (Jasmina Vucurovic conductor). The chanters for the Liturgy were Very Reverend Frs. Ljubo Rajic, Rajko Kosic, Dragan Veleusic, theologian Milorad Delic, and Aleksandar Markovic.

Several hundred youth and believers received Holy Communion.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Another great lecture in the Chicago area

I'm going to do something I never do. If you go to this talk and are the first person to say "Byzantine, Texas sent me," you'll get a $20 gift certificate to Starbucks. If you're in the area, go to this talk!



Praying for peace

(Reuters) - The head of the Roman Catholic Church closed a three-day meeting where about 500 representatives of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism and other faiths discussed how their members could better promote peace and reconciliation.

Syrian airbase gets a consecrated Orthodox chapel

Moscow, September 22 (Interfax) - St. George Chapel was consecrated with Patriarch Kirill's blessing at the Khmeimim Syrian airbase where Russian air forces are based, official website of the Russian Orthodox Church reports on Thursday. The chapel has been there a few months at least. They held services as far back as Christmas.

The Moscow Patriarchate's delegation has recently visited the group of the Russian troops in Syria. An icon with a particle of St. George relics was transferred to the chapel. Over 500 servicemen prayed at the Divine Liturgy, each of them received a small icon of St. George.

Two Divine Liturgies, 18 prayer services and a procession with cross and St. George icon around the airbase were held during the delegation visit to Syria. Eight servicemen were baptized. Five pastoral hours and twelve conversations in groups were carried out, about a thousand servicemen participated in them. There were meetings with the staff of the Black Sea Fleet warship Pytlivy and the Baltic Sea Fleet warship Yaroslav Mydry.

Patriarch Kirill: No bling on your posokhi!

Moscow, September 22, (Interfax) - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia criticized hegumens and abbesses for seeking luxury and comfort.

"I initiated that each father superior and each mother superior has a bishop's staff (a symbol of spiritual power). But I could not even imagine that hegumens and abbesses will turn these staffs in patriarchal ones, will richly decorate them, will put a cross on them. I did not bless such staffs. You should have an ordinary hegumen staff, without decorations, without jewelry trinkets," the patriarch said on Thursday at his meeting with heads of monasteries of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow.

"When you come home, the first thing you should do is to order ordinary staffs similar to the one that was in Holy Metropolitan Peter's hands," he said.

According to the primate, fathers superior and mothers superior should think more about ascetic life, not about comfortable conditions.

"I do not think that the way of life of hegumens and abbesses of the old times who organized monasteries radically differed from lifestyle of ordinary monks and nuns. Everyone should clearly understand it. If there is no such understanding, you should better not become a mother superior or father superior," he said.

God protect us from these floods

Oh Master, Lord our God, who in ancient times, didst hear the prayer of thy zealous Prophet Elijah, and didst will to hold back the rain for a time: Oh thou Creator and merciful Lord who loves mankind, look down now upon the humble prayers of us, thine unworthy servants, and in the compassion overlook our iniquities, and, as we supplicate thee for thine own love for mankind, grant good weather unto thine inheritance, causing the sun to shine upon us who are requesting and entreating mercy from thee. Make glad the face of the earth for the sake of thy people, and of infants and cattle and all other living things, which do thou satisfy by thy good pleasure, granting them food in due season. Yea, Oh Lord our God, reject not our prayer as if in vain, neither put us to shame for our hope, but spare us according to thy mercies, and visit us with thy compassions, for our days pass in vanity, and our life grows weak with infirmities.

Destroy us not, therefore, who have attracted thy wrath and indignation toward us, on account of our transgressions, but deal with us according to thy gentleness and according to the multitude of thy mercy. For, behold, with broken soul and humble spirit we fall down before thee, and as unprofitable servants worthy of great punishment, in repentance we cry out to thee with compunction: we have sinned and transgressed; we have committed every iniquity; violating thy commandments, and because of this, all that thou bringest with true judgement. But do not give us over to corruption, famine, and utter destruction, neither let storms of water drown us. Rather, do thou remember mercy in thine anger, and, freely showing tender mercy for the sake of thy compassions, as thou art good, have mercy on thy creation and the work of thy hands, and quickly deliver us from every evil thing.

For thine it is to show mercy and to save, Oh our God, and unto thee do we send up glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Synodality & primacy during the 1st millennium and Uniatism

September 21, 2016 (mospat.ru) – The 14th Plenary Session of the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church completed its work in Chieti, Italy.

After the necessary amendments and additions, the plenary session approved a common document on Synodality and Primacy during the First Millennium: Towards a Common Understanding in Service to the Unity of the Church.

The delegation of the Georgian Church made a statement expressing disagreement with particular paragraphs of the document. This statement was included in the communique adopted by the plenary session and will be present as a footnote in the common document to be published on behalf of the Commission in the nearest future.

The meeting considered a topic to be chosen as a follow-up of the dialogue. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church delegation, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations (DECR), put forward a proposal to devote the next stage of the dialogue to the theme of synodality and primacy in the Churches of East and West in the second millennium, stressing that in the framework of this theme the Commission should complete the discussion on Uniatism as a phenomenon which arose after the 1054 schism and which still constitutes a stumbling stone in the Orthodox-Catholic relations. I'd also like to see some discussion on the so-call "Western Rite" in the Orthodox Church. Partially because it is a phenomenon still foreign to many and partially because it is often cited as "reverse Uniatism."

Metropolitan Hilarion reminded the meeting that the Joint Commission was to discuss the issue of ecclesiological and canonical consequences of Uniatism at its plenary session in Baltimore, USA, as far back as the year 2000. It was to become a continuation of the work that began in the 1990th with the document condemning Uniatism adopted in Balamand, Lebanon, in 1993, followed by a document on the same issue drafted in Ariccia in 1998. However, the work in Baltimore was not completed because of disagreements that arose both between the Catholic and Orthodox sides of the dialogue and within each of the sides.

There's azyme and place for everything...

This is of course not actually happening anywhere... that I know of.


(EOTT) - Just in time for the start of Fall, local hipster priest Fr. Kale Adams announced this morning that he has consecrated his first batch of Pumpkin Spice Eucharist.

Although the seasonal pumpkin flavor of Jesus’ body has been condemned by the Vatican, Fr. Adams has told his parishioners that they’re not sheep, but rather, “free souls that can’t be contained by the man or the Vatican.”

“Pumpkin Spice Eucharist allows me to express myself and my love for JC in ways you wouldn’t believe,” Adams told EOTT as he sat down to finish knitting a cover for his iPad. “And listen, to all those establishment bishops in Rome, I was consecrating before it was cool. And that’s why my parishioners dig me and why so many of them have returned to the Church in the first place. You gotta give them what they want. And what they want is Jesus…Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, with a flawless blend of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and ginger.”

At press time, Fr. Kale Adams is trying on his brand new hemp vestments.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in Wheaton, IL

Friday, September 16, 2016

Update on Greek Archdiocesan changes to the Liturgy

In August I posted some new regulations to be used in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy for Greek churches in the US (see: "Changes a'coming to Greek parishes in the US"). I received a ton of email on the topic. In fact, I still am.

By way of update let me say that it looks like as least three metropolises have stated that these changes are not going to go into immediate effect and that the Greek Holy Eparchial Synod will meet and come out with new standards together which will be released to the parishes.

I hope for a robust line of communication between the parish clergy and the hierarchs as there are lots of good things about the proposed standards (both the new Liturgy book and the changes outlined for the laity in that message from the music federation) there is also a lot of clarification and editorial work to be done.