Liturgy: The Meaning and Celebration of the Eucharist – Fr. Thomas Fitzgerald, MA, USA

http://catechism-orthodox-christianity.blogspot.com

CATECHISM – ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY

Liturgy: The Meaning and Celebration of the Eucharist

Fr. Thomas Fitzgerald, USA

╰⊰¸¸.•¨*

Hellenic College Holy Cross,

Brookline, Massachusetts, USA

Source:

http://www.annunciation.bs.goarch.org

http://www.annunciation.bs.goarch.org/our-faith/liturgy

ANNUNCIATION GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH IN NASSAU, BAHAMAS

“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…”

In the latter part of the tenth century, Vladimir the Prince of Kiev sent envoys to various Christian centers to study their form of worship. These are the words the envoys uttered when they reported their presence at the celebration of the Eucharist in the Great Church of Holy Wisdom in Constantinople. The profound experience expressed by the Russian envoys has been one shared by many throughout the centuries who have witnessed for the first time the beautiful and inspiring Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox Church.

The Holy Eucharist is the oldest experience of Christian Worship as well as the most distinctive. Eucharist comes from the Greek word which means thanksgiving. In a particular sense, the word describes the most important form of the Church’s attitude toward all of life. The origin of the Eucharist is traced to the Last Supper at which Christ instructed His disciples to offer bread and wine in His memory. The Eucharist is the most distinctive event of Orthodox worship because in it the Church gathers to remember and celebrate the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ and, thereby, to participate in the mystery of Salvation.

In the Orthodox Church, the Eucharist is also known as the Divine Liturgy. The word liturgy means people’s work; this description serves to emphasize the corporate character of the Eucharist. When an Orthodox attends the Divine Liturgy, it is not as an isolated person who comes simply to hear a sermon.

Rather, he comes as a member of the Community of Faith who participates in the very purpose of the Church, which is the Worship of the Holy Trinity. Therefore, the Eucharist is truly the center of the life of the Church and the principal means of spiritual development, both for the individual Christian and the Church as a whole. Not only does the Eucharist embody and express the Christian faith in a unique way, but it also enhances and deepens our faith in the Trinity. This sacrament-mystery is the experience toward which all the other activities of the Church are directed and from which they receive their direction.

The Eucharist, the principal sacrament mystery of the Orthodox Church, is not so much a text to be studied, but rather an experience of communion with the Living God in which prayer , music, gestures, the material creation, art and architecture come into full orchestration. The Eucharist is a celebration of Continue reading “Liturgy: The Meaning and Celebration of the Eucharist – Fr. Thomas Fitzgerald, MA, USA”

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Epistle, Gospel and Sermon – Fr. Stephan Anagnostopoulos, Greece

http://textsorthodoxy.wordpress.com

TEXTS – ORTHODOXY

Epistle, Gospel and Sermon

Fr. Stephan Anagnostopoulos, Greece

God speaks to us through the Sacred readings. The reading from Holy scripture tell us about Jesus’s life and how to follow His teachings. Gospel means “good news.” Both the Gospel and the Epistle readings are meant to inspire us with the good news about God’s love for all of us.

First the Epistle is read. The Epistle is a letter that was written by Saint Paul and other apostles and deemed by the Church to be Holy Scripture. At the beginning we are called to be attentive, to listen closely as we are about to hear God’s wisdom. Then there is the “prokeimenon.” This is a short verse from the Psalms that reveal God’s wonders to us. The reading symbolizes the revelation of the divine mysteries by the Prophets and anticipation of the Kingdom of God on earth. Originally it was a whole psalm chanted in antiphons.

Why is that the Epistle comes before the Gospel? We have an answer given by Saint Nicholas Cabasilas:

“What is said by the Lord Him self is the most perfect revelation, compared to that which is said by the Apostles. And since we mentioned that way is performed in the Divine Liturgy is revealed gradually, there is an upward, gradual journey that is why as we are moving from lower to higher, we first read the Epistle readings and then the Gospel readings” (Saint Nicholas Cabasilas, P.G. 150, 416C).

At the end of the Epistle reading we sing, Alleluia, which is an exclamation of joy which is sung majestically, slowly and melodically. Its actual meaning is Continue reading “Epistle, Gospel and Sermon – Fr. Stephan Anagnostopoulos, Greece”

Journey to Orthodoxy: Divine Liturgy

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/?s=liturgy

Journey to Orthodoxy: Divine Liturgy

Father Cleopa Ilie of Romania (+1998) & the birds in the Divine Liturgy

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ANIMALS OF MY HEART

Father Cleopa Ilie of Romania (+1998)

& the birds in the Divine Liturgy

Source:

http://www.sfaturiortodoxe.ro

http://ww.sfaturiortodoxe.ro

http://www.sfaturiortodoxe.roorthodox_advices_cleopa_life.htm

ORTHODOX ADVICES

Father Cleopa Ilie of Romania is a Saint of our days who died in December 2, 1998.

In May of 1948, on the feast of Ss. Constantine and Helen, Father Cleopa delivered a homily in which he said, “May God grant that our own rulers might become as the Holy King and Queen were, that the Church might be able to also commemorate them unto the ages.” The next day the state police took him to prison, leaving him in a bedless cell without bread or water for five days. After being released Father Cleopa, upon good counsel, fled to the mountains of Sihastria, where he lived in a in a hut mostly underground. There the elder prayed night and day seeking the help of God and the Theotokos.
During this time the elder was visited by the grace of God in the following way. Fr. Cleopa told his disciples that when he was building his hut, birds would come and sit on his head. The first time he served Liturgy on a stump in front of his hut, as he was communing the Holy Mysteries, a flock of birds came and gathered, such as he had never seen before. As he gazed upon them in astonishment, he noticed that each one had the sign of the Cross marked on it forehead.

Another time, after the preparation for Liturgy and having read all the prayers, he set the Antimension on the tree stump and began the Liturgy with the exclamation, “Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages!” Again the birds appeared, and as they perched in the branch of the tree they began to sing in beautiful and harmonic voices. Fr. Cleopa asked himself, “What could this be?” And an unseen voice whispered to him, “These are your chanters on the cliros.” These signs and others encouraged the Elder immensely during his time of exile.

Another time, he was serving the Divine Liturgy when he was living as a recluse and he had no choir. As he approached the time for the Cherubic Hymn, he heard a voice behind him tell him that he has his choir. Elder Cleopa looked around and birds with crosses on their heads descended and started singing the Cherubic Hymn, and then vanished when the Liturgy was over.

He touched the Blood of Christ… – Experiences during the Divine Liturgy – Fr. Stephen Anagnostopoulos

http://havefaithorthodoxy.wordpress.com

HAVE FAITH – ORTHODOXY

He touched the Blood of Christ…

Experiences during the Divine Liturgy

Fr. Stephen Anagnostopoulos:

Father Anthony Tsigas was a priest at the Church of Prophet Elijah in the area of Kastella located in Piraeus (Greece). When the deceased Metropolitan of Piraeus, Chrysostom Tavladorakis was still alive.

One Saturday morning, as Father Anthony was performing the Divine Liturgy he reached the point where he had to Consecrate the Holy Gifts.
As he was on bent knees saying the Prayer, his hands were leaning on the Holy Table.

During the moment when he was about to get up in order to bless the Precious Gifts, a drop of Blood falls on his hand from up high; in fact, It spattered him!!

He was in a state of terror when he saw It!! Terrified as he was,he was looking at It and then he was captured by holy awe, fear; he was ecstatic and astonished,in other words he experienced various mixed, incomprehensible feelings that could not of course be described by Father Anthony. As soon as he got up he did not know what to do! He licked the Blood of Christ… he did not know what had come over him. Nevertheless, the Grace of our Holy God, after this miracle, made him look at the Holy Chalice only to realize that it was empty!

He had forgotten to fill it with wine. Next,when he looked at the Body he saw that It was in fact unpierced. That is to say, he had not completed the Holy Proskomedia.

The chanter continued chanting “We hymn thee, we bless Thee…” the priest told him to continue with a nod (there were not as many people since it was Saturday), he took the Holy Spear, pierced the Holy Bread and said; one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear,and at once there came out blood and water”.

Afterwards he filled the Holy Cup,then poured the wine and water,as usual, blessed it, made the sign of the Cross and after having completed all this, he was on bent knees once again in order to read the consecration Prayer, got up blessed the Precious Gifts and our All Holy God transformed the bread and wine-the way it is always done every time there is a Divine Liturgy-into the Body and Blood of Christ. Following the Consecration and the end of the Divine Liturgy, he consumed the Holy Cup cleaning it entirely.

Immediately after the Divine Liturgy which was held on a Saturday,he told Metropolitan Chrysostom all about his experience. The latter then took Father Anthony’s hand so that he could smell it. It had an inexpressible sweet-smelling savor!! He took it and started kissing it many times.

—My Bishop!, Says Father Anthony.

—I am not kissing your own hand he said,even though it should also be kissed, for you are a Celebrant of the Most High.

It does not matter if you are a priest and I a bishop. I have touched in you hand the Blood of God,the Blood of God!!!!!

I recall that after Father Anthony’s falling asleep the bishop narrated the story to me.

Since the bishop was very expressive,he stood up and said;

—Father Stephan, the BLOOD OF CHRIST!!, and started crying!

All this takes place during the Divine Liturgy!!

Christ is not hidden in the Precious Gifts (He is not concealed or simply
found inside,nor is bread and wine mere symbols of the Body and Blood of Continue reading “He touched the Blood of Christ… – Experiences during the Divine Liturgy – Fr. Stephen Anagnostopoulos”

Orthodox Liturgy from the North Pole to the South

http://havefaithorthodoxy.wordpress.com

HAVE FAITH – ORTHODOXY

Orthodox Liturgy from the North Pole to the South

Source:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2010/05/a-celebration-of-faith-the-orthodox-liturgy-resonates-from-the-north-pole-to-the-south-pole/

JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY

For the past several years, the liturgy has been offered at an Orthodox church situated at a Russian polar research station in Antarctica. Now, the first liturgy has been served at the North Pole. Mayor Vladislav Skvortsov of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski was baptised at the service, and Deacon Roman Nikitin of the Missionary Department of the Diocese of Kamchatka, a young man who preaches both to the people in the local region and to a vast audience on the internet, was ordained to the priesthood in the course of this liturgy.

The hierarchical liturgy was served by His Eminence Ignaty Pologrudov of Petropavlovsk and Kamchatka. Do recall that recently he served liturgy for the crew of a submarine that was underway submerged in Arctic waters.

In addition to all this, Vladyki Ignaty became the first bishop in Russia to launch his own personal blog on the internet after a proposal was aired on the Interfax-Religion website that Orthodox believers and clergy should open blogs on the Live Journal site.

The Divine Liturgy celebrated at the North Pole was a victory for our Faith, it was a new Feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, and it was an illuminating example of the universality of our Orthodox faith. This shows abundantly that the Orthodox Church is the spiritual fountainhead of the Russian people. The liturgy at the North Pole was made possible by the new symphonia between the Church and the State, which resulted in closely co-ordinated efforts by the hierarchy and government. The flight to the Pole was on board one of the aircraft of the Border Forces of the Federal Security Service (FSB). This cooperation was the good fruit of the missionary efforts of the Church to Continue reading “Orthodox Liturgy from the North Pole to the South”

The Most Holy Virgin Mary Mother of God, disciplines two children! – Experiences during the Divine Liturgy

http://holyvirginmary.wordpress.com

HOLY VIRGIN MARY MOTHER OF GOD

The Most Holy Virgin Mary Mother of God, disciplines two children!

Experiences during the Divine Liturgy

Fr. Stephan Anagnostopoulos, Greece:

A relative of mine told me the following incident: A friend of his who was a doctor, like all the other children who laugh and move aimlessly here and there inside the Church Temple without realizing it,was also laughing with his cousin teasing the other children and running hear and there.

Even though the Liturgy had finished,they had taken the antidoron and the
people had already left, however these two children and the doctor along
with his cousin started being naughty inside the Church Temple.
That is when an austere and at the same time sweet woman’s voice
was heard telling them:

—In my Son’s house we do not play! We do not run here and there. We pray,we receive Holy Communion and partake of His Body and Blood. The Blood of my Son!

And… She grabs them by the neck and in a split of a second both children
were outdoors,in the Churches yard!!

The doctor then replies: “Just let them come to me and tell me that there
is or there is not a God.

God spoke to me through His All-Holy Mother.”

Taken from the book: Fr. Stephan Anagnostopoulos, Experiences during the Divine Liturgy

The offering at the Divine Liturgy is more powerful than prayer – Saint John Maximovitch of San Francisco, CA, USA (+1966)

http://stjohnmaximovitchofsanfrancisco.wordpress.com

ST JOHN MAXIMOVITCH OF SAN FRANCISCO

The offering at the Divine Liturgy is more powerful than prayer

╰⊰¸¸.•¨*

Saint John Maximovitch

of San Francisco, CA, USA (+1966)

Then, having successfully passed through the toll-houses and bowed down before God, the soul for the course of 37 more days visits the heavenly habitations and the abysses of hell, not knowing yet where it will remain, and only on the fortieth day is its place appointed until the resurrection of the dead. Some souls find themselves (after the forty days) in a condition of foretasting eternal joy and blessedness, and others in fear of the eternal torments which will come in full after the Last Judgment. Until then changes are possible in the condition of souls, especially through offering for them the Bloodless Sacrifice (commemoration at the Divine Liturgy), and likewise by other prayers.

How important commemoration at the Divine Liturgy is may be seen in the following occurrence: Before the uncovering of the relics of St. Theodosius of Chernigov (1896), the priest-monk (the renowned Starets Alexis of Goloseyevsky Hermitage, of the Kiev-Caves Lavra, who died in 1916) who was conducting the re-vesting of the relics, becoming weary while sitting by the relics, dozed off and saw before him the Saint, who told him: “I thank you for laboring with me. I beg you also, when you will serve the Divine Liturgy, to commemorate my parents” — and he gave their names (Priest Nikita and Maria). “How can you, O Saint, ask my prayers, when you yourself stand at the heavenly Throne and grant to people God’s mercy?” the priest-monk asked. “Yes, that is true,” replied St. Theodosius, “but the offering at the Divine Liturgy is more powerful than my prayer.”

+ St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco, Homily on Life after Death

Source:

http://www.orthodoxchurchquotes.com

http://www.orthodoxchurchquotes.com/2015/08/27/desert-fathers-a-dog-is-better-than-i-am/

ORTHODOX CHURCH QUOTES

The Holy Spear of  the Divine Liturgy & Saint Theodosius of Argos, Greece (+922)

http://synaxarion-hagiology.blogspot.com

SYNAXARION-HAGIOLOGY

The Holy Spear of  the Divine Liturgy

& Saint Theodosius of Argos, Greece (+922)

August 7

Fr. Stephen Anagnostopoulos, Greece:

With the Holy Spear we make exactly the same symbolic movement with that of the soldier who pierced the side of Christ’s Holy Body on the Cross, we say; one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side,and forthwith came there out “blood and water”, as we pour wine and water inside the Holy Cup.

At this point it is worth mentioning Saint Theodosius of Argos, Greece (+922), true story…

This Saint in particular celebrated the Divine Liturgy only once. On the first day he became a deacon,on the second day a priest,and on the third day he performed the Liturgy for the first time. When it was time to “pierce” the Holy Bread with the Holy Spear,he saw,right before his eyes, himself as a soldier with a sharp spear piercing the Holy Body of the Lord as Blood and Water were coming out of His side.

No one will ever find out how terrified he must have been(this will remain unknown)when he poured wine and water inside the Holy Cup!
He was indeed captivated by Divine fear so much so that when he had completed the Divine Liturgy he never celebrated it again.

Taken from the book: Fr. Stephan Anagnostopoulos, Experiences during the Divine Liturgy

 

Video: The Divine Liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox Church in English

http://orthodoxyislove.wordpress.com

ORTHODOXY IS LOVE

The Divine Liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox Church in English