Follow Us

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

     Priest (quietly): “…Remembering, therefore, this saving commandment and all that has been done for our sake: the Cross, the tomb, the Resurrection on the third day, the Ascension into heaven, the enthronement at the right hand, and the second and glorious coming again…” (Aloud): “Your own of Your own (Τὰ σὰ ἐκ τῶν σῶν, Твоя от Твоих) we offer to You, in all and for all.” (Eucharistic Prayer, Byzantine Divine Liturgy)

     We offer to God what is God’s at Divine Liturgy, by 1. Remembering “this saving commandment” (that is, “Take, eat, this is My Body…,” and “Drink of this, all of you…,” proclaimed by the priest just before the above-quoted words), and 2. Remembering “all that has been done for our sake,” including, surprisingly, the future “second and glorious coming again.” In fa...

Sunday, September 30, 2018

     Priest: “Your own of Your own (Τὰ σὰ ἐκ τῶν σῶν, Твоя от твоих) we offer to You (σοὶ προσφέρομεν, тебе приносяще), in all and for all (κατὰ πάντα καὶ διὰ πάντα, о всех и за вся).“ (Eucharistic Prayer, Byzantine Divine Liturgy)

     What we “offer“ to God in the Eucharist was already His, in the first place. We offer, or re-present to Him, 1. The gifts of bread and wine, and by them “all“ the material world; and 2. Ourselves and “all“ others in the Church, both living and departed. Again and again, at every Eucharist, we surrender to God entirely, “in all and for all,“ lest we forget God’s loving dominion over it all. And then, after we thus hand ourselves and everything over to God, He “re-turns“ us and everything to us, transfigured.

     We are only able to “do this,“ a...

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Deacon: “The doors! The doors! In wisdom, let us be attentive (ἐν σοφίᾳ πρόσχωμεν)!”People/Choir: “I believe in one God, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth...“ (Byzantine Divine Liturgy)

     In today’s liturgical practice of the Russian Orthodox and other Slavs, or Slav-influenced churches, at the command, (originally meaning to close and/or guard) “The Doors,” the curtain of the Holy/Royal Doors of the iconostasis is drawn open, while the Holy/Royal Doors remain closed, as they have been since the end of the Great Entrance. But in Greek Orthodox practice today, nothing happens with the “doors” at this moment, as they usually remain open throughout the Divine Liturgy. And this is one example of how things have changed, both in our Church and (consequently) in our “anc...

Sunday, November 5, 2017

May Christ our true God, through the intercessions of His all-pure Mother; of the holy, glorious, and praiseworthy Apostles… and of all the saints, have mercy on us and save us, for He is good and loves mankind.” (Dismissal, Byzantine Divine Liturgy)

This seemingly-obvious fact is often repeated in our church-services, – that God is “good” and loves us. We need to be reassured of this fact, again and again; that He, indeed, loves “us.” That is to say, He loves the people “we” are now, as we are, with all our strengths and weaknesses. I need to embrace this astonishing truth, again and again, so that I can see myself as God does, both honestly and mercifully. In the inimitable words of Thomas Merton, “…The man who is not afraid to admit everything that he sees to be wrong with himself, and...

Monday, September 18, 2017

I believe and confess, Lord, that You are truly the Christ, the Son of the living God, Who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first. I also believe that this is truly Your pure Body and that this is truly Your precious Blood. Therefore, I pray to You, have mercy upon me, and forgive my transgressions, voluntary and involuntary, in word and deed, in knowledge and in ignorance. And make me worthy/proper (ἀξίωσόν με), without condemnation, to partake of Your pure mysteries for the remission of sins and for eternal life...“ (Byzantine Liturgy, Pre-Communion Prayer)

Now, you may disagree with me, but I find the English word “worthy,“ in the context of receiving Holy Communion, utterly confusing, unhelpful, and even unorthodox. It seems to pose a question about my “worth“ in t...

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Priest (quietly): “Remembering, therefore, this saving commandment and all that has been done for our sake: the Cross, the tomb, the Resurrection on the third day, the Ascension into heaven, the enthronement at the right hand, and the second and glorious coming again…” (Aloud): “Your own of Your own (Τὰ σὰ ἐκ τῶν σῶν, Твоя от Твоих) we offer to You, in all and for all.” (Eucharistic Prayer, Byzantine Divine Liturgy)

We “offer” to God what is God’s at Divine Liturgy, by 1. Remembering “this saving commandment” (that is, “Take, eat, this is My Body…,” and “Drink of this, all of you…,” proclaimed by the priest just before the above-quoted words), and 2. Remembering “all that has been done for our sake,” including, surprisingly, the future “second and glorious coming again.” In faith, the Churc...

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Priest (silently): “Again and countless times we fall down before You, and we implore You, O Good One, Who loves mankind: That You, having regarded our prayer, may cleanse our souls and bodies from every defilement of flesh and spirit, and grant to us to stand before Your holy altar of sacrifice, free of guilt/debt and condemnation (ἀνένοχον καὶ ἀκατάκριτον). Grant also, O God, to those who pray with us, progress in life (προκοπὴν βίου), faith, and spiritual understanding (συνέσεως πνευματικῆς). Grant that they always worship You with awe and love, partake of Your Holy Mysteries without guilt/debt or condemnation (ἀνενόχως καὶ ἀκατακρίτως), and be deemed worthy of Your celestial Kingdom.” (Second Prayer of the Faithful, Byzantine Divine Liturgy)

Here, a few moments before we begin the Cheru...

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Priest (in a low voice): “…Again, we offer You this spiritual worship (τὴν λογικὴν ταύτην λατρείαν, словесную сию службу) for those who have reposed in the faith: forefathers, fathers, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, ascetics, and for every righteous spirit made perfect in faith”; (aloud) “Especially (Ἐξαιρέτως, Изрядно) for our most holy, pure, blessed, and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary.” (Eucharistic Prayer, Byzantine Divine Liturgy)

We don’t only pray “to” the saints; we also pray “for” them, in the Eucharist. How am I to understand this puzzling fact? What is “accomplished,” if I can put it that way, by such prayer?

First of all, we “offer” for the saints, by “remembering” them, as an expression of our gratitude for them. B...

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Upon Your shoulders, O Christ, You have taken the lost nature and brought it to Your God and Father, now and ever and unto ages of ages.” (Omophorion Prayer, said as an “omophorion” is put on a bishop at the Vesting Rites of Byzantine Liturgy)

The “omophorion” (from the Greek words, ὦμος, “shoulder,” and φέρειν, “carry”), the Byzantine equivalent of the Western pallium, is worn only by our bishops. Its symbolism is already articulated by our first literary witness to the omophorion, St. Isidore of Pelusion (+ ca. 435), if you’ll excuse the long quote: “The omophorion,” writes St. Isidore in the 5th c., “which the bishop wears on his shoulders, and is made of wool, not linen, signifies the skin of that lost sheep which the Lord sought and, having found, carried on His shoulders. For the bis...

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Let us, who mystically represent (μυστικῶς εἰκονίζοντες, mystically being icons of) the Cherubim and who sing the thrice-holy hymn to the life-creating Trinity, now lay aside every worldly care. So that we may receive (ὑποδεξόμενοι) the King of all, Who is invisibly escorted by the angelic hosts. Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.” (Cherubic Hymn, Byzantine Divine Liturgy)

What is the “point,” one might ask, of likening ourselves to God’s invisible, bodiless creation, like the Cherubim and the angelic hosts? The point is, to re-affirm our unity with “all” of God’s creation, both visible and invisible, and give us a broader frame of reference than our merely-human one. In Christ’s One Body we’re given a “bigger picture,” extending above and beyond our time and space, and this “bigger picture” he...

Please reload

  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square

© Coffee with Sister Vassa Inc.

  • Odnoklassniki Social Icon
  • YouTube Reflection
  • Facebook Reflection
  • Vkontakte App Icon
  • Twitter Reflection
  • Google+ Reflection

Website designed by