“It is proper and right to hymn You, to bless You, to praise You, to give thanks to You, and to worship You in every place of Your dominion. For You, O God, are ineffable, inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible, existing forever, forever the same (ἀεὶ ὤν, ὡσαύτως ὤν), You and Your only begotten Son and Your Holy Spirit. You brought us out of nothing into being, and when we had fallen away, You raised us up again. You left nothing undone until You had led us up to heaven and granted us Your kingdom, which is to come. For all these things, we thank You and Your only begotten Son and Your Holy Spirit: for all things we know and do not know, for blessings manifest and hidden that have been bestowed on us.” (Eucharistic Prayer of St. John Chrysostom, Preface)
(Byzantine Divine Liturgy, just before the “Kiss of Peace”)
It is in and by the grace of the Holy Spirit that the priest shares with all of us, and we share with him and all others in our midst, in the gift of “peace.” Shortly before the central prayer of Divine Liturgy, the Anaphora, when we (re)-affirm this, our God-given “peace” with “all,” – the “peace from above,” both we and our priest are reminded of this fact, as cited above.
As St. John Chrysostom explains to his congregation in a homily given on Pentecost, the main celebrant at Divine Liturgy “does not touch the offerings before he himself has begged for you the grace of the Lord, and you cry in...
Priest: Pray for me, brother and concelebrant (ἀδελφὲ καὶ συλλειτουργέ).
Deacon (Lk 1: 35): The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Priest: The same Spirit will concelebrate with us (συλλειτουργήσει ἡμῖν) all the days of our life.
(Dialogue after the Great Entrance, Russian Orthodox “Sluzhebnik,” Moscow 2005)
At this point in the Divine Liturgy, in response to the priest’s request for prayers, the deacon responds (according to the proper version of this dialogue, corrected in modern-day editions of the Russian Orthodox Church) with the words of the Archangel, said to the Holy Virgin: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you…” Why these words?
Because the Archangel says these words in response to Mary’s question, “How can this be, for I know no man?...
“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel; and as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise.’ And they remembered his words…” (Lk 24: 1-8)
A resurrection from the dead was the last thing the followers of Christ were expecting or looking...
People/Choir: Through the intercessions of the Theotokos, Savior, save us. (Refrain of the First Antiphon)
People/Choir: Save us, O Son of God, Who are wondrous in Your saints, we sing to You, Alleluia. (Refrain of the Second Antiphon on weekdays)
To be “saved“ means to be “made whole“ or “recovered/restored to health.“ So the journey of salvation is one of recovery. I aim to recover from the ailment of fragmentation, both within myself and of myself from other people and from God. I make this journey not on my own, but with the help of those more experienced, in the great “communion of saints“ that is the Church. The most prominent place in this great fellowship is occupied by the Birth-Giver of God, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary. As She was the “gate“ through which the Word became fl...
“And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons; and he would not allow any one to carry anything through the temple. And he taught, and said to them, ‘Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.’” (Mk 11: 15-17)
In an episode of “The Walking Dead,” there’s a scene in a church, where a priest says, “This is the house of the Lord,” and another character replies, “No, it’s just four walls and a roof.” It made me think of this well-known passage in the Gospels, in which our Lord so vehemently defends the ”sacred” (dedicated) space of “His house.”...
“Deacon: In peace let us pray to the Lord.
People/Choir: Lord, have mercy.
Deacon: For the peace from above and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord.
People/Choir: Lord, have mercy.
Deacon: For the peace of the whole world, for the stability of the holy churches of God, and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord.
People/Choir: Lord, have mercy...“
(Litany of Peace, Byzantine Divine Liturgy)
In this very first litany of Divine Liturgy, we are called to pray “in peace“ and “for peace,“ specifically the kind “from above.“ It is the kind we cannot muster up or negotiate on our own, just amidst ourselves. In fact we have never done very well, when it comes to “peace,“ either within or without “the holy churches of God.“ That is why we are called to give up self-reliance...
“…Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’” (Lk 24: 27-32)
Jesus does not immediately reveal Himself on the road to Emmaus, no. First, there is this “...