30 November 2007

St. John Chrysostom

Pastor David Jay Webber just sent me the link to this stunning fresco of St. John Chyrsostom - who is certainly one of my all time favorites among the Fathers. Pastor Webber writes: "This is from Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine. This cathedral, built by my ancestor Grand Prince Yaroslav the Wise in the 11th century, is one of my favorite places in the world." I think I can see why! Beautiful!

20 comments:

Maria said...

The Sophia of Kyiv is truly gorgeous. If you ever get the chance to visit, you should.

William Weedon said...

You've been there, Maria? Ah, the world travelers you young folk are these days! I would love to see it someday. And I'd dearly love to participate in the liturgy of Ukrainian Lutheran Church - which uses a revision of St. John Chyrsostom's liturgy. For many years Pastor Webber lived in Ukraine as Rector of St. Sophia Lutheran Seminary.

Christine said...

Saint Sophia -- Holy Wisdom.

I don't think I've ever encountered a Lutheran Church in America with that name.

Very interesting.

A "revised" version of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom would, I am guessing, be celebrated without embracing its call for the intercessions of the Mother of God and the Saints and its offering of sacrifice to the Father.

So, how much is it really the historic liturgy of St. John?

William Weedon said...

Christine,

You can check it out. Here's an English translation online:

http://www.angelfire.com/ca4/saintsophiaseminary/liturgy.html

This particular Lutheran Church has quite an interesting history - they were indigenous Ukrainians (not Germans) and embraced the Reformation at a time when the pope tried to enforce upon them (as uniates) the Latin mass!

Christine said...

Pastor Weedon, there is indeed a considerable overlap (and it is very beautiful) with the Eastern liturgy until we get to what the Ukrainian Lutheran rite calls the "Creed and Consecration" -- towit, as compared to the Orthodox/Eastern Catholic anaphora of the liturgy:

We offer to You these gifts from Your own gifts in all and for all.

People:

We praise You, we bless You, we give thanks to You, and we pray to You, Lord our God.

Priest (in a low voice):

Once again we offer to You this spiritual worship without the shedding of blood, and we ask, pray, and entreat You: send down Your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts here presented.

And make this bread the precious Body of Your Christ.

(He blesses the holy Bread.)

Deacon (in a low voice):

Amen.

Priest (in a low voice):

And that which is in this cup the precious Blood of Your Christ.

(He blesses the holy Cup.)

Deacon (in a low voice):

Amen.

Priest (in a low voice):

Changing them by Your Holy Spirit.

(He blesses them both.)

Deacon (in a low voice):

Amen. Amen. Amen.

Priest (in a low voice):

So that they may be to those who partake of them for vigilance of soul, forgiveness of sins, communion of Your Holy Spirit, fulfillment of the kingdom of heaven, confidence before You, and not in judgment or condemnation. Again, we offer this spiritual worship for those who repose in the faith, forefathers, fathers, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, ascetics, and for every righteous spirit made perfect in faith.

Priest:

Especially for our most holy, pure, blessed, and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever virgin Mary.

People:

It is truly right to bless you, Theotokos, ever blessed, most pure, and mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, without corruption you gave birth to God the Word. We magnify you, the true Theotokos.


As far as the imposition of the Western rite upon the Ukrainians at the time of the Reformation, unfortunately that was also true in the U.S. for a time. Happily, since the Second Vatican Council Eastern Rite Catholics are encouraged to recover their own unique spiritual heritage and traditions.

Every now and then I attend a Ruthenian Eastern Rite parish in my neighborhood. I am happily rooted in the Latin rite of the Church but once in a while I appreciate a Sunday of Eastern litanies.

William Weedon said...

You mean every once in a while you crave "again and again-ness." ;)

Fr. John Fenton was once asked by His Grace, Bishop Mark, why he was devoted to the Western rite. He told him: "Your Grace, I'm a Westerner and we pray in straight lines rather than in circles" or some such.

Christine said...

You mean every once in a while you crave "again and again-ness." ;)

LOL, quite right, Pastor Weedon! I also concur with Father Fenton.

The Western/Eastern liturgies each have their beauty. Praise to Christ Who is the foundation of both.

By the way, may I safely assume that Lucy was the recipient of some tasty Thanksgiving goodies ??

William Weedon said...

But of course! She even got herself a pig's ear that day. A friend of mine calls that "doggy crack." She throws it up in the air. Barks at it. Dances around it. Celebrating the gift, as it were, and then she sets to work devouring it and will not allow herself to be distracted until it's all gone and the floor has had a thorough licking! I'm afraid in her eyes, the turkey paled in comparison with that ear!

Christine said...

Throws it up in the air, you say? Any chance she might achieve the movie stardom of Air Bud, that adorable basketball playing Golden Retriever? Just a couple of tosses in the old hoop !!

Lucy is truly a queen in the canine world!

jim huffman said...

In regard to the "again and again" quality, I wonder if this question isn't a deeper one than taste.

The interesting thing is how there's an "again and again" sense to the scriptures themselves. When I was a child, I wondered why the Bible wasn't more simple, why, for example, the Bible didn't just give us a list of doctrines, instructions, whatever instead of being sometimes maddeningly circular. Is it because we are designed to hear stuff over and over before we even begin to think of absorbing it? Or is it because as sinners our ears are stopped to God's word, and He lovingly repeats Himself over and over? Is it more than simply a cultural issue, a west vs. east divide, and a bigger question of how western philosophy and theology have developed over the last 8 centuries? (I have Occam's errors in mind when speaking here, but likely the problems began before him). Is it possible that the "simpler," "more direct" western liturgical family is inherently flawed and that the "directness" is a symptom of those flaws?

William Weedon said...

Jim,

I don't think it's that. The Scriptures ARE Eastern and they reflect an Eastern mindset and way of getting at things - circular to the max.

Yet the early Latin liturgy was always quite simple and direct, and the Orthodox Churches to this day fully acknowledge the faith as it is expressed in the beautiful Roman rite. It's different in approach, but not other in message.

Yet your post did remind me of something Chris Orr once said to me. He's not a big fan of Western Rite Orthodoxy and he observed that if you followed the Typicon to the letter, you couldn't squeeze the services into 24 hours. So there's always a sense in Orthodox in which you're never quite sure that you're doing this or that right - and that this corresponds to the fact that we are dealing here with mysteries that cannot be reduced to any human categories or rules of operation. The contrast is obviously with the Western rite which can easily be fit within 24 hours and which has very distinct and clear rules for conduct.

I think, though, that the Western rite in being more straightforward does not do away with the mystery - or the messiness - of God's revelation. It just approaches it from a different standpoint. When all is said and done, East or West are left staring at God enfleshed in a piece of bread, bowing before Him, singing to Him, and rejoicing in a love that is simply unfathomable.

William Weedon said...

P.S. The last paragraph above had ringing in behind it the words of the Christmas poem:

...God was man in Palestine
And lives today in bread and wine.

jim huffman said...

But perhaps this is a problem in itself: that we view the liturgy as a vehicle for communicating a "message" when -- again, perhaps -- the whole thing is much bigger than this, that the liturgy in itself is part of the bestowal of the gift. And if the liturgy itself is inseparable from the bestowal, then again perhaps the "straightforwardness" of the western liturgies is less benign than we'd like to think.

The question isn't whether the eastern churches have somehow put their imprimatur on the western liturgies. I sometimes wonder if there isn't more than a little projection here, that we in the west are wanting to feel that the eastern churches are not disapproving. I find it intriguing that at least one eastern bishop in the US will not permit his priests to celebrate the western rite, nor is it allowed in any of his churches. Is this just intransigence? Maybe. Or maybe not.

William Weedon said...

Oops, I didn't mean that the liturgy was *just* for conveying a "message." Surely at the heart of the liturgy is that which, while it is a message, is so much more: the very presence of the Incarnate Son of God, revealed as utterly for us in the giving of His body and blood to be our life.

No, I don't believe that we need the Eastern Churches' "imprimatur" for our rite. My point was that there are also those who do not natively live in it who recognize it as a liturgy that bears witness to the fullness of the faith, albeit in a different way than their own liturgies tend to. And I find it interesting that it has official sanction among Orthodox on either end of the spectrum: the Russians AND the Antiochians.

As one who natively lives in Western rite, I certainly experience and see it as a full-orbed confession and celebration of the life that God reaches us in His Son. I appreciate much about the Eastern liturgies, but they are not "home" in the same way that the liturgy of the Western Church is (and it is amazing how manifest the unity of the Western liturgy is despite the divisions over several centuries).

Maria said...

You've been there, Maria? Ah, the world travelers you young folk are these days! I would love to see it someday. And I'd dearly love to participate in the liturgy of Ukrainian Lutheran Church - which uses a revision of St. John Chyrsostom's liturgy. For many years Pastor Webber lived in Ukraine as Rector of St. Sophia Lutheran Seminary.

--------------------------------

Yes, I was in Kyiv a few years ago during the holidays, to visit family. Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to attend a Ukrainian Lutheran church while I was there. :-( I am planning on going to Kyiv again in May though, for a month this time. My favorite place in the world...

Artthur Grudenfeld said...

Why is not the Ukranian Lutheran church in communion with our Missouri Synod? Does that not put us out of fellowship with them? Could we not commune with them? What should be make of them? Are they heterodox? I have beed trying to make sens eof our position on fellowship for some time now. To a degree it seems to be very narrow and fundametalistic. How do we relate to them?

Brian P Westgate said...

Sadly, ULC is in communion with WELS. They may be the bright spot in that fellowship. I too pray for the day she joins our communion. Her English website is http://www.ukrlc.org/eng.htm. In the past they've had such orthodox men as Dr. Marquart, Rev. Rolf Preus, and Fr. John W.H. Berg lecture at the seminary. Recently they've had men from the WELS seminary lecture there. The Bishop got his doctorate from CTSFW.

DebD said...

that is stunning. I'll have to add that to my list of "must sees" before I die.

Past Elder said...

The ULC is part of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference, which has two US member bodies, WELS and ELS, out of its total of 19. They will host the next meeting, in 2008. It's something like the ILC to which we belong. Their site is
http://www.celc.info/ If memory serves the site was once in both German (KELK) and English.

There is a link to the liturgy of the ULC on my blog.

As to dogs and Thanksgiving, our new Schnauzer loved her first Thanksgiving with turkey from Grandma, and has also developed a taste for the leftovers from the new rib joint down the street. But efforts to teach her at least "Come, Lord Jesus ..." are to no avail!

The "Western Rite" having undergone considerable convulsion at the hands of Rome in the 1960s from its history before, I offer Article VII from the Ottaviani Intervention, aka A Short Critical Study of the New Order of Mass.

"The Apostolic Constitution explicitly mentions the riches of piety and doctrine the Novus Ordo supposedly borrows from the Eastern Churches. But the result is so removed from, and indeed opposed to the spirit of the Eastern liturgies that it can only leave the faithful in those rites revolted and horrified.

What do these ecumenical borrowings amount to? Basically, to introducing multiple texts for the Eucharistic Prayer (the anaphora), none of which approaches their Eastern counterparts' complexity or beauty, and to permitting Communion Under Both Species and the use of deacons.

Against this, the New Order of Mass appears to have been deliberately shorn of every element where the Roman liturgy came closest to the Eastern Rites. At the same time, by abandoning its unmistakable and immemorial Roman character, the Novus Ordo cast off what was spiritually precious of its own. In place of this are elements which bring the new rite closer to certain Protestant liturgies, not even those closest to Catholicism. At the same time, these new elements degrade the Roman liturgy and further alienate it from the East, as did the reforms which preceded the Novus Ordo.

In compensation, the new liturgy will delight all those groups hovering on the verge of apostasy who, during a spiritual crisis without precedent, now wreak havoc in the Church by poisoning Her organism and by undermining Her unity in doctrine, worship, morals and discipline."

William Weedon said...

Deb,

I agree and you should take US with you. ;)