26 June 2010

Random Thought

During the eastern liturgy there comes a point where the priest says of the holy gifts:  "Thine of Thine own, we offer unto Thee on behalf of all and for all."

Recalling that for Lutherans "sacrifice" in the Eucharist is primarily noun, not verb, it occurred to me that a slight re-statement would get at what Lutherans believe:  "Thine own of Thine own, which He once offered on behalf of all and for all."  And we'd likely want to add:  "and which He now offers unto His own anew for forgiveness, life, and salvation."

Told you it was a random thought...


Chris said...

Fr. Weedon,

From the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. Please read that the priest then prays the epiclesis and note the prayer after that.

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

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):

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):

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.

The Eastern Rite makes what you wish it to say very clear. It does not need to change. Plus, for us, sacrifice is mainly a verb.

Ryan said...

Yeah... and you know how those Eastern types just LOVE Western additions to things, Filioque comes to mind here. :)

Chris said...

Yeah, we love adding heresy to the beauty of the truth revealed once and for all to the saints.

William Weedon said...


I am familiar with the prayers around it. It well fits with Orthodox teaching (as one would expect) regarding salvation. I was noting merely that a Lutheran (who obviously teaches differently about salvation) would say *almost* the same thing, but leave the action of sacrifice clearly in the past while the result of the sacrifice - that which WAS sacrificed - is offered to us very much in the present. Pax!

William Weedon said...

To rule that filioque rises to the level of heresy is still theologoumenon, no? No council has so decreed that I'm aware of.

Phil said...

Pr. Weedon,

It seems to me that the main question behind all this is how to rightly distinguish the things which the celebrant does in the stead (or office; Korby apparently didn't like "stead") of Christ from the things which Christ alone does and are therefore unrepeatable.

If we could get this distinction straight, it would go a long way towards understanding the way in which the Sacrament truly is a sacrifice and the ways in which it isn't a sacrifice. It would also help address questions of the orientation of the altar and eucharistic prayers.

William Weedon said...


I would think from a Lutheran standpoint it would have much to do with the meaning of "offer" here. Gerhard could speak this way. I wrote on this here:


I think, though, the Lutheran concern is particularly with preserving the primary directionality of the offering: in the Supper it runs from God to us. Hence, "take, eat... take, drink..."

Past Elder said...

Maybe we should leave this to Eastern Lutherans.

Who, btw, do this very nicely without our help. I would commend to your (plural, as in y'all) attention the Eastern Liturgy of the Ukranians, scroll down to the Creed and Consecration right after the Second Litany and Cherubic Hymn.


This liturgy you may also find linked to on my most humble blog, where it has been since its Day One. Right along with a Lutheran liturgy that is a similar version of the Western rite, but I have heard no such thing ever any place in 14 years of being Lutheran, just Vatican II or Willow Creek light.

William Weedon said...

The Ukrainian Lutheran Liturgy is a gem, no two ways about it, Terry. I'd love to hear it served sometime.

Anonymous said...

My husband used to talk about writing an article on how the Eucharist works as a sacrifice in Lutheran theology. I believe the argument (building off something from Scaer) was going to be that when God sees the Eucharist He sees the sacrifice of His Son, but when we see it we see the fruits offered to us. He had a better way of putting it. I think he forgot he was going to write that one though.

Bethany Kilcrease

William Weedon said...

Sounds rather much like some the way Piepkorn was able to speak based on those passages in Gerhard and Hollaz.

Trent said...

Discerning what Orthodox may or not believe based on whether the Liturgy seemingly places something in the past, current or future is a bit tricky. Remember, St. John's Liturgy refers to Christ's "Second and Glorious Coming" as being in the past, if you read it linearly. But as Schmemann discusses so well (as you know) the Liturgy is beyond time and space, so any references to what seems like a linear timeline, again, gets a little tricky.

Also, you mention, “it occurred to me that a slight re-statement would get at what Lutherans believe:” How can this be? You mentioned the other day that Lutherans ONLY “omit some newer abuses." Are you suggesting that St. John Chrysostom’s words are a newer abuse?

Chris said...

Fr. Weedon,

The filioque is heresy. It has never been strictly called that in church council with the exception of the Confession of Dositheus which was produced by a meeting of the Jerusalem Synod in the 1600s to refute the teachings of Patriarch Cyril Lukaris, the "Calvinist Patriarch." Remember that ecumenical councils of the church all occurred before the filioque was universally accepted and used in the western churches. However, Patriarch JEREMIAS II, in his dialogue with the Tubingen Lutherans said that the filioque had to go if there was to be any further talk of union. Such is the same policy today. The filioque must be jettisoned by all who wish to enter into the Orthodox Church. It is considered heresy even if not codified by a Grand Council.

William Weedon said...


It obviously doesn't obtain since the West did not inherit that particular liturgy as our own. Yet my point would be that as it stands, strictly from a Lutheran standpoint, mind you, it would be an ambiguous formulation (especially given popular teaching on the subject in the West) and so the clarification would be helpful. Certainly "remembering" the Second Coming is one of the most beautiful aspects of the St. John Chrysostom liturgy.


You may say so; there are Orthodox who have said otherwise, no? And absent the decision of an ecumenical council I don't think your opinion on the matter (certainly an opinion held by the majority of Orthodox, I assume) is more authoritative than that of the much smaller group who holds it is not a heresy in itself.

Chris said...

Fr. Weedon,

No EO hierarch regards the filioque as something acceptable but must be jettisoned. And, keep in mind that during the reception of converts, the filioque is contained in teh same lists as iconoclasm, monotheletism and other heresies condemned by the ecumenical councils. Though no ecumenical council has condemned it per se, even during the councils of Florence and Ferrara, the EO hierarchs (at least those who didn't sign the false decrees of union) such as St. Mark of Ephesus unequivocally stated that the filioque was heretical.

Father Robert Lyons said...

Dear Chris,

While I omit the filioque in the Creed because of the history of the clause in question, to call it heresy is to ignore the Scriptures.

I find it regrettable that the Latin Church elected to push through, without universal support, the text, but Scripture itself supports the basic concept, for in John 15:26, Jesus says, "I will send you the Advocate - the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me."

Even if, as many Orthodox scholars claim, this is a description of the historic procession as opposed to the source of the Spirit, it still clearly states that the Son has a role in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. While I agree that the filioque would best be recast as "from the Father through the Son", the actual text of the filioque is vague enough to allow for a few varieties of reading in this matter.

Again, I will not use the filioque clause in the Creed. To me, it's a matter of creedal integrity. I could no more alter the Creed of the Universal Church than I could the text of the Scriptures.


Chris said...

Fr. Robert,

You have basically illustrated why it is dangerous for the Orthodox to engage in any dialogue with the Roman Catholics or other Western confessions which hold the filioque. On the one hand, you say that it's inclusion in the creed was unilaterally pushed through by one small group with some political pressure from the Carolingians and believe that the creed should be said without it. THen, on the other hand, you defend the theology. It's always a slight of hand.

If the Fathers of the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople thought that the Spirit proceeded from both the Father and the Son, don't you think they would have included filioque? Or were they too shortsighted and too stupid to have realized their omission?

The filioque is heresy. It ascribes something to the Son, which the Son says is not even His. Your biblical proof text is ridiculous; testifying about the son does not have the same meaning as origin. No creative twisting of logic can possibly come to that conclusion.

Though it may not actually be defined as heresy by the Orthodox in a grand council (which I've already talked about), I will remind you that if it were not heresy, it would not be in the list of heresies which a catechumen is required to repudiate upon his chrismation and reception into the Holy Orthodox Church.