Rorate Caeli

Christos Anesti! Christos Voskrese!

Even if it's a bit late...a blessed and joyous Pascha to our Eastern Catholic brethren and other Christians who observe the Queen of Feasts according to the Julian Calendar

16 comments:

shadrach said...

That's a beautiful picture of Christ saving souls (or harrowing hell), where is it from?

irulats said...

Alithós Anésti!

Voistinu voskrese!

Giangaleazzo said...

I went to a Greek Orthodox midnight celebration. The people have very little faith left, I have to say, and there was a distinct lack of reverence in the church (I don't know if this is standard).

Giangaleazzo said...

I went to a Greek Orthodox midnight celebration. The people have very little faith left, I have to say, and there was a distinct lack of reverence in the church (I don't know if this is standard).

old believer said...

I went to a Russian celebration and found quite the opposite, a most beautiful celebration of the Holy Saturday morning Vesperal Liturgy and Paschal Mattins. The fervour of the crowd was both touching and contagious.

Giangaleazzo said...

Further on the Greek liturgy:

Rather than little faith, it should be stated that there are just a few people who have a sensus fidei, while the rest just came for the holiday celebration to be with the family. Most left the church (old protestant house, but very nicely decorated with Byzantine art) way before the liturgy was over, notwithstanding the pastor(priest?)'s pleas for them to stay and hear the Divine Litugy of St John Chrysostom, among other things.

Three male chanters sung (80% in Greek, the rest in English) almost the full three hours, and it was truly beautiful, especially when the whole church joined. They repreated the main antiphon about 15 times in total (usually 2-3 repetitions each time). A wonderful moment occured when one of the cantors read out "Kyrie eleison" nine times, very quickly, in a Greek accent, near the beginning of the liturgy (I assume it corresponed to our Kyrie). Their altar had golden instruments (crosses and monstrance-like stands) on top, and the celebrant faced the front of the church for most of the time when he was next to it. Male altar servers helped in the sanctuary and at the occasional processions in the "narthex."

The candle procession (no large paschal candle, it was thes same size as all the others) occured right at midnight, though it all started at 11 PM Saturday night, and naturally progressed to this point. The consecration was rather different, and our "matter" was spoken right before it, if I remember correctly. No one knelt at any point in the liturgy, though the Missal orders it at least at the consecration. The celebrant did kiss an icon on the screen (iconostasis-they had a decorated wall) every time he entered in, and the main cross and some other icons were reverenced this way by some faithful.

The celebrant delivered the sermon first in Greek (fluent), then in English, and it was perhaps the most informative part for myself, since I was able to hear about the state of their religion. He quoted the Archbishop of America multiple times, and chiefly just stressed the importance of keeping the Orthodox faith, including the traditions, customs, and feasts. Besides, in his compassionate tone (he was an old, kind fellow), he taught about God's unceasing providence over us and His blessings if we follow His precepts, His Love, and the importance of our salvation (mentioned very often in the liturgy itself, which was 90% Greek and 10% English - I had a Missal). Nothing about ecumenism or other religions, and no trifling talk.

In a sense, it was a sad spectacle, evidenced by the following: at the end, he thanked me for staying the whole three hours, which was, he said, much better than so many of his faithful - I felt his pain at the impiety of our age. For me, the 3 hours was not that bad, as I solely attend the Tridentine Liturgies for the past 1.5 years, though my arms were very tired from holding the missal in one hand, and a lit candle in the other). I told his wife (he was married with two kids) that I am Catholic, and will perhaps invite them to our Tridentine Mass (at least their daughter initially, through whom I found out about this).

All in all, our Tridentine Liturgy is still more beautiful. Perhaps their religion cannot sustain the faithful as well? Though I cannot answer that with just this single event, obviously.

Pray for their conversion!

Christopher said...

Shadrach, the image looks to me as if it is the harrowing of hell from the church of St. Saviour in Chora, Constantinople. Probably one of the last (and most beautiful) Byzantine churches. It was built by the statesman, philosopher, author, and patron of the arts Theodore Metochites.

old believer said...

The 'monstrance-like stands' would have been fans that are used (when there are sufficient servers/clergy during parts of the service).

The Typicon proscribes kneeling during Bright Week and on Sundays - so there should be no kneeling for the epiclesis.

In the Roman rite too kneeling was prohibited for Paschaltide. The old Breviary had a rubric at the end of Compline on Holy Saturday: "Et non flectuntur genua toto Tempore Paschali". In the 1962 BR the same rubric appears at the end of abbreviated Lauds.

New Catholic said...

"Et non flectuntur genua toto Tempore Paschali"

True - for the hours of the Office, not for Mass.

Ad Orientem said...

New Catholic,
Thank you for your kind greeting. The joy of the feast to you and yours.

Christ is risen!
John

beng said...

It is so less joyful that for different rites to celebrate a feast at different time.

It would be better that all catholics celebrate at the same time.

Pope St. Victor, pray for us.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

Dear giangaleazzo;

I think the Greek Orthodox also have their share of nominal believers, and the diaspora Orthodox do have serious problems maintaining church attendance, discipline and retention of the faithful. But then, isn't this a problem everywhere, even among us Catholics? The sick air of modernism and secularism is everywhere -- "even in our food", as an old lay brother once told me. What you just said about the Greek Orthodox parish you went to, applies just as well to more Catholic parishes than we can care to think of.

Just like traditional Catholics, though, there are also bright spots in the Orthodox world where the faithful behave with great faith and reverence. From anecdotal evidence, it seems that the Russian Orthodox (whatever we think of their leaders) are doing a great job in restoring their faith, in celebrating the liturgy with greater reverence and fuller rubrics than in the past couple of hundreds of years, and in restoring monasticism (one new monastery per week!) Imagine what a CATHOLIC Russia can do for the world. No wonder Our Lady specifically asked for the Russians!

And what shall we say of the unsurpassable witness of the Ukrainian Catholics, who in the 20th century suffered for the faith more than any other Catholic community (except perhaps for the Chinese Catholics)? And these Ukrainians did find in the Byzantine Rite their inspiration and their strength.

As for the Tridentine Rite being more beautiful than the Byzantine Rite, I don't think that there is any point in comparing between the two. Both rites have their strengths and distinctive emphases, and embody different (but not necessarily contradictory) spiritualities.

There are Byzantines who have become Latin because of the sober beauty and impressive austerity (relatively speaking) of the classical Roman Rite, and there are Latins who have become Byzantine because they love its sheer exuberance and spiritual intensity.

Personally, I love both traditions. I attend the Tridentine Mass on Sundays (except when circumstances render it impossible -- illness, etc.) but the sacred music I love best is Russian Orthodox sacred choral music.

old believer said...

'True - for the hours of the Office, not for Mass.'

Certainly this has been the practice in modern times in the West but Nicea's Canon 20 referred to kneeling per se during Paschaltide. Authors such as Thurston and Jungmann (Mass of the Roman Rite I p.240) refer tothe practice of kneeling only in penitential seasons in earlier times and then the gesture spreading. The lack of a Vigil for SS Philip and James is because such a 'kneeling day' in Paschaltide would not be apposite.

New Catholic said...

If by "modern times" you mean the last dozen centuries...

Naturally, my only observation was that that sentence refers only to the hours... That is it. It is well known that kneeling had a much more limited use in the ancient Church, but the sentence you quote from the Breviary is not the proof you were seeking, since it is clear that it applies to the hours, not to the Mass (as the very different rubrics of the preceding days of Holy Thursday, Holy Friday, and Holy Saturday in the Breviary).

old believer said...

I am not trying to prove anything. Nicea is quite clear on the matter.

I suspect the rubric in BR reflects an older practice that has an echo in rubric making the distinction of additional kneeling on certain penitential days in the Missal: RG XVII, 5.

Giangaleazzo said...

Thank you for the clarifications Carlos.

I should add that I certainly was not trying to denigrate any aspects of any of the Eastern traditions, but rather my sole purpose was to present an experience of their Liturgy for the readers of this blog, perhaps not many of whom have had a similar experience. I certainly am aware of similar problems of irreverence with Catholics, and I can only admire the religious spirit of the Eastern traditions. Verily, though, the world would benefit from a true union: for after all, we believe in One Church, not many.

As to which rite is more beautiful, of course I'm rather biased, but recognize the beauty of both traditions.
God bless.