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Liturgical Reform and Alienation, and Other Interesting Things

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by The Liturgist, Mar 11, 2021.

  1. The Liturgist

    The Liturgist Traditional Liturgical Christian

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    Your post made me reflect on the interesting fact that in the history of the Christian church, in the past four centuries, the forcible implementation of a new liturgy substantially, or in some cases, only slightly, different from the old one, has produced some fairly spectacular schisms.

    • The Nestorian Controversy, which did lead indirectly to the schism of the Church of the East from the rest of the early church, and which set in motion a chain of events which later resulted in the schism between the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, was the direct result of Patriarch Nestorius of Constantinople seeking to ban the use of the word Theotokos in reference to the Blessed Virgin Mary in liturgical and other contexts.
    • The Oriental Orthodox for their part interpret the ancient hymn known as the Trisagion (the lyrics of which are “Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal One”) as referring to Jesus Christ, and add to it “Who was crucified for us, have mercy on us,” this being called the Theopaschite Clause, written by St. Peter the Fuller. The Eastern Orthodox and Roman Orthodox of antiquity conversely interpreted this hymn as referring to the Trinity, and as a result, accused St. Peter Fullo and the Oriental Orthodox of Patripassianism, the semi-Sabellian heresy that says God the Father suffered on the cross. The Oriental Orthodox for their part regarded this baseless accusation as yet more evidence that the Chalcedonians had embraced Nestorianism (an erroneous assumption the conniving Nestorius found it amusing to promote in exile, by writing letters and I believe including in his pompous memoirs entitled The Bazaar of Heraclides, statements to the effect that the doctrine of Chalcedon was precisely what he had sought to implement, which is of course pure and unadulterated calumny, considering that Chalcedon, like Ephesus, anathematized those who denied the Virgin Mary was Theotokos, and it was Nestorius seeking to persuade the Byzantine Capital to deny the same that caused the Christological controversies of the fifth century.
    • The absolute ban on iconography in Islam, which the now destroyed synagogue at Dura Europos, and also, I believe, several synagogues of the Beta Israel in Ethiopia, prove is not an ancient Jewish doctrine, inspired Byzantine generals and Emperor Constantine V to ban icons under the false belief that the Byzantine Empire had become idolatrous, and like the Hebrews in the Old Testament, it was losing to Islam as a result. This caused a great ecclesiastical controversy between the iconodules and iconoclasts, and in the end the iconodules prevailed, and mandated the veneration of icons. The Roman Catholics and Oriental Orthodox, which never embraced iconoclasm, show us what the use and veneration of icons probably looked like in the Eastern Orthodox Church before the iconoclasts attempted to suppress them, but now the Eastern Orthodox Church responded much like Roman Catholics who were alienated by the Novus Ordo Missae responded, by going full tilt in the other direction, with spectacular and beautiful results.
    • In 1660, there was a mandatory reform of the Russian Orthodox liturgy under Patriarch Nikon, which was intended to make it more like the liturgy as it was then celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox churches in the Ottoman Empire (predominantly Greek and Antiochian/Arabic speaking bishops were in attendance at the conferences on liturgical reform during which the service books were revised), based on the erroneous idea that to the extent the Russian service books deviated from those of other Orthodox churches, they were in error. In fact, the Church of Russia and, unbeknownst to Nikon, the Church of Georgia, were using an older version of the typikon, which one might call Studite-Sabaite, rather than the newer Sabaite-Studite typikon in use in the Greek churches. This reform was ill timed, as there was a popular heretical belief that the world would end in 1666 among some Russian peasants. Needless to say, there was a popular rebellion lead by people who the authorities called “Raskol” meaning schismatics, and a great many were killed, largely for crossing themselves with two fingers rather than three. The old liturgy remained in use, but new heterodox and heretical sects like the Priestless Old Believers (many of whom live in Woodburn Oregon, who believe there are no priests, because the last Orthodox bishop died around 1712, and thus do not have the Eucharist), Doukhobors, (Unitarians who reject all Scripture except the Sermon on the Mount, who immigrated to Canada with funds raised by Leo Tolstoy, where they used to protest in the nude at mandatory public schooling, leading to the first laws in Canada banning indecent exposure), Molokans, (who converted in many cases to Judaism and in other cases adopted the Jewish law and rejected St. Paul; many of them live in California), and also more dire apocalyptic cults like the Mutilators and Immolators appeared, whose names summarize their beliefs, appeared as a result, and also “Peter the Great” , fearing that in the future the Orthodox Church might do something similarly divisive, abolished the Moscow Patriarchate and reduced the Holy Synod to three bishops, whose decisions had to be approved by an Imperial bureaucrat, the State Procurator, which resulted in severe spiritual stagnation in the Russian Orthodox Church in the 18th century, which was only miraculously reversed in the 19th century by the efforts of the minority of monasteries which Peter the Great had not dissolved for his own financial gain; in 1917 when Czar St. Nicholas abdicated, St. Tikhon became the Moscow Patriarch, and by that time the Old Rite liturgy had been formally reintroduced in the canonical church, and additionally Old Believers had gained the right to ring church bells. So the entire thing was a travesty, and I suspect there would have been less anti-Czarist fuel for the fire of Bolshevism had it not occurred.
    • In 1920, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantiniple and several other Eastern Orthodox churches (the Churches of Greece, Antioch, Alexandria, Cyprus, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, and later a portion of the Polish Orthodox Church, and what would become the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, and the anti-Russian faction of the Estonian Orthodox Church, and the autonomous Finnish Orthodox Church, and most of the Orthodox Church in America, adopted the Revised Julian Calendar, or the Gregorian Calendar in the case of Finland and part of Estonia, and this caused a schism between the Old Calendarists and all other Eastern Orthodox churches, even those which kept the traditional calendar (specifically, the Churches of Jerusalem, Sinai, Serbia, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic States* and Georgia, and later the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and parts of the Orthodox Church in America and the newly autocephalous Polish Orthodox Church), because being in communion with the “World Orthodox” churches who had embraced the new Calendar was seen as endorsing the “pan-Heresy of ecumenism.”
    • The effects of the introduction of the Novus Ordo Missae are well documented, resulting in the formation of multiple breakaway groups, the largest of which is the SSPX, and the rapid growth of these groups, some of which had undesirable attributes such as Sedevacantism and anti-Semitism, and one of which, the Palmarian Catholic Church, within seven years of its founding, had transformed into a dangerous cult. In response to this, Pope John Paul II formed the FSSP, a canonical alternative to the SSPX, and created the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” to attempt to reunite the SSPX and other alienated traditionalists with the church, and prevent further division, and the work of Ecclesia Dei and the continued popularity of the Latin Mass, particularly when permitted within canonically regular conditions, resulted in Pope Benedict XVI promulgating the much lauded Summorum Pontificum, which brought about the complete reversal of the restrictions on the Tridentine Mass and related traditional liturgies such as the Dominican Rite Latin Mass and the Carmelite Mass, and the current situation where diocesan TLM parishes and TLM monasteries have better attendance and more vocations than the rest of the Roman Rite. This was the first case where a liturgical change could be said to be objectively bad, in that the Novus Ordo marked the start of a protracted decline in church attendance, clerical and monastic vocations, specific to the Roman Rite communities that adopted it (although some Carthusian monasteries made minor changes to their mass to follow the directives of Sacrosanctum Concilium, on the whole, male Carthusian charterhouses, which have a very different liturgical experience than that of Novus Ordo monasteries and parishes, were not affected, and this perhaps should have been the first indicator of trouble; the second should perhaps have been the relatively solid performance of Sui Juris Eastern Catholic parishes, who were affected liturgically by Sacrosanctum Concilium, but in a very different way, with a directive to de-Latinize; that said, even this de-Latinization has not been completely uncontroversial because some Eastern Catholics happened to like the Latinizations and saw them as providing a contrast with the worship experience of the Orthodox churches, which takes us to our next schism.
    • The forced de-Latinization mentioned above, which included removal of holy water fonts, sacring bells, altar rails, and the occasional pulpit, and the installation or enhancement of iconostases (these were de rigeur in most Byzantine Rite Catholic churches, with the exception of some Ruthenian Catholic parishes which tended to have less in terms of an iconostasis, and in a few cases, none at all; in those cases where the iconostasis was missing or barely there, they have generally been installed), and also the introduction in rites where it was an ancient tradition, the mixing of water and wine and communion in both kinds being treated with still greater importance. The only place where this caused a schism was in Ukraine, where after appeals to the Archbishop to let some traditional aspects of Ukrainian Catholicism being removed as Latinizations, which included among other things daylight Paschal liturgies on Easter Sunday, Holy Water fonts, and other things, the Society of St. Josaphat was formed, which has a positive relationship with the SSPX. It is somewhat easier to sympathize with this group than the SSPX, because unfortunately for those Byzantine Rite Catholics who might legitimately desire a different liturgical identity than their Eastern Orthodox counterparts, something already provided for in the case of all of the other Eastern Catholic Churches, which have liturgies which are in some cases very different from their Orthodox or Assyrian counterparts, with the sole exception Armenian Catholic Church* (whose liturgy, if it differs from that of the Armenian Apostolic Church, differs only in the commemoration of the Pope and the exclusion of the Theopaschite Clause from the Trisagion; but my understanding is that it is completely identical; the Armenian Rite liturgy at some point was heavily influenced by the Byzantine Rite, acquiring a virtually identical Liturgy of the Catechumens, and then, subsequently, as the Byzantine Empire was collapsing and the Armenians were in danger of conquest by the Turks, they explored union with Rome and the liturgy experienced some Latinizations, in the form of the Last Gospel, services in Lent where only the priest partakes of the Eucharist, and the suppression of all but one of their traditional anaphoras).
    • In 1964, Metropolitan Thoma Darmo, leader of the Assyrian Church of the East in India, who for years had expressed concern about the hereditary control of the Catholicos of the East,*** the presiding bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East, which had been in the hands of the D’Mar Shimun family for several centuries, in violation of Canon 76 of the ancient Apostolic Canons, as well as the specific canon law of the Church of the East, broke away from the rest of the Church of the East. At the same time, the controversial Catholicos Mar Shimun Eshrai XXI who lived in San Francisco, met with one of his allies in the leadership of the church in Iraq, and it was decided unilaterally that the Assyrian Church of the East would switch from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar. This infuriated many Iraqi Assyrian Christians, who regarded their hereditary Patriarch as out of touch and morally decadent, and prompted the formation of the Ancient Church of the East, which rejected the hereditary Patriarchate and the Gregorian Calendar. Mar Thoma Darmo was the first Catholicos, until his death in 1969, at which time Mar Addai II Gewargis****, who was only 23, was elected Acting Catholicos of the Ancient Church of the East, and was officially ordained in 1972. Since that time, the Indian Archdiocese rejoined the Assyrian Church of the East, which implemented a number of reforms under Catholicos Mar Dinkha IV, who was elected in accordance with the ancient canons to succeed the late Mar Shimun Eshrai XXI after the last hereditary Patriarch was assasinated in San Jose in 1975. In addition, relations between the Ancient Church of the East and the Assyrian Church of the East in Iraq and the diaspora have steadily improved, and it seems probable the two will reunite in the near future. Mar Shimun Eshrai XXI was a controversial figure, but what ultimately caused the formation of the Ancient Church of the East was his decision to unilaterally change the liturgical calendar without the consent of the laity and without consulting with the church in Iraq.

    • Finally, in 1979, the Episcopal Church USA imposed the controversial new Book of Common Prayer and began ordaining women. Much of the Continuing Anglican schism involved the latter, but the prayer book change was a major contributor to the schism, as every Continuing Anglican Church made a point of using the 1928 Book of Common Prayer and the 1940 Hymnal. The Episcopal Church fueled this fire by mandating the adoption of the new Prayer Book, and while there were measures in place to ameliorate the change, including the traditional language Rite I, and a rubric allowing the use of the new services included in the book in traditional language, which was exploited to brilliant effect by the 1994 Anglican Service Book, these concessions were not enough. It is certainly the case that the revised Catechism and the seeming deprecation of the 39 Articles were for some Anglicans close to the heart of the matter. It is also the case that in several respects, including the aforementioned changes to the Catechism and the status of the 39 Articles, the 1979 BCP is more high church than the 1928 BCP, however, the large and well-funded Anglican Province of Christ the King, which has a respected seminary dedicated to St. Joseph of Arimathea in Berkeley, California (or nearby, it is in the East Bay at any rate) and which is extremely Anglo Catholic, makes use of the 1928 BCP as its exclusive liturgical text. My best guess as to why the 1979 BCP became a lightning rod of criticism is that much of the problem stemmed from imposing on the people something that not all of them wanted, even those who were indifferent to the ordination of women. Indeed, I am reliably informed that in parts of the Southern US, to this day there are a small number of conservative ECUSA parishes which still use the 1928 BCP, despite this being technically a violation of Episcopalian canon law (it would be an act of incredible hypocrisy however for them to be targeted, given that every service held at the Episcopal Church of St. Gregory of Nyssa in San Francisco deviates in extreme respects from the 1979 BCP, except possibly the “Rite III” service, which is a basic ordo for a communion service allowing Episcopal churches to do interesting things, like on occasion use the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. But my understanding is that the rubrics prohibit using “Rite III” for primary Sunday services.
     
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  2. The Liturgist

    The Liturgist Traditional Liturgical Christian

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    * Interestingly, before the Turkish Genocide, the Armenian Catholic Church was the largest and most important Sui Juris Eastern Catholic Church, and it is now one of the smallest, a testimony to the immense bloodshed, from which the Armenian population has not yet recovered even after 106 years.

    ** The Catholicos of the Assyrian Church of the East at the time of this schism was Mar Shimun Eshai XXIII, the last in a long line of hereditary Catholicoi,who were the younger sons or nephews of a powerful dynasty, the D’Mar Shimun lineage of community leaders among the Assyrian people, who, although the Assyrians were not granted recognition as a Millet, that being, a separate ethnoreligious group with its own laws, customs, and judiciary, a status granted to the Greeks, Armenians, Latins (Roman Catholics) and Jews of the Ottoman Empire, did function as an ethnarch, similar to secular ethnarchs in the Druze and Yazidi*** communities, which also have religious leaders; this office being filled by the younger son of the Assyrian ethnarch, who would become Catholicos of the Church of the East. The hereditary rule of the Church of the East, which began around the year 1500, was uncanonical, both according to ancient canon law**** and the specific canon laws of the Church of the East enacted since that church became isolated from the rest of Christendom owing to a brief period of Nestorian influence after the Council of Ephesus, and the hostility of the Persian Empire to the Greco-Roman, Armenian and Georgian churches, the five Patriarchates of the former comprising the state religion of the Byzantine Empire, and the latter two the state religions of military allies of Constantinople. While Catholicos Mar Shimun Eshai XXIII, without renouncing the hereditary nature of his office, did appear to disregard the mandatory celibacy of Assyrian bishops, which dates from that era when the Church of the East had many monasteries, prior to the genocide of Tamerlane which killed off most of the church, and all of its members outside of India and Mesopotamia, by resigning from his ecclesiastical duties and marrying in 1973, but then subsequently returning to work. This must have caused fears that he intended to produce an heir directly (despite Mar Eshai having no nephew and thus no heir, and having agreed to abolish hereditary succession, with his successor to be elected in accordance with canon law) or otherwise scandalized the people, because in 1975 Mar Eshai was assasinated at his home in San Jose, California, by David Malek Ismail at his home in an incident the Deputy District Attorney concluded was the work of a conspiracy of church dissidents.

    *** The hereditary Yazidi secular leader who lead the community during the ISIS genocide, Prince Tahseen Said, sadly died in Hanover in 2019 at the age of 85 and was succeeded by his son, while his counterpart the religious leader, who has the title Baba Sheikh, Xurto Hecî Îsmaîl, who led the Yazidi faithful through the same crisis, died last October in a hospital in Erbil, Kurdistan, in Iraq, at the age of 88; Iraqi Christians have a special relationship with the Yazidis, who the Muslim fundamentalists regard as devil worshippers, for a few reasons, including the Yazidis having some theological similarities to Christianity, particularly Syrian Gnosticism, and also commemorating our Lord in a quasi-Eucharistic liturgy, for reasons I don’t understand in light of what is known about their theology; they also baptize and circumcise their infants, and when Yazidis marry, they stop and seek the blessing of the priests of any Christian churches they should pass on their journey to the nearest Yazidi temple for the rite to be officiated. And most tellingly, during the Turkish genocide against Christians, the Yazidis sheltered Armenians who the Ottoman Empire’s equivalent of the Gestapo was hunting down, for purposes of extermination. For this reason, after the war, when Armenia became an independent country after a millennium of foreign rule of their homeland (although a separate Armenian kingdom in Cilicia did exist for a few centuries after Armenia proper was conquered), the Yazidis were allowed to settle there, and to this day they are the largest ethnic minority in the country.

    **** Mar Addai II interestingly enough is the only leader of a Middle Eastern church from before the Arab Spring and the rise of the Islamic State who is still alive; while many of his colleagues were quite elderly, so many of them died I believe stress was a factor.
     
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  3. The Liturgist

    The Liturgist Traditional Liturgical Christian

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    One final interesting note, from the Pedalion, Apostolic Canon 76, which prohibits the inheritance of ecclesiastical offices (I believe there are some cases of non-denominational evangelical churches and “ministries” which violate this principle, and in the late 15th century, the infamous scoundrel Pope Alexander VI, of the corrupt Spanish aristocratic family, the Borgias, made the violation of this rule and also his own oath of clerical celibacy the defining principles of his tenure as the Bishop of Rome).

    CANON LXXVI (76)
    It is decreed that no Bishop shall be allowed to ordain
    whomsoever he wishes to the office of the Episcopate as a matter
    of concession to a brother, or to a son, or to a relative. For it is not
    right for heirs to the Episcopate to be created, by subjecting God’s
    things to human passion; for God’s Church ought not to be
    entrusted to heirs. If anyone shall do this, let the ordination remain
    invalid and void, and let the bishop himself be penalized with
    excommunication.
    (Canon XXIII of Antioch; Canon XI of Carthage.)​

    Interpretation
    Hierarchical authority is admittedly a grace and gift of the Holy Spirit. So how can anyone bestow it upon another as an inheritable right? Therefore the present Apostolic Canon decrees that a bishop ought not to favor any of his brothers or sons or relatives by ordaining him as his successor to the office of the episcopate, because it is not right for one to create heirs to the episcopate (as is done, that is to say, in the case of other affairs among seculars), and to bestow the gracious gifts of God upon another as a favor, such as the episcopal authority, on account of human passion, or in other words, on account of considerations of relationship or friendship. Nor ought anyone to subject the Church of God to inheritance, by so acting as to cause it to be called a patrimony.


    Source: the Pedalion, compiled by St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite, mid 18th century.
     
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  4. Philip_B

    Philip_B all shall be well and all shall be well and ... Supporter

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    It is interesting in a post about liturgical reform that the Orthodox should be so prominent in the discussion given their noticeable indisposition to anything smelling of liturgical novelty.

    In Anglican circles the fundamental declarations point us to the idea that the liturgy should be in a language that the people could understand. That has often been suggested that means the liturgy should be in the 'vulgar tongue', or if you like the street speak of the day. None the less the history suggests that is not what was meant, as 1549 (Our first substantial prayer book in English) and those that followed where in a high brow and slightly anachronistic form of English, probably elevated above the language of the Court and the University. Yes people still understood it, however it was calling them to lift the tone, and their hearts to a higher level.

    There has probably been more real change in the use of English since 1962, than there was in the period from 1662-1962. The rate at which words get invented, recycled, and dispensed with is a real challenge. Given that 1928 was a modest revision with some concession to linguistic changes, it was essentially somewhat modest, perhaps allowing greater space for some of the novelty of the Oxford Movement to find some domicile and expression.

    The big shifts have been around the movement to the forms as interpreted from the discovery of the Hippolytus Canon. Suddenly, in the West, we had a new shape to the liturgy, finding expression in various texts, including of course Novus Ordo, The Alternative Service Book, Common Worship, AAPB, APBA, BCP 2019, with titles like 2nd Order, or renewed ancient texts. This has been accompanied by the embracing of the Westward Position (ad-populum) and a substantial emphasis on the immanence of God. Many lament the loss of the sense of Transcendence, depriving the liturgy of much dignity, and perhaps even leading to Bishops on Slippery Dips (I have seen the photo, however it is really too distressing to share).

    I attended a non-anglican congregation using English Missal (more or less) and there was a lot to be loved about it, however the linguistic leap back to thees and thous proved for me to be a distraction, and realistically I could say that I did not think that the language was easily understandeth of the people. None the less there seems to have been some significant theological shifts snuck in under the guise of language and liturgical reform, and I think in all honesty some of it is alienating.

    During the covid emergency we have been prohibited from touching during the greeting of peace, so we have developed this odd practice of standing where we are with our hands up, fingers waving, as we make eye contact with our fellow parishioners doing the same. I have to say I honestly prefer this to the 'intermission style' greeting of people where everyone is out of the seat all over the church shaking hands and having all manner of conversation.

    It seems in the west we will be prisoners of liturgical novelty for some time to come.
     
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  5. disciple Clint

    disciple Clint Well-Known Member

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    Your posts so far are a real good start on a graduate dissertation. Well done.
     
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  6. Athanasius377

    Athanasius377 Out of the deep I called unto thee O Lord Supporter

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    Great post btw. I just wanted to add to your discussion from personal experience. The Anglican bodies that I have been associated with (Stemming from the Congress of St. Louis 1977) state they use the 1928 BCP but functionally they use the Anglican Missal that is published or was published by the Frank Gavin society. At least that has been my experience. Its basically an adaption of the BCP language to the Roman missal pre 1962 revision. As my priest of recent memory once told me, "we will defend the 28 prayer book so long as we don't actually have to use it".
     
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  7. seeking.IAM

    seeking.IAM Episcopalian Supporter

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    The Liturgist speaks well for theologians; let me give a view from the pew where folks are less likely to be as well informed on the nuances of theology.

    I think a significant issue is resistance to "change." Many people take great comfort in sameness. It's why every restaurant of a chain looks pretty much the same. We expect a Cracker Barrel to look like an old country store. We walk in, we recognize it as something we are familiar with, and it's a comfortable feeling like going back to grandma's house. We resist the attempt to change from the familiar.

    I came to The Episcopal Church well after the 1979 BCP was adopted. Therefore the controversy over the 1928 prayer book means nothing to me. I never knew it. I never experienced the loss of it. I, do however, take great comfort in the words and form of the liturgy in the 1979 BCP as the only prayer book I've evern known, just as I do when I hear the old hymns of my Methodist past. Knowing that there is a new prayer book coming (if they ever get to it), is not a pleasant thought as it replaces a thing of value that brings comfort.

    When first coming to the church I sat behind an older chap who greatly confused me with his utterances during the liturgy. I came to find out he came to Anglicanism whilst stationed in England during WWII. The words he was reciting were those which he learned in England in WWII. He wasn't going to change despite what the rest of us were saying. I rather liked him. We resist change.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2021
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  8. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    This was not limited to the Anglican tradition. The current PCUSA communion liturgy is at least loosely based on the Anaphora of Hippolytus. Liturgical renewal in the 1960s was fairly broadly based. While we retain the liturgy today, I’m not sure how widely its origin is understood. That can result in individual pastors making changes that I’m not happy with. My 5th and 6th grade class just celebrated communion with a seriously truncated service.
     
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  9. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Actually, there was much more about the adoption of the 1979 BCP which forced the hand of the people who became known as the Continuing Anglicans.

    The idea that the opponents of the 1979 book were just people who couldn't stand change or else were upset at not being allowed an option is incorrect. It did, however, serve to make the Continuers appear to be shallow and/or petulant.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2021
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  10. The Liturgist

    The Liturgist Traditional Liturgical Christian

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    So let me first say that I support Continuing Anglicans to the extent that I would say they, and not the Episcopal Church or ACNA, represent best represent Anglicanism in the United States. And it is my opinion that the 1979 BCP has a lot of problems, like the three year lectionary; I was under the impression that the rubrics did offer a way out of these problems, but I could be mistaken, and then there is the issue of the catechism.

    So since you are a continuing Anglican par excellence, I think I ought to let you tell me why the 1979 BCP caused so much controversy.

    Because the actual point of my post (believe it or not, it had one), aside from hereditary ordination is bad, is that the Episcopal Church should do what it resolved to do in the early 2010s, and not replace the 1979 BCP, and their recent decision to move forward on a replacement is grossly inadvisable, given how bad things have gotten for them, and given their defeat in the case against the Diocese of Fort Worth in the Supreme Court, which does open the door to other dioceses leaving, and there still are moderate and traditional dioceses in the Episcopal Church which could leave if a new prayer book representing a more extreme liberal religion is crammed down their throats.

    Obviously, the 1979 BCP did infuriate many people regardless of churchmanship, so understanding why that is, I think is important in making the case. Because my preference is that the ECUSA survives and reforms, or else dissolves into individual dioceses due to the Fort Worth decision, because in the US, every city has two great cathedral churches, one Episcopalian, and one Roman Catholic.* And it behooves all American Christians to make sure those cathedrals are spiritually healthy.



    *except for Los Angeles, where the Roman Catholic cathedral is infamously ugly and the Episcopalian cathedral is obscure and uninteresting, and the most splendid cathedrals in greater Los Angeles were all built by Eastern Orthodox churches, such as St. Sophia’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral and St. Leon’s Armenian Cathedral (technically in Burbank), to name just two, and the largest and most impressive gothic church in Los Angeles is First Congregational, which has the two largest church organs in the world, controlled from a single console by the talented German organist John Bull, and otherwise has gone downhill from their era of “traditional worship, contemporary theology,” sadly recently joined the UCC.
     
  11. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Hello. I hope it's not thought that I was dissatisfied with what was really a splendid post you put together for us.

    Rather, I meant only to add something like a footnote or cautionary note when it came to just that part about the 1979 BCP. And of course, I'm not the only reader who might want to contribute if we go deeper into that issue. But let me think on it and see if I can come up with a summary.
     
  12. The Liturgist

    The Liturgist Traditional Liturgical Christian

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    I want to thank you for your kind words @Albion regarding the post, and I eagerly await your reply.
     
  13. The Liturgist

    The Liturgist Traditional Liturgical Christian

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    The Anaphora of Hippolytus ironically has never ceased to be used in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church; conversely I doubt it was ever used in the Roman Church but was rather cited by Pope Hippolytus as a stereotypical, normative liturgy following the Antiochene tradition, which even in the third century was probably dominant across a region stretching from Caesarea in Cappaodacia, along the coast of Syria, and across Asia Minor into Greece and Sicilly. The liturgy of the Ethiopian Church was developed by the “Seven Syrian Saints” in the decades following the conversion of the formerly Jewish kingdom to Christianity. This explains why the Ethiopian liturgy is Antiochene in form and not Alexandrian, despite being part of the Church of Alexandria (indeed, the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church was only granted autocephaly by the Coptic Pope of Alexandria in the 20th century, and Pope Shenouda in the 1990s caused a brief schism by granting the petition of the Eritrean Tewahedo Orthodox Church for autocephaly following the independence of Eritrea in the aftermath of a civil war, but there were other issues as well, such as the question as to whether or not Abune Mercurios, the Ethiopian Patriarch during the Derg regime, widely perceived as a collaborator, had been lawfully deposed after the downfall of Derg communism; fortunately, this schism was resolved. Now there is a schism with the official leadership of the Eritrean church, which was installed by the dictatorship, which continues to oppress the Eritrean churches and people.

    Speaking of the Church of Alexandria, a more historically literate choice would have been for churches to adopt either the Divine Liturgy of St. Mark, which is the oldest attested liturgy owing to the Strasbourg Papyri, or the Liturgy of Addai and Mari, which liturgical scholars are reasonably certain does substantially date to the 19th century.

    I know one priest who actually uses the Euchologion of Serapion, the world’s oldest complete service book, on a regular basis, primarily when visiting patients who are ill, as it contains a compact service for annointing the sick with oil. But the book also contains a variant of the Divine Liturgy of St. Mark, also known as the Divine Liturgy of St. Cyril, or else another Alexandrian rite so close to St. Mark and St. Cyril as to not be worth differentiating (the differences between that recension and others being like the difference between the Tridentine mass and the Dominican mass, which is to say, from a textual standpoint, negligible). Of course, since the Euchologion of Serapion is a bishop’s service book, we can assume there are missing portions.

    This takes us to another spectacular fallacy in the use of the Anaphora of Hippolytus: the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus was not a liturgical service book but a manual of church order. In antiquity, and even today to a lesser extent in some of the Eastern churches, it is customary for liturgical books to be written for a specific user, and to contain only the parts of the liturgy said by that user. The modern practice of including the entire service began with the Roman Missal, and was related to two Roman Rite practices, the low mass, and more importantly, the Roman tradition of the priest silently repeating all the prayers said in the mass by the other celebrants.*

    This is why when the Ethiopian Orthodox Church uses the Anaphora of the Apostles**, which is the actual name of the “Anaphora of Hippolytus” or the “Anaphora of the Apostolic Tradition”, it takes them a long time; factoring in the Liturgy of the Catechumens, the service could take as long as four hours. What is being read in the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus are only the words of part of the Liturgy of the Faithful, the Anaphora or Eucharistic Prayer itself, which would have been said by the Bishop or presbyter, and the immediate responses to it. Missing are the hymns, the Diptychs, and many other things, including the entire Liturgy of the Catechumens.

    And the irony of this is that wherever this anaphora is available, it tends to become the most popular because it is usually noticeably shorter than the alternatives (in the Roman Rite, I have heard Eucharistic Prayer 4 is the least popular; a friend of mine who is a now retired Episcopalian priest personally disliked the closely related Eucharistic Prayer D because of the fixed preface; his practice was to use Eucharistic Prayer B in Lent and divide the rest of the year between Eucharistic Prayer A and C. Eucharistic Prayer C however has the derogatory nickname “The Star Trek Prayer” and owing to its mention of galaxies and so on, which is perceived to be dated, is probably the least popular Rite II Eucharistic Prayer in the ECUSA, although this priest makes a good demonstration as to how to do it:



    At any rate, a part of me feels the Presbyterians ought to not use the Anaphora of the Apostles (Hippolytus), because there is a wealth of beautiful liturgical texts written by Calvinists which takes inspiration in some cases from Eastern liturgical traditions, and also, the liturgy in question is actually longer than the text containing it implies. And I would like to see this anaphora, in the form we see it in in the Novus Ordo and the 1979 BCP, suppressed, because of the tendency of priests to select it just to save a few minutes of time, and out of respect for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which does not get the credit it is due for being the historic user of this anaphora.

    *Interestingly, the Roman laity have long been encouraged to either join their prayers with the priest or to silently pray along with the priest the entire service. JRR Tolkien and his son Christopher did this often; in their correspondence Christopher Tolkien wrote about how comforting the Latin prayers were once memorized, during wartime, and his father agreed.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2021
  14. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Please understand the historical context. The use of it came in part from a desire to have an ecumenical liturgy. That was the form that was being used fairly widely, apparently from the influence of Dix. At the same time, some pastors moved to using an ecumenical alb, though that has mostly disappeared. Remember that this was the period when COCU was active, and the ICET started. I knew the editor of the 1970 worship book slightly.

    Assuming that Wikipedia has the whole text, the typical form used in our churches is somewhat longer, though often not as long as what’s in the worship book. I once tried to see what churches were actually using, to the extent that I could find it in their web pages. Not surprisingly, it’s almost never used word for word from the Worshipbook text. We don’t have the Anglican tradition of a prescribed liturgy, so every pastor likes to tweak it. However the form is normally preserved, and enough wording to preserve the intent. (My congregation even tweaks the Lord’s Prayer. As chairman of the worship commission I once had to ask our pastor to use the prescribed formula for baptism. His was far enough off that it’s not clear it was even valid..) I think it’s as long as you’d get our churches to put up with.

    I also looked up the previous liturgies. I thought they were OK.

    The worshipbook mildly encourages putting the words of institution at the beginning, as a warrant for the service. I’ve never actually seen that done. While it’s not always explicit, we tend to see them as a consecration, and put them at the end, shortly before distributing the elements. I doubt the author of the anaphora would agree, but I think there’s some justification. There’s also a split on what is said when handing the elements to people. Many churches seem to hand the bread and say “the body of Christ,” pretty clearly referring to the bread. And similarly with the blood. However that’s pushing Reformed theology, so some say something else, e.g. “the cup”.

    It’s interesting to watch these variations. I’m never clear how much thought is behind them.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2021
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  15. Philip_B

    Philip_B all shall be well and all shall be well and ... Supporter

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    That may be in the part that there are many who have failed to see the importance of the epiclesis.
     
  16. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    As I recall, that wasn’t part of our previous liturgy, and it’s not always preserved when a pastor shortens the service. Last Sunday I had communion with our 5th and 6th grade Sunday school class. The pastor didn’t use the Great Prayer of Thanksgiving, so we didn’t have a real epiclesis. You can make a good Reformed argument for it. The traditional view is that our contact with Christ’s body and blood is mediated by the Holy Spirit, so asking the Holy Spirits presence with the elements makes sense in our theology, and it’s something you’d really want to find in the service.

    Here's a typical epiclesis:

    Gracious God, pour out your Holy Spirit upon us
    and upon these your gifts of bread and wine,
    that the bread we break and the cup we bless
    may be the communion of the body and blood of Christ.
    By your Spirit unite us with the living Christ
    and with all who are baptized in his name,
    that we may be one in ministry in every place.
    As this bread is Christ’s body for us,
    send us out to be the body of Christ in the world.
    https://www.pcusa.org/site_media/media/uploads/sharedcelebration/pdfs/liturgy.pdf

    Note both Reformed and mainline nuances.
     
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  17. The Liturgist

    The Liturgist Traditional Liturgical Christian

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    Believe me, I do, and also please do not regard my post as a criticism of the Presbyterian Church. Rather, it is a criticism of the specific direction the Liturgical Movement took in the years following the death of Dom Gregory Dix. I know many Anglicans who blame the changes I object to on Dix, but I have been unable to substantiate it.

    Also, I must stress that my criticism is not a condemnation; I am in many respects grateful for the entire Liturgical Movement, especially what it did in its early years, but also, even what it did in the late 1960s on, where I feel mistakes began to be made. In my early childhood, exposure to Eucharistic Prayers like the Anaphora of the Apostles (Hippolytus) common to the mainline churches, combined with an amusing example of what one might consider a youthful folly combined with mystical experience, convinced me that the bread and wine or grape juice do become the body and blood of our Lord.

    The specific youthful folly was this: I found the taste of the Communion to be astonishingly good. At the church I attended this was intinction of leavened bread in grape juice (for the youth at least). I naively assumed this was due to the ingredients, and repeatedly attempted to replicate the taste by dipping different varieties of bread into grape juice, without any trace of success at replicating the flavor, and thus I became convinced that it must have something to do with the words of institution, and this was a powerful moment, one of several, in my childhood, which I am extremely thankful for. To this day, the experience of the Eucharist causes this experience for me, in most churches. I am sure many members can attest to special experiences involving the Lord’s Supper, particularly members from Lutheran, Calvinist, Anglican, Orthodox, Catholic, and if we have any, Assyrian members, as these faith traditions believe that our Lord is either spiritually present, in the case of Calvinism and low church or broad church Anglicanism (at least, according to the Black Rubric), or physically present, via what is sometimes called Consubstantiation in the case of Lutheranism, or Transubstantiation in the case of Roman Catholicism, or via what in the case of Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy and the Assyrian Church of the East might be called Transubstantiation, but might more accurately be called a sacred mystery of the real physical presence, since the concept of Transubstantiation is a Scholastic doctrine that depends on Aristotelian categories, specifically the idea of a substance which can be different from the accidents of an object (I would be interested in the opinion of @prodromos @GreekOrthodox @dzheremi and @Pavel Mosko on this point; I would also note that if I remember the translation of its acts correctly, the Eastern Orthodox Synod of Bethlehem in 1672 convened by His Beatitude Patriarch Dositheus of Jerusalem to address the scandals involving Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremias II of Constantinople’s alleged Calvinism and subsequent murder, and Protestantism more generally, did among other things describe EO Eucharistic doctrine as transubstantiation, but I have also seen other Orthodox writers complain that the Thomistic/Scholastic doctrine is too narrow and too limiting to describe the rational and bloodless sacrifice, as St. Basil calls it, of Holy Communion).

    I do know that the Ecumenical Movement of which Dix was a part was involved, but I don’t recall Dom Gregory Dix ever endorsing the aforementioned Anaphora specifically. The New Ecumenical Movement, which at present is a movement within the Roman Catholic Church that is liturgically traditional, but also intellectually aware, and not merely pushing for a status quo ante but rather for the kind of liturgy that had at one time been hoped for, before a change of direction started under Pope Pius XII, but which as a movement is so interesting, I hope they would be open to non-Catholic liturgiologists and clerics identifying with a New Liturgical Movement, has done compelling research into the origins of Eucharistic Prayer 2, and the precise form it took, and this can largely be attributed to Bugnini and his subordinates. Needless to say, to the extent the New Liturgical Movement believes the Novus Ordo Missae to be usable, they strongly prefer Eucharistic Prayer 1 (the Roman Canon), and particularly object to Eucharistic Prayer 2. I would also lament to note I have never attended a Novus Ordo mass that used a Eucharistic Prayer other than no. 2, and the licit but uncommon celebration of the Novus Ordo ad orientem I have not seen.

    I think I know what you mean by ecumenical alb; a plain white alb with a bushy collar suggestive of a hood, worn by deacons and priests with a stole, and the stole worn like a tippet rather than crossed and secured with a cincture, according to the contemporary custom, and of course, no trace of a chasuble. My friend the retired Episcopal priest vested in this manner, as did the deaconess who replaced him when he retired. However, if you have a photo of an ecumenically standard alb I would like to see that. I do don an alb when vesting for the Eucharist, so albs are of interest to me. I particularly like the albs worn by Coptic priests.

    I was under the impression that the Worshipbook had been replaced with the Book of Worship around 1990, and that in turn had been replaced with the liturgical accompaniement to Glory to God, your 2009 hymnal, which I thought had rather good liturgical services on the whole, and is much better and more palettable to a broad range of Christians than the 2006 ELCA hymnal, the UCC Book of Worship which I am all too familiar with, and the nightmarish proposals being talked about by the exploratory committee having discussions on the new Episcopal BCP, which I propose every Episcopalian reading this thread has a duty to stop, in order to prevent a repeat of the Continuing Anglican and ACNA schisms; the Episcopal Church can’t survive another major controversy in its present form, and needs a back to basics approach to survive and stem membership attrition and diocesan outflow (the latter is now a real risk due to the Supreme Court victory of the Diocese of Fort Worth; dioceses can now leave the Episcopal Church and keep the real estate). I greatly care about the future of the Episcopal Church, so this does matter to me.

    So I assume by Worshipbook you are referring to the current 2009 liturgy? I do have a copy of the old one lying around here somewhere.


    Indeed. These variations, when they become common on a sufficient scale, and especially if they can be associated with a specific common denominator, ought in my opinion to be documented as a use. Uses in turn should be understood to represent variant forms of a liturgical rite, although where a use becomes different to the point of being a rite is not easy to clearly define, and it does not help that some scholars have used the words interchangeably. But, in some cases, it is obvious; one can definitely see a distinct use of the Byzantine Rite in monasteries regardless of what calendar it is on, and whether the monastery is using the Violakis or Sabaite typikon, in things such as the timing of services. And one could in turn argue that the three families of typikons in common use (Russian Old Rite, Sabaite-Studite, and Violakis) amount to uses within a common rite, and I would be inclined to agree.
     
  18. The Liturgist

    The Liturgist Traditional Liturgical Christian

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    How do you feel about the Epiclesis in the Byzantine recension of the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil, which unlike the Epiclesis in St. John Chrysostom, could be read as implying a Calvinist spiritual presence?
     
  19. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Yes, I use the most recent book of common worship, but I think 1970 was the beginning. I don’t have a copy handy to compare. Glory To God says it’s not intended to replace other liturgical resources. Indeed it says its liturgy is taken primarily from the 1993 Book of Common Worship.

    In addition, the church regularly publishes services or just the Great Prayer of Thanksgiving, for various occasions.
     
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  20. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Is this what you mean? The Anaphora of St. Basil the Great (MCI) It seems to identify it as Byzantine. The epiclesis certainly doesn’t push transubstantiation as hard as the Coptic version. The following

    As we offer you the holy body and blood of your Christ in this form,
    we pray you and beseech you, O Holy of Holies, that, according to your kind favor,
    your Holy Spirit may come upon us and upon these gifts here offered;
    and bless and sanctify them and show this bread to be truly the precious body of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ
    and this chalice to be truly the precious blood of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ
    shed for the life of the world
    so that all of us who share this one bread and chalice may be united with one another in the communion of the one Holy Spirit,
    and that none of us partake of the holy body and blood of your Christ for judgment or condemnation.

    has a lot of similarities to the one I quoted above from the PCUSA. But there are key differences. It says that the bread and chalice are the body and blood, while the PCUSA version says that by the Holy Spirit they become the communion with the body and blood. Not precisely the same, since for Calvin the body and blood are in heaven, and we commune on them through the Holy Spirit. So the elements are means by which we commune with the body and blood but aren’t the body and blood themselves. The PCUSA wording is fairly subtle in how it embodies Calvin. It is consistent with a range of Protestant views, but I think the implication is Calvinist.

    This, of course, is why Presbyterian pastors will often hand you the cup saying “the cup of salvation”, rather than “the blood of Christ,” and “the bread of life,” rather than “the body of Christ.”
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2021
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