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Author Topic: Orthodoxy before Chrysostom??  (Read 444 times) Average Rating: 0
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Timon
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« on: September 05, 2011, 01:05:52 PM »

I dont mean for this to sound rude or ignorant.  It is a legitimate question I have.

What did the Orthodox church do before John Chrysostym?? What liturgy did they use?  I know the Church is known for being unchanged, but at some point didnt they have to stop, or 'change' what they were doing in order to start using the liturgy of John Chrysostom??

Would it be possible for someone else to write a liturgy one day and for the Church to use that instead??
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SakranMM
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« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2011, 01:20:14 PM »

Timon, as you know, the liturgy we use most Sundays of the year is that named for St. John Chrysostom.  Before the 4th century, there was in fact great diversity in liturgical practice, depending on what part of the Christian world you were in; while the basic structure remained the same (prayers, hymns, readings, preaching, eucharist, thanksgiving), the way it was displayed in practice varied -there was a Syrian liturgy, a Palestinian liturgy, Alexandrian, Roman, etc...

The liturgy we use today was actually not ascribed to St. John Chrysostom until the 8th century.  Before that time, in Constantinople, it was known as "The Liturgy of the Apostles," which was very similar to the liturgy used in western Syria.  It is likely that Chrysostom took it from his experiences in Antioch and reworked it with additions.  Some of the parts of the liturgy we can definately ascribed to Chrysostom himself are the parts of the anaphora that use "negative" terminology in addressing God:  "Ineffable, inconceivable, incomprehensible..." - this was probably a polemic against the Eunomians.  We can also ascribe the phrase regarding the "secret" gifts of God:  "for all the benefits we know, and those we do not know."  The earliest text we have of St. John Chrysostom's liturgy is from the codex Barberini 336, which dates to around 795 A.D.

So in short, to answer your question, there were different forms of the Eucharistic liturgy in use well before St. John Chrysostom came around; liturgy is something that developed throughout the centuries; again, while the essence of the liturgy has remained the same throughout the centuries, the way we express those basic essentials has changed based on location and custom.  Even today, the way one parish celebrates the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom may differ slightly from how another church celebrates.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2011, 01:20:32 PM by SakranMM » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2011, 02:15:14 PM »

I dont mean for this to sound rude or ignorant.  It is a legitimate question I have.

What did the Orthodox church do before John Chrysostym?? What liturgy did they use?  I know the Church is known for being unchanged, but at some point didnt they have to stop, or 'change' what they were doing in order to start using the liturgy of John Chrysostom??

It is based off of the liturgy of St. James. The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is very similar to the liturgy of St. Basil. The only major difference being a modified anaphora. Even today many different anaphoras exist in certain rites.

The Byzantine rite (Byzantine liturgy of St. James, Basil and Chrysostom) is Antiochene. If my understanding is correct, the Syriac liturgy is actually a translation into Syriac from the Greek, the original Syriac liturgy being absorbed long ago. Thus both Byzantine and Syriac are Antiochene rites.

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« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2011, 02:32:41 PM »

Two additional questions on varying liturgies:

- SakranMM speaks of the Liturgy that we would recognize as St. John Chrysostom's showing up in the late 8th century (if I understand them). At what point did this liturgy become something of the norm for many?

- I've heard mention over the years of a Liturgy of St. Gregory [of Nazianzus], though I've got the impression that it is Oriental Orthodox who use it. What's the story behind this liturgy? 
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SakranMM
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« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2011, 11:49:09 AM »

I don't know much about the liturgy of St. Gregory, but regarding when the liturgy of St. John Chrys. became normative, I'll pass on to you what I learned in seminary:

By the 4th century, we see three different liturgical traditions in existence:  The Cathedral rite (in Constantinople - lots of processions, hymns, etc...), the Monastic rite (in Palestine and Egypt - centered on psalmody, ascetical exercise), and the Urban-monastic, which was a cross between cathedral and monastic rites.  The cathedral and monastic rites developed parallel to each other during roughly the same time period. 

In the 9th century, we see what we now call the "Studite reform" taking shape; this reform basically introduced the Palestinian office into the Constantinopolitan office that was in existence then.  This is basically the form of worship that we follow nowadays (although it is now greatly abbreviated in most parishes.)  This hybrid rite gradually spread and was common throughout most of the Byzantine Christian world by the 12th century.  This is the rite that St. Vladimir's emissaries would have observed when they went to Constantinople.  So, in short, we see the form of St. John Chrysostom's liturgy basically in place as the norm by the 12th century (although its basic form existed since the 4th century, and between the 4th and 9th century, we see a lot of evolution - antiphons, hymns, etc...)

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