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Author Topic: What Makes the Divine Liturgy Liturgical?  (Read 468 times) Average Rating: 0
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Asteriktos
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« on: August 21, 2013, 04:19:36 PM »

What makes a worship service/style liturgical? What elements or attributes (or.. ?) are involved that makes it fall into that category? While my greek is nonexistent rusty, I would think the term liturgy as "work of the people" or whatever could be applied across worship contexts, from Orthodox to Catholic to low church Protestant. Yet we don't do that. Do we? ...
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« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2013, 04:20:57 PM »

What makes a worship service/style liturgical? What elements or attributes (or.. ?) are involved that makes it fall into that category? While my greek is nonexistent rusty, I would think the term liturgy as "work of the people" or whatever could be applied across worship contexts, from Orthodox to Catholic to low church Protestant. Yet we don't do that. Do we? ...

We the people grow and harvest the wheat and grapes used to make the bread and wine.

We the people make the vestments, candles, church, icons, etc.
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Asteriktos
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« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2013, 04:21:56 PM »

Don't people in all churches, including those not called liturgical, make stuff for the service and grow stuff and whatnot?
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« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2013, 04:23:31 PM »

I would think the term liturgy as "work of the people" or whatever could be applied across worship contexts, from Orthodox to Catholic to low church Protestant. Yet we don't do that. Do we? ...

Liturgy would better be translated as "public work". Rich folks in ancient Athens had the obligation to undertake a leitourgia - i.e. they had to build a trireme for the state or had to serve as choregus.
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2013, 04:41:00 PM »

Don't people in all churches, including those not called liturgical, make stuff for the service and grow stuff and whatnot?

Some of the evangelical Christians do not have a Liturgy at all. All they do is get together, strum their guitars, read some bible passages, listen to a long bible teaching, and then strum some more songs. Their preacher delivers the meat and potatoes during the sermon.

Then sometimes these Protestants come to our Orthodox Divine Liturgy, look in horror, and say, "What happened to the bible teachings? What is this 15 minute talk? Where is the beef? We are not being fed."

Others have their eyes opened, and say with awe, "This is true Heavenly Worship. I am finally home."
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« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2013, 04:45:41 PM »

So...

What makes a worship service liturgical?
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« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2013, 05:20:19 PM »

So...

What makes a worship service liturgical?
[/quote
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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2013, 06:25:30 PM »

So...

What makes a worship service liturgical?

Priest...
People...
Priest...
People...

The Priest and rest of the People together complete the Oblation, or other service.  I know, some books say "Priest...Choir..." but this is an innovation beginning with the Venetian books and carried over in the Nikonian reforms.   
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« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2013, 06:30:29 PM »

So...

What makes a worship service liturgical?

I don't really understand the OP, so I know I'd appreciate it if you could expand on it.  Regarding this general question, I'd say that a worship service is liturgical if it is the prayer of the Church as opposed to personal prayer.  So, for example, the Divine Liturgy, the canonical hours, and the services connected with the administration of the other sacraments would all be "liturgical".  

Gathering together in the church to do the Jesus Prayer communally for, say, thirty minutes, on the other hand, wouldn't be "liturgical" IMO.  Even if the "format" is based on existing liturgical services, and the prayers used in the "service" have been borrowed from existing texts, the service itself has not been received by the Church as its own prayer, as a rule of prayer and of faith.  It doesn't mean that such a thing is necessarily bad, but it is not "ours".      
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« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2013, 06:56:36 PM »

So...

What makes a worship service liturgical?

I don't really understand the OP, so I know I'd appreciate it if you could expand on it.  Regarding this general question, I'd say that a worship service is liturgical if it is the prayer of the Church as opposed to personal prayer.  So, for example, the Divine Liturgy, the canonical hours, and the services connected with the administration of the other sacraments would all be "liturgical".  

Gathering together in the church to do the Jesus Prayer communally for, say, thirty minutes, on the other hand, wouldn't be "liturgical" IMO.  Even if the "format" is based on existing liturgical services, and the prayers used in the "service" have been borrowed from existing texts, the service itself has not been received by the Church as its own prayer, as a rule of prayer and of faith.  It doesn't mean that such a thing is necessarily bad, but it is not "ours".      

Certainly, Vespers and Matins are part of the Liturgical Hours or Holy Services, and so is the Divine Liturgy and Pre-Sanctified Liturgy. However, in the Divine Liturgy, we are taken up into heaven with the angels and saints, so that it becomes truly Heavenly Worship and a Heavenly Banquet: The Feast of the Lamb.
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« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2013, 01:16:34 PM »

Assuming that people are there with decently pure reasons and perform the Liturgy according to how it is meant to be (which is nothing that complicated), probably the most important part is that God, The Theotokos, The Angels and The Saints are literally present, that it is Heaven on earth.
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« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2013, 01:19:11 PM »

Frankly speaking that is one of the most useless question I've eve heard.
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« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2013, 01:27:07 PM »

If you are asking what is liturgy, I would say that it is the ritualized worship of a deity. If you are worshiping a deity without any adherence to a ritual, that would be non-liturgical.
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« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2013, 02:29:06 PM »

I'll try to rephrase the question.

"Orthodox use liturgical worship. Protestants don't."

Sometimes some would mean low-church or evangelical or a special grouping of Protestants. Modify it as you need to. The point is, that's a belief or claim that I see often enough to wonder what people mean by it. Most protestants have ceremony and ritual; some of them wouldn't deny it, and some would, but they have those things nonetheless. Protestants have corporate worship. Protestants would argue that God is present, etc.

What makes Orthodox worship liturgical and Billy Bob Baptist Bible Believen church services not liturgical?

Is God not present at their services? Do you believe they don't have custom, tradition, or ritual observances? Are they not liturgical because they are not in the Church? Or what...? And how are those things related to a definition or description of liturgical? The aforementioned Baptist Church also doesn't have icons or pink rugs, but what does that have to do with "liturgy"?

And if any of these, then why are other groups, which are also not in the Church, which do not have the same customs, etc., sometimes said to have liturgical services?
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« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2013, 02:30:14 PM »

Frankly speaking that is one of the most useless question I've eve heard.

You said this.
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« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2013, 02:38:33 PM »

I'll try to rephrase the question.

"Orthodox use liturgical worship. Protestants don't."

Sometimes some would mean low-church or evangelical or a special grouping of Protestants. Modify it as you need to. The point is, that's a belief or claim that I see often enough to wonder what people mean by it. Most protestants have ceremony and ritual; some of them wouldn't deny it, and some would, but they have those things nonetheless. Protestants have corporate worship. Protestants would argue that God is present, etc.

What makes Orthodox worship liturgical and Billy Bob Baptist Bible Believen church services not liturgical?

Is God not present at their services? Do you believe they don't have custom, tradition, or ritual observances? Are they not liturgical because they are not in the Church? Or what...? And how are those things related to a definition or description of liturgical? The aforementioned Baptist Church also doesn't have icons or pink rugs, but what does that have to do with "liturgy"?

And if any of these, then why are other groups, which are also not in the Church, which do not have the same customs, etc., sometimes said to have liturgical services?

They have customs, traditions and rituals, but they usually deny that they have them and make concious efforts to "switch things up" so as not to "get complacent".  Those quotes are things that I heard frequently growing up. Baptists are general very non-liturgical because they are very opposed to any type of ritual or tradtion.  Methodists are semi-liturgical because they have a general outline, but often have much variation within that guideline. Orthodox are very liturgical because everything is very much planned out and following tradition.  Just because you are "liturgical" doesn't mean you are right.  The Church of Satan can be "liturgical" that doesn't make it in any way valid.
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« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2013, 03:46:32 PM »

Frankly speaking that is one of the most useless question I've eve heard.

You said this.

I did. Please note that it was not an insult. I just don't see what kind of practical use this of kind of question might have and I'm starting to think that if some religious idea does not have any practical use there no use for it at all.

But of course feel free to discuss about this. This is internet after all.
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« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2013, 03:52:56 PM »

One reason I asked is that people sometimes bring it up as though it is significant, as though if you use liturgical worship that shows continuity with the ancient Church, and that if you don't then that shows you are an innovator and have gone astray. I recall Fr. Peter Gillguist apparently thinking the topic important enough to talk about it in the "Becoming Orthodox" book, for example. So I was just curious: what then does it mean to be liturgical?

I think with TheTrisagion's recent post, and then looking back over past responses again, I have an understanding now of what people were saying.
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« Reply #18 on: August 27, 2013, 04:14:16 PM »

What makes a worship service/style liturgical? What elements or attributes (or.. ?) are involved that makes it fall into that category? While my greek is nonexistent rusty, I would think the term liturgy as "work of the people" or whatever could be applied across worship contexts, from Orthodox to Catholic to low church Protestant. Yet we don't do that. Do we? ...
Sure we do.

It might help to know that the "work of the people" originally was public service done on behalf of the community of the polis.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liturgy_(ancient_Greece)

Liturgy then, as now, was communal and transgenerational, both of which are lacking in non-liturgical worship, and both of which require ritual, so that the experience can be shared across the community and across the generations of that community.
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« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2013, 04:24:31 PM »

I'll try to rephrase the question.

"Orthodox use liturgical worship. Protestants don't."

Sometimes some would mean low-church or evangelical or a special grouping of Protestants. Modify it as you need to. The point is, that's a belief or claim that I see often enough to wonder what people mean by it. Most protestants have ceremony and ritual; some of them wouldn't deny it, and some would, but they have those things nonetheless. Protestants have corporate worship. Protestants would argue that God is present, etc.

What makes Orthodox worship liturgical and Billy Bob Baptist Bible Believen church services not liturgical?
Is God not present at their services? Do you believe they don't have custom, tradition, or ritual observances? Are they not liturgical because they are not in the Church? Or what...? And how are those things related to a definition or description of liturgical? The aforementioned Baptist Church also doesn't have icons or pink rugs, but what does that have to do with "liturgy"?

And if any of these, then why are other groups, which are also not in the Church, which do not have the same customs, etc., sometimes said to have liturgical services?

To the bolded above, I believe the answer is in the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, that the Liturgy is the work that surpasses all other, the work (ergos, act) that the people of God give in thanks ("we thank you for this Liturgy"), a Liturgy that is the oblation that we offer "for the whole world."  The Baptist folks just don't have this. 

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