The Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom is celebrated on most Sundays during the liturgical year. The full text of the Liturgy is here. During Great Lent and on other important days we celebrate the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil.
A very fine article, PASSAGE TO HEAVEN: AN APPRECIATION OF THE DIVINE LITURGY (excerpted from EYES OF THE GOSPEL), written by the Melkite Archbishop Joseph M. Raya, can be found here. In it, Archbishop Raya’s poetic observations describe the beauty and profound nature of the service with eloquence.
As he urges, we at Saint Ann invite all to COME AND SEE as we “mingle with the angels”.
People in prayer see the saints around them, wrapped in their icons with a mantle of eternity; candles flickering in a thousand hues of light; incense whirling in a warm atmosphere; music swelling from every corner of the assembled congregation; vestments of multicolors and designs which sway and shine. The deacons move around between the people and the celebrant. In the middle of the sanctuary stands the Bishop, image of Christ, presiding over the celebration.
The priests do not stay at the altar. They and their retinue of assistants come out of the sanctuary and walk in the midst of the congregation: first, perhaps, to incense, then to carry the Gospel book, finally to transfer the oblations or to receive them in a solemn procession, where angels mingle with us to carry the King of all and welcome His coming among them. They go around the church to sprinkle the people with perfume, to shower the congregation now with flowers, now with a smile, and yet another time with encouragement and a blessing.
It is not possible to understand Eastern Christianity by only reading or talking about it. It is necessary to experience its life, its actuality, by being present at its celebrations. The organic and completely self-evident center of Eastern Christianity is in its celebrations. “Come and see!”
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