Monday, April 21, 2008

When East Meets West: With Appropriate Adaptations

We went to a Byzantine Rite Liturgy last evening. It was a Mass of St. John Chrysostom. It was the full Mass,--with adaptations for length (so that we westerners wouldn't fall asleep). It was absolutley amazing. As to Gashwin's question in the combox of the last post, I am not sure which of the Rites it was, although I know that Fr. Denis, who was presider, is deputed to preside at Mozarabic Rites. He did pray for the worthy Bishop Cyril a bunch of times (if that helps pin down the rite any).

Two of our children accompanied us, our son and the angelbaby. They followed along quite well, although I think by communion our son was on sensory overload with all of the inscence and excused himself for a quick breath of fresh air. The angelbaby was a real trooper. She followed along and sang all the responses. She even took communion in the Eastern Form (from the little spoon with the two species mixed together. ) as I did, not realizing just how much wheat I would be getting in my portion -- as I am allergic to wheat. I kept reminding myself that it was Jesus and not bread. I might have had a slight wheaze after mass, but have no ill effects today so I guess I am okay.

The worship aide was 21 very intricate pages long, and the cantor (who is another of the monks from St. Meinrad ) had a beautiful singing voice. It was easy to join in and participate in the liturgy. I can't say that I would enjoy this type of liturgy if I did it each and every week, but it was a great experience and we are all glad to have been a part of it.

As someone once said, It is like breathing with both lungs.



Gashwin said...

I knew you'd have such a reaction. The Eastern liturgy tends to blow most devout Westerner's away. An Eastern priest once told me, "I tell my Western brothers to come here so they can have a foretaste of what they'll be doing in heaven."

That sense of being part of the timeless, eternal, heavenly liturgy is so palpable!

I continue to maintain that as we talk about the reform of the reform of the Western liturgy, we should learn from our Eastern brethren.

As to which Rite this was, I'm not yet clear. Cyril? Too common a name, and I'm not familiar with all the Eparchs and Metropolitans.

Most Eastern liturgies follow the order of St. John Chrysostom. Anyway, it doesn't really matter which it was. (Incidentally, the Mozarabic rite is a Western liturgy, originating in Spain during the time of Muslim rule and the Reconquista. I had no idea it was still in use ... )

Glad you got this opportunity!

Mimi said...

As an Eastern Christian, I'm glad you enjoyed!