October 30, 2014

The Liturgy of Saint James: the Trojan Horse of "Liturgical Renewal" (7 of 7)

Papal Mass - Liturgy of James

D) Press Release of the Sacred Church of Saint John the Theologian in Peristeri

"In the Sacred Church of Saint John the Theologian in Peristeri there will be performed the archaic Divine Liturgy of Saint James, outside of the Holy Sanctuary, on 10/29. It is performed every year and the faithful have the unique opportunity and blessing to receive the body and blood of the Lord separately, as it was done by the early Christians."

It is emphasized here that the Divine Liturgy will be performed outside of the Holy Sanctuary. They are thus emphasizing that they are violating the rules of the Sacred Canons. They are emphasizing that they are advertizing arbitrariness. Does this not, therefore, make it clear that the purpose of this Liturgy is the "renewal" of our worship? It is surprising that they consider it a "blessing" to receive the elements of Communion separately. In fact is it not a blessing that they are receiving the Lord Himself? Is it thus a greater blessing to receive Communion separately, and if so, why? Is not such an observation blasphemous to the Body and Blood of the Master? Do we not show by this that we are wrongly catechizing our faithful and leading them into errors? Many times we have received complaints from good and innocent people who have participated in this Liturgy where the priest first gave them antidron! This means that these good and innocent people thought the Body of the Lord was antidron and they received Communion completely unprepared. Instead of catechizing our faithful we confuse them with our tricks and novelties.

E) Press Release of the Sacred Metropolis of Nafpaktos

"The Divine Liturgy of Saint James brings together many of the faithful, and many of them wish this Liturgy took place more often because it is a change from what is common or because they are able to 'see' what is being performed. For most Christians, however, it is a reminder of the paradisiacal state of the early Christians, who due to their zeal and their struggle for salvation, were able not only to see but also to live the Divine Liturgy with the Priests, and to hold in their hands the Honorable Body of Christ. Today, however, due to the secularization of Christians, the Church has raised another 'fence' around the paradise of the Holy Altar, the Screen, allowing by her compassion the Gate which is known as Beautiful to be open, without a fiery sword protecting it, but in order for the Hierarch and Priests to come out of it and transmit to those in attendance from the Tree of Life, which is on the Holy Altar."

The Metropolis of Nafpaktos presents here an astounding truth. The faithful love this Liturgy because it is something different. Astounding also is the fact that instead of us helping the faithful participate in the life of worship with the conditions that will lead to the Kingdom of Heaven so that they enjoy the Divine Liturgy, we give them new spectacles. Of course the text goes on to take a more traditional stance by explaining that the early Christians had the prerequisites for such a ceremony, but in reality things were not so. Have Christians become worse? Is not the Church the same? Do we not still produce saints? Was the Screen raised because the Christians no longer lived to such measures as the early Christians? Does this mean that those who do reach such measures can enter the Sanctuary and see everything and commune like the clergy? Who can determine the spiritual level of the early Christians from Christians today? Christ is the same yesterday and today, both He and the Church. Has the Church ceased to be Holy? Certainly not. The Screen was raised for theological reasons alone.

F) "The Liturgy of Saint James the Brother of God" by Protopresbyter Constantine Phiorakis

"We should note at the outset that James did not write any liturgical prayer, because if this were the case it would certainly have been included in the Canon of the Books of the New Testament. It is certain, however, that the text of this Divine Liturgy goes back to the time before the Fourth Ecumenical Synod, which is why the so-called Pro-Chalcedonian Churches had it as their Liturgy. Even Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (+ 386) had the Liturgy of Saint James in mind when he wrote his Fifth Catechism."

Father Constantine presents very nice arguments concerning this Divine Liturgy that bears the name of Saint James. An impression is made, however, by the fact that all innovating theologians and fathers deny everything as illegitimate, while they accept without question the Liturgy of Saint James. While the writings of Saint Dionysius are, according to them, Pseudo, the Liturgy of James is clearly that of Saint James. Yet, important is the fact that the Non-Chalcedonian churches, with whom union has almost practically been achieved because our atheological schools have made sure to tell us that the Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Synod were in error in regards to who they condemned and in fact they were really Orthodox, these use this Liturgy of Saint James. Could it be that through this Liturgy we will all receive the Common Cup not only with the Papists, but also with the Monophysites?

G) Press Release of the Sacred Church of the Ascension of Christ in Volos

"In the Sacred Church of the Ascension of Christ in Volos this Sunday there will be officiated by His Eminence Metropolitan Ignatios the archaic Divine Liturgy of the brother of the Lord which goes back to early Christian times. It is the liturgical order of the Church of Jerusalem and preserves the simplicity of the worship of the ancient Church.

The ceremony follows the ancient order, when the ceremony in the Sanctuary was visible to the people. The priests are behind the Holy Altar, facing the people and offering the Divine Eucharist in the name of the people. Lastly, Divine Communion will be offered in the ancient way, that is, first the Body then the Blood."

Everything is ancient, everything is fitting for a museum! Yet this Divine Liturgy, which we assume took place this way, in fact no one knows how it was performed and everyone improvises it, and it is performed this way because no order or canons for it have been developed. Why do we perform it like this today? Today the architecture of our Church has settled, the sections of the churches have been finalized, the Sacred Canons have been handed down to us, the entire centuries old tradition has been configured. Why, then, are we trying to go back to a primitive state? Why do we insist on going back to "early Christian" times? Perhaps we believe in a Protestant way that the True Church has died and now we are trying to revive it? The Church is One and whoever denies Sacred Tradition, which is one of the two sources of our Faith together with Sacred Scripture, is a Protestant and not Orthodox.

H) Press Release of the Sacred Church of Saint Luke in Patission, Athens

"In this place, besides the effort, as far as possible, to have the people to actively participate in Divine Worship with the flawless performance of Divine Services, with vigils, evening presanctifieds, vesperal liturgies, unctions, we have as well the performance of ancient liturgies and other liturgical orders as well as the performance of the Presanctified Liturgy of James the Brother of God.

The 'towards the people' performance of the Sacred Mystery and the 'out loud' articulation of prayers for the faithful to hear from the Divine Liturgy as well as the Holy Anaphora and the transmission of the Immaculate Mysteries is in accordance with the ancient way. It finds great appeal to the sensibilities of the faithful, and greater participation and the revival of religious consciousness is observed."

As if the Liturgy of James were not enough, now we have other so-called ancient Liturgies, together with a Presanctified Liturgy of James. It seems everyone does whatever Liturgy they want in order to "pull in" the people. However, this article articulates with absolute honesty the reason why this Liturgy is performed: the 'towards the people' performance, the 'out loud' prayers, the way of communing, all are part of the LITURGICAL RENEWAL. All these things, as it is correctly written, find acceptance in the consciousness of the faithful. This is our aim: to thrill, to move the sensibilities of the faithful, to exalt their emotions and feelings. How does this differentiate us from the hapless Pentecostals who rely on their emotions and feelings? It doesn't! Besides, with disarming honesty they admit that we do not want people to participate in the Body of the Church and take refuge in her, but rather people who partake of some other ecclesiastical consciousness and reawaken a religious consciousness where the people view the Church as one of many religions that worship the same God or one of many gods. These are people who are religious and not ecclesiastical. People who simply worship an abstract God and not people in whom is incarnated the Incarnate God, and are gods by grace.

I) Press Release of the Metropolis of Paros

"From the 15th to the 19th of September there took place in the Hall Archilochos a Scientific Conference on the issue: 'The Ekatontapiliani and Christian Paros', in which speakers were professors of many universities of the nation, as well as Eminent Metropolitans, publishers, members of the Managing Committee and monks.

Within the framework of the Conference there took place a) a Byzantine Music Concert of the Hellenic Byzantine Choir on the 15th of September, b) the ancient Divine Liturgy of Saint James the Brother of God and the establishment of the foundation of the Sacred Church of Saint Athanasios of Paros in Kosto on the 17th of September, c) and a photo exhibition of Mrs. Helen Carson in the place of the Conference."

What is the reason, and why, was the Liturgy of Saint James performed? For a beautiful show, a cultural event.

J) Press release of the Church of Greece

"The Divine Liturgy of Saint James the Brother of God was performed this morning in the Sacred Cathedral of Athens by His Beatitude Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece.

His Beaitutude spoke about the Divine Liturgy of Saint James the Brother of God and its differences and similarities with the Liturgy of the Divine Chrysostom. He also stated that the Church 'has an open mind, and knows how to distinguish what is essential and what is non-essential, what is important and what is secondary.'

'Many of our brethren,' he stated, 'do not understand this and they give prominence to secondary matters and non-important matters are given an important place with the result that they hinder the evolution of the Church. They are scandalized and react to something new that is introduced into the Church,
even though it is consistent with the tradition and roots of our faith.'"

From the lips of His Beatitude himself are words about the restoration of this Liturgy. Here also are words about the essential and non-essential changes with decisions and encyclicals and opinions of synodal commissions. Did we not read how Basil the Great himself asserts that whoever tries to change something in the slightest harms the Gospel itself? Who should we side with on this matter, the Archbishop of Saint Basil? If we accept the theory of His Beatitude, what will guarantee us these changes are by the illumination of God? His co-workers? What is the Church when it does not stay the same but changes and adapts like secular and human organizations? Religions change in order to survive. But True Life has no need for survival, and therefore also for changes or adjustments. The Church is the Body of Christ and it exists unto eternity. It is the Way, the Truth and the Life. What evolution does it need?

Photographs prove that the performance of the Liturgy of James initiate us into a papal form of worship and it is not part of the Orthodox worship tradition. It seeks to eliminate the apparent differences so that we will accept union with the papacy by making them more familiar. By looking at the photographs of this Liturgy together with those of a Catholic Mass it will be difficult to distinguish which is Orthodox and which is Catholic. There is even a photograph that shows this Liturgy being performed at a school and the children are laughing at our mess, perceiving this Divine Liturgy as a joke. Are we not responsible for such sacralization and the downgrading of the Divine Liturgy?

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.