September 1, 2016

The Church and Liturgical Time

By Archimandrite Epiphanios Theodoropoulos

The Church is not subject to the flow of material time, although it moves within it, just as it does in material space. The Church, being the entryway and foretaste of eternity, lives in a timeless time, in a perpetual today, in a continuous and stable and firm present. The Church celebrates the various events of the presence of the Lord on earth - Nativity, Theophany, etc. - and does this not to simply remember them in the psychological meaning of the term, but to mystically experience the celebrated events. As we say: "Yesterday we were buried with You, O Christ, and today we are raised with You in Your resurrection." All the members of the Church chant this, precisely because we are not simply remembering these events, but we are mystically participating in the Passion and Resurrection of the Savior.

In heaven, neither time exists, nor day and night, nor feasts and festivals in honor of this reason or that event or the various saints, but there is only a single and unique feast and festival that is without interruption and without end. In the liturgical time of the Church everything, from the beginning to the eschaton, is "today." This is even seen in the Divine Liturgy, before the "Your own of Your own," what do we say? "Remembering Your Second Coming...". That is, we are remembering something that has not even taken place.

Translated by John Sanidopoulos.