Saturday, August 16, 2008

Byzantine Catholics

I had the extremely interesting opportunity to go to a Byzantine Catholic service on the Vigil of the Assumption (Dormition.) It included both a vespers service and then Mass. I was quite fascinated by everything, ranging from receiving Communion on a spoon, to the beautiful prayers we said before Communion. (Instead of just, "Lord I am not worthy...") Pretty much the whole thing was sung. The Deacon really was in charge. The vespers service included the congregation processing around, as well as paying homage to Mary. I would be interested to study the chants that they used. It was mostly somewhat similar, somewhat rhythmic, with clear longs and shorts, with no instruments. I wish I knew more about modality to know how to describe it. It was all in English. The altar and edifice in front of it were just gorgeous. Oh yes, and we all got anointed with rose chrism! how wonderful!


Anonymous said...

The 'edifice' in front of the altar is called an icon screen. If you look at it again you will see included in it the saints, holy events (days of obligation), Jesus and Mary, probably St Nicholas far to the left and the saint for whom the church is named to the far right. Top and dead center should be Christ the King. This 'edifice' is symbolically a screen between heaven (on the altar side) and those of us on earth, or in the pews. In all of its glory, the icoon screen is also a teaching tool. :)

Gavin said...

The proper term is "iconostasis". Just being persnickety.

I remember my first trip to an Orthodox (real Orthodox, not Uniates) church. I came back to work and said to my boss after Mass "....WHY do we bother with the Latin Rite?" I never understood what objective beauty was until I attended that liturgy. I have a friend who gave up organ to become Orthodox, and I always found it foolish - until I found the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom!

Felipe Gasper said...

Funny - I today had my first experience of the Byzantine Rite.

I had much the same reaction as Mara did, though I actually got to experience a baptism...and *that* was interesting. Long, but interesting.