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Christian liturgy is a pattern for worship used (whether recommended or prescribed) by a Christian congregation or denomination on a regular basis. Although the term liturgy is used to mean public worship in general, the Byzantine Rite uses the term "Divine Liturgy" to denote the Eucharistic service.
A Christian denomination is a distinct religious body within Christianity, identified by traits such as a name, organization, leadership and doctrine. Individual bodies, however, may use alternative terms to describe themselves, such as church or sometimes fellowship. Divisions between one group and another are defined by authority and doctrine; issues such as the nature of Jesus, the authority of apostolic succession, eschatology, and papal primacy may separate one denomination from another. Groups of denominations—often sharing broadly similar beliefs, practices, and historical ties—are sometimes known as "branches of Christianity". These branches differ in many ways, especially through differences in practices and belief.
Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy represents a communal response to and participation in the sacred through activity reflecting praise, thanksgiving, supplication or repentance. It forms a basis for establishing a relationship with a divine agency, as well as with other participants in the liturgy.
The Byzantine Rite, also known as the Greek Rite or Constantinopolitan Rite, is the liturgical rite used by the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Greek/Byzantine Catholic churches, and in a modified form, Byzantine Rite Lutheranism. Its development began during the fourth century in Constantinople and it is now the second most-used ecclesiastical rite in Christendom after the Roman Rite.
It often but not exclusively occurs on Sunday, or Saturday in the case of those churches practicing seventh-day Sabbatarianism. Liturgy is the gathering together of Christians to be taught the 'Word of God' (the Christian Bible) and encouraged in their faith. In most Christian traditions, liturgies are presided over by clergy wherever possible.
In one sense, faith in Christianity is often discussed in terms of believing God's promises, trusting in his faithfulness, and relying on God's character and faithfulness to act. Some of the definitions in the history of Christian theology have followed the biblical formulation in Hebrews 11:1: "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen". As in other Abrahamic religions, it includes a belief in the existence of God, in the reality of a transcendent domain that God administers as his kingdom and in the benevolence of the will of God or God's plan for humankind.
Clergy are formal leaders within established religions. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over specific rituals and teaching their religion's doctrines and practices. Some of the terms used for individual clergy are clergyman, clergywoman, and churchman. Less common terms are churchwoman and clergyperson, while cleric and clerk in holy orders both have a long history but are rarely used.
Different Christian traditions have employed different rites:
The Tridentine Mass, also known as Traditional Latin Mass, or Usus Antiquior, is the Roman Rite Mass which appears in typical editions of the Roman Missal published from 1570 to 1962. The most widely used Mass liturgy in the world from its issuance in 1570 until the introduction of the Mass of Paul VI in 1969, it is celebrated in ecclesiastical Latin.
Summorum Pontificum is an apostolic letter of Pope Benedict XVI, issued in July 2007, which specified the circumstances in which priests of the Latin Church may celebrate Mass according to what he called the "Missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962", and administer most of the sacraments in the form used before the liturgical reforms that followed the Second Vatican Council.
The Mass of Saint Paul VI is the most commonly used form of the Mass in use today within the Catholic Church, first promulgated, after the Second Vatican Council (1962–65), by Pope Paul VI in 1969 and published in the 1970 edition of the Roman Missal. It "is and continues to be the normal Form – the Forma ordinaria" of the Roman Rite Mass, as intended for use in most contexts.
The Benedictine Rite is the particular form of Mass and Liturgy celebrated by the Benedictine Order, as based on the writings of St. Benedict on the topic.
The Rite of the Holy Sepulchre, commonly called the Carmelite Rite, is the liturgical rite that was used by the Canons Regular of the Holy Sepulchre, Hospitallers, Templars, Carmelites and the other orders founded within the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
The Cistercian Rite is the liturgical rite, distinct from the Roman Rite and specific to the Cistercian Order of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Roman Rite is the main or Western liturgical rite of the Roman Catholic Church, the main particular church sui iuris of the Catholic Church. It is the most widespread liturgical rite in Christianity as a whole. The Roman Rite gradually became the predominant rite used by the Western Church, developed out of many local variants from Early Christianity on, not amounting to distinctive rites, that existed in the medieval manuscripts, but have been progressively reduced since the invention of printing, most notably since the reform of liturgical law in the 16th century at the behest of the Council of Trent (1545–63) and more recently following the Second Vatican Council (1962–65).
Mass is the main eucharistic liturgical service in many forms of Western Christianity. The term Mass is commonly used in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, as well as in some Lutheran, Methodist, Western Rite Orthodox, and Old Catholic churches.
Pre-Tridentine Mass refers to the variants of the liturgical rite of Mass in Rome before 1570, when, with his bull Quo primum, Pope Pius V made the Roman Missal, as revised by him, obligatory throughout the Latin-Rite or Western Church, except for those places and congregations whose distinct rites could demonstrate an antiquity of two hundred years or more.
While some Protestant churches see no need for set liturgies, many of these churches have retained them.
Protestant Reformation-era ministers of the Reformed tradition used set liturgies which emphasized preaching and the Bible. English Puritans and separatists moved away from set forms in the 17th-century, but many Reformed churches retained liturgies and continue to use them today.
At the time of English Reformation, The Sarum Rite was in use along with the Roman Rite. Reformers in England wanted the Latin mass translated into the English language. Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer authored the Exhortation and Litany in 1544. This was the earliest English-language service book of the Church of England, and the only English-language service to be finished within the lifetime of King Henry VIII.In 1549, Cranmer produced a complete English-language liturgy. Cranmer was largely responsible for the first two editions of the Book of Common Prayer . The first edition was predominantly pre-Reformation in its outlook. The Communion Service, Lectionary, and collects in the liturgy were translations based on the Sarum Rite as practised in Salisbury Cathedral.
The revised edition in 1552 sought to assert a more clearly Protestant liturgy after problems arose from conservative interpretation of the mass on the one hand, and a critique by Martin Bucer (Butzer) on the other. Successive revisions are based on this edition, though important alterations appeared in 1604 and 1662. The 1662 edition is still authoritative in the Church of England and has served as the basis for many of Books of Common Prayer of national Anglican churches around the world. Those deriving from Scottish Episcopal descent, like the Prayer Books of the American Episcopal Church, have a slightly different liturgical pedigree.
The United Methodist liturgical tradition is based on the Anglican heritage and was passed along to Methodists by John Wesley (an Anglican priest who led the early Methodist revival) who wrote that
|“||there is no Liturgy in the world, either in ancient or modern language, which breathes more of a solid, scriptural, rational piety, than the Common Prayer of the Church of England.||”|
When the Methodists in America were separated from the Church of England, John Wesley himself provided a revised version of The Book of Common Prayer called the Sunday Service of the Methodists in North America. Wesley's Sunday Service has shaped the official liturgies of the Methodists ever since.
The United Methodist Church has official liturgies for services of Holy Communion, baptism, weddings, funerals, ordination, anointing of the sick for healing, and daily office 'praise and prayer' services. Along with these, there are also special services for holy days such as All Saints Day, Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil. All of these liturgies and services are contained in The United Methodist Hymnal and The United Methodist Book of Worship (1992) .Many of these liturgies are derived from the Anglican tradition's Book of Common Prayer . In most cases, congregations also use other elements of liturgical worship, such as candles, vestments, paraments, banners, and liturgical art.
The liturgy of the Church of South India combines many traditions, including that of the Methodists and such smaller churches as the Church of the Brethren and the Disciples of Christ. After the formation of the Church of South India the first synod met at Madurai in March 1948 and appointed a liturgical committee. The first Synod in 1948 (where the Holy Communion service was that of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland) appointed a liturgy committee, composed mainly of Western theologians. The liturgy so prepared was first used at the Synod Session in 1950 and approved for use throughout the church "wherever it is desired" in 1954. The first version of the Confirmation Service for the new church was also released in 1950, translated into regional languages and was quickly adopted by the various dioceses.
By 1962 the Liturgy Committee was able to prepare a number of Orders. They were Eucharist, Morning and Evening Prayer, Marriage Service, Burial Service, Ordination Service and Covenant Service (1954), Holy Baptism (1955) and Almanac (1955–56). The Book of Common Worship of the CSI was published in 1963 with all the above orders of service. The orders of service consist of: Order for Morning and Evening Worship, Order of Service for the Baptized Persons, Order for Holy Baptism, Order for the Churching of Women, Order for Holy Matrimony, Order for the Burial Service, Order for the Covenant Service, Order for Ordination Services.
The CSI liturgy was again revised in the year 2004 and published as a hardback book in 2006.
The CSI Synod Liturgical Committee has developed several new orders for worship for different occasions. The order for the Communion Service, known as the CSI Liturgy, has been internationally acclaimed as an important model for new liturgies. The Committee has also produced three different cycles of lectionaries for daily Bible readings and "propers", and collects for Communion services. In addition, the Committee has also brought out a Supplement to the Book of Common Worship.
The Roman Catholic Mass is the service in which the Eucharist is celebrated. In Latin, the corresponding word is Missa, taken from the dismissal at the end of the liturgy - "Ite, Missa est", literally "Go, it is the dismissal", translated idiomatically in the current English Roman Missal as "Go forth, the Mass is ended." Eastern Orthodox churches call this service the Divine Liturgy . Oriental Orthodox call their Liturgy the Holy Qurbana - Holy Offering. Anglicans often use the Roman Catholic term mass, or simply Holy Eucharist. Mass is the common term used in the Lutheran Church in Europe but more often referred to as the Divine Service, Holy Communion, or the Holy Eucharist in North American Lutheranism.
Lutherans retained and utilized much of the Roman Catholic mass since the early modifications by Martin Luther. The general order of the mass and many of the various aspects remain similar between the two traditions. Latin titles for the sections, psalms, and days has been widely retained, but more recent reforms have omitted this. Recently, Lutherans have adapted much of their revised mass to coincide with the reforms and language changes brought about by post-Vatican II changes.
Protestant traditions vary in their liturgies or "orders of worship" (as they are commonly called). Other traditions in the west often called "Mainline" have benefited from the Liturgical Movement which flowered in the mid/late 20th Century. Over the course of the past several decades, these Protestant traditions have developed remarkably similar patterns of liturgy, drawing from ancient sources as the paradigm for developing proper liturgical expressions. Of great importance to these traditions has been a recovery of a unified pattern of Word and Sacrament in Lord's Day liturgy.
Many other Protestant Christian traditions (such as the Pentecostal/Charismatics, Assembly of God, and Non-denominational churches), while often following a fixed "order of worship", tend to have liturgical practices that vary from that of the broader Christian tradition.
Matins is generally said in the morning, independently of the Eucharist. Vespers are prayers generally said in the evening, independently of the Eucharist. Matins and Vespers are the two main prayer times of Christian churches, and are also called Morning and Evening Prayer.
In the Catholic Church, these two offices are part of a series of prayer hours, called the Liturgy of the Hours, the Canonical Hours, the Divine Office, the Roman Breviary, and other names.There were eight such hours, corresponding to certain times of the day: Matins (sometimes called Vigil), Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline. The Second Vatican Council ordered the suppression of Prime.
In monasteries, Matins was generally celebrated before dawn, or sometimes over the course of a night; Lauds at the end of Matins, generally at the break of day; Prime at 6 AM; Terce at 9AM; Sext at noon; None at 3PM; Vespers at the rising of the Vespers or Evening Star (usually about 6PM); and Compline was said at the end of the day, generally right before bed time.
In Anglican churches, the offices were combined into two offices: Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer, the latter sometimes known as Evensong. In more recent years, the Anglicans have added the offices of Noonday and Compline to Morning and Evening Prayer as part of the Book of Common Prayer . The Anglican Breviary, containing 8 full offices, is not the official liturgy of the Anglican Church.
In Lutheranism, like Anglicanism, the offices were also combined into the two offices of Matins and Vespers (both of which are still maintained in modern Lutheran prayer books and hymnals). A common practice among Lutherans in America is to pray these offices mid-week during Advent and Lent. The office of Compline is also found in some older Lutheran worship books and more typically used in monasteries and seminaries.
The Byzantine Rite maintains a daily cycle of seven non-sacramental services:
The sundry Canonical Hours are, in practice, grouped together into aggregates so that there are three major times of prayer a day: Evening, Morning and Midday; for details, see Canonical hours — Aggregates.
Great Vespers as it is termed in the Byzantine Rite, is an extended vespers service used on the eve of a major Feast day, or in conjunction with the divine liturgy, or certain other special occasions.
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This section will describe the evolution of the liturgical celebration known as the Mass by Roman Catholics, which appears similar to Anglican mass or Holy Eucharist. It is called the Divine Liturgy by many groups of Orthodox Christians.
Generally it is theorized that the Apostles obeyed the command "do this in memory of me", said during the Last Supper, and performed the liturgy in the houses of Christians. [ citation needed ] Besides repeating the action of Jesus, using the bread and wine, and saying his words (known as the words of the institution), the rest of the ritual seems to have been rooted in the Jewish Passover Seder, and synagogue services, including singing of hymns (especially the Psalms, often responsively) and reading from the Scriptures (Bible).
Until the 4th century, when the church established a Biblical canon, a manner of things were read during the liturgy besides the Prophets, including papal encyclicals from Pope St. Clement. [ citation needed ] Many elements of these liturgies began to be fixed in several popular settings, and a book called the Apostolic Constitutions, from the fourth century, shows an outline for the liturgy which is incorporated in almost all Western and Eastern rites. This includes the use of the prayer known as the Sanctus, which is prefaced by a long introduction; it also includes a fairly fixed series of prayers leading up to the consecration.
Vestments worn by the Bishops and Priests at this point were academic robes of the educated class.[ citation needed ] Later, as fashions changed the styles for the clergy remained the same and were embellished. Following the custom of the synagogue, the liturgy was normally sung. Many places divided the congregation into male and female. At some point both Western and Eastern churches adopted the use of curtains to mask the clergy at the altar at certain points; this curtain became the rood screen and altar rails in western churches, and iconostasis in the Byzantine East, while still being used in Armenian and Syriac Churches.
The earliest church used Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek in the liturgy. Over time, however, the local vernacular languages became the liturgical languages of later centuries. The Greek-speaking empire retained the mainly Greek liturgy. The West used Latin, eventually dropping most Greek usage. Egypt and Armenia used Coptic and classical Armenian, respectively. As Christianity spread to different nations around the Mediterranean, several distinct traditions developed, each with a different liturgical language: the Alexandrine Tradition (Coptic), Syriac Tradition (Syriac), Byzantine Tradition (Greek), Armenian Tradition (Armenian), and the Latin Tradition (Latin).
These basic traditions gave rise to several distinct rites. The Coptic and Ethiopic rites came from the Alexandrine Tradition. The Chaldean, Malabar, Syriac, Malankar, and Maronite rites developed from the Syriac Tradition. The Greek and Slav variants of the Byzantine liturgy emerged from the Byzantine Tradition. The Armenian rite developed from the Armenian Tradition. The Roman, Ambrosian, and Mozarabic liturgical rites came from the Latin Tradition. These regional variations of the liturgy over time diverged into distinct branches of the Christian liturgical tradition, each retaining fundamental characteristics with external particulars influenced by local customs and traditions.
In the particular Latin Church of the Catholic Church throughout earlier centuries there was much regional variation in the liturgy due to the lack of centralisation that existed in the western church at the time due to the fall of the western empire. This resulted in regional variations of the Latin liturgical rite such as the Celtic rite and Gallican rite, of which today only the Mozarabic rite and Ambrosian rite remain in addition to the normative Roman rite. The liturgical rite was standardized throughout much of the Catholic Church.
Standardization was enforced at the Council of Trent, which suppressed regional variations in favour of the Roman liturgical rite. Most of the particulars of the resulting Tridentine Mass were already in existence in the usage of Rome. Pope Pius V permitted rites in existence for at least 200 years to continue in use; however, in the following centuries almost all rites were abandoned except those of religious orders and the afore-mentioned Ambrosian and Mozarabic liturgical rites.
There are common elements found in most Western liturgical churches which predate the Protestant Reformation. These include:
Divine Liturgy or Holy Liturgy is the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine Rite, developed from the Antiochene Rite of Christian liturgy which is that of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox, the Greek Catholic Churches, and the Ukrainian Lutheran Church. Although the same term is sometimes applied in English to the Eucharistic service of Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, they use in their own language a term meaning "holy offering" or "holy sacrifice". Other churches also treat "Divine Liturgy" simply as one of many names that can be used, but it is not their normal term.
In the practice of Christianity, canonical hours mark the divisions of the day in terms of periods of fixed prayer at regular intervals. A book of hours normally contains a version of, or selection from, such prayers.
A rite is an established, ceremonial, usually religious, act. Rites in this sense fall into three major categories:
The Liturgy of Saint James or Jacobite Liturgy is the oldest complete form of the Eastern varieties of the Christian liturgy still in use among certain Christian Churches.
Easter Vigil, also called the Paschal Vigil or the Great Vigil of Easter, is a service held in traditional Christian churches as the first official celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. Historically, it is during this service that people are baptized and that adult catechumens are received into full communion with the Church. It is held in the hours of darkness between sunset on Holy Saturday and sunrise on Easter Day – most commonly in the evening of Holy Saturday or midnight – and is the first celebration of Easter, days traditionally being considered to begin at sunset.
Holy Monday or Great and Holy Monday is the Monday of Holy Week, which is the week before Easter. It is the third day of Holy Week in Eastern Christianity, after Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday, and the second day of Holy Week in Western Christianity, after Palm Sunday.
Holy Tuesday or Great and Holy Tuesday is the Tuesday of Holy Week, which precedes the commemoration of the death of Jesus.
In Christianity, worship is the act of attributing reverent honor and homage to God. In the New Testament, various words are used to refer to the term worship. One is proskuneo which means to bow down to God or kings.
The Words of Institution are words echoing those of Jesus himself at his Last Supper that, when consecrating bread and wine, Christian Eucharistic liturgies include in a narrative of that event. Eucharistic scholars sometimes refer to them simply as the verba.
The Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is a Byzantine Rite liturgical service which is performed on the weekdays of Great Lent wherein communion is received from Gifts that are sanctified (consecrated) in advance, hence its name; this Divine Liturgy has no anaphora.
The Holy Qurbana or Holy Qurbono, the "Holy Offering" or "Holy Sacrifice", refers to the Eucharist as celebrated in Syriac Christianity. This includes various Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches. The churches are primarily based in the Middle-east, Africa, and India, including the Syriac Orthodox Church based in Syria, the Coptic Orthodox Church based in Egypt, the Maronite Catholic Church based in Lebanon, the Syriac Catholic Church based in Lebanon, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church based in India, the Chaldean Catholic Church based in Iraq, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church based in Ethiopia, the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church based in India, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church based in India, and the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church based in Inda.
The Anaphora is the most solemn part of the Divine Liturgy, or the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, during which the offerings of bread and wine are consecrated as the body and blood of Christ. This is the usual name for this part of the Liturgy in Greek-speaking Eastern Christianity. In western Christian traditions which have a comparable rite, the Anaphora is more often called the Roman Canon in the Latin liturgy, or the Eucharistic Prayer for the three additional modern anaphoras. When the Roman Rite had a single Eucharistic Prayer, it was called the Canon of the Mass.
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, also called Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament or the Rite of Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction, is a devotional ceremony, celebrated especially in the Roman Catholic Church, but also in some other Christian traditions such as Anglo-Catholicism, whereby a bishop, priest, or a deacon blesses the congregation with the Eucharist at the end of a period of adoration.
Latin liturgical rites, or Western liturgical rites, are Latin tradition Catholic liturgical rites employed by the Latin Church, the largest particular church sui iuris of the Roman Catholic Church, that originated in Europe where the Latin language once dominated. Its language is now known as Ecclesiastical Latin. The most used rite is the Roman Rite.
Antiochene Rite or Antiochian Rite designates the family of liturgies originally used in the Patriarchate of Antioch.
The Liturgy of Saint Basil or, more formally, the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great, is a term for several Eastern Christian celebrations of the Divine Liturgy (Eucharist), or at least several anaphoras, which are named after Basil of Caesarea. Two of these liturgies are in common use today: the one used in the Byzantine Rite ten times a year, and the one ordinarily used by the Coptic Church.
Eastern Orthodox worship in this article is distinguished from Eastern Orthodox prayer in that 'worship' refers to the activity of the Christian Church as a body offering up prayers to God while 'prayer' refers to the individual devotional traditions of the Orthodox.
A liturgical book, or service book, is a book published by the authority of a church body that contains the text and directions for the liturgy of its official religious services.