Liturgy

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Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group. [1] 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.

Worship act of religious devotion

Worship is an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity. An act of worship may be performed individually, in an informal or formal group, or by a designated leader. Such acts may involve honoring.

Community Group of interacting living organisms sharing a populated environment; a social unit of human organisms who share common values

A community is a small or large social unit that has something in common, such as norms, religion, values, customs, or identity. Communities often share a sense of place that is situated in a given geographical area or in virtual space through communication platforms. Durable relations that extend beyond immediate genealogical ties also define a sense of community. People tend to define those social ties as important to their identity, practice, and roles in social institutions. Although communities are usually small relative to personal social ties (micro-level), "community" may also refer to large group affiliations, such as national communities, international communities, and virtual communities.

Something that is sacred is dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of a deity or considered worthy of spiritual respect or devotion; or inspiring awe or reverence among believers. The property is often ascribed to objects, or places.

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Technically speaking, liturgy forms a subset of ritual. The word liturgy, sometimes equated in English as "service", refers to a formal ritual, which may or may not be elaborate, enacted by those who understand themselves to be participating in an action with the divine; examples include the Eastern Christian Divine Liturgy (Greek : Θεία Λειτουργία), and the Catholic Mass. Not every religious ritual is a liturgy; a proper liturgy is a service to God and God's service to the performers of it, a mutual ministry (service) and a duty incumbent on the worshippers.

Ritual set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value

A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, and objects, performed in a sequestered place, and performed according to set sequence. Rituals may be prescribed by the traditions of a community, including a religious community. Rituals are characterized but not defined by formalism, traditionalism, invariance, rule-governance, sacral symbolism, and performance.

English language West Germanic language

English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and eventually became a global lingua franca. It is named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, as England. Both names derive from Anglia, a peninsula in the Baltic Sea. The language is closely related to Frisian and Low Saxon, and its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Norse, and to a greater extent by Latin and French.

Eastern Christianity Christian traditions originating from Greek- and Syriac-speaking populations

Eastern Christianity comprises church families that developed outside the Occident, with major bodies including the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox churches, the Eastern Catholic Churches, and the denominations descended from the Church of the East. The Ukrainian Lutheran Church is also an Eastern Christian church that uses the Byzantine Rite. The term is used in contrast with Western Christianity, although its scope has been one of continual discussion. Eastern Christianity consists of the Christian traditions and churches that developed distinctively over several centuries in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Malabar coast of South India, and parts of the Far East. The term does not describe a single communion or religious denomination. Some Eastern churches have more in common historically and theologically with Western Christianity than with one another. The various Eastern churches do not normally refer to themselves as "Eastern", with the exception of the Assyrian Church of the East and the Ancient Church of the East.

A daily activity such as the Muslim salah [2] [ need quotation to verify ] and Jewish synagogue services would be ritual but not liturgy.[ better source needed ] [3]

Salah prayer in Islam

Salah, also called salat and namaz, is one of the Five Pillars in the Islamic faith, and an obligatory religious duty for every Muslim. It is a physical, mental, and spiritual act of worship that is observed five times every day at prescribed times. When they do this, they must face to Mecca, towards the Qiblah. In this ritual, one stands, bows, and prostrates oneself, and concludes sitting on the ground. During each posture, one recites or reads certain verses, phrases, and prayers.

Etymology

The word liturgy, derived from the technical term in ancient Greek (Greek : λειτουργία), leitourgia, which literally means "work of the people" is a literal translation of the two words "litos ergos" or "public service". In origin, it signified the often expensive offerings wealthy Greeks made in service to the people, and thus to the polis and the state. [4] Through the leitourgia, the rich carried a financial burden and were correspondingly rewarded with honours and prestige. The leitourgia were assigned by the polis, the State and the Roman Empire, and became obligatory in the course of the 3rd century A.D. The performance of such supported the patron's standing among the elite and the popular at large. The holder of a Hellenic leitourgia was not taxed a specific sum, but was entrusted with a particular ritual, which could be performed with greater or lesser magnificence. The chief sphere remained that of civic religion, embodied in the festivals: M.I. Finley notes "in Demosthenes' day there were at least 97 liturgical appointments in Athens for the festivals, rising to 118 in a (quadrennial) Panathenaic year." [5] However, groups of rich citizens were assigned to pay for expenses such as civic amenities and even payment of warships. Eventually, under the Roman Empire, such obligations, known as munera, devolved into a competitive and ruinously expensive burden that was avoided when possible. These included a wide range of expenses having to do with civic infrastructure and amenities; and imperial obligations such as highway, bridge and aqueduct repair, supply of various raw materials, bread-baking for troops in transit, just to name a few.

Ancient Greek Version of the Greek language used from roughly the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE

The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is often roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, and Hellenistic period. It is antedated in the second millennium BCE by Mycenaean Greek and succeeded by medieval Greek.

Greek language Language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Liturgy (ancient Greece) in ancient Greece, a public service established by the city-state whereby its richest members (whether citizens or resident aliens), more or less voluntarily, financed the State with their personal wealth

The liturgy was in ancient Greece a public service established by the city-state whereby its richest members, more or less voluntarily, financed the State with their personal wealth. It took its legitimacy from the idea that "personal wealth is possessed only through delegation from the city". The liturgical system dates back to the early days of Athenian democracy, but gradually fell into disuse by the end of the 4th century BC, eclipsed by the development of Euergetism in the Hellenistic period. However a similar system was in force during the Roman empire, see Liturgy#Etymology.

Buddhism

Buddhist liturgy is a formalized service of veneration and worship performed within a Buddhist Sangha community in nearly every traditional denomination and sect in the Buddhist world. It is often done once or more times a day and can vary among the Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana sects.

Theravada Branch of Buddhism

Theravāda is the most commonly accepted name of Buddhism's oldest extant school. The school's adherents, termed Theravādins, have preserved their version of the Gautama Buddha's teaching in the Pāli Canon. The Pāli Canon is the only complete Buddhist canon surviving in a classical Indian language, Pāli, which serves as the school's sacred language and lingua franca. For over a millennium, theravādins have endeavored to preserve the dhamma as recorded in their school's texts. In contrast to Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna, Theravāda tends to be conservative in matters of doctrine and monastic discipline. Meditation practice was reintroduced in the 19th century and has since become popular with the laity in both traditionally Theravāda countries and in the west.

Mahayana Branch of Buddhism

Mahāyāna is one of two main existing branches of Buddhism and a term for classification of Buddhist philosophies and practice. This movement added a further set of discourses, and although it was initially small in India, it had long-term historical significance. The Buddhist tradition of Vajrayana is sometimes classified as a part of Mahāyāna Buddhism, but some scholars consider it to be a different branch altogether.

Vajrayāna (वज्रयान), Mantrayāna, Tantrayāna, Tantric Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhism are terms referring to the various Buddhist traditions of Tantra and "Secret Mantra", which developed in medieval India and spread to Tibet, Bhutan, and East Asia. In Tibet, Buddhist Tantra is termed Vajrayāna, while in China it is generally known as Tángmì Hanmi 漢密 or Mìzōng (密宗, "Esoteric Sect"), in Pali it is known as Pyitsayãna (ပစ္စယာန), and in Japan it is known as Mikkyō.

The liturgy mainly consists of chanting or reciting a sutra or passages from a sutras, a mantra (especially in Vajrayana), and several gathas . Depending on what practice the practitioner wishes to undertake, it can be done at a temple or at home. The liturgy is almost always performed in front of an object or objects of veneration and accompanied by offerings of light, incense, water, and food.

Buddhist chant

A Buddhist chant is a form of musical verse or incantation, in some ways analogous to Hindu, Christian or Jewish religious recitations.

Sutra a text in Hinduism or Buddhism. Often a collection of aphorisms or formulae.

Sutra in Indian literary traditions refers to an aphorism or a collection of aphorisms in the form of a manual or, more broadly, a condensed manual or text. Sutras are a genre of ancient and medieval Indian texts found in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

Mantra sacred utterance

A mantra is a sacred utterance, a numinous sound, a syllable, word or phonemes, or group of words in Sanskrit believed by practitioners to have psychological and/or spiritual powers. A mantra may or may not have a syntactic structure or literal meaning.

Judaism

Jewish liturgy is the prayer recitations that form part of the observance of Rabbinic Judaism. These prayers, often with instructions and commentary, are found in the siddur , the traditional Jewish prayer book. In general, Jewish men are obligated to pray three times a day within specific time ranges (zmanim). while, according to the Talmud, women are only required to pray once daily, as they are generally exempted from obligations that are time dependent.

Traditionally, three prayer services are recited daily:

  1. Shacharit or Shaharit (שַחֲרִת), from the Hebrew shachar or shahar (שַחָר) "morning light",
  2. Mincha or Minha (מִנְחָה), the afternoon prayers named for the flour offering that accompanied sacrifices at the Temple in Jerusalem,
  3. Arvit (עַרְבִית) or Maariv (מַעֲרִיב), from "nightfall".

Additional prayers:

Christianity

A bishop celebrating the Divine Liturgy in an Eastern Catholic Church in Presov, Slovakia Jan Babjak SJ.jpg
A bishop celebrating the Divine Liturgy in an Eastern Catholic Church in Prešov, Slovakia
Wedding ceremony inside the Kiuruvesi Church in Kiuruvesi, Finland Vihkimistilaisuus Kiuruveden kirkossa.JPG
Wedding ceremony inside the Kiuruvesi Church in Kiuruvesi, Finland

Frequently in Christianity, a distinction is made between "liturgical" and "non-liturgical" churches based on how elaborate or antiquated the worship; in this usage, churches whose services are unscripted or improvised are called "non-liturgical". Others object to this usage, arguing that this terminology obscures the universality of public worship as a religious phenomenon. [6] Thus, even the open or waiting worship of Quakers is liturgical, since the waiting itself until the Holy Spirit moves individuals to speak is a prescribed form of Quaker worship, sometimes referred to as "the liturgy of silence". [7] Typically in Christianity, however, the term "the liturgy" normally refers to a standardised order of events observed during a religious service, be it a sacramental service or a service of public prayer; usually the former is the referent. In the ancient tradition, sacramental liturgy especially is the participation of the people in the work of God, which is primarily the saving work of Jesus Christ; in this liturgy, Christ continues the work of redemption. [8]

The term "liturgy" literally in Greek means "work for the people", but a better translation is "public service" or "public work", as made clear from the origin of the term as described above. The early Christians adopted the word to describe their principal act of worship, the Sunday service (referred to by various terms, including Holy Eucharist, Holy Communion, Mass or Divine Liturgy), which they considered to be a sacrifice. This service, liturgy, or ministry (from the Latin "ministerium") is a duty for Christians as a priestly people by their baptism into Christ and participation in His high priestly ministry. It is also God's ministry or service to the worshippers. It is a reciprocal service. As such, many Christian churches designate one person who participates in the worship service as the liturgist. The liturgist may read announcements, scriptures, and calls to worship, while the minister preaches the sermon, offers prayers, and blesses sacraments. The liturgist may be either an ordained minister or a layman. The entire congregation participates in and offers the liturgy to God.

Islam

Salāt ("prayer", Arabic : صلاة ṣalāh or gen : ṣalāt; pl. صلواتṣalawāt) is the practice of physical and compulsory prayer in Islam as opposed to dua, which is the Arabic word for supplication. Its importance for Muslims is indicated by its status as one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

Salat is preceded by ritual ablution and usually performed five times a day. It consists of the repetition of a unit called a rakʿah (pl. rakaʿāt) consisting of prescribed actions and words. The number of obligatory ( fard ) rakaʿāt varies from two to four according to the time of day or other circumstances (such as Friday congregational worship, which has two rakats). Prayer is obligatory for all Muslims except those who are prepubescent, menstruating, or in puerperium stage after childbirth. [9]

See also

Related Research Articles

Mass (liturgy) type of worship service within many Christian denomination

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.

Religious music music genre

Religious music is music performed or composed for religious use or through religious influence. Ritual music is music, sacred or not, performed or composed for or as ritual.

Divine Liturgy Rite practiced in Eastern Christian traditions

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.

Sacred language language that is cultivated for religious reasons

A sacred language, "holy language" or liturgical language is any language that is cultivated and used primarily in religious service or for other religious reasons by people who speak another, primary language in their daily life.

Church service In Protestant denominations of Christianity, a meeting the primary purpose of which is the worship of God

A church service is a formalized period of Christian communal worship, often held in a church building. It often but not exclusively occurs on Sunday, or Saturday in the case of those churches practicing seventh-day Sabbatarianism. The church service is the gathering together of Christians to be taught the 'Word of God' and encouraged in their faith. Technically, the "church" in "church service" refers to the gathering of the faithful rather than to the building in which it takes place. In most Christian traditions, services are presided over by clergy wherever possible.

Sanctus

The Sanctus is a hymn in Christian liturgy. It may also be called the epinikios hymnos when referring to the Greek rendition.

Kiss of peace

The kiss of peace is an ancient traditional Christian greeting, sometimes also called the "holy kiss", "brother kiss", or "sister kiss". Such greetings signify a wish and blessing that peace be with the recipient, and besides their spontaneous uses they have certain ritualized or formalized uses long established in liturgy. Many denominations use other forms of greeting to serve equivalent purposes; they include handshakes, gestures, and hugs, any of which may be called a sign of peace.

Christian liturgy is a pattern for worship used 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.

Christian worship

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.

Divine Service (Eastern Orthodoxy)

Divine Service is the term used in the Eastern Orthodox Church to describe the daily cycle of public services celebrated in the temple.

Roman Rite Most widespread liturgical rite in the Latin 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).

Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament

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.

In the history of Christianity, the African Rite refers to a now defunct Christian, Western liturgical rite, and is considered a development or possibly a local use of the primitive Roman Rite. Centered around the Archdiocese of Carthage in the Early African church, it used the Latin language.

The Liturgical Movement began as a 19th-century movement of scholarship for the reform of worship within the Roman Catholic Church. It has developed over the last century and a half and has affected many other Christian churches, including the Church of England and other churches of the Anglican Communion, and some Protestant churches. A similar reform in the Church of England and Anglican Communion, known as the Oxford Movement, began to change theology and liturgy in the United Kingdom and United States in the mid-nineteenth century. The Liturgical Movement has been one of the major influences on the process of the Ecumenical Movement, in favor of reversing the divisions which began at the Reformation.

Alexandrian Rite liturgical rite used by the Coptic Catholic Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church

The Alexandrian Rite is the liturgical rite used by the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, as well as by the three corresponding Eastern Catholic Churches.

Catholic liturgy

In the Catholic Church, liturgy is divine worship, the proclamation of the Gospel, and active charity.

Origin of the Eucharist

Church teaching places the origin of the Eucharist in the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples, at which he is believed to have taken bread and given it to his disciples, telling them to eat of it, because it was his body, and to have taken a cup and given it to his disciples, telling them to drink of it because it was the cup of the covenant in his blood.

Liturgical book Christian prayer book

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.

Anamnesis (Christianity)

Anamnesis, in Christianity, is a liturgical statement in which the church refers to the memorial character of the Eucharist or to the Passion, Resurrection and Ascension of Christ. It has its origin in Jesus' words at the Last Supper, "Do this in memory of me" (Greek: "τοῦτο ποιεῖτε εἰς τὴν ἐμὴν ἀνάμνησιν",.

References

  1. "liturgy". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.) - "2.a. A form of public worship, esp. in the Christian Church; a collection of formularies for the conduct of Divine service."
  2. Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, p. 5823
  3. Compare the view of morning and evening prayer as liturgy in Claiborne, Shane; Wilson-Hartgrove, Jonathan; Okoro, Enuma (2010). Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan. ISBN   9780310326212 . Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  4. N. Lewis, "Leitourgia and related terms," Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies3 (1960:175–84) and 6 (1965:226–30).
  5. Finley, The Ancient Economy 2nd ed., 1985:151.
  6. Underhill, E., Worship (London: Bradford and Dickens, 1938), pp. 319.
  7. Dandelion, P., The Liturgies of Quakerism, Liturgy, Worship and Society Series (Aldershot, England and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2005).
  8. Catechism of the Catholic Church 1069(London: Chapman, 1994).
  9. Multicultural Handbook of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics, p. 43, Aruna Thaker, Arlene Barton, 2012

Further reading