Friday, December 26, 2008

An Extra-extraordinary Form

The eastern Church uses three forms of the Divine Liturgy, or Eucharistic Sacrifice: the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, celebrated on most Sundays and feast days; the Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great, celebrated ten times a year, especially on the Sundays of Lent and the Feast of St Basil (1 January); and, rarest of all, the Liturgy of Saint James the Apostle and Brother of Our Lord, celebrated once a year on his feast day, 23 October. Until the middle of the last century, the Liturgy of St James was used only by the Orthodox at Jerusalem and on the Greek island of Zante (a.k.a. Zakynthos);* it has since been revived elsewhere (mostly Orthodox churches), and quite recently at the Ruthenian Greek-Catholic Cathedral of Presov, Slovakia, where it was used this past October. Photos here, courtesy of Fr. James Badeaux, an American Byzantine (Ruthenian) Catholic priest. Note that the faithful receive the consecrated Host and the Precious Blood separately, rather than by intinction; also (so I'm told) the formula is "The Body of Christ" and "The Blood of Christ," as in the "ordinary form" of the Roman Rite.

* Timothy Ware, The Orthodox Church (Penguin, 1963; rev. 1983), p. 286.

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