Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Melkite Bishop Nicholas to Celebrate Divine Liturgy on Berkeley Campus, March 11th

The third in the series of monthly liturgies of the Melkite Outreach of Berkeley will be held on Satruday, March 11th, 5pm, at the Gesu Chapel of the Jesuit School of Theology, 1735 Leroy Ave., Berkeley.

The liturgy is usually celebrated by Fr Christopher Hadley, who teaches at the Jesuit School; Fr Sebastian Carnazzo, pastor of St Elias Melkite Church in Los Gatos, California, has told me “This time we will be honored to host his Grace, Nicholas Samra, bishop of the Melkite Diocese of the United States, who will be celebrating the Divine Liturgy and giving us his episcopal blessing and exhortation.”

Hope to see you there.

Here is a recording of the Hymn of Lent: Open to Me the Gates of Repentance

The Divine Liturgy will be that of Sunday, March 12th, which is the Sunday of St Gregory Palamas in the Byzantine Rite.

Years ago, I was told of a difference between East and West in the interpretation of the Transfiguration. St Thomas Aquinas stated that Christ changed when he shone with light, and this was an anticipation of the beatific vision. St Gregory Palamas, on the other hand, argued that the Apostles changed spiritually and they were able, temporarily, to see the uncreated light of Christ - their climbing of the mountain was a metaphor for their spiritual upwards movement towards a greater purity in heart. Through the sacramental life of the Church, it is possible for all of us to grow by degrees in purity and be transformed, so that we can both witness and shine with the uncreated light of Christ. As Our Lord told us, blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

I once raised this point, which I thought was a contradiction, with a Benedictine monk at Pluscarden Abbey in Scotland. He told me that I should “think liturgically,” and suggested that these two interpretations were not mutually exclusive. There might be a dual motion taking place in some way, so that just as God comes down to us, so to speak, as Christ is present in the Eucharist, so in taking communion we are supernaturally transformed and so are raised up to meet Him.

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