Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Wisdom! Let Us Be Attentive!

Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann (1921-83), one of the most respected figures in Orthodoxy in the 20th century, on beauty in the liturgy: “The liturgy is, before everything else, the joyous gathering of those who are to meet the risen Lord and to enter with him into the bridal chamber. And it is this joy of expectation and this expectation of joy that are expressed in singing and ritual, in vestments and in censing, in that whole ‘beauty’ of the liturgy which has so often been denounced as unnecessary and even sinful. Unnecessary it is indeed, for we are beyond the categories of the ‘necessary.’ Beauty is never ‘necessary,’ ‘functional’ or ‘useful.’ And when, expecting someone whom we love, we put a beautiful tablecloth on the table and decorate it with candles and flowers, we do all this not out of necessity, but out of love. And the Church is love, expectation and joy.” (From his book For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy)

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: