Thursday, August 23, 2012

Every Divine Liturgy is Theophany

The Mystical Supper, fresco from the Holy Monastery of Vatopedi, Mount Athos (
Every Divine Liturgy is Theophany by Elder Sophrony of Essex (amateur translation)
We Orthodox live Christ in the Divine Liturgy, or better yet, Christ lives within us in through the duration of the Divine Liturgy. The Divine Liturgy is a work of God. We say: “It is the time for the Lord to act” (Psalm 119:126). Among other things, this means that now is the time for God to work. Christ liturgizes, we live together with Christ.

The Divine Liturgy is the way that we come to know God, and the way that God comes to know us.

Christ accomplished the Divine Liturgy once, and this has passed unto eternity. He overcame corrupted human nature in the Divine Liturgy. We come to know Christ specifically in the Divine Liturgy. The Divine Liturgy that we celebrate is the same Divine Liturgy which Christ worked on Holy Thursday at the Mystical Supper.

Chapters 14-17 of the Gospel of St. John are a Divine Liturgy. Thus we understand the Holy Scriptures in the Divine Liturgy.

The first Church lived without the New Testament, however, not without the Divine Liturgy. The first forms, hymns, scriptures exist within the Divine Liturgy.

In the Divine Liturgy we live Christ, and we understand His word.

As Christ cleansed His Disciples with His work and told them: “Now you are clean by the word that I have spoken to you” (John 15:3), and He cleansed the feet of the Disciples with water during the Holy Niptir, thus the first part of the Divine Liturgy cleanses us that we might later sit at the Table of love. The purpose of the Divine Liturgy is for us to partake of Christ.

The Divine Liturgy teaches us an ethos, the ethos of humility. As Christ was sacrificed, thus we must sacrifice. The form of the Divine Liturgy is the form of He Who became poor for us. In the Divine Liturgy we try to humble ourselves, because we have the sense that there exists a humble God.

Every Divine Liturgy is Theophany [The Revealing of God]. The Body of Christ is revealed. Every member of the Church is an icon of the Kingdom of God.

After the Divine Liturgy we must try to continue to depict the Kingdom of God, keeping His commandments. The glory of Christ is that every one of His members might bear fruit. Thus His word explains: “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:8)
Elder Sophrony depicted holding the icon of his spiritual father, St. Silouan the Athonite (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

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