Thursday, February 28, 2019

Added the Canons of the Council of Trullo

THE 102 CANONS OF The COUNCIL OF TRULLO - 692 AD (Orthodox)

   This council is also known as the Quinisext Council. It was held at Constantinople under Justinian II. Trullo/Quinisext was only attended by Eastern bishops and is not recognized by the West/Latin Church. 

This addition was made to the Church Councils page (see navigation at top of this blog or click here).


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

To Intinct or Not to Intinct?

That is the question!  Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to dip the Sacred Host into the Precious Blood in reminiscence of His Suffering for our outrageous fortune; or to take the Body and Blood separately... Okay, enough Shakespearean word-play... The question of intinction, the Eastern practice of dipping the Body (bread) into the Blood (wine) for distribution to the faithful is a worthy question. The traditional practice of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church is to distribute the two separately. What does Scripture say?

Of the four Gospels, three of them actually spell out the form to be used in the celebration of Eucharist. Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24 and Luke 22:19-20 are the specific verses which command the process of consecrating and distributing the Eucharist. The Gospel of John does not spell it out, but does describe the identifying of Judas as the one who would betray Him in John 13:21-27, which Matthew and Mark also include BEFORE the Eucharist in Matt. 26:21-25 and Mark 14:18-21.  Some point to John 13:26-27 for a reference to intinction, but again - according to Matthew and Mark, that "dipping" took place BEFORE the institution of the Eucharist, which John does not record.

When discussing a similar topic with an Orthodox priest (a discussion on leavened v. unleavened bread) he stated " there's a reason the Orthodox do NOT change what we have been commanded to do in the Eucharist." He condescendingly adds,  "The west loves novelty, though." It would seem it is the Orthodox who have introduced novelty to the institution of the Sacrament of sacraments, not the west here.

Personally, I do not have a problem with intinction. It is a fine and pious practice of our Eastern brethren.





Monday, February 25, 2019

Bread or Unleavened Bread?


I was reading through Facebook today, and a posting from an Orthodox priest, Fr. John Peck (Peck, 2018) came up and drew my attention. The subject being whether the Eucharist should be of unleavened bread or just bread. The article   Many of the facts in that article come from a discussion board (Antonios, 2007), which Fr. Peck also cites. The main point being made by Fr. Peck's article is that in Greek there are specific words for unleavened bread, "azymos," and for bread it is "artos." The points in Scripture which refer to the Eucharist use the word "artos."
That being said, at the Last Supper - the first Eucharist - Jesus was celebrating Passover with the Apostles - and it would have been unleavened bread (azymos) used, regardless of how the writers of the Scripture translated it.

The point of leavened or unleavened bread became a theological sticking point between East and West. Eastern Orthodoxy stood firmly on "artos" - or regular bread, while the Latin Church stood just as firmly on unleavened bread, or "azymos." A derogatory slang used by the Orthodox for the Latins was (is?) "Azymites," for the used unleavened bread (Peck, 2018).  In the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church, they too use "artos" - or regular/daily bread.

In the humble opinion of this blogger, to draw line in the sand over this was a bit too much. Whether it is azymos or artos, when Jesus holds up the host and declares "This IS My body" - it IS His body! I speak in present tense on purpose because when the priest consecrates the Eucharist, it is not merely he standing there, but Christ Himself, and is why when he declares, "this IS My body," it is truly the body of Christ, not that of the priest - but I digress. My point is, let us not be divided over this! In the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church the valid form for the host is unleavened bread (azymos). By the same token, for the Eastern Rites within that very same Catholic Church, the valid form is regular or daily bread (artos). These rites co-exist just fine, as should both Catholics and Orthodox. We should focus on how much we are alike and not squabble over minor distinctions, like this. There are good reasons and valid arguments on both sides of the leavened/unleavened debate.

References

Peck, J. (2018, March 10). Eucharistic Bread: Leavened or Unleavened? · All Saints of North America Orthodox Church · Phoenix, Arizona. Retrieved from https://arizonaorthodox.com/eucharistic-bread-leavened-unleavened/?fbclid=IwAR25IXUEvfdQ_gdFBdAppBV5Psvims30KZXlQDDnbUJS9kmxWsqKu70EkNA

Antonios. (2007). Leavened bread for communion. Discussion Board: Manchos.net. http://www.monachos.net/conversation/topic/1728-leavened-bread-for-communion/



Sexagesima Sunday

Sexagesima Sunday is the second Sunday before Lent and eight Sundays before Easter. "The name was already known to the Fourth Council of Orléans in 541" (Mershman, 1912). The name literally means "60" as in 60 days before Easter - which is not literally accurate. The name was likely taken (and same for Septuagesima Sunday) based upon the literally accurate Quinquagesima (50) which is actually 49 days before Easter, 50 if you count Easter Sunday (Richert, 2018). Traditionally, this marked the start of preparation for the season of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday.

References
Mershman, F. (1912). Sexagesima. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13747a.htm

Richert, S. (2018). What are Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima Sundays?  ThoughtCo. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-septuagesima-sunday-542437

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Septuagesima Sunday

Why do we call this Sunday, Septuagesima Sunday? Because in the very early days of the Church (as recorded in the First Council at Orleans, 511 AD), some pious Christian congregations began fasting 70 days before Easter.
In the Extraordinary Rite, the vestments have gone back to purple, like in Advent and Lent, because these are days of penance. Unlike the obligatory Lenten penance, during Septuagesima (as well as Sexagesima and Quinquagesima and Quadragesima) this is a period of devotional penance. Extra penance is not required, but is recommended. As such, these penances help get one "into the spirit" of Lent - which begins on Ash Wednesday.

The traditional readings for today are 1 Corinthians 9:24-10:5 - The prize of salvation is compared to running in a race - and we are taught to run as to win that race. And the Gospel is from Matthew 20:1-16 with the parable of the workers being sent into the vineyard to do work for the price of a denarius (or penny). Some of the workers, the owner found at the beginning of the day, but he kept going out and finding more workers. Finally, during the last hour he found still more - and told them to go into the field and they would be given a fair wage. When the day was ended the owner said to his foreman to bring in the workers and pay them from the last ones in to the first - and each one was given the same reward for their work. Those who had been there all day resented the fact that those who came in at the end of the day received the same payment as they did. The owner simply told them that they were not cheated, he paid them what they agreed upon and who are they to question the generosity of the owner?  If he chooses to be charitable to those who only worked an hour, sobeit, they had no right to complain. The analogy here can be that even those who convert to Christ on their deathbed will receive the same reward as those who have been living a faithful life their whole life - eternal life is eternal life!

Under the new lectionary this Sunday is called "The Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time." For those who have been reading this blog for a while, you know how I feel about calling this period of time "Ordinary," when it is anything BUT "ordinary." The term "ordinary" comes from the same root as "ordinal" which means "counting." Traditionally speaking then, this would be the Sixth Sunday after Epiphany - because we are "counting" the weeks after the great Feast of Epiphany. Later in the year then we "count" the weeks after Pentecost, which takes us to the end of the liturgical year - and the new year begins with Advent. In the new lectionary the remembrance of Pentecost is all but forgotten and the "ordinary" days continue their "counting" from where we left off prior to Lent. 

Monday, February 11, 2019

Who I Am To God

Yesterday my wife and I went to the Byzantine church in Gilbert, Az - St. Thomas. The sermon was on the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (Tax Collector) [from Luke 18:9-14]. The Ukrainian pastor taught on who we are to God; are we the Pharisee, who boasts only of his own praises - or the Tax Collector, who would not even raise his eyes to Heaven in his humility saying "Oh God, be merciful to me a sinner." 

9 And to some who trusted in themselves as just, and despised others, he spoke also this parable:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray: the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself: O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican.
12 I fast twice in a week: I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven; but struck his breast, saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I say to you, this man went down into his house justified rather than the other: because every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled: and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted. [DRB]
How do we approach God in prayer and confession?  Do we truly come to Him in humility?  When we confess our sins, do we have a true resolve to never commit the sin again? What steps have we taken to remove the near occasion of sin?  If you're not taking steps to remove the near occasion of sin - your confession may be invalid! How sincere are you in your promise to never commit that sin again if you continue to keep yourself in the face of the temptation of that near occasion?  

Thoughts to consider...