Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Full Steam Ahead!

Dear Fellow Christians and Devout Lovers of the Eastern Tradition,

 As we pray for our brethren in the Middle East undergoing an ethnic cleansing, we at the Divine Liturgy Project have been busier than ever.  On the budget of seminarians, that is not an easy task!

Yet, as you can see below, we continue to develop new proofs and receive consistent feedback from Orthodox Parish priests and scholars worldwide to improve our work.  The costs of publishing, copy editing, photoshop and other software is beginning to pile up.  Please consider making a donation to help us with our work.  We will be adding a donation button shortly. We daily keep you in our prayers (as we  are seminarians) and hope you keep us in your own.

-The Staff at the Divine Liturgy Project

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Divine Liturgy Project is Alive and Well- For Your Viewing Pleasure

Dear Readers,

We have been earnestly working on formatting issues for the DLP, but have found a few that seem uniquely suited for such a project.  Take a look and let us know what you think.  We have posted one, but more are along the way.

-The Staff at the Divine Liturgy Project

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Divine Liturgy Project on the New Liturgical Movement

Greetings to the Editors and Clergy of the New Liturgical Movement!

Thank you for posting a link to our blog.  We have been busy at the Divine Liturgy Project working on the first phases of the project as well as finding a publisher.  We look forward to your suggestions on artwork and content.


Thank you again!

-The Staff of the Divine Liturgy Project

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

An Excellent Question about Liturgical Variation between Parishes

Question #3: You speak of a collaboration between "faithful Orthodox Christians, the clergy and the hierarchy" - how will you coordinate this collaboration? My first instinct is to see this as a problem - it sounds like a "book by committee", but perhaps you can help me see how this might work. There is also a great diversity of opinion, and a great number of clergy in the US even in the same jurisdiction celebrate liturgy differently. For example, a) some priests never close the Beautiful Gate and the curtain, others do. Some hierarchs forbid it, others do not; b) some priests preach the sermon after the reading of the Gospel, others do not; c) some priests do not read the inaudible prayers aloud, others do etc… etc… the list is quite lengthy
Response: You have a great point. To be completely honest, we have never envisioned a book by committee- but rather from a core group that will submit manuscripts regularly to the hierarchy. Having spoken to several Orthodox clergy, we will seek the blessing and endorsements from Hierarchs in the US and abroad before official work commences and when the manuscript is near completion.

The way that the DLP will be presented is a distinct advantage. It is not meant to be a historical book on the development on liturgical vessels, vestments, or rubrics. It is for the edification and knowledge of the faithful, encouraging them to "lift up their hearts."
We think that this point would be well illustrated by an example. During the Creed, in the Greek Liturgical tradition the priest gently waves the aer over the holy gifts. " As ours is a devotional book we will state that this motion has a symbolic meaning. For us as Orthodox Christians, it calls to mind that the Creed is for us the victorious flag of Christianity, which despite persecution always emerges victorious. This explanation is in several patristic texts- Greek and Russian.

In regard to the beautiful gate and curtain, we intend to have descriptions of these objects in the part of the book that describes the Architecture and Design of the Orthodox Church. We could add a comment after describing their historical and devotional value that in many places the use of the curtain has been retired. We will seek further guidance from hierarchy whether we should incldue these rubrics.

We feel that certain practices, such as the tradition of males and females sitting separately on different sides of the Church, is not a part of parish life in Greek Orthodox parishes in this country. If it was included, one can imagine how some might see this negatively as advocating outdated practice.  We have to realize that not every practice in the Orthodox world can be included, and remember that this volume is geared toward faithful in the parish setting.

In the end, we would trust the judgment of the clergy collaborating with us.  For the silent prayers, as they are to be said in a low voice, we think that this instruction should be reproduced in the text and why they are to be said silently.  However, we would qualify this ancient practice by stating  that some priests pray the inaudible prayers aloud so that the faithful might appreciate their beauty. As to the placement of the Homily, we would not even include it as different priests do insert it at different places during the Liturgy.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Divine Liturgy Project Now on Google Plus

We are now on Google Plus- Add us at TheDivineLiturgyProject@gmail.com !

Seminarian Interest in the Divine Liturgy Project Growing!

As an Orthodox seminarian, I think that this project, as you have laid it out for us, is a noble endeavor and could be of great benefit to the Orthodox faithful of this country. I am humbled that you have asked us for our input and offered us the opportunity to join in the effort. As for myself, I am very interested in helping you. My only reservation is that I am not an expert on anything in particular.  Also as a seminarian, I am to an extent under obedience to a hierarch and want to make sure that what you publish will be in harmony with the Orthodox Faith.


We are impressed how humbly you described yourself!  Prudence and humility will take you a long way in life and especially (God willing) life as a priest.  It is important to realize,  that the spiritual health of your parish will be important in the future not only for the salvation of the souls of your congregation but for practical reasons as well. 

A devout parish that is spiritually healthy will provide for your livelihood and that of your future family and provide an atmosphere that allows you to be the best priest you can be. 
As a seminarian, your contribution will be highly valued and you can be sure that all who give time and talent on behalf of this project will be acknowledged in the final volume.  Your help (and those of your brother seminarians) will be particularly helpful on the section of “Major Feast Days” and “Saints Days.” We will include Icons with descriptions of the event (for Major feast days) or highlights from the life of the saint who is commemorated, the troparion and kontakion for the day, and perhaps a hymn or prayer that holds particular devotional value. Most importantly, get the word out and tell priests and co-seminarians about the project.  The staff of the DLP would be happy to personally speak at your seminary and present the project.
As all of those involved in the project are faithful Orthodox Christian laity and clergy who are obedient to the hierarchy of the Greek Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarch.  The content will be proofread multiple times and submitted to the hierarchy for blessing before being printed. 
  This book is not meant to be a polemic nor a historical treatise.  As described in statement of purpose, we will use established sources and cite them appropriately.  These sources will be well known Orthodox hierarchs, theologians, patristic sources, patriarchal encyclicals (especially form his All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew I), the Orthodox Study Bible, etc.

As always, do not hesitate to contact us at TheDivineLiturgyProject@gmail.com  if you wish to be a contributor or have any feedback for us!

-The Staff at the Divine Liturgy Project

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Divine Liturgy Project- Target Audience

The Staff of the Divine Liturgy Project are committed to delivering a text with visual standards that have the same beauty and richness of the texts of the Orthodox Church. We will present Orthodoxy in a way that will inspire and edify faithful in parishes and encourage an authentic popular piety based around the Liturgical life of the Church. It will hopefully inspire vocations to the Holy Priesthood and consecrated life, bring hope to struggling families, and give the faithful that come to church a reason to come next week.  It will also be helpful for visitors and inquirers into Orthodoxy that have never been to an Orthodox Church and want to know “what is happening and why” and will be a witness to the Catholic nature of the Orthodox Church.

At this time, my assistant editors and I are working on compiling the Divine Services in Greek and Enlgish listed in the Table of Contents. We continue to receive letters of praise and interest from Orthodox clergy around the country but we need your help!  Please contact us if you are willing to help or support our endeavor. This is truly a collaborative effort and we are actively seeking a Publisher with standards as high as our own.   

 “The Divine Liturgy Project” (which will eventually be renamed when completed) will be an asset to any parish.  Why?  The faithful will come to appreciate the great graces that they receive at each Liturgy and how our Tradition has clear, tangible links to Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ and the apostles transmitted through the centuries through the Divine Services of the Orthodox Church. 

-The Staff at the Divine Liturgy Project

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tentative Table of Contents

The Divine Liturgy Project
Table of Contents

I.)                   Editors Preface (~2 pages)

II.)                  The Orthodox Church
·         Apostolic and Biblical Origin (~10 pages)
o    The Christian Communities that Paul and the Apostles preached to were primarily Greek Speaking 
§  Apostolic Journeys and Martyrdom
§  Map of Epistles

o    The Christian communities established by Paul and the Apostles continued to preach the same Gospel and faithfully transmitted the Liturgical and Sacramental inheritance they were given from one generation to the next.

o    Development of Five Major Sees (called Patriarchates)- Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem
§  Apostolic Origin of Each See

·         Early Christian Persecution (~3 pages)

·         Spread of Orthodox Christianity (~3 pages)

·         Schism, Fall of Byzantium, and Persecution under the Ottomans (~5 pages)
o    Despite persecution, the Church continued to flourish underground
o    The catholic and missionary nature of the Church continued, producing many saints

·         Persecution under Communism (~2 pages)

·         Modern Day Orthodoxy (~4 pages)
o    The Orthodox Church has alone maintained the Apostolic Faith of Jesus Christ in its entirety.
o    Many Churches in the English Speaking world are affiliated with a particular ethnicity but the Catholic nature of the Orthodox church is to preach the Gospel to all humanity
o    The Orthodox Church is active in missionary work in 6 out of 7 continents.  It operates churches, orphanages, and clinics and comprises over 300 million members.
§  Current missionary work with photos

III.)                The Church-the Temple of God

·         The Design of the Orthodox Church (~4-5 pages)
o    The Orthodox Church as the Heavenly Temple
o    Orthodox Church design as fulfillment of the Temple in Jerusalem
o    Significance of Domes

·         Icons and the Iconostasis (~4 pages)
o     Brief History and Liturgical Use  (Reference St. Luke)

·         The Altar and Antimension (~4 pages)
o    Earliest Liturgies celebrated on graves of martyrs during persecution
o    Relics placed inside both Altar and Antimension

·         Sacred Vessels (~4 pages)
o    Chalice and Diskos
o    Lance/Spear
o    Communion “spoon”- actual translation tongs of Elijah
o    Veils

·          Incense (~2 pages)
o    Old Testament Origin.  Use in Ancient Temple in Jerusalem
o    Use in Divine Worship in the Orthodox Church

·          Clerical Vestments (~8 Pages)
o    Episcopal (Hierarchical), Priestly, and Diaconal Vestments
o    Description of Vestments that communicate practical and devotional meanings.

IV.)                The Liturgical Calendar (~8 pages)
·         Diagram to aid faithful
·         Alternates fasts and feasts - reference St. Paul’s view of the Christian life as athlete
·         Liturgical Colors- what do they mean?

V.)                 The Sacraments
·         The Sacraments as Holy Mysteries (~6-8 pages)
·         Brief History of Sacramental Development and descriptions (~10 pages)
o    Biblical and Apostolic Origins
o    External sign of an internal/spiritual reality
o    Divine Mercy and Life communicated to those Orthodox Christians who worthily receive sacraments
o    Importance of Sacraments in Life of Church

VI.)                The Divine Liturgy
·         Institution (~4 pages)
·         Apostolic and Early Development (~4 pages)
·         The Divine Sacrifice – Brief Eucharistic Theology with emphasis on the fulfillment of the Old Covenant (~3-4 pages)
·         Worthy Reception of Holy Communion (~1-2 pages)
o    Fasting and Prayer. Biblical origins
·         Major Orthodox Liturgies in Use Today- historical origins and differences (~5-6 pages)
o    The Divine Liturgy Of St. John Chrysostom
o    The Divine Liturgy of St. Basil The Great
o    Presanctified Liturgy

VII.)              Prayers before Liturgy and Proskomedia
·         Prosphora- the bread used for the Holy Eucharist (~3-4 pages)
·         Explanation of the Seal used for the gifts               (~1-2 pages)
·         Proskomedia (~20 pages)
o    Full Text with Rubrics in Greek and English
o    Patristic, hagiographic, and biblical commentary
o    High Quality Color Photos

VIII.)             Orthros  (~20 pages)
·         Only the proper (unchanging parts) of Orthros will be included for the sake of brevity.
·         Full Text with Rubrics in Greek and English
·         Patristic, hagiographic, and biblical commentary

IX.)                The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (~75 pages)
·         Full Text with Rubrics in Greek and English
·         Patristic, hagiographic, and biblical commentary for increased attention and devotion
·         High Quality Color Photos

X.)                 The Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great (~75 pages)
·         Full Text with Rubrics in Greek and English
·         Patristic, hagiographic, and biblical commentary for increased attention and devotion
·         High Quality Color Photos

XI.)                Presanctified Liturgy (~60 pages)
·         Full Text with Rubrics in Greek and English
·         Patristic, hagiographic, and biblical commentary for increased attention and devotion

XII.)              The Memorial Service (~12-15 pages)
·         Orthodox Custom of praying for the dead.  Importance of prayer for departed souls
·         Full Text with Rubrics in Greek and English
·         Patristic, hagiographic, and biblical commentary

XIII.)             Vespers (Propers) (~20-25 pages)
·         Only the proper (unchanging parts) of Vespers will be included for the sake of brevity.
o    Full Text with Rubrics in Greek and English
o    Patristic, hagiographic,and biblical commentary

XIV.)            Major Feast Days of the Liturgical Year (~60 pages)
·         Every major feast day will have an icon with a description.  Liturgical hymns, troparia, and kontakia appropriate to the feast will also be included.
o    Feast of the Holy Cross
o    Nativity
o    Theophany
o    Lazarus Saturday
o    Wednesdays of Lent
o    Good Friday, Holy Saturday,  Pascha (Resurrection Sunday)
o    Ascension
o    Pentecost
o    Transfiguration
o    Dormition with Encomia of Dormition

XV.)              Saints-  Every major feast day will have an icon with a description.  Liturgical hymns, troparia, and kontakia appropriate to the feast will also be included.  (~40 pages)
·         St. Nicholas
·         St. George
·         St Demetrios
·         St. Peter and St. Paul
·         St. Nektarios of Aegina
·         Other popular saints to be determined.

XVI.)            Great Blessing of Water on Theophany (~8 pages)
·         “The Blessing of the Jordan”
·         The importance of Holy Water and Blessed Objects in the life of the Orthodox Christian

XVII.)           Artoklasia (~4 Pages)
·         Patristic, hagiographic, and biblical commentary
·         Full Text with Rubrics in Greek and English

XVIII.)         Churching of an infant (6 Pages)
·         Full Text with Rubrics in Greek and English
·         Roots of the Ceremony
o    Biblical example of the Purification of the Theotokos

XIX.)            Confession (~15 pages)
·         Brief introduction to the Importance of Confession as preparation for the sacraments.
·         Patristic, hagiographic, and biblical commentary
·         Examination of Conscience
·         Prayers of Absolution

XX.)              Holy Baptism, Chrismation, and Holy Communion for Infants  (~30 Pages)
·         Exorcism prayers of St. Basil will be referenced, but not included in the final edition.
·         Full Text with Rubrics in Greek and English
·         Patristic, hagiographic, and biblical commentary
·         High Quality Color Photos

XXI.)            Common Prayers (~20 pages)
·         To the Lord, the Theotokos, the angels, and saints