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Divine liturgy and ordinary bread
Monday, Oct. 12, 2009
Sunday morning’s worship was a Divine Liturgy with an Orthodox congregation in the nearby town of Kasteli. The service was in Greek, of course (though we had written translation, and the Scripture and sermon were offered in English for our benefit), and two hours long.
During worship I strained my ears for any words familiar from my seminary New Testament Greek class (koinonia/fellowship/community, Theos/God, Sophia/wisdom, doxa/glory, hagios/holy, dynamis/power), and was pleased to find I understood enough to know where we were on the paper (eureka!). For those of you who’ve attended Orthodox services before, you’ll be happy to know that there were chairs, so we didn’t all have to stand for the whole thing (standing is typical of many Orthodox services).
The difficult moment came at the Eucharist – no surprises there. Here we all were, gathered for the unity of the church, and divided at the table. Though we had worshiped and prayed together, most of us are not in communion with the Orthodox church and cannot participate in Christ’s meal together. The Metropolitan leading the service spoke openly and plainly about our separation. “Now we have come to a moment of pain,” he said. “I speak the truth: I have great pain that we cannot share the meal, but this is why we must keep going.”
Then most of us remained seated while some came forward to receive the sacrament.
After the service, we shared blessed – but not consecrated – bread. A symbol of our partial unity, and the distance left to travel.
Posted by Aimee Moiso