THE ICONOSTASIS: A CHARACTERISTIC FEATURE OF THE BYZANTINE CATHOLIC CHURCH

The most characteristic feature of a Byzantine Rite church is the iconostasis (Gr. eikon-image; stasis-stand, support), attracting attention by its artistic composition and design. It is a colorful picture screen that separates the sanctuary from the nave, surround ing the sanctuary with a certain feeling of mystery and protection. Usually, it is an elaborate work of art in which the skills of architecture, woodcarving or metal-work and painting generously concur. Its present form reflects the particular features of Ruthenian art which should be meticulously preserved, since they belong to our spiritual heritage. Continue reading

THE HOLY MYSTERY OF PENANCE (CONFESSION) according to THE BYZANTINE RITE TRADITION

Lord and Savior Jesus Christ commissioned His Church to preach “the repentance and forgiveness of sins to all nations” (Lk. 24:47) in His name. Since He does not “wish that anyone should be lost, but that all be brought to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9), our Lord endowed the Church with the power to forgive sins by instituting the Holy Mystery of Penance, simply known as – Confession. The Holy Mystery of Penance is the mystery instituted by Jesus Christ to forgive, in His name, the repentant sinner all his or her sins committed after baptism. Continue reading

THE HOLY MYSTERY OF MATRIMONY according to Byzantine Rite practice

The Holy Mystery (Sacrament) of Matrimony is one of the seven channels of divine grace, instituted by Christ, to sanctify and to support Christian family life. A Christian marriage is a vocation, that is a special invitation of God to two baptized persons to marital union, in order to devote themselves to the service of a new life in Christ. Continue reading

THE HOLY LITURGY OF THE PRESANCTIFIED GIFTS ACCORDING TO BYZANTINE RITE TRADITION

In the Byzantine Rite, besides the Liturgies of St. John Chrysostom and of St. Basil the Great, we have a third liturgical formulary, known as the Holy Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts. As the very name suggests, the Eucharistic Gifts given in the communion at this service are pre-sanctified, consecrated beforehand. Strictly speaking, this office is not considered a ” complete Liturgy,” but is only a service of a solemn Holy Communion. Continue reading

THE HOLY EUCHARIST: THE MYSTERY OF THE BODY AND BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST

The Mystery of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ Through baptism we are regenerated to the divine life of grace and become the children of God. Through chrismation we mystically participate in the descent of the Holy Spirit, who seals (confirms) us in the divine life of God’s children and enriches us with His abundant gifts. However, it is through the Holy Eucharist that we become intimately united to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who becomes our spiritual nourishment, leading us into life everlasting. Continue reading

THE GREAT LENT A TRADITIONAL CUSTOM OF THE BYZANTINE RITE

We have various days and seasons of Fast in the Byzantine Rite but, in this pamphlet, we will limit our presentation to the pre-Paschal Fast known as the Great Fast. It is called the Great Fast not only on account of its duration (seven weeks) but mainly on account of its importance for the spiritual renewal of the faithful. In the Old Slavonic, the Great Fast is called ” Svjata Chetyredesjatnicja,” meaning the Holy Forty Days while in English, it is called Lent from the Anglo-Saxon Lencten, meaning spring. The Great Fast can be described as a forty-day period of prayer, penance, and spiritual exercises in preparation for the proper celebration of Easter. Continue reading

THE FEAST OF THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE MOST HOLY MOTHER OF GOD (BYZANTINE TRADITION)

TROPARION For the first three centuries the liturgical worship of our Lord Jesus Christ concentrated around the feast of His glorious resurrection, the Holy Pasch, exalted by the Fathers as “the Feast of Feasts” (St. Gregory of Nazianzus). During the fourth century another fundamental mystery from the life of our Savior, namely His nativity, was introduced into the cycle of liturgical celebrations by the Church. With it the celebration of our Lord’s incarnation, the feast of the Annunciation, made its way into the liturgical year. Continue reading