THE FEAST OF SS. PETER and PAUL ACCORDING TO THE BYZANTINE RITE TRADITION

Ancient and local tradition and written documents regarding the apostolic work and martyrdom of SS. Peter and Paul in Rome validly serve as the historical foundation for the universal celebration of their feast. The solemn commemoration of these two leading Apostles takes place on June 29th, a feast day of obligation in the Byzantine Metropolitan Province of Pittsburgh. The feast is preceded by a shorter or a longer period of fasting referred to by the faithful as “Petrovka,” meaning Peter’s Fast. Continue reading

THE ENTRANCE OF THE VIRGIN MARY INTO THE TEMPLE according to THE BYZANTINE RITE TRADITION

According to the venerable tradition of the Byzantine Rite Church, which was confirmed by St. John Damascene (+ 749), the Blessed Virgin Mary as a child was brought by her parents, SS. Joachim and Anne, to the temple as an offering to God, and she “grew up in the house of God, nourished by the Holy Spirit … Thus she sought holiness and was shown to be a holy and wondrous temple worthy of the Most High.” (cf. The Orthodox Faith, IV, 14) This mystery from the early life of the Blessed Mother in our Byzantine Rite is commemorated on November 21, with the feast of the Entrance of the Most Holy Mother of God and Ever Virgin Mary Into the Temple. In Church-Slavonic the feast is called, in a shortened form, – Vovedenije. Continue reading

THE DORMITION OF THE MOST HOLY MOTHER OF GOD (“Uspenije” / Assumption) ACCORDING TO THE BYZANTINE RITE

On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII solemnly proclaimed the centuries-long belief that the “Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-Virgin Mary, having completed the course of Her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” (Apost. Const. “Munificentissimus Deus,” n. 44) This solemn proclamation of the dogma of Mary’s Assumption into Heaven fittingly describes this crowning event in the life of the Most Holy Mother of God, whose liturgical veneration originated in the East. Continue reading

THE DIVINE LITURGY OF OUR FATHER ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM ACCORDING TO BYZANTINE RITE TRADITION

The Byzantine Rite boasts of two formularies of the Eucharistic sacrifice, namely, the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great and the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. In this leaflet we shall examine the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, which at the present time seems to be more popular and is celebrated more frequently in the Byzantine Rite. Before the tenth century it was just the opposite : the Basilian Liturgy was celebrated more often. But because of its brevity, in time, the Chrysostomian Liturgy prevailed. Continue reading

THE DIVINE LITURGY OF OUR FATHER ST. BASIL THE GREAT ACCORDING TO BYZANTINE RITE TRADITION

At the Last Supper, on the “night when He was betrayed” (I Cor. 11 :23), our Lord Jesus Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist, the sacrifice of the New Testament. He did it in order to perpetuate His own sacrifice on the cross, and to leave to His beloved Spouse, the Church, a ” memorial” of His death and resurrection ” until He comes again.” (I Cor. 11 :25-26) On account of its divine institution, the Holy Eucharist becomes a “mystery of piety, a sign of unity, and a bond of charity.” (St. Augustine in PL, 35, 1613) Continue reading

THE CREED THE SYMBOL OF FAITH ACCORDING TO THE BYZANTINE RITE TRADITION

At every Divine Liturgy in Byzantine Rite churches the people make their profession of faith : “I believe in one God . . . ” (cf. Back Cover) just before the Eucharistic prayer of consecration (the Anaphora). This profession is generally known as the Nicean-Constantinopolitan Symbol of Faith. The same Symbol of Faith (Creed) is also recited in Latin Rite churches on Sundays and certain Holydays. Continue reading

THE BYZANTINE RITE CELEBRATION of THE FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD with the Traditional BLESSING OF THE WATER and the BLESSING OF HOMES

One of the most impressive ceremonies of the Byzantine Rite is the Solemn Blessing of the Water on the Feast of the Epiphany commemorating Christ’s baptism in the River Jordan. The Epiphany, one of the most ancient and venerable festivities, originated in Palestine where it was celebrated with a vigil and special services on the spot where, according to Christian tradition, Our Lord was actually baptized. St. Gregory the Wonderworker [of Pontusl (d. about 270) is the first witness to present the Epiphany to us as the ” saving proclamation of Christ’s Baptism.” (cf. Homily on Christ’s Baptism, 1) Continue reading

BYZANTINE EASTER TRADITIONS THE BLESSING OF EASTER FOODS

The Holy Spirit reminds us ” not to reject the traditions of our elders, which they have learned from their fathers” (Sirach 8:9). Toge. ther with the Byzantine Rite, we have inherited many meaningful customs which make our liturgical worship inspiring, spiritually rich and close to the heart of our people. Continue reading

THE BLESSING OF CANDLES: ON THE FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION OF OUR LORD IN THE TEMPLE A TRADITION OF THE BYZANTINE RITE

The Church of Jerusalem is the Mother Church of all Christians, since the liturgical year had its beginning there and the liturgical services of the Christians were formulated there. The Christian Community of Jerusalem commemorated the main events of the life of Christ with liturgical celebrations in their historic settings. These solemn festivities, however, were greatly enhanced by the participation of pilgrims who began to throng the Holy Places after the Constantinian Peace of 313. The festive celebration of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple, as described by the Evangelist Luke, had its beginning in Jerusalem in the fourth century. Continue reading

THE APOSTLES OF THE SLAVS SS. CYRIL AND METHODIUS CO-PATRONS OF EUROPE

1. On September 30, 1880, Pope Leo XIII by his Encyclcial Letter, “Grande Munus,” extended the veneration of the Apostles of the Slavs, SS. Cyril and Methodius, to the entire Catholic Church.

This action on the part of the Supreme Pontiff meant the recogn ition of the important contribution of the Slavic Apostles in shaping the destiny of the whole of Europe and call ing to unity the Eastern and Western Churches. Continue reading