The Meaning of our Divine Services, part ten: Divine Liturgy, “The Epistle and Gospel Readings”


DSC 0534Up until the eighth century, the daily readings commenced with Old Testament readings, both from the Torah (first five books of the Bible) and from the Prophets. The Church, in creating a liturgical calendar of readings from Scripture, followed the Jewish Temple practice. We can witness Christ participating in this liturgical cycle of readings in the Gospel of Luke: “And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and He entered, as his custom was, into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And there was delivered unto Him the book of the prophet Isaiah” (Luke 3:16-17). When Christ simultaneously read and fulfilled this prophecy of Isaiah, He was reading the Prophecy that was appointed for the day. As the Church came to recognize the four different Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, as well as the Apostolic epistles also as Scripture, those readings were integrated into the cycle of readings, with the exception of The Revelation (or Apocalypse) of St. John, which was finally accepted into the New Testament canon only after the cycle of what we now call the New Testament readings was established.


The Meaning of our Divine Services, part eleven: Divine Liturgy, “The Litanies”


DSC 0537A series of litanies immediately follows the homily: the Litany of Fervent Supplication, which consists of petitions made directly to the Lord, most of which only occur during this part of the Divine Liturgy, the Litany for the Departed, which is not done on Sunday (the Day of Resurrection), the Litany for the Catechumens, and the first and second Litanies of the Faithful, which commence the Liturgy of the Faithful.
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