Revista Studii Teologice


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Sfânta Liturghie – Cina la Masa Împărăţiei şi complementaritatea modurilor de împărtăşire de Hristos

The Holy Liturgy - The Royal Banquet in God's Kingdom, and the Complementarity of the Ways to Achieve Communion with Christ

Autor(i): Ciprian STREZA

The Orthodox Church is first and foremost a liturgical Church. The Eucharis-tic Liturgy sits at the centre of the Church life, as all the endeavors of the ecclesiasti-cal pleroma stem from the Eucharistic celebration. The Eucharistic Synaxis radiates the power and the energy that moves the Church towards Her purpose. The Holy Liturgy, the heartbeat of the Orthodox Christian spirituality, dynamises the Church within Her inner and outer purpose. Each celebration of the Holy Liturgy is an oppor-tunity and a means to advance towards the Kingdom of the Holy Trinity, as well as a time when the faithful are prepared and sent on to fulfill Christ's mission.
The Holy Liturgy is the as a real participation of the saving event of Christ, of the new life in the Holy Spirit, of the presence in this world of the Kingdome to come. It is not only a mere mean or meal (Supper), but also the sacramental recapitu-lation of the whole Economy of salvation, the total epiphany of the personal presence of Jesus Christ in the Church, as well as the reward and goal of the spiritual, ascetic, life and the starting point for an more profound personal communion with Christ by the way of the fulfillment of His evangelical commandments and unceasing prayer. In the Liturgy the Christians have a diversified, inseparable and complementary ways of the personal presence and communion of Christ in the Divine Liturgy and the Or-thodox spirituality: in the architecture of the Church as a vision of the christified cosmos, in the Holy Icons, in the Word of the Scripture, in the liturgical rites and prayers, as well as in the Eucharistic Gifts and in the Holy Communion.
The Liturgy is in itself an integrative deed or an all-encompassing act that compasses all the aspects of the ecclesial life, for it is truly a divine and human feat. In it, the faithful bring praise and glorify God, while God does His redeeming work amongst His new people. The verb λειτουργεῖν translates as 'doing something for the people', while λειτουργία used to signify an action, or a work done for the benefit of the people. It is this meaning of the word that was utilized in the Old and the New Testament, only they used it in analogy with the significance that the noun used to have in Antiquity. The Early Christianity used the term “Liturgy” in order to give a blanket name to the sum of all those rituals that men of faith employed so as to express either their gratefulness or gratitude towards God, or God's sanctifying work for the people. In time though, this notion came to signify exclusively the consecra-tion of the Eucharistic sacrifice.
The Patristic Theology has always had a broader understanding of this notion. Hence, it views the Liturgy as the communion of eternal love between the Persons of the Holy Trinity, which all creatures are called to immerse in through grace, a com-munion that has been made available to men within the Church, through the grace and activity of the Holy Spirit. The love between the divine Persons appears hyposta-tized in the Liturgy – the primary worship service that brings the faithful together to partake of the visible ritualistic acts –, it is the breath of life that brought the world into being, that refashions and reorganizes the creation into its new image – the Church, and that infuses Her with missionary authority, thus preparing it for the mysteries of the life to come.
For the patristic thought, the Holy Liturgy is the consummate love between the Persons of the Holy Trinity, as a perfect communion between three 'I's' Who are co-inherent to one another, is in fact a love essentially linked to God, just like its manifestation is, which means that “God has always been a common/joint/shared act of love, as large as His absoluteness and His unblemished subjectivity. In perfect love persons do not merely engage in a reciprocal exchange of self; they also affirm them-selves reciprocally and personally, and establish themselves in existence through giving and receiving. But the divine love is all efficacious ... The acts, via which the divine persons affirm one another reciprocally in existence through perfect love, are eternal acts and have a totally personal character, although they are acts in which the divine persons are active together.
The Liturgy is the dynamics in and through which the created world abides. From this standpoint, the dichotomy between sacred and profane, between liturgical and social ministry, between prayer and social involvement, simply disappears and everything is presented to the faithful as the sole and unique sampling of the sacrifi-cial love of the Holy Trinity, which is at the basis of all things and works that are in this world and in the one to come. This ineffable kind of love has been both the foundation and the fountain of the apostolic mission and witness.

Pagini: 53-68