Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Patriarchal Divine Liturgy

Above is a Divine Liturgy celebrated several years back in Rome by Gregory III, Patriarch of the Melkite Catholic Church (ancient Church of Antioch founded by St. Peter c.44AD). The hymn sung in Arabic at the beginning is the Great Doxology ("Glory to You Who shows forth the light, glory be to God in the highest!") of which the Gloria in the Roman rite is a snippet. The long hats with tails are worn by celibate priests and deacons while the shorter hats go to married clergy (two of the three priests at my former parish were married). At the 5:10 mark a concelebrant opens the Liturgy with the words:

-Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever. Amen
-In peace let us pray to the Lord. Kyrie eleison!
-For peace from on high and the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord. Kyrie eleison!
-For peace in the whole world, the well-being of the holy churches of God, and the union of all, let us pray to the Lord. Kyrie eleison!
-For this house and for those who enter it with faith, reverence, and fear of God, let us pray to the Lord. Kyrie eleison!
-For our father and bishop N. for his honorable presbyterate, the diaconate in Christ, and for all the clergy and the people, let us pray to the Lord. Kyrie eleison!
-For our government and the armed forces, that they may be upheld in every good deed, let us pray to the Lord. Kyrie eleison!
-For our city and every city and country place and the faithful living in them, let us pray to the Lord. Kyrie eleison!
-For favorable weather, an abundance of the fruits of the earth, and for peaceful times, let us pray to the Lord. Kyrie eleison!
-For the travelers by sea, air, and land, for the sick, the suffering, for the captives, and for their salvation, let us pray to the Lord. Kyrie eleison!
-For our deliverance from all affliction, wrath, danger, and need, let us pray to the Lord. Kyrie eleison!
-Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and protect us, O God, by your grace. Kyrie eleison!
-Let us remember our all-holy, spotless, most highly blessed and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary, with all the saints and commend ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God. Si, Kyrie!
-For all glory, honor, and worship are your due, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen!
While I am learning to like the Slavic way of praying the Divine Liturgy something about the Middle Eastern style overwhelms me. The fire and spirit in the melodies inspire the heart and the head to rise and praise God in the firmament of His power and might!

For those interested, below is the Great Doxology as sung in English (Melkites do not do choral music like the Slavs). While the singer is just a parish cantor I think it an interesting example of how a properly translated text can be sung in a style based on the original music. I do not endorse vernacular necessarily for the Roman rite, but this sort of example is food for thought.

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