These pages of a large folio festival prayer book, or Mahzor, according to the Ashkenazi rite, record the elaborate piyutim (poetic interpolations) composed throughout the Middle Ages to enhance public worship on the holidays and special sabbaths of the liturgical year. Lacking a date or a place, the manuscript seems nonetheless to reflect the codicological and ritual practices of 14th-century Germany.

(via David bar Pesah Mahzor collection)

Elder Sophrony: The Basics of the Divine Liturgy

Elder Sophrony: The Basics of the Divine Liturgy by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos

 Elder Sophrony: The Basics of the Divine Liturgy by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos Before I left the Holy Monastery I found an opportunity in a discussion to ask him [Elder Sophrony] about the Divine Liturgy, and he presented me with the basic teaching about it. – “The Priesthood is not given to man as a reward for virtues, but as a gift for the edification of the Church. Someone becomes a…

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Dix on the Early Mass

“We have said that despite its extreme structural simplicity there was no idea of squalor or poverty about the pre-Nicene celebration of the eucharist. The list of church plate at Cirta* and many other such indications are a sufficient guarantee of that. The baptistry attached to the house-church at Dura-Europos (c. A.D. 230) was painted from floor to ceiling with pictures of scenes from the Old and New Testaments, and a similar decoration of the assembly-room of the church had just been begun when the building was destroyed. There could be a considerable degree of splendour about the setting of the ecclesia in a great Roman patrician house, and even when this was lacking attempts were evidently made to supply some dignity. There was no puritan cult of bareness for its own sake.”

- Dom Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy (pg. 141).


*The items listed from the Church at Cirta after being raided by Roman authorities included “2 golden chalices, 6 silver chalices, 6 silver dishes, a silver bowl, 7 silver lamps, 2 torches, 7 short bronze candlesticks with their lamps, 11 bronze lamps with their chains.”

The Gospel of Saint John, 6:1-15

For the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B.

Translated from the Greek by The Last Crusade.

After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee (or, of Tiberius); a great crowd followed after him, because they had beheld the signs which he had worked upon those who were ill. Jesus went up the mountain and there he was seated with his disciples. (The Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near.) Jesus, raising his eyes and seeing that a great crowd had followed him, said to Philip “Where might we buy loaves for these people to eat?” He said this to test him, for Jesus knew what he himself was about to do.

Philip answered him: “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough loaves to feed each here but a little.” One of the disciples, Andrew the brother of Simon Peter, said to him: “There is a young boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what is this, for so many people?” Jesus said “Have the people sit down.” (There was a great deal of grass in that place.) So the men – around five thousand of them - sat down.

The Jesus took the bread and, after giving thanks, distributed it to those seated like himself, along with as much fish as they desired. When they had eaten their fill, he said to his disciples “Gather together the pieces left over, so that nothing shall be lost.” So they gathered together in twelve baskets of the pieces of the five loaves and of the fish left over by those who had eaten.

Then the people there, seeing what sign he worked, said “This man is the true prophet, who has come into the world!” And so knowing that they intended to come and seize him, so as to make him a king, Jesus withdrew again into the mountain, alone.

Striving after originality?

The Divine Liturgy is not a matter of texts and editions, but a living tradition. The service is not learned from books, but from experience, from serving with one’s fathers and preceptors in the Faith… It is hazardous to take older and more recent [Liturgical] editions and to draw conclusions about modifications and changes in practice. It would be wrong to take such an array of variations and…

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Evening Prayer Information

donwest48, mattykinsel, fallingdownsouth, theologicalmess, notallwhowanderarelostbutiam, thelittleorganistwhojustcanteven, themostkindredofspirits, inquietstrength, leobas-library, youthintern, nerdismysuperpower, queeranglocatholic, toneynoise, the-gay-seminarian, franiel32, telemache, enriquemolina baptistepiscopal, itszak, bottleofink, arubasmusings, sravenclaw, leteveningcome, farfromreverend, anachronizomai

Hello (to the ones this forsaken website let me tag)! I saw that you all were interested in Evening Prayer and I wanted to give you the information. I’m going to set up a conference call. The call-in number is 712-775-7031 in the US, +61-3-8672-0151 in Australia, and +44-330-998-1211 in the UK. The access code is 642-017. What’s a good time and day for you? I was thinking Saturday night (before morning Mass on Sunday) or Sunday night might be nice to start off the week.

For the liturgical setting, we’ll be using a the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church USA, with the Liturgy of the Word from the Mass. The liturgy can be found here (thank you voraciousexpectations). During prayer, one person will officiate (probably me because I have the host number, but that could change). For the corporate responses, I will scroll through to a different person each time. This way, the people whose voice is not heard will still be praying along with another and every voice will be heard, but without the confusion of struggling with call delays. If you’d like any more clarification, feel free to email me at or add me on Facebook with the same email. Reply with the best day of those two and a time here on tumblr, and I’ll go with the majority vote, then notify you personally of the winner, and then you can RSVP. I need an RSVP because the call can only handle 25 people at once (there’s already 20+ of us), so if overflow happens, I’ll have to have someone set up another call. Anyway, I look forward to saying our prayers together. Peace to you, friend :)

God is in Himself, that is, according to His nature, infinitely glorious, infinitely worthy of glory, absolutely glorious, the uncreated glory itself. This interior, eternally unchangeable and impenetrable glory of God, we must admire, praise, adore; it may also be a subject of gratitude for us, inasmuch as by the perfect love of God, the divine glory becomes in a manner our property and the source of holy joy to us.

Nikolaus  Gihr, The holy sacrifice of the mass; dogmatically, liturgically and ascetically explained 

In the photo: Oklahoma

“How easy it is to consider oneself superior to others for all the wrong reasons!Because we are faithful to the true teaching of the church;because we follow liturgical norms with perfection;because we don’t wear risqué clothes;because we don’t engage in this or that type of behavior;because we say our prayers at mass…If God has kept us so close to him,can we congratulate ourselves?Rather we ought to thank him,and all the more energetically reach out to those around us who need God’s grace and are far from it~Father John Bartunek~

Spirituality and Aesthetics

Often Christians who value the beauty of the liturgy are teased for their preciousness or preoccupation with the temporalities of their faith, very often there is truth in these judgements. When our confreres say things like ‘more lace = more grace’, etc. it can seem that we care only about the ritual and its accoutrements and nothing of the actual meaning of the liturgy.

However, we must try and see beyond the merely artistic merits of the ritual and the view of them as being beautiful only for their artistic value and also view them for their spiritual value. What does a lacy cotta say about spirituality as opposed to a flowing surplice? Much of this problem has grown out of the last generation of liturgical faith and practice. With the promulgation of the New Rite after the Council there seemed to be no other option other than to superficially beautify the austere rite and so for the last 50 years a culture of aesthetic preciousness grew up because that’s all that could be done.

But now we are at a new point, with the re introduction of the Old Rite and its growing popularity and respect we can start to appraise the spiritual beauty of the liturgy once more. Therefore I would ask my brethren to campaign for three things in the liturgy, all beautiful in themselves yet not particularly aesthetic and certainly spiritual rather than precious.

1. The Eastwards Position.
2. The Sung Service.
3. The Old Rite

Watch on

Vespers – Theology, Hymns, and Structure

Published on May 11, 2014 Subdeacon Nicholas Jones goes through the service of Vespers, looking at the theology behind the psalms, the placement of the hymns, the general structure, and its location in the cycle of the services.

At the request of a pagan who asked him, ‘Show my thy God,’ Theophilus of Antioch replies, 'Show me yourself, and I will show you my God.’ He means that man, 'created in the image of God,’ reflects the divine mystery and that the two are unutterable. When God fashioned the man Adam, 'He considered the Christ-man, the Christ who was one day supposed to be what was now this clay and this flesh.’ The profound reason for the Incarnation does not come from man, but from God, from His desire to become Man and to make of humanity a Theophany, the beloved ground of His presence. The liturgical sense understands this superbly and calls God the philanthropist, the lover of man. His love is outstretched toward the highest degree of communion; with or without the Fall, God has created the world to become Man therein so that man could become 'god by grace,’ a participant in the conditions of the divine life, the immortality and the chaste integrity of His being.
—  Paul Evdokimov, The Sacrament of Love

anonymous asked:

Hi, we are power electronics duo from italy called Ropes, we incorporate elements of liturgical music, chants and drones in our songs. As huge fans of the works your label puts out we'd be very happy to send you a demo, do you accept demos? Best regards, Ale and Dan.

Hey, were always stoked to give demo submissions a thorough listen! 

you can reach us at, all the best. MH

Why am I (still) Catholic.

Being Catholic and gay is tricky business. It’s like being stuck in a Twilight Zone where your very existence is often a side note, only to come into focus when debates start to rage. You are told that the Church loves and respect you, but also told that your identity is “objective disordered”, that your love a “moral evil”. The Church demands that you stay celibate, but bars you from Holy Order and religious life. 

I’ve thought about leaving the Church before for more progressive churches. The Episcopal church was the first choice, mostly because they looks the same, except with an excessive amount of books. I mean really, 3 hymnals and one Book of Common Prayer? Worship in the Episcopal Church involves a lot of book holding, like at the library. Not that it was a bad experience. I loved the church I went to, and I love the people. Then came Presbyterian church nearby, about 10 minutes away. The worship is not liturgical, but it still maintained a sense of sacredness. The people, like those at the Episcopal church, were warm and welcoming, eager to introduce me to their spiritual home. Like the Episcopal church, the Presbyterian church has voted to ordain LGBT people and approve same sex marriages, giving LGBT Christians like me hope for reconciliation of faith and sexuality.

But for all the wonderful things found in these churches, I am still a Catholic. I think a huge factor is because of sheer stubbornness. I wasn’t born into Catholicism, I chose Catholicism. When you actively choose something and commit yourself to that thing, it’s hard to let go. The thought of letting go turn you into a fighter. So I’m staying to fight. It’s my church and the hell I’m leaving. That being said, two other factors also have a great influence on my decision to stay, the idea of apostolic succession and the universality of the Church. The first, apostolic succession, is the belief that the Church’s bishops can trace their lineage back to the early apostles. For the Roman Catholic Church, the lineage is traced back directly to Saint Peter, whose successor is believed to be the current Pope. It is hard to argue against the apostolic succession of the Catholic Church, considering it’s so old. Perhaps that’s related to why I still stay, because I like things ancient. What is more ancient than a 2000 years old Church? The second reason, universality, is a lot more powerful to me. As an Asian American, I needed a Church that is diverse. While both the Episcopal church and the Presbyterian church are diverse in their own ways, they lack the cultural diversity found in the Catholic Church. Even in a small town like where I live, the Catholic Church is packed with folks from different ethnic groups, socio-economic backgrounds, political orientations. The Church is everywhere too, from my home country Vietnam to England, Mexico, Uganda. The thought of everyone everywhere sharing the same meal, performing the same rite, praying the same prayers, yet in different setting and languages give me a sense of awe in the realization that we, though many, are one in Christ in the Catholic Church.

I’m not saying this won’t be difficult. I’m fighting for my voice to be heard by our priests and bishops. I’m fighting for ecclesiastical leaders to understand that the LGBT experience can’t be reduced to what’s written in books and doctrines, but must be experienced at first hand. I’m asking the Church to do more than just respect LGBT people, I’m fighting for the Church to recognize our beings and the pain of marginalization. But I can’t do that if I leave. So I must stay, for my good and for the good of the Holy Church.

Secular Canonesses

[The Church (St. Serviatus) and Monastery at Quedlinburg, photographed 2006 by Jungpionier, Image Source]

In my reading about medieval religious women, I’ve frequently come across passing references to “canonesses.”  A lot of the time it gets used interchangeably with “nuns.”  Many people seem unsure as to whether the difference between the two is even important.  Even some medieval writers, purposefully or not, blurred the distinctions between the two groups.  There was a difference though, and by the fourteenth century it was one that houses of canonesses had to fight to defend.

The thing is, canonesses had some similarities with nuns.  Both groups lived in community under the authority of an abbess, devoting themselves to the religious life.  Unlike nuns though, canonesses were not strictly enclosed and did not focus primarily on contemplation.  They acted outside the cloister and were not bound to it, leaving to perform public liturgical functions like ringing the bells, taking part in synods* and participating in religious processions.  They lived in individual quarters around the cloister, maintained personal property, and many employed their own servants.  In many cases, it is hard to distinguish whether a particular group of women were canonesses or nuns.  Many sources use the same term for both, in some cases as part of an effort to get canonesses to act more like nuns and restrict their movements.

Canonesses can be divided into two groups: regular and secular.  Regular canonesses took permanent vows and lived strictly according to a Rule, usually that of St. Augustine.  Secular canonesses, with the exception of the abbess, were not so bound and could leave to get married if they wished.  Many communities of both sorts became centers of great learning, the best known being Quedlinburg and Gandersheim.

Male church officials were not so fond of the canonesses’ more free and less ascetic way of life and tried many times to restrict their movements, though there was only so much they could do.  Most canonesses came from wealthy, powerful families with an interest in maintaining their female relatives’ freedom and the political power that came with it.  They managed to defend their status up to the Reformation, at which point most communities of canonesses became Protestant and either disbanded or continued to exist as communities of single women.

*Church councils

Sources/Further Reading:
Makowski, Elizabeth. “A Pernicious Sort of Woman”: Quasi-Religious Women and Canon Lawyers in the Later Middle Ages. Catholic University of America Press, 2005.
McNamara, Jo Ann. Sisters in Arms: Catholic Nuns Through Two Millennia. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996.
Canoness - Catholic Encyclopedai
Canons and Canonesses Regular - Catholic Encyclopedia