“Holy Things are for the Holy!” The priest exclaims during the Byzantine Greek Catholic Rite as he elevates the host after the consecration. He is calling the faithful to the awareness of what they are about to receive, what is taking place in their midst and what they are called to become…Holy.
NDS was blessed to have the Divine Liturgy of the Byzantine Catholic Church celebrated in its chapel on September 27th. Fr. Paul Makar, a Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest and Vocation Director for the Archeparchy of Philidelphia celebrated the Divine Liturgy. The chapel was transformed into a small Byzantine sanctuary, complete with an iconostasis– the wall of icons, which separates the sanctuary from the body of the Church. The Seminarians sang and served for this event and several of our priests concelebrated.
The Church is a diverse union of many different rites and peoples; we were able to witness this reality. More so, the experience was not simply an exposure to another rite of the Church, but participation in the glorification of God and the Heavenly Liturgy. The Byzantine liturgy portrays the deep air of mystery that exists in the worship of the Church. The liturgy in any rite of the Church should express that mystery, calling to mind the words of the emissaries of Saint Vladimir, who in 988 AD after their first visit to the Church of Holy Wisdom in Constantinople exclaimed, “We knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth, because no such beauty exists on earth!”