Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic Culture Liturgical Living

The Glory of the Eastern Liturgy: The Heavenly Liturgy

by Dom Jerome Gassner, O.S.B.


The "Heavenly Liturgy" is the most fitting expression to describe the Eastern Liturgy. In order to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of the Eastern Liturgy and its influence on Russian mentality, this 1949 article (the first in a series of three) by Jerome Gassner provides an explanation of its characteristic features — its influence on Byzantine art and Russian literature.

Larger Work

Homiletic & Pastoral Review


438 – 446

Publisher & Date

Joseph F. Wagner, Inc., New York, NY, March 1949

I. The Heavenly Liturgy1

The Roman Pontiffs have never ceased to pray and to labor for the reunion of the separated Eastern Church. A new hope arose and new efforts were made to approach the East during the Pontificate of Pope Pius XI. Monasticism and the Liturgical Movement were expected to cooperate to an important extent. Unexpectedly in our days the East approached the West. Russian political power is rolling down over Europe like an avalanche loosed from the Ural Mountains. Practically the East now extends to the Atlantic and to the Mediterranean, even to the very doors of the Vatican.

It seems imperative to understand the signs of the time. Not that we should look at the events only with horror-stricken nerves, anticipating the destruction of Christian culture and Western civilization by nihilistic forces. It is imperative to see in the pitch darkness of a disintegrating process the finger of God. There is still a light shining, transparent through the turmoil. There exists still the profoundly religious Russian soul. There are still souls scattered all over that vast country of whom Dostojevsky, the prophet of the Russian revolution, wrote (in "The Brothers Karamazov"): "Meanwhile in their solitude, they keep the image of Christ fair and undefiled, in the purity of God's truth, from the times of the Fathers of old, the Apostles and the Martyrs. And when the time comes, they will show it to the tottering creeds of the world."

Russian Culture Rooted in the Eastern Liturgy

It is consoling and inspiring to remember the cause which has impressed the face of Christ so deeply in the Russian soul that it could not be forgotten, that it is still distinctly visible today — the Eastern Liturgy. Reviewing Russian culture from the time of the conversion of Russia in the tenth century until the time of the Communist revolution, and comparing it with the Christian culture of the West since the end of the Middle Ages, it is a fact that for the Russian people the Liturgy remained to a much higher degree the formative element of mind and heart, of philosophy and art, of thought and life, than it was for the nations of the Latin Rite. What is left of Christian culture in Russia — the remaining roots, the hidden seeds, which might spring up one day into new youth and flowering, which give promise of a future triumph with Christ — are sacred relics of her glorious Liturgy.

As a contribution to an adequate understanding and appreciation of the Eastern Liturgy and its influence especially on Russian mentality, we explain in this article under the title of "The Heavenly Liturgy" its characteristic features, its influence on Byzantine art and Russian literature; in a later article we hope to analyse the main lines of its Scriptural background and its relations to the Roman Liturgy, so that our study may help the reader not only to understand the religious atmosphere of the East, but at the same time to form a more profound appreciation of the Roman Liturgy, especially of the Sacred Canon and its mysteries. To see the common heritage of both Liturgies, to state exactly the points of difference, to find them not opposed one to the other but complementing each other in a higher, harmonious beauty, is an entrancing spiritual experience.

Legendary Account of the Russian Conversion

What a legend (testified by the "Chronicle of Nestor") tells about the conversion of Russia to the Christian faith sounds like a preface to a description of the Eastern Liturgy. An Embassy from Kiew, the "God-protected mother of all the cities of Russia," consisting of emissaries from Prince Vladimir of Kiew, arrived at the imperial court of Byzantium and assisted for the first time at a solemn celebration in the Hagia Sophia. We may imagine that marvellous dome in its full splendor, worthy of Solomon: the immense architecture, the gorgeous vaulted space, imitating the sky; the interior sumptuously decorated with mosaics upon a golden background. On the walls of the portico were pictures with animals intoning the "Benedicite omnia opera Domini Domino." The walls of the nave were covered with designs of grapevines, golden leaves and golden grapes. The ambo was brilliant with gold, silver, precious stones and ivory. A silver choir screen rose above pillars in the capitals of which were carved medallions of Christ, the Blessed Virgin, Saints and Prophets. Above the King's Door in the center, leading to the sanctuary, was represented "Christus Pantokrator" adored by the Emperor Justinian. The altar of gold was inlaid with precious stones; in the altar cloths of brocaded silk were woven pictures of Christ, the Prophets and the Apostles. In these magnificent surroundings we must visualize the unfolding of the sacred drama of the Eastern Liturgy: the rich vestments, the precious sacred vessels, the festive chants, the impressive prayers, the incense rising from many censers and softly floating upwards and overhead in the cupola, its rising waves mingling with the sunlight streaming through the windows. Here was a symphony of lights and colors, sunrays, incense, melodies and prayers. The hierarchy surrounding the golden altar, the awe-inspiring gestures, the mysterious actions, Christ the heavenly High-Priest in the center, the "Majestas Domini" overshadowing the assembly — the whole was an image, a reflection, of the Heavenly Liturgy.

This is what the ambassadors reported to Kiew, the capital of Rus: "So we went into Greece and were taken to the place wherein they worship their God — and we did not know whether we were in heaven or on earth, for nowhere else in the world is there so beautiful a sight. We cannot describe it: we only know that it is there that God tabernacles among men." Upon this message Rus accepted the Christian faith. Such is the legend.

Why the Eastern Liturgy is Called "Heavenly"

"Heavenly Liturgy" is the most adequate term to describe with one single expression the character of the Eastern Liturgy. It is enacted in the kingdom of heaven, in the temple of heaven, upon the heavenly altar, before the God of glory, celebrated by Christ and with Christ glorified; with the Heavenly High-Priest surrounded by the Cherubim and Seraphim and the triumphant Church.

Every liturgical action implies a double aspect of movement: of man to God, and of God to man. Hence, the Eastern Liturgy unfolds the sacred drama as an approach of man to the throne of God, as an entering into the heavenly sanctuary, as a standing before the heavenly altar, as an ascending into the glory of God. Since this is effected through the mediation of Christ, the liturgical celebration is conceived and enacted as the entrance of Christ Himself into His glory by Resurrection and Ascension, as a renewal of His glorification. On the other hand, from the aspect of the approach of God towards man, the Eastern Liturgy understands the sacred function as a manifestation, as a revelation of the glory of God, as a theophany. So far this manifestation and communication of the glory of God implies again the mediation of the Word Incarnate; the Eastern Liturgy experiences in a continued process the Epiphany, the manifestation of the Son of God by Nativity, Resurrection and glorification, and anticipates the last stage of approach — the ultimate unfolding of the innermost glory of God in the final appearance, in the Second Coming, the apocalyptic-eschatological manifestation of the glorified Christ.

Characteristics as Revealed by Liturgical Texts

We shall verify these statements primarily in the Eucharistic Liturgy of the East; in the second place, in the structure of the Liturgical Year and in the Liturgy of the Sacraments. As it is our intention to describe the glory of the Eastern Liturgy,2 we select texts not only from the Byzantine Liturgy, but from other Eastern Liturgies, in order to illustrate their common character. Terms and texts are proposed in the following order of principal ideas: God, Christ, God approaching man, man approaching God, altar, sacrifice (as action and as victim), effect of sacrifice:

The Eastern Eucharistic Liturgy


Sovereign almighty King of glory;
Glorious Lord;
O beneficent King eternal;
God almighty, Lord great in glory (Liturgy of St. James).
God of light (Liturgy of St. Mark).
King of heaven (Liturgy of the Maronites).


The Angel of the Great Counsel;
King and Lord (Apost. Constitutions);
Christ our Lord glorified;
King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Christ our God (St. James).
Sovereign Lord Christ Jesus, the Word, the great High-Priest;
Our God and universal King, Christ Jesus (St. Mark).
King of all;
Lord Jesus Christ in the glory of God the Father (St. Chrysostom).


Sovereign almighty King of glory . . . manifest Thyself;
The dreadful and awful approach;
The revelation of heavenly mysteries;
His coming;
His holy and glorious appearing;
Let all mortal flesh be silent, and stand in fear and trembling, and meditate nothing earthly within itself: for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Christ our God, comes forward, . . . and the bands of angels go before Him with every power and dominion (St. James).
presence of the sacred glory;
let Thy glory encircle us;
let Thy presence rest upon this bread and this chalice;
manifestation of our Lord and God and Saviour J. C. (St. Mark).
Let us meet the King of the universe, who approaches with the invisible court of the angels (St. Chrysostom).


We thank Thee, O Lord our God, that Thou hast given us boldness to enter into Thy holy places, which Thou hast renewed to us as a new and living way through the veil of the flesh of Thy Christ. We therefore being counted worthy to enter into the place of the tabernacle of Thy glory, and to be within the veil, and to behold the Holy of Holies, cast ourselves down (St. James).
Lord our God, who hast established in heaven the choirs of angels and archangels for the service of Thy glory, let with our entrance holy angels approach to serve with us and to glorify Thy goodness;
We represent mystically the Cherubim and sing to the life-giving Trinity the thrice-holy hymn (St. Chrysostom).


the holy and spiritual altar above the skies;
His altar that is holy and above the heavens, rational and spiritual (St. James);
before the resplendent throne of Thy majesty, O Lord;
before the exalted and sublime throne of Thy glory;
on the propitiatory altar in the region of Thy pasture (Apostles Addai and Mari);
at the holy, heavenly . . . altar;
at the altar in the spacious heavens (St. Mark).
on His holy, heavenly and mystical altar (St. Chrysostom).


celebration of the divine and pure mysteries;
revelation of the heavenly mysteries;
presentation of the divine and pure mysteries;
the pure hymn in the holy and bloodless sacrifice with the Cherubim and Seraphim;
we show forth Thy death, O Lord, and confess Thy resurrection;
remembering . . . His life-giving sufferings, His saving cross, His death and His burial and resurrection from the dead on the third day, and His ascension into heaven, and sitting at the right hand of Thee, our God and Father, and His second glorious and awful appearing (St. James).
O sovereign and almighty King of heavens, while we show forth the death of Thine only begotten Son, our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ, and acknowledge His blessed resurrection from the dead on the third day, we do also proclaim His ascension into heaven, and His sitting on the right hand of Thee, God and Father, and await His second terrible and dreadful coming (St. Mark).
Remembering this saving precept and all that was brought to pass for our sakes — the cross and tomb, the resurrection on the third day, the ascension into heaven and the sitting at the right hand, the coming again and in glory (Lit of St. Chrysostom).


The precious, heavenly, unutterable, pure, glorious, dread, awful, divine gifts;
heavenly and eternal gifts, which eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and which have not entered into the heart of man, that Thou hast prepared, O God, for those who love Thee;
the live coal;
the coal of double nature;
the life of the universe (St. James).
The chalice in the house of His kingdom (Addai and Mari).
spiritual sacrifice;
perfume of spiritual sweetness;
mystical supper (St. Chrysostom).


(1) Glorification:

fill us also with Thy glory which is with Thee (Fragment of Deir-Balizeh).
Fill also this sacrifice with the power and Thy communication (Anaph. of Serapion).
Going on from glory to glory . . .
Going on from strength to strength (Lit. of St. James).
As the fullness of time had come, He appeared on earth, was conformed to the body of our lowliness in order to transform us according to the image of His glory (St. Basil).
fulfillment of the kingdom of heaven (St. Chrysostom).

(2) Sanctification:

Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ, coal of double nature, that didst touch the lips of the prophet with the tongs and didst take away his sins, touch also the hearts of us sinners, and purify us from every stain and present us holy beside Thy holy altar, make fragrant the evil odor of our soul and body, who sanctifiest and art communicated;
the sacred blood, sanctification of the whole world (St. James).
O holy, highest, awe-inspiring God, who dwellest among the Saints, sanctify us, and deem us worthy of Thy reverend priesthood . . . for Thou art who blesseth and sanctifieth all things (St. Mark).
Sanctify them who love the beauty of Thy house (St. Chrysostom).

(3) Unity:

O King of peace, grant us Thy peace in unity and love; may we be Thine, O Lord; for we know no other God but Thee, and name no other name but Thine;
unite us to the all-blessed assembly that is well-pleasing unto Thee (St. Mark).
Unite us all who partake of the one bread, and the one chalice in the communion of the one Holy Spirit (St. Basil).

(4) Eternal Joy:

Christ our God, the mystery of Thy redemption is, as far as it is in our power, fulfilled and consummated. We have celebrated the memory of Thy death, we have seen the image of Thy Resurrection, we were filled with immortal life and have tasted the inexhaustible bliss which Thou mayest deign for all of us also in the world to come (St. Basil).
Christ our God, who art the fullness of the Law and of the prophets, pour out in our hearts joy and gladness forever, now and in all times and in all eternity (St. Chrysostom).

The Liturgical Year in the Eastern Church

Considering the structure of the Liturgical Year in the Eastern Liturgy, the Eastern Church can justly be called the "Church of the Resurrection." The Resurrection is for the East so much the central point, Easter dominates so emphatically the liturgical cycle, that all the other feasts, all the Sundays of the year, are but occasions to renew and to continue the celebration of Easter. If we abstract from the difference between the Liturgy of St. Chrysostom, St. Basil, and the Liturgy of the Presanctified, the Eucharistic Liturgy in the strict sense is the same throughout the year. Only in minor additional rites, processions, chants (Troparia), is the special feast of the day expressed; even in the proper parts of the feasts the Resurrection of Our Lord appears as the directive motif.

Christmas and Epiphany are celebrated as the initial stages of the Theophany which is to be perfected with Easter. Ascension and the Second Coming are the completion of the Parousia.

Lent in the Eastern Church does not suppress the "alleluja." The cycle of the Lenten Gospel readings starts with the calling of Philip and Nathanael with reference to the heavenly vision: "Amen, amen I say to you, you shall see the heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man" — which carries the mind to the ultimate glorification of Christ in the Resurrection and Ascension (John, i. 43-51). Fasting, abstinence and penance are interpreted as a life with the angels, leading to heavenly vision and beatific joy. Palm Sunday with the solemn procession is interpreted as the type for the procession of the Saints into the temple of glory.

Throughout Holy Week the Resurrection is anticipated with a pronounced eschatological character. On Monday the series of types of the Resurrection is concluded with the words of the Saviour: "I do not any more go up to the earthly Jerusalem to suffer, but I go up to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God, and I will elevate you unto the Jerusalem above in heaven." On Tuesday the rite of the Syrian Jacobites, for instance, has the mysterious name: "Arrival at the portal" (i.e., the entering into the kingdom of heaven according to the parable of the arrival of the bridegroom at midnight). Even on Good Friday the chants of the procession conclude: "I praise Thy Passion, O Christ, and glorify Thy holy Resurrection."

As for the Easter Vigil, an ancient tradition maintained that the Second Coming of Our Lord, as the perfect fulfillment of the Christian Pasch, would take place on the anniversary of the night on which He rose from the tomb. This expectation of the Parousia can be found in the vigil rite of Easter, still alive in its original form in the Eastern Church. At midnight the procession starts around the Church with ceremonies similar to those which the Latin Church anticipates on the morning of Holy Saturday. The chants are exultant with joy, the refrain is continuously repeated: "Christ is risen, He is risen, indeed." All the faithful carry lighted candles. The Easter Canon which follows the procession proclaims the joy of the glorified world. A new Cosmos rises on Easter, everything is becoming transformed, the great unity is effected. Love and joy, one hymn is ringing throughout the redeemed Universe in the prayer of St. Chrysostom:

"Eternal joy! Day of Resurrection! O great, O most holy Pasch of Christ! The new Pasch, the holy Pasch, the mysterious Pasch, the Redeemer, the undefiled Pasch, the great Pasch, the Pasch of the faithful, the Pasch which opens the doors of Paradise, the Pasch which sanctifies all the faithful! The Pasch which leads to the world of love and peace!"

These ecstatic exclamations praise Easter as the Resurrection of Christ, as the resurrection of the souls and bodies of the faithful, as actuality in the Eucharistic Sacrifice and in Holy Communion, as a transubstantiation and transformation of the faithful into the glorified Christ. Throughout the Paschal season the faithful attend the Eucharistic Sacrifice standing, because they are risen with Christ; the doors of the iconostasis are left open, because the faithful entered heaven with Christ.

The troparia of Easterweek are repeated on the Sundays of the year to indicate that each Sunday of the year belongs to the greater Octave of Easter. The feasts of the Saints are celebrated with chants about glorification in type and antitype. The feast of Mary Theotokos on the Assumption is the most glorious feast of heavenly joy. Mary herself is praised as the type of the new Paradise. The Feast of the Assumption is the third in importance in the liturgical year of the Eastern Church, the first being Easter and the second Christmas. The Liturgy of the Assumption summarizes the whole of the dogmatic teaching about death, resurrection and ascension of the ever-virgin Theotokos, the Mother of God, in parallelism to the sacrifice as the memorial of Death, Resurrection and Ascension of Christ.

The Liturgy of the Sacraments

The Sacraments transform the faithful into the Glorified Christ. The different Sacraments represent and produce just as many stages of the life of Christ, so that the reception of them is a "going from glory to glory . . . from strength to strength," a progressive ascending unto the Heavenly Jerusalem, into the eternal temple of glory.

Eastern Liturgy and Art

The architecture of the cathedrals of the East, the white towers and golden cupolas, the vaulted space of the interior; the shining and scintillating of marble, gold ivory and precious stones; sculptures, mosaics and paintings — all art reflects and illustrates the ideology of the Eastern Liturgy.

At the first glance, the architecture of a Russian cathedral appears fantastic, its interior confusing. To those educated in Western classic arts with their well-balanced technical refinement, Eastern art, although not lacking a certain charm as result of the contrast, offends because it neglects proportion, harmony, anatomy, and perspective. However rich the material, however magnificent the ornamental elements, the works of Eastern art (the icons, for instance) leave the impression of multiplied copies of one rigid primitive scheme, indefinite repetitions of petrified patterns.

But just as technical refinement cannot replace inspiration and spirituality of ideas, the beauty of the world of the golden cupolas and the sacred icons cannot be grasped with the principle, "L'art pour l'art." (Art for Art's Sake). Leaving the question of technique to professional artists and art critics, we try to analyze some of the features of Eastern art, convinced that it will always be indispensable for an evaluation of Eastern art to know the fountain of inspiration: the Eastern Liturgy. Seen from this point of view, Eastern art will leave in the heart an admiration and gratitude for the power, greatness and sublime beauty of the ideas made visible.

The Heavenly Liturgy has inspired the domes, the colors, the icons, the iconostasis, the whole complex of architecture, sculpture, and paintings of a cathedral as a composite, as a unity, as one universal work of art.

The domes are symbols of heaven. Standing in the center beneath such a cupola, one cannot escape the feeling of unknown breadth, of ethereal lightness, of being carried upwards, free from the law of gravity.

The gold of the cupolas and of the walls, the golden background of the icons, supply as it were the celestial atmosphere, the light of the Heavenly Jerusalem, where there is no moon, no sun, no stars, because the Lamb Himself illuminates the city of the blessed. Surrounded by the light of glory, vested in the rays of heaven, the Saints step forward in grave, transcendent solemnity. The beautiful statement of a Russian Christian philosopher of our time exhibits a profound understanding of the gold-color of the icons: "It appears never as dense, massive gold, but it has the air of ethereally airy cobweb, woven of fine golden rays, radiating from the Divinity, illuminating with its sheen all the surroundings."5

The colors preferred besides gold are the blue of the starry sky, the glow of dawn. This symphony of colors proclaims the glory of Easter and heaven.

The Symbolism of the Eastern Icons

The archaic figures, the rigid lines, the motionless faces of the Saints of the icons are, to a certain degree, purposely intended. It is a way to express the transcendental state of glory; the stiff gestures reflect the ecstatic rapture; the big, wide-open eyes mirror the wondering and admiration as the doors of paradise are opened to them. The story related about an old Russian icon painter (in most of the cases they were monks) is significant: "He was given holy water and holy relics to add them to the colors wherewith to paint the sacred Icon. And he painted that holy Icon, and only on Saturdays and Sundays he took food, and with great fervor and vigilance of the spirit in profound silence he accomplished his work." To paint an icon was considered as a religious act, the result a real "sacramental" in the theological sense, anointed, blessed, consecrated, incorporated into the Liturgy. The icon was to reveal somewhat of the divine mystery of glory. Accordingly only a saint was regarded as possessing the genius needed to reveal in colors heavenly beauty.

The whole of the iconostasis, the image-screen which separates the sanctuary from the rest of the church (characteristic feature of a Byzantine church), is a concept of great artistic and theological dimensions. Although no universal stereotyped scheme is followed, the composition is commonly as follows. Three doors lead through the iconostasis into the sanctuary. On the sides of the central door, called the King's Door, are the images of Christ and His Blessed Mother; on the sides of both the other doors are images of angels, of the Evangelists, and of Apostles. Between, sometimes above the icons mentioned, are representations of events in the history of redemption, usually the Crucifixion and Resurrection. Above the King's Door is found in many churches a representation of the Last Supper. The border of the King's Door is decorated with the Eucharistic symbols, ears of grain and bunches of grapes. On top of the Last Supper the composition is concluded with a representation of the Blessed Trinity.

Naturalism Deliberately Eschewed in Eastern Decorations

All representations on each single icon show their figures and objects in the state of transfiguration: the flowers and animals, surrounding the Saints and filling the background of the historical events represented, the entire visible creation, are all clothed in the beauty of Paradise. Mountains and trees, birds and blossoms, are seen in an ethereal state; heaven and earth are glorified. It is the new heaven and the new earth which is encircled with the glory of the King of the Universe. The historic events of the Cross and Resurrection are elevated in the sphere of universal value, reaching in their causality throughout the ages into the eternity of the Heavenly Jerusalem, which is pictured in the background. Christ Himself is represented in heroic dimensions as the Heavenly High-Priest, as King of the Universe, gathering around Him the Angels and Saints as the celestial Hierarchy. His face and eyes are full of power and majesty, attracting all attention, concentrating all eyes unto Him. It is the Epiphany, the Theophany, Resurrection and Ascension; it is the sitting at the right hand of the Father, the second coming in great power and majesty; it is the glorification of the universe; the light of glory is glowing upon the faces of the Angels and Saints. And Christ is leading the assembly of the blessed into the sanctuary of the life of the Blessed Trinity pictured above. The lovely mystery of the Body and Blood of Our Lord in the image above the King's Door forms the connecting link: through the Death and Resurrection of Christ we come to the consecration and the heavenly table, through the sacred Body and Blood we come to glory and bliss.

This is the "going from glory to glory, from strength to strength." "Let all mortal flesh be silent, and stand with fear and trembling and meditate nothing earthly . . . for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Christ our God, comes forward. Glory to Thee, Glory to Thee, Glory to Thee, O Christ the King" (Liturgy of St. James).

"Praising and glorifying and exalting is the commemoration and celebration of this great, awful, holy and divine mystery of the Passion, death, burial and resurrection of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ . . . Through Him and with Him is all praise, honor, power, adoration and thanksgiving unto the Father and the Holy Spirit, now, henceforth, and for evermore" (Liturgy of St. Mark).

End Notes

  1. Cfr. Julius Tyciak, "Die Liturgie als Quelle östlicher Frömmigkeit" (Freiburg im B., 1937).
  2. What is called the Eastern Liturgy is rather a multitude of different Liturgies, among them the Byzantine Liturgy, practised by the Greek Catholics of the Balkans and the entire Orthodox Church. The Byzantine Liturgy comprises three Liturgies: the Liturgy of St. Chrysostom, of St. Basil, and of the Presanctified (called Si Gregorii Dialogi). There were two original Eastern types: that of Alexandria and that of Antioch. Byzantium followed Antioch. The sources of the Antiochene Liturgy are found in book eight of the Apostolic Constitutions and in the so-called Liturgy of St. James, adopted by Jerusalem and returned with some changes to Antioch. St. Basil modified the Liturgy of St. James; what is known as Liturgy of St. Chrysostom is a modification and abbreviation of the Liturgy of St. Basil, with the later additions of the Proskomidie, the Cherubikon, the Trisagion. The Liturgy of St. Basil is used only on the Sundays in Lent (except Palm Sunday), on Maundy Thursday, Holy Saturday, on the Eves of Christmas and Epiphany, and on the feast of St. Basil (January 1). The Liturgy of the Presanctifed is used on the weekdays of Lent, except Saturday; the Liturgy of St. Chrysostom throughout the rest of the year.
  3. The Lesser Entrance (Mass of the learners with its climax in the reading and hearing of the Gospel), and the Greater Entrance (Mass of the faithful) are understood as an entering of heaven. To both entrances corresponds the theophany in the Gospel and sacrifice.
  4. Sacrifice as action is called a celebration, revelation, presentation, the pure hymn, the remembrance, the showing forth, the proclamation of the divine mysteries of death, resurrection, ascension, sitting at the right hand of the Father and of the second glorious coming.
  5. Cfr. E. N. Trubetzkoy, "Die religiöse Weltanschauung der altrussichen Ikonenmalerei" (Paderborn, 1927).

See also:

Part II: The Glory of the Eastern Liturgy: The Eastern Liturgy and Russian Literature

Part III: The Glory of the Eastern Liturgy: The Scriptural Background

© Joseph F. Wagner, Inc.

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