Friday, April 26, 2013


Eastern Rite Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom:

Western Rite Ordinary Form Mass:

Western Rite's more ancient, but not as ancient as the Eastern Rite's Divine Liturgy, the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (Tridentine):

I thank Fr. G for sending the full length video to me of Pope John Paul II celebrating the Ukrainian Eastern Rite Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom. This liturgy is more ancient than the Tridentine Liturgy of the West and certainly more complicated and more mystical than even the Tridentine Mass. When we compare it to the modern Ordinary Form Mass, the OF Mass appears as child-play and trite to the extreme, quite banal. Mystery and mysticism are stripped as well as ceremony.

But that is not my point. My point is that in 1996 Pope John Paul II celebrated the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom which is far more clerical and far more complicated than the 1962 Roman Missal for pontifical Mass

Yet there is a phobia of Latin Rite bishops, including the Bishop of Rome and the Emeritus Bishop of Rome to actually celebrate this 1962 at the papal altar of St. Peter's. What's up with that. The 1962 missal is a part of the two forms of the one Roman Rite and deserves a place of pride in the Latin Rite.

Of course when Pope John Paul II celebrated the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom in 1996 there wasn't immediate access to it on the internet and no one except for the few in attendance and those who saw it later by video even knew it had happened. Apart from that it was a "pontifical secret!"

Let's grow up about the two expressions of the one Latin Rite and not be phobic about either of them and celebrate both of them well and by the book. Let's pray that a pope in the present or the future will celebrate again the glories of the Eastern Rite Divine Liturgy and the glories of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass of the 1962 missal. You can't go wrong with the Holy Sacrifice of our Lord in whatever legitimate form it is celebrated and in receiving our crucified, risen and glorified Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Risen Lord Jesus Christ, to which every liturgy of the Church makes available to the clergy and faithful.


Marc said...

I think we need to question whether the current Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is, in fact, more ancient than the Tridentine Rite.

If one acknowledges that Trent simply codified an existing liturgy, while recognizing the late influence of monasticism that led to the standardization of the Byzantine Liturgy, one could conclude they are equally ancient.

Of course, it doesn't really matter to those who see the beauty in both and the very different spiritualities being displayed. It does matter when some among the Roman Rite argue from the basis of the antiquity of the Eastern Rite to insert Eastern influences into the Roman Rite. That is nothing other than archaeologism.

Anonymous said...

Benedict said it best in his letter accomanying Summorum Pontificum:

"There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful."

A couple of years ago, I was attending Mass at a very small church where the priest, a VERY polite man, would invite the congregants to make announcements before the final blessing. I raised my hand and announced that a nearby parish would be having a Tridentine Latin Mass and gave the date. I added that this might be an interesting opportunity to learn about the rich heritage of our faith.

When I sat down, the priest shocked me by saying, "I should warn all of you that the laity does not participate in this Mass. There are no women permitted at the altar and the priest is turned away from the congregation." I could have debated him and put those arguments down in flames, but it was not the time or the place. I sat in flabbergasted silence.

I can only think of one other group that tries to make people forget who they are, forget their heritage, forget their legacy and keep them brainwashed that there is only one way of doing things: Communists.

I'll repeat Benedict's words. I pray more priests will take them to heart:

"There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful."

latinmass1983 said...

It is completely inaccurate to say that the Eastern Rites are more ancient than the traditional Mass.

There were modifications later on, but modifications and prunings here and there do not give the Liturgy a new carbon dating. The Eastern Rites (Catholics and non) have also been modified very late indeed.

It is also no accurate to compare levels of complexity. For one, because in the East there does not seem to be the idea of "Rubrics" as we see have in the West. Another reason is that we have more familiarity with the Latin Rites than with the Eastern Rites, so right off the start they will look "more complicated," even if they may not be.

Fr. G said...

You're welcome, Fr. Allan!

Blessed John Paul II celebrated or presided at 6 Byzantine Divine Liturgies during his pontificate:

July 10, 1988: Divine Liturgy in the Byzantine-Ukrainian rite for the Millennium of the Baptism of Saint Vladimir, Grand Duke of Kiev (He celebrated this liturgy as can be seen in the scenes from the "Caeremoniale Romanvm" video, which erroneously states it's from 1996.)

August 18, 1991: Divine Liturgy celebrated in the Shrine of Our Lady of Máriapócs, Hungary (He celebrated this liturgy.)
Photo and article:

July 7, 1996: Divine Liturgy in the Byzantine-Ukrainian Rite on the 400th anniversary of the Union of Brest (He celebrated the liturgy as can been seen in the 80 min. video that was posted.)

October 27, 1996: Divine Liturgy in the Byzantine-Ruthenian rite on the occasion of the 350th anniversary of the Union of Uzhorod (He presided, but departed after he gave the homily.)

June 25, 2001: Divine Liturgy in Byzantine rite at Chayka Airport, Kyiv (He presided, gave homily.)

June 27, 2001: Divine Liturgy in Byzantine rite with Beatifications - Hippodrome, Lviv. (He presided, gave homily and beatified 28 Greek Catholics.)

John Nolan said...

The third photograph would appear to show an OF Mass celebrated ad orientem. In the Tridentine Rite the subdeacon would be holding the paten in a humeral veil and the thurifer would be kneeling at the epistle side facing inwards.

Andrew rex said...

Of course let's not forget that when JP2 celebrated these eastern rite masses at the pontifical altar in st peters he did so facing the people.

John Nolan - Didn't the 1962 missal suppress the sub-deacon holding the paten. Where the thurifer is positioned for the Eucharistic prayer / elevations has a number of regional variations eg in England it was often customary for him to placed centre.

Marc said...

The Orthodox also ave a Western Rite. There are a few different Liturgies, like the Divine Litugy of St. Gregory the Great. I understand its gaining in popularity quite quickly, especially in America, as one would expect.

You can find some videos on YouTube.

John Nolan said...

Andrew rex: No. It was the decree Inter Oecumenici (September 1964) which ordered that the paten be left on the altar. It also allowed solemn Mass with deacon only.

These and other changes were incorporated into the 'interim missal' of 1965.

Fr. G said...

@ Andrew Rex,

You are incorrect. Pope John Paul II did not celebrate the Divine Liturgy facing the people. Have you seen the video?

Flavius Hesychius said...

I could imagine the leftist response: "Pope Francis Celebrates Divine Liturgy, Brings Diversity to Church in Line with Vatican II".

Apparently, altar rails and ad orientem are only bad in churches of the Latin Rite.

An ICONOSTASIS blocking the view of the priest, however, is far from wrong. Traditional Byzantine art is far from evul, but traditional Catholic art is horribly reactionary.

And to think some take these people seriously...

Andrew rex said...

Fr G - no I confess I hadn't yet watched the video Fr Alan had posted which was ad orentium but I'd watched some others of JP2 presiding at eastern liturgies which were facing the people.

Fr. G said...

@ Andrew Rex,

Can you give examples where Eastern liturgies were celebrated facing the people with JP2 presiding?

Were they non-Byzantine liturgies?