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Friday, January 17, 2014


Detail from liturgy book - Holy Trinity
no copyright infringement intended

My friend David, the pastor of the Clarendon Presbyterian Church (the wee kirk - progressive, inclusive, diverse) has, as he says in his most recent message, a bit of an obsession with a few Greek words. Liturgy is one of them. Says David, the word comes from the combination of two Greek terms (leos, or people, and ergo, or to do, as in work or duty). And he continues, originally, leitourgia referred to a public duty or a service to the commonwealth: in the Septuagint, the 2nd-century BCE translation into Koine Greek of the Hebrew scriptures, the verb form, leitourgeo, was used for the public service of the temple - from that usage emerged the word as we use it now referring to worship services. Thus, concludes David, liturgy is our common work.

As an Eastern Orthodox Christian let me add that the liturgy has one more dimension: the worship gets a response - the sacrament of the Kingdom (Father Schmemann) - Last Supper and Cross are two unseparated moments (Father Boris Raduleanu in Holy Liturgy and Apocalypse expounded by the Words on the Cross ).


(Church in America)


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