Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Corpus Christi
...known in the calendars of the [Eastern Catholic] Syrians, Armenians, Copts, Melchites, and the Ruthenians
Where it doesn’t belong because it’s not native to those rites. The Christian East never had any serious threat to Catholic belief in the Sacrament as Jesus’ one ‘full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice’ made present and the complete change of the elements — no large home-grown Protestant movements* and before that in mediæval times no Berengarius — so devotions to it outside the Divine Liturgy never happened. They weren’t needed. Instead, the early church’s emphases and piety are retained there: only one altar in church, only one Liturgy per day on it and the emphasis on the Sacrament in the Liturgy as symbolic food and drink. Exception: the laity’s full prostration to the ground during the procession with the Sacrament in the Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts (which is Vespers and Communion from the Reserved Sacrament) during Orthodox Great Lent.

(The Melkite service for Benediction seems entirely Byzantine Rite and is orthodox and very pretty but in fact is not part of the rite.)

*The Russians had the charismatic-like Molokans and Doukhobors but those churches remained tiny. Actually they’re like ‘oneness Pentecostals’: theologically they are no longer Christian.

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