Liturgy, What is it?
Liturgy is literally the "work of the people" in Greek, but has come to have the special meaning of corporate, Eucharistic worship. By corporate we don't mean that companies do it (!), we mean that the whole body of Christ--the Church--takes part in worshipping God. That, of course, means that Liturgy is a public event, by its very definition.
The Roman Catholic tradition (i.e., of the Latin rite) uses the term more generally of any public prayer, or service of the sacraments, prayers of the hours, or indeed the celebration of the Eucharist (mass). We of the Byzantine tradition use the term Divine Liturgy only to refer to our Eucharistic celebrations, not to other prayer services.
Liturgy is thus the common action of the people of God. The people, through the Liturgy, share in Christ’s prayer and suffering. Because the Liturgy is thus a sharing together—and together with Christ—it becomes the basis of community. We are especially one with Christ and with our brothers and sisters, when we celebrate together the saving mystery of Our Lord and Christ through the Liturgy.
The ancient prayers that form part of our Liturgy—including those that change with the season of the Church’s year or the feast or saint’s commemoration being celebrated—are a source of theological learning for the people. Indeed, throughout history, this has been the Church’s foremost method of passing on the faith.
Beyond the theological, though is the spiritual. Taking part in the Divine Liturgy transports us out of this world to a special, holy place in communion with the saints who have gone before us, in communion indeed with Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Come to our Melkite liturgies with this in mind! Come and take part together in our community! Come and learn! Come and be transported to paradise with us!
To know more about our liturgy, click the links below: