Lex Credendi Lex Orandi

When I was in seminary 50 years ago, the principle was set in this sequence as in the title: the primary is the faith and the liturgy follows the principles of the faith. It was considered modernist view, that the faith developed from the common prayers, and consequently e.g. the Gospel were written based on the oral tradition, which based on the prayers, liturgy.

The view, that the principal is the faith and the liturgy is secondary was argued by the fact that the original Christian prayer was psalm based (something from the secure level of the Old Testament) the originally gnostic based hymns with theological meaning were considered suspicious after the the time of St Ambrose and St Leo the Great, after the time when the faith was already clearly established by the Ecumenical councils.

Who, when and why changed the sequence, and made the prayer primary before the faith?

It is, I think, related to loss of confidence in the ability of the Church to teach the authentic Christian message. The confidence in Tradition has been gutted in the Western Church, at least from the Reformation on, maybe from the schism on. Then, as a result of higher criticism people lost confidence in the Scripture as a really solid bedrock for faith.

When all this new scholarship on really early Christian liturgies appeared, people thought “Thank goodness! We can look to these for authentic Christian understanding of what the Church is about!”

There are a ton of problems with it, but I think it represents an attempt to fix a real problem.

Unless I’m missing something,

*Lex credendi lex orandi *when there is a one and only one prayer and can be only one perception of the faith.

*Lex orandi lex credendi *when different prayers/languages lead to different perceptions of the faith.

I’ll buy that. The expression lex orandi, lex credendi is, perhaps, even more apropos to the East and Orient than it is to the Roman Church. It is very frequently used, both internally and externally.

FWIW, I’ve actually never heard it done in the reverse. :shrug:

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