OK, I’m going to kind of tie up all of your important questions in hopefully one post
"I do not want to speculate on what you heard from the priest that day, perhaps the sense of his lesson was a bit hard to discern, or perhaps he was just wrong. I don’t know"
Well, I am rather certain that this Priest was teaching that the liturgy is not a sacrifice (which it is). I am completely certain that his flock does not believe the liturgy to be a sacrifice. After the liturgy that day, we were given a tour of the sanctuary by a layperson. Again we were lead through the Deacon Door, this time by the layperson. *Before * he began showing us the various holy vessels on the Table of preparation, he showed us what he called “The Table” as he slapped the Central Altar jovially several times with his hand. He explained I think two times how “the table” was not for a sacrifice, but rather for the meals that Christ shares with us after his Resurrection. He pulled off the cloth that was covering the gospel and showed us the blessing cross and the Gospel Book. All of this was disturbing me, because nothing like this ever happened at the Orthodox church I went to before I visited this church. I was aware during this that the Tour guide never pointed out the Antimension Cloth, and I thought perhaps since they do not believe the Liturgy to be a sacrifice, they wouldn’t use Antimension, since that would accentuate the Sacrificial nature of the liturgy.
After the tour I was very confused because I had known the Liturgy to be a Sacrifice and the holy sacrifice is central to my belief in Christ’s Church, so I immediately went to the priest and questioned him. I will paraphrase his words, as I am not certain of the exact phrasing.
Me; “Father, at the Divine Liturgy is an Antimension used in the consecration?”
Father X: “Yes of course, at this time it is folded under Gospel Book on the Table.”
Me: (cutting to the chase) “Father, I am confused, in my experience in the Orthodox church, I believe that we were to understand that the Liturgy is a sacrifice, isn’t this true?”
Father X “No. the Liturgy is for the offering of praise and thanksgiving, the table is not for “animal sacrifice.” in reality, the Proskomedia is the real sacrificial act as it is at this time the priest chops up the lamb with a spear. The Proskomedia really highlights the sacrificial passion of Christ.”
There was more said, but I think this is enough to put you on the same page I am.
"However, it was my understanding that most (though not all) Byzantine Ruthenian parishes do not actually have a Proskomedia, they tend to use pre-cuts. So it is possible that this was a teaching moment for the congregation. Perhaps the congregation is switching over to the traditional practice."
Not only does the parish website have a Rota of people assigned to bake the Prosphora through 2011, but the lamb was easily visible from my seat. and the entire Proskomedia was done during the chanting of the third hour and very visible (as the Iconostasis was very “open”) According to the parishioners that I talked to, the Parish made “the switch” seven years ago from a Novus Ordo/Vatican II rite church. This was no teaching moment.
If you would like to know the name of this parish, please PM me. I pray this is for the better. I am pretty nervous about the attention this has got, but If the Liturgy is being Abused then that must be stopped.
To VICO: I would like you to know that the Catholic Church, Weather you call it Catholic or Orthodox is not a product of the 1960’s, Perhaps you should take a little brisk walk into the Catechism of the Council of Trent. You will find a very different look at the Eucharist.