Went to my first Byzantine Mass last night

And I loved it! I am definently going to start going more often. Can someone provide a good link or CAF thread that explains how the liturgy works and changes each week. Also, can someone please explain the different sign of the Cross and the prostrations that are frequently done. I know I am asking for a lot but I am trying to get into this. Im going back tomorrow. If my wife likes it I am going to start going permanently.

good that you liked it! my priest says the byzntine rite is for thinkers :slight_smile:

well (sorry for my english), basically to answer immediate curiosities it is lent so the liturgy being celebrated is now the “divine liturgy of saint basil” as opposed to " divine liturgy of st john chrysostom" - on easter it reverts back to the divine liturgy of john chrysostom. differences basically are that the priest has longer prayers he says in st basils than he usually dose in john chrysostoms.

sign of the cross, done right to left (as opposed to latin left to right) - and is done whenever “father, son and holy spirit” is said - and any other time when a particular prayer is touches or feels special to you. “rules” on the byzantine rite when to cross or bow are much more loose than the roman rite.

if you want to learn more i recommend this book svspress.com/products/A-Manual-of-the-Orthodox-Church’s-Divine-Services.html

it is russian orthodox but everything in there (save the parts mentioning the czars) is applicable for eastern byzantine catholicism, it will pretty much answer everything you want to know. besides explanations of the various liturgies, it describes the church calendar and the great feast days and special rituals and customs that go with them. also thoroughly describes vestments and and the various holy objects of the altar.

Great response thank you! I did notice people doing the sign of the Cross at different times and wondered why. I will get the book.

Since is was Friday, you probably attended the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, which is a special liturgy that we only use during the Great Fast (lent), generally on Wednesdays and Fridays. It is essentially Vespers, with Holy Communion that has been previously consecrated. The frequent prostations are a part of that liturgy, and you won’t do them if you go tomorrow.

Tomorrow, you will attend the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great. It is equivalent to the Mass, in that it is a sacrificial liturgy. The structure is similar to the Mass: there is a liturgy of the word and a liturgy of the Eucharist. The Liturgy of St. Basil is served during the Great Fast and a few other occasions during the year. It is longer that the Liturgy of St. John Chrystostom, so expect at least 90 minutes, perhaps longer. It will be easier to follow than the Presanctified Liturgy.

I like that. My priest says we’re an acquired taste. :slight_smile:

I see. What made me really enjoy it was the singing of the Psalms throughout the Mass. Do you do that for every Mass?

Quick question: If I go to to the Eastern Mass tonight at 6, will it still meet my obligation like it does in the RC ? Thanks

Much of the Divine Liturgy is drawn from the psalms, but no, we do not chant them in their entirety as in Vespers and the Liturgy of the Presantctified Gifts.

It is possible that what is being offered tonight is Great Vespers, in which case it would not fulfill your Sunday obligation. Most Byzantine parishes do not have Saturday evening Divine Liturgy (or Mass), but a few do. If it is the Divine Liturgy, then it should fulfill your obligation.

oh, i didnt realize you went on a weekday. during lent no masses (divine liturgies) are allowed to be said on weekdays (on sundays it is allowed because sunday is technically in the byzantine church outside of lent, but one still has to keep their personal fast of what they gave up for lent), so on weekdays instead a liturgy of pre-sanctified gifts is offered where the eucharist given at communion was pre-consecrated the previous sunday and stored in the tabernacle.

so clear up confusion, there are three liturgies:

-Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom: said through out the year except during Lent
-Divine Liturgy of St Basil the Great: said on Sundays during Lent
-Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts: said on weekdays during Lent, there is no canon/Eucharistic prayer, only pre-consecrated eucharist from previous sunday is used. the liturgy of presanctified gifts is similar to vespers.

if you went on friday and took communion, you went to the pre-sanctified liturgy.

all liturgies are supposed to be sung/chanted - the sunday divine liturgy will probably mostly be sung/chanted - but the length of the psalms chanted are a lot less than what you experienced on friday. i guess you’ll have to go and see for yourtself to understand :slight_smile: it may seem intimidating at first but after a couple months you’ll have no problem and everyone, even cradle, still learn new things :slight_smile:

Saturdays in Lent the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is prayed.

As far as how much psalmody is chanted during the Divine Liturgy it all depends on what particular church you attend…in a Ruthenian Church not much…in a Ukranian or Romanian and in some Melkite Churches the Typica psalms and Beatitudes are chanted where the Ruthenians chant the much abbreviated antiphones.

Saturdays in Lent the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is prayed.

yes i should of been more specific i was referring to sundays

everything is supposed to be chanted save the sermon, but of course actually practice is another story like you have said.

Just one little thing: first, usually in the Eastern Churches we call it the “Liturgy” rather than the “Mass” (they’re just two different things, and it’s not really a biggie but thought I’d tell you before you mention it to someone who does think it’s a biggie! :smiley: ).

Also, if you are going to Great Vespers, it may very well fulfill your obligation if you are unable to attend either Mass or Liturgy the following day. Sometimes people at our Byzantine (Ruthenian) Church are often given permission to attend Vespers if, for example, we’re having a parish breakfast the next day and those people are going to be busy working in the kitchen. The best way to find out is to ask your priest. :thumbsup:

Lol thanks!

Just wondering if you made it today (or last night) and how did it go?

Yes , I made it yesterday thank you for asking. I went Saturday night also. Quick question: Saturdays DL and Sundays DL were supposed to be the same liturgy right? But I did notice small differences b/t the DLs…why? Shouldnt they be the same? I asked the Alter Server on Sat night if it was indeed a DL and he said it was.

for example, if I go to a RC Mass on Saturday night, it will be the same format the next morning (sunday). But it wasnt the case at the Byzantine DL.

Thanks everyone

The weekday and Sunday Divine Liturgies do have slight differences, and during Lent this would be more pronounced because the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great is prayed on Sundays of the Great Fast. Generally, in the Byzantine tradition, Great Vespers is prayed on Saturday night, with the Divine Liturgy only on Sunday. I am aware of a few places that have a Saturday evening Divine Liturgy. It isn’t technically correct to do this, but is sometimes done for pastoral reason. Our parish, for example, was without a priest for a while, and a priest from another parish would come on Saturday evenings for the Divine Liturgy. In those cases, the Sunday Divine Liturgy was used. I’ve also heard that some parishes use a Vesperal Divine Liturgy on Saturday evenings, although that is discouraged and I’ve never seen it.

Prior to Vatican II, the Roman rite did not have the Saturday evening “anticipated” Mass. It is a pretty recent development in the history of the church.

The Anticipated Liturgy conjoined to vespers is prescribed for 2 specific feasts by St. John Chrysostom. So it’s ancient in origin. Its use for other than those two is a modern innovation.

The sunday DL on saturday evening without vespers is a modern innovation, as well.

But note that Tradition in the byzantine east is that if one must work on sunday morning, one can fulfill one’s sunday obligation by saturday evening vespers… plus possibly a long litany of private prayers. (Depending upon the pastor, the use, and the specific reasons, typically 600+ jesus prayers, or private prayer of matins and third hour).

Was the liturgical spoon used? :slight_smile:

Very beautiful Mass! I am interested in the Maronite Rite but the closest parish is four hours away :frowning:

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