Why can’t the Divine Liturgy be referred to as “the Mass”?


A long time ago, I referred to the Eastern Liturgy as the Mass. I was told that was incorrect. If I was given an explanation, I’ve forgotten. Does anyone here know why that would be so?


Your screen name is De_Maria - yes?

Would you be happy if someone addressed you as 'super saver ’ ?

You would tell them that’s not your screen name and you would ask them to use the correct one.

Now the RC Eucharistic Service is the Mass or Holy Mass - would you call it a tea break ?

You would ask that person to use the correct name / title

The Title of the Eastern Liturgy is The Divine Liturgy of our Father among the saints John Chrysostom - or, on those occasions when a different one is mandated, [ and it does happen on 12 occasions in the year ] The Divine Liturgy of St Basil the Great

Why should we not use the correct names for Services ?


The short answer is that Mass is a Latin term. Eastern Christians do not use Latin.


Roman Catholics have Holy Mass, Eastern Orthodox have Divine Liturgy, some Oriental Catholic-Orthodox have Holy Qurbana.

Different names, same reality.


As long as it wasnt insulting, I wouldnt care. Is it insulting to you? After all, someone said its the same reality. A rose by another name is a rose, is it not?


Basically, you’re saying theres no actual reason. The reason I’m asking is because no one corrects me if I call the Mass the Divine Liturgy.


But I was speaking English. And, I have also made reference to the Mass as the Divine Liturgy in English. And no one corrected me and said, “No, you can’t call the Mass, the Divine Liturgy.”

Soooo, it’s a bit quizzical. If they are the same reality, why can’t one use the same name to refer to the same reality?


Mass and The Divine Liturgy are the same thing; but terms used in the traditions of the Latin Rite and Eastern Rite. There is really no reason for Eastern Rite Catholic’s or Orthodox to call The Divine Liturgy Mass since they are not using Latin., just as In Latin we don’t say The Divine Liturgy. its I think a question of Tradition nothing more. Both mean the same thing but incorrect to use the term for Eastern Catholic Rites or Orthodox as it means something different to them I think.


The Roman Mass is synonymous with Divine Liturgy, it is called both.

But the Eastern Divine Liturgy is never called the Eastern Mass, it’s somewhat wrong to call it that.


You’re fine to call the Mass the Divine Liturgy.

But calling an Eastern Divine Liturgy a Mass is wrong.


The term “mass” comes from the last words of the mass: “Go, it is the sending” or in Latin “Ite, missa est”.

Since the Eastern Church never used Latin in their Divine Liturgy, they never have ended with that phrase. So there is no sense to use an anglicized version of a Latin phrase as a shorthand for the Divine Liturgy.


Sancti Missa is Latin meaning Holy Mass. Divine Liturgy comes from the Greek words Θεία Λειτουργία (Theía Leitourgía). You can recognise the words mass and liturgy. Latin and Greek meaning the same! The early church used Greek before Latin and the Orthodox and many Eastern Catholic churches still use Greek words for sacraments etc.

We still use the words Liturgy of the Word and Liturgy of the Eucarist in the Latin church. Kyrie eleison is Greek and still sung.


The Mass is the name for the Eucharistic Liturgy of the Latin Rite. The name for the Eucharistic Liturgy of the Byzantine Rite is The Divine Liturgy. Some people tend to be sticklers for proper terminology and Divine Liturgy is not called the Mass. It is definitely a latinization to do so. It seems to be more of an issue with Byzantines. I know a number of Maronites and Chaldeans who refer to their Eucharistic liturgy as a Mass, even though it is actually Holy Qurbobo. I wonder if it is a linguistic thing . Perhaps, when learning English, they were told that the English word for Holy Quobano is Mass. I even know a few Orthodox who call will occasionally say that they went to Mass. You are certainly well understood if you say Mass. Those who correct you are just trying to teach you the proper terminology. Sometimes, they can be a little obnoxious about it.


What about your baptismal name? Because in the Church words have more than a denominational meaning. That name was given to you in the Sacrament of baptism, it’s not just a name. It’s part of your spirituality. It is said God will call you by it, the Angels reference you by it, it’s yours forever even if you add up others.

I sometimes feel like you say that - it’s just a word - but we are all called to be meek, especially in the Church, and see outside our own point of view.
“By any other name a rose would smell as sweet”.
My favorite quote of Shakespeare’s.:smile: Hard for me to stop using it especially when I think there is too much ado about nothing but the other party is up in flames.
However a :rose: without a name as “rose” I don’t know what it is. What is :rose: without any name at all?


You can call me anything at all, just don’t call me late for dinner.


The calling the Divine Liturgy “the Mass” was a Western development, as the word “Missa” (Or Dismissal) in Latin eventually - through the use of people who didn’t know Latin - was thought to refer to the Liturgy itself. However, this happened very early on, as Pope Saint Gregory even refers the Liturgy as “Mass.”

There’s nothing wrong about it; it’s just not appropriate for the Tradition, and for some Easterners - considering that it is of Western origin and its grammatical origin- feel it is inferior to the words “Divine Liturgy.”

It would be like if I went to a Tridentine Mass and called it the “Divine Liturgy.” The parishioners would raise their eyebrows at me.


I doubt that…


They might think it was strange. They might ask, “Do you mean the Mass? “


Its just a difference in terminology due to language, I can’t see anyone being that offended by the miscue. Must have been a pause in the conversation for it to be pointed out to you at length, most times most people would let it flow like water under a bridge.


Perhaps. But I think that this use had more to do with immigrants working their way into English that a true Latinization.

In the old country, people had not been using their words for “liturgy” but would usually talk of “services” or the “Divine Service”. This didn’t work in English very well, so the pre-existing English word used by other Catholics was adopted. Later day purists don’t care for it. For me, I care less about its use that I do about criticizing people fore its use. (And the use of the term “liturgy”, btw, only began to become common parlace among Byzantine Catholics after it became common among RC’s in America. )

You will see this phenomenon in other situations. I think, for example, if you were to hear someone pray the “Hail Mary” in Slavonic, it would, of course, follow the Eastern phrases (perhaps even with some old touches " … obradovannaja Marije, Hospod s Tobuju …". In English, if spoken, it is likely to come out like the RC’s; the English for the Eastern style is not fully stabilized. Where the English is not settled it is common to use the Slavic term or borrow a settled English term, like “Mass”.

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