Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom
This text was designed not only to help our guests but also to help parishioners unlock some of the beauty and wealth of our Liturgy. For many (of us) who were baptized in the Ukrainian Catholic Church, and attend Liturgy on Sunday, there are many elements of the Divine Liturgy that we neither understand nor were ever explained.
Our Divine Liturgy, developed within the interaction of the Holy Spirit and the faithful, is a wonderful service with many elements that aid in our becoming closer to the Divine. In the Liturgy we thank God for the gifts we have received, we ask of God for the things we need such as peace, health and guidance. We also offer our praises, and ultimately we offer our gifts (in the form of bread and wine) so that God may return them to us as His Body and Blood. All this to help us become closer to and eventually one with God with all our component parts: emotionally, intellectually, and physically.
Our Divine Liturgy has all of these (and more) elements. To unlock some of these elements for the churchgoer, this text was designed with several features:
- Colors: the text is color coded, red is for instruction, blue is for the priest’s silent prayers (which I strongly recommend for the people to read), green is for explanations, and black is for the normal text.
- Reflections and Commentary: A simple running commentary of some of the meaning and symbols of the Liturgy. Mainly they are reflections that have unlocked the Liturgy for me. The main purpose of these reflections is not a historical explanation of the Liturgy as much as helping the faithful be ever more mindful of the Liturgy.
- Changeable parts: the changeable parts (the Tropars, Kondaks etc.) are not included in this text for simplicity sake.
To truly unlock the wealth and beauty of our Divine Liturgy it is ultimately up to the individual to actively participate in Church and be fully conscious of what is happening and what exactly is being said. This booklet is a tool but without active and mindful participation it is no better than any other unused tool.
Pay attention to what you and the priest are saying. Reflect upon the different meanings. Pay attention to the different symbols. Most importantly, pray the Liturgy. Don’t just use this time for private prayer but let us all pray together the Divine Liturgy.