Sunday, March 11, 2007

Syrian Orthodox Vespers

Did anyone attend this service at Westminster Cathedral yesterday?

Three students from this seminary did, myself included, and found it to be a beautiful experience. Unfortunately the Nuncio didn't attend as promised (which must have put egg all over the face of the editor of The Universe) but there were representatives of all the major denominations in England (Catholic, Anglican, and various Eastern Orthodox Churches).

It was the first time we had attended an Orthodox service that is not in communion with Rome (so of course it was preceded with a discussion as to whether it fulfilled our future obligation to pray Vespers). There was a female voice choir who sang unaccompanied - something that has always fascinated me about Eastern Rites. There were more Deacons than you could shake a stick at - one of whom gave an excellent homily explaining the Syrian Orthodox Church and Her relationship with Rome. The Archbishop who presided was fantastic, giving orders by making gestures with his gold cross, being led in with the thurifer walking backwards and two servers shaking large metal rattles (if anyone knows what they are called please let me know).

All in all it was a beautiful service. The only other Eastern Rite I have attended is a Ukrainian Rite Mass and yesterday confirmed for me that in the West we have so much to learn from the East about Liturgy - how many Eastern Rite Christians complain that the priest has his back to them or that we should be having guitars accompanying happy clappy music? None!!!

Dear readers, pray daily for union with the East and that we in the West may soon come to give worship to God more worthily.


Andrew said...

Photos! We want photos!!

Orthfully Catholic said...

Oops, sorry, didn't think to take any but I'm sure if you surf you'll find some somewhere!