The Divine Liturgy - Explained
by Father George Papadeas

Every Divine Liturgy is a re-enactment of the complete life of our Lord and
focuses on His Sacrifice for our personal salvation.

The Divine Liturgy is a live and vivid Drama, with one basic difference,
which is, that there are no spectators.  Everyone is a participant, with
the Priest as the representative of the Lord and the chief Celebrant.

Therefore, we should never come to Church solely to view, but rather to
actively participate in every movement and expression of the Divine Liturgy.
The Liturgy is our communal Act of Worship.  Each Christian has the unique
privilege and opportunity to bring the offering of the bread and wine, which
in the Liturgy is transubstantiated into the Body and Blood of our Savior.

This communal Worship can readily be seen in all the prayers and chants of
the Liturgy which use the plural, never the singular.  "Let us pray to the
Lord", "Let us entreat the Lord" etc.  But to adequately do this and to truly
benefit, we must take heed of the phrase sung in the Cherubic Hymn "let us
put away all worldly cares and desires."

Come then, become a true participant in this Supreme Act.  Bow your head
each time the Priest blesses the Congregation as an external expression of
your inward humbleness.

Bless yourself with the sign of the Cross:

              Facing toward the Screen:

Cross yourself 3 times, once for each Person of the Holy Trinity.

(Left Side)           (1) ()))))^     (Right Side)
                  ----( )----   ^
               ()*(4       3) ))^
               () (         )
               () (    2    )
             ((() (         )
                  (         )
                  ( )     ( )
                  ( )     ( )
                  ( )     ( )
                  ( )     ( )
               (((( )     ( ))))

Do the sign of the Cross mainly at the points of the Liturgy where the
Holy Trinity is mentioned.  The sign of the Cross is in itself a great
prayer because we bless ourselves in the Name of the Holy Trinity.  The
Orthodox alone express the main tenets of the Christian Faith by
consciously making the Sign of the Cross with the 2 fingers and the thumb
pressed together, symbolizing the Holy Trinity, and the two remaining
fingers clutched in the palm of the hand, symbolizing the two Natures of
our Lord and Savior, the Divine and the Human.

The Cross then represents the meaning of our Salvation.  Let us always
consciously make its sign and shelter our life under the most Divine
Ideals the Cross represents.

NOTE:  Contrary to the trend of some, who favor the vernacular in
addressing themselves to God, I personally (even at the risk of appearing
antiquated), very much favor to maintain the formal language for the
Supreme Mystery of the Divine Liturgy.

       I tend to resist the current trend of commonizing the Holy.  The
Holy Orthodox Church, literally inexhaustible in its mysticism, possesses
tremendous power to move people's hearts; She has a mission to uplift, and
to bring the faithful before the Throne of God.  For this reason, I believe
that the liturgical language must have a somewhat loftier echo, above the
common and mundane.  We must be uplifted, inspired and awed when we address
ourselves to God.  That is why I choose to use the pronouns, "Thee" and
"Thou", etc., rather than "You", and the like.

                                                  Father George Papadeas

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