January 24, 2019


The Patriarchal Liturgical Commission in collaboration with the Vibrant Parish working group, has issued the first two volumes of a series on the liturgy of the church entitled "Let us Lift up our Hearts" (Вгору Піднесім Серця). The collaborating authors of the volumes are some of the most well-known popular voices on matters of liturgical theology and practice today in the Ukrainian Catholic Church. The Bishop of Chicago, Benedict (Aleksiychuk), Rev. Dr. Vasyl Rudeyko, Maksym Tymo and Ivan Dutka have put out two books that can serve as an introduction for anyone interested in a better understanding the liturgy of the Church. The books are an excellent addition to the many wonderful publications of Lviv's Svichado publishing house. They have yet to come out in English, but those with some reading knowledge of Ukrainian will find the presentation of the material in these two small books very enlightening and helpful in enhancing their participation in the prayer life of the Church.

Volume 1 - The Liturgical Prayer Life of the Church serves as an introduction the basic liturgical practices of the Church. It covers everything from: what role everyone has in the liturgical life... singings... the basic layout of services... vestments... to a brief commentary on the Divine Liturgy.

Volume 2 - The Church Year talks about some of the history and practices of the major seasons and feast-days throughout the Church year. It also delves into the spiritual significance that each major liturgical celebration proposes for each member of the Faithful.


Excerpts from Volume 1 - The Liturgical Prayer Life of the Church


"In the general human experience, the conclusion of the life of a person on earth was always something mystical. In particular for the Christian community - that was born from the death and resurrection of Christ - the departure from the earthly life of one of its members was an occasion for a liturgical celebration. Faith in the power of the resurrection of Christ gives the ability to the members of His Body to hope in their participation in His Resurrection (Romans 6:8). The Church escorts those who have died in Christ on their way to heavenly glory, all the while asking God not to remember the sin of the deceased, but by His mercy to cover the shortcomings of the deceased and decisively welcome him/her to the company of Saints. The liturgical celebration of a funeral, as with every liturgical celebration, is a special opportunity for the Church to experience the presence of Christ. The Church believes that Christ Himself accompanies the faithful to the Heavenly Kingdom (an image of this faith is the icon of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God, which undoubtedly is the ideal of a perfect Christian).

It is important to remember that the funeral service is not a final display of respect for the member of the church community - it is community prayer of which the primary purpose is to undergo an experience of the life-giving presence of Christ. For the fullness of this experience the Church, throughout its two thousand year history, has practiced various rites that help the faithful to experience this presence and become reinvigorated by it - especially those that simultaneously feel the joyful hope at the burial of their loved one and the sadness of the temporary severing of the familial and fraternal bond of friendship. (p. 96. Vol. 1. unofficial translation)"


"You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light." (1 Peter 2:9)

The starting point for understanding the "royal priesthood" and its foundation is the priesthood of Jesus Christ, or rather His whole Messianic ministry and mission - which is royal, priestly and prophetic. Through the Sacrament of Chrismation every Christian receives the anointing of Christ, becomes a participant in His Messianic mission - i.e a sharer in His kingly, priestly and prophetic ministry. Therefore the singular model and meaning of the "royal priesthood" of every Christian is how Christ fulfilled and fulfils His royal, priestly and prophetic mission.

The "royal priesthood" is not that by which laypersons are differentiated from priests - it is that which is common to all Christians and which expresses the salvific mission of Church as the Body of Christ, as the "mystery of salvation"; it establishes the foundation of Christian life. A Christian, therefore, is an "anointed one" of Christ.


Finally, wrong is the understanding that sees the terms "priest" and "priesthood" referring above all and, in a direct sense, exclusively ordained priestly ministers, and only in a metaphorical sense - every Christian. Actually in the New Testament (except with respect to Christ Hebrews 7-10) quite to the contrary, the concept of "priesthood" and "royal priesthood" belong above all to the whole People of God and to every Christian (1 Peter 2:5,9; Revelation 1:6; 5:9-10), and only then in a derivative and figurative sense - the hierarchy.

The correlation between the royal and hierarchical priesthood is nicely presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

a) the royal and hierarchical priesthood are two different ways of participation in the one priesthood of Christ;

b) the hierarchical priesthood is in the service of the royal priesthood (CCC, pp. 1546-1547).

These two principles are at the base of the continued lesson..." (pp. 18-19, Vol. 1, unofficial translation)


See the Svichado publisher site for more information [HERE]

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