Orthodoxy, the Papacy and Stuff
The All Too Common blog posted this video on the website of the Ecumenical Patriarchate but done by EWTN. Here are some scatter-brained reflections:
1. It's good to see some real liturgy done on EWTN for a change, not just the sappy stuff that is Devotio Moderna in sound and motion. (I suppose they sometimes show the traditional Latin Mass, but not often enough.) By real liturgy, I mean OBJECTIVE worship meant to be worship, not just catechesis with props.
2. I thought that when the Patriarch served, everyone (bishops, priests, abbots, etc.) has to take off their insignias (the cross, panagia, etc.). Did the Pope have to do this? Probably not. Anyone who saw the video, did everyone else do this?
3. Many of the women receiving Communion are of East Asian extraction. Any explanations? For some reason I thought they were Filipinas. Am I right?
4. I could never become Orthodox because the liturgy is too pretty. I was a Byzantine Catholic monk, and we did the same liturgy as the Orthodox, but I wasn't a monk for too long, and maybe it didn't seem real enough to me. It's just like listening to Bach. Bach is almost too pretty to listen to. Most of the time, I am content with an opera by Lully; it is much more sensual and carnal. Bach seems almost angelic, and that makes me sad more often than not.
Whenever I see the Orthodox liturgy, I always think that I am seeing a glimpse of heaven. But then I realize that I am not in Heaven. We may have to live in both, to live in the eschaton, but Orthodox liturgy now seems too strange, too unearthly. I love it to death, but it can never be home. If Orthodoxy were in my blood, and not Roman Catholicism, it might be a different story....
Personally, I think that when we get to Heaven, the Liturgy before the Throne of the Lamb will be done by Coptic monks, provided that God forgives their flawed Christology. That is hardcore worship.
5. The commenter yaps too much on this video. Why whenever you go into a Western church, people have to thrust missals and prayer books in your hands to let you know "what is going on"? This is not a bad thing in itself, but sometimes I wish they would just leave me alone and let me watch. That's why I liked going to Russian churches where it was all in Old Slavonic and everyone ignored you. In the end, if it is true worship, you will never know entirely what's going on. At least, you couldn't get it from a book.