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The Orthodox Liturgy: Development of the Eucharistic Liturgy in the Byzantine Rite Paperback – Dec 1994

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Product details

  • Paperback: 189 pages
  • Publisher: St Vladimir's Seminary Press,U.S.; New edition edition (Dec 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881411000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881411003
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.9 x 22 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,975,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A Good Introduction 19 Nov 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a well-written introduction to the history of the development of the Orthodox liturgy. It is easy to read and uncluttered by jargon. The author provides snapshots of the liturgy at various stages of its development, with particular emphasis on how the practicalities of worship at the great church in Constantinople influenced this development.
I would recommend this book to anyone new to this fascinating subject.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Revisiting 28 Nov 2009
By Edward M. Freeman - Published on
Format: Paperback
"Sometimes a light surprises
The Christian while he sings..."
--William Cowper (1731-1800), 'Olney Hymns,' XLVIII [Joy and Peace in Believing]

The people called the Byzantines came from the direction where morning light appeared for many Christians of the ancient and medieval world. East of Athens and Rome, the ancient name for the region, called Anatolia, is derived from the Greek word translated "east." This provides a poetic analogy to theme and content of Wybrew's text, which still satisfies readers three decades after initial publication. The book ignites interest to experience Byzantium's light through development of Eucharistic Liturgies composed by Sts. Basil the Great and John Chrysostom in the fourth century.

Canon Hugh Wybrew, the author, remains on faculty at Oxford University after having released his vicarage of St. Mary Magdalen Church (Anglican), Oxford, UK. Having studied Orthodox theology for many years prior to the book's 1988 debut (1989, SVSP; revised 1997), he produced this monograph that attracts cradle and converted Orthodox Christians as well as an audience of beginners and scholars, thanks to combined prayerful and critical voices. Wybrew had been Dean of St. George Cathedral (Anglican), Jerusalem, when the book was first published.

Maintaining a steady hand on the wheel of controversies, Wybrew explores textual studies and cultural history of Byzantium without judgment. Added to his even hand are other important correlates of the Divine Liturgy. By other correlates, I am thinking of the book's nine black-and-white illustrations of Orthodox church floor-plans, significant references to Greek, Slavic, and Antiochian interpretations in choral music, icons, vestments and paraments, as well as successive efforts to standardize the Orthodox Divine Liturgy.

Numerous reviewers have cited appreciation for the book's pastoral tone, reflected in combined prayerful and critical voices. Of particular note among reviews, I would like to mention a review by Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia (Timothy Ware) that appears in the Foreword, and elsewhere reviews by Professor Robert Burns ('The Expository Times,' 2001--an ecumenical and interdisciplinary journal), and the V.Rev. Professor Peter Galadza ('Logos,' 1993--journal of the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies, St. Paul University, Ottawa, Canada).

A fourth review praising the book appeared in the 'Concordia Theological Quarterly,' which addresses the author's emphasis on North American readers especially in the first chapter and Epilogue. For these reasons, I have recommended this book to Christian readers from Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Melkite-, Greek- and Maronite-Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and other denominations with unqualified satisfactory feedback.

William Cowper, an 18th-century poet, probably never experienced the Orthodox Eucharistic Liturgy. Few British people at the time could do more than read about it; indeed, there were few who read about it. Yet the following quatrain, from another 'Olney Hymn,' conveys in metered rhyme a direct parallel to St. John Chrysostom's very own sentiment, that heaven appears before his eyes during the Divine Liturgy:

'Here may we prove the pow'r of pray'r,
To strengthen faith, and sweeten care;
To teach our faint desires to rise,
And bring all heav'n before our eyes.''

Wybrew notes in the Introduction to this book that he had wished from the start for such a book as 'The Orthodox Liturgy' he would later write. He clears a path for others to anticipate a direct experience of heaven in the Divine Liturgy. He states that he wanted to clear a path so that others would not get lost and revert to the western practice of closing the eyes in prayer. For in the Divine Liturgy, even the eyes pray to see the way home to Paradise. He succeeds, and we have much to see for ourselves.
8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
a nice English introduction to Eastern Orthodox Liturgy 14 July 2007
By David P. Schultz - Published on
Format: Paperback
It has been several years since I last read this book, thus I will only submit the contents page information: Western Eucharist and Orthodox Liturgy, The sources of Tradition, The Fourth Century, The Eucharist at Constantinople in the time of John Chrysostom, The Liturgy in the time of Maximus the Confessor, The Liturgy after the Victory of the Icons, The Byzantine Liturgy in the Eleventh Century, The Completion of the Liturgy, Epilogue, Life of Christ Symbolism in the Litugy: Comparative Table.
I remember this book as an interesting read for those interested in the History of the Christian service, especially from an Eastern perspective.
3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Very good book on the subject 2 Nov 2009
By Mikael Fälthammar - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is very good for the scholar who wants to get to know the Orthodox Liturgy and it's root and such. I find it very interesting, and Wybrew seems to be a good Liturgist.
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