Thursday, October 18, 2007

Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, East and West

A blessed feast day of St. Luke the Apostle and Evangelist to all. What would Christianity be without his two treatises to the "most excellent Theophilus": his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles? Without St. Luke's euangelion, we would never have known of:
  • The miraculous conception of St. John the Baptist
  • The Benedictus
  • The Magnificat
  • The Nunc Dimittus
  • The Annunciation
  • The Biblical portions of the "Hail Mary" (or its Byzantine equivalent, "Rejoice....")
  • St. Elisabeth, the mother of St. John the Baptist
  • The Righteous St. Simeon the God-Receiver
  • The Prophetess Anna
  • Finding Christ in the Temple
  • Zacchaeus
  • The Dishonest Steward
  • The Publican and the Pharisee
  • The Prodigal Son
  • The Good Samaritan
  • The Rich Man and Lazarus
  • The widow of Nain
  • The importunate widow
  • The importunate friend
  • Healing ten lepers (the one thankful leper)
  • The Rich Fool
  • The Good Thief
  • Bringing Christ before Herod
  • The Road to Emmaus
As you can see, this would have a major impact on the liturgical observances of both Byzantine and Western Rites. The Western Rite, in addition to some Gospels, would be deprived of two-three of the canticles recited in the Daily Hours, and the Byzantine liturgical calendar would be unrecognizable, especially in the pre-Lenten season (the earliest portions of The Lenten Triodion). And Christendom would be robbed of perhaps the two most tender portraits of God's paternal philanthropia: the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son. (The recent "14th Annual Ancient Christianity & African-American Conference" was organized around this theme.)

Of course, without the Acts of the Apostles, we would not have any apostolic history of the primitive Church.

The propers of today's feast, in both the East and the West, underline the importance of St. Luke, the physician who accompanied the Apostle Paul on some of his missionary journeys, having written a Gospel through which the engrafted Holy Spirit may heal our passionate souls.

Byzantine Troparion (Tone 5)
Orthodox Missal (St. Tikhon's Liturgy)
Let us praise with sacred songs the Holy Apostle Luke, the recorder of the Joyous Gospel of Christ, and the scribe of the Acts of the Apostles, for his writings are a testimony of the Church of Christ: He is the Physician of human weaknesses and infirmities. He heals the wounds of our souls, and constantly intercedes for our salvation.Almighty God, Who calledst Luke the Physician, whose praise is in the Gospel, to be an Evangelist and Physician of the soul: may it please Thee that, by the wholesome medicines of the doctrine delivered by him, all the diseases of our souls may be healed. Through the merits of Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Holy Apostle and Evangelist St. Luke, the Physician of our souls, pray for us!

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Two WR Parish Websites

Our readers might enjoy these links to Western Rite parishes -- update your bookmarks:

1. St. Patrick WRV Parish (Warrenton, VA).
2. St. Augustine of Hippo WRV Parish (Denver, CO).


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Bp. BASIL's Unswerving Support of the Western Rite

Occasionally, I see those who oppose the Western Rite question the support and affirmation Byzantine Rite bishops might give to the WR Vicariate. Just how much does His Grace Bp. BASIL, the bishop of reference for the WRV, support the Western Rite? I recently found this statement from the former Charismatic Episcopal Church priest who started the new WRV parish in Oklahoma City:
My wife and extended family have spent all of this year “in the womb” of St. Elijah Antiochian Orthodox Church [Oklahoma City]. A few months ago, when my wife and I were visiting with His Grace, Bishop BASIL, we told him that we love the Orthodox Church and know it to be the True faith. And we also told him, “We love the Byzantine Rite, but we also love the Western Rite. We know you hear from God. Which direction does He want us to go?” With only a moment’s pause, he said “Go Western Rite.” (Emphasis added.)
Let us heed our bishops. Eis polla eti Despota!

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