Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy represents a communal response to and participation in the sacred through activity reflecting praise, thanksgiving, supplication or repentance. It forms a basis for establishing a relationship with a divine agency, as well as with other participants in the liturgy.
Technically speaking, liturgy forms a subset of ritual. The word liturgy, sometimes equated in English with "service", refers to a formal ritual, which may or may not be elaborate, enacted by those who understand themselves to be participating in a divine action; examples include the Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgy (Greek: Θεία Λειτουργία), and the Catholic Mass. A daily activity such as the Muslim salah and Jewish synagogue services would be ritual but not liturgy.
The word liturgy, derived from the technical term in ancient Greek (Greek: λειτουργία), leitourgia, which literally means "work of the people" is a literal translation of the two words "litos ergos" or "public service". In origin it signified the often expensive offerings wealthy Greeks made in service to the people, and thus to the polis and the state. Through the leitourgia, the rich carried a financial burden and were correspondingly rewarded with honours and prestige. The leitourgia were assigned by the polis, the State and Roman Empire and became obligatory in the course of the 3rd century A.D. The performance of such supported the patron's standing among the elite and the popular at large. The holder of a Hellenic leitourgia was not taxed a specific sum, but was entrusted with a particular ritual, which could be performed with greater or lesser magnificence. The chief sphere remained that of civic religion, embodied in the festivals: M.I. Finley notes "in Demosthenes' day there were at least 97 liturgical appointments in Athens for the festivals, rising to 118 in a (quadrennial) Panathenaic year." However groups of rich citizens were assigned to pay for expenses such as civic amenities and even payment of warships. Eventually, under the Roman Empire, such obligations, known as munera, devolved into a competitive and ruinously expensive burden that was avoided when possible. These included a wide range of expenses having to do with civic infrastructure and amenities; and imperial obligations such as highway, bridge and aqueduct repair, supply of various raw materials, bread-baking for troops in transit, just to name a few.
Buddhist liturgy is a formalized service of veneration and worship performed within a Buddhist Sangha community in nearly every traditional denomination and sect in the Buddhist world. It is often done once or more times a day and can vary among the Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana sects.
The liturgy mainly consists of chanting or reciting a sutra or passages from a sutras, a mantra (especially in Vajrayana), and several gathas. Depending on what practice the practitioner wishes to undertake, it can be done at a temple or at home. The liturgy is almost always performed in front of an object or objects of veneration and accompanied by offerings of light, incense, water and food.
Jewish liturgy are the prayer recitations that form part of the observance of Rabbinic Judaism. These prayers, often with instructions and commentary, are found in the siddur, the traditional Jewish prayer book. In general, Jewish men are obligated to pray three times a day within specific time ranges (zmanim). while, according to the Talmud, women are only required to pray once daily, as they are generally exempted from obligations that are time dependent.
Traditionally, three prayer services are recited daily:
Frequently in Christianity, a distinction is made between "liturgical" and "non-liturgical" churches based on how elaborate or antiquated the worship; in this usage, churches whose services are unscripted or improvised are called "non-liturgical". Others object to this usage, arguing that this terminology obscures the universality of public worship as a religious phenomenon. Thus, even the open or waiting worship of Quakers is liturgical, since the waiting itself until the Holy Spirit moves individuals to speak is a prescribed form of Quaker worship, sometimes referred to as "the liturgy of silence". Typically in Christianity, however, the term "the liturgy" normally refers to a standardised order of events observed during a religious service, be it a sacramental service or a service of public prayer. In the Catholic tradition, liturgy is the participation of the people in the work of God, which is primarily the saving work of Jesus Christ. In the liturgy, Christ continues the work of redemption.
The term "liturgy" literally in Greek means "work for the people", but a better translation is "public service" or "public work", as made clear from the origin of the term as described above. The early Christians adopted the word to describe their principal act of worship, the Sunday service (Holy Eucharist, Holy Communion, Mass or Divine Liturgy). This service, liturgy, or ministry (from the Latin "ministerium") is a duty for Christians as a priestly people by their baptism into Christ and participation in His high priestly ministry. It is also God's ministry or service to the worshippers. It is a reciprocal service. As such, many Christian churches designate one person who participates in the worship service as the liturgist. The liturgist may read announcements, scriptures, and calls to worship, while the minister preaches the sermon, offers prayers, and blesses sacraments. The liturgist may be either an ordained minister or a layman. The entire congregation participates in and offers the liturgy to God.
Salāt ("prayer", Arabic: صلاة ṣalāh or gen: ṣalāt; pl. صلوات ṣalawāt) is the practice of physical and compulsory prayer in Islam as opposed to dua, which is the Arabic word for supplication. Its importance for Muslims is indicated by its status as one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
Salat is preceded by ritual ablution and usually performed five times a day. It consists of the repetition of a unit called a rakʿah (pl. rakaʿāt) consisting of prescribed actions and words. The number of obligatory (fard) rakaʿāt varies from two to four according to the time of day or other circumstances (such as Friday congregational worship, which has two rakats). Prayer is obligatory for all Muslims except those who are prepubescent, menstruating, or in puerperium stage after childbirth.
The Alexandrian Rite is the liturgical rite used by the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, as well as by the three corresponding Eastern Catholic Churches.
The Alexandrian rite's Divine Liturgy contains elements from the liturgies of Saints Mark the Evangelist (who is traditionally regarded as the first bishop of Alexandria), Basil the Great, Cyril the Great, and Gregory Nazianzus. The Liturgy of Saint Cyril is a Coptic language translation from Greek of the Liturgy of Saint Mark.
The Alexandrian Rite is sub-grouped into two rites: the Coptic Rite and the Ge'ez Rite. The Coptic Rite is native to Egypt and traditionally uses the Coptic language with a few phrases in Greek. It is used in the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Coptic Catholic Church. Arabic and a number of other modern languages (including English) are also used. The Ge'ez Rite is native to Ethiopia and Eritrea and uses the Ge'ez language. It is used in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo churches, and the Ethiopian and Eritrean Catholic churches.Anglican Use
The Anglican Use is an officially approved form of liturgy used by former members of the Anglican Communion who joined the Catholic Church while wishing to maintain the treasures of the Anglican tradition.Antiochene Rite
Antiochene Rite or Antiochian Rite designates the family of liturgies originally used in the Patriarchate of Antioch.Armenian Rite
The Armenian Rite is an independent liturgy used by both the Armenian Apostolic and Armenian Catholic Churches. It is also the rite used by a significant number of Eastern Catholic Christians in Georgia.Byzantine Rite
The Byzantine Rite, also known as the Greek Rite or Constantinopolitan Rite, is the liturgical rite used by the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Greek/Byzantine Catholic churches, and in a modified form, Byzantine Rite Lutheranism. Its development began during the fourth century in Constantinople and it is now the second most-used ecclesiastical rite in Christendom after the Roman Rite.
The Byzantine Rite was originally developed and used in Greek language and later, with introduction of Eastern Orthodoxy to other ethnic groups it was translated into local languages and continued further development. Historically, most important non-Greek variants of Byzantine Rite are: Byzantine-Slavonic and Byzantine-Georgian. The rite consists of the divine liturgies, canonical hours, forms for the administration of sacred mysteries (sacraments) and the numerous prayers, blessings and exorcisms developed by the Church of Constantinople.
Also involved are the specifics of church architecture, icons, liturgical music, vestments and traditions which have evolved over the centuries in the Eastern Orthodox Church and which are associated with this rite. Traditionally, the congregation stands throughout the whole service, and an iconostasis separates the sanctuary from the nave of the church. The faithful are very active in their worship, making frequent bows and prostrations, and feeling free to move about the temple (church) during the services. Also, traditionally, the major clergy and monks neither shave nor cut their hair or beards.
Scripture plays a large role in Byzantine worship, with not only daily readings but also many quotes from the Bible throughout the services. The entire psalter is read each week, and twice weekly during Great Lent. Fasting is stricter than in the Roman Rite. On fast days, the faithful give up not only meat, but also dairy products, and on many fast days they also give up fish, wine and the use of oil in cooking. The rite observes four fasting seasons: Great Lent, Nativity Fast, Apostles' Fast and Dormition Fast. In addition, most Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year are fast days and many monasteries also observe Monday as a fast day.Catholic liturgy
This is an article about liturgy in the Catholic Church. For liturgical practices in other churches, see Liturgy.In the Catholic Church, liturgy is divine worship, the proclamation of the Gospel, and active charity.Christian liturgy
Christian liturgy is a pattern for worship used (whether recommended or prescribed) by a Christian congregation or denomination on a regular basis. Although the term liturgy is used to mean public worship in general, the Byzantine Rite uses the term "Divine Liturgy" to denote the Eucharistic service.It often but not exclusively occurs on Sunday, or Saturday in the case of those churches practicing seventh-day Sabbatarianism. Liturgy is the gathering together of Christians to be taught the 'Word of God' (the Christian Bible) and encouraged in their faith. In most Christian traditions, liturgies are presided over by clergy wherever possible.Crucifix
A crucifix (from Latin cruci fixus meaning "(one) fixed to a cross") is an image of Jesus on the cross, as distinct from a bare cross. The representation of Jesus himself on the cross is referred to in English as the corpus (Latin for "body").The crucifix is a principal symbol for many groups of Christians, and one of the most common forms of the Crucifixion in the arts. It is especially important in the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, but is also used in the Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian, and Eastern Catholic Churches, as well as by the Lutheran and Anglican Churches. The symbol is less common in churches of other Protestant denominations, which prefer to use a cross without the figure of Jesus (the corpus). The crucifix emphasizes Jesus' sacrifice — his death by crucifixion, which Christians believe brought about the redemption of mankind. Most crucifixes portray Jesus on a Latin cross, rather than any other shape, such as a Tau cross or a Coptic cross.
Western crucifixes usually have a three-dimensional corpus, but in Eastern Orthodoxy Jesus' body is normally painted on the cross, or in low relief. Strictly speaking, to be a crucifix, the cross must be three-dimensional, but this distinction is not always observed. An entire painting of the Crucifixion of Jesus including a landscape background and other figures is not a crucifix either.
Large crucifixes high across the central axis of a church are known by the Old English term rood. By the late Middle Ages these were a near-universal feature of Western churches, but are now very rare. Modern Roman Catholic churches often have a crucifix above the altar on the wall; for the celebration of Mass, the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church requires that, "on or close to the altar there is to be a cross with a figure of Christ crucified".Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy (Greek: Θεία Λειτουργία, translit. Theia Leitourgia; Bulgarian: Божествена литургия, translit. Bozhestvena liturgiya; Georgian: საღმრთო ლიტურგია; Russian: Божественная литургия, tr. 'Bozhestvennaya liturgiya; Polish: Boska Liturgia, Czech: Božská liturgie) or Holy Liturgy is the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine Rite, developed from the Antiochene Rite of Christian liturgy which is that of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox, the Greek Catholic Churches, and the Ukrainian Lutheran Church. Although the same term is sometimes applied in English to the Eucharistic service of Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, they use in their own language a term meaning "holy offering" or "holy sacrifice". Other churches also treat "Divine Liturgy" simply as one of many names that can be used, but it is not their normal term.The Greek Catholic and Orthodox Churches see the Divine Liturgy as transcending time and the world. All believers are seen as united in worship in the Kingdom of God along with the departed saints and the angels of heaven. Everything in the liturgy is seen as symbolic, but not merely so, for it makes present the unseen reality. According to Eastern tradition and belief, the liturgy's roots go back to the adaptation of Jewish liturgy by Early Christians. The first part, termed the "Liturgy of the Catechumens", includes like a synagogue service the reading of scriptures and, in some places, perhaps a sermon/homily. The second half, added later, is based on the Last Supper and the first Eucharistic celebrations by Early Christians. Eastern Christians believe that the Eucharist is the central part of the service in which they participate, as they believe the bread and wine truly become the real Body and Blood of Christ, and that by partaking of it they jointly become the Body of Christ (that is, the Church). Each Liturgy has its differences from others, but most are very similar to each other with adaptations based on tradition, purpose, culture and theology.Epistle
An epistle (; Greek: ἐπιστολή, epistolē, "letter") is a writing directed or sent to a person or group of people, usually an elegant and formal didactic letter. The epistle genre of letter-writing was common in ancient Egypt as part of the scribal-school writing curriculum. The letters in the New Testament from Apostles to Christians are usually referred to as epistles. Those traditionally attributed to Paul are known as Pauline epistles and the others as catholic (i.e., "general") epistles.Lamb of God
Lamb of God (Greek: Ἀμνὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ, Amnos tou Theou; Latin: Agnus Deī [ˈaŋ.nʊs ˈde.iː]) is a title for Jesus that appears in the Gospel of John. It appears at John 1:29, where John the Baptist sees Jesus and exclaims, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."Christian doctrine holds that divine Jesus chose to suffer crucifixion at Calvary as a sign of his full obedience to the will of his divine Father, as an "agent and servant of God" as well as to pick up and carry away the sin of the world. In Christian theology the Lamb of God is viewed as foundational and integral to the message of Christianity.A lion-like lamb that rises to deliver victory after being slain appears several times in the Book of Revelation. It is also referred to in Pauline writings: 1 Corinthians 5:7 suggests that Saint Paul intends to refer to the death of Jesus, who is the Paschal Lamb, using the theme found in Johannine writings. The lamb metaphor is also in line with Psalm 23, which depicts God as a shepherd leading his flock (mankind).
The Lamb of God title is widely used in Christian prayers, and the Agnus Dei is used as a standard part of the Catholic Mass, as well as the classical Western Liturgies of the Anglican and Lutheran Churches. It also is used in liturgy and as a form of contemplative prayer. The Agnus Dei also forms a part of the musical setting for the Mass.
As a visual motif the lamb has been most often represented since the Middle Ages as a standing haloed lamb with a foreleg cocked "holding" a pennant with a red cross on a white ground, though many other ways of representing it have been used.Latin liturgical rites
Latin liturgical rites, or Western liturgical rites, are Latin tradition Catholic liturgical rites employed by the Latin Church, the largest particular church sui iuris of the Catholic Church, that originated in Europe where the Latin language once dominated. Its language is now known as Ecclesiastical Latin. The most used rite is the Roman Rite.
The Latin rites were for many centuries no less numerous than the liturgical rites of the Eastern autonomous particular Churches. Their number is now much reduced. In the aftermath of the Council of Trent, in 1568 and 1570 Pope Pius V suppressed the Breviaries and Missals that could not be shown to have an antiquity of at least two centuries (see Tridentine Mass and Roman Missal). Many local rites that remained legitimate even after this decree were abandoned voluntarily, especially in the 19th century. In the second half of the 20th century, most of the religious orders that had a distinct liturgical rite chose to adopt in its place the Roman Rite as revised in accordance with the decrees of the Second Vatican Council (see Mass of Paul VI). A few such liturgical rites persist today for the celebration of Mass, since 1965-1970 in revised forms, but the distinct liturgical rites for celebrating the other sacraments have been almost completely abandoned.Liturgy of the Hours
The Liturgy of the Hours (Latin: Liturgia Horarum) or Divine Office (Latin: Officium Divinum) or Work of God (Latin: Opus Dei) or canonical hours, often referred to as the Breviary, is the official set of prayers "marking the hours of each day and sanctifying the day with prayer". It consists primarily of psalms supplemented by hymns, readings and other prayers and antiphons. Together with the Mass, it constitutes the official public prayer life of the Church. The Liturgy of the Hours also forms the basis of prayer within Christian monasticism.Celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours is an obligation undertaken by priests and deacons intending to become priests, while deacons intending to remain deacons are obliged to recite only a part. The constitutions of religious institutes generally oblige their members to celebrate at least parts and in some cases to do so jointly ("in choir"). The laity are under no public obligation to do so, but may oblige themselves to do so by personal vow, and "are encouraged to recite the divine office, either with the priests, or among themselves, or even individually".The Liturgy of the Hours, along with the Eucharist, has formed part of the Church's public worship from the earliest times. Christians of both Western and Eastern traditions (including the Latin Catholic, Eastern Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian, Anglican, Lutheran, and some other Protestant churches) celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours in various forms and under various names.
Within the Latin Church, the present official form of the entire Liturgy of the Hours is that contained in the four-volume publication Liturgia Horarum, the first edition of which appeared in 1971. English translations were soon produced and were made official for their territories by the competent episcopal conferences. The three-volume Divine Office, which uses a range of different English Bibles for the readings from Scripture, was published in 1974; the four-volume Liturgy of the Hours, with Scripture readings from the New American Bible, appeared in 1975. Before 1971, the official form for the Latin Church was the Breviarium Romanum, first published in 1568.
In the Byzantine Rite, the corresponding services are found in the Ὡρολόγιον (Horologion), meaning Book of Hours. Anglican Liturgy of the Hours is contained in the book of Daily Prayer of Common Worship and the Book of Common Prayer, as well as in the Anglican Breviary. The Lutheran counterpart is contained in the liturgical books used by the various Lutheran church bodies.
Other names in Latin liturgical rites for the Liturgy of the Hours include "Diurnal and Nocturnal Office", "Ecclesiastical Office", Cursus ecclesiasticus, or simply cursus.Mass (liturgy)
Mass is a term used to describe the main eucharistic liturgical service in many forms of Western Christianity. The term Mass is commonly used in the Catholic Church and Anglican churches, as well as some Lutheran churches, Methodist, Western Rite Orthodox and Old Catholic churches.
Some Protestants employ terms such as Divine Service or worship service (and often just "service"), rather than the word Mass. For the celebration of the Eucharist in Eastern Christianity, including Eastern Catholic Churches, other terms such as Divine Liturgy, Holy Qurbana, and Badarak are typically used instead.Mozarabic Rite
The Mozarabic Rite, also called the Visigothic Rite or the Hispanic Rite, is a liturgical rite of the Latin Church once used generally in the Iberian Peninsula (Hispania), in what is now Spain and Portugal. While the liturgy is often called 'Mozarabic' after the Christian communities that lived under Muslim rulers in Al-Andalus that preserved its use, the rite itself developed before and during the Visigothic period. After experiencing a period of decline during the Reconquista, when it was superseded by the Roman Rite in the Christian states of Iberia as part of a wider programme of liturgical standardization within the Catholic Church, efforts were taken in the 16th century to revive the rite and ensure its continued presence in the city of Toledo, where it is still performed today.
In addition to its use within the Catholic Church, the rite (or elements from it) has also been adopted by Western Rite Orthodox congregations and the Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church.Reader (liturgy)
In some Christian churches, a reader is responsible for reading aloud excerpts of scripture at a liturgy. In early Christian times the reader was of particular value due to the rarity of literacy.Requiem
A Requiem or Requiem Mass, also known as Mass for the dead (Latin: Missa pro defunctis) or Mass of the dead (Latin: Missa defunctorum), is a Mass in the Catholic Church offered for the repose of the soul or souls of one or more deceased persons, using a particular form of the Roman Missal. It is usually, but not necessarily, celebrated in the context of a funeral.
Musical settings of the propers of the Requiem Mass are also called Requiems, and the term has subsequently been applied to other musical compositions associated with death, dying, and mourning, even when they lack religious or liturgical relevance.
The term is also used for similar ceremonies outside the Roman Catholic Church, especially in the Anglo-Catholic tradition of Anglicanism and in certain Lutheran churches. A comparable service, with a wholly different ritual form and texts, exists in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, as well as in the Methodist Church.The Mass and its settings draw their name from the introit of the liturgy, which begins with the words "Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine" – "Grant them eternal rest, O Lord". ("Requiem" is the accusative singular form of the Latin noun requies, "rest, repose".) The Roman Missal as revised in 1970 employs this phrase as the first entrance antiphon among the formulas for Masses for the dead, and it remains in use to this day.Roman Rite
The Roman Rite (Latin: Ritus Romanus) is the most widespread liturgical rite in the Catholic Church, as well as the most popular and widespread Rite in all of Christendom, and is one of the Western/Latin rites used in the Western or Latin Church. The Roman Rite gradually became the predominant rite used by the Western Church. Many local variants, not amounting to distinctive Rites, existed in the medieval manuscripts, but have been progressively reduced since the invention of printing, most notably since the reform of liturgical law in the 16th century at the behest of the Council of Trent (1545–63) and more recently following the Second Vatican Council (1962–65).
The Roman Rite has been adapted over the centuries and the history of its Eucharistic liturgy can be divided into three stages: the Pre-Tridentine Mass, Tridentine Mass and Mass of Paul VI. The Mass of Paul VI is the current form of the Mass in the Catholic Church, first promulgated in the 1969 edition of the Roman Missal. It is considered the ordinary form of the mass, intended for most contexts. The Tridentine Mass, as promulgated in the 1962 Roman Missal, may be used as an extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, according to norms set in the 2007 papal document Summorum Pontificum.Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church (Classical Syriac: ܥܸܕܬܵܐ ܩܵܬܘܿܠܝܼܩܝܼ ܕܡܲܠܲܒܵܪ ܣܘܼܪܝܵܝܵܐ Edta Qatholiqi D'Malabar Suryaya; Malayalam: മലബാറിലെ സുറിയാനി കത്തോലിക്ക സഭ Malabarile Suriyani catholika Sabha) or Church of Malabar Syrian Catholics is an Eastern Catholic Major Archiepiscopal Church based in Kerala, India. It is a sui iuris particular church in full communion with the Pope and the worldwide Catholic Church, with self-governance under the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.
The Syro-Malabar Church is headed by the
Metropolitan and Gate of all India Mar Cardinal George Alencherry of the Archeparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly in Kerala. The Church uses the Divine Liturgy of Saints Mar Addai and Mar Mari belonging to the East Syriac Rite, which dates back to 3rd century Edessa, as such it is a part of Syriac Christianity by liturgy and heritage. The name Syro-Malabar is coined from the words Syriac (referring to the East Syriac liturgy) and Malabar (the historical name for Kerala). The name has been in usage in official Vatican documents since the nineteenth century. As per Mar Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar's travelogue Varthamanappusthakam (dated to 1790), the Church was known then as the Malankare Kaldaya Suriyani Sabha (Malankara Chaldean Syriac Church). The Church shares the same liturgy with the Chaldean Catholic Church based in Iraq and the Nestorian Chaldean Syrian Church based in Thrissur, Kerala, which is an archbishopric of the Assyrian Church of the East based in Iraq. The Syro-Malabar Church is the third-largest particular church (sui juris) in the Catholic Church (after the Latin or Roman Church and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church).The Syro-Malabar Church is the largest of the "Nasrani" (St. Thomas Christians) denominations with over 4 million believers and traces its origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. Syro-Malabar scholar and theologian Mar Placid Podipara describes the Church as "Catholic by faith, Indian by culture, and East Syriac/Oriental in liturgy." The Syro-Malabar Church members are predominantly of the Malayali ethnic group and speak Malayalam.The members of the Church are colloquially known in Kerala as Marthoma Nasranis and Malankara Nasrani. Following emigration of its members, eparchies have opened up in other parts of India and other countries due to facilitating the Malayali diaspora living in North America, Australia and the United Kingdom. Saint Alphonsa is the Church's first canonized saint, followed by Saint Kuriakose Chavara and Saint Euphrasia. It is one of the two Eastern Catholic churches in India, the other one being the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church which uses the West Syriac Rite.