While on holiday in the Dodecanese recently I made my way each Sunday to the town’s church to attend the Divine Liturgy according to the Greek Orthodox Rite. As always I was struck by timelessness of this ancient liturgy, of the sense of being caught up into the heavenly places, but also by the differences with the Sunday Liturgy of the Western Rite. As far as liturgy goes there is indeed “a wideness in God’s mercy” as Frederick Faber famously wrote. Here are a few observations based just on two Sundays on one Greek island. I’m afraid I have no idea whether what I experienced was typical, but here goes;...Read the rest here.
...3. Participation in the Divine Liturgy was minimal. People stood, or sat, with great attentiveness, and made the ritual gestures with devotion, but in the main were content to observe the rite and listen to the cantors who sang for them. This is a far cry indeed from the full, conscious and active participation encouraged and expected in the West.
4. Likewise there seemed to be no encounter, no real dialogue, between priest and people. The priest faithfully observed the rite, performed the ritual acts and spoke or sang the ritual words, but there was no direct connection made, no eye contact even. The Liturgy went its own majestic way and the people tagged along. They seemed to need no encouraging word, no little clerical ad libs, no lifting of the spirits with humour. They evidently felt supremely privileged simply to be there.
H/T Carlos Antonio Palad via email