Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Paul Evdokimov

The Church of the first centuries united in one action baptism, chrismation and the Eucharist, which the Fathers called the 'great intiation.' The neophyte would pass successively through the three phases of the single action which made him or her a member of the 'people of God,' now recapitulated in Christ, and which raised the new Christian to the dignity of 'priest, prophet, and king.' The Eucharist, which came at the end of this gradual initiation, was at the same time its perfect acoomplishment. According to the Ecclesiastical Hierarch (III, 424) of Pseudo-Dionysius, which passed on a tradition already well established, the Eucharist is not one sacrament among others but is the Sacrament of sacraments.

This fundamental definition resides at the heart of Orthodox eccclesiology. It means that the Eucharist is not a sacrament in the Church but the sacrament of the Church herself. The Eucharist constitutes the Church, manifests and fully experesses her essence. This is why in the Eastern Church the word 'liturgy,' leitourgia: ergon tou laou, literally 'the common work of the people,' is the designation for the entire eucharistic service.

Sacramental and doxological, constitutive and expressive, it is completely natural that down through the centuries the Liturgy has had a most refined pedagogical character and great formative power. Above all it makes us liturgical beings. The human person is a liturgist par excellence, the 'new creature' who says with the psalmist, 'I will sing to my God as long as I live.' Such a person has become a living eucharist. - Chapter 11, The Eucharist - Mystery of the Church of In the World, of the World - A Paul Evdokimov Reader
Orthodox Wiki - Paul Evdokimov

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