The Divine Liturgy

The Divine Liturgy, the offering (sacrifice) of the Body and Blood of Christ, is the central act of worship. The Byzantine Liturgy is one of the most widely celebrated in Canadian Eastern Catholic Churches. It has several different forms, but the principal one used daily by most Eastern Catholics is the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. St. John Chrysostom (349-407) was Archbishop of Constantinople and a renowned preacher and biblical scholar. The liturgy was adapted from the Liturgy of St. James of Jerusalem.

The Divine Liturgy can be divided into three main parts and can also be explained as a mystical approach to the life of our Lord. The Life of Jesus Christ is usually divided into three periods, namely: 1) The hidden life; 2) the public life; and, 3) the salvific life, or Christ's work of salvation. Corresponding to these three periods of Christ's life, the Divine Liturgy can also be divided into three consecutive parts:

  1. The Preparation (proskomedia), the rite of preparing the holy gifts (bread and wine) at the side altar, which enacts the sacrificial life of Jesus;
  2. Liturgy of the Word, with the readings of the Holy Scriptures and the sermon, which celebrates and teaches the public life of Jesus;
  3. Liturgy of the Eucharist, which communicates our Lord's salvific work: His passion, death on the cross, His glorious resurrection, and His ascension.