INTRODUCTION TO THE “LITURGY OF THE FAITHFUL”
Bishop Augoustinos N. Kantiotes (1907-2010) wrote short sermons on the Divine Liturgy. These sermons are characterized by their simple style and language. They are not intended for theologians or specialists, but for common people. So many examples are used to make their message clear. Although they are simply written, they deal with profound theological issues.
These sermons were published in Greek in two volumes. In the second volume (ἐπισκόπου Αὐγουστίνου Ν. Καντιώτου, μητροπ. Φλωρίνης, Εἰς τήν Θείαν Λειτουργίαν, Πρακτικαί Ὁμιλίαι, τόμ. Β΄, ἔκδ. Ε΄, «Σταυρός», Ἀθῆναι 2007) the author gives a more detailed discussion of the more important part of the Divine Liturgy, “The Liturgy of the Faithful”. We’ll translate, in a series of articles, some extracts from this book.
The Divine Liturgy is one of God’s greatest gifts to man. While participating in it, the believer not only communicates with the Triune God, but is mystically united with the God-Man, our Lord. The Divine Liturgy is a beautiful service of petitions and supplications, which involves all of man’s material and spiritual needs. But above all is an offering. Man offers God the simple material gifts of bread and wine, and God in return offers man the same gifts changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. The moment when a believer receives the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is holy, divine and of utmost sweetness. Unfortunately, this treasure is perceived by only a few and appreciated by even fewer. A true believer is grieved when he sees that only very few people attend regularly church services.
Hopefully, after reading these sermons, Christians will attend the Divine Liturgy with more reverence and will participate more often and with faith in the Holy Communion so that they can chant at the end: “We have seen the pure Light, we have found the true Faith, worshipping the undivided Trinity, Who has saved us”.