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The Eucharist is the crowning achievement of the well-known liturgical scholar, Alexander Schmemann. It reflects his entire life experience and thoughts on the Divine Liturgy, the Church's central act of self-realization.
In his meditations, Fr. Hopko draws on his long experience as a pastor and teacher, working with young and old throughout the country, to present to the modern reader the relevance of the Church's two-thousand-year-old tradition of preparing to greet our Lord's Resurrection.
At the head of this collection stands a new translation of On Pascha by Melito of Sardis, a liturgical work deriving from Quartodeciman circles in Asia. Alongside this is an extensive introduction and annotation pointing out not only that parallels to Jewish practice, but also offering an analysis of the work in terms of classical rhetoric.
The eighth-century document Historia Ecclesiastica of Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople (715-730), was for centuries the quasi-official explanation of the Divine Liturgy for the Byzantine Christian world. Although "allegorical" in content, its interest lies in its historical value, for it appeared at a time of great flux in the life of the Byzantine Church, at the outbreak of the iconoclastic controversies, a period which marked a strong shift in theology and piety.
The theological significance of this document and its usefulness in understanding the form of the liturgy celebrated in the eighth century is discussed in an extensive introduction by the translator, Paul Meyendorff. The introduction includes an exposition on mystagogical catecheses and the development of an historicizing system of liturgical symbolism.
Letters from the Desert is part of the POPULAR PATRISTIC SERIES.
The position which Gregory and Macrina eventually reach corresponds essentially to that of St Paul, namely that our bodies will rise again as bodies, but in a finer and more glorious form than we have now. Expressing this belief in terms of Greek silence, the dialogue assumes that the same physical elements which compose our present bodies must be reassembled in our resurrection bodies; otherwise our bodies would be recreated rather than raised.
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