Monday, October 15, 2018

FALL HAYRACK RIDE, BONFIRE AND POTLUCK — Saturday, October 20 at 5:00 PM

Our annual Fall Hayrack Ride, Bonfire and Potluck at Santa’s Woods will be held this coming Saturday, October 20. The Hayrack Ride begins promptly at 5:00 PM.

Santa’s Woods is located between Omaha and Blair, Nebraska on Highway 133. The address is: 3764 NE-133, Blair, NE 68008. When you arrive at Santa’s Woods just follow the signs for Holy Cross until you get to our private campfire area.

A beautiful Fall day is forecast for Saturday — Sunny, and in the 50s.

The cost is just $9.00 for adults, and $6.00 for children ages 5-12, with children under the age of 5 free. This is not a parish fundraiser. We are only charging what Santa’s Woods charges the church.

A Hayrack Ride, Bonfire and Potluck at Santa’s Woods has been a Fall tradition at Holy Cross parish for years, and is an annual event that everyone looks forward to.

Santa’s Woods is a working farm. Leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind you as you take in the sights and sounds of the relaxing countryside and the fresh country air. Spend time with friends and family before and after the ride in our very own private, wooded campfire area where we will have picnic tables, lights, electric outlets, a porta-potty and fresh water for our use. 

The Hayrack Rides is approximately 45 minutes long. We will roll along in a comfortable hay-filled wagon over 100+ acres of endless, scenic wooded trails! After the Hayrack Ride we will find a roaring fire in our campfire area, where we will enjoy a delicious Potluck meal under the stars. Logs will surround the campfire where we can sit and enjoy the fire, and roast hotdogs, marshmallows and smores. 

Our annual Fall Hayrack Ride, Bonfire and Potluck is always a fun time for everyone of all ages, with good food and warm fellowship out in the country on a working farm. This is an event that you will not want to miss! 

Bring a covered dish or a crock pot for everyone to enjoy. VISITORS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME! Everyone, adults and kids alike, will have a great time. The Christian life is the Good Life at Holy Cross Orthodox Church. See you there!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

BREAKING NEWS: WESTERN ORTHODOXY — Rapid Growth and Expansion

MORE ROCOR WESTERN RITE ORDINATIONS

On Monday, September 3, at the Parish church of St Joseph the Betrothed in Sarasota Florida (ROCOR Western Rite), His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion ordained Subdeacon Adam Warrenfels to the Diaconate. Deacon Adam took the ordination name of Basil.  Fr. Deacon Basil is assigned to St Thomas Orthodox Church in Mountain Home, Arkansas and serves on the Western Rite Communities Media Committee. 

Father Deacon David Prestridge of Chattanooga, Tennessee was ordained by Metropolitan Hilarion to the Presbyterate.  Father David will serve as rector of St Bartholomew Orthodox Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The candidates were presented for ordination by Archpriest Mark Rowe, rector of St. Joseph the Betrothed Orthodox Church and Vicar General of the ROCOR Western Rite Communities.

FIRST WESTERN RITE ORTHODOX MASS IN ICELAND IN ALMOST MILLENNIUM

My longtime friend and confrere Fr. Alban Waggener, rector of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, celebrated Holy Mass according to  the Liturgy of St. Tikhon at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church (Russian Orthodox Church — Moscow Patriarchate) in Reykjavik, Iceland on Sunday, September 2.  He was invited to celebrate the Western Rite Liturgy by the rector of the parish Fr. Timothy Zolotuskiy. St. Nicholas parish in Reykjavik is the only Orthodox Church in the city.  Fr. Timothy is a long-time Orthodox priest who was ordained in Russia by Patriarch Pimen of blessed memory. 

The Gospel arrived in Iceland in AD 1050, just a few years before the Papal Schism and the falling away of the Roman Patriarchate in 1054. This Mass on September 2, was the first Western Rite Orthodox Mass celebrated in Iceland in nearly a millennium. The congregation of St. Nicholas is made up of Russians, Romanians, Moldavians and Georgians, along with native Icelandic converts. Khouria Nancy, wife of Fr. Alban, served as the cantor for the sung Mass.  The congregation was was very gracious and enthusiastic, and the faithful received Holy Communion in the Western manner.  

In addition to parish rector Fr. Timothy Zolotuskiy, not many spoke very fluent English, and Fr. Alban had a translator for the homily. Everyone in attendance was very kind and appreciative, and it was a wonderful experience for all of the breadth of Orthodoxy.

METROPOLITAN HILARION’S VISIT TO OMAHA

On Saturday and Sunday August 25 and 26 Metropolitan Hilarion made an Episcopal Visit to Holy Cross Orthodox Church in Omaha, Nebraska. This was the fourth Episcopal Visit from three different bishops to Holy Cross parish in the past five years, and it was Metropolitan Hilarion’s second. Metropolitan Hilarion is the First Hierarch (Primate) of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) and the Ordinary of the ROCOR Western Rite Communities. 

All of the Services during the Episcopal Visit were celebrated with a Greater Prelate at the Throne. Metropolitan Hilarion fully participated in the Services from the Throne and preached. He knew the English Liturgy (Liturgy of St. Tikhon) so well that no one would have known that his primary rite is Eastern. Metropolitan Hilarion’s visit to Holy Cross parish was a great success and could not have gone better. 

There were fifty-one in attendance at Solemn Vespers, including five visiting Orthodox priests. After Vespers a Reception was held in the parish hall in honour of Metropolitan Hilarion’s visit. There was a wide variety of delicious refreshments served and everyone in attendance had a wonderful time. Anyone who wanted to speak with His Eminence had full access and many took  advantage of the opportunity to introduce themselves and to speak with him.

On Sunday morning Metropolitan Hilarion was formally received at the door of the church with the traditional bread and salt, followed immediately by a procession to the sanctuary while the Te Deum laudamus was sung as the Metropolitan sprinkled the congregation with holy water. Upon arrival in the sanctuary Solemn Matins was begun.

During Solemn Matins acolyte Fred Courey, was tonsured a cleric and ordained a Reader with the name of Ignatius, and was assigned to Holy Cross parish. The Order of Reader is the first step in the priesthood and is an important and very responsible ministry. 

Solemn Matins was followed by a Solemn Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist, commonly called a Solemn High Mass or Divine Liturgy. There were fifty-six in attendance, including one visiting Orthodox priest. Metropolitan Hilarion was at the Throne, and the celebrant was assisted by a deacon, subdeacon, acolytes, cantor and the parish schola cantorum.

After the Liturgy everyone enjoyed a delicious catered Luncheon in the parish hall. As at the Reception the evening before, anyone who wanted to speak with the Metropolitan had full access and many took advantage of the opportunity to speak with him. The entire weekend was a blessing and a joy, and the clergy and faithful of Holy Cross Orthodox Church look forward to Metropolitan Hilarion’s next Episcopal Visit.

A Photo Album of Metropolitan Hilarion’s visit to Holy Cross parish can be viewed here:


ANTIOCHIAN WESTERN RITE CONFERENCE

The Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate held its biennial Western Rite Conference from August 7 through August 10 at St Peter Orthodox Church in Fort Worth, Texas. It was an historic moment for the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate for two important reasons: The Vicariate was celebrating its 60th Anniversary; and it was the first Antiochian Western Rite Conference that a Metropolitan had presided over. Both in his presence and in his words, Metropolitan Joseph matched the unhesitating, strong support for the Vicariate of his predecessors, Metropolitan Antony and Metropolitan Philip.

The Conference included two ordinations — one to the Diaconate and one to the Presbyterate. Both the Orthodox Roman and English Liturgies were celebrated. Two ROCOR priests were in attendance at the Conference — Fr. Joseph Mai of California and Fr. Aidan Keller of Texas. 

An in-depth article about the Antiochian Western Rite Conference titled, Metropolitan JOSEPH Presides at Western Rite Conference, by the Very Reverend John W. Fenton can be read on the official website of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese. The article includes a link to a Photo Album of the Conference. The article and the Photo Album  can be found here:


OCA LAUNCHES ITS WESTERN RITE

The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) will inaugurate its Western Rite outreach on Saturday, September 8 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I first learned about this new Western Rite Work when I was contacted in January by Archpriest Michael Schaplowsky of the OCA who is heading up their new Western Rite outreach.

The initial church-plant is called Christ the King Orthodox Church. Christ the King will be meeting at St. Herman's Orthodox Church, 9930-167 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, T5P 4W7, Canada. Readers in the Alberta area can reach Fr. Michael Schaplowsky by phone at: 780-669-2783.

This new OCA Western Rite church-plant will be using the English Liturgy, commonly called the Liturgy of St. Tikhon. The inaugural Service is scheduled for Saturday, September 8. Evensong will be prayed at 4:30 PM. The public is invited to attend and everyone is welcome!

Christ the King Orthodox Church (OCA-Western Rite) has a very informative website. On the top right of the home page there is a link titled “MORE.” Click MORE and other links will drop down. The OCA Western Rite website can be found here:


WESTERN RITE EXPANSION

There are now Western Rite congregations and monastic communities in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR), the Antiochian Orthodox Church, the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), and (in Europe) in the Romanian and Serbian Orthodox Churches, with the ROCOR Western Rite Communities being the largest, most widespread and fastest growing. Western Orthodox congregations and monastic communities can now be found in the United States and Canada, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, France and Switzerland. 

SUMMER CHURCH PICNIC

Holy Cross Orthodox Church in the Ralston suburb of Omaha, Nebraska will hold its annual Summer Church Picnic on Sunday, September 9 at Halleck Park in Papillion, Nebraska. Halleck Park is just minutes from the church.

Halleck Park is in a beautiful setting with a pond, beautiful grounds and playground equipment for the kids. A covered pavilion has been reserved, and the men of the parish will be grilling hamburgers and hotdogs. 

There will be no Matins at Holy Cross parish on  Sunday, September 9, and the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist will begin a half hour early at 9:30 AM. The Summer Church Picnic will begin immediately after the Liturgy. Not sure where Halleck Park is? Directions will be available on Sunday morning. There is no charge for the Summer Church Picnic, and visitors are always welcome. Ya’ll come!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

METROPOLITAN HILARION'S VISIT TO HOLY CROSS PARISH — A Report with Photos

Last weekend Metropolitan Hilarion made an Episcopal Visit to our parish. This was the fourth Episcopal Visit from three different bishops to our parish in the past five years, and it was Metropolitan Hilarion’s second. Metropolitan Hilarion is the First Hierarch (Primate) of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) and the Ordinary of the ROCOR Western Rite Communities. 

Metropolitan Hilarion’s visit to our parish could not have gone better. We had fifty-one in attendance at Solemn Vespers, including five visiting Orthodox priests. It was a joy and blessing to serve with these men — “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore” (Psalm 133:1-3).

All of the Services during the Episcopal Visit were celebrated with a Greater Prelate at the Throne. Metropolitan Hilarion fully participated from the Throne and preached. He knew the Western Rite so well that no one would have known that his primary rite is Eastern. 

After Vespers there was a Reception in our parish hall in honour of Metropolitan Hilarion’s visit. There was a wide variety of delicious refreshments served and everyone in attendance had a wonderful time. Anyone who wanted to speak with his Eminence had full access and many took  advantage of the opportunity to introduce themselves and to speak with him.

On Sunday morning we formally received the Metropolitan at the door of the church with bread and salt, followed immediately by a procession to the sanctuary while singing the Te Deum laudamus as the Metropolitan sprinkled the congregation with holy water. Upon arriving in the sanctuary we began Solemn Matins.

During Solemn Matins our acolyte, Fred Courey, was tonsured a cleric and ordained a Reader. The Order of Reader is the first step in the priesthood and is an important and very responsible ministry. 

Solemn Matins was followed by a Solemn Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist, commonly called a Solemn High Mass or the Divine Liturgy. We had fifty-six in attendance, including one visiting Orthodox priest.

After the Liturgy we enjoyed a delicious catered Luncheon in our parish hall. As at the Reception the evening before, anyone who wanted to speak with his Eminence had full access and many took advantage of the opportunity to speak with him. The entire weekend was a blessing and a joy, and we look forward to Metropolitan Hilarion’s next Episcopal Visit.

You can view photographs of Metropolitan Hilarion’s visit here:


















OUR FAITH — Music Video

This is a Must See music video of the song OUR FAITH. It was written by St. Nikolai Velimirovich (d. 1965) who was canonized in 2003. St. John Maximovitch, who had been a young instructor at a seminary in Bishop Nikolai's diocese of Ohrid, called him "a great saint and Chrysostom of our day [whose] significance for Orthodoxy in our time can be compared only with that of Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky). ... They were both universal teachers of the Orthodox Church."

Throughout this beautiful and inspiring music video you will hear the refrain: “Nasha vera Pravoslavna!” (Our faith is Orthodox!).  Enjoy the video!


The Orthodox Church is the oldest Church in the world, the original Church. Why settle for a schism, splinter or a wholly man-made substitute? We love being Orthodox and you will too. Come and see why. Everyone is invited and visitors are always welcome. We are a faithful, friendly and vibrant parish, and we have a place for you. I hope to see you on Sunday!




Thursday, August 23, 2018

YOU ARE INVITED: METROPOLITAN HILARION TO VISIT HOLY CROSS PARISH — SATURDAY, AUGUST 25 and SUNDAY, AUGUST 26

Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch (Primate) of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) and Bishop of the Orthodox Western Rite Communities will be making an Episcopal visit to Holy Cross Orthodox Church this Saturday and Sunday, and all of the scheduled events are open to the public. Holy Cross is a Western Rite parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. 

Everyone is invited to attend and Visitors are always welcome!

SATURDAY, AUGUST 25

5:00 PM  — Solemn Vespers with Metropolitan Hilarion preaching.

Solemn Vespers will be followed by a Reception with refreshments for the Metropolitan.

There is no charge for the Reception, but a free will offering will be taken.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 26

9:15 AM — Formal reception of the Metropolitan at the door of the church with bread and salt, followed immediately by Solemn Matins and the Ordination of a Reader.

10:00 AM — Solemn Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist with Metropolitan Hilarion preaching.

The Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist will be followed by a catered Luncheon. Metropolitan Hilarion will speak at the Luncheon.

There is no charge for the Luncheon, but a free will offering will be taken.

Need some personal spiritual renewal? Interested in or curious about Western Orthodoxy? Been thinking about visiting Holy Cross parish, or haven’t visited in a while and thinking about taking another look? Long been drawn to the Orthodox Church, but do not feel at home in the Eastern Rite? Always wanted to meet and speak with an Orthodox bishop? This weekend is your opportunity. We love being Orthodox. Come and see why. We are a faithful, friendly and vibrant parish, and visitors are always welcome!

HOLY CROSS ORTHODOX CHURCH
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127
(402) 573-6558

Sunday, August 12, 2018

METROPOLITAN HILARION TO VISIT HOLY CROSS PARISH — Saturday August 25 and Sunday August 26

Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch (Primate) of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) and Ordinary of the ROCOR Western Rite Communities will make an Episcopal Visit to Holy Cross parish in the Ralston suburb of Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday and Sunday, August 25 & 26.

This will be Metropolitan Hilarion’s second Episcopal Visit to Holy Cross Orthodox Church. His first Episcopal Visit was in August of 2015.

The Episcopal Visit begins with Solemn Vespers sung at 5:00 PM on Saturday, August 25. A Reception for Metropolitan Hilarion in the parish hall will follow Solemn Vespers. Light refreshments will be served.

On Sunday morning, August 26, Metropolitan Hilarion will be formally received at the door of the church at 9:15 AM, and welcomed with the traditional bread and salt. Solemn Matins will immediately follow. 

A Solemn Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist, commonly called the Divine Liturgy or Holy Mass, with the Metropolitan at the throne will be celebrated at 10:00 AM. A catered Luncheon in the parish hall will follow the Liturgy.

Metropolitan Hilarion will be preaching at Solemn Vespers on Saturday and the Solemn Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist on Sunday. In addition, he will be the Luncheon speaker. Local Orthodox clergy will be joining us for Metropolitan Hilarion’s Episcopal Visit.

This will be an opportunity to worship God in the beauty of holiness, to meet and speak with the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and to experience and learn more about Western Rite Orthodoxy. The public is warmly invited and everyone is welcome to attend. There is no charge for the Saturday evening Reception or the Sunday catered Luncheon, but a free will offering will be taken.

For more information call the church office at (402) 573-6558, or email Fr. Victor at:  venovak@hughes.net

We will be looking forward to seeing you there!

HOLY CROSS ORTHODOX CHURCH
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127

Friday, July 27, 2018

UPCOMING EVENTS

We have a number of Upcoming Events at Holy Cross parish. Everyone is invited, and visitors are always welcome. 

SUNDAY POTLUCK — July 29

This coming Sunday is our monthly Potluck Luncheon. The luncheon immediately follows the Sunday Liturgy. 

Visitors are our guests and do not have to bring a thing. There is always plenty of good food and warm fellowship, so be sure to invite family and friends. Everyone is welcome!

FAITH AND FAMILY NIGHT — Saturday, August 4

Saturday, August 4, is Faith and Family Night with the Omaha Storm Chasers at Warner Park. The first pitch is at 6:05 PM. We sold a lot of tickets for this annual event, and have great seats behind the net, between home plate and first base. Fireworks and a contemporary Christian music concert will follow the ball game. See you there!

METROPOLITAN HILARION’S VISIT — August 25 and 26

Metropolitan Hilarion, Ordinary of the Western Rite Communities and First Hierarch (Primate) of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) will be visiting Holy Cross parish on Saturday and Sunday, August 25 and 26. The Schedule is as follows:

Saturday, August 25

5:00 PM — Solemn Vespers, followed by a reception for the Metropolitan with light refreshments in our parish hall.

Sunday, August 26

9:15 AM — Formal Reception of the Metropolitan at the door of the church, followed immediately by Solemn Matins.

10:00 AM - Solemn Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist

A catered Luncheon in our parish hall in honor of the Metropolitan's visit will follow the Liturgy.

There is no charge for the reception on Saturday or the luncheon on Sunday, but a free will offering to help offset expenses will be taken. Everyone is invited to attend and visitors are always welcome, so be sure to invite family and friends.

SUMMER CHURCH PICNIC — Sunday, September 9

Our annual Summer Church Picnic will be held on Sunday, September 9, at Halleck Park in Papillion immediately after the Liturgy. There will be no Matins that day, and the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist will be moved up to 9:30 AM. We have reserved the covered pavilion until 2:00 PM for this event. Our annual Summer Church Picnic is always a highlight in the life of our parish. Everyone has a great time, and there is always a lot of great food.  The men of the parish will be grilling hamburgers and hotdogs. There is no cost for the picnic, but a free will offering will be taken. As always, the public is invited so be sure to invite everyone you know.

FALL HAYRACK RIDE, BONFIRE, AND POTLUCK — October

While we haven’t confirmed the date yet, our annual Fall Hayrack Ride, Bonfire and Potluck at Santa’s Woods is fast approaching. As always, it will be on a Saturday evening in October. Everyone loves this fun event! I will let you know just as soon as we have the date and time confirmed.

FOOD DONATION TO THE OPEN DOOR MISSION 

Our latest donation of food to the Open Door Mission totaled 342 pounds!!! As always, every ounce was contributed from within our parish. Thank you to everyone who gave, and a big thank you to Dr. Paul N. who coordinates this ministry and makes the deliveries. We have been supporting the Open Door Mission for many years, and have provided them with tons (and I mean that literally!) of much needed food. 

Our parish food bins are now empty, so please bring a donation of food with you on Sunday so we can begin filling them again. The needs are great, and we can make a difference. Thank you!

SUNDAY SERVICES

Sunday Matins is at 9:15 AM, followed by the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist at 10:00 AM, with our monthly Potluck Luncheon after the Liturgy. If you haven’t been to Holy Cross for a while, there is no better time to start back than this Sunday. If you have been thinking about visiting, we hope you will visit this week. Everyone is invited and visitors are always welcome. Join us for worship and remain for the Potluck Luncheon. You’ll be glad you came. We are a faithful, friendly and vibrant parish, and we have a place for you. See you on Sunday!  


HOLY CROSS ORTHODOX CHURCH
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127
(402) 573-6558

Friday, May 25, 2018

AN HISTORICAL RECREATION OF A 15th CENTURY LATIN MASS — A Must See Video!

I am attaching for you a link to a Must See one hour video. This video is an historical reconstruction of a Roman Rite Mass as it would have been celebrated on October 4, 1450, the 18th Sunday after Pentecost. 

The Mass was sung in one of the medieval churches of the Swedish Island of Gotland. Fr. Anders Piltz, the celebrant, is a professor of latin in Lunds University and a Roman Catholic Priest. The cantor is Mattias Östborn, cantor at the Roman Catholic parish of Visby.

The Introduction to the Mass in the video is in Swedish, but it has been (a bit roughly) translated into English:

"Five hundred years ago, the universe seemed much more understandable than it does for us. All of existence was framed by a number of ceremonies and behavioral patterns which were a matter of course for people at the time. And the most important of them was the Holy Mass — that ring of charged words and actions which surround the central mystery in the Christian faith: That Jesus becomes man anew in the creatures of bread and wine.

"We have reconstructed a High Mass from 500 years ago in an ordinary Swedish parish church, namely in Endre Church, one mile east of Visby in Gotland. We imagined ourselves to be participating in this High Mass on an autumn Sunday in the middle of the 15th century. It is local people who are participating in clothes typical for the time, and we have tried as much as possible to reconstruct [something to do with (worship) services] in the Diocese of Linköping at that time - since Gotland belonged to that diocese.

"The service is conducted in an incomprehensible language, a language incomprehensible to the people: Latin. Because church services at the time were not considered a medium for communicating information, except for silent prayers. Just as one cannot describe what is fascinating about a melody or a sight, one shouldn't be able to understand or describe the central mystery of the universe. The congregation waits for the central moment, when the bread and wine shall be transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ.

"The priest was helped by a chorister, perhaps the [experienced?] youth whom [his soul has discovered?] and who with time would be sent to Linköping in order to attend the cathedral school. Songs, mostly from the Bible, were sung by the local cantor. We don't know exactly how the music went in the medieval churches. Maybe Endre Church had a specific order which required a qualified cantor like the one we shall see here.

"The Sunday service began when the priest sprinkled Holy Water on the congregation. This was to remind them that they had become members of the Christian church through baptism. The Holy Water would drive away all the powers of evil.

"Let us now place ourselves in the Middle Ages. Let us try to grasp the atmosphere in a normal Swedish parish church, in a time where man still believed himself cast out into an empty, cold existence, when Europe was still unified, and when the central mystery around which everything revolved was that Jesus Christ, had become man, had died, and risen again for all.”

The Mass itself begins 3 minutes and 52 seconds into the video.

This historical reconstruction is of a Roman Rite Mass celebrated nearly four centuries after the Great Papal schism of AD 1054, and about 120 years before the Roman pope, Pius V, issued his Tridentine Roman Missal in 1570. The Tridentine Liturgy is different in a number of ways from what you will see in this historical reconstruction because by 1570, Counter-Reformation Roman Catholicism was rapidly evolving away from the Faith and practice of what is commonly called the Undivided Church. However, this Mass was offered 67 years before Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the church door in Wittenberg beginning the Protestant Revolution. Even four centuries after the Great Papal Schism the Mass you will see has much more in common with Western Rite Orthodox liturgical practice than it does with Tridentine Roman liturgical practice, although some obvious non-Orthodox accretions were already creeping into the Liturgy.

Among the first things that the viewer will notice in the video, which takes place in a medieval Swedish parish church, is that there is a Rood Screen separating the sanctuary from the nave. The Rood (meaning Cross) Screen has a image of the Crucifixion at its center, and resembles an Eastern Rite Iconostasis, only much more open making the altar, the celebrant and the ministers of the altar completely visible to the faithful.

You will also notice that there are two candlesticks on the altar, not six. The use of six candlesticks came much later while the use of two candles is the ancient practice. There is also a cantor stand near the altar and icons behind the altar. With the exception of the Rood Screen this reminds me very much of Holy Cross parish in Omaha, and we plan to have a Rood Screen as soon as we are able to purchase or build a permanent church building.

As the Mass begins, it is important to note that the chalice is not covered with a stiff pall, chalice veil or a burse. The stiff pall and chalice veil are of very late development and are not ancient at all. The corporal is simply folded and placed on the paten.  

As usual, the corporal is unfolded and spread out on the altar. However, the back of the corporal is folded over the chalice to cover it. That was the ancient Western practice, although sometimes a second corporal was also used to cover the chalice, but never a stiff pall. The stiff pall is a much later development. When the celebrant removes the chalice and paten from the altar after Mass they are carried covered with the open corporal. 

Neither the celebrant nor the acolyte ever genuflect during the Mass. Dropping to one knee is not an ancient form of reverence, and only came into use much later. Instead, reverence is shown by bowing. This was the common practice in both the East and West, and is still the practice in the Orthodox Church today.

There is neither a Processional or a Recessional Hymn sung at this Mass. Although there is nothing wrong with these hymns, they are actually outside of the Liturgy are are sung before and after Mass as the celebrant and ministers approach and later leave the altar. In this particular Mass the celebrant and acolyte simply enter the sanctuary and begin the Liturgy, as is also the practice in Eastern Rite Orthodox churches. 

The singing in this Mass consists of the Ordinary and the Propers, and everything is sung a cappella (without musical accompaniment). The use of a church organ in the worship of the church is post Great Schism, and only spread slowly in the West and not without controversy. No organ was used in this parish church in 1450.

There is no tabernacle on the altar. There were a number of different ways in which the Sacrament of Holy Communion was reserved in ancient times. In this medieval parish church the tabernacle was located in the wall. Another way of reserving the Blessed Sacrament for the sick was to place it in a tabernacle shaped like a Dove that was suspended from the ceiling above the altar. 

So what were some of the problematic changes that had entered liturgical practice in the  four centuries after the Great Papal Schism as depicted in this video of the Mass for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost, October 4, 1450?

First and foremost, the exclusive use of a dead language. In the ancient Roman Church the language of the Liturgy was Greek. That was because Greek was the language of the Christian population in Rome and was in common use throughout the civilized world of the time. When Latin was replacing Greek as the common language of the people in third century Rome, the Liturgy began to be celebrated in Latin as it had become the vernacular.

By the time we get to the year 1450, national languages had long been developed and Latin had become a dead language for all but clerics and scholars. This was before the printing press, so the people did not have a hand missal with Latin on one side and the vernacular on the other. Even the altar missal being used by the celebrant is hand copied, as seen in the video. But even if the faithful had a bilingual missal it would have done them little good as the common people were functionally illiterate throughout Western Europe.

With the Liturgy in a dead language it ceased to be “the work of the people” — which is what the word liturgy means. No longer able to participate in the Mass they would come to “hear Mass” and would understand little or nothing of what they heard. Even those who had some understanding of the Ordinary of the Mass would completely miss out on the Scripture-rich Propers. Rather than praying the Mass the faithful were reduced to praying at Mass, and many among the lower clergy were little better off. They could recite the Latin, but often with little comprehension. 

Because the faithful could no longer participate in the Mass and could only hear Mass in a language they did not understand, the Epistle and Gospel lections were read at the altar without turning to the people. There was no longer any need to. 

The preparatory prayers are said at the foot of the altar in this Mass. The older practice was to say them in the sacristy, but over the centuries they came to be said at the foot of the altar in various places. However, this did not become the official practice of the Roman Church until Pius V issued his Missal in 1570.

Other innovations included the use of unleavened bread, consecrating on the corporal rather than on the paten, and administering Holy Communion in one kind only. With the faithful being reduced to being spectators at a Mass in a language they could not understand, receiving the Sacrament of Holy Communion became very infrequent, often only at Pascha (Easter). In this video we see only two lay people coming forward to receive Communion despite the church being full. Even the acolyte and cantor do not receive Holy Communion.

As the reception of Holy Communion became increasingly infrequent, elevations were inserted into the Mass after the Words of Institution so the faithful could at least gaze upon the Blessed Sacrament. You will see them in this Mass, however without any accompanying genuflections. These elevations were a late medieval insertion into the Roman Rite. The practice began in Northern Europe and was accepted in Rome only in the fourteenth century. At first, the only elevation was that of the Host. The Chalice was not elevated. The first bishop known to have ordered the elevation of the Host was Bishop Eudes de Sully of Paris (1196–1208). This innovation gradually spread in the West, but the elevation of the Chalice did not begin until much later, was not universal in the Roman Church, and was never adopted by the Carthusians. 

Genuflections to accompany the elevations appeared still later, and became an official part of the rite only with Pope Pius V's Tridentine Roman Missal of 1570. In ancient times the word genuflection meant to fall on both knees. Dropping to one knee was a later redefinition of genuflection. The elevations were suppressed in England by rubric in 1549, as the English bishops were trying to restore the practice of frequent Communion.

The Mass you are about to experience in this video has far more in common with the Roman Rite as used in the Orthodox Church today than it does with the Novus Ordo or even the Tridentine Roman Rite. Remove the few post-Great Schism accretions, restore the Liturgy to the language of the people and as the work of the people, and return to the ancient practice of frequent Communion, and it would be what is experienced in Western Rite Orthodox churches today. 

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The Holy Eucharist is the centre and summit of our spiritual life. Holy Mass is indeed heaven on earth. Come and see. The Orthodox Catholic Church welcomes you!