Rubrics and the Holy Spirit

In getting reading for Vespers this evening I had to take a quick peek in the Typicon for the service. The need to have to look at the rubrics, of what I am supposed to do, reminded me of an article I just read regarding the contribution to contemporary liturgical renewal given to us by Bishop Atanasije (Jevtic). A quick excerpt from the article:

We look at that “oldest preserved manuscript of the Byzantine rite, the so-called Barberini Euchologion (from the end of the VIII century) which Bishop Atanasije has translated … In them we see that rubrics existed but for what would for us today be an unthinkably small measure. This tells us clearly that the liturgical act at that time was / that it, in fact, was always like this / an area of freedom in faith to the Holy Spirit, and that in the service the liturgist, as Bishop Atanasije says: “would serve the Divine Liturgy being led by the Holy Spirit, in a living, oral tradition.”

Could have just done without the Typicon and let the Spirit guide me. Maybe next Saturday I’ll do just that.

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4 thoughts on “Rubrics and the Holy Spirit

  1. There is a brand of Orthodoxy where following the rubrics seems to be the major focus, the teaching of doctrines and the pushing of morality the emphasis, where what we do to please God takes the place of what God does to release us. Words are mouthed, actions performed, ostensibly to glorify God and the saints, and everything holy stays in the holy place. Outside the doors, life goes on as always, sometimes even a little worse for wear, and perfectionism and scrupulous rigor replace walking in the spirit. This is not the Orthodoxy I received from the saints. Their lives were, for me, an unwritten rubric that infected my life with the goodness they had received from Christ. Their faith, instilled into me (I hope) the trust in the Spirit who is the one sent by Christ from the Father to be with us always, that we never become orphans. And that faith and trust in love has been the certainty that makes full freedom possible.

  2. And knowing what the Typikon says exactly is not always easiy. I find that each of the books I have says something different, and one has to choose which one to follow.

  3. Doing without the Typicon and letting the Spirit guide you – in my experience, that’s exactly what most priests seem to do!

    I think the fact that the old Euchologions had few rubrical notes is an indication of the fact that the liturgical tradition was *learned* by many, many years experience, so that there was little question as to what to do. Likewise, musical notation is a fairly late development – and in its early centuries the notation was not so much explicit instruction as an aide to the memory. Chanters simply had to know the tradition by experiencing it their whole lives. Clergy and chanters were living repositories of the liturgical tradition to an extent rarely seen today outside monasteries.

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