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21st Annual Saints Cyril and Methodius Lecture Live-streamed on May 18, 2021

21st Annual Saints Cyril and Methodius Lecture Live-streamed on May 18, 2021

Father Deacon Daniel Galadza, assistant professor at the University of Vienna, visiting professor at the Pontifical Oriental Institute, and currently a research fellow at the Centre of Advanced Studies of the University of Regensburg, Germany, was the speaker at the 21st annual Ss. Cyril and Methodius Lecture of the Byzantine Catholic Seminary on May 18, 2021. The lecture was live-streamed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fr. Deacon Daniel spoke on “The Liturgy of Jerusalem: History, Theology, and Lessons for Today.”

The lecture was attended live by over 200 viewers, and hundreds more have had a chance to benefit from Fr. Deacon Galadza’s expertise in this topic, first demonstrated in his work, Liturgy and Byzantinization in Jerusalem (Oxford University Press 2018), being the first study dedicated to the question of the Byzantinization of Jerusalem’s liturgy, providing English translations of many liturgical texts and hymns for the first time.

Fr. Deacon Daniel chose to divide his lecture into distinct sections, each of which proceeded to build on the previous ones, as he worked steadily and methodically, as if climbing a mountain, to allow his listeners to enjoy not only each of the intricate steps of the journey itself, but to acquire a panoramic “appreciation of the connections between liturgy, theology and piety in the examples from Jerusalem” which can then “serve as inspiration for enacting those connections in worship, study and devotion today.”

To arrive at this profound vista, he summarized the main point or sub-lesson of each section, as follows:

(1) The Liturgy of Jerusalem and its History: “… the history and theology of the holy city’s liturgy presented this evening leaves us with certain lessons to contemplate today. … pilgrimage and piety are central in the experience of liturgy at the holy places and the subsequent transmission of Jerusalem’s liturgies to all of Christendom.”

(2) The Liturgy of Jerusalem and its Theology, with (3) The Liturgies of Jerusalem and Constantinople: “The hymnography from Jerusalem emphasized the unity of the events of the life of Jesus in the celebration of the mystery of Christ. The emphasis on the places where worship of God took place involved the faithful in the liturgy in a tangible way.”

(4) Byzantinization, and (5) Latinization: Having demonstrated earlier in these two sections why “the main problem is that … organic expressions of the liturgical piety from one rite are out of place within the harmony of the liturgy and theology of another”, Fr Deacon Daniel was able to say that “The examples of Byzantinization and Latinization highlight how the change of one’s liturgical tradition can signal a crisis of identity and a loss of the necessary understanding of that tradition. Such a change also mistakes the universal message of the Gospel of Christ for the local liturgical tradition of an important political center, making political power universal and the local eucharistic community secondary.”

He concluded: “our appreciation for and understanding of the centrality of Jerusalem in the history and theology of the Church need not be seen as advocacy for some kind of liturgical restorationism inspired by antiquity. As Father Robert Taft, the first speaker of this lecture series 20 years ago, would often repeat: “history is instructive, not normative”, reminding his students that there is no golden age of liturgy to return to, since the encounter between God and man takes place here and now.”

Rooting himself in the reminder of St. Germanus of Constantinople that “that every church, sanctuary and altar, whether in Jerusalem or in Constantinople,” in Palestine or Pittsburgh, “is an earthly heaven” where “God dwells and walks about” and which “represents the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Christ,” a final request was made, as the lecture came to a close: “let us not forget the clergy and faithful of Jerusalem, the Mother of all the Churches. Let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem, Palestine and all the Middle East”.