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My first thought was to flee
Posted By Eric Sammons On July 15, 2009 @ 11:26 am In Eastern Christianity,Liturgy | Comments Disabled
As readers of this blog know, I have a deep appreciation for the Eastern liturgies of the Church. A few weeks ago, I blogged  about a Baptist minister (the “Real Live Preacher”) who visited an Orthodox Church for liturgy and was overwhelmed (in a good way). I just ran across (via Byzantine, TX ) another great description of someone attending a Divine Liturgy for the first time. This time, it is a Latin Catholic who is visiting churches in Manhattan and just recently attended Divine Liturgy  at St. Michael’s Russian Catholic Church . Some excerpts:
What an experience this week! I wandered into the celebration of The Divine Liturgy. I had never attended this before and it was like entering another world, so different than the Masses I am used to…
Peering through the window of the door I witnessed the beginning of the Divine Liturgy . There were four priests, fully decked out in traditional Byzantine Rite robes, gathered around an altar behind an ornate altar fence; I could hear the small congregation praying and singing in Russian; incense wafted through the air – immediately I was overwhelmed and my first thought was to flee. However, something made me open up the doors and walk in, standing alone in the small entryway corridor. Then, an older gentleman saw me and ushered me inside, and I entered the chapel…
The song and the prayer that followed for the next hour and a half were incredible, and it was really something special to be in that small, intimate space of such devotion. There were no chairs, save a few exceptions for some older members of the small congregation, and though admittedly an hour and a half is a long time to stand, it seemed to fly by…
I made my way to the altar, spoke my name, then the priest dipped the bread into the wine and using a little spoon dropped it into my mouth.* The deacon wiped my lips with a cloth and I kissed the base of the chalice as I had witnessed the others in the chapel do. To the left of the altar, a small table had been set up between two priests (or maybe they were deacons or acolytes, I’m not sure) that contained another plate of bread and small ladles of wine. My hand was shaking as I picked up the ladle. I quickly drank the wine, took another portion of bread, crossed myself clumsily and went back to my place against the wall to listen to the post-Communion hymns and prayers…
Read the whole article here .
*Note: since this was a Russian Catholic Church (i.e. not an Orthodox Church), communion is allowed for all Catholics, including Latin Catholics.
Article printed from Divine Life – A Blog by Eric Sammons: http://ericsammons.com/blog
URL to article: http://ericsammons.com/blog/2009/07/15/my-first-thought-was-to-flee/
URLs in this post:
 blogged: http://ericsammons.com/blog/2009/06/05/how-could-you-have-brought-us-to-this-insane-place/
 Byzantine, TX: http://byztex.blogspot.com/2009/07/encounter-with-russicum-church-in-new.html
 just recently attended Divine Liturgy: http://catholicmanhattan.blogspot.com/2009/07/69-st-michaels-chapel-russian-catholic.html
 St. Michael’s Russian Catholic Church: http://stmichaelruscath.org/
 Divine Liturgy: http://orthodoxwiki.org/Divine_Liturgy
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