From Tradition to Superstition

Huw has an excellent post on the evolution of communion piety and how it is at odds with patristic practice. Predictably he raises the ire of some who don’t like any questioning of any practice in the Orthodox Church.

In a follow up comment, Huw says, “And I think we went from proper doctrine with a few abuses (that we will always have)… to (mistaken) corrective liturgical action which prevented the abuse… to really silly superstitions attached to the liturgical actions and then read backwards…” I know I was a bit put off by some of the superstitions while I was looking at Orthodoxy from the outside. One I remember was that blessing an object, or particularly an icon, more than once removes the grace of the blessing from it. Apparently, this does not apply to blessing people.

I have often wondered about the practice in Orthodoxy of not serving more than one liturgy per altar per day. Clearly this is not the norm in the Roman Church. Is there any patristic basis for this? Do Western rite Orthodox Church follow this practice?

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3 Responses to From Tradition to Superstition

  1. Dave says:

    Bination. That’s what it’s called. I suppose the RCs do have a position on it. With the one local parish having one priest and four masses that are considered Sunday masses, and other with one priest that has three, I was surprised this is the case. But I suppose with the ever-decreasing stock of RC priests, they have to interpret this quite liberally.

    Nonetheless, it appears to be a dicipline of the church, not an issue of sacrament efficacy. Is the same true in Orthodoxy?

  2. Huw Raphael says:

    I’ve been told… that the point is to liturgically show forth the unity of the Body of Christ. While I agree with the teaching, we know that “mystically why we do this” tends to get read backwards. My guess is the abuses within the Eastern church were much the same as the Western church and, I imagine, we may well see as liberal a reading of them.

    I have no proof of that imagination, however.

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