Archive for December, 2009

1646 Trebnyk of Peter Mohyla

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Eastern Christian Publications is in the final stages of production of a facscimile reprint of the 1646 edition of the Trebnyk of Peter Mohyla, the Book of Sacraments and Blessings.

The Euchologion, called in most Slav languages the Trebnyk, is one of the most important Eastern Orthodox liturgical books. There is no standard edition of this book, which has a great many variations, particularly between the Greek editions and the Slavonic editions. In general, the Slavonic editions have a much richer content. The 1646 edition of Saint Peter (Mohyla) is a watershed in the development of Church-Slavonic editions, relevant to Russian and Ukrainian editions ever since – which is not to say that all these later editions reproduce all or part of the 1646 edition; most of them do not.

Some accusations about the Mohyla Trebnyk that are unfounded include:

1. The innovation of Baptism by infusion (rather than by triple immersion) is not found in this edition of the Trebnyk; to the contrary, Mohyla insists that Baptism must be done by triple immersion. This accusation is completely inaccurate, pure mythology.

2. It is true that the Trebnyk gives the so-called “marriage vows,” unfortunately. But this is not the first edition of the Trebnyk to give such “marriage vows”; I am tempted to suspect that the reason may have been caution to avoid attacks on the validity of marriages solemnized in Poland. It is more difficult to understand why Mohyla omits the partaking of the common cup by the bride and groom.

3. It is true that the Trebnyk gives a “formula of absolution” for use in the administration of the Sacrament of Penance, which incorporates the Latin, indicative “formula of absolution”. I have no idea why Mohyla found it good to do this, but he was not himself responsible for the innovation, which appears in some editions from earlier in the seventeenth century.

4. It is also true that some of the “explanatory” introductions to various services show the influence of Latin theology of the period. However, these materials are not part of the services, nor are they read out to those in attendance.

The Eastern Orthodox liturgical tradition is often accused of neglecting “pastoral” needs. Simply reading the Table of Contents of the 1646 edition of the Trebnyk renders that accusation ludicrous. There are abundant materials for use in visiting and praying for the sick, quite practical admonitions regarding the burial service (including one which forbids drinking alcoholic beverages in connection with a funeral!), sermon materials, orders for the blessing of a new town or village, orders for the blessing of land, the blessing of a new house, and so on, the blessing of an oven, the blessing of a well (and the prayer for finding water), blessings of various foods, blessings for the planting and for the harvest, blessings for travelers, and blessings for those starting school.

There are devotional services for use in time of war, in times of inclement weather, in times of famine, in time of earthquake, during epidemics, and so forth. Some of these services are remarkably timely even today, when we are threatened with another serious epidemic of influenza, and when weather conditions in the south Pacific are giving rise to serious concern and hardship. These materials should be translated, published, and used.

So Eastern Christian Publications seriously hopes that this latest reprint of the 1646 Trebnyk will not only be to the honor of Saint Peter (Mohyla) and a serious scholarly contribution to the Church, but may also be of prayerful use in our present circumstances.

OL EuroEast III Speakers Finalized

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

After my private audience with His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, we have finalized the speakers and agenda for the upcoming Orientale Lumen EuroEast III Conference scheduled for July 5-8, 2010 in Constantinople. The conference theme will be “The Councils of the Church” and the plenary speakers will be:

    • Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, Greek Orthodox theologian and retired Spaulding Lecturer of Eastern Christianity at Oxford University, England
    • Archbishop Cyril Vasil’, SJ, Secretary of the Congregation for Eastern Churches in the Vatican, and former rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome
    • Archimandrite Robert Taft, SJ, Professor Emeritus of Liturgy of the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, and prolific author and theologian of the Byzantine Liturgy
    • Archimandrite Job Getcha, Professor of the Catholic Institute of Paris and of the Institute of Orthodox Theology in Chambesy, Switzerland, of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
    • Sister Vassa Larin, Professor at the University of Vienna, Austria and nun of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
    • Professor Richard Schneider, specializing in iconology at York University in Toronto and St. Vladimir’s Seminary in New York
    • The moderator will be Bishop John Michael Botean of the Romanian Greek Catholic Eparchy of St. George in Canton, Ohio, USA.

In addition to the conference agenda of plenaries and liturgies, several special events and tours will take place:

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will address the conference at the opening session

The conference will conduct one full day of sessions at the Halki Orthodox Theological Academy off the coast of Istanbul

The conference will participate with His All Holiness in a memorial service at the tomb of Patriarch Athenagoras

A tour of several churches around Constantinople will be conducted at the end of the conference by Professor Schneider with religious and theological explanations of the churches and their architecture

Metropolitan Kallistos will lead a pilgrimage to Ephesus and the island of Patmos to the monastery of Saint John the Evangelist and to the cave where by tradition, Saint John wrote the Book of Revelation

More details and online registration for the conference can be found at on the Future Conferences page.

New Books Available from Eastern Christian Publications

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

The following new books have been released by Eastern Christian Publications and are available on our website in the online catalog page for New Titles:

Introduction to Liturgical Services and their Symbolism in the Eastern Church
By Patriarch Gregorios III (Laham).
A wonderful compilation of catechetical information on Byzantine Eastern liturgical traditions, sacraments, feast day celebrations, religious vessels, vestments, church architecture, iconography, and other topics, written in an informative method to educate and inspire. 204 pages. Price — $20.00.

The Holy Transfiguration: A Symphonic Presentation 
By Fr. Robert Slesinski.
The in-depth educational book reflects on the feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord from a scriptural perspective, comparing the Gospel accounts and writings of Luke, Matthew, Mark, John, Peter and Paul. 120 pages. Price — $15.00.

Liturgical Renewal in the Twentieth Century
By Fr. Vladimir Vukosinovich.
Written by a priest of the Serbian Orthodox Church, this book is an English translation of the original and covers the history and theological ideas of the Liturgical Movement in the Roman Catholic Church and its mutual relation to the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church. 200+ pages. Price — $20.00.

New Books in Production

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Continuing our work to produce new and interesting book titles, three new books are in the final stages of production at Eastern Christian Publications. They include:

China: Leaving, Living, and Farewell by Mere Elisabeth.

This is the personal diary over several decades of the life of a Carmelite nun who spent most of her adult life living in China. Originally written in French and entitled “Partir – Go!”, this English translation details the trials and sufferings of monastic communities in spreading the Gospel of Christ to the far reaches of the world.

“The Ratzinger Formula” — A Catalyst for the Unfolding Dialogue Between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches on: “Conciliarity and Primacy” by Richard Mattiussi.

This doctoral thesis, supervised by Archpriest David Petras, SEOD, of SS Cyril & Methodius Seminary in Pittsburgh, covers the contemporary ecumenical landscape and many applications of the “Ratzinger Formula” to both conciliarity and primacy in the ecumenical dialogue between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches.

God’s Holy Fire: The Theology of Icons by Father Lawrence Cross.

The book covers a wide range of topics related to icons of the Eastern Christian Churches. Chapter titles include:

    • The Old Testament and Early Christianity
    • The Idea of Image in the Patristic Church
    • Early Christian Art: Between Archaeology and Legend
    • Iconoclasm and the 7th Ecumenical Council
    • Theology of the Icon Defenders (Iconophiles)
    • Genesis of the Icon
    • Regional Development of the Icon
    • Writing the Icon
    • Fixed Feasts of the Liturgical Year
    • The Moveable Feasts of the Liturgical Year
    • Function of Icons In The Church
    • Anastasis: Icon, Text and Theological Vision
    • Praying with Icons

These new books are expected to be published in the first quarter of 2010. Watch this space for more details, or check for New Items.