Byzantine Back and Forth

This week is Holy Week and as the LifeTeen band isn’t playing this weekend, it means I can spend Easter at my favourite church, an Eastern Rite (Byzantine) Catholic parish near to where I live.

Alleluia!…well, almost 😉

One of the things I love about the Byzantine Rite is the standard set of greetings and responses which take place during the year.

For example, when I first attended the parish I got there very early on in the morning and heard the priest greet a parishioner with the exclamation: “Glory to Jesus Christ!”, to which the parishioner responded “Glory forever!”. This seems to me like a wonderful way to begin any conversation! 🙂

These responses change throughout the liturgical year.  At “Nativity” (Christmas) it becomes:

“Christ is born!”
“Glorify Him!”

We will shortly be entering the “Pascha” (Easter) season when it will change to:

“Christ is Risen!”
“Indeed He is Risen!”

And at certain blessings, such as at the end of Great Vespers or at the Kiss of Peace:

“Christ is among us!”
“He is and will be!”

 These all seem wonderful ways of proclaiming the faith! Feel free to practise in the “Comments” section below…

“Glory to Jesus Christ!”…

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2 Responses to Byzantine Back and Forth

  1. Fr Hugh says:

    It is not the east that has all the nice greetings you know. Until the Latin Rite ditched Latin (effectively) the Easter greeting used to be “Gaudium Paschale”, to which the response was “Quod est Alleluia”. It is not so easy to translate to English and keep the snappiness of it, but it basically means “The joy of Easter”… “That’s Alleluia!”

    The grass isn’t ALWAYS greener the other side of the fence, though I admit that in the eastern Catholic Churches it is pretty green.

  2. Oh definitely! When Fr. Boniface was in charge of the Altar Servers, part of our training was knowing the various responses after the major feasts.

    However, such responses, as you point out, have pretty much disappeared from Western Catholicism, which is a shame. The only rough equivalent I’ve seen in current use has been among those involved with Youth 2000:

    Leader: “God is good…”
    Response: “….all the time”
    Leader: “…and all the time…”
    Response: ” …God is good”

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