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Essays in Liturgy and Theology, Volume 4: Church, Clergy, Laity, and the Spiritual Life

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The Church is the place in which we apprehend salvation and share in the mighty saving acts of Christ. The Church is composed of many members, each one of whom is unique and vital. Yet these many unrepeatable persons form a single body, an organic unity of communion in which each one has both a particular and a common activity. They carry out their common activity through their diverse but interdependent gifts, responsibilities, roles, and duties. The people who constitute the Church comprise two distinct but interdependent orders, the clergy and the laity.

The essays in this volume were written over the course of several years for a variety of reasons. A common thread holds them together. Each deals in one way or another with themes that provide the title of the volume: Church, Clergy, Laity, and the Spiritual Life.

-From the Preface

The Reverend Dr. Alkiviadis C. Calivas is Professor Emeritus of Liturgics at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts, and former president of Hellenic College, Inc. and dean of Holy Cross. He is the author of several books, including Aspects of Orthodox Worship (2003).



p. xiii

1. Church, Clergy, Laity: Lessons from the Liturgy

p. 1

I. The Church

p. 2

The Church is a divine-human organism

p. 2

The Church is in the world but is not of the world

p. 2

The Church is an organic unity of communion

p. 4

II. Clergy and Laity 

p. 6

The Church is a structured community comprising two distinct orders

p. 6

The corporate life of the Church

p. 6

The one and the many

p. 8

III. The Synodal and Hierarchical Dimensions of Ecclesial Life

p. 10

Two interdependent modes of existence

p. 10

Hierarchical order: Its meaning and necessity

p. 11

The primacy of honor and authority

p. 13

IV. The People of God Are Knitted Together Organically and Inseparably

p. 14

The clergy and the laity constitute the people of God

p. 14

The gift of priesthood can be desecrated and forfeited

p. 15

The decisive difference between clergy and laity

p. 16

Unity with the clergy is essential

p. 17

V. The Laity

p. 18

The words clergy and laity

p. 18

Exercising the vital role of the laity

p. 19

The attributes, role, and mission of the laity

p. 19

Discerning and defending the truth

p. 20

VI. The Clergy

p. 21

Official ministries and spiritual gifts

p. 21

The hierarchies of priestly orders

p. 22

The bishop is the leader of the local Church

p. 23

The development of dioceses

p. 24

Four distinct levels of administration

p. 26

The presbyter is the head of the parish

p. 27

The diaconate in Christ

p. 29

Minor Orders: Do we need them?

p. 31

Points to ponder: Evaluating the old minor orders and creating new ones

p. 32

Who has the authority to restore, change, or add ecclesial offices?

p. 33

The bestowal of orders is a gift and the confirmation of a calling

p. 34

The prerequisites for ordination

p. 35

Each order is full and complete

p. 37

The gift of leadership

p. 38

VII. The Dangers of Laicism and Clericalism

p. 40

The Two Extremes

p. 40

The Roots of Laicism

p. 40

Forms of State-sponsored Laicism

p. 42

Clericalism: An Authoritarian Approach to ministry

p. 44

The Antidote to laicism and Clericalism

p. 45

Responsible Clerical Leadership is essential to the Church

p. 46

High expectations: Necessary traits for forming true community

p. 48


p. 50

2. The Presbyter and the Essential Activities of the Church

p. 65

I. The Four Essential Activities of the Church

p. 66

II. The Unique Relationships Born of Ordination

p. 66

III. The Ordination Prayers for the Presbyter and the Church’s Constitutive Activities

p. 67

IV. The Qualities Required of a Priest

p. 69

V. The Responsibilities of the Priestly Office

p. 70

VI. The Liturgy: The Matrix in which the Essential Activities Are Formed, Taught, and Enacted

p. 71

VII. The Divine Liturgy: Encountering Christ, the Word and Son of God

p. 73

VIII. Liturgy Forms Identity and Lives

p. 74

IX. Preaching the Word of God Cannot Be Neglected

p. 75

X. Bearing Witness to the Light

p. 77

XI. Preaching is an Act of Evangelism

p. 78

XII. The Realities of Life Should Not Be Ignored

p. 80

XIII. Conclusion

p. 81


p. 83

3. Clerical Attire and Differing Views of Change, Tradition, and the Spiritual Life in America

p. 89


p. 89

I. External Clerical Attire through the Centuries

p. 89

II. The Pan-orthodox Congress of 1923

p. 94

III. External Clerical Attire in America: Cultural Realities and Trends

p. 96

IV. The Liturgical Tradition

p. 99

V. The Canonical Tradition

p. 102

VI. What Sets the Cleric Apart

p. 104

VII. Clerical Attire and Views on Change

p. 106

VIII. Foregoing the Settled Practice: Why?

p. 108


p. 109

I. The “Traditional” Garb and Conservative Ideology

p. 109

II. The Church Must Make Herself Comprehensible to the World

p. 111

III. Appropriating the Tradition

p. 113

IV. The Church in Mission

p. 115

V. The Contributions of Monasticism

p. 118

VI. The Gift of Holiness

p. 120

VII. Where Does the True Identity of the Church Become Visible?

p. 123

VIII. Living the Spiritual Life

p. 124

IX. Issues of Identity and the Otherness of the Church

p. 129


p. 130

4. Healing of Persons and Communities through the Liturgy: A Theological Reflection

p. 151

I. The Therapeutic Nature of Salvation

p. 151

Themes of healing and reconciliation permeate the Orthodox liturgy

p. 151

The therapeutic nature of Christ’s redemptive work

p. 154

How the liturgy calls us to healing and reconciliation

p. 156

The Orthodox understanding of salvation and the sacraments

p. 158

II. The Sacramental Character of Healing and Reconciliation

p. 160

Healing and reconciliation through the sacraments

p. 160

III. The Sacrament of Holy Unction

p. 163

Sickness and death: The inescapable indignities

p. 163

The deeper meanings of sickness and healing

p. 165

Broadening our understanding of health

p. 167

The value of medicine

p. 168

Holy Unction, the Church, and the ills of the world

p. 168

IV. The Personal and Communal Character of the Sacraments

p. 170

The ecclesial dimensions of the sacraments

p. 170

Salvation comes through a community - the Church

p. 171


p. 172

5. Ecumenical Engagements: Opportunities for Healing and Reconciliation

p. 179

I. Unity of Faith is both a Gift and a Vocation

p. 180

II. The Patriarchal Encyclicals of 1902 and 1920

p. 181

III. Unity: Its Theological Foundations

p. 184

IV. Orthodoxy and the Search for Christian Unity

p. 185

V. Grassroots Ecumenism

p. 188

VI. A Roadmap for Ecumenical Relations

p. 189

VII. The Church: Keeper and Witness of the Message of Revelation

p. 190


p. 192

6. Orthodox Unity in America: Current Status and Future Prospects

p. 199

I. The Early Beginnings of Orthodoxy in America

p. 200

II. Old Hopes and Present Realities

p. 203

III. A Roadblock or a Crossroads?

p. 206

IV. Some Immediate Concerns and Rewards

p. 208

V. Pursuing Unity on All Levels of Ecclesial Life

p. 209

VI. The Role of Our Theological Schools

p. 210

VII. Two Critical Issues

p. 211

VIII. Asking and Doing: Two Tasks for the People and for SCOBA

p. 215

IX. An Example of a SCOBA Commission

p. 217

X. A Word of Caution and a Word of Hope

p. 218


p. 219

I. Important New Developments

p. 219

The Synaxis of Primates

p. 219

The Fourth Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference

p. 220

The Decision of the Conference: Twelve Regional Episcopal Assemblies

p. 220

The Rules of Operation of Episcopal Assemblies

p. 221

II. Establishing the Episcopal Assembly of North and Central America

p. 221

A promising historic moment: New beginnings

p. 222

Officers and meetings of the assembly

p. 223

III. The Inaugural Meeting of the Assembly

p. 223

The address of Archbishop Demetrios: History, clarifications, tasks, and challenges

p. 225

The address of Metropolitan Philip: Raising some important concerns

p. 226

The address of Archbishop Justinian: The role of the Russian Orthodox Church

p. 226

The address of Archbishop Nikolai: The legacy of SCOBA

p. 228

Laying the foundations

p. 228

The Assembly of Bishops as successor to SCOBA

p. 228

Partitioning the region of North and Central America

p. 229

IV. The Second Annual Meeting of the Assembly

p. 231

Reports and decisions

p. 231

V. The Third Meeting of the Assembly of Bishops

p. 232

The address of Archbishop Demetrios

p. 232

The remarks of Archbishop Justinian

p. 233

Committee for Legal Affairs

p. 233

Committee for Canonical Affairs

p. 233

Committee for Canonical Regional Planning

p. 234

VI. Moving Forward

p. 234


p. 236

About the Author

p. 242

  Product Description


244 Pages


Holy Cross Press



Product Dimensions:

6 x 9 x .5 inches


Alkiviadis C. Calivas

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