LORD JESUS, HAVE MERCY ON ME A SINNER
AN ANCIENT CHURCH STILL TEACHING THE ANCIENT
TRUTH AND LIVING OUT THE ANCIENT FAITH
The Celtic Orthodox Church is
so Ancient it demands respect
is so Traditional it is refreshing
and so Conservative it is reassuring.
HOLY TRINITY CELTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH
A MONASTIC CHAPEL LOCATED IN THE RESIDENCE OF THE
CELTIC ORTHODOX BENEDICTINE FATHERS
1703 MACOMBER ST., TOLEDO, OHIO 43606
PHONE 419.206.2190 / E-MAIL email@example.com
CELTIC ORTHODOX BENEDICTINE MONKS ARE PRAYER WARRIORS WHO DAILY
OFFER THE DIVINE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS AND DAILY PRAY THE SCRIPTURES
FOUND IN THE DIVINE OFFICE CALLED THE MONASTIC DIURNAL.
Our Lord assured his disciples that he had come, not to destroy, but to fulfill,
the Law. It is not surprising, therefore, to find the earliest Christians,
notably the Apostles, conforming to the traditional customs of worship of
the old Covenant: keeping the Passover, or going up to the Temple to pray
at the appointed "Hours of Prayer," or keeping those hours as times of private devotion.
Likewise, we find St. Paul, wherever he might be, seeking out the
local synagogue on the Sabbath, taking part in its worship and
availing himself of its opportunities for teaching. At the same time
we find Christians keeping strictly Christian observances, notably
the First Day of the Week, with its Eucharistic Breaking of Bread as
the distinctive act of worship. Even when the Church had overflowed
the bounds of Judaism and was overwhelmingly Gentile in its
membership, there was a survival of devotional practices of Jewish
origin. Chief among these was the observance of the "Hours of
Prayer," as services supplemental to the central Eucharistic Rite.
Tertullian, among others, is witness that this survival was not
confined to the Christian communities of Palestine. The observance
of the Hours was at first a matter of private devotion in Gentile
communities, as it continued to be in Rome until a comparatively
late period. But with the rise of asceticism, we find outside of
Rome the practice of saying the Hours becoming customary in the
public assemblies for worship, where it met and coalesced with two
other Non-Eucharistic services, the Vigil preceding Sundays and
great festivals, and the daily “Lucernarium”, or lamp-lighting
service, held at night-fall. The material of these services was
drawn from the worship of the synagogue and the structure of the
Vigil modeled loosely after its pattern. There was psalmody, the
reading of other parts of Scripture, and prayer. It is in the union
of these two streams of common worship, the monastic, semi-private
services of the Hours, and the public Vigil and its prelude, the
Lucernarium, that we find the original form of what has long been
known in the Church as The Monastic Diurnal or Divine Office.
The Liturgy proper, the Mass, held its position of supremacy unchallenged
But contemporary writers bear witness to the fact that in the East,
in the Fourth Century, the laity, secular and monastic, as well as
the clergy, attended these supplemental services in great numbers.
That there should be need of regulation was inevitable. By the time
such regulation appeared (in the Fourth Century) the fusion of the
secular and monastic elements of the Office had become general, and
perhaps we may attribute the enactment of legislation on the subject
to the cooling of the zeal of not only the secular laity, but of the
clergy as well, in the matter of regular and systematic attendance
at the offices. Thus we find in The Apostolic Constitutions
directions that clergy and laity shall "make prayers early in the
morning, and at the Third, Sixth, and Ninth Hour, at eventide, and
at cock-crow." There is an additional enactment that, if assembly
for service cannot take place in church (on account of persecution,
or similar grave cause), the Bishop shall assemble his flock in some
private house; but if this is impossible, each one shall discharge
this duty either alone, or with one or more of his brethren. (Apost.
Const. VIII, xxxiv. Patr. Graec. I, 1135.) In the same century,
the Council of Laodicea (A. D. 387) echoes these directions.
THE BENEDICTINE MONASTIC DIURNAL
THE BENEDICTINE MONASTIC DIURNAL DATES BACK TO THE 6TH CENTURY AND IS AMONG THE FIRST AND OLDEST FORM OF PRAYER REGIMENTATION IN THE WESTERN RITE OF THE LARGER ORTHODOX AND CATHOLIC CHURCH. IT WAS ESTABLISHED BY SAINT BENEDICT OF NURSIA, A WESTERN RITE ORTHODOX MONASTIC, BEFORE WHAT TODAY IS CALLED THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH BROKE AWAY FROM THE LARGER ORTHODOX AND CATHOLIC CHURCH. THE DAILY PRAYING OF THE
DIURNAL HAS ALWAYS OPENED THE FLOOD GATES OF GOD’S BLESSINGS ON THOSE WHO
PRAY IT WITH FAITH AND PERSEVERANCE. DARE I SAY IT HAS BEEN THE CAUSE OF THE SALVATION OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WHO OTHERWISE WOULD HAVE ENDED UP IN HELL.
St. Benedict writes in his Prologue to the Rule: We intend to establish a school for the Lord’s service. In founding it we hope to introduce nothing harsh or burdensome. If your experience convicts you of sin, do not at once be dismayed and fly from the way of salvation, as we know the way to salvation is narrow. For as we advance in the religious life and in faith, our hearts expand and we run the way of God’s commandments with joy and gladness.
CELTIC ORTHODOX BENEDICTINE SPIRITUALITY
Celtic Orthodox Benedictine are warriors who daily pray the Benedictine Monastic Diurnal. This helps them sanctify their day and draw closer to God in Christ. Christ asked the Apostles, “WILL YOU WATCH ONE HOUR WITH ME”? Celtic Orthodox Benedictine respond “YES LORD, SPEAK YOUR SERVANT LISTENS”. The Diurnal (means day time prayers) are a composition of psalms differing with
each day of the week. The Psalms have always been considered the prayer book of the church from the
time of the Apostles.
The Monastic Diurnal owes its remote origins to the inspiration of the Old Covenant. God commanded the Aaronic priests (c.1280 BC) to offer a morning and evening sacrifice (Ex. 29:38-29). During the Babylonian Exile (587-521 BC), when the Temple did not exist, the synagogue services of Torah readings and psalms and hymns developed as a substitute for the bloody sacrifices of the Temple, a sacrifice of praise.
After the people returned to Judea, the Temple was re-built. The prayer services developed in Babylon for the local assemblies, (synagogues) of the people, were brought into Temple use. We know that in addition to Morning and Evening Prayer to accompany the sacrifices, there was prayer at the Third, Sixth and Ninth Hours of the day. The Acts of the Apostles notes that Christians continued to pray at these hours (Third: Acts 2:15; Sixth: Acts 10:9; 10: 3, 13). And, although the Apostles no longer shared in the Temple sacrifices—they had its fulfillment in the "breaking of the bread" (the Eucharist)—they continued to frequent the Temple at the customary hours of prayer (Acts 3:1).
Monastic and eremitical (hermit) practice as it developed in the early Church recognized in the Psalms the perfect form of prayer and did not try to improve upon it. The earliest Psalter cycles of which we have a record is the division given by St. Benedict in his Rule (Ch. 8-19) with canonical hours of Lauds (Morning Prayer) offered at sunrise, Prime (1st hour after the Mass), the Office of Terce (3rd hour, or Mid-morning), Sext (6th hour or Midday), None (9th hour or Mid-Afternoon), Vespers (Evening Prayer) offered at sunset, and Compline (Night Prayer) before going to bed.
Christ continues to bring the love of the Father to His people and reveal His own love for us from the Tabernacle on the Altar. Christ continues to be our Savior, our Redeemer, our life, our sweetness and our hope. From the Tabernacle on the Altar Christ ALONE remains the gate of Heaven, the SOLE arbiter and dispenser of all God’s Graces and gifts; The Mediator of all graces. We are healed by the Sacred Wounds of Christ, we are redeemed by His Precious Blood and we are made clean by His spoken word. It is impossible to be sealed in the Blood of the Lamb without also experiencing the power of the Mass, as the Eucharist is what seals us in the Blood of the Lamb. The Benedictine Monastic Diurnal is an extension of the Mass used in the Western Rite of the Orthodox Church and is oriented toward the Mass.
St. Benedict (A.D. 480-543) writes of the canonical hours in the Rule he wrote;
As the Prophet saith: "Seven times a day I have given praise to
Thee," this sacred sevenfold number will be fulfilled by us in this
wise if we perform the duties of our service at the time of Lauds,
Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline; because it was of
these day hours that he hath said: Seven times a day I have given
praise to Thee. At these times, therefore, let us offer
praise to our Creator "for the judgments of His justice;"
namely, at Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline.
THE CANONICAL HOURS
Regular daily prayer appears to have both been inherited from the Jewish Church and an outgrowth of the extended apostolic Eucharist. In accordance with Psalm 118:164 -- "Seven times a day do I praise Thee" --
devout Jews would offer prayers and psalms periodically throughout the day, and such services were a feature of synagogue worship in the days of the Apostles.
The watch of prayer which preceded the post-apostolic Eucharist was eventually organized into several hours, one of which remained as the preparatory part of the Eucharist (the Proanaphora or Mass of the Catechumens).
Vespers for Saturday is called Vespers 1 of Sunday to show continuity of worship with the Sabbath Day (Saturday). In the life of the early church for some 600 years or so the faithful met for worship on the Sabbath (Remember, keep holy the Sabbath) and also on Sunday, the Lord’s Day (the Apostles met on the first day of the week in addition to worship on the Sabbath).
The chief end of the Monastic Diurnal of the Benedictine tradition is to render to God Praise, Thanksgiving, and Adoration which is His due, and the sanctification of souls.
The Church lives in time and with time. This truth is brought out beautifully in the canonical hours. They provide a perfect way to consecrate the whole day to God and make it holy. The admonition of our Lord, that we are to pray and not grow weary, is thus perfectly fulfilled. For every part of the day the Church has drawn up a special prayer-form, an hour, as it is called, that corresponds to the particular need of that time of the day. The day is like a journey through an arid desert, but every three hours we come upon an oasis that offers us the waters of grace and the cool refreshing shade of heavenly assistance. Spiritually we may revive ourselves at the canonical hours of prayer.
Lauds is a jubilant hour, fresh as the morning dew, perhaps the most beautiful of all the hours. Its symbolism deserves attention. It is night; nature and men are asleep. In the Far East the grey of dawn appears; then the ruddy hue of morning, the harbinger of a new day, spreads across the horizon, and the world of nature begins to stir. But all this natural beauty is only a symbol and reminder of a most wonderful event in the story of salvation. It was at this beautiful hour that our Savior burst the bonds of death. Resurrection—that is the background theme of Lauds. And the two pictures together, dawn and resurrection, remind us of a third arising from slumber, the spiritual awakening of the human soul. There is, then, a threefold resurrection: nature awakens, the Savior rises from the dead, the human soul celebrates its spiritual resurrection. Such is the background to our prayer of Lauds. It is an explicit song of praise; praise is the hour's central theme. If we can get a feeling for these three pictures intermingling in our Lauds prayer, if we can enter into the spirit of this threefold resurrection, if we can enlist the forces of nature to pray and praise and exult along with us while reciting this hour reasonably early in the morning, perhaps even in the open air, then we are certain to be struck by the full impact of its meaning. Lauds is, actually, one of the most striking examples of what a proper observance of the characteristic thought of an hour and the background theme from the story of salvation can do for personal devotion. The psalms at Lauds are all specially chosen hymns of praise. The climax of Lauds is the Gospel song, the “Benedictus”. It is a hymn in praise of man's redemption, a greeting to the dawning day of salvation which is destined to be one more step toward its completion. Every day is a new coming of the Redeemer, and the Church greets her Savior as the "Day-Spring from on high".
PRIME (FIRST HOUR AFTER DAILY MASS)
Prime is the Church's second Morning Prayer, quite different in tone from Lauds. Lauds is the ideal morning prayer, a "resurrection song" of all creation and of the Church. Prime is the morning prayer of a sinful human, a subjective prayer. The basic theme of Prime is dedication of and preparation for the day's labors and conflicts. This theme runs through the whole hour.
9 o'clock. The Church wants us to pause briefly during our day's activity and raise our hearts to God; that is the purpose underlying the “little hours”. They are a chance to catch our breath, an oasis in our desert wanderings. It is important that we do not pray them all at once, but whenever possible we should pray them at the corresponding hour of the day as a renewed consecration of the day's work. The little hours are short, because the day is for work. The story of salvation has a role to play in Terce: it was the third hour (9:00) when the Holy Ghost came down upon the young Christian community on Pentecost Sunday. Quite appropriately, the Church recalls this mystery in the hour of Terce: Terce is thus the "first Confirmation", a strengthening for the conflicts of the day. The hour's theme is invocation of the Holy Ghost. The hymns proper to the little hours are a further development of the theme proper to each, and to the corresponding time of day.
12:00 noon. Theme of the hour: The day's conflict is at its climax, the heat of passion is at its strongest, the powers of hell have greater influence over man; our lower nature seems to have gained mastery. Theme from the story of salvation: the Savior is hanging on the Cross (12:00 to 3:00); hell is bringing all its forces to bear against him. This scene from Good Friday is the background for Sext; foreground is the battle against sin in us and in the Church. "Lead us not into temptation" is the message of this hour.
3:00 to 6:00. This day of salvation is slowly beginning its decline. Our thoughts are taken up with the end of life. Looking to my future I ask: will I persevere? Perseverance is the hour's theme. There is no theme from the story of salvation. At the most there is eschatological shading—the last things.
Vespers, or Evensong, is the Church's evening prayer. It is very similar to Lauds, both in construction and in basic theme. The Church looks back on the day of salvation just passed with all its redeeming graces—and is fervently grateful. Vespers is a thanksgiving prayer. Thanksgiving is the principal theme: the “Magnificat” is the climax, the great thanksgiving song of the Church. The canonical-hour theme is this: thanks be to God for the day just passed, both in the soul and in the Church, thanks for all his saving graces. There is also a theme from the story of salvation to be found in Vespers—the Last Supper. At the very same time that Vespers is prayed, Christ was seated with his apostles in the upper room. This gives Vespers a special connection with the holy Eucharist, and as a matter of fact, a great number of the Vesper psalms are Eucharistic songs or at least can easily be referred to the Eucharist.
Compline is the Church's second evening prayer, and as opposed to Vespers, it is a subjective and individual prayer for the sinful soul who wants to make her peace with God. The hour is a masterpiece of construction, the work of St. Benedict; we might call it the ideal night prayer. Particularly beautiful is the symbolism of Compline. Light and sun are favorite Scriptural and liturgical symbols of God, Christ, the divine life. Christ is the divine Sun, the Christian is a child of the Sun. These thoughts are to be found frequently in the hours. But also the opposite of light, night and darkness, is a frequent liturgical symbol for the sinister power of the devil; night is the cloak for the prince of this world.
INTRODUCTION TO BIBLICAL ORTHODOXY
OUR APOSTOLIC LINE OF SUCCESSION IS ACCEPTED BY WORLD ORTHODOXY.
REMEMBER AS YOU READ THESE LETTERS OF AFFIRMATION THE BISHOPS BEING ACCLAIMED AS PART OF WORLD ORTHODOXY WITH GRACE FILLED AND SPIRIT FILLED ORDERS ARE NOT SUBJECT TO ANY OLD WORLD PATRIARCH, YET THE PATRIARCHS ACCEPT THEM AS EQUAL BISHOPS IN THE LARGER CHURCH WITH THE SAME APOSTOLIC MISSION.
LETTER OF RECOGNITION FROM THE O.C.A.
LETTER OF RECOGNITION FROM ALEXANDRIA
LETTER OF RECOGNITION FROM THE GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH
WE ARE SUCCESSORS TO THE APOSTLES, IN UNION WITH THE ORIGINAL 12 AND ALL THOSE WHO CAME AFTER THEM AND WITH ALL THOSE WHO WILL COME AFTER US.
APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION OF BISHOP BRIAN KENNEDY, O.S.B.
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