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On Friday, April 11, on the last day of Great Lent, the community of the Holy Trinity Monastery and Seminary celebrated the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts of St James, the Brother of the Lord.   The liturgy was served at 11am in the church of St Job of Pochaev in the basement of the Holy Trinity Cathedral, and was presided by Archimandrite Luke (Murianka), the Abbot of the monastery.  The hymns of the liturgy were beautifully sung by the seminary choir.

This Presanctified Liturgy, attributed to St James, the Brother of the Lord and the first bishop of Jerusalem, is the order of the Lenten communion service as was celebrated in the Holy City until approximately 12thcentury.  The order of the service has been preserved in part in a few Greek sources and fully in several Georgian sources, which date to 10th-14th centuries and reflects liturgical customs of that period.  Just as the Presanctified Liturgy attributed to St Gregory the Dialogos,  this is a celebration of a Lenten Vespers with the order of Holy Communion, intended to allow the faithful to receive the holy Mysteries on the days when the full Divine Liturgy cannot be served.  The Presanctified Liturgy of Jerusalem, however, includes a more complete order of Vespers, and also derives its structure and some of the prayers from the full Divine Liturgy of St James which was the main eucharistic liturgy of the Jerusalem Church at the end of the 1stmillenium.  The restored text of the Presanctified of St James was translated from Greek into Church Slavonic by His Grace Bishop Jerome (Shaw), and in 2013 was approved for the liturgical use by the Synod of Bishops of the ROCOR.  This is the second time this liturgy has been celebrated in the Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville.

The celebration of the Presanctified Liturgy of St James has proved to have been instructive both for the students and the guests of the monastery, teaching them about the depth and richness of the Orthodox liturgical tradition.  The annual celebration of the Liturgy of St James and of the Presanctified Liturgy of St James ensures our continued reflection upon the legacy of the Church of the Holy City of Jerusalem, the most ancient of the local churches in Christendom.

 

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Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary
PO Box 36
Jordanville, N. Y. 13361
Telephone: (315) 858-0945
info@hts.edu