Under the resources section of this website, you will find spiritual, educational, and textual references about some of the more important aspects of our Ukrainian spirituality. Full liturgical texts, as well as help for those wishing to partake of a Holy Mystery (Sacrament) or are struggling with the loss of a loved one.
It’s not a “Mass”
While the word ‘Mass’ is proper to the Latin tradition, because it is derived from the Latin word missa, it is incorrect in the Byzantine usage. This word exists at the end of the Latin-rite Eucharistic Liturgy (Ite, missa est). The term missa was merely rendered into English and other languages. It became customary to use this term to refer to the entire Eucharistic Liturgy.
However, in all Christian liturgies and especially the Byzantine (Greek) tradition, the Greek word leitourgia is used. This word means ‘work of the people’ or ‘common service,’ and it expresses the fact that we gather – as the Church, the Body of Christ – to offer our common worship to God the Father, in the Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.
All common prayers of the Church are ‘liturgies,’ but the Eucharistic Liturgy is distinguished by the name ‘Divine Liturgy’ (in Greek, Theia Leitourgia; in Ukrainian, Bozhestvenna Liturhiya). Other Eastern Christian traditions have their own names for the Eucharistic Liturgy. But ‘Divine Liturgy’ (or simply ‘Liturgy’) is the proper term for Byzantine (Greek) Christians to use when speaking of the Eucharist.
The Orthodox Liturgical Tradition
In the Papal Encyclical, Orientale Lumen, Pope John Paul II proclaimed:
“Liturgical prayer in the East shows a great aptitude for involving the human person in his or her totality: the mystery is sung in the loftiness of its content, but also in the warmth of the sentiments it awakens in the heart of redeemed humanity.
In the sacred act, even bodiliness is summoned to praise, and beauty, which in the East is one of the best loved names expressing the divine harmony and the model of humanity transfigured, appears everywhere: in the shape of the church, in the sounds, in the colors, in the lights, in the scents.
The lengthy duration of the celebrations, the repeated invocations everything expresses gradual identification with the mystery celebrated with one’s whole person. Thus the prayer of the Church already becomes participation in the heavenly liturgy, an anticipation of the final beatitude.”