What the Greeks call the Divine Liturgy falls into three parts: The Office of Oblation ,where the bread and wine are presented; The Liturgy of the Catechumens, wherein the faithful engage in praying, hearing readings and singing, in preparation for the Holy Sacrament; and The Liturgy of the Faithful, which is the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
At the beginning of the first two parts, the Deacon asks the Celebrant (Bishop or Priest) to bless the assisting clergy and the congregation, and the two blessings are as follows:
Blessed is our God always, now, and ever, and unto ages of ages (Office of Oblation)
Blessed is the kingdom of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now, and ever, and unto ages of ages (Liturgy of the Catechumens. This Blessing is bestowed in cross-form with the book of the Gospels and from the Altar).
Here “our God” in the first is filled out to include his full Name in the second. There is no comparable Blessing at the beginning of the Liturgy of the Faithful.
Throughout parts two and three there are Exclamations, wherein God the Holy Trinity is praised and adored.
Here are three examples from each of the two parts:
For unto thee [O Lord] are due all glory, honor and worship, to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now, and ever, and unto ages of ages.
For thine [O Lord] is the majesty, and thine are the kingdom and the power and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now, and ever, and unto ages of ages.
For thou art a good God, and lovest mankind, and unto thee [O Lord] we ascribe glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now, and ever, and unto ages of ages.
For unto thee [O Lord] are due all honor, glory and worship, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now, and ever, and unto ages of ages.
That being kept always by thy might, [O Lord], we may ascribe glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now, and ever, and unto ages of ages.
Through the bounties of thine Only-begotten Son, with whom thou [the Father] art glorified, together with the most holy and good, and life-giving Spirit, now, and ever, and unto ages of ages.
What comes across so clearly and powerfully is a strong and clear doctrine of the Holy Trinity, always in the revealed order of the Father, together with his Son, and with his Holy Spirit. Further, following the content of the Great Commission of Matthew 28: 16- 20, there is a careful use of the definite article, “the”, to emphasize the distinctness and personhood of all Three—of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. (See verse 19 of Matthew 28: “in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”)
TEC Prayer Book 1979
At the beginning of the Eucharist, and at several other places, in the current Episcopal Church Prayer Book (a collection of varied services but called, oddly, “The Book of Common Prayer”), there is a Blessing or Exclamation which is said to be based on the Greek (see Hatchett, Commentary, p.318).
The TEC form is as follows:
Minister: Blessed be God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
People: And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever. Amen.
The Greek form at the comparative place in the Divine Liturgy is:
Blessed is the kingdom of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now, and ever, and unto ages of ages.
To anyone who has even a minimal theological and grammatical education, it is very obvious that all that can be claimed is that the TEC form is based upon the Greek in a general sense; for they are not strictly doctrinally identical. In the Greek form there is one eternal kingdom, ruled over and the possession of the One God who is known as Three distinct Persons. In the TEC form there is One God, who has three Names or Modes of Being [and perhaps is Three Persons?], and who has a kingdom. In the Greek form it is “blessed is the kingdom” whereas in the TEC it is both “blessed be God” and “blessed be his kingdom.”
One wonders why the TEC Liturgical experts in the 1970s did not simply use the Greek Blessing and have the people respond with a clear “Amen.” As it is, they provided a text that has been often modified to become: “Blessed be God: Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier” or similar formulations, to satisfy feminists and radicals. Further, just by its lack of clarity it has served to undermine classic Trinitarian language and doctrine.
www.pbsusa.org email@example.com www.anglicanmarketplace.com Sept 6 2008