Session Title

Ritual, History, and Identity: Social Dimensions of Byzantine Liturgy

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Byzantine Studies Association of North America (BSANA)

Organizer Name

Greg Peters

Organizer Affiliation

Biola Univ.

Presider Name

Greg Peters

Paper Title 1

The "God Bearing" Patriarch: Liturgy as Political Symbolism in Ninth-Century Constantinople

Presenter 1 Name

Sarah C. Simmons

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Florida State Univ.

Paper Title 2

Civic Identification with the Mother of God in the Roman City

Presenter 2 Name

Richard Barrett

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Indiana Univ.-Bloomington

Paper Title 3

Religious Iconography, Social Interaction, and Liturgical Space in the Regional Byzantine Church: A Closer Examination of Cappadocia's Tokali Kilise

Presenter 3 Name

Megan Andrea Garedakis

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Graduate Center, CUNY

Start Date

9-5-2013 10:00 AM

Session Location

Fetzer 2030

Description

Liturgy, in the words of Byzantine historian John Meyendorff, being understood as “a balance between the various dimensions of the Eucharist, as a memorial of an historical event, as an initiatory mystery and as a locus of communion of people with God,” provides a unique rhetorical medium that builds communal identity and passes on the community's memory on an ongoing basis. As far back as the second century, the key to understanding Christian worship is that it is, as Dom Gregory Dix says, a “divinely ordered anamnesis” (act of recalling). In this way, liturgical commemorations of specific events and people show clearly how tradition is passed on and reinforced across generations, and how the community of the faithful defines its own religious and cultural identity. This panel, then, will explore the social function of liturgy in the Byzantine world beyond the ceremonial mechanics. How can Christian ritual in the Byzantine world be seen as a social and religious phenomenon that interacts with and informs history, and vice versa? How does it build, maintain, and/or transmit identities? How does it educate the worshipping community? How does it express and pass on the faith of the worshipping body over time? How does it do so in a multi-sensory fashion that goes beyond being a rhetorical or textual exercise?

Greg Peters

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May 9th, 10:00 AM

Ritual, History, and Identity: Social Dimensions of Byzantine Liturgy

Fetzer 2030

Liturgy, in the words of Byzantine historian John Meyendorff, being understood as “a balance between the various dimensions of the Eucharist, as a memorial of an historical event, as an initiatory mystery and as a locus of communion of people with God,” provides a unique rhetorical medium that builds communal identity and passes on the community's memory on an ongoing basis. As far back as the second century, the key to understanding Christian worship is that it is, as Dom Gregory Dix says, a “divinely ordered anamnesis” (act of recalling). In this way, liturgical commemorations of specific events and people show clearly how tradition is passed on and reinforced across generations, and how the community of the faithful defines its own religious and cultural identity. This panel, then, will explore the social function of liturgy in the Byzantine world beyond the ceremonial mechanics. How can Christian ritual in the Byzantine world be seen as a social and religious phenomenon that interacts with and informs history, and vice versa? How does it build, maintain, and/or transmit identities? How does it educate the worshipping community? How does it express and pass on the faith of the worshipping body over time? How does it do so in a multi-sensory fashion that goes beyond being a rhetorical or textual exercise?

Greg Peters