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The Liturgy of St Gregory the Theologian PDF Print E-mail

History was made at All Saints Cathedral on Tuesday, 24th January 2012. For the first time in the history of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain, the until now almost unheard of Liturgy of St Gregory the Theologian was celebrated. The Liturgy launched this year’s annual celebrations of the Three Great Hierarchs, Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom, and Greek and Christian Literature.


The Greek Liturgy attributed to St Gregory belongs to the Alexandrian liturgical tradition, but was formed in Syria. There are at least two other liturgies of St Gregory, Armenian and Coptic. The latter is still celebrated in the Coptic Church today. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, St Gregory’s Liturgy fell into disuse, and in connection with the Feast of the Three Hierarchs and with the Name Day of Archbishop Gregorios, we decided it would be a wonderful opportunity to revive it.


Because it is no longer held in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the participating clergy and chanters got together to examine the existing books and texts, all of which had adulterations and were lacking in rubrics. We prepared a text which would be useable and practicable on the basis of an edition from Thessaloniki (2010) – which fortunately also included byzantine music scores for the hymns - and also consulted a version by the late and great liturgiologist, Fountoulis, to mention but two sources we referred to. We then “rehearsed” the Liturgy so that we would be ready to celebrate it in a manner that would do justice to what is such a beautiful service, one that is rich with prayers of a profoundly theological and poetic nature.


His Eminence, Archbishop Gregorios, attended the Liturgy and preached. We were also honoured to have several other clergy from around the country, including Archimandrite Zacharias of the Monastery of St John the Baptist (Essex) join us to experience this rare and forgotten Liturgy.


At the end of the service, Fr George Zafeirakos (Priest-in-Charge of All Saints) presented the Archbishop with a gift for his Name Day on behalf of the cathedral – an icon of St Gregory painted especially for this occasion by a renowned and talented iconographer from Thessalonica, who also painted the magnificent new icons which grace the walls of the cathedral.

 
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