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Up to the Trisagion, everything in the Liturgy is called the enarxis, literally, that which is in the beginning. Of course, when the Liturgy is celebrated, there is no announcement made (I think) that now the enarxis is ended and the Liturgy of the Word begins. However, I do think that some kind of distinction should be made so that the Liturgy is not just one long action with little variation. In actual practice, when the Trisagion is sung, the celebrant does repair to the presbyteral chairs behind the Holy Table, and this part of the Liturgy, the Liturgy of the Word, is mostly celebrated facing the people. The Liturgy of the Word, of course, goes back to the most ancient stratum of the Liturgy, yet it is a part that has actually been shortened rather than lengthened. It seems that until the seventh century, there were three readings: Old Testament, an Apostolic Reading and a Gospel. The Psalm, called the Prokeimenon, was also considered a reading, but it has been reduced to the refrain verse and the first verse of the psalm. This illustrates the principle: as the Liturgy develops, the reading of Scripture tends to decrease. In some of our parishes, to shorten the Liturgy, the Epistle was even dropped, and this may still be happening in some parishes. Also, in the early centuries, there was a preaching after each of the readings. This preaching was originally done by the one who read the reading, though later it was restricted to the ordained clergy. However, still in modern Greece, preaching is often done by educated lay theologians, since many of the clergy only receive a rudimentary education. Perhaps, with the vocation crisis, we will go in this direction also, ordaining people with little theological education, so that there can be someone to read the presbyteral prayers. Except for fixed feasts, the Byzantine Church follows the practice of a continual reading of the epistles and gospels, beginning with Pascha. The Roman Church has also returned to a "course" ( = continuous) reading also since the Council. There are actually three courses, or cycles: 1) Sunday; 2) Saturday; 3) Weekdays, Monday to Friday. The Saturday cycle was once very important, but has fallen into much disuse. Even people who come to daily Liturgy often skip Saturday, which has become in popular culture a weekend work day, and many priests who have a Saturday evening Liturgy for Sunday, drop Saturday morning. There are very few translation questions about the Liturgy of the Word. There is one prayer, the prayer before the gospel. However, this is a private prayer of the priest before the gospel, that was never meant to be said publicly. There is some controversy on the deacon's dialogue with the priest before the deacon reads the gospel (that the deacon reads the gospel is Rome-Constantinople tradition; in Jerusalem the priest read the gospel, and the prayer comes from this tradition, it is not of Byzantine origin, being addressed to Christ), whether this should be said publicly or not. The Commission wants it said publicly, and this seems to have been the more general practice, though there are some who claim it is Ruthenian tradition to say it silently. The Eparchy of Passaic also suppressed the deacons' acclamations before the Epistle, but the IELC has retained them. The incensation before the gospel should be done while the Alleluia is sung, so as not to disturb the reading of the epistle. Also, there are some who advocate a reform of the cycle of readings, expanding it to a 2 or 3 or 4 year cycle. I personally think this would be a good idea, if it were thoughtfully done, with respect for tradition, that is, particularly for the Sundays that have an office connected with the gospels. I did write an article on this "The Gospel Lectionary of the Byzantine Church," which appeared in St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly, 41,2-3 (1997).

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Wow, there are a few topics buried in this last entry that can spark lively discussion!

What is that about ordaining priests with little education? (I can come up with quite a few one-liners but I think I will supress the urge.)

What is the relationship between theological education and sacramental representation? Does one have to be educated to minister the sacraments?

Can women preach?

What is the purpose of the homily? Does one have to be educated to preach effectively?

How important is it to maintain Ruthenian practice as opposed to placing Ruthenian practice in line with the practice of other Byzantine churches?

What is the ecumenical role and responsibility of the IELC?

Is the American Ruthenian Church really struggling with becoming an authentic American Church as opposed to becoming an American version of the Ruthenian church?

Can/should the lectionary be changed? What effect would this have on the theological education of the laity? What ecumenical problems or opportunities does this present?

John

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Originally posted by Petrus:
How important is it to maintain Ruthenian practice as opposed to placing Ruthenian practice in line with the practice of other Byzantine churches?

What is the ecumenical role and responsibility of the IELC?

Is the American Ruthenian Church really struggling with becoming an authentic American Church as opposed to becoming an American version of the Ruthenian church?
John

These two come very close to the questions I put to Fr. David earlier, to which he has not responded (an oversight, I am sure). To restate them,

1. Is the new translation considered to by a typical edition superseding the Slavonic typical edition of 1942?

2. If so, what relationship will the new translation have to the Slavonic typical edition?

3. Is the new translation to be considered liturgically the minimum or the maximum that may be celebrated within the Metropolia; i.e., will parishes and monasteries be allowed to do things which are in the Slavonic typical edition but not in the new translation (this was, I believe, the thrust of one of Hegumen Nicholas' critiques of the liturgical reform).

I really would appreciate the courtesy of a (non-evasive) answer.

Stuart

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[ 09-09-2002: Message edited by: J Thur ]

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Dear Joe,

I would agree entirely! The reunion of the Churches should be accomplished first, as a matter of priority. Then, there will be time to give attention to such matters as reforming the lectionary.

While the division endures, we must endure with exactly the lectionary we have in common with them.

But, I have yet to feel limited by the scripture texts provided. It will take some time to exhaust their potential for preaching and teaching.

It is also permitted to draw into any sermon a text, parallel, or story, from anywhere else in the Gospels.

So, until the Great and Holy Council of Union, I think we can manage.

Elias

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Dear Frs. Elias and David;

This is a theoretical question, not an emotional one. If the Russians have replaced the antiphons with the beatitudes, i.e. replaced OT readings with NT, haven't they,in a sense, already unilaterally changed the Scriptural readings?

John

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I have another rumination regarding Fr. David's most recent post.

Isn't it amazing how many changes can occur as a result of one change in the tradition?

For example, if we just consider the abolition of the married priesthood, this has led to a shortage of priests so we need to consider returning back to uneducated priests (aka stupid bachelors). This has also led to the reestablishment of the diaconate. But because of the priest shortage, the deacons are better trained, are able to dispense the Holy Elements, preach, etc. We may even more aggressively utilize Typika services, lay preaching, and so on.

I guess, where Fr. Elias is coming from (not that he can't speak or hasn't spoken for himself!) is that any variation from tradition will have such unintended consequences and will drive a wedge between Eastern Churches.

Then again, who has the right to interpret the spirit of tradition. If tradition as practiced now is imprecise or incomplete in meeting our needs, who can fix it? Who can lead?

I have no answers. This just happens to be my favorite thread right now and beats getting on with my life. So I'm trying to keep it alive.

John

[ 08-29-2002: Message edited by: Petrus ]

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Originally posted by Petrus:


I have no answers. This just happens to be my favorite thread right now and beats getting on with my life. So I'm trying to keep it alive.

John

[ 08-29-2002: Message edited by: Petrus ]

Maybe if Father David would consider answering my previous two posts, that would help matters along.

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To answer Stuart's questions, I first must answer one of John Petrus' questions:

What is the ecumenical role and responsibility of the IELC ( = Inter-eparchial Liturgy Commission) ?

Please do not over-rate us. The IELC is a consultative body, appointed by the Council of Hierarchs and responsible only to the Council of Hierarchs. We cannot take any action not sanctioned or requested by the Council of Hierarchs. We cannot promulgate or mandate anything liturgical whatsoever, our sole function is to make recommendations to the Council of Hierarchs on issues they present to us. Our ecumenical responsibility, therefore, is co-terminus with the ecumenical responsibility of the whole Church, as set out in its teachings, and according to the conscience of each. It is to be hoped that since we are appointed by the Council of Hierarchs, and have areas of expertise that can assist the Council of Hierarchs, that they would take with the necessary gravity the recommendations we make - but we take no action, all action comes from the bishops.

My personal conscience - certainly, of course, obviously, no doubt we must take into consideration our potential communion with the Orthodox Churches of the Byzantine tradition. There is no greater goal than the ultimate goal of communion with one another in the one, holy and sanctifying body and blood of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ. My heart aches for this re-union, and it is an absolute priority. However, I also believe that some make an absolute principle that we must literally and to the word do everything that the Orthodox do to the final detail. This is impossible first because not all Orthodox celebrate the Liturgy the same way. Nothing that I have proposed to the IELC has ever been anything that has not been proposed or actually practiced by some segment of the Orthodox Church. I will say this - reunion is impossible for the immediate future, to demand that we follow every detail until union is achieved would deprive us of another need that also has a certain priority - to respond to the pastoral needs of our faithful. We can and should do this - within the parameters of our tradition, of course. Certainly, the readers of this site must know that I have many friends, contacts and acquaintances among the Orthodox, and that all these liturgical matters are discussed with them and that the Orthodox also have some pastoral problems and responses also. Many follow with interest many of our actions to see if they might be answers to the needs of the Church today. In the present situation, I do not see any possibility for reunion, but I have faith, as Cardinal Kaspar said last May, that some day re-union will come like a thunderclap, out of the blue, and all the folly that has kept us apart will be swept away. Likewise, the general communion of the Orthodox cannot officially take serious anything that the "Uniates" do, though, as mentioned, many consider us a "sister Church" in their hearts. Officially, the Orthodox hold that the Eastern Catholic Churches must be dissolved for union to occur. The more hostile among them do not appreciate at all that we keep the Orthodox rites, considering this to be a deceit of the Orthodox people and proselytism, that we are Roman Catholics and should either become Orthodox or practice Roman Catholicism. I mention this not because I believe it, but it does exist. I believe we should follow the authentic Byzantine tradition but must not delude ourselves that this is going to be attractive to all Orthodox.

Now to answer Stuart's questions as crisply as I can:

1. No, it will not supercede the 1942 typical edition. However, it will be considered a sanctioned, authentic translation - pastoral adaptation - of the typical edition for the use of the four eparchies of the Ruthenian Metropolia only.

2. I believe this answer is included in no .1 above.

3. The answer to this depends entirely on the Council of Hierarchs. Having followed the necessary procedure as mandated by law and having received the approbation of the Holy See, they may promulgate the pastoral translation as they wish. They may require it for all churches and monasteries under their jurisdiction or they may make exceptions. This is not the responsibility of the IELC, for the Council of Hierarchs alone may act. Certainly, the monasteries involved may petition the Council of Hierarchs to continue to celebrate the Liturgy in a more complete form. The Council of Hierarchs may ask the IELC for advice. I might just give them my own recommendations, but at any rate there is yet no answer to question 3.

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Quote
Originally posted by Petrus:
Dear Frs. Elias and David;
This is a theoretical question, not an emotional one. If the Russians have replaced the antiphons with the beatitudes, i.e. replaced OT readings with NT, haven't they,in a sense, already unilaterally changed the Scriptural readings?
John

John,

Are the antiphons to be considered of similar weight as the NT and Gospel proclamations of the Liturgy?

This is a very interesting point for me. It is my understanding that Ruthenians Byzantine Catholics have the option of using the typical psalms any time (when special antiphons are not apointed) and in fact it seems the custom in many places to do this during fasting periods, why I cannot say, only that it is done.

Is this news to many? Is it not as common as I have observed? Are settings for this not in the Bokshai-Malinich and/or Stefan Papp as I seem to recall?

Bob

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Originally posted by Father David:
To answer Stuart's questions, I first must answer one of John Petrus' questions:

What is the ecumenical role and responsibility of the IELC ( = Inter-eparchial Liturgy Commission) ?

Please do not over-rate us. The IELC is a consultative body, appointed by the Council of Hierarchs and responsible only to the Council of Hierarchs. We cannot take any action not sanctioned or requested by the Council of Hierarchs. We cannot promulgate or mandate anything liturgical whatsoever, our sole function is to make recommendations to the Council of Hierarchs on issues they present to us. Our ecumenical responsibility, therefore, is co-terminus with the ecumenical responsibility of the whole Church, as set out in its teachings, and according to the conscience of each. It is to be hoped that since we are appointed by the Council of Hierarchs, and have areas of expertise that can assist the Council of Hierarchs, that they would take with the necessary gravity the recommendations we make - but we take no action, all action comes from the bishops.

My personal conscience - certainly, of course, obviously, no doubt we must take into consideration our potential communion with the Orthodox Churches of the Byzantine tradition. There is no greater goal than the ultimate goal of communion with one another in the one, holy and sanctifying body and blood of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ. My heart aches for this re-union, and it is an absolute priority. However, I also believe that some make an absolute principle that we must literally and to the word do everything that the Orthodox do to the final detail. This is impossible first because not all Orthodox celebrate the Liturgy the same way. Nothing that I have proposed to the IELC has ever been anything that has not been proposed or actually practiced by some segment of the Orthodox Church. I will say this - reunion is impossible for the immediate future, to demand that we follow every detail until union is achieved would deprive us of another need that also has a certain priority - to respond to the pastoral needs of our faithful. We can and should do this - within the parameters of our tradition, of course. Certainly, the readers of this site must know that I have many friends, contacts and acquaintances among the Orthodox, and that all these liturgical matters are discussed with them and that the Orthodox also have some pastoral problems and responses also. Many follow with interest many of our actions to see if they might be answers to the needs of the Church today. In the present situation, I do not see any possibility for reunion, but I have faith, as Cardinal Kaspar said last May, that some day re-union will come like a thunderclap, out of the blue, and all the folly that has kept us apart will be swept away. Likewise, the general communion of the Orthodox cannot officially take serious anything that the "Uniates" do, though, as mentioned, many consider us a "sister Church" in their hearts. Officially, the Orthodox hold that the Eastern Catholic Churches must be dissolved for union to occur. The more hostile among them do not appreciate at all that we keep the Orthodox rites, considering this to be a deceit of the Orthodox people and proselytism, that we are Roman Catholics and should either become Orthodox or practice Roman Catholicism. I mention this not because I believe it, but it does exist. I believe we should follow the authentic Byzantine tradition but must not delude ourselves that this is going to be attractive to all Orthodox.

Now to answer Stuart's questions as crisply as I can:

1. No, it will not supercede the 1942 typical edition. However, it will be considered a sanctioned, authentic translation - pastoral adaptation - of the typical edition for the use of the four eparchies of the Ruthenian Metropolia only.

2. I believe this answer is included in no .1 above.

3. The answer to this depends entirely on the Council of Hierarchs. Having followed the necessary procedure as mandated by law and having received the approbation of the Holy See, they may promulgate the pastoral translation as they wish. They may require it for all churches and monasteries under their jurisdiction or they may make exceptions. This is not the responsibility of the IELC, for the Council of Hierarchs alone may act. Certainly, the monasteries involved may petition the Council of Hierarchs to continue to celebrate the Liturgy in a more complete form. The Council of Hierarchs may ask the IELC for advice. I might just give them my own recommendations, but at any rate there is yet no answer to question 3.

Fr. Dave

Thank you, Father.

Assuming that the Council of Hierarchs chooses (following the unfortunate precedent of Bishop Andrew's rulings in Passaic) that the new translation cannot be either redacted or exceeded (save where indicated), how can that be reconcilied with the Byzantine Tradition of allowing individual communities a considerable degree of latitude regarding how much to include in their celebration of the liturgy, consistent with meeting certain customary minima? This was Father Nicholas' concern, and I share it. I am perfectly happy with bishops saying "You cannot do less than this", but I have a big problem with the notion of their saying, "You can do no more than this".

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Following the readings and before the anaphora (Eastern tradition = Prayer of Offering; Western tradition, Pray of thanksgiving = Eucharistic prayer) was the original place where the litany intercessions were said. Intercession itself was an ancient part of the Liturgy, along with praise and scripture. The "Liturgy of the Word" then follows the movement: glorification of God - hearing of God's word - intercession for our needs. The most ancient moments for intercession were the closing of the Liturgy of the Word, and the Anaphora itself after the Epiclesis. Why this pattern developed is, of course, a point of much theological discussion. It is clear, however, that intercession has not remained at this point of the Liturgy. The Russians get the closest. If there is a deacon, then the structure of this part of the Liturgy is:
Litany of Fervent Supplication (Greek, Ectenes)
Litany of Catechumens (plus their dismissal)
Small Litany (with the First Prayer of the Faithful)
Small Litany (+ 4 petitions of the Litany of Peace, omitted if there is only a priest, with the Second prayer of the Faithful)
Most recensions omit there little touch - the four extra petitions if there is a deacon! The fact that they are there is a reminder that this was the original position of the Litany of Peace - this is not speculation, the migration of this litany to the beginning of the Liturgy can be traced in documents.
The Litany of Fervent Supplication, called in Slavonic the Suhubaja Ektenije (the "Redoubled Litany," because the "Lord, have mercy" is redoubled and sung three times has migrated into the Liturgy from offices that were said in times of special need, hence the insistence, over and over again, on the mercy of God. It does not replace the Litany of Peace, because it is said before the dismissal of the catechumens, while the Litany of peace, as a prayer for the faithful, is said after the dismissal of the catechumens. It seems, then, and we can find traces of this theological explanation, that it was introduced after catechumens were no longer actually dismissed - because the original concept was that before baptism, catechumens could not actually pray (note that the Litany of the Catechumens is not a prayer by the catechumens, but for the catechumens by the faithful) because "their prayer was not yet pure." (Formula found in various fathers) The catechumens is all that remains of the original dismissals, which also included the penitents and the energoumenoi (those that were mentally sick and so perceived as having a devil, and ineligible for Communion, I hope most of us now consider it more enlightened to allow Communion to these poor people). The fact of the dismissal of the catechumens caused some problems for liturgical commentators after the actual fact of dismissal disappeared. Nicholas Gogol in the nineteenth century said that when the litany is said, we must consider ourselves as catechumens who have not yet been completely evangelized. A rather noble explanation, I think, but clearly theology after the fact, even if you accept it as helpful spirituality.
Obviously, the first small litany was meant as a diaconal introduction to the First Prayer of the Faithful, and the second Small Litany is what remains of the Litany of Peace, which corresponds to what the Romans now call the Prayer of the Faithful. (Note I am not advocating spontaneous invention of petitions here, although even in the Byzantine tradition, special petitions for particular intentions was permitted.)
We,of course, have kept the Litany of Fervent Supplication. Even though I have noted that it is out of place (as a prayer of the Faithful BEFORE the dismissal of Catechumens), I am not advocating its elimination. There are a couple of points which some have criticized. In the fourth petition, we have translated "brethren" as "brothers and sisters," since it is clearly meant for the community gathered for the Liturgy, which includes both men and women (in a parish church). In the fifth petition, we have translated "armed forces" as "all in the service of our country." Some, particularly priests, have bitterly criticized this as "anti-militaristic," and that we should pray for "our boys in the foxholes," though wars are rarely fought that way anymore. Note that I do not think it wrong to pray for our soldiers, and that soldiers are certainly to be numbered among those "in the service of our country," but that this translation simply makes the petition more inclusive and includes more people in our intercession.
The new translation actually restores the Litany of the catechumens, which is almost never said in our churches anymore (although the petitions are compressed, which some may criticize). However, it does say that catechumens should be actually present. It would be a wonderful thing if our church actually started growing again and that we would have many catechumens.
We originally omitted the small litanies. Rome mandated, however, that if there are, in fact, catechumens, and if the Litany of the Catechumens is said, then this section must end with a Prayer of the Faithful, which is the second small litany with the second prayer of the faithful.
In my opinion, this is all very reasonable pastorally, and that the ultimate restoration would be the return of the Litany of the Faithful to this point, after the Litany of the Catechumens. No one, however, seems to think we're ready for that. At least, we keep a substantial prayer of the faithful at this point in the Liturgy. Many, many Greek Churches simply drop all litanies between the Gospel and the Great Entrance, though this is precisely the point where litanies should be kept.

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Fr. David;

Why drop the litanies? Is it because they are repetitive? redundant?


A second very different question: in the hierarchical liturgy, the public vesting, etc. has been suppressed. The public part of the liturgy seems to begin with the Bishop's candle blessing. It seems to me that a better "starting point" would actually be with the proclamation: "May your light so shine that all may see your good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven always now and ever and forever." To me this places the position of the bishop in the proper light. His response, "Oh Lord, Oh Lord look down from heaven and see..." subsequently renders the forthcoming celebration on behalf of the entire community.

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Just a few observations on "structure" between the Gospel and the Great Entrance. This time of the Liturgy is occupied with litanies, or prayers for specific intentions. The present structure is: Litany of Fervent Supplication - Dismissal of Catechumens - Prayer of the Faithful. The first litany is accompanied by a short prayer which insists on the importance of the mercy of God. As noted, it probably was imported into the Liturgy from offices of intense prayer for particular intentions. It must have been imported after the dismissal of catechumens had become a mere formality because most entered the church as infants, because in the classical period, catechumens could not pray, and the Prayer of the Faithful could only take place when the catechumens had been dismissed. Actually, it would be nice to have catechumens again, it would be a sign that the faith is growing and spreading. The significance of the catechumen dismissal is lost on many of our priest celebrants today. Many open up the antimension on the Holy Table immediately after the Gospel, at the beginning of the Litany of Fervent Supplication. Since the antimension, which has on it an image - icon of the burial of our Lord, belongs to the Paschal Mystery of the sacrifice. Therefore, the rubrics call for it to be opened only when the catechumens have been dismissed. One might be tempted then to see this as a motive for the restoration of the dismissal of the catechumens, and like I said, I wish there catechumens, but I wonder if they would actually make the connect. I wish that more priests and people would be aware of this aspect of the liturgical celebration. There are two prayers of the faithful. When writing about the enarxis, I mentioned that there should really be three: one said quietly while the deacon said the litany, the second said publicly when the litany is concluded ( = the Roman collect) and the third a prayer of dismissal during the bowing of heads. The first prayer of the faithful is meant to be said quietly during the litany, the second is the concluding prayer, but there is no longer a third prayer. Some have theorized that the prayer of the bowing of heads after the Our Father was originally here. Who was dismissed? Those who weren't going to communion. This is only speculation, but the idea is that those not going to Communion were originally dismissed before the gifts were brought in - if you stayed you went to Communion. Later the dismissal was moved to just before Communion. Taft wrote about this in an article entitled "The Inclination prayer before Communion in the Byzantine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom: A Study in Comparative Liturgy," Ecclesia Orans 3 (1986), pp. 29-60. However, tihs is in the realm of speculation, and no one has made the suggestion to "reform" the Liturgy on this point. There is a prayer after the second prayer of the faithful, a long prayer addressed to Christ called the Prayer of the Cherubicon. It is clearly a different kind of prayer than the two Prayers of the Faithful. It is much longer, it is addressed to Christ, it is the only prayer in which the priest prayers in the first person singular, and it was the most recent prayer introduced into the Liturgy, about the tenth century, and this can be seen from documents. It is a particular type of prayer, a private prayer of preparation of the priest to celebrate the anaphora. The prayer itself is considered quite beautiful, and was given the title "Prayer of the Cherubicon" because it was said as the Cherubicon was sung. The doxology of the prayer, where Christ is called both "the one who offers and is offered, who receives and distributes (the idea that it is Christ acting in Communion, that he is giving Communion is quite central in Byzantine theology and iconography), gave rise to a theological dispute in the year 1156, when a deacon Soterichos Panteugenes objected to this formulation. The synod of 1156 declared that Christ offers as man and receives the offering as God, and hence the prayer is orthodox. I mention this only to show that liturgical development is not always as smooth as we would want it.

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Friends,

I direct you to the Divine Liturgy of St. James as translated (and I presume used) by Archimadrite Ephrem of the Monastery of St. Andrew, Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain.
http://web.ukonline.co.uk/ephrem/lit-james.htm

What stuck me was how many points in the new translation proposed for the Metropolia coincide with the Liturgy of St. James, particularly the lack of the Angel of Peace litanies and the amount of prayers the rubrics require to be taken aloud. I look forward to your comments.

In Christ,
Lance


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