CATHOLIC – BUT NOT ROMAN
ORTHODOX - BUT NOT EASTERN
HOLY TRINITY CELTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH
A beacon of light shining amid the darkness of error
THE CELTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH IS UNIQUE – BY THE GRACE OF GOD
WE ARE THE ANCIENT CHURCH STILL LIVING
THE FAITH AS ONCE DELIVERED TO THE SAINTS
The Celtic Orthodox Church is a Western Rite expression of the Faith from the Johannine Branch of Christianity of those churches founded by the twelve apostles, (Gallican, Celtic, Mozabarec, Coptic, Byzantine.) The Roman Catholic Church is from the Pauline branch of the Church.
CELTIC ORTHODOXY ESTABLISHED IN 37 AD IS THE
OLDEST WESTERN RITE ORTHODOX CHURCH
THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH
WE ARE PART OF BIBLICAL ORTHODOXY
The Celtic Orthodox Church is so
Ancient it demands respect, so
Traditional it is refreshing and so
Conservative it is reassuring
HOLY TRINITY CELTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH
THE MONASTIC CHAPEL FOR THE
CELTIC ORTHODOX BENEDICTINE FATHERS
1703 Macomber St., Toledo, Ohio 43606
SUNDAY MASS 9:00 A.M.
WESTERN RITE ORTHODOX SUNDAY MASS READINGS
ACCORDING TO THE REVISED JULIAN CALENDAR
Photos of the Monastery
THE VATICAN LIBRARY RECORDS THE
HISTORY OF THE CELTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH
THE DAILY PRAYER OF THE CELTIC
ORTHODOX BENEDICTINE FATHERS
The ideal convert to Celtic Orthodoxy is not somebody who is
running away from something in another Jurisdiction.
We are looking for people who are compelled
by the faith, order and worship
of the Celtic Orthodox Church to embrace the ancient truths
and live the ancient faith.
by the Holy Spirit to embrace the faith as once
delivered to the Saints. People who want
that “Old Time Religion” will find a home in the Celtic Orthodox Church.
The people who are attracted to this ancient church feel there is something missing in their present worship. They feel the Holy Spirit is calling them to a deeper participation in the more devout and profound worship of the ancient church.
The ancient traditional Latin Liturgy of worship compels us to kneel and prostrate ourselves before the Christ physically present on the Altar and to bow our hearts, our pride and our self-centeredness before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who humbled Himself to share in our humanity, that we may share in His divinity. We bow our heads low in front of the God of our salvation.
People attracted to the Celtic Orthodox Church are people who appreciate the fact that when they receive the Eucharist, in a very real way they become a Tabernacle of the Most High God as was the Virgin Mary before them. The Virgin Mother of the Christ was the first Tabernacle, and for this reason we call her the Theotokos which means “God bearer”. Every believer who receives with faith the Divine Sacrifice of the Altar, which we call the Eucharist, becomes a “God bearer”.
People who find a home within Celtic Orthodoxy have a clear understanding of being called out from society to be uniquely Gods own. We obey Christ in worshipping the Father in Spirit and in Truth. We ask the Father to give us the strength to carry the Cross behind Jesus. We do not ask the Father to remove the Cross because we know that only by carrying the Cross do we have synergy with the Father in Christ.
We believe the Scriptures form the basics of our faith. All Sacred truths are found in the Scriptures or directly flow from the Sacred Word of God. We do not add anything to the Scriptures and we take nothing away from them. Therefore we reject the “expanded doctrine” theory that would establish a new teaching not found in the Scriptures as the Word of God and in the Apostolic Church. If the Apostles and the Apostolic Church did not teach it, we do not teach it as required belief. People who find a home in Celtic Orthodoxy do not accept as dogma what is really only human precepts.
Celtic Orthodox worship the Father on Saturday as ordered by the Scriptures and as practiced for the first 600 hundred years of the church. We believe in all 10 Commandments, not just 9 Commandments. We realize God commanded the Sabbath worship before there was a Jewish people so the Sabbath worship is not a “Jewish Sabbath”.
When God gave the 10 Commandments He said REMEMBER to keep holy the Sabbath. God continued the Commandment to worship on the Sabbath from the earliest days even before there was a Jewish nation or people. Today, it may not always be possible to participate at Mass on the Sabbath but there are many other ways to keep holy the Sabbath without coming to church.
The Celtic Orthodox Church worships the Father on Sunday in keeping with the tradition established by the Apostles. On Sundays we give the Father thanks and praise for the victory of His Holy Spirit in the Resurrection of His Christ. Without having to place our hands in the wounds of the Christ, we kneel before Jesus and, like Thomas, humbly say my Lord and my God.
We give the Father thanks and praise for the gift of our faith in Him and in His Christ that allows us to call ourselves “Christian”. We know that a Christian is one who shares in the anointing of the Christ. We know that the anointing of the Christ, received by faith, makes us adopted children of God in and through Christ. We celebrate we are a family; the family of God. We know that death does not break the family ties that bind us to each other in love. We approach boldly to the Throne of Grace through Christ and there join the prayers of the Saints in heaven who worship God and pray for all mankind.
In communion with and venerating the memory of all the Saints we glorify Christ in the work of the Holy Spirit in the body of believers and through Christ we give glory to our Heavenly Father. We pray with the Angels and the Saints but we do not address prayer to them. Christ lives to make intercession for us and our faith is in Christ and in our Heavenly Father.
ARE NOT LOOKING FOR A CHURCH THAT IS EASY TO LIVE BY;
THEY ARE LOOKING FOR A CHURCH THAT IS EASY TO DIE BY.
THE DIVINE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS IS THE SIGN OF GOD’S COVENANT IN CHRIST
A covenant is an agreement between two people and involves
promises on the part of each to the other. The concept of a covenant
between God and His people is one of the central themes of the Bible. In
the Biblical sense, a covenant implies much more than a contract or a
simple agreement between two parties.
The Old Testament contains many examples of covenants between people who
are related to each other as equals. For example, David and Jonathan entered
into a covenant because of their love for each other -- this agreement
bound each of them to certain responsibilities (1 Sam. 18:3)
The remarkable thing is that God is holy, omniscient, and omnipotent;
but He consents to enter into covenant with man, who is feeble, sinful,
and flawed. Jesus humbled Himself to become man so we could share in His divinity.
To understand the New Covenant in Christ we must understand the history
of Gods relationship with man. The understanding of the progression of history
is necessary to understand how the Divine Sacrifice of the Mass is the final and only
Sacrifice acceptable to God, an oblation of ourselves and a continuation of the
Sacrifice on the Cross, offered once.
GOD’S COVENANT WITH NOAH
Centuries before the time of Abraham, God made a covenant with Noah
assuring Noah that He would never again destroy the world by flood (Gen. 9)
Noah lived at a time when the whole earth was filled with violence and
corruption -- yet Noah did not allow the evil standdards of his day to
rob him of fellowship with God. He stood out as the only one who "walked
with God" (Gen. 6:9) as was also true of his great-grandfather Enoch (Gen. 5:22)
"Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations" (Gen. 6:9). This means he was
perfect in love for god and his fellowman. The Lord singled out Noah from
among all his contemporaries and chose him as the man to accomplish a great work.
When God saw the wickedness that prevailed in the world (Gen. 6:5)
He told Noah of His intention to destroy the ancient world by a universal flood.
God instructed Noah to build an ark (a large barge) in which he and his
family would survive the universal deluge. Noah believed God and
"according to all that God commanded him, so he did" (Gen. 6:22)
Noah is listed among the heroes of faith. "By faith Noah, being divinely
warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark
for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and
became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith" (Heb. 11:7)
With steadfast confidence in God, Noah started building the ark. During
this time, Noah continued to preach God's judgment and mercy, warning
the ungodly of their approaching doom. Peter reminds us of how God "did
not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a
preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the
ungodly" (2 Pet. 2:5)
Noah preached for 120 years, apparently without any converts. That is experienced
by many Priests today who find the world is not listening and is closed to the message
of Christ and His Church.
People continued in their evil ways and ignored his pleadings and
warnings until the flood overtook them. When the ark was ready, Noah
entered in with all kinds of animals "and the Lord shut him in" (Gen.
7:16) cut off completely from the rest of mankind.
Noah was grateful to the Lord who had delivered him from the flood.
After the flood, he built an altar to God (Gen. 8:20) and made a sacrifice, which
was accepted graciously, for in it "the Lord smelled a soothing aroma".
The Lord promised Noah and his descendants that He would never destroy
the world again with a universal flood (Gen. 9:15). The Lord made an everlasting
covenant with Noah and his descendants, establishing the rainbow as the sign
of His promise (Gen. 9:1-17).
Another part of the covenant involved the sanctity of human life, i.e.,
that "whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in
the image of God He made man" (Gen. 9:6).
Every time we see a rainbow today we are reminded of that agreement -- this
covenant has not been done away with. As long as God still sends rainbows after a storm,
capital punishment will still be a part of God's law for the human race.
GOD’S COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM
In making a covenant with Abraham, God promised to bless his
descendants and make them His own special people -- in return, Abraham
was to remain faithful to God and to serve as a channel through which
God's blessings could flow to the rest of the world (Gen. 12:1-3).
Abraham's story begins with his passage with the rest of his family from
Ur of the Chaldeans in ancient southern Babylonia (Gen. 11:31)
He and his family moved north along the trade routes of the ancient world and
settled in the prosperous trade center of Haran, several hundred miles to the northwest.
While living in Haran, at the age of 75, Abraham received a call from
God to go to a strange, unknown land that God would show him. The Lord
promised Abraham that He would make him and his descendants a great
nation (Gen. 12:1-3). The promise must have seemed unbelievable to Abraham
because his wife Sarah was childless (Gen. 11:30-31). Abraham obeyed God with
no hint of doubt or disbelief.
Abraham took his wife and his nephew, Lot, and went toward the land that
God would show him. Abraham moved south along the trade routes from
Haran, through Shechem and Bethel, to the land of Canaan. Canaan was a
populated area at the time, inhabited by the war-like Canaanites; so,
Abraham's belief that God would ultimately give this land to him and his
descendants was an act of faith.
The circumstances seemed quite difficult, but Abraham's faith in God's
promises allowed him to trust in the Lord. In Genesis 15, the Lord
reaffirmed His promise to Abraham. The relationship between God and
Abraham should be understood as a covenant relationship -- the most
common form of arrangement between individuals in the ancient world. In
this case, Abraham agreed to go to the land that God would show him (an
act of faith on his part), and God agreed to make Abraham a great nation
Abraham's response is the model of believing faith: "And he believed in
the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness" (Gen. 15:6)
The rest of Genesis 15 consists of a ceremony between Abraham and God that
was commonly used in the ancient world to formalize a covenant (Gen. 15:7-21)
God repeated this covenant to Abraham' son, Isaac (Gen. 17:19)
Stephen summarized the story in the book of Acts 7:1-8)
THE MOSAIC COVENANT
The Israelites moved to Egypt during the time of Joseph. A new Pharaoh
came upon the scene and turned the Israelites into common slaves. The people cried
out to the God of their forefathers. "So God heard their groaning, and God
remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob" (Exo. 2:24).
After a series of ten plagues upon the land of Egypt, God brought the Israelites out "of
Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand" (Exo. 32:11)
This covenant between God and the people of Israel was temporary -- God promised
a day when He would make a new covenant, not only with Israel but also with all
GOD’S COVENANT WITH DAVID
Another covenant was between God and King David, in which David and his
descendants were established as the royal heirs to the throne of the
nation of Israel (2 Sam. 7:12-13).
This covenant agreement reached its fulfillment when Jesus, a descendant
of the line of David, was born in Bethlehem. The gospel of Matthew
starts off by showing Christ was "the Son of David" (Matt. 1:1)
and thus He had the right to rule over God's people. Peter preached that Jesus Christ
was the fulfillment of God's promise to David (Acts 2:29-36)
THE COVENANT OF CHRIST
The New Testament makes a clear distinction between the covenants of the
Mosaic Law and the covenant of Promise. The apostle Paul spoke of these
"two covenants," one originating "from Mount Sinai," the other from "the
Jerusalem above" (Gal. 4:24-26). Paul also argued that the covenant established
at Mount Sinai was a "ministry of death" and "condemnation" (2 Cor. 3:7)
The death of Christ ushered in the new covenant under which we are justified
by God's grace and mercy -- it is now possible to have the true REMISSION of sins.
Jesus Himself is the Mediator of this better covenant between God and
man (Heb. 9:15). Jesus' sacrificial death served as the oath, or pledge,
which God made to us to seal this new covenant.
The "new covenant" is the new agreement God has made with mankind, based
on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This new covenant is continued today
in the Divine Sacrifice of the Mass.
When Jesus ate the meal at the Last Supper with His disciples, (The Seder Meal
of the first born) He spoke of the cup and said, "This is My blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins" (Matt. 26:28)
This REMISSION of sins goes beyond mere forgiveness but wipes out the sin
as if it never happened.
When Paul recited the account he had received concerning the Last
Supper, he quoted these words of Jesus about the cup as "the new
covenant in My blood" (1 Cor. 11:25)
The Epistle to the Hebrews gives the new covenant more attention than
any other book in the New Testament. It quotes the entire passage from
Jeremiah 31:31-34) (Heb. 8:8-12). Jesus is referred to by the writer of Hebrews
as "the Mediator of the new covenant" (Heb. 9:15. The new covenant, a
"better covenant ... established on better promises" (Heb. 8:6)
rests directly on the sacrificial work of Christ and continues in the Divine
Sacrifice of the Mass.
The new covenant accomplished what the old could not, i.e., the total removal
or remission of sin and cleansing of the conscience (Heb. 10:2)
The work of Jesus Christ on the cross thus makes the old covenant "obsolete" (Heb. 8:13
and fulfills the promise of the prophet Jeremiah.
Unlike the Mosaic covenant, the new covenant of Jesus Christ is intended
for all mankind -- regardless of race. In the Great Commission Jesus
sent His apostles into the entire world so they could tell the story of
the cross (Luke 24:46-47). In the Mass, as in no other way, we integrate into
the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.
THE COVENANT ESTABLISHED BY GOD
IN CHRIST LIVES ON IN THE EUCHARIST
JESUS SAID “I AM WITH YOU ALL DAYS EVEN
TO THE CONSUMMATION OF THE WORLD”
JESUS IS PHYSICALLY ALIVE IN THE EUCHARIST
CONSUBSTANTIAL WITH THE ELEMENTS
OF BREAD AND WINE
Paul writing in 1 Cor 10:15-16
"I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?"
Paul writing in 1 Cor 11:23-30
"For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself."
Ignatius of Antioch, 110 AD
"They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in his goodness, raised up again... Let that be considered a valid Eucharist, which is celebrated by the bishop, or by one whom he appoints. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the catholic church." (Epistle to the Smyreans)
"Take heed, then, to have but one Eucharist. For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup to [show forth] the unity of His blood; one altar; as there is one bishop, along with the presbytery and deacons, my fellow-servants: that so, whatsoever you do, you may do it according to [the will of] God." (Epistle to the Philadelphians)
Justin Martyr, 150 AD
"We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration and is thereby living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus." (First Apology of Justin)
Irenaeus of Lyons, 190 AD
"Christ has declared the cup... to be his own Blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own Body, from which he gives increase to our bodies. If the Lord were from other than the Father, how could he rightly take bread, which is of the same creation as our own, and confess it to be his body and affirm that the mixture in the cup is his blood?" (Against Heresies Book V)
"Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, 'Take, eat; this is my body.' And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, 'Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.'" (Mt. 26:26-28)
The Old Testament
Bread of the Presence
The Bread of the Presence, in the ancient Tabernacle and later in the Temple, 1 Kgs 7:48 prefigured Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.
In the Tabernacle God commanded Moses, Ex 25:8 "Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst." In the sanctuary, in the ark of the covenant, God told Moses, Ex 25:22 "There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you..." God added, Ex 25:30 "You shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before me always." Jesus told us, Mt 28:20 "I am with you always."
Abimelech the priest gave David this sacred bread. 1 Sam 21:6 "So the priest gave him the holy bread; for there was no bread there but the bread of the Presence." Jesus taught us that it was for all His disciples. Mt 12:1 "At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck ears of grain and to eat. ... [Jesus] said to them, 'Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence ... I tell you, something greater than the temple is here."
Jesus showed us what was greater than the Temple. Lk 22:19 "He took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.'"
Blood of the Lamb
During Moses' time the priests sacrificed in the Tabernacle, a portable house of God in the wilderness. After Solomon built the First Temple, it became the place of sacrifice. The highest form of Hebrew worship was sacrifice, not prayer alone, just as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the highest form of Orthodox worship. A priest is one who offers sacrifice. The Orthodox priest is the counterpart not of the rabbi, but of the ancient Jewish priest who offered bloody sacrifices. The deacon, who reads the Gospel, is the rabbi's counterpart.
The Old Testament sacrifice of a lamb, as opposed to any other animal, was important. The lamb did not resist, run away, or even cry out. Isaiah had foretold that the Lamb of God would do the same, Is 53:7 "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth."
The Jewish priests, before sacrificing the lamb, always asked, "Do you love this lamb?" If the family didn't love the lamb there would be no sacrifice. Jesus three times asked Peter, Jn 21:15 "Do you love Me?" Jesus allowed Peter to replace his triple denial with a triple affirmation that he did indeed love the Sacrificed Lamb.
The family would place the lamb into the hands of the priest. When we give something to God we place it in His hands. Jesus' last words on the Cross were, Lk 23:46 "Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit!"
The priest and the head of the family then prayed together that God would accept the blood of the innocent lamb for the sins of that family for the entire year, just as the Lamb of God shed His Blood to redeem the sins of all His human family. In our Liturgy the priest says, "Pray, brethren, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father."
The head of household then cut the lamb's throat with a sharp bronze knife while the priest caught the lamb's blood in a large bronze bowl. The priest then made seven complete trips around the altar, sprinkling the blood from the lamb on each of the four "horns." Then he took the lamb's body and placed it on the altar and started the ritual fire. With a big fire and a small lamb, the sacrifice was over quickly. The smoke rose from the altar. If the wind blew the smoke away and dispersed it, the priest told the family that its offer was rejected, and that it should repent and come back the following year. But if the smoke drifted upward, higher and higher until it disappeared from view, the priest told the family that God had accepted the sacrifice.
Before the great tabernacle sacrifice, Jewish priests washed their hands in a bronze laver, or basin. Ps 26:6 "I wash my hands in innocence, and go about Thy altar, O Lord." Today the Catholic priest washes his hands saying inaudibly, Ps 51:2 "Lord, wash away my iniquity; cleanse me from my sin."
The first priest attended at a great golden lampstand with seven oil lamps, called a menorah. It was dark in the tabernacle, and the menorah gave light.
The second priest attended at the table of showbread. God had commanded Lv 24:5 that the Jewish priests, from Aaron forward, place twelve loaves of bread on a golden table "before the Lord." On each sabbath, the priests ate the bread which had been set in place on the preceding sabbath. This bread was to be eaten by the priests in a sacred place since it was Lv 24:9 "most holy" among the offerings to the Lord. God had said, Ex 23:18 "You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread." During the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass the Orthodox priest consecrates unleavened bread on the altar which becomes Christ's Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, and is consumed by the royal priesthood as the most holy offering in the New and Everlasting Covenant.
The third priest served at the altar of incense. It looked like a small altar of sacrifice, with the same four horns. On it was a bronze laver. The priest would take a red-hot burning ember from the fire in which the lamb had been sacrificed, put it in the basin, and pour some incense on it, that his prayers might have a fragrant scent and go straight up to God. Orthodox Priests and Bishops spread incense about the altar as an act of reverence and purification. The smoke rising to heaven represents our own desire to have our prayers ascend heavenward in God's sight. Ps 141:2 "Let my prayer be counted as incense before Thee, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice."
God told Moses to place the Torah in the Ark of the Covenant, which in turn was placed within a tabernacle. God commanded, Ex 27:20 "You shall command the people of Israel that they bring to you pure beaten olive oil for the light, that a lamp may be set up to burn continually." All was placed within the tabernacle. By night, there was always a fire over the tabernacle, Ex 40:38 This began the idea of an eternal lamp beside the Jewish tabernacle. A thousand years later the Temple lamp miraculously continued to shine for eight days with only one day's supply of oil. The Celtic Orthodox Church continues this ancient Israelite tradition by placing a lighted candle beside the tabernacle in which the consecrated Hosts repose.
In the center of the tabernacle was a room called the Holy of Holies. Once a year the cohen gadol, the high priest, alone would enter that room. In it was the Ark of the Covenant. Inside the ark were the two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments, a golden bowl of manna, and the five Torah scrolls. The Torah was a witness against the Israelites, Dt 31:26 but above it all was God's solid gold mercy seat, with a crown and two cherubim kneeling in prayer. Above the mercy seat, between the two cherubim, was a brilliant light, the shining glory of God. Ex 25:22 "From above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you." When the priest saw that light he took a huge cup of blood and sprinkled it until it was empty. Jewish tradition holds that not one drop of the blood of sacrifice ever touched the mercy seat or the cherubim; it all went into the bright light of God's glory. Jesus said, Jn 8:12 "I am the light of the world." Jesus' covenant family gave Him their imperfect sacrifices, and He gave them His perfect sacrifice.
The Todah Sacrifice
The ancient Jews had a special ritual meal called the Todah (Hebrew: thanks) (pronounce: Taw-DAH). Although the Todah sacrificed an animal, it was greater than other animal sacrifices because it added the suffering of one's own life. David wrote, Ps 40:6,8 "Burnt offering and sin offering Thou hast not required. … I delight to do Thy will, O my God; Thy law is within my heart." Again, David wrote, Ps 51:17 "The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit." And again, Ps 69:30 "I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify Him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs." Isaiah spoke the words of God, Is 1:11 "I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams." God called instead for a baptism: Is 1:16 "Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from My eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good."
The seventy elders who went up with Moses to see God offered the Todah: Ex 24:11 "They beheld God, and ate and drank." Twelve centuries later, twelve apostles beheld God, and ate and drank as Jesus prepared to offer His Todah sacrifice: Lk 22:19 "He took bread, and when He had given thanks He broke it…" From the beginning, Christ's Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity has been called Holy Eucharist (Greek: eucharistia, thanksgiving).
The ancient rabbis believed that when the Messiah would come all sacrifices except the Todah would cease, but the Todah would continue for all eternity. In 70 AD the Temple fell to earth and all of the bloody animal sacrifices stopped. Only the Todah remains, the eucharistia, the Final Sacrifice at which the last words spoken are Todah l'Adonai, "Thanks be to God."
Jesus was pre-figured in the original Passover, when God commanded that Moses tell the Israelites, Ex 12:5-6 "Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male … the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs in the evening," as Jesus the Lamb of God was crucified in dim light. Mt 27:45 God commanded, Ex 12:8 "They shall eat the flesh that night," and told Moses, Ex 12:12 "I will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt." But He promised, Ex 12:13 "The blood shall be a sign for you … when I see the blood, I will pass over you." Most of us know that the original Passover pre-figured the Body and Blood of the crucified Lamb. But there is more to the Passover story.
Pharaoh commanded the death of every Hebrew male infant in Egypt, Ex 1:22 but death passed over Moses. Ex 2:5-10 Twelve centuries later, before Herod commanded the death of every Hebrew male infant in Bethlehem, Mt 2:13 death passed also over Jesus.
The Jewish celebration of Passover has from the beginning been an experience of exile and return, as its participants re-live the experience of the desert and encounter with God. After Jesus was crucified the apostles also experienced a sense of exile in the desert followed by a transforming encounter with God. In this way Jesus is spiritually present in the entire Seder.
The Seder table is different in many ways from the Jewish table setting on all other nights, as the ma nishtano acknowledges. God chose a young Jewish girl, a virgin who lived in Nazareth, to begin the rest of the story. Mary began her own Seder each year as Jews have since time immemorial, by lighting candles to give festive light to the table. Mary also gave us Jesus, the Jn 8:12 light of the world. Jesus has been at every Seder from the first one to this very day, spiritually present in the bread, wine, and lamb.
John, chapter 6: Sermon of the Bread of Life:
"Let me solemnly assure you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and
drink his blood, you have no life in you.
54- Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
55-For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink..." (John 6:53-55)
Chapter 6 of St. John has the sixth treasure of the Gospel, the Sermon of the Bread of Life, where Jesus promises us our daily bread, to live on earth this beautiful life in Christ as a wedding feast, to have eternal life, and to help others to do so.
This Sermon was the announcement of the Eucharist, we have to eat his flesh and drink his own blood, the most substantial Sermon of Jesus... but it was the greatest scandal in the life of Jesus, the multitudes and the 72 disciples left him thinking he was crazy, to eat his flesh and drink his blood?!... and not only that, here Jesus signed his death sentence, because "after this Jesus went about in Galilee; he did not wish to go about in Judea because the Jews were looking for an opportunity to kill him" (7:1)... and the next time he went to Judea they killed him!... on a Cross!.. they were not bluffing.
The chapter starts with two of the seven miracles of the Gospel: The multiplication of the seven barley loaves and two fish, to feed 5,000 people (6:1-14), and Jesus walking on water (6:18:21)... both of them show us the power of Jesus on nature, preparing us for the announcement of the greatest miracle on nature, the Eucharist, the Bread of Life.
The multitudes were so impressed with the multiplication of the bread and fishes that they wanted to make him a king!, but Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself (6:15).
The next day, when they found him, they asked him: "What must we do to perform the the works of God? Jesus answered to them: This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent" (6:28)... and he will repeat it four times in this chapter, "This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day" (6:40, 28, 35, 47)... four times repeats it, to prepare us for the great announcement we have to believe and do, to eat his flesh and drink his blood!... as hard as it sounds!... just as Jesus will repeat it 8 times!.
Now they ask Jesus for a "sign", as the "manna" was a sign for their ancestors, for 40 years in the wilderness. Jesus tells them that it is the Father who gives the bread from heaven, or the bread of life. So they said to Jesus: "Sir, give us this Bread of Heaven always" (6:30-34).
And here it comes, the Sermon of the Bread of Life, or the Bread of Heaven, in John 6:35-69:
"Jesus said to them: I am the bread of of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty" (6:35). Then the Jews murmured about him because he said "I am the bread of life", and they said, ""Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph?... and then the Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat? (6:35-2)... it is for real!... we have to eat his flesh!... he is crazy!... and the multitudes of 5000 men went away taking Jesus for a mad-man...
... And when the multitudes were disputing this and going away, Jesus did not take a word out of it, rather, he repeats 6 times to them: "Very truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them...", read it by yourself in full in 6:52-58, repeats it 6 times in different ways!... it is real... really real!...
THE DIVINE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS
THE STATEMENT OF FAITH FOR THE CELTIC ORTHODOX CHURCH
THE FAITH AS ONCE DELIVERED TO THE SAINTS
All that is taught and believed by the Celtic Orthodox Church is found in Sacred Scripture or flows naturally from the Word of God. We define Sacred Tradition as the Scriptures lived out in the life of the church. We do not add to or subtract from the Word of God. Our view of Sacred Scripture is expressed in these quotations from the early Church Fathers.
Athanasius; Against the Heathen, I:3.
The holy and inspired Scriptures are fully sufficient for the proclamation of the truth.
Athanasius, De Synodis.
Vainly then do they run about with the pretext that they have demanded Councils for the faith’s sake; for divine Scripture is sufficient above all things.
John Chrysostom, Homily 8 On Repentance and the Church, p. 118, vol. 96 TFOTC.
Regarding the things I say, I should supply even the proofs, so I will not seem to rely on my own opinions, but rather, prove them with Scripture, so that the matter will remain certain and steadfast.
Gregory of Nyssa, On the Soul and the Resurrection.
We are not entitled to such license, I mean that of affirming what we please; we make the Holy Scriptures the rule and the measure of every tenet; we necessarily fix our eyes upon that, and approve that alone which may be made to harmonize with the intention of those writings.
Basil, The Morals, p. 204, vol 9 TFOTC
What is the mark of a faithful soul? To be in these dispositions of full acceptance on the authority of the words of Scripture, not venturing to reject anything nor making additions. For, if ‘all that is not of faith is sin’ as the Apostle says, and ‘faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,’ everything outside Holy Scripture, not being of faith, is sin.
Basil, On the Holy Spirit, 7.
We are not content simply because this is the tradition of the Fathers. What is important is that the Fathers followed the meaning of the Scripture.
Basil, Moralia, 72:1.
The hearers taught in the Scriptures ought to test what is said by teachers and accept that which agrees with the Scriptures but reject that which is foreign.
Augustine, Contra litteras Petiliani, Bk 3, ch. 6.
If anyone preaches either concerning Christ or concerning His church or concerning any other matter which pertains to our faith and life; I will not say, if we, but what Paul adds, if an angel from heaven should preach to you anything besides what you have received in the Scriptures of the Law and of the Gospels, let him be anathema.
Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, IV:17.
For concerning the divine and holy mysteries of the Faith, not even a casual statement must be delivered without the Holy Scriptures; nor must we be drawn aside by mere plausibility and artifices of speech. Even to me, who tell you these things, give not absolute credence, unless you receive the proof of the things which I announce from the Divine Scriptures. For this salvation which we believe depends not on ingenious reasoning, but on demonstration of the Holy Scriptures.
Augustine, De Unitate Ecclesiae, 10.
Neither dare one agree with catholic bishops if their opinion is against the canonical Scriptures of God.
Augustine, De Unitate Ecclesiae, 3.
Whatever they may adduce, and wherever they may quote from, let us rather, if we are His sheep, hear the voice of our Shepherd. Therefore let us search for the church in the sacred canonical Scriptures.
Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, II, 9.
For among the things that are plainly laid down in Scripture are to be found all matters that concern faith and the manner of life.
Augustine, De Bono Viduitatis.
What more shall I teach you than what we read in the apostles? For Holy Scripture fixes the rule for our doctrine, lest we dare be wiser than we ought. Therefore I should not teach you anything else except to expound to you the words of the Teacher.
Hippolytus, Against the Heresy of One Noetus, 9.
There is, brethren, one God, the knowledge of whom we gain from the Holy Scriptures, and from no other source… so all of us who wish to practice piety will be unable to learn its practice from any other quarter than the oracles of God. Whatever things, then, the Holy Scriptures declare, at these let us look; and whatever things they teach, these let us learn.
"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." II Timothy 3:14-17 (RSV)
ANASTASIUS OF ANTIOCH
"It is manifest that those things are not to be inquired into, which Scripture has passed over into silence. For the Holy Spirit has dispensed and administered to us all things which conduce to our profit" Anagog Contemp in Hexem lib 8 init
"...for the tokens of truth are more exact as drawn from Scripture, than from other sources..." De Decretis 31
"The holy and inspired Scriptures are sufficient of themselves for the preaching of the Truth" Contra Gentiles 1,1
"These [canonical] books are the fountains of salvation, so that he who thirsts may be satisfied with the oracles contained in them: in these alone the school of piety preaches the Gospel; let no man add to or take away from them." Festal Letters 39
"For they were spoken and written by God" De Incarnatione 56
"...the Scriptures...will learn from them more completely and clearly the exact detail of what we said" ibid 56
"Scripture is of all things most sufficient for us" Ad Epis Aeg 4
"Divine Scripture is sufficient above all things" De Synodis 6
ANTONY OF EGYPT
"The Scriptures are enough for instruction" Vita S. Antoni 16
"What more shall I teach you than what we read in the Apostle? For Holy Scripture fixes the rule for our doctrine, lest we dare to be wiser than we ought" De Bono Viduitatis 2
"Let us therefore give in...to the authority of the Holy Scriptures" De Peccatorum 33
"Let us search for the Church in the Sacred Scriptures" Epis 105
"[H]e will find there in much greater abundance things that are to be found nowhere else, but can be learnt only in the wonderful sublimity and wonderful simplicity of the Scriptures" De Doctr Christ 2,42,63
"It believes also the Holy Scriptures, old and new, which we call canonical, and which are the source of the faith by which the just lives..." De Civ Dei 19,18
BASIL THE GREAT
"The hearers taught in the Scriptures ought to test what is said by teachers and accept that which agrees with the Scriptures but reject what is foreign" Moralia 72,1
"Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth" Epis Ad Eustathius
CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA
"How can we prove and certify as true something which Sacred Scripture does not attest?" Glaphyra on Genesis PG 69,53c
CYRIL OF JERUSALEM
"In regard to the divine and holy mysteries of the faith, not the least part may be handed on without the Holy Scriptures. Do not be led astray by winning words and clever arguments. Even to me, who tell you these things, do not give ready belief, unless you receive from the Holy Scriptures the proof of the things which I announce. The salvation in which we believe is not proved from clever reasoning, but from the Holy Scriptures." Catechetical Lectures 4,17
"...that you also, by ranging over the Sacred Scriptures, may lay hold of salvation for yourself, and, sated with the Scriptures, you may say: 'How sweet to my palate are your promises, sweeter than honey to my mouth!' [citing Psalm 118(119):103]" ibid 9,13
"Now do not fix your attention on any skill of language on my part, for perhaps you may be deceived; unless you get the testimony of the prophets on each point, do not believe what is said. Unless you learn from the Holy Scriptures regarding the Virgin, the place, the time, the manner [concerning the Incarnation], 'do not receive the witness of man' [citing John 5:34]." ibid 12,5
"'He was buried, and He rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures' [1 Cor 15:4]. An Apostle has sent us back to the testimony of the Scriptures; from the same source we will do well to discover the hope of our salvation." ibid 14,2
"Let us assert of the Holy Spirit, therefore, only what is written; let us not busy ourselves about what is not written. The Holy Spirit has authored the Scriptures; He has spoken of Himself all that He wished, or all that we could grasp; let us confine ourselves to what He has said, for it is reckless to do otherwise." ibid 16,2
"Therefore I beg you all that you give up what appeals to this one or that one and that you address all these questions concerning these things to the Scriptures." Homily 13 on 2 Corinthians
"If anything is said without Scripture, the thinking of the hearers limps. But where the testimony proceeds from the divinely given Scripture, it confirms both the speech of the preacher and the soul of the hearer." Commenting on Psalm 95
"But when Scripture wants to teach us something like that, it interprets itself and does not permit the hearer to err. I therefore beg and entreat that we close our ears to all these things and follow the canon of the Holy Scripture exactly." Homily 13 on Genesis
"As a trusty door, Scripture shuts out heretics, securing us from error..." Joann 58
"Everything in the divine Scriptures is clear and straightforward; they inform us about all that is necessary" Epis 2 ad Thess 3,4
"[B]eing most properly assured that the Scriptures are indeed perfect, since they were spoken by the Word of God and by His Spirit" Against Heresies 2,28,2
"The Apostles at that time first preached the Gospel but later by the will of God, they delivered it to us in the Scriptures, that it might be the foundation and pillar of our faith" ibid 3,1,1
"Since, therefore, the tradition from the Apostles does thus exist in the Church, and is permanent among us, let us revert to the Scriptural proof furnished by those Apostles who did also write the Gospel, in which they recorded the doctrine regarding God, pointing out that our Lord Jesus Christ is the truth, and that no lie is in Him" ibid 3,5,1
"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ" In Isaiah Prologue
"It is necessary to take the Holy Scriptures as witnesses; for our comments and statements without these witnesses are not trustworthy" In Jerem 1,7
"For he knows that Scripture, as a whole, is God's one perfect and complete instrument, giving forth, to those who wish to learn its one saving music..." In Matt tom 2
"If it is nowhere written, then let it fear the woe which impends on all who add to or take away from the written word" Ad Hermogenes 22
"It is right that His conduct be investigated according to the rule of Scripture" Ad Marcion 3,17
THEOPHILUS OF ANTIOCH
"It would be acting according to demonic inspiration to follow the thinking of the human mind and to think there could be anything divine apart from the authority of the Scriptures" Pascal Letter of 401
We pray as Scripture teaches us to pray: http://www.celticorthodoxchurch.com/prayto.html
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