Christian Cyclopedia

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(from Gk. leitourgia, “pub. service; divine service”). Study of liturgy, i. e., of the hist. and practice of pub. worship.* “Liturgy” in a narrow sense denotes the order of service for celebration of Communion. In a wider sense the term denotes the whole system of formal worship.

Types of worship distinguished in the NT: (1) Jerusalem type (Acts 2:42, 46; 5:42; 6:2–4; preserved certain Jewish forms; added Christian features); (2) Gentile-Christian type (Acts 20:7; 1 Co 16:2; emphasized Lord's Day and Eucharist; developed esp. in Asia Minor and Corinth). For elements of worship cf. Cl 3:16; 1 Ti 2:1. The agape (see Agape, 2) usually preceded the Eucharist.

2d c. writings show a connection bet. the service of the Word and the Eucharistic service. The former included readings from the OT and the gospels, homily, common prayers, kiss* of peace. The Eucharistic service included a prayer of thanksgiving and consecration (including words of institution). The liturgy was essentially congregational and included spontaneous responses. The agape and prophecy disappeared. At the beginning of the 3d c. a formal ritual pattern for the Eucharist was recognized.

E liturgies, marked by objectivity and repetition, are of 2 main types: Syrian and Egyptian. Egyptian includes Coptic and Abyssinian. Syrian (Antiochene) includes W Syrian (Antioch and Jerusalem), E Syrian (Persia and Mesopotamia), and Cappadocian-Byzantine (Armenian and Byzantine). The Byzantine rite became the rite of Eastern* Orthodox Chs.

In the W, Rome (esp. under Gregory I [see Popes, 4]) and Carthage developed a liturgy called Roman. Another form, called Gallican and influenced by E liturgies, developed in Sp., Fr., Ger., Brit., Swed., and elsewhere. The Roman, marked by simplicity and strength, finally prevailed in the W.

In the Middle Ages the Eucharist became the most important part of worship as it came to be regarded as a sacrifice rather than a sacrament (see also Mass, 4).

M. Luther* stressed the importance of the Word in the service 1516 (WA 1,444–445). Von Ordnung Gottesdiensts in der Gemeine (WA 12, 31–37), issued 1523, criticized the silencing of God's Word, unscriptural material, the idea that a service is a meritorious work. On Formula missae 1523 and Deudsche Messe (“German Mass”) 1526 see Chant; Luther, Liturgies of.

16th c. Luth. liturgies have been classified as Saxo-Luth. (to which Luther's belonged), ultraconservative, and mediating or radical.

The Thirty* Years' War, Pietism,* and rationalism* affected liturgical development adversely. Frederick* William III, C. F. v. Böckh,* and J. K. W. Löhe* worked for a return to hist. types of liturgies.

The 1st Am. Luth. liturgy of note was prepared by H. M. Mühlenberg,* P. Brunnholtz,* and J. F. Handschuh* and adopted 1748 by the Pennsylvania Ministerium. It was in gen. the hist. Luth. liturgy.

By the 1780s liturgical decline had begun, largely as a result of close relation bet. Luths. and Ref. In 1855 the Pennsylvania Ministerium, New York Ministerium, Joint Syn. of Ohio, and The Ev. Luth. Gen. Syn. of the US of N. Am. issued a liturgy which in gen. restored old Luth. forms. The 1868 Church Book of the Gen. Council of the Ev. Luth. Ch. in (N) Am. made further improvements.

Mems. of the Gen. Council, Gen. Syn., and The Ev. Luth. Gen. Syn. S. met 1884 to initiate work toward a “Common Service.” Liturgies based on work of a joint committee, which first met 1885, were pub. 1888 by The United* Syn. of the Ev. Luth. Ch. in the S. and the Gen. Syn., 1892 by the Gen. Council. The Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church, authorized by the Gen. Syn., the Gen. Council, and the United Syn., appeared 1917, was authorized without delay by the ULC. The Service Book and Hymnal of the Lutheran Church in America, authorized by AELC, The ALC, Augustana Ev. Luth. Ch., ELC, Finnish Ev. Luth. Ch. in Am., LFC, UELC, and ULC, appeared 1958.

The Mo. Syn. first used orders of service brought from Ger., adopted the Common Service 1914, approved production of a common service book and hymnal to unify the worship of all Luths. 3 in N. Am. 1971. Lutheran Book of Worship, pub. 1978, was not adopted by the Mo. Syn., which 1979 authorized Lutheran Worship, pub. 1982.

J. Calvin* was more conservative than H. Zwingli.* Both greatly modified the hist. liturgy.

The Book* of Common Prayer benefited from Luth. liturgies. Some of its translations were used in liturgies of Am. Luths. EL

See also Chant; Divine Liturgy; Mark, Liturgy of Saint; Theology; Worship, Orders of; Worship, Parts of.

L. D. Reed, The Lutheran Liturgy, rev. ed. (Philadelphia, [1960]); F. Lochner, Der Hauptgottesdienst der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Kirche (St. Louis, 1895); Y. T. Brilioth, Eucharistic Faith & Practice, Evangelical and Catholic (London, 1930); G. Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy (Westminster, 1945); W. D. Maxwell, An Outline of Christian Worship: Its Development and Forms (London, 1936); J. A. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite, tr. F. A. Brunner, 2 vols. (New York, 1951–55); Liturgy and Worship, ed. W. K. L. Clarke and C. Harris (New York, 1932); G. Rietschel, Lehrbuch der Liturgik, 2d ed. P. Graff (Göttingen, 1951); Leiturgia, ed. K. F. Müller and W. Blankenburg (Kassel, 1954– ); O. Cullmann, Early Christian Worship (Chicago, 1953); A. O. T. Hellerström, Liturgik (Stockholm, 1954); L. D. Reed, Worship (Philadelphia, 1959); P. H. D. Lang, Ceremony and Celebration (St. Louis, 1965). Periodicals and serials: Monatschrift für Gottesdienst und kirchliche Kunst (1896– ); Jahrbuch für Liturgiewissenschaft (1921– ); Liturgiegeschichtliche Quellen (1918– ); Liturgiegeschichtliche Forschungen (1918– ); Liturgiewissenschaftliche Quellen and Forschungen (1928– ); Pro Ecclesia Lutherana (1933– ); Sursum Corda (1939– ); Una Sancta (1940– ); Jahrbuch für Liturgik und Hymnologie (1955– ).

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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