Monday, December 29, 2014

The veneration of Scripture

Why do we incense and kiss Scripture during the Holy Sacraments in the Orthodox Church? Why do we process it around the Church, giving it a place of honour within our worship? The obvious answer would be that Scripture represents Christ, who is revealed in His Word. A valid explanation is given to us by John Meyendorff, who explains:

‘The only possible purpose of this liturgical veneration of Scripture is to suggest to the faithful that it contains the very Truth of Revelation, which the Church possesses precisely in a given written form. It is important to note in this connection that whatever value is attributed to Tradition and to the notion of the Church’s continuity in the Truth and her infallibility, the Christian Church never added its own doctrinal definitions to Scripture. Founded upon the apostolic kerygma, it included alongside the inspired literature of the Jews the written evidence only of those who had seen the risen Lord with their own eyes and who could write down for the Church the very words of the Master, faithfully interpreting His teaching…’[1]  

[1] Meyendorff, John, Living Tradition, (Crestwood, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1978), p. 14. 

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