2 October 2009

Realised Eschatology

Today, a Greater Double, the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, the antiphon for the Benedictus in both the Breviary and the Liturgy of the Hours draws on Hebrews 1:14 to describe the Angels as leitourgika Spirits sent for diakonia. Is this why there is an iconographical convention of showing angels wearing dalmatics? Has anybody ever thought of using this to defend the (corrupt?) medieval practice whereby Byzantine Bishops wear not chasubles but dalmatics by saying that a Bishop is the Angel (see Rev 2:1 etc. and cf apostellomena of Heb1:14) of his Church? (BTW, I have an ikon of the 1920s Bishop of Aegina, S Nektarios, wearing a chasuble; a delightful example of the conservatism of Byzantine iconography. Incongruously, he is also wearing a black hat!)

Incidentally, in this antiphon both the Breviary and LH change a very clear future (tous mellontas cleronomein which becomes capient haereditatem in both Vulgates) to a present capiunt: 'those who are already inheriting salvation'. Was there a nest of prescient adherents of C H ('Realised Eschatology') Dodd among the sixteenth century liturgists who put this office together?

I return, DV, tomorrow to my series on liturgical language based on the work of Christine Mohrmann. A correspondent commenting on an earlier post rather interestingly suggests that her demonstration can be strengthened and taken back earlier by pointing out the Septuagintal character of the liturgical sections of the Book of Revelation.

2 comments:

andrew said...

Orthodox bishops will often serve the Liturgy in the manner of a priest, without all the hierarchical bits, in which case it usual to wear a phelonion (chasuble), although with his small omophorion (sort of a pallium?) over it.

The black hat on St Nektarios is his monastic hat. To serve simply, as a priest, would mean to set aside the mitre.

An important feature of the life of St Nektarios is his humility. One would read the icon as expressing this, as well as the fact that in Aegina he lived out his life in semi-retirement as a monk in the local community he had founded.

rev'd up said...

Dodd still has a big following among the Knochians (Concordant Publishing Concern, search "The Idle Babbler" for a laugh). They argue that if you have the *right* lexicon "eon," "eons," and "eonian," don't mean "[for] ever," "everlasting," and "eternal" -- they mean
"eon," "eons," and "eonian" -- an age. Nothing more nothing less. Everybody goes to heaven because hell only lasts for an eon. Perhaps the 16th C'ers had this lexicon and maybe Dan Brown's next book will solve the mystery.