Marin Mihalache 
Towards the New Liturgical Eschaton

If we take a closer look amid the pages yellowed by time of the Orthodox church calendar and try to discern the basis on which the new liturgical year was designed we will discover here a prefiguration of a subtle and wise eschatological intentionality, a well-thoughtful plan of restoring the living icon of God in man, in those who participate in this blessed project of soul renewal. Just as the engineer and architect prepare their sketches, scaffolding, tools, work plans in time to begin a reconstruction so the church has made a plan of her own, a liturgical calendar that the believers we will follow step by step towards the end of the church calendar year to rise up one octave higher on the scale of glorification, to transcend the routine of secular time and to begin a new ascension towards the eschaton of the heavenly kingdom.

For the Church, September is a new beginning of the world, a new attempt to climb on the ladder of the heavens on which the angels descend and souls of men are ascending. The liturgical cycle of the Church begins in September with the feast of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ. The holy Virgin is the model, the human example we must follow, the faith and the moral virtue we must reach at the culmination of the journey at the end of the church calendar year which starts in September. Now, the Church gathers its spiritual fruits and is preparing to begin a new cycle, a passage, and a higher step on the stairway that ascends to the heavens. For the Church September is a new beginning of the world, a new chance to climb on the ladder of heavens.

Then the Cross is brought in the middle of the Church. The cross is placed at the beginning of the road as a symbol of orientation on the scale of the heavenly heights and the earthly horizon, and therefore also in the plan of existence in need of salvation.

October is already the time when the human person enters the new cycle of life, his existence in time and space, seeking a way out of the world from the burden of sin. It is the time when the Church brings the saints, the people redeemed by grace for eternal glory. It is the time when people like Dimitrie, Paraschiva are presented to us ascending on the scale of the sacred values towards the light of the heavenly kingdom promised by Jesus.

Man is here presented as being prepared, purified and annoyed to approach God, but death is powerful, unforgiving. The fear of persecution stifles for a moment the joy of mystical baptism and the virtue of the mortal being. Saint Dimitrie as the holy and blessed mother Paraschiva are heirs of the earthly estates. But in order to honor the name of being Christian, they share the riches of the world to the poor in order to be rewarded with spiritual gifts of life. Instead, they seek for something more durable, more holy, and more precious than the goods and blessings of this world. By self-denial, fasting, and prayer, they overcome the temptations of the world, but death thunders them while being very young, on the verge of a new beginning.

It is therefore necessary to be born one who is able to overcome not only the deception of the world and the evil, but also the death itself. And God prepares the nature of man to receive the mystery of the Incarnation. It takes that the Son of God and at the same time the Son of Man must descend into the world, so that men can advance towards Him. It is now the time when the liturgical cycle presents the theme and the teachings about the birth of the Lord, the Savior of the world. And here, from this setting, this holy child, which was Messiah, is pursued by the danger of annihilation, of premature killing. God the Father protected Him.

Then comes the circumcision to end the old time and Baptism to inaugurate a new time. The moment of Epiphany and the emergence of triune light that would strengthen the testimony of the kingdom of heaven of the Son of Man which has come. We then enter the gate of victory towards the feast of defeating the death and expectation of the glorious day of the Resurrection, the day of triumph of life over the death, the redemption of the human race from the bondage of sin.

The time has arrived when the Holy Spirit comes down to dispatch grace through the rain of fire and flames of Holy Spirit that sits upon the new creation, the Church, the Mystery of the Body of Jesus Christ.

Then comes the feast of apostolicity, the sprouting of souls, and the strengthening of the spirit of faith through the blood of the martyrs of Christ, beginning with the saints Peter and Paul, and all the saints of the Church.

Then comes the time of transformation and transfiguration, the change of the Lord’s radiant face, and the Lord’s ascension as the fulfillment of the time, and the sanctification of those who have worshiped and have come up with Jesus on Mount Tabor to make up tents of vigil and worship, to ascend in spirit just as the Lord has ascended to heavens.

Thereafter follows the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, her ascension to the heaven of Her Son Jesus Christ, the One who Himself ascended to the heavens and sits at the right hand of the Father. It is the fulfillment and the spiritual realization which the man must reach at the end of his journey through this world.

The time as chronological and calendar duration is thus transfigured, elevated from its relative dimension a step higher on the eschatological scale, one year closer to the eschaton of the Kingdom of God. The relativistic space-time, the temporal coordinates calculated with atomic clock accuracy and precision are thus spiritually and transcendently overcome, transfigured by the rain of grace and divine light.

Where a liturgical cycle ends, another begins in September after the beginning of the new church year. This liturgical cycle that we follow as a map during a pilgrimage helps us to get closer to the eternal kingdom, of the time found and redeemed. Thus, the liturgical pilgrimage followed year after year in faith and humility represents our gradual transition from glory to glory, from the eon of this world into the eschaton of that unending day at the end of the ages.

Pentru arhiva ORTODOXIE apasati aici.
ALTERNATIVA / THE ALTERNATIVE / L'ALTERNATIVE - Politica, cultura, stiri, publicitate