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Pat Wilson wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • What is the definition of liturgy?
  • Is this term only used by Catholics?

Pat Wilson

  { What is the definition of liturgy and is this term only used by Catholics? }

Eric replied:

Dear Pat,

On a literal level, this word liturgy, from the Greek term λειτουργία, means work of the people or a public service. It is used by Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Jews, and a few other groups to describe a worship style that involves a formal structure with fixed prayers, gestures, vestments, roles, and other elements, or according to the Catholic Bible Dictionary:

"The public worship of the people of God. In biblical religion, this involves various cultic acts such as the offering of sacrifice and incense, the proclamation of sacred texts, the recitation of prayers, the singing of sacred music, and the administration of sacraments. The shape and substance of liturgy is connected with the succession of covenants that span from primeval to Messianic times. Indeed, liturgy is the principal means of ratifying, renewing, and maintaining the covenants between God and his people in the history of salvation."

(Hahn, S. (Ed.). (2009). In Catholic Bible Dictionary (p. 545). New York; London; Toronto; Sydney; Auckland: Doubleday.)

Eric

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