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St Dionysius the Areopagite Liturgy

Translated by John Parker

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THIS Liturgy gives the doctrine of Dionysius in a liturgical form. The Greek original might be restored from the writings of Dionysius. No one could reasonably doubt that the Author of the Writings and the Liturgy was the same. This Liturgy should be compared with the Coptic Liturgy of Dionysius, Bishop of Athens, disciple of Paul, and with the Liturgy of St. Basil, adapted from this, as used by the Uniat Copts, translated by the Marquess of Bute. In my opinion, this Liturgy was written for the Therapeutae near Alexandria, described by Philo in his "contemplative life," who were Christians; who occupied themselves with the contemplation of the Divine Names, and the heavenly Hierarchy. It was written not earlier than the death of James, Apostle and Martyr, A.D. 42, and probably not later than A.D. 67; when Dionysius, at the request of St. Paul, left Athens to meet the Apostle at Rome, for the purpose of being sent by him to Gaul. A note of primitive antiquity is found in the description of the Church, as "from one end of the earth to the other." There is no "one, only, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Orthodox Church," as in the later Liturgy of St. Basil. Some expressions are obscure, from the Latin Version, and it would be rash, without profound study, to venture to suggest the Greek text. In consequence of this, and other Liturgies, and his excellent writings, Dionysius was frequently commemorated in the diptychs as one of the Doctors of the Church.


1st. The Prayer before the Pax [2].

Pr.[3] "O Lord God, Who art simplex, not compound, and hidden in essence sublime! God the Father, from Whom all paternity which is in heaven and earth is named [4], Source of Divinity, of those who participate in the Divine Nature, and Perfector of those who attain perfection; Good above all good, and Beautiful above all beautiful; Peaceful repose, Peace, Concord and Union of all souls; compose the dissensions which divide us from one another, and lead them back to an union with charity, which has a kind of similitude to Thy sublime essence: and as Thou art One above all, and we, one, through the unanimity of a good mind; that we may be found before Thee simplex and not divided, whilst celebrating this mystery; and that through the embraces of Charity and bonds of Love, we may be spiritually one, both with ourselves and with one another, through that Thy Peace pacifying all; through the Grace and Compassion and Love towards man of Thine Only-begotten Son; through Whom, and with Whom is due to Thee, glory, honour and dominion, with Thy most holy Spirit."
P. "Amen."
Pr. "Pax"
(to all). P. "And with thy spirit."
D. "Let each one give the Peace."
P. "All."
D. "Post."
P. "Before Thee, O Lord."
Pr. "Giver of Holiness, and distributor of every good, O Lord, Who sanctifiest every rational creature with sanctification, which is from Thee; sanctify, through Thy Holy Spirit, us Thy servants, who bow before Thee; free us from all servile passions of sin, from envy, treachery, deceit, hatred, enmities, and from him, who works the same, that we may be worthy, holily to complete the ministry of these life-giving Sacraments, through the heavenly Pontiff, Jesus Christ, Thine Only-begotten Son, through Whom, and with Whom, is due to Thee, glory and honour."
P. "Amen."

1.  [a] Liturgiarum Orien. Collectio E. Renaudoti. Par. 1847. T, ii. p. 201.

2.  [b] D. N., C. 1. §4; C. II. § 11.

3.  [c] Pr. = Priest. D. = Deacon. P. = Populus. 

4.  [d] C. II. § 5.

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