Liturgy in Ancient Jerusalem

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Joint Liturgical Studies 9

Christian worship has never been merely an abstract set of prayers and rubrics which are eternally valid for all times and places, but rather the manner in which people in specific historical, social, and cultural circumstances express their faith through symbolic ritual. In order to appreciate this necessarily inculturated nature of liturgy it is crucial that we attempt to understand a people’s way of praying as a whole, as a kind of liturgical system. This is a project which has already been initiated by a number of scholars.’

This brief study will investigate the liturgy of Jerusalem, a church which especially in its classic period had a far- reaching and permanent effect on the rest of Christianity. In this sense Jerusalem’s liturgy represents far more than just one system of worship among many. The liturgy of Jerusalem is a vital link in the many chains of development that emerge from Christian antiquity. And if it is appropriate to say that all cities served a symbolic function in pre-industrial society, then with a certain amount of confidence one can argue that Jerusalem was hyper-symbolic.

John F. Baldovin S.J.