Fortress Press

Liturgical Reform after Vatican II: The Impact on Eastern Orthodoxy

Liturgical Reform after Vatican II

The Impact on Eastern Orthodoxy

Nicholas E. Denysenko (Author)


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Sacrosanctum Concilium was the first document promulgated by the Second Vatican Council. The impact of this document was broad and ecumenical—the liturgical reforms approved by the Council reverberated throughout Christendom, impacting the order and experience of worship in Reformed and Orthodox Churches. Unrecognized in most studies, the Orthodox Churches were also active participants in the liturgical movement that gained momentum through the Catholic and Protestant Churches in the twentieth century.

This study examines Orthodox liturgical reform after Vatican II through the lens of Catholic-Orthodox ecumenical dialogue. After establishing the retrieval of the priesthood of the laity and active liturgical participation as the rationales for liturgical reform, the study presents the history of liturgical reform through four models: the liturgical reforms of Alexander Schmemann; the alternative liturgical center in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia; the symposia on liturgical rebirth authorized by the Church of Greece; and the renewed liturgy of New Skete Monastery.

Following a discussion of the main features of liturgical reform, catechesis, ars celebrandi, and the role of the clergy, Denysenko concludes with suggestions for implementing liturgical reform in the challenges of postmodernity and in fidelity to the contributions of Catholic-Orthodox ecumenical dialogue.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781451486155
  • eBook ISBN 9781506401447
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 464
  • Publication Date December 1, 2015


"To those who prefer romantic notions that Eastern Christian Liturgy has not and cannot be reformed or changed, Nicholas Denysenko's work will come as a great challenge. For those who prefer reality over fantasy, however, this study is a welcome contribution to the riches of the Christian East in dialogue with the West on Eastern Christian liturgical reform, renewal, and change rooted in sound historical, theological, and pastoral scholarship.  Not to be overlooked are Denysenko's own concrete proposals for the renewal of Byzantine Liturgy at the parish level.  This is a wonderful book which merits wide ecumenical attention and study as it demonstrates the mutual influence of East and West in the Liturgical Movement and in subsequent programs of liturgical renewal and change."

Maxwell Johnson | University of Notre Dame

"Nicholas Denysenko offers the first critical study and constructive evaluation of the efforts for liturgical reform in the Orthodox Church in dialogue with the liturgical reform promulgated by Vatican II in the Catholic Church. His outstanding work is scholarly yet pastoral, historical yet current, thorough yet straightforward, and should be read by all, scholars, clergy and laity who study, love and live the liturgy."

Stefanos Alexopoulos | Catholic University of America