Germanus of ConstantinopleThe church is the temple of God, a holy place, a house of prayer, the assembly of the people, the body of Christ.

It is called the bride of Christ. It is cleansed by the water of His baptism, sprinkled by His blood, clothed in bridal garments, and sealed with the ointment of the Holy Spirit, according to the prophetic saying:

“Your name is oil poured out” (Cant 1:3), and “We run after the fragrance of your myrrh” (Cant 1:4), which is “Like the precious oil, running down upon the beard, the beard of Aaron” (Ps 132:2 LXX).

The church is an earthly heaven in which the super-celestial God dwells and walks about.

It represents the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Christ: it is glorified more than the tabernacle of the witness of Moses, in which are the mercy-seat and the Holy of Holies.

[…] The apse corresponds to the cave in Bethlehem where Christ was born, as well as the cave in which he was buried, as the evangelist Mark says: “There was a cave hewn out of rock; there they placed Jesus” (cf Mk 15:46).’

The holy table corresponds to the spot in the tomb where Christ was placed. On it lies the true and heavenly bread, the mystical and unbloody sacrifice.

[…] This table was pre-figured by the table of the Old Law upon which the manna, which was Christ, descended from heaven.

[…] The altar corresponds to the holy tomb of Christ.

On it Christ brought Himself as a sacrifice to [His] God and Father through the offering of His body as a sacrificial lamb, and as high priest and Son of Man, offering and being offered as a mystical bloodless sacrifice, and appointing for the faithful reasonable worship, through which we have become sharers in eternal and immortal life.

This lamb Moses prefigured in Egypt “towards evening” when its blood turned back the destroyer so that he would not kill the people (cf Ex 12:7-13).

The expression “towards evening” signifies that towards evening the true lamb is sacrificed, the One who takes away the sin of the world on his cross, “For Christ, our Pascha, has been sacrificed for us” (cf I Cor 5:7).

The altar is and is called the heavenly and spiritual altar, where the earthly and material priests who always assist and serve the Lord represent the spiritual, serving, and hierarchical powers of the immaterial and celestial Powers, for they also must be as a burning fire.

For the Son of God and Judge of all ordained the laws and established the services of both the heavenly and the earthly powers.

Germanus of Constantinople (c.634–c.733): On the Divine Liturgy, 1-6 (Tr based in part on: J. Meyendorff, St. Germanus of Constantinople on the Divine Liturgy Crestwood, New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1984: 56-106. ) @ Fr Luke Dysinger, OSB.

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