Sunday, June 04, 2017

Vespers: "A Mercy of Peace"

"A Mercy of Peace," from the Russian divine liturgy is performed by the Novospassky Monastery Choir. The music of the Russian Orthodox liturgy consists only of the human voice singing in the Russian Church Slavonic language (a redaction of Old Church Slavonic made easier for speakers of Russian to pronounce). No instrumentation is included.

Novospassky Monastery (New monastery of the Saviour) is one of the fortified monasteries surrounding Moscow from south-east. It was the first monastery to be founded in Moscow in the early 14th century. The Saviour Church was its original katholikon. Upon its removal to the left bank of the Moskva River in 1491, the abbey was renamed the New Saviour, to distinguish it from the older one in the Kremlin.
The meaning of "a mercy of peace" has been explained this way:
The Holy Oblation is Christ, the Son of God who has become the Son of Man in order to offer himself to his Father for the life of the world. In his own person Jesus is the perfect peace offering, which alone brings God’s reconciling mercy. This is undoubtedly the meaning of the expression a mercy of peace, which has been a source of confusion for people over the years in all liturgical languages. 
In addition to being the perfect peace offering, Jesus is also the only adequate sacrifice of praise that men can offer to God. There is nothing comparable in men to the graciousness of God. There is nothing with which men can worthily thank and praise the Creator. This is so even if men would not be sinners. Thus God himself provides men with their own most perfect sacrifice of praise. The Son of God becomes genuinely human so that human persons could have one of their own nature sufficiently adequate to the holiness and graciousness of God. Again this is Christ, the sacrifice of praise

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