Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mother Maria of Paris on the boundaries of the Eucharist

On January 18, 2004, the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul recognized Mother Maria Skobtsova (1891 - 1945) as a saint along with her son Yuri, the priest who worked closely with her, Fr. Dimitri Klépinin, and her close friend and collaborator Ilya Fondaminsky. All four died in German concentration camps.

For a short but excellent biography of Mother Maria, click

In his article Maria Skobtsova: Woman of Many Faces, Mother in Many Ways, Fr. Michael Plekon says:

"It is not just in the pages of the New Testament that Mother Maria perceives this image of God's self-emptying love, becoming what we pray for the other. For her, it is present and constantly revealed in the Eucharist. Raising the Bread and Cup after the consecration, the celebrant or deacon sings: 'Your own of your own, we offer You, on behalf of all, and for all.'"

He then quotes Mother Maria:
"If ... this sacrificial and self-giving love stands at the centre of the Church's life, what then are its boundaries, its limits? In this sense one can speak of the whole of Christianity as of an eternal offering of a Divine Liturgy beyond church walls ... It means that we must offer the bloodless sacrifice, the sacrifice of self-offering love not only in a specific place, on the one altar of only one temple but that the whole world, in this sense, becomes the one altar of the one Temple - and that we must offer our hearts under the species of bread and wine, so that they may be transformed into Christ's love, that he may abide in them, that they may become hearts of Godmanhood, and that he would give these hearts of ours as food for the world, that he would commune the whole world with these sacrificed hearts of ours, in order that we would be one with him, that we not live but Christ would live in us, incarnate in our flesh ... " ("Types")


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