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Dionysius the Areopagite, Works (1897) p.185-186. Preface to the Liturgy


THIS Liturgy gives the doctrine of Dionysius in a liturgical form. The Greek original might be restored from the writings of Dionysius. No one could reasonably doubt that the Author of the Writings and the Liturgy was the same. This Liturgy should be compared with the Coptic Liturgy of Dionysius, Bishop of Athens, disciple of Paul, and with the Liturgy of St. Basil, adapted from this, as used by the Uniat Copts, translated by the Marquess of Bute. In my opinion, this Liturgy was written for the Therapeutae near Alexandria, described by Philo in his "contemplative life," who were Christians; who occupied themselves with the contemplation of the Divine Names, and the heavenly Hierarchy. It was written not earlier than the death of James, Apostle and Martyr, A.D. 42, and probably not later than A.D. 67; when Dionysius, at the request of St. Paul, left Athens to meet the Apostle at Rome, for the purpose of being sent by him to Gaul. A note of primitive antiquity is found in the description of the Church, as "from one end of the earth to the other." There is no "one, only, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Orthodox Church," as in the later Liturgy of St. Basil. Some expressions are obscure, from the Latin |186 Version, and it would be rash, without profound study, to venture to suggest the Greek text. In consequence of this, and other Liturgies, and his excellent writings, Dionysius was frequently commemorated in the diptychs as one of the Doctors of the Church.

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