February 9, 2014
Blog # 2
Weber develops three types of legitimate authority which are traditional, rational-legal, and charisma. Traditional authority is a belief in sanctity of old/forever traditions and the law of the authority over them. The authority figure is responsible for its followers in a group and individuals follow certain customs. Rational-legal relates to rules and regulations where a person has authority to enforce or be in charge of a certain position. Charismatic authority does not recognize organized forms of domination, but an individual gains authority from its follower’s belief in the exception qualities he or she displays. Traditional, rational-legal, and charismatic authority are all part of the Byzantine Catholic Church.
Tradition is strictly one of the most important things in the Byzantine Catholic Church (Diocese of Newton, Melkite). Its main tradition is for parishioners to go to Divine Liturgy (Mass in the Roman Catholic Church) every Sunday and on major feast days. Some of these feast days, also known as Holy Days, are The Exaltation of the Holy Cross, The Protection of the Mother of God, Theophany of our Lord, God, and The Dormition of the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary (Eparchy of Parma). The Dormition of the Theotokos is celebrated on the same day as the Roman Catholics commemorate the Assumption of Mary; both feasts remember the falling asleep and assumption of Mary into heaven (Diocese of Newton, Melkite). We are responsible to attend Diving Liturgy on these Holy Days and Feast Days. Specific icons sometimes have holy days because of the miracles that have been worked through them, one such icon is the Weeping Icon of Mariapoch. Holy Days and major feasts commemorate a major event in the life of Christ, Mary, or other biblical figures, as well as the lives of saints. This related to Weber’s tradition of authority because of parishioners practiced in the Diving Liturgy.
Following tradition, we go to Divine Liturgy and there will be a certain song or supplements we follow in Diving Liturgy. These supplements often align with the feast day or the saint being commemorated (Metropolitan Cantor Institute). On feast and holy days in the Byzantine Church you are anointed with holy oil on your forehead at the end of the Divine Liturgy. This helps you remember it is a special day. Afterwards you are given some blessed bread. Depending on what holy day the priest will say certain words when he anoints you. At Easter he says “Christ is risen” when he anoints your head and you respond “Indeed he is risen”. These are traditional customs in the Byzantine Church. It is traditional for people to chant instead of sing. Chanting is a form of singing but is usually a short melody and monophonic, one voice (Metropolitan Cantor Institute). From my experience in the Byzantine Church, the whole liturgy is chanted including the laity’s responses and the priests’ and deacons’ acclamations. Furthermore it is traditional nor to kneel during Divine Liturgy but to stand. This is because the Eastern Christian Churches view kneeling as penitential, we stand during the liturgy and on Sundays because we are always celebrating the resurrection of Christ (EWTN). On the other hand, the Roman Catholic Church often kneels because its Mass emphasizes the penitential aspects of Christ such as the Crucifixion and see kneeling as a sign of adoration. This follows Weber’s custom of tradition by the parishioners are the followers and we are honoring and respecting Christ.
Charisma can be different for each follower of the Byzantine Church. One person may go to Divine Liturgy because the person enjoys the priest’s homily. The priest has the ability to influence the parishioner’s values and outlook on life. Another person might go to hear about the saint of the day because their life stories are influential and instill values in people. This relates to Weber’s description of obedience. Going to Diving Liturgy allows a person to legitimize a form of charismatic authority.
The rational-legal organization of the Byzantine Church is found in its hierarchy. All of the clergy, those ordained, belong to the hierarchical structure of the Church. Unlike the Roman Catholic Church, the hierarchy is not as rigid. It emphasizes subsidiarity, because the parish priest often knows what best to do. Deacons help the priests on the altar during the Divine Liturgy. Bishops are above the priest, and priests receive the right to celebrate the liturgy through ordination by a bishop. Several eparchies, the equivalent of dioceses in the West, are grouped into an archeparchy. This archeparchy, or archdiocese, is led by a Metropolitan who is a bishop that guides the other bishops. This metropolitan is in communion with the Pope in Rome which makes the Byzantine Church part of the Catholic Church. Most Eastern Catholic Churches have a patriarch who is in union with Rome and guides the bishops of his Church (Diocese of Newton, Melkite). The Byzantine Catholic Church is too small to have a patriarch, so our metropolitan takes on some of the roles of a patriarch. If any issue arises then the problem is addressed at the lowest level possible, if the metropolitan cannot address it then the Pope in Rome acts as arbitrator. This fits Weber’s views by the Pope being the dominating figure in the Church and other hierarchal levels of authority.
Tradition, charisma, and rational legal make the Byzantine Catholic Church an organization. There are many traditions in the Byzantine Church from going to Divine Liturgy on Sunday, Holy Days, feast days, and chanting. The rational-legal power in the Byzantine Church is the highest with the Metropolitan and Pope and lowest with the priest and deacon. Charisma is what a person particularly engages so it could be the saints, priests, or afterlife.
EWTN source: http://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/kneeling_at_the_consecration.htm
Diocese of Newton, Melkite sources:
Metropolitan Cantor Institute sources: http://www.metropolitancantorinstitute.org/liturgy/LiturgicalElements.html