April 14, 2021 - 3:15-4:30 pm

Anti-Judaism in the Christian Liturgy

by Dr. Basilius Jacobus Groen (University of Graz, Austria)

In the course of history, nearly all major Christian denominations espoused in their liturgical enactments anti-Jewish components, that might even degenerate into anti-Semitic invective. Today, an array of churches have revised these elements while affirmatively referring to the Jewish legacy and present-day Jewry. In some other churches, however, liturgical anti-Judaism continues, particularly during Holy Week.

Professor Basilius Jacobus (Bert) Groen is professor emeritus of liturgical studies at the University of Graz, and visiting professor at the Catholic University of Leuven and the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome.



  1. Introduction 
  2. Survey of Anti-Jewish Polemics in the Byzantine Rite 
    1. Main themes:
      1. murder of God (θεοκτονία)
      2. jealousy
      3. absurdity
      4. ungratefulness, ignorance, and stubbornness
      5. closeness of the names of Judas (Ἰούδας), the tribe Judah (Ἰούδα) and the Jews (Ἰουδαῖοι)
      6. incapacity of the synagogue and ‘curse of the Law’.
      7. warning for the Christian ‘brothers’ (ἀδελφοί) 
    2. Roots in the Early Church 
    3. Paradoxes and antitheses 
    4. Old Testament saints in the Byzantine rite; ‘types’ (τύποι), ‘shadows’, ‘enigmas’
  3. Revision? 
    • Orthodox-Jewish dialogue
    • Intelligibility of the texts. Self-identification?
    • Anti-Judaism in Greece, Russia, and the Middle East
    • Attempts of reinterpretation: Kallistos Ware, Alexander Schmemann, Alkiviadis Calivas,  Stanley Harakas
    • French Orthodox catechism, Dieu vivant: ‘Semitic faces’
    • Byzantine Catholic communities: ‘Prayer Book’ (Molytvoslov), issued by the Ukrainian Basilians, and Dutch Byzantijns Liturgikon
    • Nostra Aetate 
  4. Conclusion 
    • Holding on to God’s holy name and keeping the covenant as key hallmarks of both Judaism and Christianity 
    • Entwinement of faith, liturgy, ecclesiology, lex orandi, lex credendi, and lex agendi/vivendi 
    • ‘Prayer of St Ephrem


February 10, 2021

How Online Worship Creates Liturgical Meaning(s)

by Rabbi Sonja K. Pilz, PhD (Potsdam University, Germany)

Rabbi Sonja K. Pilz, PhD (Potsdam University, Germany), holds Rabbinic Ordination from Abraham Geiger College in Germany. Prior to joining the Central Conference of American Rabbis as Editor of the CCAR Press, she taught at HUC-JIR in New York and the School of Jewish Theology at Potsdam University. She has served as a rabbinic intern, adjunct rabbi, and cantorial soloist for congregations in Germany, Switzerland, Israel, and the US. Her work has been published in ERGON, Liturgy, Worship, the CCAR Journal, Ritual Well, and a number of anthologies. She lives with her husband and son in Brooklyn, NY.

January 29, 2020

Occasional Religious Practice: Ritual Efficacy in Fragmented and Overlapping Ritual Systems

by Sarah Kathleen Johnson, doctoral candidate in Liturgical Studies at the University of Notre Dame and a Visiting Fellow at the Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre.

Occasional religious practitioners attend religious services occasionally rather than routinely, most often in association with specific occasions, such as holidays, life-course transitions, or personal or communal crises. Survey data suggests that what I am calling occasional religiosity is the dominant way Canadians relate to religion in the twenty-first century. Drawing on preliminary findings from ethnographic research centred on Anglican baptisms and funerals in Toronto, this work in progress explores questions of ritual efficacy in fragmented and overlapping ritual systems. In increasingly nonreligious and religiously diverse social contexts, what is Christian ritual doing and meaning for participants with a range of relationships with the church?  

Sarah Kathleen Johnson is a doctoral candidate in Liturgical Studies at the University of Notre Dame and a Visiting Fellow at the Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre. Her research at the intersection of sociology of religion and liturgical studies explores the ongoing roles of Christian worship in a changing Canadian religious landscape. She has published in journals including Studies in Religion/Sciences ReligieusesStudia LiturgicaWorshipThe Hymn, and the Conrad Grebel Review and is the worship resources editor for Voices Together, a new hymnal and worship book for Mennonites in Canada and the United States, and the editor of a companion volume for worship leaders.

October 30, 2019

Online Liturgical Formation? An Exploration Workshop in Critical Pedagogy

by Dr. Ângelo Cardita, Visiting Professor at Emmanuel College and Professor of Liturgy at Laval University, Quebec City.  

We worked together to identify the challenges and possibilities of teaching worship online and its implications for liturgical formation.

March 27, 2019

The Changing Role of The Brethren "Love Feast"

by Jeremy McClung, Ph.D student from Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto.

The German Brethren represented a revival of the Radical Reformation in the early 1700’s, breaking with established churches and eventually establishing a network of mostly rural congregations in North America. Their twice-annual celebration of the “Love Feast” (including footwashing, a meal, and communion) was the climax of congregational life and an expression of the communitas they experienced as a community on the margins. However, changes in society and in the group itself have led to ambiguity regarding the role of this tradition today. Is the “Love Feast” just an interesting piece of heritage? Or does it serve a real purpose in the life of 21st century churches? As a church planter and ordained pastor in the Brethren Church, Jeremy has wrestled personally with these questions—and has found, through the lenses of ritual studies, that the "Love Feast” still has an important role to play.Jeremy McClung is the founding postor of Muskoka Community Church in Port Sydney, Ontario.

November 21, 2018

What Hacth Ricoeur to do with Schmemann?

by Dr, Brian Butcher, Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies at the University of St. Michael's College in the University of Toronto. 


Brian A. Butcher is currently Lecturer and Research Fellow in Eastern Christian Studies in the Faculty of Theology at the University of St. Michael's College. He has taught for the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute for the past seven years; at Saint Paul University in Ottawa, as Assistant Professor, he offered courses in both Eastern and Western Christian traditions; he also lectures at Ottawa’s Augustine College. His first major monograph has recently been published with Fordham University Press: Liturgical Theology After Schmemann: An Orthodox Reading of Paul Ricoeur. His chapter on "Orthodox sacramental theology in the 16-19th centuries" is in the Oxford Handbook of Sacramental Theology (OUP, 2015). He is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Society of Oriental Liturgy and the North American Academy of Liturgy. He is a subdeacon in the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church.

March 14, 2018

The Colonizing Power of Song and Other Ways of Singing

by Becca Whitla, Ph.D. Cand. Toronto School of Theology

Becca Whitla, BFA, MSMus, CRCCO, ARCT, is a doctoral candidate at TST with a focus on liberationist, decolonial and postcolonial perspectives on congregational song. With over twenty years of music-making experience—from congregations and multifaith events to community choirs and multidisciplinary artistic collectives—she has served as the Music Director at Church of the Holy Trinity, Toronto, has taught courses at Emmanuel College, Toronto, and Seminario Evangélico de Matanzas, Cuba, is a SSHRC scholarship winner, and is presently Interim Director of Chapel at Emmanuel. Her peer-reviewed publications include several journal articles, book chapters and encyclopaedia entries related to her dissertation research.

January 24, 2018

The Epiclesis in Early Eastern Eucharistic Prayers

by Dr. Pablo Argárate (University of Graz - Austria) 

The belief that God is One and Three forms without doubt the core of Christianity. However, while the highly conflictive development of the doctrine on the second Person is well known, the role and relevance of the third Person in the Trinitarian dogma remain obscure and to a great extent subordinated. The present lecture addresses the emerging Pneumatological discourse, based however not on the Patristic Pnematological treatises, but on the analysis of the evolution of the epiclesis up to the beginning of the fifth century, focusing upon its different forms in the main Eastern ancient anaphorae. It presents their essential characteristics and differences, paying particular attention to the technical terminology and function. In this way, it explores the different theological substrata patent in the diverse formulae. Liturgy precedes the theological reflection and, in the same time, follows it.

Prof. Pablo Argarate is Professor of Patristic at the Faculty of Theology  and Head ot the Institute for Ecumenical Theology, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Patristicat the University of Graz.

November 1 2017

The Eucharistic Body of Paul and the Ritualization of 2 Corinthians

by Prof. Dr. Judith H. Newman (Emmanuel College) 

This seminar presentation draws on material from Newman’s forthcoming book, Before the Bible: the Liturgical Body and the Formation of Scriptures in Early Judaism (Oxford, 2018) in which she argues that a key to understanding the formation of scriptures is the widespread practice of individual and communal prayer in early Judaism. She demonstrates that scriptures were formed because of the intertwined relationship of worship practices, learned figures who interpreted scripture, and the ongoing performance of scriptural tradition. The seminar focuses on the role of Paul as one who initiates communal liturgical practices and serves as mediating figure of the scriptural tradition.

Prof. Judith H. Newman is Associate Professor of Religion and Old Testament/Hebrew Bible at Emmanuel College, and cross-appointed to the Department and Centre for the Study of Religion and the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto.

March 8, 2017

Liturgy as Enacted Reconciliation:  The experience of All Inclusive Ministries (AIM)

by Gilles Mongeau SJ Th.D. (Regis College at the University of Toronto)

The Second Vatican Council affirms that the Eucharist "makes" the Church, that it is the source and summit of our communal life as Christ's Body. The various General Instructions of the Roman Missal have, over the years, articulated how the actions of ritual itself are an enactment of right relationship with God, with the neighbour and with creation. This presentation will share how one Eucharistic community that reaches out to LGBTQ persons lives and expresses this reality in its liturgy.

February 8, 2017

The Bahá'í Temple of South America: Hariri Pontarini Architects

by Siamak Hariri, arquitect. Hariri Pontarini Architects.Toronto.

 A temple of light expressing a faith of inclusion is poised to become an architectural landmark in Chile and world-renowned. Set within the Andean foothills, the complex curved shelter is designed by the distinguished Canadian architect Siamak Hariri as an invitation to spiritual contemplation and pilgrimage. Siamak is going to share with us his 14 year journey to create the South American Bahá’í House of Worship, the last of the eight continental temples commissioned by the Bahá’í Community.

November 9, 2016

Baptizing the Dead or Burying the Baptized: The Need to Recover the Link Between Baptism and the Funeral

by  Rebecca Spellacy,B.A, M.A, ThD, ABD. Trinity College.

The Episcopal Church’s funeral liturgy wants to locate the funeral in the context of Easter, of the Paschal Mystery. While much can and has been made of that link, there is another, equally as important link that is made in the liturgy, that is the link between the baptism of a Christian and their funeral. This is based on the claim that the body of the departed has worth because of baptism. This presentation will argue that the way to address this situation is to highlight the liturgical link between baptism, the Paschal Mystery, and the funeral and to view them as a liturgical triplet.

April 1, 2016

The Transept Doors of the St. Michael’s Cathedral Restoration Project 

by Farhad Nargol-O'Neill, sculptor


The Ontario born and raised sculptor, Farhad Nargol-ONeill, has been commissioned to create two Marian double doors, carved in bas-relief and cast in bronze, as part of the restoration of St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto. Nargol-O’Neill was born in Unionville, Ontario, grew up in the York Catholic school system, studied music at York University, and ran a successful sculpting studio in Belfast, Ireland for ten years before returning to Canada. His work has been shown in exhibitions around the world; his commissions can be found in private, public and diplomatic collections. Since 2014 he has been creating twenty bronze Rosary-themed panels for two monumental transept doors, “The Joyful and Glorious Mysteries” and “The Sorrowful and Luminous Mysteries.” 


March 3, 2016

The Grammar of Silence in Liturgical Language

by  Rev. Dr. Eileen Scully, Director of Faith, Worship and Ministry for the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC).

The Rev. Dr. Eileen Scully (PhD, St. Michael’s College, 1993) is Director of Faith, Worship and Ministry for the Anglican Church of Canada [ACC]. She has also served as Chair of the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation, Associate General Secretary for Faith and Witness with the Canadian Council of Churches, with numerous liturgical and theological bodies both in the ACC and the worldwide Anglican Communion, and has lectured widely in Church History, Theology, and Christian Education and Formation.

November 25, 2015

Play, Symbol & Festival in Worship Design

by  Dr. David H. Pereyra,  OCAD University & St Michael’s College University

The German philosopher, Hans-Georg Gadamer throughout his work asserts, “The experience of the beautiful in art is a form of knowing.” To confirm this argument, he works on three basic concepts of his philosophical aesthetics: “play,” “symbol,” and “festival.” In this presentation Pereyra will explore the application of those concepts to the design of Christian churches. Sacred spaces are capable of moving and transforming us because of their particular language of beauty. He will argue that by designing a sacred space with Gadamer’s concepts of play, symbol, and festival in mind, we can enhance our knowledge of beauty through the art of liturgical design. He will explain Gadamer’s three concepts, describe how they can applied to the design of Christian churches, and consider their potential effects. The reality of beauty, as a transcendental quality of being, invites one to enter the world of contemplation wherein beauty gives herself freely and without personal regard. The beauty of the liturgy and the place where it is celebrated must converge in an experience that transforms worship space into Sacred Space.

David H. Pereyra is a seasonal professor at the Faculty of Theology at the University of St Michael’s College in Toronto, and the coordinator of the Liturgy Seminar, at the Toronto School of Theology, University of Toronto. He has a degree as an architect at the University of Buenos Aires, a Master in Arts in Theology, and a degree of Doctor in Philosophy of Theology, both at the University of St Michael’s College. For several years he has been a lecturer of Church Design at the Catholic University in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has presented his work in international conferences in Argentina, Austria, Belgium and United States. Right now, he works at the Inclusive Design Research Centre, at Ontario College of Art University in Toronto (OCAD U). His research examines inclusivity and accessibility throughout welcoming space.

October 21, 2015

Music, servant of text? Liturgical deliberations at Vatican II

by Dr. Michael O’Connor. Senior Lecturer. St. Michael’s College University

Michael O’Connor is a Senior Lecturer at the University of St. Michael’s College. His areas of expertise include Cajetan, music and liturgy. Dr. O’Connor’s academic scholarship and practical music-making overlap in the theory and practice of liturgical music.  He has recently published, "The Liturgical Use of the Organ in the Sixteenth Century: the Judgments of Cajetan and the Dominican Order" and has a monograph due out next year on Cajetan's biblical exegesis. In addition to teaching in the college undergraduate programs at St. Michael’s he runs a weekly Singing Club on campus and directs the USMC Schola Cantorum. Dr. O’Connor is a board member of the Royal School of Church Music Canada.

In the context of Christian worship, music is often said to be a "servant of the text" (or a "servant of the rite"). This is found across denominations and centuries -- e.g., among Calvinist reformers and twentieth century popes. This presentation will first of all consider the implications of this assertion and then the surprising decision, at the Second Vatican Council, to omit it from the Constitution on the Liturgy. The presentation will conclude with some reflections on the consequences of this decision, which remain to be worked out in practice.

March 20, 2015

Grace Art Glass Treasures of Toronto: a FREE tour of Art Glass 

Led by Sarah Hall, RCA


Sarah Hall was born in Dundas, Ontario, Canada in 1951.  She studied in the Architectural Glass Department at Swansea College of Art in Wales, UK and followed this with an internship with Lawrence Lee, master at the Royal College of Art in London.  After completing studies in the U.K., Sarah spent a year in Jerusalem studying Middle Eastern techniques in glass. Her work has received numerous awards for outstanding liturgical art. The American Institute of Architects has awarded Sarah several ‘Honor Awards’ in light of her challenging and creative installations within contemporary church architecture.
In 2002, Sarah was elected into membership of the Royal Canadian Academy of Art.  Her exceptional contribution to the built environment was honored in 1997 by the Ontario Association of Architects “Allied Arts Award.” In 2005, Sarah received a Chalmers Arts Fellowship to research and integrate photovoltaic technology (solar energy collection cells) into her art glass installations. This unique fusion of art and technology is the first of its’ kind in North America.Sarah has established her studio in Toronto and keeps a busy schedule with lectures, exhibitions and projects which span a wide range of communities and architectural settings.

February 25, 2015

The Hegelianized Calvin:
Re-Examining Calvin’s Place in the Separation of Art from Religion

by Dr. Rebekah Smick. Associate Professor of Philosophy of the Arts and Culture
Institute for Christian Studies in the Toronto School of Theology. BA (Brandeis University). MA (Columbia University). PhD (University of Toronto)

Rebekah Smick specializes in pre-Kantian art theory and criticism, in particular the relation of early modern visual arts theory to poetics and rhetoric in the Western tradition. Her research and teaching investigate the aesthetic values of beauty and grace in the early modern period, the link between knowledge and imagination, the aesthetic function of metaphor, and the place of compassion. She is especially interested in delineating the connections made during the early modern period between aesthetics, metaphysics, ethics, and theology. She is author of Antiquity and Its Interpreters (Cambridge UP, 2000) and is currently working on a book manuscript entitled Michelangelo’s Vatican Pietà as Image in the Theology and Aesthetics of Compassion.