Ołtarz w posoborowej liturgii mszalnej – znaczenie i funkcja
The Altar in the Post-Council Mass Liturgy – Significance and Function
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In a synthetic manner, the article presents the significance and function of the altar in the post-council Mass liturgy. As is commonly known, the renewal of liturgy after the ecumenical council introduced certain alternations in the fashion in which the interior of achurch was managed and designed, which was particularly true regarding the presbytery. A crucial constituent of the implemented changes was the return to the ancient practices of placing the altar in the central part of the temple, where it was noticeably distanced from the wall of the presbytery and which resulted in the celebrant performing the Eucharist facing the gathered Lord’s People. The altar is supposed to rebecome a holy space and, at the same time, a place where the Eucharist is performed. During the Eucharist, the whole attention of the liturgic gathering is focused on the altar, which symbolises Christ, the sole mediator between God and man, between the redeemed community and the pilgrimaging Church. Thus, the altar is the keystone of the local congregation and the entire heavenly reality. It is where Heaven unites with Earth, and divine matters with human matters. Due to its symbolic meaning, the altar ought to be made of stone, granite, marble or rock, which symbolises Christ. This primarily refers to the altar stone (mensa), which – due to its privileged significance and deep symbolism – ought to be ofappropriate thickness and easily visible to all gathered. During the liturgy, the altar is granted a particular reverence and respect, expressed by such actions asa deep bow, kissing and incensing.
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