"A Taste of What Desire seeks":

Sensing the Holy in Liturgical Life

  • Andrew Mellas St Andrew's Greek Orthodox Theological College
  • Andrew Psarommatis


The spiritual symbology of liturgical phenomena have been the subject of several classic commentaries in the Byzantine patristic tradition, as well as of several modern scholarly studies. However, research on the senses, materiality and their effects on the liturgical experience is still in its early stages. Beyond the aesthetic wonder these phenomena aroused, they could also engender a mystical synaesthesia that invited the faithful to glimpse invisible beauty, sense the intelligible and experience immaterial illumination. This paper explores whether there is a theological framework that underpins and illuminates the process of sense perception in liturgical life that emerges in the early patristic period. The theological construct, “the senses of the soul” (τὰ τῆς ψυχῆς αἰσθητήρια) will be used as a point of departure for exploring this process. After alluding to the senses of sight, smell, touch and taste, the paper will give particular emphasis to the sense of hearing.


Conference Papers: Sounds of the Holy, Joensuu 2019
Jun 5, 2020
How to Cite
Mellas, Andrew, and Andrew Psarommatis. 2020. “"A Taste of What Desire seeks": : Sensing the Holy in Liturgical Life”. Journal of the International Society for Orthodox Music 4 (1), 140–151. https://journal.fi/jisocm/article/view/88644.