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Author Topic: Minor OO-related questions  (Read 1768 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: August 16, 2014, 05:37:42 AM »

Have we had a thread like this before? I assume various EOs/other folks have some small questions that don't deserve a thread of their own.

I'd like to start with a question about Armenian altars. From what I remember they look somewhat like RC altars but with a "stage". I mean, they are on a higher level than the nave. Is there some fancy theological explanation to this?
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« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2014, 08:05:44 AM »

It's a pronounced form of the bema/vima - the bema is present in Byzantine Orthodox churches, but it's not usually so prominent or, if it is, noticable due to the iconostas. I have seen pictures of one or two Armenian Orthodox churches with somewhat lower bemas, in Georgia I believe. Perhaps an influence from their Georgian context...
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« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2014, 09:20:46 PM »

I could be wrong, but I don't think there is any exact rule about how high a bema should be in the Armenian Church.  I have seen a few here in the US that are not very high, but they do tend to be higher than in other eastern churches.

I think what distinguishes Armenian bemas is the fact that the steps leading to them are on the side, rather than in the front. 
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« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2014, 09:37:56 PM »

From Etchmiadzin:

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« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2014, 03:03:26 PM »

^That was fairly nice church. Btw, I got a few weird looks for my EO manners (making 3 sign of the cross upon entering and leaving etc.) which was weird since I thought people would have used to visiting Russians.
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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2014, 01:16:27 AM »

Here's a brief OO question: do all Oriental rites have the Anaphora said silently?
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« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2014, 01:02:12 PM »

Here's a brief OO question: do all Oriental rites have the Anaphora said silently?

The Armenians read the anaphora mostly silently (they are the closest in this regard to the received EO tradition).  The rest of us read the anaphora mostly aloud, although there are some prayers which the priest reads inaudibly. 
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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2014, 03:36:51 PM »

The Armenians read the anaphora mostly silently (they are the closest in this regard to the received EO tradition).  The rest of us read the anaphora mostly aloud, although there are some prayers which the priest reads inaudibly. 
Has there ever been any debate over which way is better, as there can be in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy?
With regard to the rest of you, what is the reasoning for reading some prayers silently but the Anaphora aloud? I ask because the Anaphora is generally the focal point of debates (in my experience with Roman Catholicism) over whether some prayers should be silent.
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« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2014, 03:40:06 PM »

The rest of us read the anaphora mostly aloud

As in you have always read it aloud or have recently revived some ancient custom of reading it aloud?
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« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2014, 03:50:56 PM »

The rest of us read the anaphora mostly aloud

As in you have always read it aloud or have recently revived some ancient custom of reading it aloud?

AFAIK, it was always read aloud, not silently with a phrase here and there to prompt the choir to sing the next hymn. 
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« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2014, 03:58:57 PM »

Interesting, the "bimah" in Hebrew is the stand on which the Torah rests during readings.



Makes sense as "bimah" and the Greek "bema" literally means "raised platform."

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« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2014, 04:02:08 PM »

With regard to the rest of you, what is the reasoning for reading some prayers silently but the Anaphora aloud?

I'm not sure, to be honest.  Some are clearly prayers for the priest alone, but I suspect the other inaudible prayers (which occur in the anaphora as well as outside it) may have been read inaudibly in order to save time while the congregation/deacons were singing something else.  My only real basis for this suspicion, however, is lived experience: I've seen even some of the prayers usually read aloud taken silently in order to save time on weekday mornings before people have to go to work, for example.    

Interestingly, the rubric, at least in Syriac, doesn't say that the prayer should be read inaudibly, but "bowed".  If you are bowing while reciting a prayer, I suppose your voice becomes quieter or people find it tougher to hear, and this eventually became the inaudible prayer we have now (in Malayalam, "bowed" is normally translated "secretly" or "mystically", even if it is understood as "silently).  

Quote
I ask because the Anaphora is generally the focal point of debates (in my experience with Roman Catholicism) over whether some prayers should be silent.

Yes, but in my limited experience, they have a totally different idea of why the Canon and other prayers are recited silently.  They have theologised silence, identified the Mass exclusively with Calvary, etc.  I am unaware of any such idea in our tradition regarding the importance of silence.  
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« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2014, 04:03:37 PM »

Mor, can you please explain to me the meaning of the (presumably) Arabic (...but maybe Syriac?) character that you and other posters are using as avatars? I get that is has to do with solidarity with our Iraqi and Syrian brothers and sisters, but what does the symbol itself mean?
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« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2014, 04:09:35 PM »

Mor, can you please explain to me the meaning of the (presumably) Arabic (...but maybe Syriac?) character that you and other posters are using as avatars? I get that is has to do with solidarity with our Iraqi and Syrian brothers and sisters, but what does the symbol itself mean?

It's just the Arabic letter "nun" (N).  IS was going around spray-painting it on the homes and properties of Christians ("Nazarenes") to mark them. 
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« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2014, 04:12:17 PM »

Mor, can you please explain to me the meaning of the (presumably) Arabic (...but maybe Syriac?) character that you and other posters are using as avatars? I get that is has to do with solidarity with our Iraqi and Syrian brothers and sisters, but what does the symbol itself mean?

It's just the Arabic letter "nun" (N).  IS was going around spray-painting it on the homes and properties of Christians ("Nazarenes") to mark them. 

Ah. Thank you for explaining this to me.
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« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2014, 04:37:07 PM »

Yes, but in my limited experience, they have a totally different idea of why the Canon and other prayers are recited silently.  They have theologised silence, identified the Mass exclusively with Calvary, etc.  I am unaware of any such idea in our tradition regarding the importance of silence.
So there isn't any theological reason for silent prayer in the OO tradition? Because yes, there's certainly a lot of theologising of it in the TLM crowd, but I've also seen EO writers defend the existing silent prayers purely on the basis that they preserve the understanding of the ministerial priesthood as distinct from that of the laity, as well as preserving the mystery of the Mysteries (sort of like an auditory iconostasis/curtain, I guess).
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« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2014, 04:56:42 PM »

Here's a brief OO question: do all Oriental rites have the Anaphora said silently?

The Armenians read the anaphora mostly silently (they are the closest in this regard to the received EO tradition).  The rest of us read the anaphora mostly aloud, although there are some prayers which the priest reads inaudibly. 

The Anaphora has been semi-audible in every Armenian Church I have ever attended. Anyone near the altar can hear the priest though parts of it are covered by the singing of the choir.
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« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2014, 06:51:16 PM »

Here's a brief OO question: do all Oriental rites have the Anaphora said silently?

The Armenians read the anaphora mostly silently (they are the closest in this regard to the received EO tradition).  The rest of us read the anaphora mostly aloud, although there are some prayers which the priest reads inaudibly. 

The Anaphora has been semi-audible in every Armenian Church I have ever attended. Anyone near the altar can hear the priest though parts of it are covered by the singing of the choir.

I need to get out more, as it's always been as I described.  That, and/or I need to stand closer.  In either case, I probably need to learn Armenian.  Tongue
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« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2014, 06:58:34 PM »

Yes, but in my limited experience, they have a totally different idea of why the Canon and other prayers are recited silently.  They have theologised silence, identified the Mass exclusively with Calvary, etc.  I am unaware of any such idea in our tradition regarding the importance of silence.
So there isn't any theological reason for silent prayer in the OO tradition? Because yes, there's certainly a lot of theologising of it in the TLM crowd, but I've also seen EO writers defend the existing silent prayers purely on the basis that they preserve the understanding of the ministerial priesthood as distinct from that of the laity, as well as preserving the mystery of the Mysteries (sort of like an auditory iconostasis/curtain, I guess).

The "auditory iconostasis" is, in my experience, a RC argument.  I've never heard EO authors refer to this concept, so I'd be happy for some references just so I can read further. 

As for the distinction between the ministerial priesthood and that of the baptised, there are already distinctions in the rite which point to this distinction, and there are inaudible prayers that are proper to the priest and ought to be inaudible, but to take the anaphora, which is the prayer of the Church, and turn it into what is basically a private devotion is, IMO, an abuse.  But I happily attend and worship at Liturgies in which this is the practice, so it's not like I think it ruins everything.  I just think it doesn't really "help". 
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« Reply #19 on: August 24, 2014, 07:38:40 PM »

Here's a brief OO question: do all Oriental rites have the Anaphora said silently?

The Armenians read the anaphora mostly silently (they are the closest in this regard to the received EO tradition).  The rest of us read the anaphora mostly aloud, although there are some prayers which the priest reads inaudibly. 

The Anaphora has been semi-audible in every Armenian Church I have ever attended. Anyone near the altar can hear the priest though parts of it are covered by the singing of the choir.

Yeah, it's kind of annoying how much of the priest's prayers are said while the choir is singing.  It would be nice to hear more of the priest's prayers, but you can't because they are drowned out by the choir.  I wonder if it was always that way, of if this was something that developed at some point of time.

If I understand the term "Anaphora" correctly, isn't this when the priest is blessing the Cup 3 times 3, while the choir is singing Vorti Asdoodzo?
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« Reply #20 on: August 24, 2014, 07:39:09 PM »

The "auditory iconostasis" is, in my experience, a RC argument.  I've never heard EO authors refer to this concept, so I'd be happy for some references just so I can read further.
I wish I could remember where I found it. Full disclosure: it was one article, and I'm pretty sure that while it wasn't actually on orthodoxinfo.com, it was some clergyman of no particular fame doing the same sort of griping about the practice among some EO priests of saying the silent prayers aloud (which my priest, in fact, does). I just assumed it was the "traditionalist position" among EOs, which I probably shouldn't have.
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« Reply #21 on: August 24, 2014, 07:48:13 PM »

I just assumed it was the "traditionalist position" among EOs, which I probably shouldn't have.

I think it's probably a "traditionalist position", but I think it is a different kind of traditionalism from RC traditionalism.  I've never come across a "theology of silence" in traditionalist EO writings: their opposition to the reading of inaudible prayers aloud is part of a wider protest against perceived innovations, a "liberal" liturgical theology and practice, etc.  The RC traditionalists have these concerns, but go further to theologise them.  I've seen similar theologisations against concelebration, in support of the private Mass, Low Mass, clerical celibacy, etc.  EO traditionalists have their own tendency towards theologising received practices, but I've never come across it with regard to inaudible prayers. 
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« Reply #22 on: August 24, 2014, 07:54:52 PM »

Interesting, the "bimah" in Hebrew is the stand on which the Torah rests during readings.



Makes sense as "bimah" and the Greek "bema" literally means "raised platform."

I love language. Wish I spoke more of it.

The Hebrew language, or language in general? I have political reasons as to why I don't learn Israeli Hebrew, as my posts would surely reveal.
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« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2014, 11:56:19 AM »

Language in general. And I was referring to myself, not you.

I don't think anyone should be forced to learn modern Hebrew. Sorry if I gave off that impression...?  Huh
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« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2014, 12:05:55 PM »

Mor, can you please explain to me the meaning of the (presumably) Arabic (...but maybe Syriac?) character that you and other posters are using as avatars? I get that is has to do with solidarity with our Iraqi and Syrian brothers and sisters, but what does the symbol itself mean?

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« Reply #25 on: August 25, 2014, 01:07:26 PM »

Interesting, the "bimah" in Hebrew is the stand on which the Torah rests during readings.



Makes sense as "bimah" and the Greek "bema" literally means "raised platform."

I love language. Wish I spoke more of it.

The Hebrew language, or language in general? I have political reasons as to why I don't learn Israeli Hebrew, as my posts would surely reveal.
Perhaps one day I will claim to have political motivations as to why I don't learn a language, but for now, I will content myself with being truthful and admitting it is due to sheer laziness.
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« Reply #26 on: August 25, 2014, 01:40:14 PM »

Mor, can you please explain to me the meaning of the (presumably) Arabic (...but maybe Syriac?) character that you and other posters are using as avatars? I get that is has to do with solidarity with our Iraqi and Syrian brothers and sisters, but what does the symbol itself mean?

It's the dread mark of the smiling cyclops.

I've missed you.  Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: August 25, 2014, 02:01:41 PM »

I don't care for the state of Israel (to put it mildly), but I think learning Hebrew would be great! To not learn it out of political convictions would be like not learning Arabic or Tigrinya because those languages are used by people who persecute Christians. Silly and counterproductive. What better way is there to understand the motivations of the people who do these things than to learn the languages in which they give their orders, since (at least in the case of Arabic-speaking Islamists; I can't really speak to the Eritrean situation beyond knowing that the government illegally deposed HH Abune Antonios, which is evil) they'll often soften their wording/try to hide their intentions in other languages?

And besides, Hebrew can be very pleasant in contexts beyond its use by the oppressor. Who can legitimately find fault with this 17th century poem (written long before the establishment of the illegal and disgraceful state of Israel and the attendant problems it caused for the Palestinians) written by Yemenite Rabbi Salim al-Shabazi, particularly when coming out of the mouth of the once very talented Ofra Haza? If everything were politics, I guess I could never enjoy a lot of music, poetry, or other forms of art made by non-Christians, and I should probably give up my job, as I am forced to learn or otherwise work with languages of non-Christians all the time. Wink
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« Reply #28 on: August 30, 2014, 01:12:36 PM »


I've read about how Armenian deacons wear priestly crowns on the feast of St. Stephen, but what is the significance of the large shoulder-cape-like garments that two of them are wearing over their stoles?
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« Reply #29 on: August 30, 2014, 02:16:02 PM »


I've read about how Armenian deacons wear priestly crowns on the feast of St. Stephen, but what is the significance of the large shoulder-cape-like garments that two of them are wearing over their stoles?
I think it's the way Jerusalem uses (pretty sure this picture is from Jerusalem) of denoting their archdeacons. I've posted about this at length before, and if someone wants to dig it up they're most welcome to do so, but in Jerusalem the deacons wear crowns most of the time. There are some local quirks there in terms of vestments. There really isn't much significance to it, in the big picture.
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« Reply #30 on: August 30, 2014, 02:25:00 PM »

I don't care for the state of Israel (to put it mildly), but I think learning Hebrew would be great! To not learn it out of political convictions would be like not learning Arabic or Tigrinya because those languages are used by people who persecute Christians. Silly and counterproductive.

Yeah, nothing screams "MORON!" like contemptuously referring to Arabic as "the language of Muhammad", as if the entire language - which existed long before the man and his religion and was and is the language in which many Orthodox Christians express themselves (including many great saints and theologians) - is somehow tainted by his using it.  Arabic is no more the "language of Muhammad" than German is the "language of Hitler" or English is the "language of Kathy Griffin".

As for Tigrinya, let's not forget that it has been the language of the Orthodox Christians of Eritrea for centuries and that the oppression of the Church has been a recent thing.  Tigrinya is no more the language of "persecutors of Christians" than Russian, German, English, or Japanese.
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« Reply #31 on: August 30, 2014, 05:26:32 PM »

about the anaphora, we don't say any of it silently.
as far as i know we never had a silent coptic orthodox anaphora.
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« Reply #32 on: August 31, 2014, 01:24:09 AM »

I think it's the way Jerusalem uses (pretty sure this picture is from Jerusalem) of denoting their archdeacons. I've posted about this at length before, and if someone wants to dig it up they're most welcome to do so, but in Jerusalem the deacons wear crowns most of the time. There are some local quirks there in terms of vestments. There really isn't much significance to it, in the big picture.
One thing I've also noticed in this picture is that there doesn't seem to be a tradition in the Armenian church for deacons to fold the front end of their stoles up over their left forearms when doing, well, basically anything, the way there is for Byzantine deacons. Am I correct in this? Does this apply to the Syriac and Coptic churches (which also have that form of diaconal stole) as well?
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« Reply #33 on: August 31, 2014, 10:36:03 AM »

One thing I've also noticed in this picture is that there doesn't seem to be a tradition in the Armenian church for deacons to fold the front end of their stoles up over their left forearms when doing, well, basically anything, the way there is for Byzantine deacons. Am I correct in this? Does this apply to the Syriac and Coptic churches (which also have that form of diaconal stole) as well?

Are you referring to wearing the stole like this?


If so in the Syriac Church only subdeacons (apodyaqno) wear the stole like that. Once the subdeacon is ordained as a full deacon (shamosho) they always wear the stole as:


Readers (Koruyo)wear the stole like the below pic.


So when you see men vested, from the way the stole is worn; you can tell what minor order each man has been ordained to.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2014, 10:41:12 AM by dhinuus » Logged

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« Reply #34 on: August 31, 2014, 12:45:24 PM »

Are you referring to wearing the stole like this?
Not quite. I'm talking about deacons taking the end of the stole when it hangs as far as the ground and folding it up over the left forearm, like so. I'm pretty sure that Syriac subdeacon's stole is too short in front to do this, but the Syriac deacon pictured below him would be able to; Byzantine deacons do it whether they have the single orarion like that or the double orarion like in the picture I posted.
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« Reply #35 on: August 31, 2014, 12:54:19 PM »

One thing I've also noticed in this picture is that there doesn't seem to be a tradition in the Armenian church for deacons to fold the front end of their stoles up over their left forearms when doing, well, basically anything, the way there is for Byzantine deacons. Am I correct in this? Does this apply to the Syriac and Coptic churches (which also have that form of diaconal stole) as well?

Yes, I think you are correct, we do not have that practice.  In my entire life I've only seen one OO deacon do this, and he was certainly imitating EO practice. 
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« Reply #36 on: August 31, 2014, 02:13:11 PM »

I think it's the way Jerusalem uses (pretty sure this picture is from Jerusalem) of denoting their archdeacons. I've posted about this at length before, and if someone wants to dig it up they're most welcome to do so, but in Jerusalem the deacons wear crowns most of the time. There are some local quirks there in terms of vestments. There really isn't much significance to it, in the big picture.
One thing I've also noticed in this picture is that there doesn't seem to be a tradition in the Armenian church for deacons to fold the front end of their stoles up over their left forearms when doing, well, basically anything, the way there is for Byzantine deacons. Am I correct in this? Does this apply to the Syriac and Coptic churches (which also have that form of diaconal stole) as well?
I do this. It doesn't mean anything, it's just easier than having the stole dragging around when I'm walking, so more often than not I just have it folded over my left arm.

Technically, Armenian subdeacons are supposed to wear their stole folded and hanging over their left forearm, not hanging over their shoulder. It's rarely done in practice, though. The only time I ever did was the day I was ordained a subdeacon, and then the day I was ordained a deacon leading up to the ordination.
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« Reply #37 on: August 31, 2014, 04:01:02 PM »

I do this. It doesn't mean anything,

No, this will not do. I'm sure you can do better than that. As Orthodox Christians we are to have elaborate explanations for everything. It doesn't matter whether the explanations make any sense or have any historical background. Please see this helpful mindmap:

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« Reply #38 on: August 31, 2014, 04:17:42 PM »

That looks like the donor recognition tree at the local synagogue. 
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« Reply #39 on: September 17, 2014, 04:06:33 PM »

More questions! I watched (very select parts of) the enthronement of Pope Tawadros today, and was pleased to see that when His Holiness vested, he wore a belt over his stole, and an epigonation hanging from that belt on the right side (which surprised me-- I thought that only the Syrian Patriarch of Antioch did that).
But I also noticed that, in a process which took a long time because no one seemed to be familiar with it, he also donned a pair of giant embroidered sleeves which covered not just the forearm, but the whole arm to the shoulder, and buttoned onto the stole to stay in place. Have other Coptic hierarchs ever worn these? Are they the Coptic equivalent to the cuffs worn in the other Eastern rites?
A photo of Pope Tawadros at his enthronement. If you look closely you can see the belt under his icons and pectoral cross, and the cloth band of the epigonation hanging from it. You can also see the edge of his right oversleeve, and the sleeve of his tonia (alb) protruding from it.
A video of the vesting at the ceremony.
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« Reply #40 on: September 19, 2014, 10:56:21 AM »

Certainly the belt and cuffs were part of the traditional vestments but have fallen into disuse in the present period of casual dress in many places.
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