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Poll
Question: How often do you attend weekday church services (weekday Vespers or Matins, Vigil of Holy Days, Holy Day Liturgies, Saturday Evening Vigil (for Sunday), etc?
Always - 8 (17%)
Most of the time - 17 (36.2%)
Seldom - 2 (4.3%)
Rarely - 12 (25.5%)
Never - 3 (6.4%)
My parish does not hold weekday services - 5 (10.6%)
Total Voters: 47

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« on: January 07, 2007, 02:43:50 PM »

I was wondering about weekday church attendence by members of this forum.  For our Roman Catholic friends, this can include weekday Masses.  For our Protestant friends, this can include mid-week prayer services.
I attend most weekday vigils for Holy Days and on Saturday evenings.  I try to attend the weekday Liturgy for most major Holy Days when I can arrange my work schedule to leave for an hour or so.  (No meetings, etc. scheduled.)  I am lucky in that there is an Orthodox Church 10 minutes from where I work that has Holy Day Liturgies.  The priest is a working priest and Liturgy on these days is over in 1 hour and 10 minutes.  (No sermon!  As he says, when you are at a weekday Festal Liturgy, you know the story!)
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« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2007, 02:49:28 PM »

Quote
For our Roman Catholic friends, this can include weekday Masses.

Doesn't the EO Church perform weekday Liturgies (for "non-Holy days")? If not, why not? My local Coptic parish holds a divine Liturgy every day of the week.
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« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2007, 03:18:09 PM »

Rarely. I did better before I began working two jobs, so weeknights and Saturdays are tough and there is no Orthodox Church near my office during weekdays.
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« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2007, 03:36:18 PM »

Doesn't the EO Church perform weekday Liturgies (for "non-Holy days")?

Nope.  This is very rare in the EO tradition.  Some monasteries or really large parishes might do this, but they would generally also be careful to include as full a schedule of the "liturgical hours" (hours, vespers, matins etc.) as possible.

Quote
If not, why not? My local Coptic parish holds a divine Liturgy every day of the week.

Do you have two or more full-time priests on staff at your church?  This is one reason why it's not done....it's just too much work for one full-time priest to handle....even for two, you might say the same thing.

Another thing, of course, is that if you have a married priest, the priest is supposed to refrain from relations with his wife the night before liturgy is served.  So if you only have one priest, and the liturgy is served every day.......well, you get the idea.

Does your parish offer liturgy at the expense of not offering other liturgical services (such as vespers and matins)?  This is another reason why Divine Liturgy is not served so often in EO parishes.  It is an EO tradition to try to offer as full an expression of the seasonal liturgical cycle as possible, in parishes that are able to offer a fuller liturgical life.  This is because liturgical texts which are specific to each day of the year can only be found in their fullest expression in services like vespers and matins.  By the EO way of thinking, these liturgical observances which are specific to each day are what help immensely in the sanctification of time, and in the lives of the faithful. 
Of course, you can't argue with the fact that it's also extremely beneficial to offer the Eucharist to the faithful as often as possible!
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« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2007, 03:44:02 PM »

Well, I'm pretty much at every weekday service in my parish.... Wink

Yes, we average a little over one weekday service a week (it's something like 75 weekday Liturgies, not including the Great Feasts, divided by the 52 weeks of the year).

Some parishes that don't have full time clergy, might not be able to have their clergy provide these services. For this reason the EO folks in the area keep an eye on our Liturgical schedule, and will attend our weekday Liturgies if they are so inclined.

I have heard that this ability for my parish to offer these weekday services actually does result in a reduction in weekday services for the other EO parishes in town, since their clergy (all of which work other jobs) know their parishioners will be taken care of by us if the parishioners should show up. So, that's a dynamic that may be repeated elsewhere in the country as well.
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« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2007, 04:06:47 PM »

Wow, that's quite impressive, Fr. Chris!  Smiley

I forgot to mention that, in the EO tradition, serving the Divine Liturgy on weekdays in Great Lent is forbidden.  Instead, on Wednesday and Friday, a Presanctified Liturgy is served.  This is an interesting liturgical creature.  It's basically vespers with a lot of good stuff tacked on to help prepare the faithful for communion.  Communion is given from the elements which have been consecrated on the previous Sunday.  Ekhristos Anesti, do the OO do something similar in lent?
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« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2007, 05:48:15 PM »

I read that in the Hagia Sofia in Byzantia, there was a Liturgy several times a day. I think it was every 6 hours, with various Vespers in between. Or maybe the book I read didn't quite "get it" and there were many Vespers but only one Liturgy.

I wish our church could have weekday services, but we have a single married priest. Though we'll have services on major days (Theophany, Pre-Sanctified Liturgies, etc.), we don't have any weekly services regularly.

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« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2007, 09:37:06 PM »

Since our "retired" priest only travels up on Saturday and leaves on Sunday-we have no weekday services (except during Holy Week)

And I can barely make it with seven in tow on Sundays...even then I sit downstairs with our special Heather.  So technically, I guess I don't go at all.  Embarrassed
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« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2007, 10:33:09 PM »

Quote
Doesn't the EO Church perform weekday Liturgies (for "non-Holy days")?
The cathedrals do it in Romania (Western Romania, at least); a vigil every evening (Vespers and Matins) followed by the Liturgy in the morning (7 or 8.00 AM).  This is the daily practice, except for the days when the calendar expressely forbids a liturgy.
But this might be a Roman Catholic influence, though.
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« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2007, 07:48:44 AM »

Well, I'm pretty much at every weekday service in my parish.... Wink

Yes, we average a little over one weekday service a week (it's something like 75 weekday Liturgies, not including the Great Feasts, divided by the 52 weeks of the year).


It sounds like they're still getting their money's worth out of you.  Wink  How's the family?  If you need any representation, let me know.  I was a Teamsters Steward for many years. Cheesy

PB
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« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2007, 08:11:22 AM »

Pravasolov,

Quote
Do you have two or more full-time priests on staff at your church? 


Yes, three in fact.

Quote
This is one reason why it's not done....it's just too much work for one full-time priest to handle....even for two, you might say the same thing.


Fair enough; the same principle applies with us (i.e. parishes that have only one priest do not have Liturgies every day of the week). My question regarding EO practice was primarily aimed at determining whether the non-performance of weekday Liturgies in the EO Church was a matter of policy, since such was the impression I received from the OP; i'm glad to hear that it's not, and that it's merely a matter of practicality.

Quote
Does your parish offer liturgy at the expense of not offering other liturgical services (such as vespers and matins)?

Not at all. The Matins service has practically become a pre-requisite to the Divine Liturgy.

Quote
Ekhristos Anesti, do the OO do something similar in lent?

Speaking for the Coptic Orthodox Church in particular (as I am not very familiar with the practice of the other OO traditions in this regard), there is no proscription against weekday Liturgies during the Great Lent. In fact, the Coptic Church has hymns to be exclusively chanted during weekday Liturgies of the Great Lent.
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« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2007, 09:15:56 AM »

My family lives 54 miles away from our Parish (108 miles round trip), which we attend every Sunday I do not have to work. I occassionally get to attend a saturday evening  vespers and try to attend the Vigil f the feast or the Liturgy of the Feast. Otherwise, I hqave to make do with reader's services in my home with my grandchildren assisiting in the chanting and prayers.  Most of the daily services  I have attempted to attend are over or almost over by the time I leave work and drive into the Austin rush hour traffic for 90 minutes.

Our parish does offer Orthros, and either compline or Vespers  everyday of the week.

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« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2007, 09:55:07 AM »

Every Sunday definately. I try to make either the vespers or the feast day liturgy for all of the feast days held by the Cathedral. Generally I don't get to go to weekday morning services since I work at a Stock Exchange and those hours are non flexible. But if I am able, I generally go. But then again, I do attend a cathedral so there are plenty of services for us to attend  Grin

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« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2007, 12:29:13 PM »

I go to mass on Sundays and holy days. The parish is quite a drive away, or else I'd go more often. I'm having problems with my car---the engine light is on, and I don't know why.

When I was in college, I would go Sundays, holy days, and usually once or twice in the middle of the week. I'd go to mass in French when it was offered on the first Wednesday of every month. Half the French department at the university was in the choir, and they helped to make the mass very beautiful.

I'd also go occasionally to Holy Communion at my friend's Anglican church and to the Divine Liturgy at the local Greek Orthodox church (in addition to mass, of course).
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« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2007, 01:23:13 PM »

Pravoslavbob,

You said this in an earlier post: 
Quote
Another thing, of course, is that if you have a married priest, the priest is supposed to refrain from relations with his wife the night before liturgy is served.  So if you only have one priest, and the liturgy is served every day.......well, you get the idea.

Were you refering to the EO church?  And where did you get this idea from? 
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« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2007, 01:33:16 PM »


I forgot to mention that, in the EO tradition, serving the Divine Liturgy on weekdays in Great Lent is forbidden.  Instead, on Wednesday and Friday, a Presanctified Liturgy is served.  This is an interesting liturgical creature.  It's basically vespers with a lot of good stuff

I should be a bit more precise...my 75 Liturgies figure does include the Presanctifieds, which for some reason I did not differentiate while I did for the Great Feasts.

If anything, the number of Liturgies is a direct result of having two priests full time on the Cathedral staff, and shows the value of any parish 'investing' in their clergy. Often there may be a parish that is on the edge of wondering if they could support more than one priest, and they ask themselves if it'd be 'worth it'.

Well, here's proof of it: one of the reasons we can provide so much in regards to service is because there's an extra pair of hands to help! In corporate speak, the 'value added service' from investing in additional clergy more than justifies the extra 'expense'.

And I would be remiss if I also didn't point out that these services could not be done without our chanting staff: 6 chanters and 3 trainees. There's never been less than 2 of the chanters present at any of the weekday services, and sometimes we've had five.

Finally, there an 85 year old man here who shows up at every weekday service to act as our altarboy. He's just incredible, and there's no way anything any clergy of the Cathedral does is 'impressive'---it's all due to the Spirit motivating people to want to help and worship.
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« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2007, 01:39:28 PM »

serb,

What bob said was a common practice in the early Church, and is probably still practiced in "traditional" churches. Some even have a pious custom of lay people not having sex before communion. Some people don't eat food for 16+ hours before liturgy, it seems a normal extension to also avoid tv, sex, etc. Ya know, don't go near the good stuff! Grin
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« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2007, 01:44:59 PM »

serb,

What bob said was a common practice in the early Church, and is probably still practiced in "traditional" churches. Some even have a pious custom of lay people not having sex before communion. Some people don't eat food for 16+ hours before liturgy, it seems a normal extension to also avoid tv, sex, etc. Ya know, don't go near the good stuff! Grin

Not naming any names, of course, but...many people observe these practices even though they may not be a member of a "traditional" church. I recently had a 'discussion' with one of my kids why he couldn't be on the computer after midnight on a Saturday.

 
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« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2007, 01:48:34 PM »

I have no problem with people "fasting" before communion.  I just thought that the marriage sacrament did away with all that stuff....maybe i'm wrong on this one...

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« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2007, 05:58:41 PM »

The marriage sacrament is not a permit to do "whatever you want, whenever you want," really, any more than God providing us with food and telling us to eat is a permit to never fast--especially since we know any fasting is for our spiritual benefit. Basically, restraint from marital relations is part of fasting. Not everyone follows this practice, but it is a normal part of preparation for the Eucharist.
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« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2007, 01:12:20 AM »

Makes sense to me!  Thanks for that little tid-bit! 
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« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2007, 02:38:07 AM »

Were you refering to the EO church?  And where did you get this idea from? 

Serb1389,

Yes, I was speaking of the EO Church.   Off the top of my head, I don't know which canon(s) deal with this issue, but I assure you, it is not my "idea", but well known throughout the Church.  Any Christian is expected to fast before communion.  For married Christians, fasting includes abstaining from sexual relations.  An officiating priest at a Divine Liturgy must receive communion at that liturgy, he has no choice in the matter.  So it stands to reason that he must also have abstained from relations with his wife the night before the liturgy.

Addendum:  Sorry, this post is a little slow off the mark, and other posters have already addressed some of these issues.  I had the "reply" box up on my screen for a long time before I replied.
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« Reply #22 on: January 09, 2007, 02:47:34 AM »

Not everyone follows this practice, but it is a normal part of preparation for the Eucharist.

I'm quite shocked to hear that not everyone follows it!  Yes, it is absolutely normal, and not just in "traditional" churches!  Of course, people make mistakes, things just happen spontaneously, and it might well be wrong to deprive oneself of holy communion just because of a slip-up.  I'm sure this happens all the time; and one has to discern what is the right thing to do.
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« Reply #23 on: January 09, 2007, 02:50:22 AM »

What bob said was a common practice in the early Church, and is probably still practiced in "traditional" churches.

See my last post.

Quote
Some even have a pious custom of lay people not having sex before communion.

See my previous posts.
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« Reply #24 on: January 09, 2007, 09:17:24 AM »

Well, don't you all know that sex is an unclean act and those who participate in in are clearly unclean people. And we don't want people made unclean by natural biological acts to enter the temples of God, because people who engage in these actions act in the material world and as we all know, Matter=Evil and Spirit=Good. Thus we must strive to deny the material inorder to uplift the spiritual, since the two are mutually exclusive...doesn't the Synod of Gangra make this all so clear? Roll Eyes
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« Reply #25 on: January 09, 2007, 09:41:29 AM »

Now you know very well that Gangra was dealing with specific problems, not just the general thoughts as to whether sex was clean, dirty, natural, unnatural, etc. I'm looking at the canons right now; canons 1, 4, 9, 10, 14, and 15 deal with marriage and sexuality, and I don't see any which seems to back up your position. And not only would I submit that none of the canons supports your case, but I would go a step further and claim that you are violating canon 21, which says, in part:

Quote
We state these things, not by way of cutting off from the Church of God persons wishing to exercise themselves ascetically in accordance with the Scriptures, but those who take the matter of ascetic exercises as something to be proud of, and who regard those living and conducting themselves in an easier manner disdainfully, and who introduce novelties that are contrary to the Scriptures and the Ecclesiastical Canons.

If you had your way, it would indeed be a novelty which would cut people off from the traditions given to them. I guess you're in good company though, since under some of these canons (e.g., Canon 17), a number of saints would also be anathematized. Smiley
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« Reply #26 on: January 09, 2007, 10:00:00 AM »

The discipline of Canon Law deals with general problems, the specific issues the canons deal with are secondary in nature...this heretical group no longer exists, if that was the only use of these canons they would have been shelved long ago. What these canons address is the Gnostic positions about the evilness of matter which are manifested in the nonsense of these so-called traditions that you (an atheist, of all people) are advocating. From another perspective, they are nothing short of Rape, they are a third party forcing a married couple in matters of sexual relations...if this where done by any means other than psychological attakcs with a facade of tradition we would lock the aggressor up. If we wish to consider scripture, St. Paul allows a husband and wife to abstain from sex, though I dont recall him ever mandating it, or giving premission to the Church to mandate it, and, of course, if either partner in the relationship has need of sexual relations, St. Paul advises the other not to deny. As a priest friend of mine said, these traditions simply reflect the inhumanity of false prophets, they are concerned with maintaining a (gnostic) theological ideal at the expense of God's creation. What you advise is a gnostic condemnation of matter, plain and simple...a position that I would think would be equally unacceptable to an empiricist as well as a Christian.
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« Reply #27 on: January 09, 2007, 10:18:21 AM »

GIC,

Though it can be very frustrating at times, I am somewhat pleased to see that you still don't get where I'm coming from. Smiley Much like yourself, I like to keep people off balance. Also, much like yourself, I will often argue for a perspective that I do not myself hold to. In this case, I am defending what I deem to be a certain Christian perspective rooted in the tradition of the Eastern Churches. Being that I really am a hedonist of sorts (I don't just play one on the internet), I would be condemned by the Church Fathers in about 52 different ways, just in the sexually immoral category alone. So why would I defend a position which condemns me? Some of it is interesting, in a hobby sort of way. Some of it is just knocking people off balance, especially if I think they could use a good knock (or in your case, would enjoy arguing). Some of it is just about trying to put facts out there and let people decide what they think. And there are other reasons, which I don't really want to go into here.

The jist of it is, when I say something, it is what I believe to be a fact, though that doesn't mean that I personally hold to it. For instance, I might say that Augustine thought that pleasure experienced during sex was a venial sin; that's a fact. However, I might not take the time to say "Oh, btw, I think that's a pile of rubbish," even if I do indeed think it such. I guess on some threads I am just more interested in giving facts, than in actually stating my own position on the matter. This has gotten me into frustrating situations more than once (and not just here), where people think I'm going to return to Christianity or something because I seem to be hanging on. Perhaps I will take a more direct approach in the future, though this will certainly cause more tension.

PS. When did you become a sola scripturist? Since when does Paul have to explicitly, in writing, authorize which things the Church can and cannot mandate? I thought in Orthodox ecclesiology Christ was the Head of the Church; was he replaced by Paul? Smiley
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« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2007, 01:02:18 PM »

Well, I try to go every Sunday, but i keep forgetting about the other ones (like this past saturday...oops!) I just started going back after a huge depressive/lack of gas money etc state of affairs in my house.  Weekdays, I can't, mostly, because either the boys are home and they would miss the bus to school if we were at church, and well, I have a ton of stuff to do most of the week (yeah right so why am I in the library, right? lol!)

Our retired Priest often fills in for our current one if he is needed to, which I think is very cool, and he often helps out on Sundays, too.

Fr Chris, that is the cutest church!  Not at all like the massive thing I built in my game!!!!  how many parishioners do you have, if I can ask?

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« Reply #29 on: January 09, 2007, 02:43:36 PM »

The discipline of Canon Law deals with general problems, the specific issues the canons deal with are secondary in nature...this heretical group no longer exists, if that was the only use of these canons they would have been shelved long ago. What these canons address is the Gnostic positions about the evilness of matter which are manifested in the nonsense of these so-called traditions that you (an atheist, of all people) are advocating. From another perspective, they are nothing short of Rape, they are a third party forcing a married couple in matters of sexual relations...if this where done by any means other than psychological attakcs with a facade of tradition we would lock the aggressor up. If we wish to consider scripture, St. Paul allows a husband and wife to abstain from sex, though I dont recall him ever mandating it, or giving premission to the Church to mandate it, and, of course, if either partner in the relationship has need of sexual relations, St. Paul advises the other not to deny. As a priest friend of mine said, these traditions simply reflect the inhumanity of false prophets, they are concerned with maintaining a (gnostic) theological ideal at the expense of God's creation. What you advise is a gnostic condemnation of matter, plain and simple...a position that I would think would be equally unacceptable to an empiricist as well as a Christian.

Yah...I was always understanding this as a possible way of getting closer to God, if both of the partners chose to use "abstinence" as a means to get closer to God.  Yet, sex has also been proclaimed "holy" in the marriage bed....so why not have sex to get closer to God, through your spouse? 

I'm just trying to work through this.  I think that its very dangerous to constantly deny your spouse of their needs...not that a person should abuse the right to relations with their spouse either...
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« Reply #30 on: January 09, 2007, 03:44:43 PM »

Well, don't you all know that sex is an unclean act and those who participate in in are clearly unclean people. And we don't want people made unclean by natural biological acts to enter the temples of God, because people who engage in these actions act in the material world and as we all know, Matter=Evil and Spirit=Good. Thus we must strive to deny the material inorder to uplift the spiritual, since the two are mutually exclusive...doesn't the Synod of Gangra make this all so clear? Roll Eyes

Come now, GIC.  You know full well that this is not what I am advocating. Would you have a big plate of souvlaki before you came to communion?  Would you swig back a couple of glasses of retsina? Sexual continence is merely one of the ways that we fast before we approach the chalice.  It's not the only way, and as I said, I'm sure people slip up in this regard at times, and it's up to their conscience to see whether or not they should approach the cup.  It's up to them, and perhaps their spiritual father, and God. 
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« Reply #31 on: January 09, 2007, 05:57:31 PM »

GIC,

Though it can be very frustrating at times, I am somewhat pleased to see that you still don't get where I'm coming from. Smiley Much like yourself, I like to keep people off balance. Also, much like yourself, I will often argue for a perspective that I do not myself hold to. In this case, I am defending what I deem to be a certain Christian perspective rooted in the tradition of the Eastern Churches.

Oh, I knew perfectly well that's what you were doing...however, surely you can see why, for the sake of my argument, it is benificial to point that fact out...but, if I were to openly point it out then I could, with ease, be accused of resorting to poorly constructed ad hominems and be told to focus on the issues...thus, you can see why it is advantageous for me to word my response in such a way as to compel you to admit that this is what you are doing. I'm quite aware that you think this is a bunch of nonsense (and rightly so in my not-so-humble opinion).

Quote
Perhaps I will take a more direct approach in the future, though this will certainly cause more tension.

I, at least, would welcome it...heck I might actually gain an ally in a few discussions where today it seems to be GiC vs. OC.net. Wink

Quote
PS. When did you become a sola scripturist? Since when does Paul have to explicitly, in writing, authorize which things the Church can and cannot mandate? I thought in Orthodox ecclesiology Christ was the Head of the Church; was he replaced by Paul? Smiley

Perhaps I should have been more clear what I was refering too...I was responding to the canon you mentioned and demonstrating that abstaining for sex before the eucharist was not a scriptural practice and, thus, not protected under Canon 17 of Gangra. It was entirely a legal argument.
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« Reply #32 on: January 09, 2007, 06:07:46 PM »

Come now, GIC.  You know full well that this is not what I am advocating. Would you have a big plate of souvlaki before you came to communion?  Would you swig back a couple of glasses of retsina? Sexual continence is merely one of the ways that we fast before we approach the chalice.  It's not the only way, and as I said, I'm sure people slip up in this regard at times, and it's up to their conscience to see whether or not they should approach the cup.  It's up to them, and perhaps their spiritual father, and God. 

Let's take this a step further, would you sleep prior to approaching the chalice? When you sleep you open yourself to the attacks of demons and deny yourself and defence since you cannot exersize your reasonable abilities. Surely, then, sleep is a far greater evil and threat than a marital act of sacramental communion between you, your spouse, and, ultimately, God. And, thus, we also see the problem with comparing sex to food, yes both are good and blessed, but the former, in the context of marriage, is a sacramental union, while the latter is simply the fulfillment of bodily needs. I understand where the custom you speak of came from, and while much of our understanding of sexuality has at least some roots in Gnosticism, I doubt this particular custom is that old. But, ultimatley, it conveys a very unhealthy and unorthodox understanding of sexuality...one that we need to change amongst our faithful, not perpetuate.
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« Reply #33 on: January 09, 2007, 09:05:27 PM »

And, thus, we also see the problem with comparing sex to food, yes both are good and blessed, but the former, in the context of marriage, is a sacramental union, while the latter is simply the fulfillment of bodily needs.

I don't agree at all, actually.  Yes, the sexual act is sacramental in the context of marriage.  Eating is also a sacramental act.  Christ said "I am the true bread that comes down from heaven" and "my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed."  Humans are hungry creatures.  One reason why we bless our food before we eat it is to help us realize that it is just an (imperfect) prefigurement of the great heavenly banquet that will be prepared for us.  All of our hunger, whether we know it or not, is ultimately hunger for the living God.  Nothing that is an activity that is given to us by God truly exists in and of itself apart from God.  It is just a way of leading us to God.  This includes eating and the sexual act.  Just because the sexual act is a sacramental thing in this life, it doesn't mean that we shouldn't fast from it at times so that we can be aware of what it is really pointing towards.  To paraphrase the Gospel: in the Kingdom of Heaven men and women are not married, nor are they given in marriage, but are like the angels in heaven.  I don't mean that husbands and wives won't continue to have  that union in some way in the hereafter.  But they certainly won't have conjugal relations in the same way as they do in this world.  When we fast from food before communion, we are reminding ourselves of who our true food is: Christ.  In a way,we should be hungry when we go to communion.  Similarly, in fasting from the sexual act before communion, we are reminding ourselves that this union we have here on earth with our husband or wife is a prefiguring of the even greater union we will have with God and the entire family of humanity in the age to come. 

Quote
I understand where the custom you speak of came from, and while much of our understanding of sexuality has at least some roots in Gnosticism, I doubt this particular custom is that old. But, ultimatley, it conveys a very unhealthy and unorthodox understanding of sexuality...one that we need to change amongst our faithful, not perpetuate.

I disagree.  Except that I do acknowledge that Christianity can exhibit a very unhealthy attitude towards sexuality at times.  But what is wrong with teaching people to exercise some self-control?  Would you deny that the passions can be involved here at times?  Since the passions are sometimes involved, should we not try with God's help to control our passions, or at least attempt to baptize them, whatever they may be, before we approach the Eucharistic banquet?  Do you deny that preparation is necessary before approaching the Holy Cup?
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« Reply #34 on: January 09, 2007, 10:27:44 PM »

I don't agree at all, actually.  Yes, the sexual act is sacramental in the context of marriage.  Eating is also a sacramental act.  Christ said "I am the true bread that comes down from heaven" and "my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed."  Humans are hungry creatures.  One reason why we bless our food before we eat it is to help us realize that it is just an (imperfect) prefigurement of the great heavenly banquet that will be prepared for us.

And I presume you would apply a similar 'imperfection' to sexual relations between a husband and wife? Why would such an intimate act be 'imperfect'? Perhabs because of the material medium? It does not seem to me that you have escaped a gonistic metaphysic.

Quote
All of our hunger, whether we know it or not, is ultimately hunger for the living God.  Nothing that is an activity that is given to us by God truly exists in and of itself apart from God.  It is just a way of leading us to God.  This includes eating and the sexual act.  Just because the sexual act is a sacramental thing in this life, it doesn't mean that we shouldn't fast from it at times so that we can be aware of what it is really pointing towards.  To paraphrase the Gospel: in the Kingdom of Heaven men and women are not married, nor are they given in marriage, but are like the angels in heaven.  I don't mean that husbands and wives won't continue to have  that union in some way in the hereafter.  But they certainly won't have conjugal relations in the same way as they do in this world.  When we fast from food before communion, we are reminding ourselves of who our true food is: Christ.  In a way,we should be hungry when we go to communion.  Similarly, in fasting from the sexual act before communion, we are reminding ourselves that this union we have here on earth with our husband or wife is a prefiguring of the even greater union we will have with God and the entire family of humanity in the age to come. 

You betray your bias, you submit that husband and wife will be together in heaven in all but material ways. Not even I, though a fervent neoplatonist, would go so far as to insist on the absence of matter and material relationships in the life to come. If indeed there is to be any relationship between husband and wife in the life to come, why assume to to be devoid of any material connection, despite the Christian belief in a material resurrection? I believe that in these arguments the danger of the position you espouse is manifested.

Quote
I disagree.  Except that I do acknowledge that Christianity can exhibit a very unhealthy attitude towards sexuality at times.  But what is wrong with teaching people to exercise some self-control?  Would you deny that the passions can be involved here at times?  Since the passions are sometimes involved, should we not try with God's help to control our passions, or at least attempt to baptize them, whatever they may be, before we approach the Eucharistic banquet?  Do you deny that preparation is necessary before approaching the Holy Cup?

Yes, Christianity can have a very unhealthy attitude towards sexuality, like labeling it a 'passion' and using this as an excuse to demonize and diminish a sacramental relationship between a husband and wife; it is to address this exact ideology that the Synod of Gangra was convened.
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« Reply #35 on: January 10, 2007, 12:14:08 AM »

And I presume you would apply a similar 'imperfection' to sexual relations between a husband and wife? Why would such an intimate act be 'imperfect'? Perhabs because of the material medium? It does not seem to me that you have escaped a gonistic metaphysic.

Nonsense.  All that I mean by "imperfect" is that with most of us sinners, because of our limitations, these sacramental actions enable us to only see the Kingdom "as through a glass darkly."   And yes, sometimes these gifts God gives us are misused.  I suppose you've never eaten too much on occassion?  I suppose that it might be possible that something similar might happen in the case of sex.   Wink Call me crazy, but it just seems, humans being what they are, that this just might happen sometimes.  I'm not hung up on it.  I'm sure God forgives his children for this.  You are the one who does not respect the material: you say that eating is "simply taking nourishment needed by the body" and nothing more.

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You betray your bias, you submit that husband and wife will be together in heaven in all but material ways. Not even I, though a fervent neoplatonist, would go so far as to insist on the absence of matter and material relationships in the life to come. If indeed there is to be any relationship between husband and wife in the life to come, why assume to to be devoid of any material connection, despite the Christian belief in a material resurrection? I believe that in these arguments the danger of the position you espouse is manifested.

Poppycock.  I was paraphrasing Christ's words, quite closely actually.  You remember Him, right?  He's the one our faith is based on, or so I have heard.  Clearly He is saying, among other things, that sexual intercourse as we know it now will not be part of life in the age to come!  Of course I believe that the material is of great importance.  Why do you think I was lamenting the attitude exhibited towards the human body regarding the exhibition of human corpses in another thread earlier today?  Personally, I strongly affirm and  believe in the continuation and transfiguration of the material realm in the age to come.

Quote
Yes, Christianity can have a very unhealthy attitude towards sexuality, like labeling it a 'passion' and using this as an excuse to demonize and diminish a sacramental relationship between a husband and wife; it is to address this exact ideology that the Synod of Gangra was convened.

If you want to bait me on this, go right ahead.  I'm not interested.  You are fully aware that like anything else in the human experience, sexuality can be divorced from what it is supposed to be pointing towards (the Kingdom), and  used as an end in itself.  Yeah, our Tradition calls that a passion.  You also know that there are different ways of thinking about the passions in the Church, that we should either try to eradicate them with God's help, or to ask God's help in transforming them into a means to get closer to Him. 
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« Reply #36 on: January 16, 2007, 06:12:30 AM »

Rarely. Unfortunately with a move with work I am about 450km (5 hr drive away) from the nearest Orthodox parish (that I know of). Guess daily prayers and readings will have to suffice for now.
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« Reply #37 on: January 17, 2007, 12:36:03 AM »

Fair enough; the same principle applies with us (i.e. parishes that have only one priest do not have Liturgies every day of the week). My question regarding EO practice was primarily aimed at determining whether the non-performance of weekday Liturgies in the EO Church was a matter of policy, since such was the impression I received from the OP; i'm glad to hear that it's not, and that it's merely a matter of practicality. 

Reading this reminds me of a modern-day Saint of ours from Greece, St. Nicholas Planas, who was a priest in Athens and did Liturgy every day in his parish (in fact, I believe he did the full cycle every day, or at least Matins-Liturgy-Vespers).
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« Reply #38 on: January 19, 2007, 12:57:02 PM »

According to the Literature at his Relics he did All-Night Vigils every day.  So he did do everything. 
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« Reply #39 on: January 19, 2007, 01:15:40 PM »

Reading this reminds me of a modern-day Saint of ours from Greece, St. Nicholas Planas, who was a priest in Athens and did Liturgy every day in his parish (in fact, I believe he did the full cycle every day, or at least Matins-Liturgy-Vespers).

That is also the case with a modern-day saint of ours, the late patriarch H.H. Pope St. Kyrillos VI. He is well known for doing the full cycle daily (i.e. he would wake up 3:00 A.M. to begin the Midnight Praise, followed by Matins, the Divine Liturgy and Vespers).

He is also well known for enacting the decree that three Divine Liturgies be celebrated at the Cathedral daily--one on each altar: "We must bring joy to the Angel of every Altar, that they may remember us before God. Those Angels are my army, they fight for me" (The Life of the Saint Pope Kyrillos the Sixth, (St. Menas Monastery Press, Maryut: 2002), p. 57). I believe H.H. Pope Shenouda III has upheld this practice, and many local parishes, including my own, are in turn trying to follow the Pope's example (though we are not bound to or anything).
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« Reply #40 on: January 19, 2007, 10:09:39 PM »

I don't remember if we talked about this or not, but don't most Coptic churches serve Liturgy every day? 

Oh, I remember now.  You said that usually big churches do, but not smaller ones with less priests.  Right? 
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« Reply #41 on: January 20, 2007, 04:10:13 AM »

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I don't remember if we talked about this or not, but don't most Coptic churches serve Liturgy every day? 

Oh, I remember now.  You said that usually big churches do, but not smaller ones with less priests.  Right?


Yes, that's how it usually is with parishes that have at least two priests. In the case of the late Patriarch, Pope St. Kyrillos VI, however, three Liturgies were performed daily, and of those three, one was performed by him personally--every day. Which is pretty amazing considering he had his own Patriarchal duties to deal with. On top of that, his Patriarchal residence was always open to the congregation, who undoubtedly would have kept him quite busy. I can't fathom how he could possibly have managed his days; by the Grace of God no doubt.
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« Reply #42 on: January 20, 2007, 04:32:23 AM »

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three Liturgies were performed daily,

Really? I was under the impression that only one liturgy was to be served each day, though perhaps that is a post-schism innovation of the EO?
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« Reply #43 on: January 20, 2007, 09:11:06 AM »

Really? I was under the impression that only one liturgy was to be served each day, though perhaps that is a post-schism innovation of the EO?

Is EO policy that only one liturgy is to be served each day per se, or that only one liturgy is to be served each day on any given altar? The latter is the liturgical policy of the Coptic Orthodox Church, which hence means that the service of three daily liturgies is possible so long as the church has three altars (which is the case in the Patriarchal Cathedral).
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« Reply #44 on: January 20, 2007, 02:48:01 PM »

Hmm, one altar I thought, so multiple ones (if allowed) would allow for multiple services... Huh
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