Author Topic: Liturgical Participation  (Read 3096 times)

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Offline Seekingthetruth

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Liturgical Participation
« on: August 28, 2007, 07:24:20 PM »
I have a question about liturgical participation in certain jurisdictions. At my local Greek parish, where I have been attending Liturgy for a couple weeks, people hardly sing or respond at all! I want to respond, and sometimes I do, but I have more than often found my self humming the melody instead of actually responding because it is almost uncomfortable to do.  Is this possibly a trend in the GOARCH or is it just my parish? I have attended Liturgy at Antiochian and OCA churches as well and it seems like everyone sung their hearts out which is a very beautiful and unifying thing.
"The Orthodox Church is evangelical, but not Protestant. It is orthodox, but not Jewish. It is catholic, but not Roman. It isn't non-denominational - it is pre-denominational. It has believed, taught, preserved, defended and died for the Faith of the Apostles since the Day of Pentecost."

Offline Elisha

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Re: Liturgical Participation
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2007, 08:20:30 PM »
Possiblities for this GOA parish:
1.  The chanter/choir does a great job and the congregation wants to just pray
2.  The chanter/choir does NOT do a great job, but the congregation wants to just pray
3.  The congregation can't sing

I wouldn't worry about it.  Do what you feel is comfortable.

Offline Trudy

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Re: Liturgical Participation
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2007, 09:42:59 PM »
Hardly anyone chants/sings along with the choir in my parish (OCA).  And the choir is small and not that great!   ;D

I was received into the Church in a GOARCH mission parish.  Our priest encouraged everyone to participate and few did.  There were times when he would turn around and smile at us all and say "I can't hear you!"

Perhaps if you start others will follow along as you pray aloud.  Just a thought.

~Trudy~
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Offline arimethea

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Re: Liturgical Participation
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2007, 10:16:35 PM »
This is one of those things that just vary depending on the parish and has nothing to do with jurisdictions. I would encourage you to join the choir if you want to sing.
Joseph

Offline Thomas06

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Re: Liturgical Participation
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2007, 01:41:45 PM »
At my parish(OCA), many sing along with the choir..some of us,, with  less ability & therefore less volume than others  ;) When I was attending classes with my Priest, before being received into the Orthodox Church, he always stressed participating in the liturgy & the life of the Church, as much as possible.

Offline Amdetsion

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Re: Liturgical Participation
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2007, 02:02:31 PM »
I have a question about liturgical participation in certain jurisdictions. At my local Greek parish, where I have been attending Liturgy for a couple weeks, people hardly sing or respond at all! I want to respond, and sometimes I do, but I have more than often found my self humming the melody instead of actually responding because it is almost uncomfortable to do.  Is this possibly a trend in the GOARCH or is it just my parish? I have attended Liturgy at Antiochian and OCA churches as well and it seems like everyone sung their hearts out which is a very beautiful and unifying thing.

Rest sure that yuo are absolutely correct in wanting to raise your voice in prayer and worship.

This was the way of our fathers which we read in Acts.

Today many communions do not like to here it but 'have' fallen from full eucharistic worship.

I mean that as orthodox we are to worship with all our senses, mind and body. Thus our 'whole' being is to be engaged in worship and praise. This is the fruit of what it is to be truely enriched with the fruit of orthodoxy.

This is what happens with the IN-sense, the EYE-cons, Standing, Prostrating, Kneeling, Raising of hands, LIT-urgy to engage the ear and the heart, Hearing the Gosple to light the spirit, Taking communion, to heal the soul, Singing arouses the mind and engages it to imagine 'glory'.

All these and more are happening to you during a church service and more. Of course your mouth will open and your spirit will engage in praise. How could it not?

Most people associate the above with protestant so-called 'holiness churches' and the mass of charismatic groups. But the orthodox church is first with such worship.

To bad that we as orthodox have lost some of the engaging aspects we need to fully give ourselves to the LOrd in worship.

Please SING, SING, SING....God lift you up in song.

Your Servant
Deacon Amde
"ETHIOPIA shall soon stretch out her hands unto God".....Psalm 68:vs 31

"Are ye not as children of the ETHIOPIANS unto me, O children of Israel"?....Amos 9: vs 7

Offline Elisha

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Re: Liturgical Participation
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2007, 02:50:33 PM »
Read Dn. Amde's post - your whole sense are engaged.

For those that can't/don't sing, just remember that Not singing <> Not participating.   

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Liturgical Participation
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2007, 04:03:51 PM »
This is one of those things that just vary depending on the parish and has nothing to do with jurisdictions. I would encourage you to join the choir if you want to sing.

An accurate observation and good advice.
My small GOAA parish outside Pittsburgh we have nice choir of 5 which is outdone by the congregation 'led' by an 80 year old lady with an operatic class voice. Heavenly
At our ACROD parish (in the boonies) we have no choir but congregational singing and a great psalti (so good he accompanied the metropolitan to 'the old country last year').
Fast forward...we relocate to the city- Pittsburgh
Parish choice time...
Now, I try to do what us 'right' and of 6 very close parishes from 4 jurisdictions I pick the absolutely closest from <unnamed> jurisdiction. Huge parish...very impressive,. Great choir - no congregational singing.
My wife complains..."It's not the same...", etc.
So, I pick the next closest, an ACROD parish (her home jurisdiction). Again, huge parish, good cantor, NO congregational singing...go figure.
Too many choices...
Want to sing? Sing.
"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides

Offline Seekingthetruth

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Re: Liturgical Participation
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2007, 05:11:14 PM »
Thank you all for your replies!
Quote from: Deacon Amde
Today many communions do not like to here it but 'have' fallen from full eucharistic worship.

I mean that as orthodox we are to worship with all our senses, mind and body. Thus our 'whole' being is to be engaged in worship and praise. This is the fruit of what it is to be truely enriched with the fruit of orthodoxy.

That's why I'll probably end up sticking with the 2 OCA/ROCOR churches in my area. I just can't tolerate the organ music and the silent congregations anymore. This isn't to say that there aren't wonderful GOARCH churches where people actually participate in worship.

Check this out......
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gPz8dFmZrk



"The Orthodox Church is evangelical, but not Protestant. It is orthodox, but not Jewish. It is catholic, but not Roman. It isn't non-denominational - it is pre-denominational. It has believed, taught, preserved, defended and died for the Faith of the Apostles since the Day of Pentecost."

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Liturgical Participation
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2007, 10:41:26 PM »
Having attended the Bar mitzvahs of two of the children of friends of mine, I was struck by the clear similarities between Orthodox Christian worship and Synagogue worship, especially with the use of Cantors and even the sound of the chant.
Personally, I love the silence of the congregation as the choir chants, and I would find the organ intrusive and not conducive to my prayer- much like the "te-ri-rems" of some cantors
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Offline prodromas

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Re: Liturgical Participation
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2007, 11:12:07 PM »
Having attended the Bar mitzvahs of two of the children of friends of mine, I was struck by the clear similarities between Orthodox Christian worship and Synagogue worship, especially with the use of Cantors and even the sound of the chant.
Personally, I love the silence of the congregation as the choir chants, and I would find the organ intrusive and not conducive to my prayer- much like the "te-ri-rems" of some cantors

I believe I was reading somewhere ozgeorge that the byzantine chanting is an evolution of chants for the Jewish temples. In my church there are 4 psalters and there are certain parts were people respond with prayers (lords prayer and Nicene creed) but I remember the wonderful experience of helping the psalter (there was only one person doing it) and it was so special and invigorating!
The sins I don't commit are largely due to the weakness of my limbs.

1915-1923 Հայոց Ցեղասպանութիւն ,never again,
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Offline ytterbiumanalyst

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Re: Liturgical Participation
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2007, 02:11:41 PM »
I believe I was reading somewhere ozgeorge that the byzantine chanting is an evolution of chants for the Jewish temples. In my church there are 4 psalters and there are certain parts were people respond with prayers (lords prayer and Nicene creed) but I remember the wonderful experience of helping the psalter (there was only one person doing it) and it was so special and invigorating!
I visited a synagogue when I was in Warszawa last year, and I got to observe their chanting and movements. I was able to identify the Great Entrance and Scripture readings, even though the service was in Hebrew, or maybe Yiddish. It wasn't Polish, I know that much. I had to stay in the Women's Court, which unfortunately did not have a great view, but it did indeed look and sound very similar to an Orthodox service.
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Offline FrChris

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Re: Liturgical Participation
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2007, 02:22:02 PM »
Yeah, I've heard about the similarity before between Orthodox Christian and Jewish services before from my Jewish friends; when they attend Church one actually mentioned that, if he closed his eyes, he could have sworn he was in Temple.
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Liturgical Participation
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2007, 04:00:50 PM »
I believe I was reading somewhere ozgeorge that the byzantine chanting is an evolution of chants for the Jewish temples. In my church there are 4 psalters and there are certain parts were people respond with prayers (lords prayer and Nicene creed) but I remember the wonderful experience of helping the psalter (there was only one person doing it) and it was so special and invigorating!

While chanting in Orthodox churches may be influenced by Jewish temple worship and synagogue services (as are many things in Orthodoxy, like priestly vestments and the like), Byzantine Music (as it is called) developed out of the incredibly complex Greek system of music; in fact, the Byzantine Modes (or Tones) each have names that pre-date Christianity (like Dorian, Phrygian, etc.) that are no longer used (replaced by the mundane 1st, 2nd, Plagal 1st, etc.).  If you take the melodies of the Church, you'll find the influence of both - music by the Greeks, chanting from the Jews.  (Isn't Christ crucified a stumbling block and folly to them?  Good thing His Church can integrate the two with little problem).
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
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Offline prodromas

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Re: Liturgical Participation
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2007, 08:24:54 PM »
While chanting in Orthodox churches may be influenced by Jewish temple worship and synagogue services (as are many things in Orthodoxy, like priestly vestments and the like), Byzantine Music (as it is called) developed out of the incredibly complex Greek system of music; in fact, the Byzantine Modes (or Tones) each have names that pre-date Christianity (like Dorian, Phrygian, etc.) that are no longer used (replaced by the mundane 1st, 2nd, Plagal 1st, etc.).  If you take the melodies of the Church, you'll find the influence of both - music by the Greeks, chanting from the Jews.  (Isn't Christ crucified a stumbling block and folly to them?  Good thing His Church can integrate the two with little problem).

Sorry I wasn't for a second saying it was purely Jewish ! It's just the Jews that converted to Christianity and the early christian churches integrated Greek culture with the Chanting and the product was byzantine chanting but back to the topic! Are we allowed to participate in the chanting along with the Psalters? (Not like a charismatic screaming of praise the lord across the congregation just joining the chanting if you know the chant)
The sins I don't commit are largely due to the weakness of my limbs.

1915-1923 Հայոց Ցեղասպանութիւն ,never again,
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Liturgical Participation
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2007, 09:20:47 PM »
Sorry I wasn't for a second saying it was purely Jewish ! It's just the Jews that converted to Christianity and the early christian churches integrated Greek culture with the Chanting and the product was byzantine chanting but back to the topic! Are we allowed to participate in the chanting along with the Psalters? (Not like a charismatic screaming of praise the lord across the congregation just joining the chanting if you know the chant)

Absolutely - why not?  Most pieces can be learned with regular attendance, and in those cases I'd encourage participation; don't scream at the top of your lungs, mind you - that's monopolizing the attention and trying to dominate.  Just chant along, blending in with the sound in the Church.

Now, there are a few hymns that you won't be able to chant along because of their complexity and uniqueness; and in these cases, it's okay to "just" listen - pray, absorb the meaning, learn from them, and allow the experience to be part of one's worship.
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
Met. Meletios of Nikopolis & Preveza, from his ordination.

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Re: Liturgical Participation
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2007, 10:46:54 PM »
Now, there are a few hymns that you won't be able to chant along because of their complexity and uniqueness; and in these cases, it's okay to "just" listen - pray, absorb the meaning, learn from them, and allow the experience to be part of one's worship.
For instance, Vespers and Matins/Orthros both feature a lot of hymns that are unique to the date on the calendar; these are generally complicated and unique enough that you will probably do best to leave these to the trained cantors and singers and just soak them in by listening.  Anything else that is part of the constant structure of the daily/weekly services feel free to join in singing from the congregation.
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Offline Simayan

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Re: Liturgical Participation
« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2007, 06:46:46 PM »
Our priest recently went on a crusade about Congregation Participation, at one point spinning around in the middle of Liturgy and yelling, "If you can't say 'And with your spirit', then just leave!!" Needless to say we all belt out that part now  :D

But he's done a VERY good job in getting people to sing. In the bulletin, he puts little symbols to hint where we should learn to participate, etc., and whereas 1 years ago we had next to nobody singing, now we have about 80%. Makes it much less awkward for me, as I enjoy many of the hymns, but I don't want to look like a nut being the only one singing (a 17 year old boy at that).
« Last Edit: September 16, 2007, 06:47:44 PM by Simayan »
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Offline prodromas

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Re: Liturgical Participation
« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2007, 07:04:16 PM »
Our priest recently went on a crusade about Congregation Participation, at one point spinning around in the middle of Liturgy and yelling, "If you can't say 'And with your spirit', then just leave!!" Needless to say we all belt out that part now  :D

But he's done a VERY good job in getting people to sing. In the bulletin, he puts little symbols to hint where we should learn to participate, etc., and whereas 1 years ago we had next to nobody singing, now we have about 80%. Makes it much less awkward for me, as I enjoy many of the hymns, but I don't want to look like a nut being the only one singing (a 17 year old boy at that).

Yeah I completely understand i'm also 17 and part of a GOC and about 80 % of the congregation are elderly 15% middle aged and about 5% teenage to young adult and the elderly hardly sing and then I get really in to the parts I know (in ancient greek) and then I look like a nut or like a child who has to much pride to think he is high enough to sing with the psalters. My dad looked over and smiled and was proud that I had taken the initiative to learn and encouraged it. I think its just the norm in my church for the congregation to hardly sing because we have beautiful professional psalters.
The sins I don't commit are largely due to the weakness of my limbs.

1915-1923 Հայոց Ցեղասպանութիւն ,never again,
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(1914-1923) Ελληνική Γενοκτονία, never again

Offline Trudy

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Re: Liturgical Participation
« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2007, 07:09:22 PM »
Yeah I completely understand i'm also 17

Dear Prodromas and Simayan,

Belt it out gentlemen!  And if they don't want you at your church, come to mine!  I'll take both of you.  To see such joy and enthusiasim from young men such as yourself, brings warmth to my heart!

So sing...and sing well!!!

In Christ,
Athanasia (Sunday school teacher)
He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?  Micah 6:8

Offline prodromas

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Re: Liturgical Participation
« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2007, 07:27:33 PM »
Trudy I truly would love to come to your church it feels actually welcoming! but being in Australia there is a huge amount of spiritual apathy and parents are not instilling the importance of church and how it can actually help you in your life not just attending a buliding every so often and standing and waiting for the long, complex alienating (its in ancient greek) service. When I get older I can't wait to go to America and meet a convert baptist preist and go to a congregation of about 30 and feel the strength and hardship conversionhas put on this people and I could actually feel welcomed!
The sins I don't commit are largely due to the weakness of my limbs.

1915-1923 Հայոց Ցեղասպանութիւն ,never again,
ܩܛܠܐ ܕܥܡܐ ܐܬܘܪܝܐ 1920-1914, never again,
השואה  1933-1945, never again,
(1914-1923) Ελληνική Γενοκτονία, never again

Offline Trudy

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Re: Liturgical Participation
« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2007, 08:27:12 PM »
Trudy I truly would love to come to your church it feels actually welcoming! but being in Australia there is a huge amount of spiritual apathy

Prodromas, Australia is not the only place where apathy is present.  It is present in my small American (Russian Orthodox) parish as well.  We average about 60 persons per Sunday attendance.  But if one of the kids has a soccer game, cheerleading competition or football, that takes precedent and the parents take them to that event rather than church. 

As for Sunday school, well a good day has maybe 7 or 8 attending.  The kids don't want to get out of bed to come because it starts at 8:45 a.m. and lasts 35 minutes if I am fortunate.

Many of our parishioners are elderly too.  They are the more faithful of any.  There are very few who attend with any regularity that are my age (middle-aged).   And Vespers there is maybe 6 in attendance of which 4 are singing in the choir!

Apathy, or as my spiritual big brother calls it, accidie (lack of care for salvation) is rampant.  You will find this even in Protestant Churches.  The Orthodox Church is not the only one sick with this illness.

All we can do, which is what you do Prodromas & Simayan...attend faithfully, take care of your own salvation, and pray/care for others.  As God allows, people will notice and ask themselves, "What do they have that I do not?"

Prodromas, I smiled at your story of your priest spinning around in the middle of Liturgy to yell because it reminded me of my parish where I was received into the Orthodox Church 3 years ago on the Feast of the Elevation of the Holy Cross.  It was a Greek mission parish and our priest was not much more than 10 years older than you.  He was Romanian.  A wonderful and holy man.  I still miss him.

I lived one hour's drive from the parish so left my home at 7:30 a.m. to get to Orthros by 8:30 a.m.  it was a full day event and I would not get home until 3:00 p.m. or later.   I was the only person who attended Orthros for the year I attended (before needing to move).  Divine Liturgy would start on time and barely 6 people would be there.  By the time Father turned around for the Small Entrance, there were a few more.  By the Great Entrance the place was full!  And boy was he mad.

Before he went any further, he came back out from behind the iconstasis and asked our forgiveness 3 times.  After Liturgy was over, he explained why...because he was so very angry that barely anyone was in the Nave for the beginning of Liturgy but everyone made sure to be there before the reading of the Gospel so they could receive the Holy Mysteries.

Next week...the place was full before Liturgy began!   ;D

And by the time I left, I could sing all the responses in Greek!  It helped that the Liturgy book had phoentic spellings of the words...but hey...whatever worked!  It was absolutely beautiful!

So when you come to visit America, Prodromas, let me know.  I would be honored to have you visit my little parish.

With love in Christ, Athanasia
He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?  Micah 6:8