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Author Topic: Plaques in church  (Read 6005 times) Average Rating: 0
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Bono Vox
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« on: October 22, 2007, 03:09:52 AM »

I have been in some Orthodox church's where it seems like there is a plaq on everything in the church. One church I was in, there was a plaq on all of the stain glass windows, the candle holders and a bunch of the icons and various wood carvings such as the altar rail etc. I don't want you to think that I'm judging, because I'm not saying it is bad; however, it did make me feel a little wierd, almost like the church was covered in advertisements like a NASCAR vehicle. I think subconsciously it felt like "these belong to someone else and they aren't yours" (in the communal sense). Is it just me, or does anyone else feel this way. Mabey I'm just being weird (no comments from the anti-universal health care crowd  Cheesy)
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« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2007, 03:26:48 AM »

I have been in some Orthodox church's where it seems like there is a plaq on everything in the church. One church I was in, there was a plaq on all of the stain glass windows, the candle holders and a bunch of the icons and various wood carvings such as the altar rail etc. I don't want you to think that I'm judging, because I'm not saying it is bad; however, it did make me feel a little wierd, almost like the church was covered in advertisements like a NASCAR vehicle. I think subconsciously it felt like "these belong to someone else and they aren't yours" (in the communal sense). Is it just me, or does anyone else feel this way.
By plaque, you mean a plaque that says something like "In Memory Of ..."?  I don't feel good about those, either, but then my parish temple is too new to have stuff like that.

Quote
Mabey I'm just being weird (no comments from the anti-universal health care crowd  Cheesy)
You mean from the peanut gallery? Wink
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« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2007, 03:31:29 AM »

By plaque, you mean a plaque that says something like "In Memory Of ..."?  I don't feel good about those, either, but then my parish temple is too new to have stuff like that.
You mean from the peanut gallery? Wink

Sorry for my misspelling of plaque; spelling is not my forte.
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« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2007, 03:43:33 AM »

Sorry for my misspelling of plaque; spelling is not my forte.
But I do have the right kind of plaque in mind, spelling aside? Wink
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« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2007, 03:53:32 AM »

But I do have the right kind of plaque in mind, spelling aside? Wink

Yeah, I wasn't talking about the stuff on your teeth.  Grin
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« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2007, 03:57:32 AM »

Yeah, I wasn't talking about the stuff on your teeth.  Grin
Yeah, this doesn't make me feel too good, either. Tongue  (I do need to see a dental hygienist soon.)
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« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2007, 03:59:59 AM »

Can you edit my topic so I have the right spelling of plaque in the title? Pretty please  Cry
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O Sebastian, spurning the assemblies of the wicked,You gathered the wise martyrs Who with you cast down the enemy; And standing worthily before the throne of God, You gladden those who cry to you:Glory to him who has strengthened you! Glory to him who has granted you a crown!
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« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2007, 04:10:49 AM »

Can you edit my topic so I have the right spelling of plaque in the title? Pretty please  Cry
Since the thread title is posted independently for each post, I would have to go back and edit the title for each and every post, which is something I don't have the time to do right now.  Sorry, must get my beauty sleep--yeah, I know I'm ugly, but I need the sleep all the same.  Kiss  I have edited the title for this post, though, which may help in the "most recent posts" list.
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« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2007, 05:33:22 AM »

Can you edit my topic so I have the right spelling of plaque in the title? Pretty please  Cry
I fixed your 'plaqs' but left your "mabey" (it's your signature word  Cheesy )
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« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2007, 07:35:39 AM »

I've heard a few opinions on this. 

One priest in particular INSISTED that no one put their names on the plaques.  So, a small chapel was donated by "a pious family from Zakinthos" or something along those lines.  then the names of the people are kept in the Typika (list of names to be read during Proskomide, etc.). 

I think in general this is a good trend to start.  It is more about the saint, than you.  If you want your family member to remain eternal, make sure you start a hereditary prayer rule... Wink Grin

Although pastorally...this is not always possible...
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« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2007, 08:14:38 AM »

Some folks are just born to be offended.
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« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2007, 09:31:49 AM »

Oddly enough, the labeling of gifts to the church by the donor is very ancient and dates from the period of byzantium.  There are several examples of this at St Catherines on Mt Sinai on gifts given to the monastery and even on icons one my also see the donor or a pious clergyman the donor wished to honor as well.

I have been advised by an old Russian priest that parishioners should include the donors in their prayers when using an icon given to the glory of God by the Donor or pray for the one who has reposed as a true handmaiden or servant of God.  The  labeling allows the praishioner today to continue to intercede for "the founders of this holy temple" in a very real sense.

In English translation, to the best of my ability, the labeling should read:

Given to the Glory of God in thanksgiving for  (the event) by the servant (or handmaiden) of God (name).

Eternal memory of the servant (handmaiden) of God (name)

Given to the Glory of God by a servant of God from (name of the city, estate, parish, monastery)

There are many other variations.

Many of us in the Church in the US bring with us baggage from our Protestant backgrounds in which we were angered that those who donated large sums of money to a congregation seemed to have more voice in the congregation and control of the pastor.  We saw the labeling of stained glass and pews as self glorification by these persons.  In the Orthodox Church however we pray for the benefactors of the  Holy Temple and anyone who donates even a widows mite is prayed for by the church.

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« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2007, 05:28:05 PM »

Our church is a converted protestant one, so we have an exterior narthex that is completely separate from the church. That's where most plaques are for large donations, but we don't have any on church objects (which I would find a bit aggravating, anyway)
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« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2007, 06:57:40 PM »

I think it's distasteful and tacky, though not necessarily offensive.  That being said, I'd sure hate to see it at my parish.  I think the bigger issue, though, is pride.  There's a local developer who has his name on buildings and streets all over this and other towns.  His name is so ubiquitous 'round here that it prompted a comedian to observe that "This is what it would look like if God signed everything."  So you gave some money/land/time to the church-whoopidy doo!  Are you so wrapped up in being noticed that you have to turn it into billboard to yourself?  I think that if I were a priest (we'd all be in trouble then Wink), I would explain that this is the house of God, your house is down the street. Cheesy   
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« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2007, 07:55:26 PM »

^^I agree, seems very tacky to me. I would feel weird also walking into a church that had the names of people on plaques throughout the church for whatever they donated. Do we seriously need to start putting plaques all over when the church is in need of something? It would be nice if people would freely give without the notoriety and strings attached.

LOL!!!!  Grin Watch this for some raging laughs! It's from Curb Your Enthusiasm (Larry David's Show, co-creator of Seinfield). It's a clip from an episode called "Anonymous". For some reason it reminds me of this very topic and "anonymous" giving lol...


---some vulgar language towards end--

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eLWWHh5ow4
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« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2007, 08:01:17 PM »

In my parish, which is an older, inner city parish, the only "plaques" are on the stained glass windows.  The majority of which read "In memory of...".  In the vestibule of the church, there are plaques with 1' x 3" brass plates attached listing the items and the donors.  The majority of these also read "In memory of...".  The actual donors are not usually named.
Along this line, in the weekly bulletin, there will be mention of who donated flowers placed on the Tetrapod or surrounding the Feast Day icons.  The majority read "Donated by...in thanksgiving to God on the occasion of their [wedding anniversary, birthday, namesday]" or "In memory of...".
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« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2007, 08:13:21 PM »

^^I agree, seems very tacky to me. I would feel weird also walking into a church that had the names of people on plaques throughout the church for whatever they donated. Do we seriously need to start putting plaques all over when the church is in need of something? It would be nice if people would freely give without the notoriety and strings attached.

LOL!!!!  Grin Watch this for some raging laughs! It's from Curb Your Enthusiasm (Larry David's Show, co-creator of Seinfield). It's a clip from an episode called "Anonymous". For some reason it reminds me of this very topic and "anonymous" giving lol...


---some vulgar language towards end--

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eLWWHh5ow4
Cheesy  Exactly what I was thinking...
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« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2007, 08:30:17 PM »

I think it's distasteful and tacky, though not necessarily offensive. 

C'mon it just wouldn't be a truly Greek experience if SOMETHING wasn't tacky.  Cross with neon lights over the iconostasis... yup I've seen it before. 
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« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2007, 08:48:44 PM »

Should our tombstones be blank as well?
The Church is made up of people- real people with names.
We give our family dyptich with the names of the living and the dead to the Priest to be commemorated in our Liturgies.
We pray for the benefactors of our Churches in our Services.
People post names in our prayer forum here on OCnet for us to pray for them.
St. Paul in his Epistles lists the names of those who ministered with him and served the Church. Is this "tacky"?
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« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2007, 09:06:22 PM »

^^...but what we are saying is a little different. I think what we are getting at is the point that people are donating for the purpose of recognizition. I have been to the church OB is talking about and it is filled with plaques all over the place, even on each of the pews! I accidentally discovered this for myself when I put my hand down on the end of the pew and felt a metal like projection on the side of the arm for the pew. I looked down to see it was a plaque! I noticed this throughout the church in just about every place. I think it can get to the point that it becomes distasteful like what others have pointed out. I don't mind seeing it on something very unique to the church such as a rare icon or stained glass window, or some other oddity. I think moderation is what we are getting at where it doesn't look like the church can be "bought" so to speak.
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« Reply #20 on: October 22, 2007, 09:39:38 PM »

C'mon it just wouldn't be a truly Greek experience if SOMETHING wasn't tacky.  Cross with neon lights over the iconostasis... yup I've seen it before. 
I'd make an exception for neon.  Wink
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« Reply #21 on: October 22, 2007, 09:46:24 PM »

Should our tombstones be blank as well?
The Church is made up of people- real people with names.
We give our family dyptich with the names of the living and the dead to the Priest to be commemorated in our Liturgies.
We pray for the benefactors of our Churches in our Services.
People post names in our prayer forum here on OCnet for us to pray for them.
St. Paul in his Epistles lists the names of those who ministered with him and served the Church. Is this "tacky"?

I think you missed the point; praying for someone, or even asking to prayed for, is what we're supposed to be doing.  Again, we all give and do what we can for our local parishes, yet when one member or family is blessed to have more, thus give more and then they want a plaque to commemorate themselves well, that's simply tasteless. "Donated by..." is tacky. "Look at what I did". Roll Eyes "Vanity, all is vanity"- St. Paul
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« Reply #22 on: October 22, 2007, 09:56:23 PM »

Should our tombstones be blank as well?

I wouldn't mind that.  If not blank, at least they should be very simple. 

Although I'd go a step further and prefer a Tibetan burial for myself:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sky_burial

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« Reply #23 on: October 22, 2007, 10:34:31 PM »

I wouldn't mind that.  If not blank, at least they should be very simple. 
Amen!  The little dash between the dates is what really matters, not how big one's tombstone is, or even what is says.
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« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2007, 11:11:23 PM »

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« Reply #25 on: October 22, 2007, 11:26:44 PM »

^^...but what we are saying is a little different. I think what we are getting at is the point that people are donating for the purpose of recognizition.
How much of this is reality, and how much is our perception of reality, derived as it may be from our own cultural symbols and the meanings our culture attaches to certain actions?  They're very often not the same.

Quote
I have been to the church OB is talking about and it is filled with plaques all over the place, even on each of the pews! I accidentally discovered this for myself when I put my hand down on the end of the pew and felt a metal like projection on the side of the arm for the pew. I looked down to see it was a plaque! I noticed this throughout the church in just about every place. I think it can get to the point that it becomes distasteful like what others have pointed out. I don't mind seeing it on something very unique to the church such as a rare icon or stained glass window, or some other oddity. I think moderation is what we are getting at where it doesn't look like the church can be "bought" so to speak.
Yes, some people give to receive recognition, yet others give in utter humility, seeking no recognition.  Those who want to be seen for their good works have received their reward, but will not those who seek no glory be given the greatest glory in the Kingdom of Heaven?  Why should we not lift up their example now and see their plaques as a reminder to pray for them?
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« Reply #26 on: October 22, 2007, 11:42:18 PM »

Why should we not lift up their example now and see their plaques as a reminder to pray for them?
Great question...
Answer- we should.
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« Reply #27 on: October 23, 2007, 12:30:08 AM »

Shouldn't the left hand know not what the right hand is doing when it comes to giving?  I don't mind it as much when something is offered as a result of the Lord doing something miraculous in a person or families life (this gives glory to God), or in the memory of someone because I think we should remember the departed. I do think it is tacky when the plaques just say "donated by so and so". Especially when the people are still alive. I'm open to the fact I could be wrong, but this is just how it seems to me.
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« Reply #28 on: October 23, 2007, 12:45:42 AM »

Shouldn't the left hand know not what the right hand is doing when it comes to giving?  I don't mind it as much when something is offered as a result of the Lord doing something miraculous in a person or families life (this gives glory to God), or in the memory of someone because I think we should remember the departed. I do think it is tacky when the plaques just say "donated by so and so". Especially when the people are still alive. I'm open to the fact I could be wrong, but this is just how it seems to me.
In some ways, I suppose it may be best to wait and glorify a person on a plaque after the person has already died or otherwise left the parish.  Wouldn't want to offer the occasion for pride. Wink
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« Reply #29 on: October 23, 2007, 06:08:37 AM »

I think what we are getting at is the point that people are donating for the purpose of recognizition.
How long have you been blessed with this charism to be able to look into people's hearts to see their motives? Wink
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« Reply #30 on: October 23, 2007, 08:36:23 AM »

In some ways, I suppose it may be best to wait and glorify a person on a plaque after the person has already died or otherwise left the parish.  Wouldn't want to offer the occasion for pride. Wink
I think this is the point of the OP from OB.

How long have you been blessed with this charism to be able to look into people's hearts to see their motives? Wink
It's really not that difficult because 'by their fruits we shall know them'.  There's maybe only two reasons as to why a person/family would want a plaque: either to commemorate someone else or themselves and I submit that the latter is usually the reason.  The Church is just as full of attention grabbers as any institution. 
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« Reply #31 on: October 23, 2007, 09:26:26 AM »

There's maybe only two reasons as to why a person/family would want a plaque: either to commemorate someone else or themselves and I submit that the latter is usually the reason.  The Church is just as full of attention grabbers as any institution. 

Too bad...I see the exact opposite.

If I see self-commemoration plagues I might agree, but I never have. Have you?

I see another cradle-convert divide coming. Silly.
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« Reply #32 on: October 23, 2007, 09:55:29 AM »

Thomas already mentioned how such things as plaques have been in the Church for century upon century. Very common in Late Antiquity.

Not sure what the big deal is, in the grand scheme of things. In various medieval churches, especially in Romania, they reserved a special place near the rear of the Church for a large iconographic fresco of the family that donated the money to build the Church. Actually, I have seen some modern Churches in Romania that have done similar things.
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« Reply #33 on: October 23, 2007, 11:28:29 AM »

Do we get up in arms about icons which depict St. Justinian giving Agia Sophia to Christ?

Most plaques I've seen say "in memory of..." - and you know what I know many people do when they see that?  They pray for the people named.  If only one person does that - sees the plaque and prays for them - then the plaque was completely "worth it."

From an aesthetic standpoint, I don't like them.  Personally, I wouldn't encourage anyone to put their own names on.  But if they do, fine - pray for them.  Most of them are not looking for recognition...

recognizition

... recognition of their gift or giving or whatever - instead they're just looking for ways to help the Church, and (a) hope that people will see their example and give too, or (b) hope that people will pray for their souls.
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« Reply #34 on: October 23, 2007, 11:41:54 AM »

Do we get up in arms
I don't know if anyone's up in arms about plaques- sometimes it's just tacky, that's all.  "Here's a gift for the church.  Put my name on the front engraved in metal so everyone knows who gave it"- this is what I'm talking about.  And I share your sentiments that
From an aesthetic standpoint, I don't like them.  Personally, I wouldn't encourage anyone to put their own names on. 
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« Reply #35 on: October 23, 2007, 04:19:09 PM »

Well, in our parish we have a book in which donations are written as a remembrance.  But at the moment I have no idea where the book is kept. Where we do have names (small ones) is on the stained glass windows that are in memory of founding familes who are all gone or in the case of two newer ones a baby who died and a very old parishioner who also had died around the time that we were expanding the sanctuary and there would be a couple of new places for windows.

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« Reply #36 on: October 23, 2007, 10:35:34 PM »

I don't know if anyone's up in arms about plaques- sometimes it's just tacky, that's all.  "Here's a gift for the church.  Put my name on the front engraved in metal so everyone knows who gave it"- this is what I'm talking about.  And I share your sentiments that

Excellent point.
I think this is the point of the OP from OB.
It's really not that difficult because 'by their fruits we shall know them'.  There's maybe only two reasons as to why a person/family would want a plaque: either to commemorate someone else or themselves and I submit that the latter is usually the reason.  The Church is just as full of attention grabbers as any institution. 

Another excellent quote.

I know people who give thousands of dollars to the church every year. I dont see them putting up plaques with thier names on it.
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« Reply #37 on: October 24, 2007, 01:00:58 AM »

I know people who give thousands of dollars to the church every year. I dont see them putting up plaques with thier names on it.

As have I known, but never in commemoration of themselves. Does this exist in anyone's parish here?
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« Reply #38 on: October 24, 2007, 08:46:41 AM »

Our church only has a plaque in the narthex that lists donors, including corporate donors, who gave funds for the renovation of our temple 12 years ago.  My name is on the plaque and I wish it weren't.  To me, if you have to have some kind of acknowledgement of your contribution, your reasons for giving are not entirely sincere.  Why not put out a list of people who gave at the Offering on Sunday Divine Liturgy. 

I remember a particularly tacky story our old priest told me about a parish he visited while he was in seminary that was located I can't quite remember (Chicago?).  It was an old ___________ (Russian, Greek?).  The curtain on the Royal Doors was very elaborate and in foot high gold embroidery along the bottom and very visible when the Royal Doors were closed, was the name of the family that had donated the curtain to the church.  Anyone who couldn't read the lettering just thought it was something pretty and liturgical; everyone else knew just who had donated the curtain and how expensive a gift it was.  I think my priest told me the Archbishop did not like the curtain being closed to limit this display of arrogance.  This may be liturgical urban legend so if anyone knows the parish I'm talking about I'd love to hear a first hand account.
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« Reply #39 on: October 24, 2007, 08:59:58 AM »

That's doesn't seem the same as commemorating oneself which seems the issue here (if indeed that even exists).
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« Reply #40 on: October 24, 2007, 08:34:45 PM »

I know someone in this thread watched this hilarious clip from Curb Your Enthusiasm. This is classic Seinfield humor at it's best!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eLWWHh5ow4

Anyone?
You don't have to be anonymous if you know what I mean.... Grin
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