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Author Topic: Indian Orthodox practises  (Read 3040 times) Average Rating: 0
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Specs
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« on: December 20, 2007, 05:26:07 PM »

1. Why do the IO use pictures instead of icons?
2. Do any other churches have munninmel and anchinmel?
3. Why are people so fond of the piano and the pre-recorded pop tunes and beats? I've noticed this in lots of Keralite churches which have a liturgical tradition. Personally, I dread hearing the "tra-da-da-da-da-ling" of that bell-lite tone or some other 'intro' before every hymn or response.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2007, 05:31:32 PM by Specs » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2008, 02:22:41 AM »

Specs,

1. the piano and the keyboard is a horror, we like other orthodox had no musical instruments in the liturgy, then somehow it got introduced and has just taken over. The problem is intensified because there is no formal musical training given to the choir. So it is left to the individual priests on how to use them.  Thankfully there is change going on, people have woken up and the school of liturgical music is trying to change things for the better. In large churches with a congregation of 800- 1500, the robust chanting and singing drowns out the sound, but I guess in smaller churches this must be an issue, why dont you take it up with the Priest.

2. The iconographical tradition in each of the OO churches differs according to the historical context of its development, the Church in Indian never had a very developed tradition partly  because of the influence of the church of the east which has no/extremely limited use of images. Veneration of the Life giving Cross or Sleeba is very developed compared to other churches. However there exist extensive murals in older churches. Also remember that the west Syrian orthodox relatively use fewer icons than say the EO melkite orthodox of Antioch. So hand painted images of the saints are used, I am yet to see a printed Italiante type picture inside our churches,

3. Priests celebrating on three/five /nine altars inside the Church at the same time, may be a latinism we picked up when we are under the Jesuits for 54 years imo. However I dont think that it is contrary to Orthodox sacerdotal discipline.

Suraj
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« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2008, 07:14:41 AM »

Suraj,

What is the term used for celebration of the Qurbana on 9 altars?

Also, is it always an odd number?

hmm, think I just fugured that out - it would most likely be odd, simply because the main altar would be one and the others probably fan out equally on each side ...

Many years,

Neil
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« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2008, 11:14:32 AM »

Well, I'm not Suraj, but this form of "concelebration" is typically done in odd numbers.  There's no name, really, a number is attached: mooninmel (three), anchinmel (five), etc.  I'm guessing nine is onpathinmel, although I've never heard of it. 

Re: this practice, I suspect Suraj may be right about its origins.  It seems to bear a close resemblance to the older RC practice of each priest celebrating his own Low Mass in the main church.  I once saw a video from Fontgombeau where it seemed everyone was synchronised too.  But they don't consider this "concelebration", whereas it is a form of concelebration for us.  Taft writes in an article (I think it's in Beyond East and West) surveying theories and various forms of concelebration in the East that this practice is also current among the Ethiopians, although I've never been able to confirm that myself. 
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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2008, 01:42:40 AM »

Phil, good to see you (hear from you, whatever  Smiley  )

Thanks, I knew it was the number, but I was too tired and lazy to look it up. I hadn't heard nine referenced previously and was curious when Suraj mentioned it.

Interesting about the Ethiopians, I hadn't heard that before. I've a friend who is very close to several Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox; I'll see what he can tell me or learn about it.

Many years,

Neil
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« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2008, 02:56:34 AM »

Thanks Shamshono,

Niel,

yes I too think it is something we have borrowed from the RC, there is only one Church in know which has 9 Altars , that of Mor Geevarghese at  Puthupally.  I believe such a concelebration takes place on the feast of St George, the church also holds the relics of the Saint.  Mooninmel literally translated comes to " upon 3  altars ", and so on.

Suraj
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« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2008, 03:03:09 AM »

Thank you both for your answers. Reviewing my post, it actuall;y comes across a bit "shrill"- I apologise.

Suraj, the reason I don't speak to the priest at the IO church is because I'm not Orthodox  Smiley

The congregation is pretty large and the singing robust but the tune is played over the speaker and in any case, the first 'intro' comes when no one is singing.

As to the practice of the Latin church, it was my understanding that the practice of simultaneous Masses pioneered by the likes of Dom Beauduin was actually an attempt to come as close to a concelebration as possible at a time when the Latin canons forbade it except for Ordination. Ergo the synchronized celebrations instead of the common variation whereby one priest was starting and the other in the middle of the Mass and the other reading the Gospel (which is not concelebration but rather, independent individual Masses taking place in one church).

"I am yet to see a printed Italiante type picture inside our churches"- i'm not sure what you mean by Italianate but the 3 IO churches I've been to have framed pictures of Parumala Thirumeni, St. Thomas, St. George and Vataasiril Thirumeni and of course, the Blessed Virgin St. Mary. I've even seen OLJC which looks exactly like the Western Holy Cards I have.

Like this:

http://cs-people.bu.edu/msara/pppp.jpg
http://puthuppally.orthodoxchurch.in/images/frontpage/george.jpg (not exactly but close)
http://www.indianchristianity.org/orthodox/st.Thomas1.jpg (but little more 'realisitic and turned the other way)



« Last Edit: January 08, 2008, 03:04:28 AM by Specs » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2008, 03:07:50 AM »

there is only one Church I know which has 9 Altars , that of Mor Geevarghese at  Puthupally.  I believe such a concelebration takes place on the feast of St George, the church also holds the relics of the Saint. 
Suraj

Mor Geevarghes as in St. George? Are their any non-Chalcedonian relics stored in the altar? And how is 9 altars a Latin influences if the Synods don't state their theological opinion to change it? Can it still be done to new churches and can they serve large amount of communicants or does the main altar have to consecrate all the gifts if their happens to a  lot more outside of the Pully?
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« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2008, 03:25:44 AM »

Specs,

I didn't take it in the shrill way. you have a point and it should be addressed, in that I am with you.

The sacred images in all the churches I have been to have been hand painted, prayed upon and thus consecrated, and then installed within the church and inside shrines and chapels.  I am yet to see a printed image being used.  The images of the saints you posted are taken from the internet aren't they.  I think that there is a  difference between a hand painted image of a saint and a computed printed one. One has a soul and one does not perhaps.

While we may not have a tradition of iconography as is seen in the Byzantine and Coptic traditions, the questions to ask is
1. How the Church as a whole views iconography theologically.
2. How is the above view of the Church made manifest in the day to day devotions.

I think in my experience , our (IO) answer will be exactly the same as that of our fellow Orthodox.

besides I do not desire to remake my Church as a carbon copy of any other Orthodox church, a little diversity is not heterodox I think. 

Warm regards
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« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2008, 04:06:56 AM »

Mor Geevarghese as in St. George? Are their any non-Chalcedonian relics stored in the altar? And how is 9 altars a Latin influences if the Synods don't state their theological opinion to change it? Can it still be done to new churches and can they serve large amount of communicants or does the main altar have to consecrate all the gifts if their happens to a  lot more outside of the Pully?

Alex,

I think St George passed away in to glory quite some time before Chalcedon, so I couldn't say if his relics are Chalcedonian or not, in that my guess is as good as yours. But I did hear of a gift of the relics being made by Constantinople, the relics are venerated as due.

Most newer churches have 3 altars, Concelebrations are limited to feast days and are generally hierarchical liturgies. Consecration of the Blessed Elements is done on all three altars and people are communed by all 3 celebrants .

I didn't quite get your point regarding Latin influence.

Suraj
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« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2008, 03:31:23 AM »

the piano and the keyboard is a horror...

I am SO glad to hear this.  Smiley   I too was rather confused why this practice was present.

somehow it got introduced and has just taken over...

Praise God that it is a foreign influence and (God-willing) will cease to be a part of the All-holy Liturgy.  May TRUE Orthodoxy shine forth!

Thankfully there is change going on, people have woken up and the school of liturgical music is trying to change things for the better.

Amen.  Glory to God!   Cheesy


Here is a link to an a-cappella Indian Orthodoxy chant that EkhristosAnesti so graciously shared with us:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2887415995711769755&hl=en
(SO much more pristine and pure than the "piano tune" videos I've seen...
Thank you EkhristosAnesti!)
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« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2008, 05:16:12 AM »

Seraphim,

There are a couple of things here

1. I think a large number of EO and OO churches now have choirs and use some type of musical instrument during worship. It is important to use choirs and instruments in a way which does not go against the Orthodox understanding of how worship should feel like. But we also must be on the guard against merely fulminating based on one's sense of aesthetics. Orthodoxy cannot be lived in some non existent utopia isn't it.  IMO, if a church has a choir they need to be trained in liturgical singing, if not then there will be a problem, as some choristers do get a bit overzealous. Besides Indians do have a penchant for noise, they way car drivers honk here is crazy.

2. Personally I am a not a fan of the choirs nor of the use of keyboards and the like and sometimes they do get to me a little bit, but I generally do cut everybody a good amount of slack, they are all trying to do their bit in a difficult world. Besides I have not really experienced this problem, usually as Specs said the opening note will be an issue, but then the congregation just sings and chants the way they have done through the centuries. In many instances you hardly notice there is a choir.  In my church, the elderly priest "banished" the choir to elevated balcony, so much of the issue was resolved.

Suraj
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« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2008, 08:00:28 PM »

It's not about aesthetics; it's about our tradition. The choir has a long tradition in Orthodoxy, and it is normal for it to be in the back or on a balcony or some such place where they can carry on their work without fear of becoming the centre of attention. Many Orthodox churches do not use instruments of any kind; in fact, the only churches I have seen that have them are the older Greek parishes, and they have only an organ. Keyboards, guitars, etc. I have never seen in any Orthodox church to be used for liturgical purpose. We do have a piano in our parish that the choir uses when learning new arrangements and to practice for Nativity or Pascha, but during prayer it is silent. Good for your priest to realize the place of the choir in the church.
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« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2008, 11:42:29 PM »

I would hesitate to say that "the choir has a long tradition in Orthodoxy", if we're talking about choirs in their modern manifestation.  Certainly it has a central role in Russian/Slavic Orthodoxy, so much so that if there was no choir, I don't know what would happen.  But "the choir", in my experience, is a recent innovation in the Indian Churches.  Traditionally, there is the order of chanters, and those clerics are theoretically "the choir"--they are ordained to lead the liturgical singing, in which the people take part.  Even today, in the Syriac Church, you can't be part of a choir without being ordained as a chanter.  I wish the Indian Church maintained such a discipline sometimes, but throughout history things tend to play out differently in India.

Re: Latin influence, it is remarkable to see the parallels with Roman Catholic practice in a number of Orthodox practices in India.  Some of them are clearly the result of the Portuguese and later influences, but others are not so categorised quite so easily.  The more I become familiar with the older ("Tridentine") Latin rite, the more these become clear.  It really would make an excellent study. 

Neil (hi!), good luck tracking down information about the Ethiopians.  When I've tried investigating this, they looked like they had no idea what I was talking about.  Taft often cites information he gets from colleagues/students of other rites, but I've found the information (to the best of my knowledge and admittedly inferior level of experience) to be wrong or at least incomplete about half the time.  Perhaps there's just more than a few "right" ways of doing certain things...       
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« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2008, 11:48:26 PM »

Re: icons v. pictures, I've seen churches which have framed photographic copies of images of our Lord, his Mother, and the saints which look Western/"Italianate".  My own church has a few, in addition to the handpainted ones.  Many other OO and EO churches have this same "problem".  I'm not sure it's considered a major problem as long as the images concerned are theologically acceptable (e.g., NO Sacred Heart of Jesus). 
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