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Author Topic: Proper Post Communion Behavior  (Read 7474 times) Average Rating: 0
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Cowboy
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« on: February 06, 2008, 04:25:48 PM »

Growing up in an Orthodox Church in the ACROD jurisdiction, we were taught that after receiving Holy Communion we were to avoid making eye contact with anyone and immediately return head down to our seats and say the post-communion prayers.

In my present parish (OCA) the start of communion is like a signal to many that the Divine Liturgy is over. The doors separating the church from the foyer and parish hall are opened, parishioners who have just partaken of the Body and Blood of Christ almost immediately start conversations with all whom they pass, many of whom have not yet partaken. Many head for the door to get a jump on coffee hour, have a cigarette outside, get a drink from the water fountain or simply congregate in small groups in the church, foyer and hall to start the coffee hour gabbing. Some do return for the last few minutes of the DL, mainly to hear the announcements. We usually have about 150 communicants each Sunday, so the noise/distraction level is quite high for those of us who return to our places to say the post communion prayers.

Many of us have complained to our priest, even formally through the parish council, but Father is reluctant to offend anyone.

Am I out of line in my expectations that the time of Communion should be THE most reverent time of the Liturgy?

Cowboy
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« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2008, 04:30:50 PM »

Wow.  People are doing this before the dismissal?  I thought I had it bad when people get loud AFTER the dismissal prayer while we some of us stay and sing a paraliturgical hymn (usually Marian in nature) led by the cantor.

I can't imagine how annoying this must be for you.  Although I grew up RC and not Orthodox, I was always taught to stand in place until the final hymn is over with.  I don't think you're in the slightest bit in the wrong expecting people to, at the very least, be quiet during communion.

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« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2008, 04:36:45 PM »

That surely doesn't happen in our ACROD or our Greek parishes here, Cowboy.
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« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2008, 04:44:19 PM »

We don't have that problem in our parish either.
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« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2008, 04:54:01 PM »

Growing up in an Orthodox Church in the ACROD jurisdiction, we were taught that after receiving Holy Communion we were to avoid making eye contact with anyone and immediately return head down to our seats and say the post-communion prayers.

In my present parish (OCA) the start of communion is like a signal to many that the Divine Liturgy is over. The doors separating the church from the foyer and parish hall are opened, parishioners who have just partaken of the Body and Blood of Christ almost immediately start conversations with all whom they pass, many of whom have not yet partaken. Many head for the door to get a jump on coffee hour, have a cigarette outside, get a drink from the water fountain or simply congregate in small groups in the church, foyer and hall to start the coffee hour gabbing. Some do return for the last few minutes of the DL, mainly to hear the announcements. We usually have about 150 communicants each Sunday, so the noise/distraction level is quite high for those of us who return to our places to say the post communion prayers.

Many of us have complained to our priest, even formally through the parish council, but Father is reluctant to offend anyone.

Am I out of line in my expectations that the time of Communion should be THE most reverent time of the Liturgy?

Cowboy

We have some of the same problems at our parish.  Until recently, we had a problem with people chattering while they were in line to venerate the cross, at the same time the post-communion prayers were being chanted.  Father put an end to that by no longer bringing the cross out to be venerated until after the prayers are finished.  We still see a number of people leave immediately after communion, though.
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« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2008, 04:58:13 PM »

Well as long as you don't  have to suffer the fearful wrath that is the rugby team of yayades (grandmothers) rushing to get the prosforon at the end, they will take people down twice their size!
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« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2008, 05:09:33 PM »

The best thing you can do Cowboy is to lead by example, and if anyone tries to engage you in conversation just tell them quickly that you felt it was disrespectful and disruptive (in a nice way), but that you'd love to talk with them after Liturgy.  Are there any other parishioners that you could approach and see if they'd be willing as a group to talk over this issue again privately with your priest? 

Or you could try the venerable "sssshhhh-ing" technique.  Not a single "shssh".  The proper way to use this technique must be with be quick, staccato multiple "shssh's".  If you don't know how to do that ask an elderly parishioner or a mother of young children. 

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« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2008, 05:10:05 PM »

Cowboy,

Does your church have a reader who reads the Communion Prayers out loud for all to follow? Maybe that would help.
In our parish we take Holy Communion and return to our places. The doors remain closed. I have been in ethnic parishes (Greek and Antiochian) that have big male ushers stand in front of the doors to make sure they remain closed.
The priest finishes the Divine Liturgy and the reader begins the prayers of thanksgiving. Then the priest makes the announcements once the prayers are finished. At that point everyone lines up for the final blessing with the priest and they  leave the church in an orderly fashion for coffee hour.

Perhaps just changing the order of how things are done at the end and enlisting the help of several big male parishioners to block the doors might solve the problem.  Wink
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« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2008, 05:13:44 PM »

Hi Tamara,

We follow the same protocol as you. The main problem is DURING Communion. The place quiets down once the post-communion prayers are being chanted by a member of our choir.

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« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2008, 05:15:30 PM »

Oh, and I forgot to say that it is two big male parishioners who open the doors in the first place.

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« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2008, 05:16:23 PM »

That surely doesn't happen in our ACROD or our Greek parishes here, Cowboy.

Cowboy didn't say it happened in his ACROD parish.  He said the discombobulation happened in his OCA parish.
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« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2008, 05:18:18 PM »

Growing up in an Orthodox Church in the ACROD jurisdiction, we were taught that after receiving Holy Communion we were to avoid making eye contact with anyone and immediately return head down to our seats and say the post-communion prayers.

In my present parish (OCA) the start of communion is like a signal to many that the Divine Liturgy is over. The doors separating the church from the foyer and parish hall are opened, parishioners who have just partaken of the Body and Blood of Christ almost immediately start conversations with all whom they pass, many of whom have not yet partaken. Many head for the door to get a jump on coffee hour, have a cigarette outside, get a drink from the water fountain or simply congregate in small groups in the church, foyer and hall to start the coffee hour gabbing. Some do return for the last few minutes of the DL, mainly to hear the announcements. We usually have about 150 communicants each Sunday, so the noise/distraction level is quite high for those of us who return to our places to say the post communion prayers.

Many of us have complained to our priest, even formally through the parish council, but Father is reluctant to offend anyone.

Am I out of line in my expectations that the time of Communion should be THE most reverent time of the Liturgy?

Cowboy

Of course you are very much right!

I have never heard of such disregard for the Holiness...the solem awe of communing.

In my experience people are kneeling down and requests fro intervention of oure sins is being chanted by the deacons and priests. It is a very holy time. It is not uncommon to hera people crying behind all the chanting. It is quite chilling to me.

Also nobody is allowed to leave the sanctuary until after benediction and benediction is not done until after the sermons and announcements are completed. So after benedicton the deacon chants "Go in Peace".

People who commune DO NOT smoke nor chit chat with people. BUt move about steadily and quietly after service using facial gestures of greeting and the like. We do have chit chats; they are the ones that have not communed and usually never do.

I am sorry that your parish has not been relegated into a venerable frame of mind after taking communion. The awe and fear seems to not be there for some people.

Many who are converts to Orthodoxy need time, teaching and good examples like yourself. Your father must want the people to fear God. But he will have a hard time if 'he' fears the people.

Keep up your good way.

Others are benefiting from you who have not said anything to you and may never say anything to you about your good way.



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« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2008, 05:24:13 PM »

This doesn't happen at two of the OCA parishes in my town (one is just like an ROCOR church and another is very conservative), but it does at the Greek one. Heck, 3/4 of the congregation shows up at Communion itself. And if that wasn't bad enough, they hop right in the communion line and talk to one another on the way up to receive the mysteries. People also talk in the back and in the pews rather loudly, leaning over pews to kiss each other with lips that just touched Christ himself. This is very frustrating for someone who is trying to concentrate on the liturgy and is why I tend to go to the OCA churches.
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« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2008, 05:39:11 PM »

For us benediction is very important step in the liturgy.

It is the blessing or invocation as is in most cases I beleive. It also carries a in our tradition a strong element (a remembering) of the Holy Spirit descending on the Church as it did during the Apostles time.

So to leave church right after you commune and not get benediction in our tradition is the same as the church being established by the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ but not having the Holy Spirit descend.

Christ said "wait" for the comforter the promise from the Father. We maintain this teaching as an element of the benediction..the last blessing over us from the priest.

I always thought that this was about the same for all. Even some protestant groups.
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« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2008, 05:41:48 PM »

It is a problem where I am. I think it varies by parish not jurisdiction.  I take the lead by example route
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« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2008, 05:44:08 PM »

It is a problem where I am. I think it varies by parish not jurisdiction.  I take the lead by example route

I go with the "I can chant louder than you can talk" route. Wink
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« Reply #16 on: February 06, 2008, 05:59:10 PM »

So to leave church right after you commune and not get benediction in our tradition is the same as the church being established by the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ but not having the Holy Spirit descend.

Christ said "wait" for the comforter the promise from the Father. We maintain this teaching as an element of the benediction..the last blessing over us from the priest.

I always thought that this was about the same for all. Even some protestant groups.

How can you say that you have not received the Holy Spirit yet when you have received communion?   Huh
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« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2008, 06:55:11 PM »

How can you say that you have not received the Holy Spirit yet when you have received communion?   Huh

You are vastly outside any aspect of what I am talking about.

In our tradition the Liturgy celebrates the birth, life, scorging, crucifixtion, death, resurrection and accention of Christ with benediction serving as the grace of the Holy Spirit upon the Church in memorial and reverence and in affirmation since the Holy Spirit is actually already with us and upon us.

Of course the Holy Spirit is present in the actual communion we partake. I am talking about the movement of the liturgy.

The benediction is the affirmation the seal of salavation and love for His people.

You may never understand what I am trying to explain since it is a little complex and I may not be wording myself that well.

But I ask how can anyone leave the Church disregarding the benediction?

I beleive those who do that are in need of instruction.

Maybe it is good or no problem to some people maybe even some priests that people just leave out right after communion. I will not judge that.

But I will not stand behind this abrupt behavior.
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« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2008, 09:46:07 PM »

Cowboy didn't say it happened in his ACROD parish.  He said the discombobulation happened in his OCA parish.

These two are my wife's and MY jurisdiction, respectively   - I don't comment outside my experience.
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« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2008, 10:44:36 PM »

Hi Tamara,

We follow the same protocol as you. The main problem is DURING Communion. The place quiets down once the post-communion prayers are being chanted by a member of our choir.

Cowboy

Does the choir sing hymns or does a chanter sing during Holy Communion? In one Antiochian parish, there was a lull in singing when the choir came down for Holy Communion and sometimes there would be more chitchat during that time. So the priest then had the Arabic chanters chant when the choir came down.

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« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2008, 12:58:54 AM »

Oh please, I can beat all your stories. 

A couple of years ago, I was visiting the church of one of my cousin's.  I had just taken Communion when a lady came up to me and asked me for my name and phone number because she had a relative she wanted to fix me up with.  I still had the Body of Christ in my mouth.

I just swallowed and told her I wasn't interested.  I didn't know what else to do.  The lady probably didn't know any better.  I think most people don't.
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« Reply #21 on: February 07, 2008, 01:43:30 AM »

I go with the "I can chant louder than you can talk" route. Wink
That's actually the path we took in my parish once we made a rule of having a chanter read the Prayers of Thanksgiving after Communion. Wink

Our general reasoning is essentially this:  How can we receive the King of Glory in the Fount of Immortality and NOT stick around for a few minutes afterward to thank Him for giving Himself to be our Food?
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« Reply #22 on: February 07, 2008, 03:24:17 AM »

Does the choir sing hymns or does a chanter sing during Holy Communion? In one Antiochian parish, there was a lull in singing when the choir came down for Holy Communion and sometimes there would be more chitchat during that time. So the priest then had the Arabic chanters chant when the choir came down.



Doesn't always work.  Our main "talking" is usually more on the dismissal/blessing - not so much during Communion.  Often the reading of prayers/singing doesn't hush up the people as well as we'd like.  The priest has even stopped and shushed everyone and they still talk - just quieter.  My priest has threated to just go stand in the Narthex during the service to get people to go back into the Nave and be quiet.  He has yet to follow through though.  Since we have 4 priests, they could easily take turns though.
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« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2008, 10:02:01 AM »

Our parish has resolved this successfully by having the subdeacon (myself)  do what subdeacons are supposed to do maintain peace in the house of God.  After communing I walk thru the nave and assist children in folding their arms in preparation for communion, sorting out non-orthodox from orthodox going to the cup, and reminding others in general not to speak---it is amazing what  a person in vestmenst does in policing the nave and keeping the awe and reverence to focus rather than chit chat and gossip.  It worked in our parish perhaps others would do well to start resurrecting the historic duties of the subdeacons.

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« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2008, 12:15:53 PM »

It worked in our parish perhaps others would do well to start resurrecting the historic duties of the subdeacons.

Thomas

Wait a minute there, Subdeacon...are you implying that keeping at least one eye towards the Tradition of the Church is a good thing? Who'd a thunk it!

 Wink
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« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2008, 12:20:34 PM »

Our parish has resolved this successfully by having the subdeacon (myself)  do what subdeacons are supposed to do maintain peace in the house of God.  After communing I walk thru the nave and assist children in folding their arms in preparation for communion, sorting out non-orthodox from orthodox going to the cup, and reminding others in general not to speak---it is amazing what  a person in vestmenst does in policing the nave and keeping the awe and reverence to focus rather than chit chat and gossip.  It worked in our parish perhaps others would do well to start resurrecting the historic duties of the subdeacons.

Thomas

I like that!  The Holy Order of Enforcers.  Religious Police just nicer.   I think you'd have to have an extra subdeacon or two, if you have a big church or if one of the subdeacons is helping with Communion.  The key to success with all of the practices mentioned so far; however, is the full support of your Priest.   
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« Reply #26 on: February 07, 2008, 01:31:33 PM »

Cowboy,

The priest could approach this problem as an educator while his lower clergy can enforce. Educating the laity about how to conduct themselves during Holy Communion is a part of his role as priest and no one would have a right to object to it.
As Thomas has mentioned, a sub-deacon can keep things calm and he could also instruct the two gentleman who generally open the doors during communion to keep them closed.
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« Reply #27 on: February 07, 2008, 02:58:32 PM »

I like that!  The Holy Order of Enforcers.  Religious Police just nicer.   I think you'd have to have an extra subdeacon or two, if you have a big church or if one of the subdeacons is helping with Communion.  The key to success with all of the practices mentioned so far; however, is the full support of your Priest.   

Tina, do you think we can get our subdeacon to do that?
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« Reply #28 on: February 07, 2008, 02:58:42 PM »

Doesn't always work.  Our main "talking" is usually more on the dismissal/blessing - not so much during Communion.  Often the reading of prayers/singing doesn't hush up the people as well as we'd like.  The priest has even stopped and shushed everyone and they still talk - just quieter.  My priest has threated to just go stand in the Narthex during the service to get people to go back into the Nave and be quiet.  He has yet to follow through though. 

Sadly, this is the case in our parish, too.  No one stays to do the communion prayers and even when a reader does say them, the people continue to ignore them. OUr priest has shushed the people a few times, but it is no longer effective in any way.  I've even tried chanting "O pure Virgin" to try to get people to maybe be quiet and listen but to no avail.  Even if the priest were to withold venerating the cross until the communion prayers were read, I believe most people would leave just to get coffee and forget about it.  ANd around and around we go.  I don't know what a good solution would be to all of this.  
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« Reply #29 on: February 07, 2008, 03:03:00 PM »

Tina, do you think we can get our subdeacon to do that?

We could if you advanced in the minor clergy ranks Veniamin!
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« Reply #30 on: February 07, 2008, 03:14:31 PM »

We could if you advanced in the minor clergy ranks Veniamin!

Ha, just tell Father Leo you think we need a tonsured Brute Squad to keep everyone from vanishing from church. Wink
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« Reply #31 on: February 07, 2008, 04:07:32 PM »

Does the choir sing hymns or does a chanter sing during Holy Communion? In one Antiochian parish, there was a lull in singing when the choir came down for Holy Communion and sometimes there would be more chitchat during that time. So the priest then had the Arabic chanters chant when the choir came down.



Hi Tamara,

Our choir has about 30 members and they come down from the choir loft 10 at a time so that 20 are always singing throughout Communion. There is never a lull in singing (or in talking).

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« Reply #32 on: February 07, 2008, 04:45:06 PM »

Hi Tamara,

Our choir has about 30 members and they come down from the choir loft 10 at a time so that 20 are always singing throughout Communion. There is never a lull in singing (or in talking).

Cowboy

Wow Cowboy, you have a tough crowd.  Undecided My old parish was similar to this one. We had many immigrants from the middle east who had never been catechized properly. They also viewed the communion line as a place to shake hands with old friends and have little chats with one another. Many would head out the door immediately after communing so they could have a cup of coffee.
When a new priest arrived he slowly began to educate them about the sacredness of communing. It has taken six years but
holy communion time at this parish is now a very orderly event. He doesn't have any lower clergy or ushers to help him. But two young chanters have helped with their beautiful singing during that time.
Do you think your priest feels awkward about gently spending time re-educating or perhaps educating his people about the meaning of communing and why it is important to stay in the parish and quietly thank God for His gifts?
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« Reply #33 on: February 07, 2008, 05:04:19 PM »

Sadly, this is the case in our parish, too.  No one stays to do the communion prayers and even when a reader does say them, the people continue to ignore them. OUr priest has shushed the people a few times, but it is no longer effective in any way.  I've even tried chanting "O pure Virgin" to try to get people to maybe be quiet and listen but to no avail.  Even if the priest were to withold venerating the cross until the communion prayers were read, I believe most people would leave just to get coffee and forget about it.  ANd around and around we go.  I don't know what a good solution would be to all of this.  

Lord have mercy.

I pray that this gets resolved soon.

I remember one Sunday in a parish I was visiting the priest stopped the liturgy.

He did a series of prayers very quietly and then abruptly closed the vail. The vail never re-opened.

I believe the remainder of the service was finished on the Alter with comunion going to the clergy only since the liturgy must be completed. I am assuming that part.

He did this due to some loud voices from the congregation (I was told) which has been on-going for a few Sundays prior. I was told it was the same people each time.

The priest emerged with his deacons from behind the vail about 30 minutes later and made a long speech regarding humility and the holiness of the Sancturary. People were mortified. You could hear a pin drop. All faces were stunned...eye popping shocked the whole time.

I do not know if his actions were correct but it caused the people to fully adhere.

Even when the "service" was over people sort of mulled around..."puppy-dog-eyed" so to speak. People did not want to talk or eat or drink coffee. They just went outside and strolled around talking softly in small groups, found their way to cars and went home.

I am not sure but I hope it worked.
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« Reply #34 on: February 07, 2008, 05:14:24 PM »

Wow Cowboy, you have a tough crowd.  Undecided My old parish was similar to this one. We had many immigrants from the middle east who had never been catechized properly. They also viewed the communion line as a place to shake hands with old friends and have little chats with one another. Many would head out the door immediately after communing so they could have a cup of coffee.
When a new priest arrived he slowly began to educate them about the sacredness of communing. It has taken six years but
holy communion time at this parish is now a very orderly event. He doesn't have any lower clergy or ushers to help him. But two young chanters have helped with their beautiful singing during that time.
Do you think your priest feels awkward about gently spending time re-educating or perhaps educating his people about the meaning of communing and why it is important to stay in the parish and quietly thank God for His gifts?

Educating the parisheners is the key I absolutely agree.

It may require various (forced) house visits so that people feel that the priest is working with them exclusively for their benefit. People like to feel catered to. And of course this would not be a cherade since that is the priests objective anyway to cater to and serve.

This may fair out better and quicker than adressing the whole congregation at once. In such a manner people tend to get that "he ain't talking to me" mindset because "I don't do dat".

Its always somebody else it seems.
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« Reply #35 on: February 07, 2008, 05:18:23 PM »

I remember one Sunday in a parish I was visiting the priest stopped the liturgy.

He did a series of prayers very quietly and then abruptly closed the vail. The vail never re-opened.

I believe the remainder of the service was finished on the Alter with comunion going to the clergy only since the liturgy must be completed. I am assuming that part.

He did this due to some loud voices from the congregation (I was told) which has been on-going for a few Sundays prior. I was told it was the same people each time.

The priest emerged with his deacons from behind the vail about 30 minutes later and made a long speech regarding humility and the holiness of the Sancturary. People were mortified. You could hear a pin drop. All faces were stunned...eye popping shocked the whole time.

I do not know if his actions were correct but it caused the people to fully adhere.

Even when the "service" was over people sort of mulled around..."puppy-dog-eyed" so to speak. People did not want to talk or eat or drink coffee. They just went outside and strolled around talking softly in small groups, found their way to cars and went home.

WOW! I'd love to see what effect that priest could have on the inappropriate outfits some teenagers and young adults show up with on any given Sunday.  I wonder if the two talkers got the message or thought the priest must have been mad at someone else.  People often don't recognize themselves as the problem - it's someone else who was talking.
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« Reply #36 on: February 07, 2008, 06:14:40 PM »

WOW! I'd love to see what effect that priest could have on the inappropriate outfits some teenagers and young adults show up with on any given Sunday.  I wonder if the two talkers got the message or thought the priest must have been mad at someone else.  People often don't recognize themselves as the problem - it's someone else who was talking.

I am under the impression that this was a long on-going problem with much more complex implications. It was also a group talking not two people.

I think the action was severe.

I do not know what the background was that caused the action.

I have not been back to this parish since
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« Reply #37 on: February 08, 2008, 09:30:07 AM »

Our Parish has always used the post communion ptrayers following communion before the announcements are given out and the Cross venerated.  In our parish , the subdeacon reads the prayers as father and our Deacon are busy  consuming and finalizing the  remainder of the communion. The people are quiet during that portion of the service as they  also do some of the prayers in unison.  We have done it for the 10+ years the parish has existed from an early mission  on---indeed I am always surprised when I visit other parishes  and see that it is not done in most. It goes top show that if properly taught and practices the rush to coffee does not have to occur.  It may also help that coffee is not available until after the service (no cups, sugar, creamer etc) and never before service, The  coffee hour team goes there during announcements to  finalize the coffee hour. I have heard comments about this from visitors but the parish is used to the practice and it works for us.

It works because our Priest has educated us and put that teaching into an enforced practice that everyone clearly understands.

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« Reply #38 on: February 08, 2008, 11:16:41 AM »

Hi Thomas,

Our church follows the same protocol as yours' . The problem is happening DURING Communion. Most Sunday's the Priest's wife turns from receiving Communion and immediately start hugging and kissing people (and talking) in the front row, before she even gets to the antedoron a few steps away. This sets the tone for everyone else. It is almost to the point that those like myself who partake and then return to our places without shaking hands, hugging, kissing or talking are looked at as anti-social and perhaps even holier-than-thou. It is a sad situation. A group of us are going to talk to Father again and see if he will devote a sermon to proper behavior during Communion. Failing this, it will become a topic for the next Parish council meeting in a few weeks.

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« Reply #39 on: April 02, 2008, 11:32:21 AM »

I wonder if the priest could call upon the Parish Council members or other lackeys Smiley to help him instill good behavior during and after Communion.  I have always thought that locking the outside doors at a certain point (the consecration, or "catechumens depart", or something) was a good idea, with someone standing by to unlock in case of fire of course.  That would keep people from coming in as well as keep people from leaving.  Even if that means 3/4 of the congregation is locked out, the priest has every right to deny them communion if they weren't there to hear the Gospel reading and the sermon, and you can keep them locked until the last prayer is said, even if it's ten minutes after Liturgy is over.  And the lackeys not guarding the doors can rove around and shush the rude people running their mouths.
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« Reply #40 on: April 02, 2008, 01:37:04 PM »

I wonder if the priest could call upon the Parish Council members or other lackeys Smiley to help him instill good behavior during and after Communion.  I have always thought that locking the outside doors at a certain point (the consecration, or "catechumens depart", or something) was a good idea, with someone standing by to unlock in case of fire of course.  That would keep people from coming in as well as keep people from leaving.  Even if that means 3/4 of the congregation is locked out, the priest has every right to deny them communion if they weren't there to hear the Gospel reading and the sermon, and you can keep them locked until the last prayer is said, even if it's ten minutes after Liturgy is over.  And the lackeys not guarding the doors can rove around and shush the rude people running their mouths.

Man! You're ruthless.  A few problems though. You'd probably be locking out the women with their young children, and the cigarette smokers on the other side of the doors would trample anyone in their way to get out and light up.  That's the biggest pet peave I've got.  Smoking on the front steps of the church 3 minutes after receiving Communion is to me the tackiest and most disrespectful thing I've ever seen.  Looks like all those old movies when couples have to smoke a cigarette in bed post-romance.    Didn't someone post a story here a while back about a priest that came out during Liturgy to confront the smokers on the front steps?
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« Reply #41 on: April 02, 2008, 01:45:37 PM »

I wonder if the priest could call upon the Parish Council members or other lackeys Smiley to help him instill good behavior during and after Communion.  I have always thought that locking the outside doors at a certain point (the consecration, or "catechumens depart", or something) was a good idea, with someone standing by to unlock in case of fire of course.  That would keep people from coming in as well as keep people from leaving.  Even if that means 3/4 of the congregation is locked out, the priest has every right to deny them communion if they weren't there to hear the Gospel reading and the sermon, and you can keep them locked until the last prayer is said, even if it's ten minutes after Liturgy is over.  And the lackeys not guarding the doors can rove around and shush the rude people running their mouths.

I don't think the Antiochian Orthodox tradition is to lock people out because they are late. Yes, being late is not right but harsh treatment has never been employed by any of the Bishops or priests I have known as a way to change behavior. Both my bishop and father-confessor were born in the middle east. Over the years I have watched them use gentle and loving ways of discipline to change behavior. Their success rate is high and the losses have been minimal. My father-confessor's parish has a high immigrant population from the middle east. Many of them were never properly catechized when they lived over there so he has been very patient with them. He has used sermons and tried to be an example for them to change their rude behavior. After six years things have changed quite dramatically. Divine Liturgy is now very peaceful. There is no chattering as before. Most folks are there before the Gospel reading and many of these parishioners have encouraged friends and other extended family members to join because of the respectful and loving treatment they received from the priest.

I want to add that harsh treatment doesn't seem to be working for the Bishop of Alaska. In fact, his treatment of the average clergyman and layman is one of the reasons so many have left and the ones that are still there are trying to get rid of him.

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« Reply #42 on: April 02, 2008, 03:22:34 PM »

That's the biggest pet peave I've got.  Smoking on the front steps of the church 3 minutes after receiving Communion is to me the tackiest and most disrespectful thing I've ever seen. 

I agree.

But we must pray for each other.

The smokers are in need of special prayer for many obvious reasons.

Good fervent prayer will help to solve this problem in a kind way. The clergy must also be clear as to the proper behavior from each person especially with regards to respect of the church grounds.
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« Reply #43 on: April 03, 2008, 11:30:15 AM »

I don't think the Antiochian Orthodox tradition is to lock people out because they are late.

Sure it is... in the early Church they used to throw out the catechumens and bar the doors before the Creed.  That's pretty hardcore.   Wink

Anyway, I usually see this happen in very big churches (and I have never been to an Antiochian church bigger than maybe thirty people, I swear) and I know at least one of those big churches has resorted to tactics like this to keep people coming from outside from disturbing Liturgy.

Quote
Yes, being late is not right but harsh treatment has never been employed by any of the Bishops or priests I have known as a way to change behavior. Both my bishop and father-confessor were born in the middle east. Over the years I have watched them use gentle and loving ways of discipline to change behavior. Their success rate is high and the losses have been minimal. My father-confessor's parish has a high immigrant population from the middle east. Many of them were never properly catechized when they lived over there so he has been very patient with them. He has used sermons and tried to be an example for them to change their rude behavior. After six years things have changed quite dramatically. Divine Liturgy is now very peaceful. There is no chattering as before. Most folks are there before the Gospel reading and many of these parishioners have encouraged friends and other extended family members to join because of the respectful and loving treatment they received from the priest.

That sounds nice.  Would you mind sharing some of these gentle tactics? 

Quote
I want to add that harsh treatment doesn't seem to be working for the Bishop of Alaska. In fact, his treatment of the average clergyman and layman is one of the reasons so many have left and the ones that are still there are trying to get rid of him.

If I have understood the online gossip sites correctly, it seems the bishop in that diocese has been ruling it like a feudal lord, abusing everyone who questions his authority.  There's no question in my mind that Bishop NIKOLAI is gon' git it from the synod, but I don't think what I've brought up even remotely compares to what he did there.  I'm not talking about excommunicating people because their baby's legal name isn't a saint's name, I'm just interested in keeping the Communion distribution peaceful for the people who want to partake in peace.   The priest has a duty to protect the chalice and pretty much anything he can do to preserve the peace is okay by me.
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« Reply #44 on: April 03, 2008, 11:45:06 AM »

Man! You're ruthless.

Hehe, thanks.   Grin

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A few problems though. You'd probably be locking out the women with their young children,

That's a good point and I'll admit I didn't think of that, since that is a pretty good reason to go outside.  However, I'm a big fan of cry rooms for when the baby is very upset and can't calm down right away.  Parishes that big usually have sound systems, so they can pipe in the audio so that the liturgy can still be heard but Mom is free to quiet or change her baby without being embarrassed by the screaming.  If a parish has a cry room before it has to resort to barring the doors, the moms with babies wouldn't be caught in the dragnet.

Quote
and the cigarette smokers on the other side of the doors would trample anyone in their way to get out and light up.  That's the biggest pet peave I've got.  Smoking on the front steps of the church 3 minutes after receiving Communion is to me the tackiest and most disrespectful thing I've ever seen.  Looks like all those old movies when couples have to smoke a cigarette in bed post-romance.    Didn't someone post a story here a while back about a priest that came out during Liturgy to confront the smokers on the front steps?

 Cheesy  Well, I must admit that my heart doesn't exactly go out to smokers, but if it's really that bad, maybe the altar boys can hand out nicotine patches with the antidoron.   Wink
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« Reply #45 on: April 03, 2008, 04:15:04 PM »

Sure it is... in the early Church they used to throw out the catechumens and bar the doors before the Creed.  That's pretty hardcore.   Wink
I don't think anyone was getting thrown out. They knew, as catechumens, when it was time to make their exit. Anyway, we aren't discussing catechumens. Most of the catechumens in my parish are very peaceful.  I have been Orthodox my whole life so I would say the problem usually occurs with those of us who are cradle Orthodox. Some were never educated properly in the faith. They view the communion line as a chance to shake hands with their buddies or extended family members. They might chatter away during the entire communion. I have seen it all. And Palm Sunday can be a zoo if you have many members who are originally from Jerusalem. The reason why that feast day is so chaotic is because of the way they celebrate it in the Holy City. Also, services in Jerusalem can last for hours and I was told the folks tend to come and go during that time. So the cultural traditions from the old country, which are being brought here, might seem out of place.


Quote
Anyway, I usually see this happen in very big churches (and I have never been to an Antiochian church bigger than maybe thirty people, I swear) and I know at least one of those big churches has resorted to tactics like this to keep people coming from outside from disturbing Liturgy.
I am in California and I have been to various Antiochian parishes up and down the state. I have never heard of or seen a church that locks the doors.

Quote
That sounds nice.  Would you mind sharing some of these gentle tactics? 
He would use his sermons to explain the meaning of the Divine Liturgy, the Eucharist, preparation for the Eucharist, proper etiquette for church behavior etc. In other words, he spent a few years educating them. He would remind them before Holy Communion, to reverently line up and to save their greetings for one another at coffee hour. His whole demeanor toward everyone is one of patience, kindness and love. He accepts each person where they are at on the road to salvation and tries to work with them from that point. His patience and perservence have paid off but change did not happen overnight. It took years. However, he never gave up.

Quote
If I have understood the online gossip sites correctly, it seems the bishop in that diocese has been ruling it like a feudal lord, abusing everyone who questions his authority.  There's no question in my mind that Bishop NIKOLAI is gon' git it from the synod, but I don't think what I've brought up even remotely compares to what he did there.  I'm not talking about excommunicating people because their baby's legal name isn't a saint's name, I'm just interested in keeping the Communion distribution peaceful for the people who want to partake in peace.   The priest has a duty to protect the chalice and pretty much anything he can do to preserve the peace is okay by me.

Well, I was trying to warn folks not to get too zealous for peacefulness in church because I think Bishop Nikolai's goal was to do the same. He became so zealous about it that he would scold women with small children and babies for making too much noise. I think one of the saddest sounds in a church is the LACK of cooing babies and happy sounds of small children. What that lack of sound means is you have a dying church.

Bishop Joseph (my bishop) once told us the story about a woman who kept smacking her toddler during the Divine Liturgy so he would stop making noise. After the third time, the bishop couldn't stand it anymore and he stopped the Divine Liturgy and walked over to the woman. He begged her to stop hitting her small child. He told her he didn't mind the hearing the sounds of his little voice during the service. He shared with us how worried he was that the child would grow up to hate the church because of poor treatment he received while he was in the service.

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« Reply #46 on: April 03, 2008, 04:45:36 PM »

I don't think anyone was getting thrown out. They knew, as catechumens, when it was time to make their exit.

I'm just citing this as precedent for not allowing anyone to enter during certain parts of the Liturgy.

Quote
I am in California and I have been to various Antiochian parishes up and down the state. I have never heard of or seen a church that locks the doors.

I specifically told you that I was not talking about any Antiochian parishes anywhere, and pointed out that I couldn't possibly be talking about an Antiochian parish.  And I definitely didn't say any parish I knew locked their doors, I was referring to something else I had mentioned.  Don't assume that because my jurisdiction is Antiochian that it's the only jurisdiction I have anything to do with.  I play on the OCA, ROCOR, and GOARCH playgrounds too.

Quote
He would use his sermons to explain the meaning of the Divine Liturgy, the Eucharist, preparation for the Eucharist, proper etiquette for church behavior etc. In other words, he spent a few years educating them. He would remind them before Holy Communion, to reverently line up and to save their greetings for one another at coffee hour. His whole demeanor toward everyone is one of patience, kindness and love. He accepts each person where they are at on the road to salvation and tries to work with them from that point. His patience and perservence have paid off but change did not happen overnight. It took years. But he never gave up.

Hey, good for him and them.  That's wonderful that he was able to help them after they had been taught incorrectly.  But I'm talking about people who do know better and choose not to follow basic etiquette at a time it is most called for.

Quote
Well, I was trying to warn folks not to get to zealous for peacefulness in church because I think Bishop Nikolai's goal was to the same. He became so zealous about it that he would scold women with small children and babies for making too much noise. I think one of the saddest sounds in a church is the LACK of cooing babies and happy sounds of small children in a the church. What it means is the church is dying because they are no young ones left.

Bishop NIKOLAI is not zealous for peacefulness in the church, he is... somebody... who would do well to be shipped off to a monastery.  Comparing me to him is really premature.

Again, I didn't say mothers have to shut their kids up under penalty of death, but surely you know that when a kid is screaming his head off and won't stop, most mothers prefer to take the kid out to try to calm him, and that is totally fine, and I specifically said that I wasn't going after them.  And anyway I wasn't talking about howling kids, again, I'm talking about adults who know better and choose to come late and disturb other worshippers.
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« Reply #47 on: April 03, 2008, 06:50:18 PM »

I'm just citing this as precedent for not allowing anyone to enter during certain parts of the Liturgy.
But there is no precedent for locking baptized members out of the church. That was my point. We don't even lock the catechumens out anymore.

Quote
I specifically told you that I was not talking about any Antiochian parishes anywhere, and pointed out that I couldn't possibly be talking about an Antiochian parish.  And I definitely didn't say any parish I knew locked their doors, I was referring to something else I had mentioned.  Don't assume that because my jurisdiction is Antiochian that it's the only jurisdiction I have anything to do with.  I play on the OCA, ROCOR, and GOARCH playgrounds too.

You are right. You didn't mention any church. My mistake. The idea was your own. Sorry.

Quote
Hey, good for him and them.  That's wonderful that he was able to help them after they had been taught incorrectly.  But I'm talking about people who do know better and choose not to follow basic etiquette at a time it is most called for.
You are assuming they know better but we can't really read other people's minds. I think most of us would assume that Orthodox Christians coming from the middle east would know how to behave in church. But unfortunately that is not always the case. Perhaps the people you mention need a refresher course in case they have forgotten. Sometimes folks just need a simply reminder to stand reverently in the line and to save their small talk for after Divine Liturgy.

Quote
Bishop NIKOLAI is not zealous for peacefulness in the church, he is... somebody... who would do well to be shipped off to a monastery.  Comparing me to him is really premature.
Well, I still believe locking the church doors is a harsh measure to take. But you are right. I should not have compared your ideas to the tactics of Bishop Nikolai. Please forgive me.

Quote
Again, I didn't say mothers have to shut their kids up under penalty of death, but surely you know that when a kid is screaming his head off and won't stop, most mothers prefer to take the kid out to try to calm him, and that is totally fine, and I specifically said that I wasn't going after them.  And anyway I wasn't talking about howling kids, again, I'm talking about adults who know better and choose to come late and disturb other worshippers.

I never said you did. I was just sharing a story about my bishop to give you sense of the gentleness I have been exposed to in clergy from the middle east. I used to be very hard on people who were late or who disturbed my concentration during the Divine Liturgy. But I no longer feel that way anymore. The humility of these clergyman have taught me to be patient.
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« Reply #48 on: April 03, 2008, 11:32:07 PM »

But there is no precedent for locking baptized members out of the church. That was my point. We don't even lock the catechumens out anymore.

Arius was thrown out, Nestorius was thrown out - heretics are by definition baptized Christians - not physically of course, but they were ejected from the assembly.  And in those days, people who had repented after committing certain sins were only allowed to stand outside the church for a time, begging for the prayers of the believers going into the church.  They would do this for years before even being allowed to pass the doorway, and that was only the first step to reconciliation.  Communion, or being present for it, is not a civil right.

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You are assuming they know better but we can't really read other people's minds. I think most of us would assume that Orthodox Christians coming from the middle east would know how to behave in church. But unfortunately that is not always the case. Perhaps the people you mention need a refresher course in case they have forgotten. Sometimes folks just need a simply reminder to stand reverently in the line and to save their small talk for after Divine Liturgy.

I didn't grow up going to church myself, but I thought staying quiet during a church service would be a no-brainer.  I am not going to pass judgment on the spirituality of anyone, regardless of where they are from or what they have been taught at church.  I'm talking about basic etiquette:  most people understand that they ought to be quiet while a lecture is being given or a movie is being shown, even if they don't always put it exactly into practice.  A concert hall can refuse to seat you if you arrive after the grace period.  Why shouldn't a church service be accorded the same respect and protection, if not more?  None of this is to belittle or ignore the spiritual aspect of flapping one's jaws during the service, but you said yourself that I can't read someone else's mind.  And I want to add that it's not anyone's place to do anything this drastic without the priest's approval and a really dire situation being at hand.  I'm already used to just ignoring the noisy myself.

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Well, I still believe locking the church doors is a harsh measure to take. But you are right. I should not have compared your ideas to the tactics of Bishop Nikolai. Please forgive me.

God forgives and I forgive. 

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I never said you did. I was just sharing a story about my bishop to give you sense of the gentleness I have been exposed to in clergy from the middle east. I used to be very hard on people who were late or who disturbed my concentration during the Divine Liturgy. But I no longer feel that way anymore. The humility of these clergyman have taught me to be patient.

My concern is not borne directly out of impatience, but out of concern for inquirers and visitors, people who, in their innocence and newness to Orthodoxy, might be quite put off by "that church where everyone talks during communion", or perhaps your weaker brothers and sisters who might be led into sin by someone's gossip.  If it's not about something crucial for Liturgy to continue, or a life-or-death situation, what reason is there not to keep it inside for ninety minutes?
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« Reply #49 on: April 04, 2008, 12:16:56 AM »

 O Lord and Master of my life,
Grant not unto me a spirit of idleness,
of discouragement,
of lust for power,
and of vain speaking.

But bestow upon me, Thy servant,
the spirit of chastity,
of meekness,
of patience,
and of love.

Yea, O Lord and King,
grant that I may perceive
my own transgressions,
and judge not my brother,
for blessed art Thou
unto ages of ages.
Amen.
-St. Ephraim
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« Reply #50 on: April 04, 2008, 01:02:15 AM »

We don't have this problem during the Eucharist, but during the blessing/dismissal it can get fairly loud.  Father has posted a few NO TALKING announcements in the bulletin but not everyone reads it.  He's also actually shushed people during the blessing.  Heck, I've even shushed people (albeit from the choir loft so no one, except other choir members, knew it was me. Wink)  Obviously, there's exceptions to be considered.  But in most cases people should understand that it's not acceptable to be talking.  I know, I know, you can't force folks to be reverent but this isn't an insurmountable problem. 
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« Reply #51 on: April 04, 2008, 01:21:09 AM »

Arius was thrown out, Nestorius was thrown out - heretics are by definition baptized Christians - not physically of course, but they were ejected from the assembly.  And in those days, people who had repented after committing certain sins were only allowed to stand outside the church for a time, begging for the prayers of the believers going into the church.  They would do this for years before even being allowed to pass the doorway, and that was only the first step to reconciliation.  Communion, or being present for it, is not a civil right.

But we aren't dealing with heretics.We are dealing with ignorant, baptized Orthodox Christians. I realize that many years ago, the church was much tougher with communion practices but honestly, do we really want to return to those times? We can romanticize the past or we can live in the present.
If our clergy held us to the same standards as years past, I think most of us would find ourselves outside the church doors for various sins. Frankly, I think the church is doing the right thing by encouraging people to take Holy Communion. In my lifetime, I have seen the Orthodox Church in America flower and produce fruit I could never have imagined. More folks are fasting, attending services, and studying their faith seriously than in years past when no one would approach the altar.  I believe part of the spiritual awakening (evangelization programs, IOCC, OCMC, OCN, Ancient Faith Radio, Project Mexico, Hogar Raphael, etc. etc.) is due to more of us taking Holy Communion on a regular basis. 

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I didn't grow up going to church myself, but I thought staying quiet during a church service would be a no-brainer.  I am not going to pass judgment on the spirituality of anyone, regardless of where they are from or what they have been taught at church.  I'm talking about basic etiquette:  most people understand that they ought to be quiet while a lecture is being given or a movie is being shown, even if they don't always put it exactly into practice.  A concert hall can refuse to seat you if you arrive after the grace period.  Why shouldn't a church service be accorded the same respect and protection, if not more?  None of this is to belittle or ignore the spiritual aspect of flapping one's jaws during the service, but you said yourself that I can't read someone else's mind.
I am not disagreeing with you that folks should stay quiet in the church but is it really that awful? How loud are they?
Can you move closer to the altar so it won't annoy you so much? When it used to annoy me I would move to the front of the church because the talkers usually sat or stood in the back. I honestly think if the priest made a consistent effort to ask people to save their chatter till after the service it would begin to have an effect. The priest can set the tone.

Quote
My concern is not borne directly out of impatience, but out of concern for inquirers and visitors, people who, in their innocence and newness to Orthodoxy, might be quite put off by "that church where everyone talks during communion", or perhaps your weaker brothers and sisters who might be led into sin by someone's gossip.  If it's not about something crucial for Liturgy to continue, or a life-or-death situation, what reason is there not to keep it inside for ninety minutes?

Again, I do not disagree with you but there is not much we can do about it. I remember when I would become annoyed I would try to get people to be quiet during the service but they would just look at me as if I was from Mars. We could lock all the doors and enforce codes of silence but real change only happens in the heart and most people will change if they are approached with love and kindness.
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« Reply #52 on: April 04, 2008, 02:04:18 AM »

But we aren't dealing with heretics.We are dealing with ignorant, baptized Orthodox Christians. I realize that many years ago, the church was much tougher with communion practices but honestly, do we really want to return to those times? We can romanticize the past or we can live in the present.
If our clergy held us to the same standards as years past, I think most of us we find ourselves outside the church doors for various sins. Frankly, I think the church is doing the right thing by encouraging people to take Holy Communion. In my lifetime, I have seen the Orthodox Church in America flower and produce fruit I could never have imagined. More folks are taking fasting, attending services, and studying their faith seriously than in years past when no one would approach the altar.  I believe part of the spiritual awakening (evangelization programs, IOCC, OCMC, OCN, Ancient Faith Radio, Project Mexico, Hogar Raphael, etc. etc.) is due to more of us taking Holy Communion on a regular basis.

Again, I think you misunderstood me.  I'm not at all about telling people whether they should commune or not, and I'm not about liturgical anachronism for the sake of anachronism, just citing precedent.  Although I am glad to see people approaching the chalice more than four times a year, the former practice did come with a sense of holiness and gravity for when people did partake.  St. Mary of Egypt communed once or twice in her whole life, and look at the fruit that bore.

Also - many heretics were probably ignorant too, and I hope God had mercy on them because of their foolishness, but they were still subject to the same anathemas as the ringleaders.

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I am not disagreeing with you that folks should stay quiet in the church but is it really that awful? How loud are they?
Can you move closer to the altar so it won't annoy you so much? When it used to annoy me I would move to the front of the church because the talkers usually sat or stood in the back. I honestly think if the priest made a consistent effort to ask people to save their chatter till after the service it would begin to have an effect. The priest can set the tone.

This isn't about me, but someone bothered by chatter might not be able to tell among strangers who's going to talk and who isn't when picking a place to sit/stand, and moving would be especially difficult if the church in question has pews. 

If I could pick any place to stand during liturgy, I would be hunkered next to the iconostasis the whole time so that I can hear the priest; in a big church I still can't understand the priest half the time, regardless of what anyone else is doing.
 
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Again, I do not disagree with you but there is not much we can do about it. I remember trying to get people to be quiet but they would just look at me as if I was from Mars. We could lock all the doors and enforce codes of silence but real change only happens in the heart and most people will change if they are approached with love and kindness.

I know, but to me, the idea of not doing anything about it at all in the name of "not judging" is like saying, "if you don't like pollution, don't breathe".  I thought we were not islands unto ourselves:  that we are partly responsible for each other's salvation, not just our own.  Just like our priests are here to lead us and care for us, as a royal priesthood ourselves we share some of that responsibility.
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« Reply #53 on: April 04, 2008, 12:06:37 PM »

Again, I think you misunderstood me.  I'm not at all about telling people whether they should commune or not, and I'm not about liturgical anachronism for the sake of anachronism, just citing precedent.  Although I am glad to see people approaching the chalice more than four times a year, the former practice did come with a sense of holiness and gravity for when people did partake.  St. Mary of Egypt communed once or twice in her whole life, and look at the fruit that bore.
St. Mary of Egypt lived alone in the desert. She was an exception and not the rule. We are living in the world.

Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev wrote:
"We should not abstain from the Lord’s communion just because we consider ourselves sinful, but rather hasten to it even more for the healing of soul and purification of spirit, with such humility and faith so that, considering ourselves unworthy of receiving such grace, we might desire more the healing of our wounds. Otherwise it would be impossible to receive communion even once a year, as some do…who so esteem the dignity, sanctification and salvific effects of the Heavenly Mysteries that they believe that only the holy and blameless should receive them. It would be better to think that it is these Sacraments that make us pure and holy by their imparting of Grace. Truly these people show more pride than their imagined humility, since they consider themselves worthy of them when they commune. It would be much more correct if we communed every Sunday for the healing of our infirmities, with the same humility of heart through which we believe and confess that we never can worthily approach the Mysteries, rather than…believe that we become worthy of them after the passing of a year."

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Also - many heretics were probably ignorant too, and I hope God had mercy on them because of their foolishness, but they were still subject to the same anathemas as the ringleaders.
But my point was that the Orthodox Christians we are speaking about are not heretics. So there is no reason to treat them as such.

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This isn't about me, but someone bothered by chatter might not be able to tell among strangers who's going to talk and who isn't when picking a place to sit/stand, and moving would be especially difficult if the church in question has pews. 
We live in the world and we aren't always going to have perfect circumstances for prayer during the services. Sometimes I have little children and babies hunkered around my feet. They make noise, as children do, but I still try my best to stay focused on prayer. In all honesty, even when I attended the church with all of the chattering, it wasn't incessant. It happened during certain times.

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If I could pick any place to stand during liturgy, I would be hunkered next to the iconostasis the whole time so that I can hear the priest; in a big church I still can't understand the priest half the time, regardless of what anyone else is doing.
Why are you unable to understand the priest? Does he speak too quietly?
 
Quote
I know, but to me, the idea of not doing anything about it at all in the name of "not judging" is like saying, "if you don't like pollution, don't breathe".  I thought we were not islands unto ourselves:  that we are partly responsible for each other's salvation, not just our own.  Just like our priests are here to lead us and care for us, as a royal priesthood ourselves we share some of that responsibility.
I tend to agree with the prayer Username shared with us a few posts back. But what do you think we should do to alleviate the problem?


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« Reply #54 on: April 04, 2008, 01:26:39 PM »

I agree.

But we must pray for each other.

The smokers are in need of special prayer for many obvious reasons.

Good fervent prayer will help to solve this problem in a kind way. The clergy must also be clear as to the proper behavior from each person especially with regards to respect of the church grounds.

Again, Amdetsion goes to the heart of the matter and points out that all things in church should be done with a spirit of love, prayer and understanding.   I think a priest, because of his position of influence, can achieve a lot by repeated, gentle reminders.  Corrections by other parishioners don't always turn out well since people think you are trying to push them around without authority.
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« Reply #55 on: April 04, 2008, 02:20:49 PM »

St. Mary of Egypt lived alone in the desert. She was an exception and not the rule. We are living in the world.
But my point was that the Orthodox Christians we are speaking about are not heretics. So there is no reason to treat them as such.
We live in the world and we aren't always going to have perfect circumstances for prayer during the services. Sometimes I have little children and babies hunkered around my feet. They make noise, as children do, but I still try my best to stay focused on prayer. In all honesty, even when I attended the church with all of the chattering, it wasn't incessant. It happened during certain times.

The point of this thread was how to deal with people who are old enough to know better not to make a ruckus during liturgy.  You have tried to rope me into bashing my own archdiocese (which I love and would go to the mat for), people from the Middle East (who I also love), and children (who I adore).  Making joyful noise because it's Palm Sunday, or whimpering because you're a child who doesn't know better, is one thing.  It is patently unreasonable to compare those to people jabbering their way up to the chalice while talking about where they are going for lunch, or someone pushing you off a kneeler because he wants to sit on the other side of you in the pew and didn't think to go around, or a lady who came up behind me during a pannychyda, decided I was not using the service booklet that I was holding and staring intently at, and snatched it out of my hand for herself.  (There was a whole pile of them two feet away, mind you, since I took another to replace the one taken.)  Those are bad manners in any context, and being ticked off by rudeness does not have to be a judgment on their spirituality.

I don't mind telling you that in the secular world, my first instinct to resolve such situations would have involved my middle finger and perhaps some unladylike language.  If it's all right with you, I'd like for there to be ways to thwart this kind of behavior without defiling the liturgy and causing an ecumenical scandal.  And I have been saying all along that anything done ought to be done with the priest's approval and consent, not vigilante parishioners.

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I tend to agree with the prayer Username shared with us a few posts back. But what do you think we should do to alleviate the problem?

If I suggest anything in this context, it makes it appear that I'm going against St. Ephraim the Syrian.  That is a tactic for a debate, not coming to terms with someone else's viewpoint.  That is not acceptable.
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« Reply #56 on: April 04, 2008, 03:07:39 PM »

The point of this thread was how to deal with people who are old enough to know better not to make a ruckus during liturgy.  You have tried to rope me into bashing my own archdiocese (which I love and would go to the mat for), people from the Middle East (who I also love), and children (who I adore).
No, I was not trying to rope you into anything. I was sharing my experiences and what I have learned over the years with you.

 
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Making joyful noise because it's Palm Sunday, or whimpering because you're a child who doesn't know better, is one thing.  It is patently unreasonable to compare those to people jabbering their way up to the chalice while talking about where they are going for lunch, or someone pushing you off a kneeler because he wants to sit on the other side of you in the pew and didn't think to go around, or a lady who came up behind me during a pannychyda, decided I was not using the service booklet that I was holding and staring intently at, and snatched it out of my hand for herself.  (There was a whole pile of them two feet away, mind you, since I took another to replace the one taken.)  Those are bad manners in any context, and being ticked off by rudeness does not have to be a judgment on their spirituality.
I have never had the experiences you have had in any parish of any jurisdiction. Yes, what you have described are very bad manners. Do most of the people in your parish behave this way or is it only a few?

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If it's all right with you, I'd like for there to be ways to thwart this kind of behavior without defiling the liturgy and causing an ecumenical scandal.  And I have been saying all along that anything done ought to be done with the priest's approval and consent, not vigilante parishioners.
Seriously, I would go to your priest and speak to him about it. Let him know who the people are who grabbed booklets out of your hand or who pushed you so he can work with them. You can mention to him about those who talk in line but he may have his own way with dealing with it.
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« Reply #57 on: April 04, 2008, 03:42:34 PM »

No, I was not trying to rope you into anything. I was sharing my experiences and what I have learned over the years with you.

  I have never had the experiences you have had in any parish of any jurisdiction. Yes, what you have described are very bad manners. Do most of the people in your parish behave this way or is it only a few?
Seriously, I would go to your priest and speak to him about it. Let him know who the people are who grabbed booklets out of your hand or who pushed you so he can work with them. You can mention to him about those who talk in line but he may have his own way with dealing with it.

I explicitly said that I wasn't talking about mine.  Anyway, since your stated advice before was that it was better to ignore this sort of thing rather than tattle, I'm sort of puzzled why you think I should have talked to anyone about it. 
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« Reply #58 on: April 04, 2008, 03:52:26 PM »

We don't have this problem during the Eucharist, but during the blessing/dismissal it can get fairly loud.  Father has posted a few NO TALKING announcements in the bulletin but not everyone reads it.  He's also actually shushed people during the blessing.  Heck, I've even shushed people (albeit from the choir loft so no one, except other choir members, knew it was me. Wink)  Obviously, there's exceptions to be considered.  But in most cases people should understand that it's not acceptable to be talking.  I know, I know, you can't force folks to be reverent but this isn't an insurmountable problem. 

Thank you for posting this.  I missed it earlier.  It reminds me of a parish where week after week they put something in the bulletin to remind people to stay for the dismissal.  One day the priest skipped the announcements and just begged people not to leave early.  Sad
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« Reply #59 on: April 04, 2008, 03:53:15 PM »

I explicitly said that I wasn't talking about mine.  Anyway, since your stated advice before was that it was better to ignore this sort of thing rather than tattle, I'm sort of puzzled why you think I should have talked to anyone about it. 

Until your last post, I didn't know you were being pushed or that people were grabbing booklets out of your hand. That type of behavior is going beyond just chattering and you should tell your priest about those specific incidents. It is up to the priest deal with the communion issues because he is the one who has been given authority to guard the cup and decide who can commune.
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« Reply #60 on: April 04, 2008, 04:29:20 PM »

This past Sunday after the service the choir came downstairs and was singing "Thy cross oh Christ" as folks venerated the cross. Two men standing  on the women's side in front of me were conducting business deals in audible tones -laughing etc. as the choir was reverently singing. For some reason this caused me great pain. If only the entire congregation would stand quietly whilst reverently joining in with the singing at such moments...
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« Reply #61 on: April 04, 2008, 04:43:47 PM »

Until your last post, I didn't know you were being pushed or that people were grabbing booklets out of your hand. That type of behavior is going beyond just chattering and you should tell your priest about those specific incidents. It is up to the priest deal with the communion issues because he is the one who has been given authority to guard the cup and decide who can commune.

But these are just single incidents.  For instance, the booklet snatcher - if she did it every time I went to a pannychyda, I'd go to the priest and ask him to get to the bottom of it.  But since that was the first and only time I've been to a pannychyda at the same time as her, wouldn't it have been okay if I had whispered, "Lady, I was using that", instead of just slinking over to the stack to pick up another book in order not to make a scene?
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« Reply #62 on: April 04, 2008, 07:09:33 PM »

But these are just single incidents.  For instance, the booklet snatcher - if she did it every time I went to a pannychyda, I'd go to the priest and ask him to get to the bottom of it.  But since that was the first and only time I've been to a pannychyda at the same time as her, wouldn't it have been okay if I had whispered, "Lady, I was using that", instead of just slinking over to the stack to pick up another book in order not to make a scene?

You could have said something at the time. I probably would have reacted like you and not said anything because I would have been stunned by it. I guess if she doesn't continue with rude, strange behavior then there is no point. Some folks are just odd or mentally a little touched. If she was elderly I would chalk it up to age-related senility. My own father, who is eighty-eight years old, has said and done some strange things inside and outside of  church. He is hard of hearing which leads him to speak loudly no matter where he is. But he doesn't realize he is speaking loudly.
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