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Author Topic: Vigil vs Vespers  (Read 5001 times) Average Rating: 0
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TomS
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« on: June 21, 2003, 10:16:16 AM »


I see that St. Nicholas (OCA) in Washington, DC has a Vigil today at 5PM.

Can someone please tell me how that differs from a Vespers service?

Thanks.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2003, 12:09:09 PM by TomS » Logged
Hypo-Ortho
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« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2003, 11:58:54 AM »


I see that St. Nicholas (OCA) in Washington, DC has a Vigil today at 5PM.

Can someone please tell me how that differs from a Vespers service?

Thanls.

Tom, the *usual* All-Night Vigil in Russian practice has Great Vespers joined to Matins as one continuous service, sometimes, but not in all places, even being preceded immediately by the Ninth Hour and followed immediately by the First Hour.  

The only exceptions, AFAIK, is when the All-Night Vigil is comprised of Great Compline joined to Matins on the Eves of Nativity and Theophany because Vespers has been served earlier in the day on those occasions (even if the Vespers isn't actually served, it's prescribed).

So you should expect a service of at least 100 minutes or more in length at an All-Night Vigil.  You are not required to stay for the entire service, although most do.  You may come for Vespers and leave when Matins begins, or arrive a little late for Vespers and stay for all of Matins.  Allow for flexilibity as to what you can do for your first Vigil.  Hope this helps.

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TomS
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« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2003, 11:03:09 PM »

I attended the Vigil at St. Nicholas. I stayed the whole 2 hours. It was amazingly beautiful.

I really, really, really like St. Nicholas and the reverence of the people who attend that church. These people are serious about worshiping the Lord.

So different from St. Sophia and other GOA churches. If it was not for my GOA wife, I would be there every Sunday.
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« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2003, 11:26:26 PM »

I attended the Vigil at St. Nicholas. I stayed the whole 2 hours. It was amazingly beautiful.

I really, really, really like St. Nicholas and the reverence of the people who attend that church. These people are serious about worshiping the Lord.

So different from St. Sophia and other GOA churches. If it was not for my GOA wife, I would be there every Sunday.

Tom, our new priest of 6 months was a deacon at St. Nicholas Cathedral before his being assigned as our Acting Rector immediately following his Ordination to the Presbyterate.  His piety, devotion and attention to rubrics is above reproach.  

This parish is totally unused to an "All-Night Vigil."  The previous rector served only Great Vespers on Saturday evenings, and even that was suspended for the months of July and August.  

Well, we've had Great Vespers continue as before every Saturday with Fr. Michael's arrival--until now.  This Saturday, June 28, the patronal feast of our Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Springfield, MA, at 6 pm, Fr. Michael will serve the Festal Vigil (Vespers & Matins) of our patron Saints.

And on Sunday, June 29, in the parish hall after the 9:30 am Divine Liturgy, there will be a festive pork roast dinner at approx. 11:30 am.  Come one, come all!  $10 donation for adults, $5 for children 12 and under (if you can afford it).  All donations go to the parish.

Hypo-Ortho

 

 

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TomS
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« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2003, 11:33:49 PM »


What really struck me is that they had the whole Choir there, 2 priests who performed the main parts of the service, and about 6 other priests/asst.priests/helpers.

And when they did the Small and Great entrances, they actually come down from the alter and stand in the middle of the people to read. It is SO INCLUSIVE!

At St. Sophia, when I attended a Great Compline, I was the only one who showed up (initially) besides the Priest. So he asked me to come up and do the readings.

I would join St. Nicholas in a SECOND if I did not think that it would be a little too much for my wife. I have to ease her into it slowly. Being a cradle GOA, she is not so serious about this stuff.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2003, 09:36:33 AM by TomS » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2003, 09:08:29 AM »

I have an idea of what you're saying, Tom.  I have a son-in-law who is basically GOA.  When my son-in-law and older daughter lived in the DC area during my daughter's internship at St. Elizabeth's Hospital, it was a race to see which church they would reach first for Sunday Divine Liturgy: St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral or St. Nicholas Cathedral (OCA), with my daughter pulling for St. Nicholas.

No such competition on the Saturday evenings when they were both free of work and could attend church together: there was no service at St. Sophia, so it was the Vigil at St. Nicholas "all the way!"  Grin

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« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2003, 01:13:51 PM »

Why do they call it "All Night" vigil when it lasts only two hours?

FWIW, our Antiochian parish has vespers on Saturday evening, and orthros before liturgy.
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« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2003, 01:21:23 PM »

I went to a Melkite Greek Catholic Church in McLean VA this weekend, one that I frequented a lot in the past, and as usual the liturgy was awesome: Byzantine Chant mostly in English with some Arabic, congregationally sung, five priests and a deacon celebrated, the whole "Mediterranean ethos" was there; it was great.  I like the GOA because in some places this is a reality too, and it is simply wonderful.  Unfortunately, the OCA is ahead of the Greeks in quality liturgy, but behind them in paying their priests a decent salary and having warm, "fuzzy" friendly parishes (the Greek parishes I've visited have all been welcoming to non-Greeks to the max [to use an '80's expression]).

It's a tough choice, really it is.  I can't stand too much Russian Chant since it sounds cold to me during Liturgy (I hate the choral compositions) but enjoy Vigil as the music is wonderful there at least at St. Vlad's--they use the Obikhod, Kievan, and Znammeny Chants, harmonized, but not harmonized like a choral setting.  It's really nice and people in the congregation can sing along to the parts they know (or bring the texts and even sing the stikhera if they are dedicated!)

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« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2003, 06:12:42 PM »

Why do they call it "All Night" vigil when it lasts only two hours?

In monasteries, especially on Holy Mount Athos before a great Feast, the Vigil really went on all night (supplemented with many additional Psalms and other Biblical readings) and was concluded at dawn with the celebration of the Festal Divine Liturgy.  Thus the name, "All-Night Vigil," even when it does not go on all night in a parish setting for obvious reasons.  Vigils I have attended in a ROCOR parish lasted a minimum of 2 1/2 hours.

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« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2003, 11:10:30 PM »

Quote
In monasteries, especially on Holy Mount Athos before a great Feast, the Vigil really went on all night (supplemented with many additional Psalms and other Biblical readings) and was concluded at dawn with the celebration of the Festal Divine Liturgy.  

At Saint Anthony's (which follows the practice almost exactly of Philotheou) the vigils last from 12:30 AM until 8:30 AM.....I've already got August 5th and 6th off from work and am anxiously waiting for my very first All Night Vigil!
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« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2003, 09:27:10 PM »

Anastasios,

I'm curious that you find Russian chant "cold." Compared to what? I have always found it extremely moving emotionally. I find the Greek and Romanian chant much less emotionally charged. Coptic and Syriac I have less experience of but found fascinating and would like to hear more of. But to me the Russians take the prize.

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« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2003, 10:20:20 PM »

I sometimes attend services at Saint Vlad's, and while mostly using music of the Russian tradition, they sometimes use Byzantine chant at the services I have attended.  Neither is the style of chant I have grown up with, but there is a different feeling, a different spirit, to Byzantine chant, in my experience.  It is not like Russian music; Russian music sounds beautiful, but Byzantine chant takes you out of this world and into Another.  It is beautiful, but in another way, and in a way I think is more conducive to prayer.  Just my opinion.
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« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2003, 01:18:02 AM »

Byzantine Chant is simply the best!  Here is a link to the Apolyptikon of Saint Anthony http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org chanted at Saint Anthony's.
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« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2003, 11:27:21 AM »

Byzantine Chant is simply the best!  Here is a link to the Apolyptikon of Saint Anthony http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org chanted at Saint Anthony's.  

*PURE* unadulterated Byzantine chant is indeed beautiful (as opposed to much of modern Greek chant--with accompanying organ yet!).  But I find Serbian chant, particularly ancient Serbian chant, and old Bulgarian chant equally beautiful.  I also like Romanian plain chant as done by the good nuns at The Monastery of the Transfiguration in Ellwood City, PA.  I find some Ukrainian chants, especially Kievan Monastery of the Caves chant, and Galician and Znamenny chants very uplifting, deeply spiritual and exceptionally beautiful as well.  And there is nothing so appealing in Orthodox Church music to the Western ear as Russian Church music with its unsurpassed basso-profundos and glorious harmonization, all completely "a capella," of course.  And, indeed, even some Carpatho-Russian "prostopinije" chant done in harmonization and led by a trained cantor (not wailing) who knows how to use the "eson" can also be beautiful.

Is this not all subjective, however, I mean our taste in chants and Church music?  Each Orthodox culture, each Orthodox nation has given of itself in its liturgical music to the glory of God, each attempts to transport us from earth to heaven.  Why should one chant *subjectively* be considered better than another?  Again, simply a matter of personal taste and orientation.  But it shouldn't lead to chauvinism, IMHO.  

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« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2003, 11:30:38 AM »

You should hear the chanter at St. Sophia in DC. He is wonderful.

When the previous chanter passed away, Father John went to Greece to find another one. His name is Stelios and he chants beautifully.
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« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2003, 02:44:37 PM »

I had some questions that I thought would fit in this thread, so I'm resurrecting it.

Tom, the *usual* All-Night Vigil in Russian practice has Great Vespers joined to Matins as one continuous service, sometimes, but not in all places, even being preceded immediately by the Ninth Hour and followed immediately by the First Hour.

The basic form of the Vigil in Russian practice is Vespers and Matins together, with a couple of the hours tacked on to the beginning and end of the service in some places, according to the above.  Now I know of the specific instances where Great Compline replaces Vespers in a Vigil, but how come some form of Compline is not standard practice in a Vigil?  If you can have in some places a Vigil that is composed of Ninth Hour, Vespers, Matins, and First Hour, how come Compline is omitted?  Doesn't the order of services require that Compline come after Vespers and before Matins?

The second question deals with something I read in a book.  I'm reading The Mountain of Silence by Kyriacos Markides; it's a great book, although I have temporarily put it on hold to catch up with my philosophy and literature classes.  I recommend it.  

Anyway, in the book, one will often find references to monks doing "all night vigils", but the sense I get is that this is something privately undertaken, and not the public, in church, celebration that this thread for the most part speaks of.  Does anyone know what this refers to?  Do the monks sing the liturgical offices privately, and thus keep an all night vigil?  Or is this a more private, less rigidly structured (in the sense that there are no rubrics, but it is something tailored to the person) practice, incorporating the Jesus Prayer and/or other things?
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« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2003, 06:02:56 PM »

Mor, because of time constraints this answer will be brief.

Usually, there are only two times during the liturgical year that Great Compline replaces Vespers when joined to Matins in the Vigil Service: the evening before Christmas and the evening before Theophany.  On these two occasions, Vespers is usually joined to the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil earlier in the day.  Thus, Vespers having already been served on these two occasions, Great Compline replaces Vespers in the Vigil Service.

The service of Compline is primarily a monastic service (the Night Office before Retiring, or the "After-Supper Service")--that is one of the reasons it is not seen as often as Vespers in the usual parish practice.  There are exceptions of course, especially during the first week of Great Lent when Compline is joined to the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete as the normal parish evening service, and then not only in monasteries, from ancient times.

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« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2003, 09:02:13 PM »

The all night vigil to which you were refering is done privately in a monks cell.  The core of it is Jesus Prayers and prostrations.  It also usually includes some reading (scripture - especially psalter and New Testament, lives of saints, spiritual works, etc.).  Each monastery is different but the general pattern is at night fall the monastics go to sleep for a few hours and then get up for their vigil/cell rule.  (At St. Anthony's this lasts a good three hours)....but the actuall length and what it done is determined on an individual basis by the monasteries Elder.  Then in the wee hours of the morning the church services begin.  After Liturgy the monks rest for a few hours again then get to work.

Hope that helps...

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« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2003, 11:04:04 PM »

Thanks, Nektarios.  That explains my second question.

Hypo, thank you also for your reply.  I was clear on most of that before.  My concern is simply that at Vigil, Vespers and Matins go one after the other, but liturgically, Compline should come between them (that it is primarily a monastic service is news to me, since I have a prayer book for the use of the laity with Small Compline in it, and, monastic or not, Compline is part of the Church's liturgical prayer, so what makes it primarily monastic?).  

A friend has explained this to me by explaining that since the Vigil originally lasted all night, there was not a need to celebrate Compline, since no one was going to be going to sleep.  This makes sense if the Vigil does indeed last all night.  But this rarely, if ever, happens nowadays.  Shouldn't Compline, then, be added to the average Vigil, in some form?  Or is there something else to argue against it?
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« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2003, 12:08:04 AM »

My friend spent the summer on the Holy Mountain and said the vigil for Saints Peter and Paul at one of the monasteries started at normal vespers time (5 pm ish) and ended at normal time for liturgy without a vigil (around 7 am ish)...now that is all night.  

IMO you raise an intersting point about compline though.  I think a valid argument could be made for local custom as a reason for omitting compline during nights when the vigil is done.  Similar to the way how reading the Kathisma is dropped on vespers the night after an all-night vigil.  When I eventually get out to Saint Anthony's for an all night vigil I'll see what they do and report back.  But I rarely go there for feasts since it is so crowded and I usually stay home to help out my usually way under-"staffed" parish priest.    

I have also heard that compline (at least in the byzantine rite) is primarily a monastic office for after trapeza.  Ironicly I rarely go to compline when I'm at the monastery because I'm always doing dishes after trapeza :-D  Among Latine monastics compline was important in the fact that it marked the start of great silence.  Although it is intersting that in both the Benedictine and Byzantine rites compline is similar in that it has very little changing texts from day to day compared to other offices...just something I noticed glancing through the old Latin compline.  
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« Reply #20 on: April 16, 2008, 02:58:41 PM »

I have also been to St. Nicholas in Washington. It is a beautiful church. I was there for Saturday Vigil and came back for Liturgy. It's the only parish I've been to that performs a Vigil service, so I wasn't sure what I was hearing. This thread helps to clear it up. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this thread, including those who no longer post here.
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« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2008, 03:02:33 PM »

I have also been to St. Nicholas in Washington. It is a beautiful church. I was there for Saturday Vigil and came back for Liturgy. It's the only parish I've been to that performs a Vigil service, so I wasn't sure what I was hearing. This thread helps to clear it up. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this thread, including those who no longer post here.

My parish actually used to serve it instead of Vespers once a month, but we stopped doing that a few years back for some reason.  I don't know why.
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« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2008, 03:44:42 PM »

I have also been to St. Nicholas in Washington. It is a beautiful church. I was there for Saturday Vigil and came back for Liturgy. It's the only parish I've been to that performs a Vigil service, so I wasn't sure what I was hearing. This thread helps to clear it up. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this thread, including those who no longer post here.

My wife and I went there once for All Night Vigil.  I'd go back in a heartbeat, but my wife was very turned off by the "milling around" many of the women were doing, particularly one little clique up towards the Panachida Cross.  They talked in hushed tones (but audible enough) the entire time and where showing each other their "sin list" before going up to confession.  I was prepared for it, but my wife wasn't.  If there's one thing she hates in church its chatting, especially during a liturgical service of some kind.
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