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Author Topic: Silence During the Reading of the Six Psalms  (Read 4058 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: April 29, 2008, 10:35:53 PM »

Christ Is Risen!

Question.  Are the final verses following the recitation of the Six Psalms during Orthros, "Alleluia..Glory to Thee O God...," to be chanted rather than read?  I had read that the Six Psalms are to be read; not intoned or chanted.  Neither are we to even cross ourselves during the reading of these psalms in sequence.  We should remain standing and still out in reverence, because of a pious teaching of the Church that the Six Psalms will be similarly read at the Final Judgement.  Is anyone aware of this teaching?  Is it correct that nothing, not even the verses following the these psalms, are to be intoned or chanted?

I am an amateur, assistant chanter, whose responsibilities at the Chanter's Stand are primarily the English language chanting and reading, in a Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America parish.  If I do not know the tone of the hymn, I do not chant it.  The parish's chanter, who I assist, (a chanter of the Greek psalti stereotype) told me that I'm wrong about this.  He says the final verses after the Six Psalms are to be intoned, to set the tone for what follows the Six Psalms.

I would appreciate answers or comments to the inquiries above.
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« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2008, 10:45:51 PM »

Christ Is Risen!

Question.  Are the final verses following the recitation of the Six Psalms during Orthros, "Alleluia..Glory to Thee O God...," to be chanted rather than read?  I had read that the Six Psalms are to be read; not intoned or chanted.  Neither are we to even cross ourselves during the reading of these psalms in sequence.  We should remain standing and still out in reverence, because of a pious teaching of the Church that the Six Psalms will be similarly read at the Final Judgement.  Is anyone aware of this teaching?  Is it correct that nothing, not even the verses following the these psalms, are to be intoned or chanted?

I am an amateur, assistant chanter, whose responsibilities at the Chanter's Stand are primarily the English language chanting and reading, in a Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America parish.  If I do not know the tone of the hymn, I do not chant it.  The parish's chanter, who I assist, (a chanter of the Greek psalti stereotype) told me that I'm wrong about this.  He says the final verses after the Six Psalms are to be intoned, to set the tone for what follows the Six Psalms.

I would appreciate answers or comments to the inquiries above.

There are different traditions in different places, churches and jurisdictions.  I think though that there are some practices in the GOA and AOA that are almost mandated out of a pastoral concern due to lack of training of chanters/singers regarding just "speaking" psalms, stichera and even when the Epistle is read.  If you want to know how things really are in that tradition (e.g. Greek), trying asking trained chanters that have been to Greece or learned from those there.
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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2008, 10:00:18 AM »

While I don't claim to have any knowledge of how it should be done, I can say how it is done at our parish--and that I hope the two are not dissimilar. At our parish, we chant all six Psalms: usually one person chants the first three, and a second the second three, but occasionally we'll have three people alternate or even six people chant one Psalm each. Regardless, the Psalms are always chanted, never spoken.

We do cross ourselves at the "Alleluia...Glory to God" part, but not during the Psalms themselves. As far as I know, it is not prohibited, but neither is it our practice. Silence is our practice, however: everyone listens to the chanter without speaking (at least in theory Wink).

It should be said that ours is an OCA parish (as you can see from my profile), so we are coming from the Slavic tradition rather than the Greek. I haven't been to a Greek church, so I'm not sure if that makes a difference.

Hope that helps.
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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2008, 10:29:37 AM »

In the Greek tradition, these Psalms are read, not chanted. The Alleluias, however, are usually entoned. It is customary not to cross yourself, even during the Alleluias, nor should there be any other movement in the church.
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« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2008, 10:55:35 AM »

The 6 psalms in the Antiochian tradition are also to be read, not sung, at a speed not much faster than a normal conversation.  Everyone should stand (though the rubrics in the bulletins and our priest will motion to the faithful to sit instead) because these are the psalms our guardian angel will read on our behalf before the dread judgment seat of Christ at his second glorious coming.  As Orthodox11 also said, it is customary to neither make the sign of the cross nor to bow BEFORE the final Glory...Both now after Psalm 142.  I really want our lax practices changed but I have a feeling that they won't.  We chant only the final thrice Alleluia, Glory to thee, O God as well as O, Our Lord and our hope, Glory to Thee in Tone 8 (usually) before we chant the responsories to the Great Ektenia (also in tone 8 usually).
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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2008, 11:29:03 AM »

He says the final verses after the Six Psalms are to be intoned, to set the tone for what follows the Six Psalms.

The final "Alleluia, Alleluia, Alluleia. Glory to You, O God, our Hope, glory to You!" is often intoned. It's also a practical tradition. Intoning the final phrase acts a clear signal to the priest and/or deacon that the 6 Psalms are over and it is time for a Litany. Remember: The priest has his own set of prayers that he is reading during the 6 Psalms, so he may not be able to pay close attention to anything else.

This general pattern is quite typical and applies to many things that should be read (e.g. most psalms, the Trisagion, the Synaxarion, etc.). It comes from the monastic tradition, and is the norm in most Churches that were strongly influenced by the Studion and Mt. Athos in the latter years of the Empire, or by the earliest Orthodox liturgical books that were published by the Italians (which books, of course, were themselves strongly influenced by Mt. Athos).

Not sure why most of the Slavic-influenced Churches intone everything as they do, instead of reading. In the monastic synthesis, there are times when Psalms are chanted (e.g. the last verses of the Psalm during Great Vespers when a Bishop is present, or during a full-fledged monastic Vigil...), but when such occurs, it entails actual chanting in the particular mode -- not merely intoning.
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« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2008, 08:08:59 PM »

Thank you very much to all the respondents for this wealth of insight, particularly, Reply #4, by "scamandius."
There is such a wealth of knowledge in OC.net users.
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« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2008, 08:40:35 AM »

Since when has making the sign of the cross been prohibited by a rubric?  I have never seen such a rubric.  Nor have I read any commentaries from any fathers, desert dwellers, or theologians talking about how we are NOT to cross ourselves. 

In fact, this might be considered a non-christian thought, perhaps verging on the heretical. 

Any thoughts from anyone?
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« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2008, 10:10:30 AM »

Since when has making the sign of the cross been prohibited by a rubric?  I have never seen such a rubric.  Nor have I read any commentaries from any fathers, desert dwellers, or theologians talking about how we are NOT to cross ourselves. 

In fact, this might be considered a non-christian thought, perhaps verging on the heretical. 

Any thoughts from anyone? 

The only rubric I've seen is to do the "Alleluia..." in the middle of the 6 Pslams without a metanoia (this is from the Greek text of the Engolpion tou Anagnostou, which has some pious traditions of its own that I've not seen elsewhere), but I've never seen either in Greek or English a prohibition on doing the Cross. 
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« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2008, 10:52:03 AM »

In the HTM, prayer book, it plainly states that neither the sign of the cross is made nor bows made during the reading of the 6 psalms.
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« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2008, 12:38:33 PM »

In the HTM, prayer book, it plainly states that neither the sign of the cross is made nor bows made during the reading of the 6 psalms.

HTM are schismatics...so...their "pious traditions" are moot, IMO.  Also it just plain old makes no sense.  How many martyrs were killed for making the sign of the cross?  And we don't do it because some rubric put out by ultra fundamentalists says that we shouldn't?  I'm sorry this just does not sound right to me.  You should be able to make the sign of the cross, the sign of victory over death, the sign of Christ, at all and any time. 

Now in reference to Cleveland's post, I can understand not doing a full metanoia, this makes sense to me.  However, not making the sign of the cross, and prohibiting someone to do it, sounds an awful lot like practices of the communist government, not a church. 
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« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2008, 12:59:13 PM »

Sorry, just a little confused, is HTM the Holy Transfiguration Monastery or the Holy Trinity Monastery (Jordanville)?
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« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2008, 01:03:21 PM »

Good question....I didn't even think of that.  I thought they were refering to the Holy Transfiguration Monastery.  In which case my statement stands. 

If it is Jordanville...then I have to think about it a little more...
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« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2008, 01:09:43 PM »

In fact, this might be considered a non-christian thought, perhaps verging on the heretical. 

AFAIK, this non-Christian, heretical custom is observed on the Holy Mountain.
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« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2008, 01:17:55 PM »

Good question....I didn't even think of that.  I thought they were refering to the Holy Transfiguration Monastery.  In which case my statement stands. 

If it is Jordanville...then I have to think about it a little more...

In my post, the HTM I was referring to was Holy Transfiguration Monastery.  And to concur with Orthodox11, this custom of no bows nor signs of the cross is observed on the Holy Mountain.
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« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2008, 05:55:43 PM »

Firstly I would like to restate my original statement, which was that this action PERHAPS VERGES on heresy.  I said it that way because it should be further reviewed. 

Just because it is a practice on the holy mountain doesn't make it holy nor right.  I have heard of an elder on the holy mountain who was the greatest anti semite i've ever met in my life.  expounding to me how the problems of the world are caused by Jews. 

Would you say that this is a great christian practice?  Why not?  It was done on the holy mountain!   I'm being fecicious. 

For us to not be able to show christianity is tyranical.  I don't care where they do it.  You could be the holiest man on the planet, but if you tell me that I can't do my cross...well...then you're going in the same pile as Stalin and Tito.  There is no way that this action is christian.  Pietistic...yes...christian...no.  Now if you do not cross yourself out of piety, then that is your own personal piety.  However if someone TELLS you that you are not allowed to cross yourself...then that is a completely different scenario. 
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« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2008, 07:59:34 PM »

I'll just say from what happens at my church. If I am at Matins, I will read the Psalms and intone the refrains at the end of them and I will intone the "Glorys and Alleluias".


I cross my self at the "Glorys and the Alleluias" always but not in the middle of the Psalm. I agree with serb that we shouldn't be forbidding people from doing the cross though. It may be a tradition (little "t") is some places, but I don't think it is a part of Holy Tradition. I agree with the keeping silent and the no wandering tradition though, but I feel that should be for all the services really. Cheesy
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« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2008, 08:26:41 PM »

I think that complete silence during readings is ideal, but it can verge on idealistic.  Sometimes it's just not possible.  you can teach people that kind of spirituality if you think it is appropriate, but others might not find it so.  We are not in the business of "making sure" or etc.  We are in the business of bringing people to christ.  Some traditions work better than others...its just up to the priest. 
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« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2012, 04:54:36 PM »


When are these "6 Psalms" read, which ones are they, and why are they particularly special?
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« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2012, 05:10:45 PM »

When are these "6 Psalms" read, which ones are they, and why are they particularly special?

They are read almost right at the beginning of the Matins service. They are Psalms 3, 37, 62 & 87, 102, 142.

While at the Midnight Office we call to mind the second coming of Christ, the Bridegroom who comes in the middle of the night, and emphasise the need for vigilance, the beginning of the Matins service reminds us of the just Judgement. I think when you read the Psalms themselves their significance at that point in the service becomes clear. The service of Matins later concludes with the praises, followed by the final doxology, pointing to the glory that await the righteous after the Judgement. 
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« Reply #20 on: March 15, 2012, 05:53:52 PM »

Here is an explanation from a GOA site: http://dialogues.stjohndfw.info/2010/08/the-six-psalms-and-the-extinguishing-of-candles/
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« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2012, 10:37:19 PM »


Wow!  Thanks for the link! 
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« Reply #22 on: March 15, 2012, 10:43:49 PM »

Yes indeed, thank you for the link.
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« Reply #23 on: March 16, 2012, 06:05:56 PM »

Of course at Hagia Sophia it was the Three Pslams (3, 62, 133) and the people responded to the verses with "Glory to you O God."  The silence, darkness, stillness ideal is a monsatic import as are the Six Psalms themselves.
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« Reply #24 on: March 16, 2012, 07:09:11 PM »

I can tell they always skipped the said six psalms back home. Probably out of piety, feeling unworthy to utter them. Wink
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« Reply #25 on: March 16, 2012, 11:08:59 PM »

I can tell they always skipped the said six psalms back home. Probably out of piety, feeling unworthy to utter them. Wink

How could anyone tell if they were always skipped? Did the priest or chanter announced: We will now skip the six palms?
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« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2012, 01:13:29 AM »

Sounds like a good opportunity for monks to get a few extra winks in before they're woken up entirely...  Grin
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« Reply #27 on: March 18, 2012, 12:42:27 AM »

Came across this, very nicely chanted (but don't know if it's Church Slavonic or Russian).

Шестопсалмие (3, 37, 62, 87, 102, 142)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmKw-5Qv8XI
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« Reply #28 on: March 18, 2012, 07:13:46 AM »

Came across this, very nicely chanted (but don't know if it's Church Slavonic or Russian).

Шестопсалмие (3, 37, 62, 87, 102, 142)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmKw-5Qv8XI

It's in Church Slavonic, not Russian.  Smiley
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