Author Topic: Liturgy in Monasteries  (Read 2175 times)

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Offline filipinopilgrim

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Liturgy in Monasteries
« on: May 03, 2008, 06:40:22 AM »
After a long absence from this forum... hello to all!

I'm sure that many of the posters here have experienced the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, of Vespers, Orthros, All Night Vigil, etc. in an Orthodox monastery. Can somebody describe the way these are served or offered in monasteries, esp. in Jordanville, in the monasteries of Elder Ephraim, and in monasteries in Greece, Russia, Serbia, etc.?

Offline SakranMM

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Re: Liturgy in Monasteries
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2008, 03:22:09 PM »
Well, I have only been to liturgy at one of Elder Ephraim's monastery, that of the Holy Archangels in Kendalia, TX.  At a normal daily liturgy, it strikes me as a quieter event than what is usually held in a large city parish.  It's basically the same liturgy we do, though they include some litanies for the catechumens that we normally don't do at the parish.  Everything else is typically the same, although it is all in Greek.

The only thing different that I've noticed is that at the monastery, the fathers make more use of opening and closing the curtain in front of the Royal Doors than we do at our parish.  We typically just leave the doors and curtain open throughout the liturgy.

As far as the festal liturgies, it is a full-blown deal.  They swing the polyeleon (chandelier), lit with candles.  But again, apart from the additional festal hymns, it is the same liturgy that you would see in a parish.

I suppose the same can be said of the daily offices of Vespers and Orthros.  Usually quiet, compunctionate services.  They read ALL of the kathismas from the Psalms, while we in the parish typically use only a small selection.

As described above, the all-night vigils that conclude with the Festal Liturgy are really a sight to see, especially with the swinging of the polyeleon, which you don't typically see in parishes.

"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us..."

Offline A Sombra

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Re: Liturgy in Monasteries
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2008, 03:32:18 AM »
At Jordanville, Vespers and Matins are served everyday (excluding Great Feasts of course-this is "normal" everyday) and 4:00 p.m. This ends at about 6:30 p.m., and is followed by diner served in the monastic trapeza. inner is followed immediately by Compline and Evening Prayers; this service is especially compunctionate and beautiful-at the en of the Service, all the monks (and all visitors) venerate all the Icons in the Cathedral, then all go to the Abbot (this was Vladika Lavr for the past 30 years) for his blessing.

At 4:30 a.m., a monk comes through the halls of the monastery ringing the bell to wake everyone up for the first church services of the day-Midnight Office and Morning Prayers. After these services, too, all present venerate all the Icons and receive the Abbot's blessing. This is followed by the Liturgy, which ends at aroud 7:30 a.m. The services at Jordanville are especially wonderful because of the monastic chanting-very beautiful! Very, very peaceful services!

I have also been to services at Novo Diveyevo Convent-these were also very compunctionate, peaceful, wonderful services, the nuns singing antiphonally from both sides of the church, and the beautiful church also add to the grace filled feeling! Wonderworking Icons there were the Novo Diveyevo Icon-Portrait of Siant Seraphimn of Sarov, "It is well known that Saint Seraphim only agreed to the painting of this portrait with the greatest reluctance." There was another wonderworking Icon, of the MOther of God, but I cannot recall the name-I think it might have been from the Optina Monastery.

In 1992, I was blessed to make a pilgrimage to Holy Mount Athos, and attended services at the Prophet Elias Skete, Vespers at the Holy Monastery of Esphimenou, All Night Vigil at the Holy Monastery of Zographou, and Divine Liturgy at the Holy Monastery of Chilandar. The services at the Prophet Elias Skete were, for us, a sort of quiet family affair, as the monks were all from the Church Abroad, and there were only 5 or 6 living therem and we were all sort of acquainted already through correspondence. The Skete has 5 or 6 churches-the Catholicon is the 2nd largest on Mt Athos, and can hold something lie 1,000 people-of course, it is rarely used. For daily services, the trapeza church was used. Although the services were very nice, the combination of Slavonic and English was pretty much "like home!"

At Esphigmenou, we were greeted with much friendliness when we told them we were from the Church Abroad-sevral of the older monks kept saying, "Ah! Philaret!," speaking of Metropolitan Philaret of Blessed Memory. These were the first (and only) Greek services we went to-we attended a Vespers, which was surprisingly short, but very beautiful and extremely "otherworldly" in the Catholicon of the Holy Monastery of Esphigmenou! After Ves[ers, we were fed immediately!

We then left for Zographou-and got there close to dark-we were afraid we would get there after dark, because we were told that after dark, gates are closed, and no one enters any of the Monasteries until morning! We attended All Night Vigil at Zographou, and now I know why they call it All-Night Vigil-it lasted ALL NIGHT! The Hieromonk celebrating the service was very old, and bent literally double with back problems-but served the enitre service! Zographou is a Bulgarian Monastery, and they, too, were very welcoming when we told them we were in the Church Abroad-"Ah! Jordanville! Vladika Lavr!" The service was just amazing-although it did indeed last all night, I did not even get tired-such a holy place! The Catholicon had several wonderworking icons-just amazing! These monks at Zographou were true strugglers-fewer than 10 monks lived there, attempting to keep up an absolutely HUGE monastery-impressive! I was surpirsed how they commemorated the Patriarch-"Varfolomey, Episkopa Constantinograd"-no mention of the title of Patriarch!

We left Zographou after some needed sleep-had to get to Chilandar, and it was not real close! We got there almost just at dark, again afraid to be locked out, but just made it. I felt bad because the acting Abbot, Father Kyrill, insisted on having us eat, even though the trapeza was closed up for the night. We slept for awhile, then went to Matins, followed by Liturgy-another absolut
ely amazing Service, in the beautiful Catholicon, with the Mother of God of Three Hands, the Nursing Mother of God, the Mother of God of the Akathist-and Saint Simeon Nemanja's (the father of Saint Sava of Serbia) miraculous grapevine-just too much to absorb at one time!

We also were able to see and venerate the Axion Estin Icon at the Protaton, and the Portaitissa Icon at the Iveron Monastery.

I also attended a Vespers Service at the Monastery of the Glorious Ascension in Northern Georgia, while it was still part of the OCA. I think soon after we visited this Monastery left the OCA to come into the Church Abroad, and then finally joined the Jerusalem Patriarchate. The service there was alright, but I think they were using one of the OCA translations which I do not really like too much. But it was still very nice, and the monks were really nice-we had met the Abbot, Father Damian, at the Southern Orthodox Conference (ROCOR) in Atlanta - I think that was in 1994. I think this Monastery was an Episocpalian Monastery at first, and took care of orphaned kids, or kids in trouble or something. If I remember correctly, after they became Orthodox and joined the OCA they no longer had the kids to take care of.

I attended a Vesper's Service at Saint Tikhon's Monastery, and was surpirsed as it was pretty much all in Slavonic-then Archbishop Herman served, and the service was very reverent, very compunctionate, and the church is beautiful. I was able to venerate the Icon of Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk, which I had seen photos of many times, and also the relics of Saint Alexey Toth.

When I was in Greece to go to Mt Athos, I visited a convent around Athens-I forget the name, but I went to venerate the relics of Saint Ephraim the New, whom I had read about. We also visited the Monastery (convent) of Saint John the Theologian (near Thessaloniki) which is associated with Saint Arsenios the Cappadocian, Elder Hadji-Georgis the Athonite, and the Elder Paisios. Both convents I was unable to attend a service due to time constraints, but both were very beautiful, and the nuns were extremely welcoming and friendly.

It is such a great blessing to visit a Monastery, I hope that every Orthodox Christian has the chance to visit at least one Monastery some day! After visiting a Monastery, I canont understand the attitude of "anti-monasticism" among some of the Orthodox jurisdictions in the US. They say that the state of its Monasteries reveal the health of an Orthodox Church.

My great desire is to visit the Holy Monastery of Saint John of Rila in Bulgaria, the Monastery of the Transfiguration, in Moldavia, and more monasteries in Russia than I have time to type the names of....