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Author Topic: Thanksgiving: Does your church observe this?  (Read 7581 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: November 18, 2008, 11:32:23 PM »

It seems to me that purpose of Thanksgiving is essentially a religious holiday. Does the Orthodox church that you attend do anything in recognition of Thanksgiving on this day?

Consider Abraham Lincoln's 1863 proclamation:
"The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God."

"I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens."

The Roman Catholics that I know have Thanksgiving Day observances at their churches. Yet the Orthodox Calendars that I have here at home (Greek and OCA) no mention is made of Thanksgiving. It seems to me that the purpose of this holiday is entirely compatible with Holy Orthodoxy - but it appears that few Orthodox churches have services on that day - why is this?
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« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2008, 11:40:27 PM »

I'm not sure why you might not be hearing much about Thanksgiving where you're at.

The parish I'm in is having an Orthros and Divine Liturgy, starting at 9:00 am Thanksgiving morning.

Everyone is welcome to attend!  Smiley

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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2008, 12:51:18 AM »

Our priest extends to the parish the discretion to eat meat on Thanksgiving.

For me, growing up it was always my favorite holiday, even more than Christmas. Just a simple service of gratitude at church, hanging out at home with lots of good smells, hearing bits of relaxed conversation among the adults around the house, a great meal, good time with family members and all those great left-overs for the next couple days. For me it was magical.

Now I am older and my kids don't usually get home for Thanksgiving, so it is not as special. They come for Christmas, but I find emotions much higher at Christmas and all the pressure of gift-giving/receiving.

I am very grateful for my country and the freedoms it provides. I am also thankful for those founders who came here to establish religious freedom. It was an innovative and historic break from the the monarchial politics and government supported churches of both the east and west.

The reason we have the jurisdictional mess here in the US is because this land was a safe haven for those Orthodox people to come to where they could find better prosperity, flee despotism (in many cases) and have the freedom to practice their religion and keep their traditions.

So I think Orthodox people in the US should observe Thanksgiving day.
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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2008, 12:58:39 AM »

I attended the Divine Liturgy on Thanksgiving Eve.  Besides the Priests, only myself, my parents, the chanter and his wife and the sexton were in attendence.

I intend on attending the Divine Liturgy on Thanksgiving Eve this year.
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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2008, 01:02:01 AM »

I know ROCOR legitimatized performing a Supplicatory Service of Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving Day:

"The Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia on January 22/February 4, 1985, HEARD

the oral report of Archbishop Anthony of San Francisco, that in the United States of America there is the pious custom of marking the civil holiday known as Thanksgiving Day with prayers of thanksgiving. In several of our parishes a Supplicatory Service of Thanksgiving is served on this day. This custom ought to be legitimized.

RESOLVED: In the Russian Orthodox churches within the United States of America to establish the serving of supplicatory services of thanksgiving, which are to replace petitions of thanksgiving during the Reiterate Litany, if the Liturgy is celebrated on that day."

« Last Edit: November 19, 2008, 01:05:14 AM by drewmeister2 » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2008, 01:57:49 AM »

On the eve of Thanksgiving, my parish will sing the Akathist of Thanksgiving: "Glory to God for All Things", a composition attributed to Fr. Gregory Petrov, a Russian priest who died in the Soviet gulags.  A beautiful service that has drawn quite a crowd of worshipers during recent years...  Thursday morning we'll celebrate the Divine Liturgy.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2008, 01:58:30 AM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2008, 08:11:46 AM »

We treat Thanksgiving as the United States' national feast day, and do a Liturgy on Wednesday evening. Logistically Thursday is difficult. Since we don't have an official Orthodox saint, it's about as close as we get. We, like others, allow meat on that day if parishioners choose. Not being a fan of turkey, we've had Thanksgiving salmon the past couple of years.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2008, 08:23:29 AM by ytterbiumanalyst » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2008, 08:21:32 AM »

Some of the parishes near us do Liturgy on Thanksgiving; some have a service on Thanksgiving eve; some avoid it altogether so the clergy can spend the day with family (i.e. if St. Catherine's feastday falls on Thanksgiving they won't do Liturgy, even if they usually do celebrate her Feast with a Liturgy).
« Last Edit: November 19, 2008, 08:21:42 AM by cleveland » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2008, 09:54:04 PM »

With a part-time priest, we don't do a lot of the services anyway.  But we do get a dispensation to eat meat and leftovers for Thanksgiving.  Smiley

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« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2008, 11:07:25 PM »

Not that there aren't spiritual reasons that people prefer the Old Calendar, but the Nativity Fast starting the day after Thanksgiving is kind of nice. The Apostle Phillip being celebrated on that day allows for a liturgy as well.

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