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Question: Can Priests change the Divine liturgy in any way? Rearrange it? Recite shorter prayers? Omit homolies? etc?
Yes - 10 (35.7%)
No - 18 (64.3%)
Total Voters: 28

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Author Topic: Can priests change / edit the Divine Liturgy?  (Read 5659 times) Average Rating: 0
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NorthernPines
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« Reply #45 on: December 16, 2008, 12:46:55 PM »



I did once attend a Coptic Liturgy where the serving Bishop managed to get through everything in about 45-50mins, but I'm not familiar enough with that Liturgical tradition to know what, if anything, was omitted to make that possible. 

 Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked

A COPTIC Liturgy in 50 minutes?  Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked

And with a Bishop? Are you sure it wasn't Matins? There is no way in the world a Coptic Liturgy can be done in that amount of time with a Bishop present. A regular Coptic Liturgy is like 2 1/2 - 3 hours, I imagine with a Bishop it would be 4 hours+. The Coptic Church I've been to, heck Communion alone takes 30-45 minutes. Smiley I think nearly everything except the Epeclesis would have to be omitted for that to be possible in a Coptic Liturgy.

PS: edited to add, that I just read your next reply and saw your response....oh well, I guess as long as he was in a rush...Wink



I was just so shocked reading your post. I knew the EO in America had places with really short Liturgies (one priest, who is pretty well known I've been told does 15 minute weddings), but I just cannot imagine such things in a Coptic Church. Wow!

Also removed a comment that might lead the thread too off topic...

Peace . . . .

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« Reply #46 on: December 16, 2008, 12:51:18 PM »

I just cannot imagine such things, (30 minute EO Liturgies, 5o minute OO liturgies)....I pray we come to our senses before we have our own Vatican II. 

Lament not.  The examples brought up were exceptions to the rule, possibly even misunderstandings on the part of the observers.  A big problem arises, though, when we take the examples and begin to blow them up in our minds (i.e. "before we have our own Vatican II").  Fear, mistrust, defensiveness - all things that take our trust away from God's Providence.  All we must do is hold our True Course, not jerk the wheel.
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« Reply #47 on: December 16, 2008, 12:58:48 PM »


Lament not.  The examples brought up were exceptions to the rule, possibly even misunderstandings on the part of the observers.  A big problem arises, though, when we take the examples and begin to blow them up in our minds (i.e. "before we have our own Vatican II").  Fear, mistrust, defensiveness - all things that take our trust away from God's Providence.  All we must do is hold our True Course, not jerk the wheel.

Which is why I just removed that final comment from my reply, because it was a "gut reaction" made from shock, and not something I thought out...plus I didn't want to get into bashing Rome or the West or their council, because I don't see any good coming from that, and frankly do think the spirit of their council was a step in the right direction. (use of the local language etc.) Even though the practical effects of it were a leap aside rather than a step forward IMO. (and only IMO) Smiley

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« Reply #48 on: December 16, 2008, 01:31:53 PM »

The only Coptic liturgy I've ever attended was over three hours.

I don't think that the Orthodox Church needs to change anything in her ecclesiology; I love her the way she is!
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« Reply #49 on: December 16, 2008, 02:01:01 PM »

Are you sure it wasn't Matins?.....I was just so shocked reading your post. I knew the EO in America had places with really short Liturgies (one priest, who is pretty well known I've been told does 15 minute weddings), but I just cannot imagine such things in a Coptic Church. Wow!

No, it was Liturgy, not the Raising of Incense. However, I'm pretty sure Liturgies of this length are unique to this particular bishop due to the exceptional nature of his ministry and responsibilities. I doubt you'd come across this anywhere else.
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« Reply #50 on: December 16, 2008, 02:53:07 PM »

I just cannot imagine such things, (30 minute EO Liturgies, 5o minute OO liturgies)....I pray we come to our senses before we have our own Vatican II. 

Lament not.  The examples brought up were exceptions to the rule, possibly even misunderstandings on the part of the observers.

Misunderstandings?  On the day in question, which was the Beheading of John the Baptist and was followed by a near overflowing funeral of a young woman at 11 AM, I went to the Liturgy at 10 AM.  6 people attended the Liturgy which was served in a Chapel near the main Cathedral.  After the Liturgy, I was standing in the lobby of my Church deciding whether or not to attend the funeral (which I didn't) at 10:35 AM.   Huh  Note, around 100 people were waiting at the narthex of the Church at 10:50 AM for the funeral.   Huh

A few months later, my Priest complains about seeing too many former parishioners at funerals, baptisms and weddings.  Figure that out.   Huh
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« Reply #51 on: December 16, 2008, 03:12:25 PM »

Misunderstandings?  On the day in question, which was the Beheading of John the Baptist and was followed by a near overflowing funeral of a young woman at 11 AM, I went to the Liturgy at 10 AM.  6 people attended the Liturgy which was served in a Chapel near the main Cathedral.  After the Liturgy, I was standing in the lobby of my Church deciding whether or not to attend the funeral (which I didn't) at 10:35 AM.   Huh  Note, around 100 people were waiting at the narthex of the Church at 10:50 AM for the funeral.   Huh

A few months later, my Priest complains about seeing too many former parishioners at funerals, baptisms and weddings.  Figure that out.   Huh

Woah, there, tiger.  I said "exceptions to the rule, or misunderstandings."  Let's see what you've just revealed to us, shall we?

1. The day was the Beheading of John the Baptist - a day when most, if not all, Orthodox Churches must have Liturgy.
2. It was also the day of a huge funeral - something that does not often happen.
3. It was the funeral of a young woman - also not common.

So the Liturgy in question was, ahem, an "exception to the rule."  The funeral probably had to be scheduled 1 hour after Liturgy, so the Liturgy had to be done quickly in order to accommodate the funeral and the crowd around it.
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« Reply #52 on: December 16, 2008, 03:18:15 PM »

Cleveland, your prior post triggered my memory and I remembered the details of why the Liturgy took 30 minutes.  Sorry if I overreacted for I didn't see the "or" nor did I immediately understand the "exceptions to the rule."   angel

To accomodate the hundreds of people waiting in the narthex, the Divine Liturgy could have taken place in the main Cathedral at 10 AM rather than a small Chapel.  It was a rainy day and isn't the Church the "ark of Salvation?"  Sure didn't feel like it.   Sad
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« Reply #53 on: December 16, 2008, 03:19:20 PM »

While an exception on many parts, it still seems very inappropriate and irreverent to me.  I would have complained to the Bishop (and I think you SHOULD, SolEx).

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't Funerals not allowed on Sundays.   Of course, the bishop can always give a dispensation though.
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« Reply #54 on: December 16, 2008, 03:23:28 PM »

^ The day in question was a Friday, a weekday.

My Priest tends to get rather defensive if his actions are questioned and I didn't want to blow something out of proprotion....
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« Reply #55 on: December 16, 2008, 03:27:39 PM »

To accomodate the hundreds of people waiting in the narthex, the Divine Liturgy could have taken place in the main Cathedral at 10 AM rather than a small Chapel.  It was a rainy day and isn't the Church the "ark of Salvation?"  Sure didn't feel like it.   Sad

That's a shame; I won't get into the practice of second-guessing why things were done the way they were, but it's sad that, in your words, "it didn't feel like it."
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« Reply #56 on: December 16, 2008, 03:29:21 PM »

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't Funerals not allowed on Sundays.   Of course, the bishop can always give a dispensation though.

One of the Archdiocese may have this as a local rule, but no, there are no restrictions on Funeral Days - one could have a funeral any day of the year, including Pascha.  Remember, embalming the deceased is a practice only prevalent amongst the Orthodox in the last 100 years, and most of the rules pre-date this by 13-14 centuries.
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« Reply #57 on: December 16, 2008, 04:26:08 PM »

Quote
You can see how we need to DEVELOP an ecclesiology that reflects the modern system. 

Well I hate to say it, but as for me, actually I can't. I don't really understand the problem here...
Quote
You can see how we need to DEVELOP an ecclesiology that reflects the modern system. 

Well I hate to say it, but as for me, actually I can't. I don't really understand the problem here...

Me neither. I don't see a "problem," really. Or a "NEED" to reflect "the modern system" (BTW, what is it? Smiley )
Again, what I think is the major problem, as far as I have gathered, is that our basic ecclesiology is One bishop, One eucharist, One church.  So, how does the priest fit into that system?  I am not sure that your answer is an adequate one.  Just because he is given permission to preside over the eucharist, doesn't mean that the priest is the bishop right?  But the bishop is the presider over the eucharist.  You can see how we need to DEVELOP an ecclesiology that reflects the modern system. 

Can it not be that the Priest is mystically united to the Bishop in the celebration of the Eucharist just as we are united to one another, manifesting the unity of the Diocese through that Bond and allowing the Bishop to be presiding over each Liturgy just as a typeological Christ (since that is his role), just as we are mystically untied with all those celebrating the Eucharist all around the world, backwards and forwards and outside of time?

I think i'm gona send you my notes brother.  The whole class was kind of confusing, and I can't really argue what others have argued.  If you want to do some more reading on it, Zizioulas printed his thesis in English, in which the last section of his book deals directly with this issue.  Also the WCC has some good articles on this problem.  PM me your e-mail, since i'm pretty sure i've lost it now...

Sounds good.  I've sent it to you.

I'd like it too.

But I still don't see the problem, as priests at a service where the bishop presides concelebrate.  The local parish is doing the same, just without the bishop physically present.
Again, what I think is the major problem, as far as I have gathered, is that our basic ecclesiology is One bishop, One eucharist, One church.  So, how does the priest fit into that system?  I am not sure that your answer is an adequate one.  Just because he is given permission to preside over the eucharist, doesn't mean that the priest is the bishop right?  But the bishop is the presider over the eucharist.  You can see how we need to DEVELOP an ecclesiology that reflects the modern system. 

Can it not be that the Priest is mystically united to the Bishop in the celebration of the Eucharist just as we are united to one another, manifesting the unity of the Diocese through that Bond and allowing the Bishop to be presiding over each Liturgy just as a typeological Christ (since that is his role), just as we are mystically untied with all those celebrating the Eucharist all around the world, backwards and forwards and outside of time?

I think i'm gona send you my notes brother.  The whole class was kind of confusing, and I can't really argue what others have argued.  If you want to do some more reading on it, Zizioulas printed his thesis in English, in which the last section of his book deals directly with this issue.  Also the WCC has some good articles on this problem.  PM me your e-mail, since i'm pretty sure i've lost it now...

Sounds good.  I've sent it to you.

I wanted to put all your requests into one post, (a) to test the whole "nesting" theory.  (b) to be able to put you all together so I can remember who mad requests  (c) to better answer all of your questions. 

Basically, I will try to cull out of my ecclesiology class the basic questions, premises, etc. that regard the present issue/discussion/question.  I will put it all in quotes, as it is "Class notes" from a particular person, in my own writing (which is word for word).  I will try to keep it limited, so that I do not break any laws, etc.  If anyone has a better idea, let me know and i'll stay on for the next hour or so.  If not, someone will have to correct the posts (moderators?).  Sorry that I am not more well versed in all of this! 

Expect my response within the next hour. 
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« Reply #58 on: December 16, 2008, 04:43:47 PM »

Quote
The local church is not the parish but the diocese.  We have not yet sufficiently understood the nature of the church in the parish.  We don’t have a theology of the parish. W e have canonical regulations for the relationships b/w the diocese and the parish, but not sufficient theology about the parish.  We must study the challenges and problems for the parish b/c that is where we meet the church.  For most people the diocese is an administrative institution.  It is important to understand and study the theology of the parish. 

Quote
There is one church, the church of God, JC, the temple of the HS and this church becomes tangible, accessible to us in the life of the local churches.  Now the local church should not be identified in OC with the parishes.  The local church is the diocese.  Where all the constitutive ministries of the church are present.  The one who embodies in his ministry the ministries of all, and the churches who are communing with one another in faith, life and witness. 

Quote
The local parish, diocese is the visible expression of God’s church.  In eucahrist we all receive JC without dividing JC.  The HS distributes JC to all and unites all to JC.  Now you can understand this as the basis of what we call communion ecclesiology.  This notion of relationality becomes expreiencially accessible to us in the celebration of the eucharist.  The eucharist is the basic liturgical level of the church which is the Trinitarian faith.  It is from the eucharist that the church understands who she is.  What is her message, and what she preaches to the world. 

This comment is based on a text from Lohfink "Jesus and Community" as well as Raymond Brown's  text on the apostolic community...i gota find the reference...As well as the professor's thoughts...

Quote
The church recognized the development of the parish but didn’t want to lose its connection to the ministry of the bishop.  We have the commemoration of the bishop, etc.  The most under-developed ecclesiology is that of the parish.  We will study Ignatius, who is the center of orthodox Eucharistic, experiential, episkopo-centric ideas, but the church developed.  Now you cannot say that the church is not the center of church life.  But from an Ecumenical perspective most of the Christian churches recognize the importance of the ministry of the one who unites the ministry of the many, as constitutive of the church. 

Quote
Lohfink say that bishops are important for the well being of the church.  OC insist that the bishop is important for the being of the church.  This is a big difference.  The priest is not only there to unite them specially but also historically, to unite with the ministry of JC.  Ecclesiology has developed, we moved from episcopo-centric to presbytero-centric celebrations of the Eucharist.  Our ecclesiology is centered in Ignatius, but we rarely have the kind of eucharist that he is presenting.  In most instances we have the presbyters celebrating the eucharist at the local level, and in some cases the local parish has not seen the bishop in years. 

Quote
In OC ecclesiology you cannot have it without the bishop.  But the development of the parish have generated a problem for the episkopo-centric polity of the church.  In most cases we are commemorating him, but people don’t know what this is.  It is important to rediscover in what ways the bishop will become central for the life of the local parish. We need new ways to connect the bishop with the life of the local parish beyond the notion of a church bureaucrat.  Zizioulas suggests that we have to have smaller diocese so that the bishop will be able to know the people of God. 

Quote
What the priest is doing is what the bishop was doing in the episkopocentric communities of the early church.  We have not yet developed a sufficient theology of the parish.  What Zizioulas says is that when we argue that the eucharist as it is celebrated in the parish does not disclose the catholicity of the church, but it is expressed in the episkope, we have somehow damaged our Eucharistic ecclesiology.  So what is happening is exactly this, at the local level by the priest, uniting the ministries of the many in JC, that is the ministry of the bishop, as described by Zizioulas. 

Quote
The church didn’t want to disconnect the commemoration of the eucharist in the parish from the bishop, hence the commemoration of his name in the liturgy, etc. so he is symbolically there.  When you acknowledge that there is only one ministry of the church and all the people participate in it, then the task of the bishop is to encourage that the ministry of all is to be actualized for the enrichment of the church and to express the unity.  He coordinates and empowers, facilitates the actualization of the ministries of the church.  He does not suppress them, he allows the different gifts of JC’s ministry to be exemplified at the local level. 

Zizioulas is correct in insisting that in every aspect of the church life you need the ministry of the one who unites the ministry of the many and the ministry of the many do not deny the one, and vice versa.  That is an important ecclesiological factor. 

Some key questions from a lecture: 

Quote
If the catholicity of the church is expressed, actualized and lived wherever the eucharist is celebrated how can you say that the celebration of the eucharist in the parish is not the manifestation of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church?  What is missing?  What is deficient if Christ is manifest in His fullness? 

I also have a 3-4 page very "detail oriented" summary of this discussion, with some fairly standard as well as some what I would say "radical" conclusions that I would be willing to share with people, but is probably too much to post online from any one source. 

Also, I would be able to send the entire ecclesiology class document to whomever would like...

BUT YOU NEED TO PM ME FIRST!  I put that in bold b/c I am in the middle of finals, so I don't have the time to hunt people down.  Please forgive me, and I hope to be able to reach all of you who are interested, soon. 

p.s.  I hope this provides some food for thought.  there is obviously more to this that I have, but I think this is enough for one round.  Unless people want more...in that case PM me your e-mail and i'll send it to you. 







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« Reply #59 on: December 16, 2008, 05:42:39 PM »

Is it no also common among the Greeks (with permission of the Hierarchs) to suppress certain parts that the Slavs usually take?  For example:

The Insistent Litany after the Gospel
The Litanies of the Catechumens and Faithful
The second set of Angel of Peace petitions in the Litany before the Our Father

This could account for a good 15 minutes.
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« Reply #60 on: December 16, 2008, 07:51:44 PM »

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't Funerals not allowed on Sundays.   Of course, the bishop can always give a dispensation though.

One of the Archdiocese may have this as a local rule, but no, there are no restrictions on Funeral Days - one could have a funeral any day of the year, including Pascha.

I never heard or saw an Orthodox funeral take place on a Sunday regardless of how hush-hush the funeral was supposed to be.
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« Reply #61 on: December 16, 2008, 09:39:34 PM »

I went to a Ukranian Church once where everybody was going at lightening speed, from the singers to the final blessing and the liturgy took 40 minutes.  And it was a full service!  It was a page every 30 seconds:

hospodevipomolimosHOSPODIPOMILUI!

Thats how it sounded.

Ironically, the sermon afterwards took 45 minutes.  And I couldn't understand a lick of it because it was half in Ukranian and half garbled English.

I was still there for two hours, but it felt...well....like a Drive Thru Orthiodoxy.....or Drive By, depending on the POV.
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« Reply #62 on: December 17, 2008, 08:25:02 AM »

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't Funerals not allowed on Sundays.   Of course, the bishop can always give a dispensation though.

One of the Archdiocese may have this as a local rule, but no, there are no restrictions on Funeral Days - one could have a funeral any day of the year, including Pascha.

I never heard or saw an Orthodox funeral take place on a Sunday regardless of how hush-hush the funeral was supposed to be.

In this country, we've done a good job of keeping funerals away from Sundays (ironically, though, we keep doing Trisagions and Memorials and the like on Sundays when, technically, they're only to be done on Saturdays - the designated day to remember the deceased); however, the general rules for Orthodox funerals are formulated for our Orthodox-majority nations, most of which still don't use embalming fluid for preservation (so funerals must be done within 1-2 days of death).
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« Reply #63 on: December 19, 2008, 01:44:19 AM »

This thread is depressing. I thought that the Orthodox are, by and large, immune from the desire to abbreviate the liturgy to excess (granting that there are "standard abbreviations" established by long-standing custom) but here (and elsewhere) it seems as if some Orthodox are now competing with us Latins to shorten the Liturgy.

At least, we Latins have daily Liturgies, so that somehow compensates for our short Sundays, but since most Orthodox parishes have services only on Sundays (or, in the case of many Slav parishes, Saturdays and Sundays), reducing even that to a mere hour or so would seem inexcusable.
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« Reply #64 on: December 19, 2008, 10:12:18 AM »

This thread is depressing. I thought that the Orthodox are, by and large, immune from the desire to abbreviate the liturgy to excess (granting that there are "standard abbreviations" established by long-standing custom) but here (and elsewhere) it seems as if some Orthodox are now competing with us Latins to shorten the Liturgy.

At least, we Latins have daily Liturgies, so that somehow compensates for our short Sundays, but since most Orthodox parishes have services only on Sundays (or, in the case of many Slav parishes, Saturdays and Sundays), reducing even that to a mere hour or so would seem inexcusable.

Hmmm.  I don't want to rain on your pity parade, but the Orthodox Divine Liturgy can, without abbreviations, be done in under an hour.  I've seen it myself, and known others who have also - Monasteries, while great for the true all-night vigils, and for musical selections that can (for one piece) take over an hour, are also great for brief Daily Liturgies - not by attrition, but by simplification of the music, and speed through the communion line. 

The biggest factors affecting the length of the service tend to be: 1. Speed/complexity of the music selected by the Choir(s); 2. Number of communicants.  Our weekday services can indeed be under an hour (very easily), and our Sundays are only as long as they are because of 1 and 2 (i.e. Choirs usually select very "nice" music, and Sundays are normally peak days for communion).  I have yet to find an Orthodox Church in this country (USA) who does Sunday Liturgy in under 90 minutes on a regular basis; of course, I've also never been to a parish with fewer than 100 member families save one.

No, we're not really "racing" with anyone to try and cut our services; yes, there are those who, in many parishes, grumble that our Liturgy takes too long (knowing fully well that their friends can find a 30-40 minute Mass at their church, and that the Orthodox Liturgy used to be 3-4 times its current length - thanks to 1 and 2 above).  However, our typical solution has not been to dismantle the Liturgy, but instead to adapt a wee bit, and to instead train our folks to handle the length.

This is exactly why it is dangerous to judge the practices of the other parishes - 2nd/3rd/4th-hand information and a lack of the "whole picture" can lead us to judge improperly (since most human judgment is improper anyway!).
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"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the one who can't read them." Mark Twain
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Ordained on 17 & 18-Oct 2009. Please forgive me if earlier posts are poorly worded or incorrect in any way.
Tags: Divine Liturgy 
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