Author Topic: Standing in Church and the Divine Liturgy  (Read 1762 times)

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Offline new illumined

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Standing in Church and the Divine Liturgy
« on: January 06, 2009, 12:11:52 AM »
Hi everyone,

I experienced my first visit to an Orthodox church in Las Vegas (OCA) and really loved it. The one thing I found really exciting was that there was very little chairs except around the perimeter of the building. Most everyone stood throughout the Divine Liturgy except for some older ones and a few with children. I really loved this arrangement. Everyone was moving to light candles and kiss and bow before the icons ect. I stood the entire time. I was able to move around to see things and and stand next to other people at times and make observations. Sometimes others would come and stand next to me. One person who was wearing a cassock stood next to me and would sing during the service. I thought this was the greatest thing on how people should come and worship in the church. It was energetic and active to me.

I noticed online some pictures that some churches have pews or rows of chairs. I hope this is not the normal thing!   :(  I loved standing and if I knew what I was doing I would have participated more. One website said that they had chairs and the people that wanted to stand needed to stand in the back so as not to block the view ???  :'(

Here is a couple of questions I had.

Do most churches have the traditional arrangement in which chairs or benches are provided around the perimeter and there is an open area for standing  traditional worship in the middle?

I was raised a JW and I just can't see myself sitting in a chair again during the whole service or standing in the back. How boring.

The other question I had is how common is it to hear the Western Liturgy verses the Eastern Liturgical style?
I went to St Pauls in Las Vegas. I have no idea what they use there but I enjoyed it very much.

Also it did not seem like many people were singing except maybe a few people and the man in a cassock next to me. Do Orthodox people sing?


Thanks

NI




Offline John of the North

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Re: Standing in Church and the Divine Liturgy
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2009, 12:39:44 AM »
Each parish will vary in their answer. Part of the spice of Orthodoxy.

The Western Rite is small but growing. You attended an Eastern Rite.
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Offline John of the North

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Re: Standing in Church and the Divine Liturgy
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2009, 12:44:40 AM »
Please remember that whether one stands and sings or does neither, the important part is to remember God. The things we do should help us worship Him...
"Christianity is not a philosophy, not a doctrine, but life." - Elder Sophrony (Sakharov)

Offline LakaYaRabb

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Re: Standing in Church and the Divine Liturgy
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2009, 01:39:57 AM »
I noticed online some pictures that some churches have pews or rows of chairs. I hope this is not the normal thing!   :(  I loved standing and if I knew what I was doing I would have participated more. One website said that they had chairs and the people that wanted to stand needed to stand in the back so as not to block the view ???

Don't worry too much about this. If you liked the Church you attended, go there, be active in the Community and embrace Holy Orthodoxy with your brothers and sisters. Talk to the priest there.


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Do most churches have the traditional arrangement in which chairs or benches are provided around the perimeter and there is an open area for standing  traditional worship in the middle?

Like Ukiemeister said, it depends.

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The other question I had is how common is it to hear the Western Liturgy verses the Eastern Liturgical style?
I went to St Pauls in Las Vegas. I have no idea what they use there but I enjoyed it very much.

St. Paul's is part of the Orthodox Church in America. AFAIK, only the Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russia and the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese have a Western Rite.

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Also it did not seem like many people were singing except maybe a few people and the man in a cassock next to me. Do Orthodox people sing?

Yes, they do!

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Standing in Church and the Divine Liturgy
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2009, 03:38:49 AM »
NI -

I am also in my Orthodox infancy!  I honestly would not worry about these kinds of details right now.  Just keep in contact with that priest you have been speaking with.  Don't cloud your head with too many of the extras right now.  Just attend the liturgy as frequently as possible, and let everything else come with time.

Right now you should be learning the basics of the faith as an inquirer, not engaging in questions about liturgical rubrics!

Offline SolEX01

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Re: Standing in Church and the Divine Liturgy
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2009, 03:47:23 AM »
Also it did not seem like many people were singing except maybe a few people and the man in a cassock next to me. Do Orthodox people sing?

Being from Byzantine tradition, I do chant, softly, along with the choirs/chanters.  Bear in mind that I sang in Sunday School Choir for nearly a decade and have memorized most of the DL hymns and even some Chanter hymns for major Feast Days.  When I hear the DL sung a capella like in a couple of OCA and Antiochian Churches that I've attended, I find it easier to softly sing the Byzantine version.   :)

Knowing how to chant and sing is optional in your current cathecumen state.  Do whatever feels comfortable to you at this juncture; If you want to sing along, do so softly unless you have a background in music.   ;)

Disclaimer: This was my 3,000th post.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2009, 03:48:21 AM by SolEX01 »

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Standing in Church and the Divine Liturgy
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2009, 08:44:46 AM »
Quote
Do Orthodox people sing?

Carpatho-Russians surely do.
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Offline EofK

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Re: Standing in Church and the Divine Liturgy
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2009, 11:55:47 AM »

Also it did not seem like many people were singing except maybe a few people and the man in a cassock next to me. Do Orthodox people sing?

Some people do sing with the liturgy, which I think is awesome and should be encouraged since the liturgy is basically a long string of prayers... what better way to get involved with the service than to pray along with the rest of the congregation?  Sometimes, though, it's hard to keep up with the 8 different tones and the special music commemorating the saints (even for the choir, coming from a choir member :)) so probably the cossacked man and the handful of people singing were likely the choir and maybe a deacon.  My priest requests that only the choir sing the special music since we've practiced it and it changes so often, but other than that everyone is free and encouraged to chime in.
Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. -- Douglas Adams

Offline new illumined

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Re: Standing in Church and the Divine Liturgy
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2009, 11:03:09 PM »
Quote
Right now you should be learning the basics of the faith as an inquirer, not engaging in questions about liturgical rubrics!

That is good advice. I just loved the standing arrangement and the pewless church.

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Each parish will vary in their answer. Part of the spice of Orthodoxy.

I am really enjoying learning the theology and the echacatogical structure of the one true faith. I have also studied the history a bit. I am not worried. I am just getting my feet wet. But I wanted to understand more about the spice of Orthodoxy. I realise we have one faith but I was not sure how each jurisdiction varied and how much.

I also just finished reading two books that the priest gave me.

They were:

Becoming Orthodox A Journey to the Ancient Christian Faith by Peter Gillquist
Come and See  Encountering  the Orthodox Church by Theodore Bobosh

There was some things that are not correct with the second book as it is a bit dated.

The first book was really good. I more or less started to become acquanted with the Antiochian jurisdiction as well as others journey into the faith. My curiosity got started and I wanted to know a bit more about the nuances and styles of other jurisdictions. I just find the whole thing fascinating.

But nonetheless I found my home in the Orthodox church and take the faith very seriously. I enjoy the theology and form of worship immensely. The path and way to personal spiritual salvation in the Orthodox faith I find is the best. I intend to continue regardless of the jurisdictional and parish differences.

NI





Offline antiderivative

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Re: Standing in Church and the Divine Liturgy
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2009, 12:23:38 AM »
Traditionally, Orthodox churches are pewless. Most still are, it's mainly the U.S. where churches have pews. Pews came out of the Reformation, when the sermon became more of the central part of the service. Even the Catholics didn't have pews until as late as the Reformation.
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Offline Didymus

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Re: Standing in Church and the Divine Liturgy
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2009, 08:49:29 AM »
Peace be with you and wonderful to hear of yet another ex-JW having come to the True Christian Faith which was once delivered to the saints!

In short, many Orthodox Churches have no seats or very few for the elderly and/or weak.
However in the West the Church is sensitive to the expectations and abilities of the community within which it is found. As such, some Churches in the West do have seats.
That being said, whilst many Coptic Orthodox Churches have seats, they are almost never used except for during the sermon.
In other Orthodox Churches I've visited (with almost no seats) I've seen people sit on the floor at times.

Merry Christmas too and pray for me please.
...because I was not with you when the Lord came aforetime.
...because I am blind and yet I see.

Offline new illumined

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Re: Standing in Church and the Divine Liturgy
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2009, 07:41:09 PM »
Peace be with you Didymus

I will pray for you.