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Author Topic: Jacobite Celebrations In Honour of Mar Gregorios  (Read 4218 times) Average Rating: 0
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Mor Ephrem
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« on: November 03, 2002, 02:51:45 PM »

Dear Friends,

In the Orthodox Church in India, we have an interesting tradition of multiple liturgies on more festive occasions.  I referred to this in another thread when talking about how our churches generally have three altars.  On a parish's patronal feast, or on some other festive occasion, three priests, or three bishops, or any combination of these, will celebrate three liturgies simultaneously.  It's really a beautiful sight.

The Jacobites in India do not administer the shrine of Saint Gregorios of Parumala, whose feast it was yesterday, and whose hundredth anniversary of death just passed.  There were, I'm sure, great celebrations at Parumala.  But since they didn't want to visit the shrine (owned and administered by the Orthodox), they conducted what is probably a first in history.  Their bishops and priests, instead of celebrating the commonly accepted "Mooninmel Qurbana" (three simultaneous Liturgies), or even the less used but still familiar five, celebrated a "Nootoninmel Qurbana"...101 simultaneous Liturgies.  I'm not too keen on these patriarchal faction guys, but man, do they know how to throw a party.   Cool

Following is an article...I'll post pictures when they come back to the pertinent website (I got a "The web site you are trying to access has exceeded its allocated data transfer" message earlier):

Parumala Thirumeni's centenary: 101 Mass celebrated
 
Puthencruz, Kerala, India: November 2, 2002 will be written in golden letters in the
history of Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church in Kerala as thousands of faithful
participated  at the Patriarch Centre here on Saturday to witness the unique "101 Mass"
by a hundred and one priests.
 
In the presence of thousands of believers, Catholicose H.B Baselious Thomas I led the
centuries-old ceremony in the most religious atmosphere along with bishops Mor
Philoxenos Yuhannon, Mor Ostatheos Benyamin Joseph, Mor Thenotheos Thomas, Mor
Gregorius Joseph, Mor Koorilos Markos, Mor Polycarpos Gheevarghese ,
Corispiscopas and priests.
 
The mass marked the conclusion of the Saint Parumala Mor Gregorious
Gheevarghese's  (Parumala Kochu Thirumeni) year-long centenary celebrations.
 
Not only in the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church but also in no other
Episcopal churches such a Mass was conducted, said the organizers.
 
A temporary 'Madbaha' (Altar) which was 7,000 feet long in five steps, built at the
Patriarch Centre ground was the stage for the holy ceremony. Here 101 altars were
arranged at five levels for the 101 priests to say the Mass.
 
The believers were seen flooding to the centre hours before the Mass. Though only
50,000 were expected, there were over a 100,000, said the organizers. The priests
standing at 101 altars celebrated the Mass in remembrance of the last supper Christ
had with his disciples.
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Apolytikion, Tone 1, by Antonis

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« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2002, 04:04:41 PM »

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Mor, the celebration of simultaneous multiple "Masses" for special occasions in the Indian Syro-Malankara Jacobite Orthodox Church is fascinating.  If one attends, how does one determine at which Holy Qurbana one will participate?  How are the logistics of keeping the "Masses" progressing at an identical pace done?  What about the readings from the Epistle and Gospel?  Done aloud by all celebrating priests or just by the one at the principal altar?  It sounds like a nightmare for a Master of Ceremonies, if there is one in charge.   Huh

Hypo-Ortho
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Mor Ephrem
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« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2002, 04:12:29 PM »

Dear Hypo-Ortho,

Basically, what happens is that the main celebrant does everything aloud, and the others do things in a low voice, following along with the main celebrant.  It sounds tough, but I've never seen it run into problems as far as the priests go...it's usually the deacons that are clueless after a while.   Wink

As far as "participating" in one of the Liturgies, all are done at once, and people are not gathered around this or that altar to participate in a particular Liturgy.  The Liturgy is one, even though it is being offered by 101 separate priests.  So you can either say "I went to Liturgy" or "I went to 101 Liturgies".  You go to the Communion line you can get to with the least hassle.   Tongue
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Apolytikion, Tone 1, by Antonis

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« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2002, 04:36:19 PM »

Mor, just two more questions: Is the practice of CONcelebration of ONE Liturgy by several priests (with one as chief celebrant) at ONE altar also done in the Syro-Malankara Orthodox Church?  Or is it *always* rather multiple simultaneous Liturgies, i.e., each priest (or bishop) celebrating his own Mass with his own Eucharistic offerings at his own altar?  

How do the deacons fit in with assisting at such multiple Liturgies?  Is each deacon assigned to just one or more than just one priest and altar on such special occasions?

Hypo-Ortho
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« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2002, 05:51:31 PM »

Dear Hyp-Ortho,

Yes, concelebration with a few priests at one altar at one Liturgy is also practiced.  This is just considered an even more solemn occasion, even if it proves to be a liturgical circus for the organisers.  Smiley

As far as placement of deacons, first I need to make a clarification.  When Oriental Orthodox Christians speak of "deacons", it could mean anyone from cantor/singer up to archdeacon.  For instance, altar boys are "technically" considered "deacons", even though they're just altar boys.  

During a concelebration of three Liturgies (the most common), you can divide up all the "deacons" and place them at each altar.  Same with numbers up to five and seven.  I've never heard of anything more than seven until now with this 101 situation, so I don't know how this one was done.  It appears there probably weren't separate deacons for each priest here, since I don't see any in the pictures I've looked at.  Technically there should be one "deacon" assisting each priest, but I don't know if they dispensed with that because of the great numbers...I think they may have done so.  
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Mor Ephrem
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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2002, 03:10:50 AM »

Here are a couple of pictures of the event...they were up on a Jacobite news website this morning, gone in the afternoon, and are back.  I don't know for how long, but here goes.

The first is a picture of the priests turning to the people and saying "Peace be with you all":

(picture to be inserted later)

And this is a picture of the priests turning toward the West with the Holy Mysteries:

(picture to be inserted later)
« Last Edit: November 04, 2002, 09:53:31 AM by Mor Ephrem » Logged

Apolytikion, Tone 1, by Antonis

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« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2002, 08:41:17 AM »

 Huh  No pictures, Mor.
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« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2002, 09:10:09 AM »

Me too Mor, no pics.

JoeS

Huh  No pictures, Mor.
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Mor Ephrem
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« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2002, 09:50:09 AM »

Yeah, I'm sorry about that.  It seems that the pictures are so large that whenever I click on them or link them or whatever, something goes wrong and the page is no longer available after that.  I've been told it is a problem with Geocities websites, which these pictures were on.  I saved them myself, and would like to post them, but it'll have to wait till after classes, and someone will have to tell me if there'd be any copyright issues with taking a couple of pictures from websites which were originally taken from a couple of Indian newspapers and posting them here.  

For whatever reason, today I'm worried about "The Man" coming after me.   Tongue
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Apolytikion, Tone 1, by Antonis

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« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2002, 02:16:48 AM »

My Goodness! A 7,000 foot Madbaha, 101 Priests and 100,000 celebrants and Lord knows how many clueless Deacons. What a party!  Cool

Mor,

Is this the largest that the multiple Liturgies gets or is there another even bigger festival?
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Mor Ephrem
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« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2002, 11:20:12 AM »

Dear Aklie,

Three is pretty normal.  It is usually done on special occasions when enough priests are able to be found, but there are some pilgrimage churches in India that do three regularly on Sundays...these churches also have daily Liturgy, daily hours, and other things.  I've heard of five, my brother once told me he's heard about seven, but I don't think anyone has ever heard of 101; this is surely the biggest thing like this ever to have happened.
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« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2003, 09:22:20 AM »

Please visit the following link for the pictures of this grand event and learn more about Mor Gregorious of Malankara
http://www.parumalathirumeni.com
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« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2003, 11:07:26 AM »

Is the law against more than one Liturgy being celebrated at once in the same Church not a universal law then?
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« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2003, 11:20:55 AM »

That law is actually saying that one cannot celebrate mulitple liturgies on the same altar at DIFFERENT times, which would split up the congregation.  The whole point is that the Eucharist is one, so so must be the gathering.  If, however, it is all done simultaneously, it is ok.

anastasios
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« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2003, 12:54:43 PM »

That law is actually saying that one cannot celebrate mulitple liturgies on the same altar at DIFFERENT times, which would split up the congregation.  The whole point is that the Eucharist is one, so so must be the gathering.  If, however, it is all done simultaneously, it is ok.

anastasios

Of course an Altar & priest can only have Liturgy once per day, but our Cannon Law also says that more than one Liturgy can't be going on simultaneously in the same Church.  So the post about 101 Liturgies surprised me, and I wondered if it was an unusual exception, or if our rule is the unusual one.  I guess you answered my question.  Do other Orthodox Churches celebrate more than one Liturgy at one?  I'd thought only Catholics did that in the pre-VaticanII days.
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« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2003, 02:16:14 PM »

This type of simultaneous celebration is not done too often.  Usually the number is three, although I've heard of five.  101 was a large number, but I thought it was cool.  This is done only for big celebrations, usually; some churches do it more regularly, but these are churches that receive a lot of pilgrims.  This is done in India, but I've also heard of it being done in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, although I have no references for that.
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« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2008, 01:44:06 PM »

I'm reviving this old thread to post a link to a youtube video which seems to show the kind of simultaneous celebration described by Mor Ephrem:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IH5rZ_hGmDE

This is very interesting.  I've never seen it done in the Armenian Church.  Do any other Churches do this?

By the way, this youtube link came from reply 153 of the Oriental Orthodox music thread:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,9840.msg236863.html#new
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« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2008, 06:46:58 PM »

In the spirit of Father Anastasios' disclaimer at the bottom of his posts, I feel that--now that this has been resurrected--I need to step away from my remarks a bit.  It is true that this type of ceremony is only observed in India (Taft says it's done in Ethiopia, but no Ethiopian has ever confirmed this for me).  I don't know if I'd go so far as to say it's heretical, but it (to me) is clearly something we picked up from a non-Orthodox tradition (in this case, Roman Catholicism ca. 16th-17th cent.), and, while beautiful when served correctly, is a distraction both when served correctly and when not served correctly, and at any rate is a pain in the neck to serve correctly.  My practical experience as well as historical and theological reflection have led me to not care as much for the practice as I once did. 

Also, the 101 incident looked cool from the photos.  Having actually seen video of the thing, it's atrocious.  Typically it's three.  You shouldn't have much more than that IMO. 
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« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2011, 03:58:41 AM »

In the spirit of Father Anastasios' disclaimer at the bottom of his posts, I feel that--now that this has been resurrected--I need to step away from my remarks a bit.  It is true that this type of ceremony is only observed in India (Taft says it's done in Ethiopia, but no Ethiopian has ever confirmed this for me).  I don't know if I'd go so far as to say it's heretical, but it (to me) is clearly something we picked up from a non-Orthodox tradition (in this case, Roman Catholicism ca. 16th-17th cent.), and, while beautiful when served correctly, is a distraction both when served correctly and when not served correctly, and at any rate is a pain in the neck to serve correctly.  My practical experience as well as historical and theological reflection have led me to not care as much for the practice as I once did. 

Also, the 101 incident looked cool from the photos.  Having actually seen video of the thing, it's atrocious.  Typically it's three.  You shouldn't have much more than that IMO. 

nearly 5 years later an Ethiopian would like to confirm to Mor Ephrem that indeed it is done in Ethiopia,  angel but the maximum number I have personally seen is only three, with the most often number seen is two, and they come out to commune the faithful one on the side of the females and the other on the side of the males, when three , if they are in a circular church they use the western gate, the southern gate, the northern gate, because the eastern gate of the sanctuary is sealed. but if it is a cathedral type of church building they will come out of the three gates it has. it is done on major feast days where the crowd is expected to be a lot.
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