Author Topic: Old Testament Reading in Liturgy  (Read 1840 times)

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Offline recent convert

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Old Testament Reading in Liturgy
« on: February 24, 2009, 12:08:02 PM »
Fr Lawrence Farley in his book on the Divine Liturgy:Let Us Attend notes that until the 8th century an Old Testament reading preceded the epistle and Gospel readings. Would it not be desireable to revive this tradition? I know readings are given during Great Lent and at times in Vespers but only outside of the Divine Liturgy. In light of wild speculative theology that permeates in the non Orthodox Christian world from apparent misreading of the Old Testament (mainly the prophets) would it not be beneficial to reeducate the laity and give proper witness of these scriptures to counter the misconceptions that exist?
« Last Edit: February 24, 2009, 12:08:45 PM by recent convert »
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Offline Innocent

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Re: Old Testament Reading in Liturgy
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2009, 12:21:30 PM »
I have not read the book by Fr Lawrence Farley, but if it is true I would have no problem with it. Thats just me though.

Offline mike

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Re: Old Testament Reading in Liturgy
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2009, 12:25:16 PM »
OT reading (from Isaiah) is present in the Divine Liturgy of St. James.
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Offline wynd

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Re: Old Testament Reading in Liturgy
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2009, 12:33:45 PM »
This is one of the few things that I miss about being Roman Catholic.

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Re: Old Testament Reading in Liturgy
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2009, 05:21:58 PM »
^I see no need to revive this simply because if people want to hear the OT readings of the particular day, then they should come to Great Vespers (or the All-night Vigil if that is their custom) and hear it then when it is prescribed. 

With fewer and fewer people, it seems, coming to church to pray outside of the Sunday Liturgy, why is it necessary to constantly add elements to the Liturgy because people won't make the extra effort?
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Offline Deacon Lance

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Re: Old Testament Reading in Liturgy
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2009, 05:24:50 PM »
New Skete has added an OT reading to their Liturgy.  I emailed them with a request for the reading list but i have not received a repl so far. 

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Offline Deacon Lance

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Re: Old Testament Reading in Liturgy
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2009, 05:28:07 PM »
^I see no need to revive this simply because if people want to hear the OT readings of the particular day, then they should come to Great Vespers (or the All-night Vigil if that is their custom) and hear it then when it is prescribed. 

With fewer and fewer people, it seems, coming to church to pray outside of the Sunday Liturgy, why is it necessary to constantly add elements to the Liturgy because people won't make the extra effort?

It is only prescribed for 12 Great Feasts and a handful of saints.  Not much of a selction of the OT texts.  It would be nice when the Gospel quotes the OT to have heard the Prophecy before the reading.

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Offline ytterbiumanalyst

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Re: Old Testament Reading in Liturgy
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2009, 06:36:11 PM »
Fr Lawrence Farley in his book on the Divine Liturgy:Let Us Attend notes that until the 8th century an Old Testament reading preceded the epistle and Gospel readings. Would it not be desireable to revive this tradition? I know readings are given during Great Lent and at times in Vespers but only outside of the Divine Liturgy. In light of wild speculative theology that permeates in the non Orthodox Christian world from apparent misreading of the Old Testament (mainly the prophets) would it not be beneficial to reeducate the laity and give proper witness of these scriptures to counter the misconceptions that exist?
The OCA website always lists an OT reading, but I've never actually heard it in Liturgy. I didn't know it could be. If it can, I would certainly want to hear it. I know the Jews had a custom to read the Law and the Prophets, and I assumed that this had been replaced by the Epistle and Gospel. Perhaps there could be four readings? We certainly ought to know the Bible better than we do.

Interesting post. Thank you very much; it's got me intrigued.
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Re: Old Testament Reading in Liturgy
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2009, 09:14:13 PM »
I believe most, if not all ancient churches had OT readings before the epistles.  I think there used to be something from history and something from prophecy as well.  The Psalms seem to the only OT reading preserved in the liturgy today.

I personally would like this to be revived in my own church.
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Offline Jonathan

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Re: Old Testament Reading in Liturgy
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2009, 12:09:33 AM »
I believe most, if not all ancient churches had OT readings before the epistles.  I think there used to be something from history and something from prophecy as well.  The Psalms seem to the only OT reading preserved in the liturgy today.

I personally would like this to be revived in my own church.

In the Coptic Church the prophecies are read during the Liturgy: but only during the fast of Nineveh, Great Lent, and Pascha week

Offline Tallitot

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Re: Old Testament Reading in Liturgy
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2009, 12:24:52 AM »
IINM, doesn't the Prokeimemon replace the Psalm?
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: Old Testament Reading in Liturgy
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2009, 02:45:54 AM »
^I see no need to revive this simply because if people want to hear the OT readings of the particular day, then they should come to Great Vespers (or the All-night Vigil if that is their custom) and hear it then when it is prescribed. 

With fewer and fewer people, it seems, coming to church to pray outside of the Sunday Liturgy, why is it necessary to constantly add elements to the Liturgy because people won't make the extra effort?

Yes, the Old Testament lessons have been moved to the Vespers, and in the present program of prayer (i.e. the Hours) it makes sense that the prefigurement should be in the vigil as the Divine Liturgy proclaims (in the Epistle and Gospel) fullfillment.

IINM, doesn't the Prokeimemon replace the Psalm?


Usually it is part of a Psalm.

Since the book of Psalms is the only constant element in all services, and the only book that the Church has a tradition of memorizing in toto, it is in a class all by themselves.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 02:47:58 AM by ialmisry »
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Offline ytterbiumanalyst

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Re: Old Testament Reading in Liturgy
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2009, 10:18:08 AM »
Since the book of Psalms is the only constant element in all services, and the only book that the Church has a tradition of memorizing in toto, it is in a class all by themselves.
It's a tradition that dates back to the Theotokos, who memorized the entire Psalter when she was still a child. Of course, she herself was following a Jewish tradition, so it's a very longstanding practice.
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Re: Old Testament Reading in Liturgy
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2009, 02:08:45 PM »
I believe most, if not all ancient churches had OT readings before the epistles.  I think there used to be something from history and something from prophecy as well.  The Psalms seem to the only OT reading preserved in the liturgy today.

I personally would like this to be revived in my own church.

In the Coptic Church the prophecies are read during the Liturgy: but only during the fast of Nineveh, Great Lent, and Pascha week

Yes, that's true.  But there are also prescribed OT readings every day in the Coptic calendar.  That and the keeping of OT readings in certain feasts (I think Laqan prayers also have OT readings) seems to indicate that we may have lost a certain tradition in older days.
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.