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Author Topic: Forgiveness Sunday traditions  (Read 4045 times) Average Rating: 0
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GabrieltheCelt
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« on: February 22, 2008, 12:24:32 AM »

Hey y'all,

First let me say if this is in the wrong place, my apologies.  I'm never sure when it comes to this type of post.

Forgiveness Sunday has always been very moving for me.  I can't say that I enjoy humbling myself in front of everyone, but there is a certain joy of unburdening of past wrongs and making things right between my brothers and sisters in Christ.  And since it won't be long before Forgiveness Sunday is here, I thought I'd ask some questions about it.

1. Corporate traditions- At our OCA parish, after the Divine Liturgy, the congregation forms a large circle.  Beginning with the priest, everyone goes around the circle asking each other to forgive them for offending, hurting, angering etc them.  After asking for forgiveness, each person does a full prostration (metania?) in front of that person.  This goes on until everyone has asked and received forgiveness.  This has never happened at my parish, but our priest always says that if you encounter someone you have trouble forgiving, he will come over and help.

My Romanian girlfriend explained to me that her village parish never did anything like this; they simply said a prayer on bended knees after the DL.

What other ways is Forgiveness Sunday 'celebrated' (for lack of a better word) in your Jurisdiction/Tradition.

2. Individual traditions- What do each of you do for the rest of the day after you've left the church?  Do you have a 'mardi gras' attitude or is it more solemn?  Do you have friends/family over?

In Christ,

 Gabriel
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2008, 01:17:41 AM »

No one has any traditions?  Huh
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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2008, 01:40:30 AM »

I eat as much blini, cheese and caviar as I can before Vespers.
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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2008, 03:44:54 AM »

My Romanian girlfriend explained to me that her village parish never did anything like this; they simply said a prayer on bended knees after the DL.
In my GO monastery, we also kneel after vespers while the Priest reads "The Prayer of Manasseh" (which only occurs in the Septuagint as you will see when you get the new OSB!). Technically, this is Monday (since it's vespers). But Prior to this, we also have the mutual asking of forgiveness. But I have attended larger GO parishes, where they only have the Prayer of Manasseh.
After vespers, we traditionally prepare a special bread called "Lagana" which is eaten by children and others who don't observe a complete fast on Clean Monday. Lagana is the only food eaten on Clean Monday and is only made once a year.
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« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2008, 04:25:16 AM »

At my OCA parish, we eat blini after Divine Liturgy, and then re-assemble in the evening for Vespers and the rite of forgiveness.  One year I was at a ROCOR monastery, and they did it basically the same except the rite of forgiveness was immediately following the liturgy.

The first week of Lent, I try to ask forgiveness of close friends who are not Orthodox, at least the ones who I think will understand.
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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2008, 01:55:19 PM »


Quote
My Romanian girlfriend explained to me that her village parish never did anything like this; they simply said a prayer on bended knees after the DL
In our parish in Romania, we didn't have this ritual of forgiveness either; towards the end of the Monday Vespers, besides the prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian, the priest would also read the following prayer:"O Lord, the hope of all the ends of the earth, and of all those far off on the sea...". And this was it.
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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2008, 02:10:38 PM »

At our OCA parish, after the Divine Liturgy, the congregation forms a large circle.  Beginning with the priest, everyone goes around the circle asking each other to forgive them for offending, hurting, angering etc them.  After asking for forgiveness, each person does a full prostration (metania?) in front of that person.  This goes on until everyone has asked and received forgiveness.

Same at my OCA parish, except it happens after Vespers.
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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2008, 02:22:27 PM »

Forgiveness Sunday has always been very moving for me.

For me, too. I wish more Greek parishes had this service.
Quote
1. Corporate traditions- At our OCA parish, after the Divine Liturgy, the congregation forms a large circle.  Beginning with the priest, everyone goes around the circle asking each other to forgive them for offending, hurting, angering etc them.  After asking for forgiveness, each person does a full prostration (metania?) in front of that person.  This goes on until everyone has asked and received forgiveness.   
This pretty much describes what happens in our ACROD parish. Without the 'circle' aspect - those pesky pews get in the way.
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« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2008, 02:28:27 PM »

At my Ruthenian parish we unfortunately don't have Forgiveness Vespers (or Great Vespers Sad ), so we do a reader's service at home in the afternoon.  After the dismissal prayers, my wife and I ask forgiveness of one another directly.  The same goes if any of our friends are present. 

Quote
After asking for forgiveness, each person does a full prostration (metania?) in front of that person. 

This is something that would drive my wife bonkers.  She's still very weirded out by prostrations (they're very strange to her Italo-Polish Catholic eyes).  I've finally got her at least genuflect slowly during times of prostration (like during the prayer of St. Ephraim) and that was a long time coming.

I like the idea of the big circle, though.  It really drives the point home that sin affects everyone in some way and at the very least makes everyone in a parish aware of the existence of his or her fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
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« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2008, 02:29:00 PM »

At our parish, we celebrate Forgiveness Vespers.  Afterwards the people form a line and ask forgivness from the priest, who, in turn asks forgiveness from them and then on and on until the end.  As I am a chanter, while this is going on, the chanters chant in the first tone, the irmoi from the Canon of the Resurrection by St. John Damascene.  It is quite fitting since is that not why Christ went to the cross and rose--for the forgivness of sins and to make us whole again?

Afterwards, our priest takes us out for ice cream!
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« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2008, 07:39:52 PM »

In our parish, we celebrate Vespers immediately after the Divine Liturgy on Cheesefare Sunday.  At the end of Vespers, the choir begins the Paschal Stikheri (Let God arise.. Today, a sacred Pascha is revealed to us...) while the parishioners, starting with the priest ask forgiveness of each other, forming a line around the church.
As far as family traditions, we have a brunch at my house - family and friends - and eat (actually, stuff ourselves on) palachinki stuffed with either sweetened cottage cheese, lekvar (prune jam), or apricot jam.  Among the Carpatho Rusyns, the pre-Lenten Carnival period is know as Fašengy.
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« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2008, 12:26:23 AM »

wow, forgiveness vespers... this was by far the most powerful experience for me in an Orthodox church.  I'm still a catechumin so my experience with the Church only spans about 15 months (and i missed last years service, i was too afraid).

We had vespers at 7pm and then afterwards starting with the priest you would walk up to them, both of you touch the ground and then cross yourself (venerating them as an icon of the image of God maybe?), then 1 says "(Name if you know it) forgive me any sins which I have committed against you (or forgive me a sinner, or forgive me any sins which my family or I have committed against you), to which you answer "God forgives and I forgive you (or I forgive you)" and then the exchange is reversed after which you embrace and move down the line to the next person.  Once you get to the last person you take your place in line.

I could see such a wide range of reactions from people, some who came up to me were fully crying.  I myself broke down on several occasions, certain people I had lived with before I had been bearing resentment against.  Leaving service and making the 40min drive home was odd... i hardly remember the drive, i felt so heavy but also like such a burden was lifted from me.

At times that night I saw people as icons of Christ, made in the image of God, humbling themselves, and forgiving people without question.

this service is such a great way to start lent.
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« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2008, 08:19:39 AM »

1. Corporate traditions- At our OCA parish, after the Divine Liturgy, the congregation forms a large circle.  Beginning with the priest, everyone goes around the circle asking each other to forgive them for offending, hurting, angering etc them.  After asking for forgiveness, each person does a full prostration (metania?) in front of that person.  This goes on until everyone has asked and received forgiveness.  This has never happened at my parish, but our priest always says that if you encounter someone you have trouble forgiving, he will come over and help.

What you describe is basically how we do it in Finland, with the circle and everyone asking everyone for forgiveness. We do not do any prostrations instead we say (poorly translated) "Please forgive me my sins." and respond "God forgives you your sins. Can you also forgive me?". This dialogue takes place while we kiss each other on the cheeks three times.

I suspect that things are quite similar in Russia as Finland has received this tradition from Russia.
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« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2009, 11:47:02 PM »


 In light of all our new members, I thought I'd resurrect this thread and see if anyone else has any traditions to contribute...
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« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2009, 08:31:21 AM »

After Liturgy we had Lenten Vespers with prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian. Priests changed their vestments from golden to the black ones. After them our Rector apologised the parishioners in behalf of the all clergy. He, two Vicars (with crosses) and a Deacon (with an icon) were standing in line in front of the iconostasis and all of us were approaching them and forgiving personally.
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« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2009, 08:52:54 AM »

We have a forgiveness service that we do at the end of Liturgy, but I think people only face-to-face ask forgiveness from those nearby them in the congregation - we don't do the big line (like we did at HC).
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« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2009, 01:48:09 PM »

How common is it to have the forgiveness vespers service?  We don't do it.
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« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2009, 02:15:27 PM »

How common is it to have the forgiveness vespers service?  We don't do it.

I don't know if I'd say it is "very common," but I know of a good number that do some form of it (either a regular vespers, or the reading of some of the hymns and the prayers of forgiveness at the end of Sunday Liturgy, or something like that).  I'd put the number in the 30-35% range (# who do some form of forgiveness service/vespers).
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« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2009, 02:31:12 PM »

Some churches have the service, but due to practicality cannot do the mutual forgiveness portion. For example St. George in Cicero, IL. has over 1000 families and they usually get a large turn out. Fr. Nick joked one time that if he did the mutual forgiveness, the line would stretch out around the block. I'd have to say that every Chicago church save the Carpatho Russian one has vespers at least. The Carpatho Russian one simply recites a prayer at the end of liturgy.

-Nick
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« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2009, 02:53:35 PM »

We have a short set of prayers at the end of liturgy, but no special service or asking of mutual forgiveness.  Just curious if we're unique.  I'm in Sunday School when it happens anyway.
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« Reply #20 on: March 03, 2009, 02:57:22 PM »

We have a short set of prayers at the end of liturgy, but no special service or asking of mutual forgiveness.  Just curious if we're unique. 

Nah.  Many of the Churches that do a short service at the end of Liturgy will have the asking of mutual forgiveness from those immediately around you, rather than asking everyone.

I'm in Sunday School when it happens anyway.

I actually did the service with my High School class.  I don't know whether they appreciated it or not, but they didn't complain and went along with it willingly.
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« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2009, 03:30:38 PM »

We had ones because the Priests had to go to the Cathedral for Vespers with a Archbishop.
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« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2009, 05:22:47 PM »

In the serbian church I had never even heard about it...but i'm gona check with my sources...
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« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2009, 05:28:05 PM »

Nah.  Many of the Churches that do a short service at the end of Liturgy will have the asking of mutual forgiveness from those immediately around you, rather than asking everyone.

I don't think anyone asks anyone for forgiveness.  Not that they shouldn't!
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« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2009, 05:38:42 PM »

I don't think anyone asks anyone for forgiveness.  Not that they shouldn't!

Maybe it would be better done in a very personal setting - coffee hour, at home, spread out over the course of the day.  Who knows?  One of the complaints at HC by those who would avoid the Forgiveness Vespers (or who would leave before the dismissal) was that they felt the whole thing was too contrived, and that many of those seemingly seeking forgiveness were not heartfelt in their request.
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« Reply #25 on: March 04, 2009, 11:46:50 AM »

When we forgive God Forgive's...
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« Reply #26 on: March 04, 2009, 10:08:11 PM »

In the serbian church I had never even heard about it...but i'm gona check with my sources...

I think most people in my parish don't really know what it's about either.  The mutual forgiveness thing just isn't a tradition of ours.

I can see cleveland's point that some might view it as a little contrived.
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« Reply #27 on: March 05, 2009, 06:30:06 PM »

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