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Author Topic: Showing up for a service  (Read 2192 times) Average Rating: 0
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truthstalker
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« on: April 02, 2009, 08:12:21 PM »

Little things......like do you wear a coat and a tie, or jeans, or business casual? I've seen the whole range at Catholic Mass, from kids ready to hit the outfield to people ready to hit the bars or mow the lawn. Or does it vary from church to church?

Should you arrive ten minutes early or late or what?

They have something called Orthros most Saturdays at the friendly neighborhood Greek Orthodox Church. Would this be a good first visit? If not, what would be? Is this like the normal Sunday service? Is it like the Saturday "evening" service the Catholics have, that is a full-blown service?  Should I study the liturgy before showing up so I know what is happening? What is proper for a Protestant to call the priest and his wife?  Should I sit/stand in the back?
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« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2009, 09:26:50 PM »

Little things......like do you wear a coat and a tie, or jeans, or business casual? I've seen the whole range at Catholic Mass, from kids ready to hit the outfield to people ready to hit the bars or mow the lawn. Or does it vary from church to church?

Dress like you would for a Catholic Mass.

Should you arrive ten minutes early or late or what?

I prefer early since I can listen to Matins.

They have something called Orthros most Saturdays at the friendly neighborhood Greek Orthodox Church.

Orthros is the Greek word for Matins which take place on Sunday Mornings before the Divine Liturgy.  Vespers take place on Saturday afternoons/evenings.

Would this be a good first visit? If not, what would be? Is this like the normal Sunday service? Is it like the Saturday "evening" service the Catholics have, that is a full-blown service?  Should I study the liturgy before showing up so I know what is happening? What is proper for a Protestant to call the priest and his wife?  Should I sit/stand in the back?

1.  Any time is a good time to attend Divine Liturgy.

2.  Reading up on the Liturgy is helpful.  If the Church uses Greek, follow along in English to the best of your ability.  If in doubt, ask a parishioner to point out the proper page in the Service Book.

3.  Refer to a Priest as Father (or Reverend) and the Priest's wife as Presbytera unless she insists you call her by her first name, then call her by her first name.

4.  Sit anywhere you want.

Fwiw, I hope that this (and other) answers help you find your path to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. 
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GabrieltheCelt
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« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2009, 09:31:33 PM »

Quote


4.  Sit anywhere you want.
 

If you're lucky, the parish you visit will only have seating along the walls. Wink  Feel free to use them.
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« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2009, 09:38:07 PM »

If you're lucky, the parish you visit will only have seating along the walls. Wink  Feel free to use them.

There's always the floor as well.   Grin
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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2009, 04:28:31 AM »

If you're lucky, the parish you visit will only have seating along the walls. Wink  Feel free to use them.

There's always the floor as well.   Grin

Our teenage choir members tend to sit on the floor during long night services on Pascha and Nativity when they're not singing (sermons or something like that) Wink
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ChristusDominus
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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2009, 08:25:24 PM »

Dress like you would for a Catholic Mass.

Ummm... I have seen people arrive at Mass in shorts! unbelievable,I have to say. ( I didn't know where to write my comment after inserting someone else's quote.I am new to this so please bear with me.)

Edited to fix quote tags. ~Veniamin, Free-for-All Moderator
« Last Edit: April 30, 2009, 08:43:01 PM by Veniamin » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2009, 08:41:22 PM »

As for whether the Orthros is a good first service to attend: that depends a lot on the parish, and a lot more on you.

The Orthros is a beautiful service comprised of several unchanging elements, mostly Psalms, which form the skeleton of the service, on which are hung the thematic hymns for the day, for the tone of the week, and for the liturgical season. When you understand the language in which the Orthros is done, it is an immediately accessible prayer service that exemplifies the way the Orthodox Church approaches corporate prayer--that is to say, the prayers/psalms/hymns are read or sung, expressing sentiments of joy, repentance, humility, honour, thanksgiving, etc, and each person present endeavors to enter into the spirit of the prayer of the Church, taking the words of the Psalms or the hymns as one's own and offering them to God.

However, despite all this, the Orthros is often the most inaccessible service, for several reasons. For one, it is a technically complex service, and often the chanters/choir struggle in the task of leading the people present in an effective way. It is very easy to mumble when reading a psalm, or to screw up while chanting a hymn, even if you have a clear idea of what you are trying to do and what your responsibilities are as a servant of the Church and her life of prayer. For another, often the Orthros is given over to a single chanter, who is often elderly, and therefore struggles all the more because his voice and eyesight are failing. Finally, as a corollary of the previous point, because this elderly chanter was trained only in the Greek language, he often chants and reads only in Greek, making the service still less accessible to the visitor.

However, the service can still be deeply edifying, if you are able to either follow along in the service book (if the church provides one), or simply take the opportunity to offer your own prayers to God over the course of the service. I simply mention the above because, having made the journey myself from Protestantism to Orthodoxy, I know all too well that there are several elements of the Orthros as commonly done in the parishes of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America that make it difficult for the visitor to discern the simple, humble, prayerful beauty of the Orthros, particularly in the beginning.

I hope this is somewhat helpful, either to the OP or to any others.
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Veniamin
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« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2009, 08:45:51 PM »

Dress like you would for a Catholic Mass.

Ummm... I have seen people arrive at Mass in shorts! unbelievable,I have to say. ( I didn't know where to write my comment after inserting someone else's quote.I am new to this so please bear with me.)

Edited to fix quote tags. ~Veniamin, Free-for-All Moderator

Don't dress like you would for Mass.  Business, business casual, or casual are all generally appropriate for Liturgy.

As for quotes, when you quote someone there will be a [quote ] tag at the beginning and a [/quote ] at the end (I've inserted extra spaces so it doesn't actually make it a quote in the example).  As long as you type your response after that [/quote ], it will show up as a reply to the quote box.
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« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2009, 08:51:58 PM »

^All of that which franthonyc is very true, about Orthros being somewhat inaccessible to many who are new or inquiring to Orthodoxy, but let me also just say that, echoing the words of my priest:  If more Orthodox would come to Sunday morning Orthros (we have very few who even come for 1/2 or even 1/3 of it), or any Orthros of a great feast, then people would really understand their faith and rejuvenate it.  Orthros is beautiful and I look forward to chanting it every Sunday morning; it is so powerful because its hymnography (variable as it is from Sunday to Sunday) is so beautiful with its richness and inundation with the Resurrection of our Lord and God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

For what it's worth; my first experience with Orthodoxy was at a Great Vespers on  a Saturday night.  From that point on I went to Vespers every Saturday night and Orthros prior to Liturgy on Sunday morning.   The totality of these services together really helped me in my journey.  

But you may want to ease into it, but I would not just "stay away" from Orthros because of the office's complexity of hymnography.  Just stand (or sit, if need be!) and listen to the hymns.  I think you will find that more effective than trying to read along with whatever the chanters are chanting.  Let the spirit work and good luck to you in your quest.
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ChristusDominus
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« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2009, 09:19:02 PM »

Thank you, Mr. Moderator Sir   Smiley
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truthstalker
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« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2009, 10:09:48 PM »

Dress like you would for a Catholic Mass.

Ummm... I have seen people arrive at Mass in shorts! unbelievable,I have to say. ( I didn't know where to write my comment after inserting someone else's quote.I am new to this so please bear with me.)

Edited to fix quote tags. ~Veniamin, Free-for-All Moderator

Don't dress like you would for Mass.  Business, business casual, or casual are all generally appropriate for Liturgy.

As for quotes, when you quote someone there will be a [quote ] tag at the beginning and a [/quote ] at the end (I've inserted extra spaces so it doesn't actually make it a quote in the example).  As long as you type your response after that [/quote ], it will show up as a reply to the quote box.

I have been to enough Masses to see that people will dress in almost anything to go to Mass.  I would wear business casual.  I think the intent was to say "dress as if for an important occasion".
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« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2009, 11:41:57 PM »

May I make the comment that while a truncated Matins is served prior to Sunday Divine Liturgy in the Greek tradition, the Slavic (Russian, Serbian, etc) tradition is different: Matins is almost never served in the morning as the Greeks do, but on the evening before, following Vespers. This combined Vespers and Matins is known as a Vigil.
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Alveus Lacuna
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« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2009, 12:26:42 AM »

I have been to enough Masses to see that people will dress in almost anything to go to Mass.  I would wear business casual.  I think the intent was to say "dress as if for an important occasion".

I have to admit, I'm more of the t-shirt and jeans type myself.  I just kind of have that philosophy that I should be before God as I always am, which is never even "business casual" attire.  If feel fake wearing those things.  So I just come as I am, and I don't think that anybody notices.  If it drew attention to me, I would just dress like everyone else to not be distracting, but we have a pretty wide range of dress at my church.

Anyway, you should definitely go to a service!  They are the best thing about Orthodoxy.  The books are helpful, but the liturgy is the real deal.

Just out of curiosity, what are some of your options where you live?  What city are you in?
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« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2009, 12:30:18 AM »

May I make the comment that while a truncated Matins is served prior to Sunday Divine Liturgy in the Greek tradition, the Slavic (Russian, Serbian, etc) tradition is different: Matins is almost never served in the morning as the Greeks do, but on the evening before, following Vespers. This combined Vespers and Matins is known as a Vigil.


From what I've seen the parish OCA practice is to have Matins before Divine Liturgy.  Yes, the OCA follows Slavic traditions.
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« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2009, 12:38:44 AM »

May I make the comment that while a truncated Matins is served prior to Sunday Divine Liturgy in the Greek tradition, the Slavic (Russian, Serbian, etc) tradition is different: Matins is almost never served in the morning as the Greeks do, but on the evening before, following Vespers. This combined Vespers and Matins is known as a Vigil.
From what I've seen the parish OCA practice is to have Matins before Divine Liturgy.  Yes, the OCA follows Slavic traditions.

And my Serbian parish, as well as another Serbian parish in my city, both celebrate Matins in the morning before liturgy.
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