Author Topic: Sexual Segregation in church  (Read 22239 times)

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Offline Orthodox11

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #45 on: June 26, 2012, 07:02:12 AM »
The queen stands on the right hand of the king, as the Psalm says... but one tradition considers this facing towards the altar, and one from the altar...

Indeed, the Queen is the Mother of God, who on the iconostasis sits at Christ's right hand, while St. John the Baptist stands on His left. The women in the church stand with the blessed Virgin, the greatest of all women, while the men stand with St. John, the greatest of all men born of women.

Offline Gary

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #46 on: June 26, 2012, 11:56:35 AM »
If my church did segregation, my wife would never go....ever.

I will sit with my family, segregation or no.

PP

Nor would my wife attend a parish that practiced sexual segregation. And I too will stand or sit with my family, or find another parish.

Offline 88Devin12

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #47 on: June 26, 2012, 12:33:27 PM »
The queen stands on the right hand of the king, as the Psalm says... but one tradition considers this facing towards the altar, and one from the altar...

Indeed, the Queen is the Mother of God, who on the iconostasis sits at Christ's right hand, while St. John the Baptist stands on His left. The women in the church stand with the blessed Virgin, the greatest of all women, while the men stand with St. John, the greatest of all men born of women.

Slight correction, Christ would be the greatest of all men born of a woman... ;)

Offline Orthodox11

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #48 on: June 26, 2012, 12:37:32 PM »
Slight correction, Christ would be the greatest of all men born of a woman... ;)

Those are Christ's words, not mine. The Fathers all explain that the word cannot refer to Christ, who was born of a Virgin  ;)

Offline Subdeacon Michael

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #49 on: June 26, 2012, 01:04:31 PM »
I live in the UK and have seen this at my nearest Serbian parish and at our ROCOR cathedral in London.  My own parish does not observe it.

I don't have any strong feelings about it one way or the other.  In fact, as I am most often in the altar, it doesn't really have any bearing on what I do in church and I probably wouldn't even notice.  If I were visiting a parish that observed this and were standing in the nave, I would simply follow their custom without fuss or bother, though I can see how married couples with young children might find this a challenge at times.

However, even though I have no problem with it, and although I respect the practice wherever I find it, I do think that the reasoning that is sometimes given for it - namely, of reducing sexual temptation during worship - is nonsense.  There are many faithful Orthodox who are attracted to the opposite sex and live in keeping with their faith.  There are many faithful Orthodox who attracted to the same sex who live in keeping with their faith.  Indeed, there are many who are attracted to both sexes and yet live in keeping with their faith.  All of these people go to church.  To suggest that putting all the men together or all the women together reduces sexual temptation (particularly during prostrations) makes no sense.  For some people it could potentially have quite the opposite effect.  Whoever stands where, somebody will potentially face some temptation, especially if the women are wearing low-cut tops that reveal cleavage or short skirts, or the men are wearing tight tops that mould themselves to the body.

I have no problem in principle with men standing to the right and women to the left if that is their custom but I think that we shouldn't attach to this practice flimsy reasoning that is not going to convince anybody and then pretend that this is achieving something that it is not.  If we want to reduce the risk of sexual temptation during worship and at other times, then we should be teaching our people two things:
  • They should dress modestly so as not to lure others into temptation.
  • They - not anybody else - are responsible for the custody of their own eyes.
These two principles, combined with prayer, should see us right.

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« Last Edit: June 26, 2012, 01:11:06 PM by Subdeacon Michael »
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Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #50 on: June 27, 2012, 01:26:03 AM »
Slight correction, Christ would be the greatest of all men born of a woman... ;)

Those are Christ's words, not mine. The Fathers all explain that the word cannot refer to Christ, who was born of a Virgin  ;)

I think that even though Christ said it out of humility, he was still the greatest man born of a woman :)
« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 01:26:13 AM by Ortho_cat »

Offline Indocern

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #51 on: May 20, 2016, 10:35:09 AM »
I have been told that in the church I go to during the week that they have sexual segregation, women on the left and men on the right.

I was told to move from the left to the right side (men's side they called it) even though there was only 3 people in church.

Is this normal for a Greek church?

I have never seen this before and find segregated churches to be more damaging than good.

In our church is too so, in the left are the women in the right are the men, also the men first get Holy Communion.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2016, 10:48:20 AM by Indocern »

Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #52 on: May 20, 2016, 01:59:48 PM »
In my church, people are not separated by gender, but men take communion first, then women. However, all children, boys and girls, take communion before the grown men. Our local nun takes communion at last, after all laywomen, but I'm not sure whether it's some actual custom or if it's just her thing.

About Christ being born of a woman, see Galatians 4:4. This wording is not incorrect.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2016, 02:17:06 PM by RaphaCam »
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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #53 on: May 20, 2016, 02:01:03 PM »
When I was young, in the late 1950's and early 60's, the left/right - women/men - was the common practice. If you notice in older churches (pre-1960 usually) with original pews, the pews on the right typically have a metal device to 'hook' men's fedoras. This can be seen in all sorts of churches - not just Orthodox. Since the passing of the old world generation, at least in ACROD and OCA, families started to sit together more beginning in the 1970's. Be glad people are there in Church rather than worry about where they stand or sit. This is a great example of small 't' folks, small 't' indeed!


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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #54 on: May 20, 2016, 02:10:23 PM »
In my church, people are not separated by gender, but men take communion first, then women. However, all children, boys and girls, take communion before the grown men. Our local nun takes communion at last, after all laywomen, but I'm not sure whether it's some actual custom or if it's just her thing.
In Polish churches in Poland nuns (and monks too) take Communion before the lay people, after children. And at my parish matushkas (priests wife) take Communion after children, but before the rest - but, maybe it's related to the fact, that they sing in choir. Hm, but the rest members of the choir approach in different times (that there is always somebody that may cointinue singing the Communion hymn)... As for the rest of laity regarding taking the Communion, sex doesn't matter. But, I've heard (and, actually, very very recently!) about this pratice - I mean, men before women during the Communion and oil anointment during the vigil - that's held in some places in Bulgaria and Russia. I haven't noticed it in Serbia.

Sex segregation used to be even in Polish Roman Catholic churches, but now it's not practiced even in Orthodox ones. In Serbia it is done.
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Offline Indocern

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #55 on: May 20, 2016, 02:26:44 PM »
In my church, people are not separated by gender, but men take communion first, then women. However, all children, boys and girls, take communion before the grown men. Our local nun takes communion at last, after all laywomen, but I'm not sure whether it's some actual custom or if it's just her thing.
In Polish churches in Poland nuns (and monks too) take Communion before the lay people, after children. And at my parish matushkas (priests wife) take Communion after children, but before the rest - but, maybe it's related to the fact, that they sing in choir. Hm, but the rest members of the choir approach in different times (that there is always somebody that may cointinue singing the Communion hymn)... As for the rest of laity regarding taking the Communion, sex doesn't matter. But, I've heard (and, actually, very very recently!) about this pratice - I mean, men before women during the Communion and oil anointment during the vigil - that's held in some places in Bulgaria and Russia. I haven't noticed it in Serbia.

Sex segregation used to be even in Polish Roman Catholic churches, but now it's not practiced even in Orthodox ones. In Serbia it is done.

In one of the Churches I go to, they don't sing Communion hymn, but in the other one they sing it.
Also the men in our Churches first get prosfora after the liturgy.
I think that in whole Bulgaria in the Churches they give Holy Communion first to the men.

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #56 on: May 20, 2016, 02:34:27 PM »

Wow.

In my parish, if the Altar Servers are communing they would go first, followed by the children/parents...and then everyone else.
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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #57 on: May 20, 2016, 02:38:40 PM »
Sex segregation used to be even in Polish Roman Catholic churches, but now it's not practiced even in Orthodox ones. In Serbia it is done.

In the Indian Church also, we continue to preserve and maintain this tradition of the holy fathers. 
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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #58 on: May 20, 2016, 03:04:49 PM »

Wow.

In my parish, if the Altar Servers are communing they would go first, followed by the children/parents...and then everyone else.
Ah, I forgot about altar servers. Here they're after monks/nuns and children.
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Offline Arachne

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #59 on: May 20, 2016, 03:11:32 PM »
In Greek churches, there are still (fairly inconspicuous) signs pointing left for women and right for men, but nobody will ask you to move if you are in the wrong section. Most churches also have balconies for women, which come in handy, considering there's at least twice as many women as men present at any given time. Here, the parish is tiny and everyone stands wherever they please.

As for the queue for Communion, kids and their mothers go first (a father accompanying kids is a rare and wonderful sight), then everyone else. In Greece, given that most parishes have more than one priest, it is common for one to stand before the Royal Doors and another before the northern deacon's door, as that side is usually a lot more crowded. :)
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Offline BrotherBoris

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #60 on: May 20, 2016, 03:53:11 PM »
One hundred years ago in my grandparent's Primitive Baptist Church in North Carolina, the men sat on the right side of the congregation and the women sat on the left.  They never mixed.  The boys sat with the women until they reached puberty.  Then they started sitting on the men's side. I have heard stories of old Missouri Synod and Wisconsin Synod churches from the 19th century where the men sat on one side of the church and the women on the other. None of the groups I mentioned here does this any longer. People sit where they wish.  I am starting to think this may have  been a nearly universal Christian custom years ago.  Perhaps it entered into Christianity from the Synagogue? 
« Last Edit: May 20, 2016, 03:55:50 PM by BrotherBoris »

Offline Minnesotan

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #61 on: May 20, 2016, 07:18:10 PM »
One hundred years ago in my grandparent's Primitive Baptist Church in North Carolina, the men sat on the right side of the congregation and the women sat on the left.  They never mixed.  The boys sat with the women until they reached puberty.  Then they started sitting on the men's side. I have heard stories of old Missouri Synod and Wisconsin Synod churches from the 19th century where the men sat on one side of the church and the women on the other. None of the groups I mentioned here does this any longer. People sit where they wish.  I am starting to think this may have  been a nearly universal Christian custom years ago.  Perhaps it entered into Christianity from the Synagogue?

I think you're right about it having Jewish roots. The first time I read about any Christian church doing this, it was in the Wiki article about the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, and this practice was being used as an example of the similarities between EOTC praxis and that of Judaism.
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Offline genesisone

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #62 on: May 20, 2016, 08:04:40 PM »
  I am starting to think this may have  been a nearly universal Christian custom years ago.
In my local Free Methodist Church as late as the early 1960s, people sat wherever they wanted, but for Communion, it was men on the right and women on the left (everyone receiving gathered at the front before the elements were distributed). I don't remember who received first. I do remember which newly-appointed minister it was who changed that. His wife even took us 'tweens out for pizza after the Sunday evening service! The beginning of the end, I guess you could say.

Offline Aram

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #63 on: May 20, 2016, 09:09:10 PM »
When I was in the Holy Land, the pretty strictly-enforced practice for communion was that men went first, then women. When time came for the communion line to form, everyone knew what to do, even though they were standing anywhere they wanted--no "men's side/women's side" divide. In Bethlehem at the Church of the Nativity, I happened to be the last in the men's line. Right behind me was a female monastic, indeed the first (and only) Armenian nun I'd ever seen, starting up the women's line. I felt awkward going in front of her and tried to get her to go before me, but she wouldn't do it.

This is the only place I've ever seen this done--nowhere in America, or Armenia. Chalk it up to local practice.

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #64 on: May 20, 2016, 09:22:46 PM »
When I was in the Holy Land, the pretty strictly-enforced practice for communion was that men went first, then women. When time came for the communion line to form, everyone knew what to do, even though they were standing anywhere they wanted--no "men's side/women's side" divide. In Bethlehem at the Church of the Nativity, I happened to be the last in the men's line. Right behind me was a female monastic, indeed the first (and only) Armenian nun I'd ever seen, starting up the women's line. I felt awkward going in front of her and tried to get her to go before me, but she wouldn't do it.

This is the only place I've ever seen this done--nowhere in America, or Armenia. Chalk it up to local practice.

That's a little odd, considering that in the West, table etiquette (in non-religious contexts) historically dictated that women be served first, not men. Probably a legacy of chivalry. Maybe chivalry never caught on in other parts of the world?
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Offline BrotherBoris

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #65 on: May 20, 2016, 09:58:49 PM »
In some cultures men go first, and (believe it or not) this behavior can be seen also as chivalrous and respectful of women.  Now I know this is confusing to Americans, but let me give you an example from Germany.  In the Germany of the past, esp. 100 years ago and more, if a husband was out in public with his wife and they were going to a new restaurant, for example, the husband would open the door to the restaurant and enter it first, then after he entered, she would follow him. In the German understanding of the time, this was explained that the man entered first to judge the appropriateness of the restaurant and to see if it was a fit place to take his wife.  The idea here was that the restaurant might be bawdy, loud, dirty or uncouth and you wouldn't want to expose a lady to that environment.  Therefore, it was the husband's manly duty to enter such a place first so that his wife could be protected from being exposed to a place that was inappropriate for her dignity.  Now to an American observer at the time, it might look like the German husband was being rude, not holding the door for his wife and letting her enter first. But in reality, it was very respectful in the German culture of that time for the man to enter first to show his protection of his woman and his wish to not expose her to something vulgar and inappropriate.  But if one had never had this aspect of German culture explained to him, one might interpret it as being "rude" to the woman by American standards.

Offline JTLoganville

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #66 on: May 20, 2016, 11:52:11 PM »
One hundred years ago in my grandparent's Primitive Baptist Church in North Carolina, the men sat on the right side of the congregation and the women sat on the left.  They never mixed.  The boys sat with the women until they reached puberty.  Then they started sitting on the men's side. I have heard stories of old Missouri Synod and Wisconsin Synod churches from the 19th century where the men sat on one side of the church and the women on the other. None of the groups I mentioned here does this any longer. People sit where they wish.  I am starting to think this may have  been a nearly universal Christian custom years ago.  Perhaps it entered into Christianity from the Synagogue?

http://glattfelder.us/images/Photos/BuppsUnion/BuppsUnion2.jpg

The meeting house* in the picture is in rural south central Pennsylvania, built in 1874.   Note the two doors:  One was for men, one for women.  Not only were the sexes to be segregated in seating, they could not be trusted to pass through the same doorway together.

*The term meeting house is deliberate, because this building was used as a Sunday School operated jointly by folks from four Protestant denominations  (German Reformed, Lutheran, Evangelical United Brethren, and Church of the Brethren).   The folks went their separate ways for worship and sacraments.

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #67 on: May 20, 2016, 11:56:56 PM »
That sounds like a much simpler time. I'm waxing nostalgic for a period when we didn't have 27 different gender types to worry about.
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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #68 on: May 20, 2016, 11:59:49 PM »
In the Ethiopian Orthodox Church the men stand on the left and women on the right. The reasoning is that God created woman from man's side, so she is not ahead of man nor behind him. Woman is equal to man. And the separation during Liturgy is also a practical means of avoiding distraction and focusing on God. Makes perfect sense to me, and I would personally recommend it as a practice for all Orthodox Churches. Just my opinion.

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Offline immerlein

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #69 on: May 21, 2016, 03:44:46 AM »
We don't practice it in my parish, nor in the Greek parish I attended before this one.

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #70 on: May 21, 2016, 07:08:34 AM »
And the separation during Liturgy is also a practical means of avoiding distraction and focusing on God. Makes perfect sense to me, and I would personally recommend it as a practice for all Orthodox Churches. Just my opinion.
I'm rather for this tradition, and usually I stay on the left side (so in EO traditional for women), but during Liturgies at my parish mainly on right, becasue from this side the Communion is given and I don't want to push out among the people and so on.

But, on the other hand, such separation doesn't help in every case to avoid distraction. Jsut imagine, in one place, on one side a collection of various men... Youc an compare, choose etc. And while the congreation is mixed, you don't care so much. But that's MY opinion :P And I know,a  bit contradicting to what I said firstly.
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Offline Velsigne

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #71 on: May 21, 2016, 11:53:21 AM »
I've only seen the separation of men and women at monasteries.

The nice thing about not separating is that those families that enjoy the presence of their husband / father in church, if they stand together he can help manage the children and not leave it up to one spouse. 

So, if they have two or three daughters, it's not all on the mother to manage children during the service and vice versa. 

Of course some cultures seem to be stricter with children and seemingly have fewer problems during services, but American children can get out of hand very quickly and just spend the entire service chatting and playing and screaming and crying and whining and running to the rest room and whatnot.

Or, perhaps with segregation others standing with the parent help with children if the parent is overwhelmed with trying to attend services with three or four children alone?

"Cultural" behavior may also be linked to dietary practice.  The standard American diet today does not provide good mental or physical health.   Too much sugar and processed food. 
« Last Edit: May 21, 2016, 12:04:18 PM by Velsigne »
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Offline BrotherBoris

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #72 on: May 21, 2016, 01:14:58 PM »
I've only seen the separation of men and women at monasteries.

The nice thing about not separating is that those families that enjoy the presence of their husband / father in church, if they stand together he can help manage the children and not leave it up to one spouse. 

So, if they have two or three daughters, it's not all on the mother to manage children during the service and vice versa. 

Of course some cultures seem to be stricter with children and seemingly have fewer problems during services, but American children can get out of hand very quickly and just spend the entire service chatting and playing and screaming and crying and whining and running to the rest room and whatnot.

Or, perhaps with segregation others standing with the parent help with children if the parent is overwhelmed with trying to attend services with three or four children alone?

"Cultural" behavior may also be linked to dietary practice.  The standard American diet today does not provide good mental or physical health.   Too much sugar and processed food.

That is very true about current American culture. 

But back in the dark ages, during the 1960's when I was a kid, American parents were much more strict with their children about their behavior in public and especially in church.  I still remember the lectures I got from my parents that I better go to the bathroom BEFORE church started because once the service started, I was required to stay there until it was over.  And my parents were not unusually strict.  It was pretty much standard practice at the time.  Another thing, we were not allowed to bring toys (esp. noisy toys) or cheerios or any snacks to church then.  It was UNTHINKABLE.  Nobody snacked in church then, it was considered rude and disrespectful, not to mention messy.  If you were hungry, you simply had to wait until the service was over and that was that. And one last thing, parents of my generation did not have to explain to me why I should obey them.  Obeying them was inherent in their authority as parents. When told to do something, especially in church, we always obeyed them.  Now when we got home, we were allowed to ask why.  But not during church.  Asking why then was considered sassy, rude, and disrespectful to your parent's authority. If I had dared to ask my parents why I had to do something they told me in church, I would have gotten a firm, whispered answer, "Because I told you so, young man!"  and a look of firm parental disdain.  If I had persisted in that questioning or refused to obey them outright, I would have been quietly escorted to the narthex of the church and been given a good spanking.  There was no "time out" back then.  And kids in public places (and even the public schools then) were remarkably well-behaved on the whole, and when occasional outbreaks of bratty and snotty behavior by children occurred, they were usually dealt  with immediately and firmly.

How I wish the parents in my parish would control the behavior of their feral children. We have loud, disruptive, disrespectful children that wonder all over the nave like free range chickens and their parents act totally oblivious.  Sometime the parents will even (and I think quite mistakenly) hand the child a Divine Liturgy book (apparently to "entertain" the child, because they are all too young to read), and the child will make a toy out of it, even swinging it by the silk ribbon book marker round and round like some medieval knight with a mace.  You have to see it to believe it.  Sometimes the parents will hand little boys taper candles (again to 'entertain them, apparently) which the boys will use to engage in a mock sword fight, breaking the candle into several pieces and generally making quite a nuisance of themselves. Sometimes our bored children are even allowed by their parents to wander through the choir area during the Divine Liturgy and these children (oblivious to the fact that the area is already occupied by adults), will simply wander through like cattle, stepping on the feet of the adults in the choir and jostling the music stands.  I actually stopped singing in the choir because nothing was done about this and I found it incredibly disrespectful and distracting.

A number of years ago, we had a real brat wondering through the choir during Liturgy and he got mad that his mother was paying attention to her singing (instead of him) and when she finally bent down to speak to the little angel, he slapped her across the face in anger.  I witnessed it myself, along with several other people in the choir. And not only did the Mother not discipline her little boy (he was about 3 years old), she actually apologized to him for upsetting him.  Think about that.  He got to slap Mommy across the face in church and she apologized to him.  And why wonder why we are raising a nation of spoiled brats.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2016, 01:36:46 PM by BrotherBoris »

Offline seekeroftruth777

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #73 on: May 21, 2016, 01:29:38 PM »
Correct me if I am wrong but this tradition of segregation seems more in Slavic Churches than others in Eastern Orthodoxy like Greeks or Arabs. As as far as O.O's go I only attended a Coptic Church a few times, before settling on the Greek Church, and they also segergate between man, and woman.

Offline William T

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #74 on: May 21, 2016, 01:47:39 PM »
Correct me if I am wrong but this tradition of segregation seems more in Slavic Churches than others in Eastern Orthodoxy like Greeks or Arabs. As as far as O.O's go I only attended a Coptic Church a few times, before settling on the Greek Church, and they also segergate between man, and woman.

Headscarves and women and men standing on opposite sides (with no seating) is and was done in Syria, not sure if it was the norm in 1950 (for example) or not, but it was more prevalent then, than it is now.

Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #75 on: May 21, 2016, 01:56:40 PM »
Correct me if I am wrong but this tradition of segregation seems more in Slavic Churches than others in Eastern Orthodoxy like Greeks or Arabs. As as far as O.O's go I only attended a Coptic Church a few times, before settling on the Greek Church, and they also segergate between man, and woman.
I remember watching videos where the Syriacs/Malankaras segregated, too, the fellow OO's in this board may confirm. Old Calendarists do it, too, as Fr. Anastasios reported above, so I wonder if there are any canons prescribing that or if it's just a custom endeared by more traditional communities.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2016, 02:26:01 PM by RaphaCam »
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Offline Hinterlander

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #76 on: May 21, 2016, 02:22:47 PM »
I have not seen this sort of segregation in the several OCA and AOCANA parishes I've visited.

Offline Velsigne

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #77 on: May 21, 2016, 02:23:49 PM »
I've only seen the separation of men and women at monasteries.

The nice thing about not separating is that those families that enjoy the presence of their husband / father in church, if they stand together he can help manage the children and not leave it up to one spouse. 

So, if they have two or three daughters, it's not all on the mother to manage children during the service and vice versa. 

Of course some cultures seem to be stricter with children and seemingly have fewer problems during services, but American children can get out of hand very quickly and just spend the entire service chatting and playing and screaming and crying and whining and running to the rest room and whatnot.

Or, perhaps with segregation others standing with the parent help with children if the parent is overwhelmed with trying to attend services with three or four children alone?

"Cultural" behavior may also be linked to dietary practice.  The standard American diet today does not provide good mental or physical health.   Too much sugar and processed food.

That is very true about current American culture. 

But back in the dark ages, during the 1960's when I was a kid, American parents were much more strict with their children about their behavior in public and especially in church.  I still remember the lectures I got from my parents that I better go to the bathroom BEFORE church started because once the service started, I was required to stay there until it was over.  And my parents were not unusually strict.  It was pretty much standard practice at the time.  Another thing, we were not allowed to bring toys (esp. noisy toys) or cheerios or any snacks to church then.  It was UNTHINKABLE.  Nobody snacked in church then, it was considered rude and disrespectful, not to mention messy.  If you were hungry, you simply had to wait until the service was over and that was that. And one last thing, parents of my generation did not have to explain to me why I should obey them.  Obeying them was inherent in their authority as parents. When told to do something, especially in church, we always obeyed them.  Now when we got home, we were allowed to ask why.  But not during church.  Asking why then was considered sassy, rude, and disrespectful to your parent's authority. If I had dared to ask my parents why I had to do something they told me in church, I would have gotten a firm, whispered answer, "Because I told you so, young man!"  and a look of firm parental disdain.  If I had persisted in that questioning or refused to obey them outright, I would have been quietly escorted to the narthex of the church and been given a good spanking.  There was no "time out" back then.  And kids in public places (and even the public schools then) were remarkably well-behaved on the whole, and when occasional outbreaks of bratty and snotty behavior by children occurred, they were usually dealt  with immediately and firmly.

How I wish the parents in my parish would control the behavior of their feral children. We have loud, disruptive, disrespectful children that wonder all over the nave like free range chickens and their parents act totally oblivious.  Sometime the parents will even (and I think quite mistakenly) hand the child a Divine Liturgy book (apparently to "entertain" the child, because they are all too young to read), and the child will make a toy out of it, even swinging it by the silk ribbon book marker round and round like some medieval knight with a mace.  You have to see it to believe it.  Sometimes the parents will hand little boys taper candles (again to 'entertain them, apparently) which the boys will use to engage in a mock sword fight, breaking the candle into several pieces and generally making quite a nuisance of themselves. Sometimes our bored children are even allowed by their parents to wander through the choir area during the Divine Liturgy and these children (oblivious to the fact that the area is already occupied by adults), will simply wander through like cattle, stepping on the feet of the adults in the choir and jostling the music stands.  I actually stopped singing in the choir because nothing was done about this and I found it incredibly disrespectful and distracting.

A number of years ago, we had a real brat wondering through the choir during Liturgy and he got mad that his mother was paying attention to her singing (instead of him) and when she finally bent down to speak to the little angel, he slapped her across the face in anger.  I witnessed it myself, along with several other people in the choir. And not only did the Mother not discipline her little boy (he was about 3 years old), she actually apologized to him for upsetting him.  Think about that.  He got to slap Mommy across the face in church and she apologized to him.  And why wonder why we are raising a nation of spoiled brats.

I'm sorry to hear that is occurring at your parish.  Has anyone addressed this with the priest? 

We don't have issues to that degree, but still, recently we had a kind and encouraging word from our priest to parents about how we raise our children and expect good behavior: what is acceptable and not during Liturgy.  Food, for example, shouldn't be in the nave.  The mothers who struggle alone with three or four children can sometimes find that sort of talk very discouraging and saddening.  We should be looking to help manage children as a community in a loving responsible way, not leaving them to struggle alone. 

We have more children than adults in our parish if my impression is accurate.

The parents with the best behaved children set strong consistent boundaries with their children.  This takes people working together toward a goal. 

He also reminded us that Liturgy by definition means the work of the people, it isn't play time at all, it's a type of work. 

Some parishes have gotten around the problem by removing children from the service for Sunday School, which means they and their teachers miss out on Liturgy.  We don't do that, but set the bar higher for children.  In this day and age, when the attention span of a child has been programmed to be the exact length between commercials on the television, what a great favor we are providing them to train them to be able to attend to something to a far greater degree. 

And yes, every public school teacher knows exactly how long they can keep a child's attention, and they have shown that indeed the attention span, the brain has been trained by television viewing.  So they design their curriculum around that cultural problem.  They get tiny little windows throughout the day to actually insert education into brains that should be able to absorb far more.

I get you about the generational differences since I grew up in an approximate era. 

I also remember that sugary snacks were rarely an option, sodas almost non-existent.  Nearly all food was prepared.  Our entire generation was unbelievably thin compared to today, and that was normal. 

Stand together or not, seems like there is bigger fish to fry.  When in Rome...

I think our parish is blessed with many healthy families, may it be so for your parish as well. 
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Then it is done, no matter how brave its warriors nor how strong their weapons -- Cheyenne proverb

Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #78 on: May 21, 2016, 02:34:52 PM »
Correct me if I am wrong but this tradition of segregation seems more in Slavic Churches than others in Eastern Orthodoxy like Greeks or Arabs. As as far as O.O's go I only attended a Coptic Church a few times, before settling on the Greek Church, and they also segergate between man, and woman.
I remember watching videos where the Syriacs/Malankaras segregated, too, the fellow OO's in this board may confirm. Old Calendarists do it, too, as Fr. Anastasios reported above, so I wonder if there are any canons prescribing that or if it's just a custom endeared by more traditional communities.
Also, more pertinently than mentioning the Malankara custom (which Mor said above), I recall watching a video where the individual prayers for forgiveness (the husoyo, IIRC) in the Malankara Church were first administered to men, and only then to women. Gebre reported it too, so I wonder if segregation is more "standard" among OO's.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2016, 02:35:53 PM by RaphaCam »
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Offline Minnesotan

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #79 on: May 21, 2016, 02:36:33 PM »
In response to all the judgmentalism that's popped up on this thread, I would like to offer this quote:

Quote
"What pleased me most about a Greek Orthodox Mass I once attended was that there seemed to be no prescribed behavior for the congregation. Some stood, some knelt, some sat, some walked; one crawled about the floor like a caterpillar. And the beauty of it was that nobody took the slightest notice of what anyone else was doing. I wish we Anglicans would follow their example. One meets people who are perturbed because someone in the next pew does, or does not, cross himself. They oughn’t even to have seen, let alone censured. “Who art thou that judgest Another’s Servant?” - C. S. Lewis
I'm not going to be posting as much on OC.Net as before. I might stop in once in a while though. But I've come to realize that real life is more important.

Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #80 on: May 21, 2016, 02:41:55 PM »
Quote
one crawled about the floor like a caterpillar
Baby, penance or LSD?
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Offline CarolS

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #81 on: May 21, 2016, 02:44:00 PM »
Correct me if I am wrong but this tradition of segregation seems more in Slavic Churches than others in Eastern Orthodoxy like Greeks or Arabs. As as far as O.O's go I only attended a Coptic Church a few times, before settling on the Greek Church, and they also segergate between man, and woman.

It was the tradition in Greek Churches in the USA for men and women to stand separately until about the 1960's when it seems modern ideas began to hold more weight than tradition. When the Roman Catholics decided that head coverings for women were unnecessary, most Americans took this simply to be a question of women's fashion, so the Greeks followed suit and women stopped covering their heads in Church except for the old Yiayias in black. There was an overwhelming desire among the Greeks to be like the rest of America.  And so now we also have mixed congregations, pews, organs, etc., and most people have no memory of what was normal in the Church for over 1900 years.
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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #82 on: May 21, 2016, 02:45:36 PM »
Also, more pertinently than mentioning the Malankara custom (which Mor said above), I recall watching a video where the individual prayers for forgiveness (the husoyo, IIRC) in the Malankara Church were first administered to men, and only then to women. Gebre reported it too, so I wonder if segregation is more "standard" among OO's.

I think people tend to look at their local parish's practice, assume that to be the default Tradition, and then examine alternative practices against that.  That can be, but is not always, accurate.

I would say yes, "segregation" is more "standard" among OO's than, say, among EO in the United States.  But that's more a factor of EO in the US being more likely to imitate the religious practice of those around them than anything else.  I've been to "segregated" EO parishes and monasteries in America, and it's probably more common "back home". 
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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #83 on: May 21, 2016, 02:54:41 PM »
"As long as backflesh is available, there shall be temptation."

-Yim (paraphrase)
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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #84 on: May 21, 2016, 02:59:05 PM »
"As long as backflesh is available, there shall be temptation."

-Yim (paraphrase)

What an auspicious day to conjure up his spirit! 
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Offline BrotherBoris

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #85 on: May 21, 2016, 02:59:09 PM »
Our priest has addressed it numerous times in the parish newsletter, and in words of admonition to the congregation after liturgy. He has even posted signs on the door into the nave about it.  He has started requiring parents to accompany all small children that leave the nave to go to the bathroom during the liturgy.  And that has cut down on some of the more frequent exiting and disruption. 

Our biggest problem is getting the ladies in the choir to not chat amongst themselves during the Divine Liturgy. We have a group of women that simply insist on having an on-going conversation throughout the entire Divine Liturgy, even during the most solemn prayers.  It has gotten so bad that Father sometimes reminds them during his sermon that they need to serve the church by singing the liturgy and not chatting.  That will usually solve the problem for about two weeks.  Then they start up again with their on-going, non-stop commentary on the entire Divine Liturgy. On occasion if they sing something wrong one particular loud-mouthed lady in the choir will actually comment out loud, "well, we really messed up that one, didn't we?"  This woman means well, but she just can't shut up.

One of the worst brats we had in recent memory was the assistant priest's son.    This little boy (about three years old) would deliberately go limp on his mother when she tried to make him behave and she'd pick him up and carry him around like an infant.  The kid was so miserably defiant he would ignore the requests of the other adults in the church to behave himself and openly make faces and stick up his tongue at his dad (again our assistant priest) when his Dad was censing the church.  He would give his mother defiant looks like "I know you don't mean business" and "you don't dare touch me."  Trust me, the Russians in our parish have a much more authoritarian view of child-rearing and have told me privately that they are appalled by this. Some of the older American members of our parish have more old fashioned ideas about the discipline of children and have privately told me they are embarrassed by this situation.  Eventually the bishop transferred our assistant to another parish so we don't have this problem anymore.

I am reluctant to speak to any parents about this because I don't want to single them out and make them feel unwelcome. Plus there is a time and place for everything, and if I cannot speak to someone privately and discreetly about this, I am certainly not going to make a scene in church about it when it occurs. And all of our parents not that incredibly permissive.  We have one very large family (with something like NINE children - all very close in age as well) and they are remarkably well-behaved because Mom and Dad have trained them so well that all they have to do is give these kids a look of disapproval and they straighten up immediately. On the rare occasion that one of their nine kids acts up, I have seen the Father not hesitate for an instance to take the offending child outside immediately.  I don't know what the Father does when he takes them outside because I've never followed him to see.  But whatever he does, it works because the kid comes back in and is remarkably well-behaved for the rest of the Liturgy.  Sometime I have secretly wished these parents of the nine kids would teach a class on how to manage your unruly children in church. ;)
« Last Edit: May 21, 2016, 03:00:47 PM by BrotherBoris »

Offline seekeroftruth777

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Re: Sexual Segregation in church
« Reply #86 on: May 21, 2016, 03:00:13 PM »
"As long as backflesh is available, there shall be temptation."

-Yim (paraphrase)

ahh the memories of the burquini posts  ;D