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DavidH
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« on: September 02, 2009, 11:06:09 PM »

Is the use of the orans position in private prayer by Orthodox laity still common in the Middle East/ Meditterranean? It seems common in iconography and in the early Church but I am not sure whether it has ever been widespread among the Slavs.
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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2009, 11:12:03 PM »

If I can tack on a question to this thread, is it okay to open our hands in the Orans position during Liturgy?
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2009, 11:13:18 PM »

Is the use of the orans position in private prayer by Orthodox laity still common in the Middle East/ Meditterranean? It seems common in iconography and in the early Church but I am not sure whether it has ever been widespread among the Slavs.

I have seen a few Russian and Serb priests with their arms and hands in an orans position during the Anaphora.  It seems to be spontaneous.

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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2009, 11:14:31 PM »

But what about the laity?  I only do this at home when alone so as not to draw attention to myself during services, but it is common in some parishes?
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« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2009, 11:18:31 PM »

Is this what we are all meaning by the orans position?

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« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2009, 11:30:31 PM »

Yes, that is the position. My understanding is that publically this is something only the priest does in the Russian tradition. However laity do it in Middle Eastern and Coptic traditions especially during the Our Father. As far as private prayer is concerned I think it is the normal prayer position in those traditions as it has always been.
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« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2009, 11:37:38 PM »

Is this what we are all meaning by the orans position?

That's the one!
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« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2009, 03:50:06 AM »

I have seen a few Russian and Serb priests with their arms and hands in an orans position during the Anaphora.  It seems to be spontaneous.

Almost every Priest I've seen does it.
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« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2009, 07:48:04 AM »

I have seen a few Russian and Serb priests with their arms and hands in an orans position during the Anaphora.  It seems to be spontaneous.

Almost every Priest I've seen does it.

In the Coptic Liturgy the rubrics tell the priest to stand like that for the prayer of thanksgiving. When one priest went for his 40 day training in the monastary, he said his teacher kept hitting his hands and telling him to hold them higher.
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« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2009, 08:20:44 AM »

Elder Arsenie Boca was asked about this and said he didn't dare to use that position, but instead he used the position with his hands held together, which expresses humility.
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« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2009, 09:04:53 AM »

If I can tack on a question to this thread, is it okay to open our hands in the Orans position during Liturgy?

Dunno, but it's a sure fire way to identify converts from Catholicism (if they do it during the Lord's Prayer).

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« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2009, 10:37:53 AM »

If I can tack on a question to this thread, is it okay to open our hands in the Orans position during Liturgy?

Dunno, but it's a sure fire way to identify converts from Catholicism (if they do it during the Lord's Prayer).



My entire parish does this (it is not a convert parish; it was founded by Lebanese immigrants). So I don't think it's a sure fire way to identify converts.
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« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2009, 09:51:33 PM »

If I can tack on a question to this thread, is it okay to open our hands in the Orans position during Liturgy?

Dunno, but it's a sure fire way to identify converts from Catholicism (if they do it during the Lord's Prayer).



My entire parish does this (it is not a convert parish; it was founded by Lebanese immigrants). So I don't think it's a sure fire way to identify converts.

In my parish a few people do it and in the Antiochian parish in town, which has almost no coverts, almost everybody does it.


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« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2009, 02:04:34 AM »

I think the laity doing an orans during the Lord's Prayer is a Latin piety, so I'm not surprised those in the Middle East subject to the Crusades may use said piety while other Orthodox Christians do not.
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« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2009, 08:00:35 AM »

I think the laity doing an orans during the Lord's Prayer is a Latin piety, so I'm not surprised those in the Middle East subject to the Crusades may use said piety while other Orthodox Christians do not.

Except that this position is very common in iconography from the catacombs on, and is described in detail by various ante-Nicene and post-Nicene writers, and in Scripture as well. I think the characteristic Latin practice (actually probably Frankish) is praying on your knees with hands clasped.
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« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2009, 07:46:04 PM »

I think the laity doing an orans during the Lord's Prayer is a Latin piety, so I'm not surprised those in the Middle East subject to the Crusades may use said piety while other Orthodox Christians do not.

Except that this position is very common in iconography from the catacombs on, and is described in detail by various ante-Nicene and post-Nicene writers, and in Scripture as well. I think the characteristic Latin practice (actually probably Frankish) is praying on your knees with hands clasped.

I think it is traditional in Latin practice to say the Lord's Prayer standing in the orans position. I know that the orans shows up in Eastern iconography, but I have never experienced Orthodox people using the orans during the Lord's Prayer. The fact that the Middle East is the only place this is done, and that the Middle East was the object of the Crusades and the area where we see numerous other Latin influences all leads me to believe that this was introduced into Middle Eastern Orthodoxy by the Crusaders.
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« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2009, 08:09:00 PM »

If I can tack on a question to this thread, is it okay to open our hands in the Orans position during Liturgy?
Dunno, but it's a sure fire way to identify converts from Catholicism (if they do it during the Lord's Prayer).
Not necessarily. In my parish, there are quite a few of us who are converts from Pentecostalism who use it.
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« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2009, 08:42:13 PM »

  The Latins re-introduced the ancient practice after Vatican 2 because that is how it was done in the Middle East and, along the the nuttiness they introduced at that time, they also borrowed some Eastern practices hoping to bridge the gulf and seek reunion with the East.
  That the Middle East is the main place this is done could testify to its antiquity at least as easily as "Crusader influence" in Outremer. All the more so since icons of saints throughout the Meditteranean from the catacombs onwards use the position. I doubt that the Virgin in the Icon of the Sign was inspired by the Crusaders :-)
  We also have several early Christian sources describing the orans in detail as the common practice: Origen, Tertullian, and St. Nilus of Ancyra come immediately to mind. Origen called it the preferred position used by most Christians, Tertullian liked it because it made our whole bodies a "sign of the cross", and St. Nilus of Ancyra wrote in his first epistle: "...it is helpful to pray at most times with hands spread out in the form of a cross. For in that way we are blessed by God and we also bless others."
  It is certainly not the only position and each culture seems to have adopted its main prayer posture as the one to use. But I think the evidence will not allow the original and apparently nearly universal prayer position to be dismissed as a Latin innovation.
 
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« Reply #18 on: September 07, 2009, 09:04:12 PM »

Our priests always do this at a certain point in the liturgy too. I always thought it very beautiful. There are a couple parishioners I've noticed at vespers holding their hands out in front, palms up, while praying. They were Russian people, not North American converts.
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« Reply #19 on: September 07, 2009, 09:28:04 PM »

I may have miss understood, but I think in the Old Rite Church's the laity hold their hands in such a position when the Deacon or Priest blesses them with incense.
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« Reply #20 on: September 07, 2009, 09:42:11 PM »

Oh, that's interesting, Marc! Yes, these people often adopt this position while the priest is censing! I sometimes notice some people crossing themselves in the Old Believer manner too at my parish.
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« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2009, 09:54:25 PM »

My dedyshka, while facing his icon corner, prayed silently with his palms facing upward for what seemed like hours.

I’ve seen Orthodox in many jurisdictions (an elderly presbytera, antiochians, OCA and ROCOR and none were converts) pray like this during the Lord’s prayer and also at “Let us lift up our hearts”.

Many place their arms across their chest in the form of a cross while bowing during censing and during bows back to the priest (Brothers and sisters forgive me.....) Is this from Old Believers' traditions or is this because the priest also crosses his arms?
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« Reply #22 on: September 07, 2009, 10:14:12 PM »

The last two replies are very helpful, thank you! I think that this is also the normal position in Scripture as well. We are constantly told to "Rise and pray" or that someone "stood praying" testifying to the Orthodox practice of normally praying while standing up. For the orans postion there are also verses such as:
"Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice." Ps. 140:2
"Mine eyes are dimmed from poverty; but I cried to thee, O Lord, all the day; I spread forth my hands to thee." Ps 87:9
"And I lifted up my hands to thy commandments which I loved; and I meditated in thine ordinances." Ps 118:48
"I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting." 1 Tim 2:8
"Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees" Heb 12:12



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« Reply #23 on: September 07, 2009, 10:17:56 PM »

My dedyshka, while facing his icon corner, prayed silently with his palms facing upward for what seemed like hours.

I’ve seen Orthodox in many jurisdictions (an elderly presbytera, antiochians, OCA and ROCOR and none were converts) pray like this during the Lord’s prayer and also at “Let us lift up our hearts”.

Many place their arms across their chest in the form of a cross while bowing during censing and during bows back to the priest (Brothers and sisters forgive me.....) Is this from Old Believers' traditions or is this because the priest also crosses his arms?
I wonder if this may be derived from how we receive Communion:  arms crossed over chest with right arm over left.
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« Reply #24 on: September 07, 2009, 11:16:31 PM »

Yes, and as Ms. H. was implying I think, we also fold our arms over our chest immediately after we have venerated the icon of the Theotokos and turned to bow before the person behind us in line right before we go to confession. Is that how everyone here does it too?
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« Reply #25 on: September 08, 2009, 12:06:33 AM »

Yes, and as Ms. H. was implying I think, we also fold our arms over our chest immediately after we have venerated the icon of the Theotokos and turned to bow before the person behind us in line right before we go to confession. Is that how everyone here does it too?

Confession line or communion line? ^^ Do your parishioners always go to confession immediately before receiving communion? There are parishes near me where this is practiced. In my parish individuals determine how often they need to go to confession but if you don’t go every couple of months, the priest gives you his “special look” so you go ASAP....hehe.

Is making 3 metonias before going up to receive communion an Old Believers' tradition? Forgive me.  I assume many practices with bows might be from Old Believers' traditions....not from Old Believers' sneaking in to take communion at my church. (yes, I know that one has joined ROCOR)  Do you ever see this, Roseship?  How close in proximity is your parish to an Old Believers' community?  Mine is about 2 hours.  I've always thought it would be very interesting to attend a service there but never have done this and don't know if I would be a bothersome "tourist"?  Old Russian proverb:  An uninvited guest is worse than a Tartar.
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« Reply #26 on: September 08, 2009, 12:53:48 AM »

Yes, and as Ms. H. was implying I think, we also fold our arms over our chest immediately after we have venerated the icon of the Theotokos and turned to bow before the person behind us in line right before we go to confession. Is that how everyone here does it too?

Confession line or communion line? ^^ Do your parishioners always go to confession immediately before receiving communion? There are parishes near me where this is practiced. In my parish individuals determine how often they need to go to confession but if you don’t go every couple of months, the priest gives you his “special look” so you go ASAP....hehe.

Is making 3 metonias before going up to receive communion an Old Believers' tradition? Forgive me.  I assume many practices with bows might be from Old Believers' traditions....not from Old Believers' sneaking in to take communion at my church. (yes, I know that one has joined ROCOR)  Do you ever see this, Roseship?  How close in proximity is your parish to an Old Believers' community?  Mine is about 2 hours.  I've always thought it would be very interesting to attend a service there but never have done this and don't know if I would be a bothersome "tourist"?  Old Russian proverb:  An uninvited guest is worse than a Tartar.
Depending on the Old Believer parish, they may require you to stand in the narthex as a heretic.
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« Reply #27 on: September 08, 2009, 02:46:34 AM »

Yes, and as Ms. H. was implying I think, we also fold our arms over our chest immediately after we have venerated the icon of the Theotokos and turned to bow before the person behind us in line right before we go to confession. Is that how everyone here does it too?

I saw many people turning and bowing in front of the person after them with arms crossed on their chests to ask for forgiveness before confession.
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« Reply #28 on: September 08, 2009, 03:43:07 PM »

Oh, that's interesting, Marc! Yes, these people often adopt this position while the priest is censing! I sometimes notice some people crossing themselves in the Old Believer manner too at my parish.

How kosher is it to cross oneself in the Old Rite manner ( Two Finger) in a new Rite Church?
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« Reply #29 on: September 08, 2009, 03:47:46 PM »

Yes, and as Ms. H. was implying I think, we also fold our arms over our chest immediately after we have venerated the icon of the Theotokos and turned to bow before the person behind us in line right before we go to confession. Is that how everyone here does it too?

Confession line or communion line? ^^ Do your parishioners always go to confession immediately before receiving communion? There are parishes near me where this is practiced. In my parish individuals determine how often they need to go to confession but if you don't go every couple of months, the priest gives you his “special look” so you go ASAP....hehe.

Is making 3 metonias before going up to receive communion an Old Believers' tradition? Forgive me.  I assume many practices with bows might be from Old Believers' traditions....not from Old Believers' sneaking in to take communion at my church. (yes, I know that one has joined ROCOR)  Do you ever see this, Roseship?  How close in proximity is your parish to an Old Believers' community?  Mine is about 2 hours.  I've always thought it would be very interesting to attend a service there but never have done this and don't know if I would be a bothersome "tourist"?  Old Russian proverb:  An uninvited guest is worse than a Tartar.

I plan to go the the Erie  Old Rite Church sometime soon. I have a friend who has been visiting there on and off for about 15 years.. I'll report back.
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« Reply #30 on: September 08, 2009, 07:17:36 PM »

Yes, and as Ms. H. was implying I think, we also fold our arms over our chest immediately after we have venerated the icon of the Theotokos and turned to bow before the person behind us in line right before we go to confession. Is that how everyone here does it too?

Confession line or communion line? ^^ Do your parishioners always go to confession immediately before receiving communion? There are parishes near me where this is practiced. In my parish individuals determine how often they need to go to confession but if you don't go every couple of months, the priest gives you his “special look” so you go ASAP....hehe.

Is making 3 metonias before going up to receive communion an Old Believers' tradition? Forgive me.  I assume many practices with bows might be from Old Believers' traditions....not from Old Believers' sneaking in to take communion at my church. (yes, I know that one has joined ROCOR)  Do you ever see this, Roseship?  How close in proximity is your parish to an Old Believers' community?  Mine is about 2 hours.  I've always thought it would be very interesting to attend a service there but never have done this and don't know if I would be a bothersome "tourist"?  Old Russian proverb:  An uninvited guest is worse than a Tartar.

I plan to go the the Erie  Old Rite Church sometime soon. I have a friend who has been visiting there on and off for about 15 years.. I'll report back.
Thanks! Please tell us which Old Believers’ church you visited. Here is a photo of the Church of the Nativity
http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelsensor/520848081

Here is Holy Trinity Orthodox Church.
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2366/2143025650_ea44676db4.jpg?v=0



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« Reply #31 on: September 08, 2009, 07:38:11 PM »

Yes, just as Mike said, we also bow before the person behind us in line for confession,asking their forgiveness. Many people go to confession weekly here.

I actually see all kinds of crossings here. Mostly standard, but some Old Believer and some RC. I didn't know there was a problem with it.

AFAIK, we are about a two hour drive from the Erie community. I also think we should be most welcome to attend services as they are part of ROCOR I think. I can't see any problems. One of my friends had planned to go and had invited me along, but it never worked out, for some reason.

I viisted an Old Believer parish in Kyiv when I was living there. It was an interesting experience. Matushka was very friendly towards me.
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« Reply #32 on: September 08, 2009, 07:56:48 PM »

Yes, and as Ms. H. was implying I think, we also fold our arms over our chest immediately after we have venerated the icon of the Theotokos and turned to bow before the person behind us in line right before we go to confession. Is that how everyone here does it too?

Confession line or communion line? ^^ Do your parishioners always go to confession immediately before receiving communion? There are parishes near me where this is practiced. In my parish individuals determine how often they need to go to confession but if you don’t go every couple of months, the priest gives you his “special look” so you go ASAP....hehe.

Is making 3 metonias before going up to receive communion an Old Believers' tradition? Forgive me.  I assume many practices with bows might be from Old Believers' traditions....not from Old Believers' sneaking in to take communion at my church. (yes, I know that one has joined ROCOR)  Do you ever see this, Roseship?  How close in proximity is your parish to an Old Believers' community?  Mine is about 2 hours.  I've always thought it would be very interesting to attend a service there but never have done this and don't know if I would be a bothersome "tourist"?  Old Russian proverb:  An uninvited guest is worse than a Tartar.

I learned to do this in my old Ruthenian Catholic parish, so it may be a Carpatho-Rusyn thing.  I could be wrong, though.  There are a number of similarities, IIRC, between C-R custom and Old Rituatlist custom.  This could be one of them.
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« Reply #33 on: September 09, 2009, 11:38:30 AM »

Yes, and as Ms. H. was implying I think, we also fold our arms over our chest immediately after we have venerated the icon of the Theotokos and turned to bow before the person behind us in line right before we go to confession. Is that how everyone here does it too?

Confession line or communion line? ^^ Do your parishioners always go to confession immediately before receiving communion? There are parishes near me where this is practiced. In my parish individuals determine how often they need to go to confession but if you don't go every couple of months, the priest gives you his “special look” so you go ASAP....hehe.

Is making 3 metonias before going up to receive communion an Old Believers' tradition? Forgive me.  I assume many practices with bows might be from Old Believers' traditions....not from Old Believers' sneaking in to take communion at my church. (yes, I know that one has joined ROCOR)  Do you ever see this, Roseship?  How close in proximity is your parish to an Old Believers' community?  Mine is about 2 hours.  I've always thought it would be very interesting to attend a service there but never have done this and don't know if I would be a bothersome "tourist"?  Old Russian proverb:  An uninvited guest is worse than a Tartar.

I plan to go the the Erie  Old Rite Church sometime soon. I have a friend who has been visiting there on and off for about 15 years.. I'll report back.


Thanks! Please tell us which Old Believers’ church you visited. Here is a photo of the Church of the Nativity
http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelsensor/520848081

Here is Holy Trinity Orthodox Church.
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2366/2143025650_ea44676db4.jpg?v=0





I am planning a trip to the Church of the Nativity in Erie. My friend is also a Rocor member in my Parish and goes up there often. She will teach me the ropes, so to speak. I am particularly interested in their rite of confession which is a separate service.. I'm an admitted Liturgy Junkie so I like the idea of a five hour service, but we shall see how it goes.i
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Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm
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« Reply #34 on: September 09, 2009, 09:37:42 PM »

If I can tack on a question to this thread, is it okay to open our hands in the Orans position during Liturgy?

Dunno, but it's a sure fire way to identify converts from Catholicism (if they do it during the Lord's Prayer).




My entire parish does this (it is not a convert parish; it was founded by Lebanese immigrants). So I don't think it's a sure fire way to identify converts.

Correct, in the middle eastern practice it has been maintained by the laity, especially during the Lord's prayer.   Northern Slavs, however, find it "strange" since often they will be taught that "only priests do that."   But the northern slav priests tend not to do it during the Lord's prayer, but only during Anaphora. 
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Father H
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« Reply #35 on: September 09, 2009, 09:38:54 PM »

If I can tack on a question to this thread, is it okay to open our hands in the Orans position during Liturgy?

Yes, it is ok. 
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Orthodox11
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« Reply #36 on: September 09, 2009, 10:58:12 PM »

I've pretty much only seen it done among Middle Easterners during the Lord's Prayer, but I frequently see Greeks and others doing it when the priest says "Let us lift up our hearts" and we respond "we have them with the Lord."
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Salpy
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Pray for the Christians of Iraq and Syria.


« Reply #37 on: September 09, 2009, 11:03:19 PM »

It is common among the Armenians during the Lord's Prayer.
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NorthernPines
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« Reply #38 on: September 10, 2009, 11:39:23 AM »

I do it during the Anaphora (let is lift up our hearts, we lift them up to the Lord)....and the Lord's Prayer...We have a few people in my parish that do it at the same times as well, but not everyone. It's a Greek parish but ironically the Catholic converts do NOT do it so...lol!

I've been told that it is VERY common in Churches with large middle eastern congregations. The only Church I wouldn't do it in would be a Russian/Serbian parishes....because I've never seen anyone in those Churches do it and I wouldn't want to scandalize anyone who thought "only the priest" should pray that way. But Mediterranean parishes, I've seen it off and on. Americanized OCA parishes...I've never paid much attention, and cannot remember if I did it there when I recently visited one....Smiley

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