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Author Topic: "New" Order of the Baptismal Liturgy published by Moscow  (Read 5066 times) Average Rating: 0
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pensateomnia
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« on: October 28, 2009, 01:17:39 PM »

I've been rooting around the library recently and discovered something very interesting: An official liturgical book published by the Patriarchate of Moscow in 2000 that is called The Order of the Baptismal Liturgy (sorry, don't know how to do Cyrillic letters on here).

Basically, it excises all of the rites that were originally performed on other days (e.g. the entrance to the catechumenate, exorcisms, allegiance to Christ, recitation of Creed, tonsuring, etc.), and places the actual Baptism and Chrismation right after the "Blessed is the Kingdom". Once the Chrismation is finished, the priest reads the prayer for the thrice-holy hymn at the font. Then the choir sings "All you who have been baptized..." while the priest processes around the font three times with the newly baptized and sponsors. After that, the priest and deacon go to the Beautiful Gates, the priest reads the entrance prayer, the deacon proclaims "Wisdom", the clergy enters into the sanctuary, the choir sings a final "All you who have been baptized..." and then there is the Epistle reading. The Liturgy continues on from there.

Pretty amazing. My question: Does anyone know how widely adopted, if at all, this rite is in Russia?
« Last Edit: October 28, 2009, 01:19:22 PM by pensateomnia » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2009, 04:48:51 PM »

I don't know how it is done in Russia. To weeks ago I witnessed a baptism when exorcism were done right before the Liturgy and the baptism and chrismation in the very same time you've quoted.
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« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2009, 06:34:52 PM »

I've been rooting around the library recently and discovered something very interesting: An official liturgical book published by the Patriarchate of Moscow in 2000 that is called The Order of the Baptismal Liturgy (sorry, don't know how to do Cyrillic letters on here).

Basically, it excises all of the rites that were originally performed on other days (e.g. the entrance to the catechumenate, exorcisms, allegiance to Christ, recitation of Creed, tonsuring, etc.), and places the actual Baptism and Chrismation right after the "Blessed is the Kingdom". Once the Chrismation is finished, the priest reads the prayer for the thrice-holy hymn at the font. Then the choir sings "All you who have been baptized..." while the priest processes around the font three times with the newly baptized and sponsors. After that, the priest and deacon go to the Beautiful Gates, the priest reads the entrance prayer, the deacon proclaims "Wisdom", the clergy enters into the sanctuary, the choir sings a final "All you who have been baptized..." and then there is the Epistle reading. The Liturgy continues on from there.

Pretty amazing. My question: Does anyone know how widely adopted, if at all, this rite is in Russia?

I have seen this done a few times in the Serbian church.  Interestingly, there was always a hierarch involved...so i'm wondering if it was done during the liturgy b/c of oikonomia. 
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« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2009, 06:48:43 PM »

Baptisms during the DL were very common in the early centuries of the Church, especially during the Paschal Liturgy. The rubrics shouldn't be too hard to find.
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« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2009, 08:22:59 PM »

The rubrics aren't the issue (although a tremendous amount of research did go into this publication...this isn't the kind of thing you can google).

What I find notable is the fact that it is an official liturgical book, approved by the Holy Synod for use in its churches. Anybody can write a paper on Baptism in the Barberini Codex. This is something entirely different: real-life, official liturgical reform.
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« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2009, 08:36:11 PM »

This is something entirely different: real-life, official liturgical reform.

Does that not usually happen in Orthodoxy?  How is it that the services have historically been changed, then?
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« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2009, 07:55:17 AM »

It hasn't really happened in the last 300+ years, especially not on this magnitude -- and certainly not with this level of scholarship behind it. The last major change happened during the Nikonian Reforms, which the hierarchs thought was a "return to the sources", but was actually largely based on the late practices that ended up getting printed in Venice in the early 1600s. Of course, Orthodox scholars have been writing about older practices surrounding Baptism and Chrismation since the 1890s, but this is the very first time that an actual Synod has officially promulgated a comprehensively revised rite, as far as I know.

Fr. Alexander Schmemman had done a lot of work when he was the chair of a committee for the OCA to address liturgical matters in the late 70s -- although his reforms would have gone much further -- but he was shot down by one of the hierarchs at the time and nothing ever happened.

Hierarchical bodies don't want to be seen as "innovators."
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« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2009, 04:57:56 PM »

I just can't see how baptisms would have been done during the liturgy knowing that they were formerly done in the nude.
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« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2009, 05:06:27 PM »

This is something entirely different: real-life, official liturgical reform.

Does that not usually happen in Orthodoxy?  How is it that the services have historically been changed, then?

Sure it does, it happens more often than you think.  If you want to go the Liturgical Theology route then one can easily say baptisms at one time were central to the community and shared by all and that private baptisms/chrismation reduced the role and in the eyes of the community the importance of these sacraments that were once celebrated as a communal experience. 
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« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2009, 05:11:48 PM »

In 30 years as an Orthodox Christian, I have been to many baptisms, both of infants and adults.  One was done on a Sunday afternoon,  the rest always took place in the context of the Divine Liturgy.  As far as I know, this is the normal practice of the OCS Diocese of the South.  When are baptisms done where you live?
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« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2009, 05:12:52 PM »

Sorry, that should be OCA.  Oh, and there were two baptisms performed in a creek that happened outside the liturgy.
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« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2009, 05:31:56 PM »

When I was Byzantine Catholic, we had a few baptismal liturgies. While the idea seems nice, I always found them distracting.  Also, especially with adults, it may be a little "too much" attention.
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« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2009, 05:51:14 PM »

In 30 years as an Orthodox Christian, I have been to many baptisms, both of infants and adults.  One was done on a Sunday afternoon,  the rest always took place in the context of the Divine Liturgy.  As far as I know, this is the normal practice of the OCS Diocese of the South.  When are baptisms done where you live?

Are you sure you are not confusing a baptism which occurs immediately before a liturgy with a baptism done during the liturgy? I ask because I've been a parishoner at the Diocese of the South cathedral for something like 14 years, and while I have seen many occasions (every Holy Saturday and a few times at other parishes in the diocese) where one or more baptisms were done in the morning and were immediately followed by the start of the liturgy, I don't recall ever seeing a baptism actually within the liturgy (and I have heard both Vladika and our priests mention that the ancient practice was to do the baptism in the liturgy, but don't recall them ever referencing it as something we still do today).
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« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2009, 07:12:50 PM »

Well, witega, now that you mention it, I suppose that's the case.  I reread the OP and no, it's not done like that.  Instead, it is as you say.  Sorry for the confusion.


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« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2009, 07:26:15 PM »

I have been to a few baptisms during a DL (one DL was for a baptism and a funeral). I've been to one wedding during a DL.  Countless chrismations during DL: we have several every Pascha.  That is as it should be (except confession: that was removed for a reason), and you can see elements of all the Holy Mysteries and the DL to show that DL was the context of celebrating the Holy Mysteries, not just ordination as it is now.  I think that Holy Unction is the only one which may have always taken place outside a DL (during Compline instead).
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« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2009, 07:37:35 PM »

Wow...just finished a paper last night on Baptism's being a communal, ecclesial event.  So happy to see this.  Glory to God.
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« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2009, 10:44:19 AM »

I have been to a few baptisms during a DL (one DL was for a baptism and a funeral). I've been to one wedding during a DL.  Countless chrismations during DL: we have several every Pascha.

Yeah, I've been to several before as well, especially chrismations. But, from a liturgics point of view, the order of those services was quite ad hoc -- just made up by the priest himself, occasionally with reference to the recommendations of a learned but still unofficial editorial committee (a la New Skete).

To me, this takes it to a much different level, since it is a carefully researched set of rubrics promulgated by a Patriarchal Synod.
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« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2009, 11:06:12 AM »

I have been to a few baptisms during a DL (one DL was for a baptism and a funeral). I've been to one wedding during a DL.  Countless chrismations during DL: we have several every Pascha.

Yeah, I've been to several before as well, especially chrismations. But, from a liturgics point of view, the order of those services was quite ad hoc -- just made up by the priest himself, occasionally with reference to the recommendations of a learned but still unofficial editorial committee (a la New Skete).

To me, this takes it to a much different level, since it is a carefully researched set of rubrics promulgated by a Patriarchal Synod.
I agree.  Might it be the great number of baptisms going on that prompted the need for some order?
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« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2009, 12:15:47 PM »

I agree.  Might it be the great number of baptisms going on that prompted the need for some order?

Dunno. My general impression is that Muscovite priests are not wont to just make up services, even if for a particular theological reason. But Russia is an unimaginably massive federation of countries/provinces with many cultures, so who knows what happens in Kamchatka (aside from volcanic explosions)?

I do know that there was a movement in the early 20th century, sparked by scholarship started in the 1890s, to revise the DL. Supposedly, there was a proposal to reinstate the use of a central ambo, and all that entailed, which was going to be discussed during the All-Russian Sobor of 1917, but there were obviously more pressing things.
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