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Offline Alpo

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Question about Armenian traditions
« on: December 05, 2009, 12:23:26 PM »
I was reading a Finnish Pentecostal magazine when I ran into an article about Armenia. Suprisingly the article seemed rather decent and unpolemic even though it made several references to the Armenian Apostolic Church. It didn't contain any mentions of worship of Mary or salvation through works and the writer even seemed to consider Armenian Church as a Christian church. :o However it mentioned two Armenian traditions which sounded rather obscure for an ignorant convert. Firstly it mentioned that it is customary to attach pieces of cloth to neighbouring bushes and trees of churches in order to attain luck. Secondly it claimed that it is customary to sacrifice sheeps to God somewhere near the Geghard monastery. Allegedly these traditions have no theological reasoning but in practice they are accepted by the Armenian Church.

The article was propably fraud and contained misunderstandings since the magazine was Pentecostal but I'd still like to know a little more about these traditions. Do they actually exist? Are they accepted and supported by the Armenian Church?
« Last Edit: December 05, 2009, 12:23:53 PM by Alpo »
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Offline Salpy

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2009, 01:13:23 PM »
Regarding attaching pieces of cloth to trees or bushes near holy places, it is true that it is a custom.  I've never heard, however, that it is to obtain "luck."  I've always interpreted it as a way to leave a little bit of yourself behind before leaving a place of pilgrimage.  I really don't know.  It's not an official teaching of the Church that people are supposed to do that sort of thing.  It's just really a custom or a "popular piety," as some people say.  I heard somewhere that it is one of those customs that goes back to pre-Christian times, and that it has pagan origins, but I can't say for sure.

My friends and I do it whenever we go to St. Antony Coptic Monastery in the Mojave desert in California.  Only we don't use cloth; we use dental floss.   :)  Once when we were doing it, one of the monks saw us.  He didn't say anything, but he gave us an odd look.  I guess Copts don't have that custom.   :)

Regarding the "sacrifice" of sheep, they are referring to something called "Madagh."  I don't know exactly how to translate that word into English, but I would not use "sacrifice," as it has the wrong connotations. 

Basically, it's a blessing service that is said over meat before it is eaten.  You do Madagh on special occasions, like a feast day, wedding or baptism.  It is lamb meat or mutton and it is not supposed to be spiced, except for salt which is specially blessed.  I know someone who was at St. Nerses Seminary and sometimes they would do a Madagh and take the meat over to a homeless shelter.

The "animal sacrifice" accusation comes in because in the Old Country you couldn't just go to the local supermarket and buy your meat all neatly wrapped in cellophane.  It came from an animal and you had to slaughter it before you could eat it.  In the old days, and I think they still do it this way in Armenia, prayers are said over the sheep before it is slaughtered. 

Folk customs have also developed which would probably turn off people from the West, such as brides and grooms stepping in the sheep's blood for good luck, etc.  This is an example of a local village folk custom though, not something the Church tells people to do. 

The priests themselves would not be actually slaughtering the animal, as I think priests are not supposed to ever kill anyone or anything, even an animal.  I've heard more than once that there is a canon saying that a butcher cannot become a priest.
 
Protestants will sometimes refer to Madagh in their polemics, accusing us of still offering animal sacrifices because we don't believe Christ's sacrifice on the cross was enough, etc.  None of that is true, however. 

Madagh is briefly explained here:

http://www.hyeetch.nareg.com.au/religion/feasts_p4.html#Madagh

Offline Alpo

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2009, 06:44:42 AM »
Thank you for the info, Salpy! Even though the information of the article were false it's always interesting to hear about popular piety in different countries. :)
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2015, 07:59:20 AM »
This post and most of the following were split off from the Oriental Orthodox picture of the day thread:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,64055.new.html#lastPost

Salpy



Photos under the heading Madagh ( մատաղը ) - Armenian ritual sacrifice.





« Last Edit: March 25, 2015, 04:50:49 PM by Salpy »

Offline rakovsky

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Offline Aram

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2015, 01:05:45 PM »
Photos under the heading Madagh ( մատաղը ) - Armenian ritual sacrifice.
I was around for one of these in a village in Armenia, and let me tell you, it was quite the thing. Blood everywhere, the head just sitting there...

Later on, they lowered the entire skinned carcass into the pit they usually used for making bread. There was fire shooting ten feet in the air. Tasted great later on.

Offline Antonious Nikolas

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2015, 02:23:50 PM »
What's the significance of displaying the head?
Worship is theology, so a church which brings Evangelical and Charismatic "praise & worship" into its corporate life is no longer Orthodox.  It is, by definition, heterodox.  Those "Orthodox" leaders who make theological arguments for the incorporation of heteropraxis into the life of the Church are heretics.

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Offline wgw

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2015, 03:47:36 PM »
Photos under the heading Madagh ( մատաղը ) - Armenian ritual sacrifice.
I was around for one of these in a village in Armenia, and let me tell you, it was quite the thing. Blood everywhere, the head just sitting there...

Later on, they lowered the entire skinned carcass into the pit they usually used for making bread. There was fire shooting ten feet in the air. Tasted great later on.

I was under the impression that the Madagh was not encouraged by the hierarchy.  The Greek Orthodox have tried to stamp out animal sacrifice traditions that remain in some of the Greek Isles.
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2015, 07:51:33 PM »
What's the significance of displaying the head?

Inquiring minds want to know.






« Last Edit: March 24, 2015, 07:51:45 PM by rakovsky »

Offline Aram

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2015, 07:59:40 PM »
What's the significance of displaying the head?
You have to put it somewhere?

Offline Aram

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2015, 08:04:44 PM »
Photos under the heading Madagh ( մատաղը ) - Armenian ritual sacrifice.
I was around for one of these in a village in Armenia, and let me tell you, it was quite the thing. Blood everywhere, the head just sitting there...

Later on, they lowered the entire skinned carcass into the pit they usually used for making bread. There was fire shooting ten feet in the air. Tasted great later on.

I was under the impression that the Madagh was not encouraged by the hierarchy.  The Greek Orthodox have tried to stamp out animal sacrifice traditions that remain in some of the Greek Isles.
Where do you learn all of this stuff? We're not the Greek Orthodox Church.

Madagh is accepted by the hierarchy because it's an important part of our tradition. Maybe in the New World it's a little unconventional (for instance, my home parish's priest shuddered a bit when some local Bakutsis wanted to slaughter a lamb in the church parking lot after he blessed it. Ultimately, it didn't happen, because it was questionably legal under food safety laws.), but in Armenia and other communities abroad, it's a time-honored, traditional, and routine way of marking a monumental occasion or memorializing the deceased. It happens all the time. I mean, the priest blessed the lamb we slaughtered in the village after he blessed the family's newly-built home.

Offline Salpy

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2015, 08:26:18 PM »
What's the significance of displaying the head?

Inquiring minds want to know.



Rakovsky,

I think this is the second or third time you've brought up the Armenian tradition of Madagh here or in the private forum.  It's been explained to you more than once, and I think in the private forum Isa brought up an instance where he saw a similar custom among Chalcedonian Arabs in the Middle East.  If you or others still have issues with Armenians blessing their meat before they eat it, or issues with the fact that outside the Western World meat doesn't come neatly packaged in cellophane at a supermarket, but rather requires the slaughter of an animal, then perhaps you can look for one of the old Madagh threads and resurrect it.  I'm not saying this as a mod, but as a poster who just doesn't want to see this thread get derailed.  Thanks.   :)
« Last Edit: March 24, 2015, 08:27:35 PM by Salpy »

Offline Salpy

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2015, 08:34:34 PM »
Here is a thread started by Alpo a while back asking about Madagh:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,24746.msg381941.html#msg381941

Offline wgw

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2015, 08:37:31 PM »
Understanding the Madagh as a blessing before a slaughter helps me understand it and have no problems with it.  I'm opposed to voodoo style animal sacrifices where in Benin they will slaughter a goat in the hopes of convincing some malignant Voudon deity like Thron or Mami Wata to grant a specific favor, like success on exams, a bountiful catch of fish or success in a business transaction.  But it's clear the Armenian Madagh is not that at all, but rather a blessed tradition connected to meat consumption, almost like saying grace, but with more blood.  So I am content with it.  Mind you roasting a lamb in the parking lot sounds like a capital idea to me, but I can understand why the priest was not in favor of it.

Moving back on subject, here is a link to the Maronite Syriac iconography:
http://www.maronite-heritage.com/Liturgical%20Year.php
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Offline Antonious Nikolas

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2015, 09:09:34 PM »
What's the significance of displaying the head?
You have to put it somewhere?

Oh, okay.  I thought there was some special significance to the way it was laid out.  I've seen sheep and goats slaughtered lots of times at weddings and stuff like that, but I've never seen any particular importance attached to where the head ended up, which seemed to be what was going on in the pics.  My mistake.
Worship is theology, so a church which brings Evangelical and Charismatic "praise & worship" into its corporate life is no longer Orthodox.  It is, by definition, heterodox.  Those "Orthodox" leaders who make theological arguments for the incorporation of heteropraxis into the life of the Church are heretics.

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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2015, 09:13:25 PM »
That's a great custom! Maybe if we Westerners actually saw the animal being killed and prayed over it, we wouldn't have as much factory farm cruelty.

Then again, I'm unrealistic like that.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2015, 09:13:45 PM by Volnutt »

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2015, 09:13:44 PM »
Photos under the heading Madagh ( մատաղը ) - Armenian ritual sacrifice.
I was around for one of these in a village in Armenia, and let me tell you, it was quite the thing. Blood everywhere, the head just sitting there...

Later on, they lowered the entire skinned carcass into the pit they usually used for making bread. There was fire shooting ten feet in the air. Tasted great later on.

I was under the impression that the Madagh was not encouraged by the hierarchy.  The Greek Orthodox have tried to stamp out animal sacrifice traditions that remain in some of the Greek Isles.
Where do you learn all of this stuff? We're not the Greek Orthodox Church.

Madagh is accepted by the hierarchy because it's an important part of our tradition. Maybe in the New World it's a little unconventional (for instance, my home parish's priest shuddered a bit when some local Bakutsis wanted to slaughter a lamb in the church parking lot after he blessed it. Ultimately, it didn't happen, because it was questionably legal under food safety laws.), but in Armenia and other communities abroad, it's a time-honored, traditional, and routine way of marking a monumental occasion or memorializing the deceased. It happens all the time. I mean, the priest blessed the lamb we slaughtered in the village after he blessed the family's newly-built home.

I often think it's too bad we see Orthodox coming to America to live in the huge urban centers, when life far out in the country could be so beautified by their abilities and traditions. People still laughter their own meat in the American countryside -- laws are different and culture is different -- but the ability and will is rapidly falling away.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2015, 09:14:02 PM by Porter ODoran »
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Offline hecma925

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2015, 12:28:28 AM »
Photos under the heading Madagh ( մատաղը ) - Armenian ritual sacrifice.
I was around for one of these in a village in Armenia, and let me tell you, it was quite the thing. Blood everywhere, the head just sitting there...

Later on, they lowered the entire skinned carcass into the pit they usually used for making bread. There was fire shooting ten feet in the air. Tasted great later on.

I was under the impression that the Madagh was not encouraged by the hierarchy.  The Greek Orthodox have tried to stamp out animal sacrifice traditions that remain in some of the Greek Isles.
Where do you learn all of this stuff? We're not the Greek Orthodox Church.

Madagh is accepted by the hierarchy because it's an important part of our tradition. Maybe in the New World it's a little unconventional (for instance, my home parish's priest shuddered a bit when some local Bakutsis wanted to slaughter a lamb in the church parking lot after he blessed it. Ultimately, it didn't happen, because it was questionably legal under food safety laws.), but in Armenia and other communities abroad, it's a time-honored, traditional, and routine way of marking a monumental occasion or memorializing the deceased. It happens all the time. I mean, the priest blessed the lamb we slaughtered in the village after he blessed the family's newly-built home.

I often think it's too bad we see Orthodox coming to America to live in the huge urban centers, when life far out in the country could be so beautified by their abilities and traditions. People still laughter their own meat in the American countryside -- laws are different and culture is different -- but the ability and will is rapidly falling away.

you can't spell "slaughter" without "laughter".
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Offline Aram

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2015, 12:53:31 AM »
Understanding the Madagh as a blessing before a slaughter helps me understand it and have no problems with it.  I'm opposed to voodoo style animal sacrifices where in Benin they will slaughter a goat in the hopes of convincing some malignant Voudon deity like Thron or Mami Wata to grant a specific favor, like success on exams, a bountiful catch of fish or success in a business transaction.  But it's clear the Armenian Madagh is not that at all, but rather a blessed tradition connected to meat consumption, almost like saying grace, but with more blood.  So I am content with it.  Mind you roasting a lamb in the parking lot sounds like a capital idea to me, but I can understand why the priest was not in favor of it.

Moving back on subject, here is a link to the Maronite Syriac iconography:
http://www.maronite-heritage.com/Liturgical%20Year.php
Politely, take a step back. Seriously. I really wonder how you make the connections you make. As an Armenian, your interpretations about our community are often so far off the mark it's hard to understand just how you're getting from Point A to Point B. Sometimes it's better to ask questions rather than shoot from the hip with five-paragraph essays about what you think is correct and how you things out to be, because it just comes off as flippant.

Offline Aram

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2015, 12:57:28 AM »
Photos under the heading Madagh ( մատաղը ) - Armenian ritual sacrifice.
I was around for one of these in a village in Armenia, and let me tell you, it was quite the thing. Blood everywhere, the head just sitting there...

Later on, they lowered the entire skinned carcass into the pit they usually used for making bread. There was fire shooting ten feet in the air. Tasted great later on.

I was under the impression that the Madagh was not encouraged by the hierarchy.  The Greek Orthodox have tried to stamp out animal sacrifice traditions that remain in some of the Greek Isles.
Where do you learn all of this stuff? We're not the Greek Orthodox Church.

Madagh is accepted by the hierarchy because it's an important part of our tradition. Maybe in the New World it's a little unconventional (for instance, my home parish's priest shuddered a bit when some local Bakutsis wanted to slaughter a lamb in the church parking lot after he blessed it. Ultimately, it didn't happen, because it was questionably legal under food safety laws.), but in Armenia and other communities abroad, it's a time-honored, traditional, and routine way of marking a monumental occasion or memorializing the deceased. It happens all the time. I mean, the priest blessed the lamb we slaughtered in the village after he blessed the family's newly-built home.

I often think it's too bad we see Orthodox coming to America to live in the huge urban centers, when life far out in the country could be so beautified by their abilities and traditions. People still laughter their own meat in the American countryside -- laws are different and culture is different -- but the ability and will is rapidly falling away.
Well, these are Azeri-born Armenians that didn't necessarily come from the countryside. The urban/suburban dichotomy doesn't exist in the same way that it does in the West--for these folks, it's perfectly acceptable to slaughter an animal anywhere you want, city or country. For us, we look at the church parking lot and the catering facility a hundred yards away, and get worried about the USDA, local ordinances, food safety and cleanliness concerns, etc. etc. etc. For them, it's just doing what they've always done. And they're not necessarily wrong. We've just been accustomed to different standards and practices here.

Offline caladri

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2015, 02:54:23 AM »
I think priests are not supposed to ever kill anyone or anything, even an animal.  I've heard more than once that there is a canon saying that a butcher cannot become a priest.

Does anyone else in the forum happen to know about this or perhaps have a source for either part, either the injunction against all killing, or against butchers becoming priests?

Offline Antonious Nikolas

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2015, 11:01:23 AM »
Understanding the Madagh as a blessing before a slaughter helps me understand it and have no problems with it.  I'm opposed to voodoo style animal sacrifices where in Benin they will slaughter a goat in the hopes of convincing some malignant Voudon deity like Thron or Mami Wata to grant a specific favor, like success on exams, a bountiful catch of fish or success in a business transaction.  But it's clear the Armenian Madagh is not that at all, but rather a blessed tradition connected to meat consumption, almost like saying grace, but with more blood.  So I am content with it.  Mind you roasting a lamb in the parking lot sounds like a capital idea to me, but I can understand why the priest was not in favor of it.

Moving back on subject, here is a link to the Maronite Syriac iconography:
http://www.maronite-heritage.com/Liturgical%20Year.php
Politely, take a step back. Seriously. I really wonder how you make the connections you make. As an Armenian, your interpretations about our community are often so far off the mark it's hard to understand just how you're getting from Point A to Point B. Sometimes it's better to ask questions rather than shoot from the hip with five-paragraph essays about what you think is correct and how you things out to be, because it just comes off as flippant.

+1000

I've been trying to get this message across to wgw in subtle and not so subtle ways for weeks, and he refuses to pump the breaks.  Other posters - from our sister Malankara churches - have done the same, but he continues to press on in invincible ignorance, convinced that he is some sort of armchair expert on the peoples and churches of our Communion.  He is not.
Worship is theology, so a church which brings Evangelical and Charismatic "praise & worship" into its corporate life is no longer Orthodox.  It is, by definition, heterodox.  Those "Orthodox" leaders who make theological arguments for the incorporation of heteropraxis into the life of the Church are heretics.

http://returntoorthodoxy.com/

Offline Aram

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2015, 11:11:14 AM »
If priests aren't allowed to kill anything, then I know a lot of fishermen priests who should be deposed for freshly-caught seafood dinners...

Offline Salpy

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2015, 12:52:19 PM »
Yeah, I know.   :)   Like I said though, I've heard more than once that this old canon exists.  Obviously, it's not followed closely anymore.

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #24 on: March 25, 2015, 12:58:24 PM »
I've never come across a canon prohibiting butchers from becoming priests, though it might exist.  There are canons to the effect that those who have killed men, even if totally accidental, are impeded from ordination, and clerics who kill men, even if totally accidental, are deposed.  To what extent these are strictly enforced, however, is another issue. 
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Offline Aram

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #25 on: March 25, 2015, 01:50:39 PM »
Just for giggles, I pulled out my copy of The Rudder, which while EO, does include a number of canons the OO churches still adhere to. The closest I can find is Canon 66 of the 85 Canons (page 113):

Quote
If any Clergyman strikes anyone in a fight, and kills by a single blow, let him be deposed from office for his insolence. But if he be a layman, let him be excommunicated.

And Canon 51 of the 102 Canons (Sixth Council, obviously not OO) (page 350):
Quote
The holy and ecumenical Council universally prohibits so-called pantomimes and their theatrical exhibitions; afterwards, in keeping with this, also the spectacles of wild-animal fury and of hunters' prowess, and the execution of dances on the stage.

The commentary states this dictates clergy cannot go to things like dogfights and other animal fighting exhibitions. It's not about hunting per se.

That's the best I can do. Not going to dig through this tome any more than that, it's a slog.

Fr. Oliver Herbel, an OCA priest, wrote his MDiv thesis at St. Vlad's (IIRC) on an EO ethic of hunting. I think it's available somewhere in published form. That might be helpful, too. Long story short, I'm not sure things like hunting and fishing are actually things for which someone could be deposed from the priesthood. The intent seems to be on spectacle and suffering, not the simple act of subsistence. And at any rate, not something, if it even exists, that is in any way enforced.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2015, 01:52:07 PM by Aram »

Offline Aram

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #26 on: March 25, 2015, 02:10:39 PM »
One last thing on madagh, in the 102 Canons of the Sixth Council:

Canon 94 (page 406):

Quote
And this too occurs in the country of the Armenians, we have learned to wit, that some persons, roasting pieces of meat within the space of the sacrificial altars of sacred temples, offer parts assigned to priests, distributing them in a Jewish fashion. Hence, with the object of maintaining the unblemished sanctity of the Church, we decree that none of her priests shall be permitted to accept consecrated pieces of meat from those offering them, but shall be content with only what the offerer is pleased to offer, any such offer being made outside of the church. If anyone fail to do so, let them be excommunicated.

The interpretation questions the canon's intent, wondering if there was a misplaced comma that would cause one to believe Armenians turned their altars into kitchens. The rest of the canon seems to work off an entirely different premise. It seemed more likely the practice being described was pieces of cooked meat prepared elsewhere being brought into the church to be blessed by the priest. The canon was intended to prohibit this practice, instead saying that it was OK for such offerings to be blessed, slaughtered, prepared, and consumed outside the church. It makes sense.

Offline rakovsky

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #27 on: March 25, 2015, 02:41:37 PM »
What's the significance of displaying the head?
You have to put it somewhere?
Why do they decapitate it instead of draining the blood like the ancient Jews did (and from which Madagh shares a conceptual similarity).

Offline minasoliman

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #28 on: March 25, 2015, 02:49:41 PM »
What's the significance of displaying the head?
You have to put it somewhere?
Why do they decapitate it instead of draining the blood like the ancient Jews did (and from which Madagh shares a conceptual similarity).

There's practically no difference really. It still leads to draining of blood.
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #29 on: March 25, 2015, 03:03:56 PM »
What's the significance of displaying the head?
You have to put it somewhere?
Why do they decapitate it instead of draining the blood like the ancient Jews did (and from which Madagh shares a conceptual similarity).

There's practically no difference really. It still leads to draining of blood.

Still, why is that the practice instead? Why use decapitation instead of another form, handed down from Judaism?

Offline minasoliman

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #30 on: March 25, 2015, 03:11:18 PM »
Have you wondered maybe because they weren't Jews?  Should it really matter how one slaughters an animal after Christ?
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Offline rakovsky

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #31 on: March 25, 2015, 04:05:22 PM »
Understanding the Madagh as a blessing before a slaughter helps me understand it and have no problems with it.
WGW,
If you go onto the other Madagh threads, you will find that it is more than just making a blessing before some act (eg. blessing a house, a travel, a dinner, etc.) It includes a philosophy wherein the sacrifice or offering occurs at the moment of the animal's death, rather than, say, the moment at which the animal or meat is donated to the poor. The idea is that the animal is giving up its life as an offering. This idea of an animal giving up its life for a benefit for another (vicarious atonement) was in ancient Judaism a prefigurement of the Messiah.

Wikipedia reports:
Quote
Some religious scholars assert that madagh (or sometimes matal) has its roots in ancient liturgical sacrifice, evoking the animal sacrifice of Armenian pagan religious rites. Early Christian church fathers allowed to continue because of its parallels with biblical Old Testament sacrifices and as a means of winning pagan practitioners over to the Church.

To me, the decapitation is something that distinguishes it from Judaism's slaughters, which as Salpy rightly said, passed in part into the Chalcedonian Arab churches.

The ritual animal sacrifices that passed into Christianity from Judaism IMO are not necessarily "bad", since Paul performed them after he became Christian. The issue is rather that they are superfluous, as the Book of Hebrews points out. The animal sacrifices were older forms that pointed to Christ's sacrifice.



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  I'm opposed to voodoo style animal sacrifices where in Benin they will slaughter a goat in the hopes of convincing some malignant Voudon deity like Thron or Mami Wata to grant a specific favor, like success on exams, a bountiful catch of fish or success in a business transaction.  But it's clear the Armenian Madagh is not that at all, but rather a blessed tradition connected to meat consumption, almost like saying grace, but with more blood.
 
Of course, the Armenian Madagh is not a sacrifice to a bad deity. However, it is not just a matter of "saying grace" as part of the meat consumption itself. That's because, for example, the blessing is not at the moment of consumption, but rather at the moment of killing. Perhaps there are also Madaghs connected with benefits from God, remembrances of Armenian martyrs, the building of a new house, etc. If that's the case, then it suggests that indeed it relates to bringing about some favor from a Deity (in this case God), which your analogy expressed.
Quote

So I am content with it. 
I am no a fan of ritual animal sacrifice. Slaughtering animals itself is not something that I could not theoretically handle, since I eat meat. It's rather making animal killing into ritual that feels weird if it is not part of Jewish tradition or an heir to that tradition.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2015, 04:10:52 PM by rakovsky »

Offline Aram

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #32 on: March 25, 2015, 04:11:05 PM »
Well, my answer to you is that you don't have to be comfortable with our customs, because you're not a member of our community. Madagh is an established tradition within Armenian religious culture, and has a purpose and meaning specific to our people's experience--no matter where it came from. No one is asking you to participate or partake. I guess I don't know what else to tell you.

Offline Brigidsboy

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #33 on: March 25, 2015, 04:15:16 PM »
Well, my answer to you is that you don't have to be comfortable with our customs, because you're not a member of our community. Madagh is an established tradition within Armenian religious culture, and has a purpose and meaning specific to our people's experience--no matter where it came from. No one is asking you to participate or partake. I guess I don't know what else to tell you.

What Aram said!
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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #34 on: March 25, 2015, 04:19:40 PM »
Based on the information provided and my love for the Armenians I grew up with, I'm completely comfortable with Madagh and would like to participate in one.  Even if it involves roast lamb in the parking lot.  Which to me sounds like a lot of fun, but a holy occasion also for sure.  Now shall we get back to pictures?  I saw recently a lovely image of an Armenian church in Georgoa which I need to find the link to.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2015, 04:21:54 PM by wgw »
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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #35 on: March 25, 2015, 04:29:02 PM »
Well, my answer to you is that you don't have to be comfortable with our customs, because you're not a member of our community. Madagh is an established tradition within Armenian religious culture, and has a purpose and meaning specific to our people's experience--no matter where it came from. No one is asking you to participate or partake.
In ancient Judaism and paganism: The animal was killed according to a special way in a religious ritual in return for a benefit from a deity. The animal offered up its life as an "offering" or "sacrifice". This is the same thing that happens in the Madagh sacrifice (eg. the special method of killing is decapitation, apparently).

The Bible and church fathers explained that those ancient sacrifices were precursors to Christ giving up His own life for others. One change from ancient Judaism  paganism is that, I think, the priest is banned from committing the killing. Also, I find it noteworthy that the Madaghs cannot be committed inside the church. Nonetheless, I don't find animal sacrifice objectionable when it came from ancient Judaism (as in the Palestinian case), since Paul still performed it after his conversion.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2015, 04:29:36 PM by rakovsky »

Offline rakovsky

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #36 on: March 25, 2015, 04:35:41 PM »
Based on the information provided and my love for the Armenians I grew up with, I'm completely comfortable with Madagh and would like to participate in one.  Even if it involves roast lamb in the parking lot.  Which to me sounds like a lot of fun


"Yey Wgw! I luv fun! Whats mada mean?"
« Last Edit: March 25, 2015, 04:36:08 PM by rakovsky »

Offline Aram

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #37 on: March 25, 2015, 04:36:40 PM »
Well, my answer to you is that you don't have to be comfortable with our customs, because you're not a member of our community. Madagh is an established tradition within Armenian religious culture, and has a purpose and meaning specific to our people's experience--no matter where it came from. No one is asking you to participate or partake.
In ancient Judaism and paganism: The animal was killed according to a special way in a religious ritual in return for a benefit from a deity. The animal offered up its life as an "offering" or "sacrifice". This is the same thing that happens in the Madagh sacrifice (eg. the special method of killing is decapitation, apparently).

The Bible and church fathers explained that those ancient sacrifices were precursors to Christ giving up His own life for others. One change from ancient Judaism  paganism is that, I think, the priest is banned from committing the killing. Also, I find it noteworthy that the Madaghs cannot be committed inside the church. Nonetheless, I don't find animal sacrifice objectionable when it came from ancient Judaism (as in the Palestinian case), since Paul still performed it after his conversion.
No. Madagh involves slitting the throat. The head is removed later.

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #38 on: March 25, 2015, 05:22:37 PM »
Well, my answer to you is that you don't have to be comfortable with our customs, because you're not a member of our community. Madagh is an established tradition within Armenian religious culture, and has a purpose and meaning specific to our people's experience--no matter where it came from. No one is asking you to participate or partake.
In ancient Judaism and paganism: The animal was killed according to a special way in a religious ritual in return for a benefit from a deity. The animal offered up its life as an "offering" or "sacrifice". This is the same thing that happens in the Madagh sacrifice (eg. the special method of killing is decapitation, apparently).

The Bible and church fathers explained that those ancient sacrifices were precursors to Christ giving up His own life for others. One change from ancient Judaism  paganism is that, I think, the priest is banned from committing the killing. Also, I find it noteworthy that the Madaghs cannot be committed inside the church. Nonetheless, I don't find animal sacrifice objectionable when it came from ancient Judaism (as in the Palestinian case), since Paul still performed it after his conversion.
No. Madagh involves slitting the throat. The head is removed later.

Don't let facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory. 

BTW, have you noticed that the neck of a beheaded lamb is similar in shape to King Solomon's ring? 
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Offline Aram

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #39 on: March 25, 2015, 06:05:11 PM »
lol well now that you mention it...

Also, while we're on the topic of madagh, it should be noted that it's such an integral custom that there's a devoted service for it in the Armenian Book of Needs (the Mashdots). It's similar in structure and composition to the requiem service (Hokehankisd), though in somewhat truncated form.

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #40 on: March 25, 2015, 06:23:38 PM »
Well, my answer to you is that you don't have to be comfortable with our customs, because you're not a member of our community. Madagh is an established tradition within Armenian religious culture, and has a purpose and meaning specific to our people's experience--no matter where it came from. No one is asking you to participate or partake. I guess I don't know what else to tell you.

+1

And I'm not Armenian.  If anyone here is uncomfortable with this Christian ceremony, or the leaving clothes tied to a holy site thing, whatever.  You don't have to "get it".  One time I was praying in an Armenian Church and when Derhag came around and splashed the people with holy water at the end, the guy next to me said, "Sorry.  This is a holdover from Armenian paganism" or something along those lines.  "No it's not," I said, "We do it in my (Coptic) church too" and I explained to him the custom's significance in our tradition.  Later, at coffee hour, he told his priest who said that's also what it means to Armenians.  We as Oriental Orthodox need to stop apologizing for who we are and how we express our very Orthodox Faith, no matter how it makes others feel.
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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #41 on: March 25, 2015, 11:44:26 PM »
A tangent about FGM and circumcision was split off and put here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,64236.0.html



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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #42 on: March 26, 2015, 12:45:38 AM »
Photos under the heading Madagh ( մատաղը ) - Armenian ritual sacrifice.
I was around for one of these in a village in Armenia, and let me tell you, it was quite the thing. Blood everywhere, the head just sitting there...

Later on, they lowered the entire skinned carcass into the pit they usually used for making bread. There was fire shooting ten feet in the air. Tasted great later on.

Do you eat the meat from the head?
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Offline Salpy

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #43 on: March 26, 2015, 12:53:56 AM »
My mom said that when she was a kid, they would boil the sheep's head.  They used every part of the animal.  Nothing was wasted.

Offline orthonorm

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Re: Question about Armenian traditions
« Reply #44 on: March 26, 2015, 12:54:23 AM »
Photos under the heading Madagh ( մատաղը ) - Armenian ritual sacrifice.
I was around for one of these in a village in Armenia, and let me tell you, it was quite the thing. Blood everywhere, the head just sitting there...

Later on, they lowered the entire skinned carcass into the pit they usually used for making bread. There was fire shooting ten feet in the air. Tasted great later on.

I was under the impression that the Madagh was not encouraged by the hierarchy.  The Greek Orthodox have tried to stamp out animal sacrifice traditions that remain in some of the Greek Isles.
Where do you learn all of this stuff? We're not the Greek Orthodox Church.

Madagh is accepted by the hierarchy because it's an important part of our tradition. Maybe in the New World it's a little unconventional (for instance, my home parish's priest shuddered a bit when some local Bakutsis wanted to slaughter a lamb in the church parking lot after he blessed it. Ultimately, it didn't happen, because it was questionably legal under food safety laws.), but in Armenia and other communities abroad, it's a time-honored, traditional, and routine way of marking a monumental occasion or memorializing the deceased. It happens all the time. I mean, the priest blessed the lamb we slaughtered in the village after he blessed the family's newly-built home.

Lol. Yeah that would be some scene. Killing animals for religious rituals is likely not going to get a lot of traction in America no matter how much factory meat we eat a day. People who just want to kill a chicken who belong to the afrocaribean religions have lotsa trouble once the moral majority find out about it.

Strangely, as a kid in the backwoods parish I attended we slaughtered a hog often to roast it for the meal on Sunday.

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