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Poll
Question: Who says the Amens for the Epiclesis at your church's divine Liturgy?
Deacon only - 11 (26.8%)
People with Deacon/Priest - 26 (63.4%)
People only - 4 (9.8%)
Total Voters: 41

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Author Topic: Amen during Epiklesis.  (Read 10662 times) Average Rating: 0
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augustin717
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« Reply #90 on: July 26, 2010, 02:02:26 PM »

I feel good about it.
Church hasn't collapsed on us yet:)
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« Reply #91 on: July 26, 2010, 02:38:56 PM »

I feel good about it.
Church hasn't collapsed on us yet:)
Good. Is there a report of a Church caving in from the thunder of the congregation saying "Amen! Amen! Amen!"?
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Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)
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« Reply #92 on: July 26, 2010, 04:37:15 PM »

On a related note: how does everyone feel about kneeling on Sunday during the Epiclesis?

That's a new one to me.  I make the prostration at the epiklesis regardless of whether it is a Sunday but I've not encountered the people kneeling at this point.  I'd be interested to hear more about this if you're willing to share.

M

If I may interject, this is somewhat interesting. You make the prostration on a Sunday even though the rubrics of ROCOR (at least as practiced in an English parish) specify that one does not do so on any Sunday. Here is my source:

"Priest: Changing  them by thy Holy Spirit.

Deacon: (spoken, but so that the people can hear) Amen! Amen! Amen!

The priest, deacon, servers, and people, all make a full prostration. On
Sundays, Great Feasts, and during the Paschal season, they make a reverence
instead. The deacon replaces the veil/plate on the chalice.'
http://newmartyr.info/files/Sluzhebnik.pdf

I believe it is from the Sluzhebnik of ROCOR as the commemoration is as follows:

"Priest: Among the first, remember, O Lord, our great lord and father N., the Most-holy Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; and our lord the Very Most Reverend
N., Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad; and our lord the Most/Right Reverend N., (Arch)Bishop of Great Britain, whom do Thou grant unto thy holy churches, in peace, safety, honour, health, and length of days, rightly dividing the word of thy truth."

and the link is to the St Elisabeth the New Martyr Church, 58 Shrewsbury Road
Oxton, Birkenhead CH43 2HY, which identifies herself as a ROCOR parish.

In any case, would you explain how you can seemingly pick and choose from the various instructions of this Sluzhebnik?

PS: The introductory instructions are quite interesting as well:

"...Texts designated to be said in a low voice are in standard font type. These are to
be spoken in a normal speaking voice. They should be said clearly and
unhurriedly. They should not be declaimed or chanted aloud, neither should they
be inaudible..."

Sounds like at least this ROCOR parish is following the practice of the Church of Greece.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2010, 04:38:19 PM by Second Chance » Logged

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Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)
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« Reply #93 on: July 26, 2010, 05:07:19 PM »


As for Justinian's citation of the first Epistle to the Corinthians to support his argument, this, too, seems to me to be a little tenuous.  In that passage, St Paul is addressing keeping good order within the context of people speaking in tongues, not just for prayer but also for teaching and prophesying: words not just addressed to God but also to a human audience.  It is in this context that Paul insists that what is said ought to be understood by those hearing it.  He explicitly says that prayer so offered is indeed offered in the spirit and is offered well, so that is not of concern to him.  His concern seems to be for good order in ensuring that there is at least an interpretation of tongues for the edification of the hearers.

There is also the question of just who the hearers are that he specifically mentions.  His concern is for the one "who occupies the place of the uninformed" (1 Cor 14:16 NKJV).  Perhaps it is possible that this could be read simply as referring to one who doesn't understand the tongues.  Yet in a discussion on this passage in which I was involved for other, non-liturgical reasons, it came up that the word rendered as "one who is uninformed" could just as easily be translated "one who is instructed" - basically, one who hasn't yet been fully instructed in the Faith, perhaps a newcomer, perhaps somebody recently baptised.  In that reading, St Paul's requirement that what is said in tongues (including prophesying and teaching) be understood by those who are uninstructed becomes even clearer.

Therefore, it seems that 1 Corinthians 14 is addressing specific matters in the Corinthian church at the time, and gives guidance from which we ought to learn.  Yet it appears not to be a blanket statement about how all liturgical prayer should be offered.


You have an interesting take on 1 Corinthians 14. Let us suppose that your interpretation is correct and that Saint Paul wanted that those who are uninstructed (inquirers and perhaps catechumens) should understand the words of the prayer, but that he was not concerned about those who were instructed and full members of the Church.

I'm sure this wasn't intentional, Second Chance, but the above isn't entirely reflective of what I said.  I did not say that St Paul was not concerned about those who were intructed and full members of the Church.  I didn't say anything at all about the instructed but only the uninstructed.  In addition, that's a different sense of the word concern, and makes it sound as though Paul didn't care about them.  What I said was that, in addressing the specific matters in 1st Corinthians 14, his concern, (in the sense of, the business or purpose of his writing) was for the one "who occupies the place of the uninformed", and I did say that, from what I had picked up either translation was possible.

I was pointing out that, in the chapter in question, St Paul was addressing the general matter of speaking in tongues, not only in terms of prayer but also prophesying and teaching.  That's the reason I suggested (and it was only a suggestion) that the possible "instructed/catechumen" reading of "uninformed" might be pertinent, as those who were already instructed would already have been taught the Faith and would not have suffered the same loss for hearing teaching in tongues that they could not understand.

Quote
The context of all Pauline letters is a missionary period, just as we are in now, even in Russia. It seems inconceivable to me that the Church would drop this essential; feature of worship--that is praying with the mind and the heart, praying with understanding. It seems to me that glossing over this matter because there are no (or few) inquirers and/or catechumens betrays an abandonment of the Great Commission. In addition, the Lord did not say preach to all nations using Service Books that have a Liturgical language on one side and the vernacular language on the other--another instance of emphasis on something other than the Gospel message.

So, what we have here is an apparent conflict with the Scriptures and a Service Book. What we have here is an occasion for reflection and discernment, an opportunity to right a wrong.

Having looked closely at the passage again, I'm not sure I see the same thing.  I don't think there is any glossing over being done because I'm still not sure I see any conflict here.  I'm not being wilfully obtuse - I just don't see it.  St Paul said that prayer in tongues is true prayer in the spirit, and that one who prays in such a manner prays well.  His desire that those hearing it should pray with understanding did not lead him to require prayer in tongues to cease but only that an interpretation be provided.  We have ready access to the texts and rubrics of the Liturgy in its entirely.  We have books, leaflets, websites, all in a myriad of languages, both with the liturgical text and patristics and other commentary on it.  Such is our access to these things that we, ordinary Orthodox Christians, are able to readily discuss rubrical differences between churches in the most minute detail.  If our parish catechesis is up to scratch, we should at the very least be taught a general understanding of what the Eucharist is as the pinnacle of the Church's life on earth and probably the most widely-known and attended service of the Church: its origins, its structure and various parts, its meaning and how it fits together, our role and participation in it, and so forth.  Many people do their own reading and study in addition to this.  So when the priest prays, whether he exclaims the mystical prayers for everybody to hear or simply reads in a normal voice with the result that only a few hear, which of us can really claim to be uninformed, to be praying without understanding?

I am glad that you provided some clarification, which I was hoping that you would provide; hence my overly simplistic depiction of what you had written. I apologize for this rhetorical device; however, you must admit that the end result is a much more balanced approach. You are also correct that hearing does not always result in understanding. On the other hand, can we agree on the preposition that hearing is more likely to result in understanding than not hearing?

May I make couple of comments on what you said here?

"When I first started serving in the altar, I was able to hear snippets of the prayers, and I noticed that my parish priest would always start crying during the anaphora at the Liturgy of St Basil, so I went and looked it up.  Now I had known what is prayed at the anaphora and the meaning of the constituent parts, having long had an interest in these things.  I knew that the anaphora would recall and give thanks for God's saving work in his creation, uniting the thanks and praise with the heavenly court, calling to mind the events of the institution of the Eucharist with the dominical words, making anamnesis of the Incarnation, Passion, Death, Resurrection, Burial, and Second Coming, the invocation of the Spirit, general intercessions for the church and particularly the bishop, and concluding with offering of praise.  These are elements common to most if not all anaphoras across rites and centuries so I knew what was being prayed and could gladly give my assent to it. However, I had never before seen the text specifically of the Basilian one.  I was so moved by what I found that I shared it with a fellow parishioner, who was reluctant to look at it because she had been brought up with the idea that women, (note, not laypeople generally but women specifically), are not to know what is being said at that point."

First, I believe that most Orthodox people who have not heard (or read) the anaphora prayers do not have a clue what they are about, except a vague idea something important and holy is going on. Second, in my experience both men and women in some Orthodox churches have the feeling that the "mystikos prayers" are so sacred that their knowledge must be restricted to the clergy. Third, I have to suspect that such ignorance and superstition are enabled by rubrics that hide the most important prayers of the Liturgy from the people. Finally, if these prayers made your old priest cry or gave somebody else the goosebumps, why in the world would we hide these gifts of the Holy Spirit from the vast majority of the Laos?
« Last Edit: July 26, 2010, 05:12:24 PM by Second Chance » Logged

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« Reply #94 on: July 26, 2010, 05:11:24 PM »

In any case, would you explain how you can seemingly pick and choose from the various instructions of this Sluzhebnik?

Dear Second Chance,

As you've found the website, you've no doubt worked out that this is my own parish.  I'm also responsible for having compiled the file to which you have linked.  It is (part of) the altar book that I put together when we moved into our new church last summer.  It was put together to replace an old one which we used when we worshipped in a private home which is partly printed, partly hand-written, and partly had inserts stuck into it at other points.  It was part of a wider effort to help us make the transition from private home to public church, something that we have been slowly doing, with God's help, over the past year, in terms of Liturgy, our self-understanding as a parish, and how we relate to each other and the community around us.  This learning curve seems to still be ongoing so I would very much welcome your prayers.

The rubrics were carefully put together from a number of Russian tradition sources, and supplemented by my own notes where the other sources were unclear or simply did not explain something.  They were thoroughly checked by my parish priest before it was compiled into the final version that you see, with amendments and additions made at his stipulation.  The mystikos prayers are done in the way that I have been saying throughout this thread.  The sole exception to this is the direction for the triple Amen to be said so the people can hear, which is for no other reason than alerting the people to make their act of reverence.  As it happens, this hasn't really worked out that way in practice.

As for the direction concerning the times for prostrations, again, this was compiled a year ago.  At the time, I had been led to believe that Sunday prostrations are forbidden, and my parish priest was trained in a monastery where prostrations were not made on Sundays, so we simply continued this out of obedience.  However, more recent direction from our bishop is that there are different traditions concerning this and that there is room for such variety in the Church.  I haven't updated the online version because, well, to be honest, the only reason I put it online was that, during an online discussion months ago, someone asked about some Byzantine Rite rubrics.  Rather than explain it all, I just uploaded the file and linked to it.  It was never intended for general public consumption, which is why it hasn't been updated.  It probably still contains some typos that have been corrected in my saved version.  Perhaps I ought to either update or remove it.

Quote
PS: The introductory instructions are quite interesting as well:

"...Texts designated to be said in a low voice are in standard font type. These are to
be spoken in a normal speaking voice. They should be said clearly and
unhurriedly. They should not be declaimed or chanted aloud, neither should they
be inaudible..."

Sounds like at least this ROCOR parish is following the practice of the Church of Greece.

This is the practice of my bishop.  It is also what I have seen in my limited experience of the Diocese of Sourozh and in the stavropegial Russian parish that I visit from time to time.  Whether they got this from the Greek church or whether it is simply the case that there has always been variety on this point within the Russian tradition, I don't know.  I'm sorry not to be of more help but I'm willing to answer any other questions you may have as best I can.

In Christ,
M
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« Reply #95 on: July 26, 2010, 06:01:01 PM »

I am glad that you provided some clarification, which I was hoping that you would provide; hence my overly simplistic depiction of what you had written. I apologize for this rhetorical device;

Let us speak of it no more.  Smiley

Quote
...however, you must admit that the end result is a much more balanced approach. You are also correct that hearing does not always result in understanding. On the other hand, can we agree on the preposition that hearing is more likely to result in understanding than not hearing?

Oh, certainly.  I can think of a number of occasions when I have read someting about some part of the Liturgy and finally had my "Aha" moment, 'So THAT's what that gesture/phrase is all about!'  It certainly gives a point of reference when explanation is given, but I think that good catechesis and familiarity with the prayers helps immensely, even if the prayers aren't all heard.  During my catechumenate, my parish priest used the sermon to give instruction, so everbody got to benefit during those five months.  A few weeks of that were spent going over the Liturgy section by section, looking at some of the texts, both chanted and mystikos (not that I knew about this distinction at the time), and examining the shape and structure of the Eucharistic rite.  This was particularly fascinating for me as I was comparing constantly with what I knew of western rites but I know many of our people appreciated it.  It's like those occasions when people try to explain things that should be generally known but aren't.  They don't want to sound patronising so they advertise it as being "for the children", and of course all of the adults are captivated. Smiley  I think something like that from time to time is actually very good for a parish.

Quote
First, I believe that most Orthodox people who have not heard (or read) the anaphora prayers do not have a clue what they are about, except a vague idea something important and holy is going on. Second, in my experience both men and women in some Orthodox churches have the feeling that the "mystikos prayers" are so sacred that their knowledge must be restricted to the clergy. Third, I have to suspect that such ignorance and superstition are enabled by rubrics that hide the most important prayers of the Liturgy from the people.  Finally, if these prayers made your old priest cry or gave somebody else the goosebumps, why in the world would we hide these gifts of the Holy Spirit from the vast majority of the Laos?

 Grin I'm not sure how he'd respond to being thought of as old - I always think of him as really quite effervescent. That aside, though, we've come back to phrasing it in terms of a dichotomy between wilfully causing the people to hear and wilfully hiding the words from the people.  I just can't see that dichotomy as a real one.  There's no attempt to hide anything from anybody.  I get the same goosebumps when I read the words - I don't need to hear them for that.  As for the general understanding (and superstition) among Orthodox people, you're possibly right - I don't know.  My regular experience comes from my own parish, where we had that series of liturgical instruction a few years ago, and where my parish priest explains little snippets as they are pertinent to certain feasts and times of year.  We're currently in the process of making some leaflets about different aspects of church life.  Perhaps in the future we may give a summary of the Liturgy on leaflet form.  We're still in a transitional phase so these things are slowly taking shape but I really think that these small efforts, instilling a sense of what it's all about over time, are immensely helpful and are what is needed, along with encouragment for the people to participate as fuly as possible in their assigned parts as well.

Thank you for engaging with me on this.  So often these discussions can see people simply talking past each other but I think we're actually communicating.  I'm enjoying this.

M
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« Reply #96 on: August 15, 2010, 10:45:51 PM »

His Grace, Bishop BASIL joined us at our parish today for the hierarchical Liturgy for the Dormition of the Theotokos.  There was no audible epiklesis as he said it during the singing of "We hymn Thee, We bless Thee..." and then saw him prostrating before the Holy Table.  I don't think the rubrics are any different for a Bishop serving the Divine Liturgy but I think that this gives further creedence that the Amens are not for the laity but only for clergy.  And Bishop BASIL is a very liturgically minded and precise.
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