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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 10644 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: May 26, 2010, 02:16:23 PM »

Is this the way it is actually printed in the liturgical books of the archdiocese?

Does the Antiochian Archdiocese have an official Liturgikon?  

Yes, they do (and I left it at the office, so I cannot reference it for you).  It is a handy reference guide (generally speaking).

In the Antiochian Liturgikon, as well as the Liturgikon published by the Monastery of Simonopetra on Mt. Athos (which has a foreward by the renowned Liturgical scholar, Professor Ioannis Fountoulis), the deacon says the Amens.
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« Reply #46 on: May 26, 2010, 03:06:13 PM »


 Cheesy Soon, we'll have to institute something analogous to Godwin's law for your use of Hobsbawm, Isa.

I mean, it was a fetching (Marxist) theory 20 years ago, but, honestly, it's already being debunked even by people who specialize in the construction of nationalism, who used to think of Hobsbawn as the Pope.

As for historians who know something about pre-modern history, they've long shown how Hobsbawn's premise doesn't hold water across the true span of human societies. In fact, I think Slavic and Romanian scholars were among the first to point that out.

Knowing something about places other than the UK, France, Germany, et al. -- you know, little places like Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Caucasia, etc. -- is helpful if one is going to produce a general theory about the construction of tradition. I mean, it would be great if one knew about, say, the last 2,500 years in each place, but anything would do. Reminds me of a graduate seminar on the construction of nationalism before and during WWI, wherein my wife was trying to point out how the prof (a Hobsbawm type) might not be right about a certain point. He said: "Now, wait minute. Which side was Bulgaria on?"
That was a good question, as the Bulgarians supported the Allies but the King (himself quite the German) supported the Axis.

Hobsbawm does quite well in analyzing the construction of Muslim tradition, something that happened no where near the UK, France, Germany et al., and does quite well too for the development of ritual in East Rome.  Btw, although he grew up on Germany, Hobsbawm was born in Egypt.

I'd have to know what Soviet (I am thinking that is what you are refering to as Slavic) and Romanians you speak of to answer.

Since you brought up Goodwin, the Nazi mythology is a supreme example of the invention that Hobsbawm speaks of.

Another example would be the Phanar's present interpretation of canon 28 Chalcedon.
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« Reply #47 on: May 26, 2010, 03:40:24 PM »

That was a good question, as the Bulgarians supported the Allies but the King (himself quite the German) supported the Axis.

His question was not prompted by any sort of nuance. He just didn't know.

Hobsbawm does quite well in analyzing the construction of Muslim tradition, something that happened no where near the UK, France, Germany et al.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day. I'm honestly surprised that you're willing to take such a Marxist view of tradition.

Btw, although he grew up on Germany, Hobsbawm was born in Egypt.

Yes, I know. Part of the Jewish diaspora in Germany and then Britain, but his family was Anglophone. When it comes to Egypt, if he knew anything about late antique history there, I'm sure he would have had some choice things to say about Athanasius, Cyril, et al. and their elite construction of tradition, which co-opted popular ideas about the body and thereby cemented their hegemony over dissenting voices. Doesn't make it true, especially for an Orthodox Christian.

I'd have to know what Soviet (I am thinking that is what you are refering to as Slavic) and Romanians you speak of to answer.

I might look it up tonight. Historiography of the early modern/modern period isn't my strong suite. I just happened to read a few articles that touched on the topic when discussing national identity in the medieval Balkans (specifically among Serbs).

Since you brought up Goodwin, the Nazi mythology is a supreme example of the invention that Hobsbawm speaks of.

Yeah, of course. His theories work well in the 19th and 20th centuries, which was his period of expertise. A true Marxist historian shouldn't exhibit too much interest in things much older than that, although there was a (thankfully brief) period where medievalists in the USSR gave it their best shot.
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« Reply #48 on: May 26, 2010, 03:44:31 PM »

i think the point that Church is about community and not individuals is even more in favor of an audible Epiklesis -- its not just about the priest, this is an effort of the whole community. The priest says that the offering is on behald of all and for all, and that we all offer the gifts to God. If we all can offer, and we call can partake, why is it so bad for us all to hear about it? what is the reasoning for these prayers belonging solely to clergy, other than that its a long-standing tradition?
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« Reply #49 on: May 26, 2010, 04:56:43 PM »

i think the point that Church is about community and not individuals is even more in favor of an audible Epiklesis -- its not just about the priest, this is an effort of the whole community. The priest says that the offering is on behald of all and for all, and that we all offer the gifts to God. If we all can offer, and we call can partake, why is it so bad for us all to hear about it? what is the reasoning for these prayers belonging solely to clergy, other than that its a long-standing tradition?

I could swear that someone here gave some deep mystical reason.  I didn't buy it.

I read a study of the ruins of the Churches of the extinct Nubian Orthodox Church: the sanctuaries were over time getting bigger, whereas the nave was getting smaller.  From a variety of evidence it demonstrated that the DL had progressively became some deep secret of the clergy, which the laity kept their distance from, until all that was needed was the place of sacrifice and some room for deacons.  The laity, if they dared approach, only came and peeked inside, or stood outside.  The set up went a long way to explain why the Nubian Orthodox Church went extinct while the Coptic Church did not.  Btw, there was evidence also that the Nubians were Chalcedonian.
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« Reply #50 on: May 26, 2010, 05:01:39 PM »

i think the point that Church is about community and not individuals is even more in favor of an audible Epiklesis -- its not just about the priest, this is an effort of the whole community. The priest says that the offering is on behald of all and for all, and that we all offer the gifts to God. If we all can offer, and we call can partake, why is it so bad for us all to hear about it? what is the reasoning for these prayers belonging solely to clergy, other than that its a long-standing tradition?

Because the Liturgy is a public work does not mean that the roles of the priest/deacon are transferred to the laity.  Every part of the body has its own function; the laity usurping the roles of deacons and priests amounts to what Protestants do in their services, week in, week out.
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« Reply #51 on: May 26, 2010, 05:04:42 PM »

Scamandrius: What does the Antiochian priest at your church have to say about this?
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« Reply #52 on: May 26, 2010, 05:11:15 PM »

Perhaps we should all start reciting he prayer of the antiphons win the priest and all holding hands around The altar during the anafora. 

but if the Liturgy is the work of the people, then the people should give an Amen to their own offering!

Well, hence the people singing tebe pojem while the priest and the deacon pray their part.  Church isn't about particular individual wants it's about what the church instructs.  Totally different mindset from the American thought on protestantism, "I think therefore it should be." 

As opposed to what: the "true" Orthodox mindset of "I worship not the Lord but the rubrics" or "I check out my brain at the Narthex" or "...It was good for our mothers. And it’s good enough for me." In my own mindset, I see Pharisee, know-nothing, and reactionary yahoo, in that order.
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« Reply #53 on: May 26, 2010, 05:32:43 PM »

Because the Liturgy is a public work does not mean that the roles of the priest/deacon are transferred to the laity.  Every part of the body has its own function; the laity usurping the roles of deacons and priests amounts to what Protestants do in their services, week in, week out.

I'm fascinated by this line of thinking.  I'm wondering how the saying of "Amen" by the people is usurping the role of the deacon.  Your statement seems to presuppose the following:
a) The saying of Amen to the Epiclesis is intrinsic to the role of the deacon; and
b) The saying of Amen by the people "steals" this portion of the role away from the deacon.

The problem with the line of thinking is pointing out how (a) works - how is the "Amen" at the Epiclesis intrinsic to the role of the deacon?  I've already pointed out that, according to what is considered the most ancient manuscript of the Eastern Roman Liturgy - Barberini gr. 336 - the priest said the Amens in an age when deacons were still widely present and very active.  In fact, considering the Deacon's role in the Liturgy in its totality, it is actually counter-intuitive to state that a response is intrinsic to his role, as his primary visible function is the saying of the petitions that themselves draw responses.

I'll reiterate my position, which is:
- I support whatever the Diocesan bishop says/allows.  If he says deacons only, then so be it.  If he says priests only, then so be it.  If he says everyone together, then so be it.

However, this does not prevent me from pointing out that the deacon saying the Amens is a Liturgical development not apparently found in the oldest of our manuscripts.
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« Reply #54 on: May 26, 2010, 06:02:00 PM »

Because the Liturgy is a public work does not mean that the roles of the priest/deacon are transferred to the laity.  Every part of the body has its own function; the laity usurping the roles of deacons and priests amounts to what Protestants do in their services, week in, week out.

I'm fascinated by this line of thinking.  I'm wondering how the saying of "Amen" by the people is usurping the role of the deacon.  Your statement seems to presuppose the following:
a) The saying of Amen to the Epiclesis is intrinsic to the role of the deacon; and
b) The saying of Amen by the people "steals" this portion of the role away from the deacon.

The problem with the line of thinking is pointing out how (a) works - how is the "Amen" at the Epiclesis intrinsic to the role of the deacon?  I've already pointed out that, according to what is considered the most ancient manuscript of the Eastern Roman Liturgy - Barberini gr. 336 - the priest said the Amens in an age when deacons were still widely present and very active.  In fact, considering the Deacon's role in the Liturgy in its totality, it is actually counter-intuitive to state that a response is intrinsic to his role, as his primary visible function is the saying of the petitions that themselves draw responses.

I'll reiterate my position, which is:
- I support whatever the Diocesan bishop says/allows.  If he says deacons only, then so be it.  If he says priests only, then so be it.  If he says everyone together, then so be it.

However, this does not prevent me from pointing out that the deacon saying the Amens is a Liturgical development not apparently found in the oldest of our manuscripts.

Right.   Actually, one cannot rightly say that it is "the role of the priest/deacon" since the rubrics in the Liturgy of St. James say that the people say the Amens.    One could say "in the Orthodox service books as we currently have them, the Amens are the role either of the Deacon as in most texts of Chrysostom and Basil, or of the People as in James."  One cannot accurately say "it is only the role of the deacon."

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« Reply #55 on: May 26, 2010, 06:30:32 PM »

The people do say the Epiclesis Amens in the Greek Liturgy of St James, as well as the Syriac and Coptic Liturgies.  It would seem obvious that the only reason it is relegated to the deacon in the modern Byzantine Liturgy is because it is assumed he is the only one who can hear the priest.  If the Epiclesis is aloud the people should respond.
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« Reply #56 on: May 26, 2010, 06:49:52 PM »

Because the Liturgy is a public work does not mean that the roles of the priest/deacon are transferred to the laity.  Every part of the body has its own function; the laity usurping the roles of deacons and priests amounts to what Protestants do in their services, week in, week out.

I'm fascinated by this line of thinking.  I'm wondering how the saying of "Amen" by the people is usurping the role of the deacon.  Your statement seems to presuppose the following:
a) The saying of Amen to the Epiclesis is intrinsic to the role of the deacon; and
b) The saying of Amen by the people "steals" this portion of the role away from the deacon.

The problem with the line of thinking is pointing out how (a) works - how is the "Amen" at the Epiclesis intrinsic to the role of the deacon?  I've already pointed out that, according to what is considered the most ancient manuscript of the Eastern Roman Liturgy - Barberini gr. 336 - the priest said the Amens in an age when deacons were still widely present and very active.  In fact, considering the Deacon's role in the Liturgy in its totality, it is actually counter-intuitive to state that a response is intrinsic to his role, as his primary visible function is the saying of the petitions that themselves draw responses.

I'll reiterate my position, which is:
- I support whatever the Diocesan bishop says/allows.  If he says deacons only, then so be it.  If he says priests only, then so be it.  If he says everyone together, then so be it.

However, this does not prevent me from pointing out that the deacon saying the Amens is a Liturgical development not apparently found in the oldest of our manuscripts.

Fr., let me ask you this and I'm not trying to duck your question.  But do you encourage your flock to say the prayers that you say during the chanting of the antiphons or during Psalm 103 at Vespers or the 12 Matin Prayers during the reading of the six psalms?  I admit that I am perhaps too much of a liturgical purist and follow the Liturgikon strictly.  But, if something in the rubrics is specifically for a priest and/or deacon and the people do it in their own stead, that is precisely usurping the role of the deacon.  The clergy are vested (no pun intended) with the powers of calling down the spirit.  Such is not reserved for the people.  Maybe I'm being too legalistic, but I stand by my assertion.

Also, I should have put this up in my original question: How many of your churches (and I'm addressing everyone here) have the Royal Doors CLOSED during the epiclesis?
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« Reply #57 on: May 26, 2010, 06:56:51 PM »

Also, I should have put this up in my original question: How many of your churches (and I'm addressing everyone here) have the Royal Doors CLOSED during the epiclesis?

Mine does.  I know because it's my job to close them.  Smiley

Serving with the doors open at this point is reserved to bishops and those clergy to whom this honour has been awarded, which is an honour higher than the wearing of the mitre.  So only bishops, and those archimandrites and mitred archpriests who have been awarded the privilege of serving with the doors open may do so.
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« Reply #58 on: May 26, 2010, 07:22:29 PM »

The people do say the Epiclesis Amens in the Greek Liturgy of St James, as well as the Syriac and Coptic Liturgies.  It would seem obvious that the only reason it is relegated to the deacon in the modern Byzantine Liturgy is because it is assumed he is the only one who can hear the priest.  If the Epiclesis is aloud the people should respond.

Alas, the only copy of the Liturgy of St. James I have is the one published by the Apostolic Ministry of the Church of Greece (1997 printing) which gives the Amens to the Deacons.
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« Reply #59 on: May 26, 2010, 07:31:03 PM »

Fr., let me ask you this and I'm not trying to duck your question. 

I would never believe that you would - I can always expect a serious discussion with you, even if we strongly disagree.

But do you encourage your flock to say the prayers that you say during the chanting of the antiphons or during Psalm 103 at Vespers or the 12 Matin Prayers during the reading of the six psalms? 

You may want to pick a different example: those prayers are vestiges from a different format of the service - they actually don't have their places in the current services (although we can shoehorn a few in), but are rather from the extensive sets of antiphons of the Asmatic Vespers and Matins.  If someone is in earshot (i.e. a helper in the Altar), I'd encourage them to say "amen" to the prayers, but I don't read them very loudly because the Psalms are also being read, which means others cannot hear them.

I admit that I am perhaps too much of a liturgical purist and follow the Liturgikon strictly.  But, if something in the rubrics is specifically for a priest and/or deacon and the people do it in their own stead, that is precisely usurping the role of the deacon.  The clergy are vested (no pun intended) with the powers of calling down the spirit.  Such is not reserved for the people.  Maybe I'm being too legalistic, but I stand by my assertion.

I suppose my point wasn't that the people must or should say the Amens, but rather that we should not say that the Amens are in the exclusive purview of the Deacons.  If you want to strictly follow the Liturgicon, then I'd have to ask "which one?"  The one I have from 1,200 years ago says the Priest should do it. I'd also argue that having people say Amen is not inconsistent with the position that only the Priest calls down the Spirit - it is the same position held when the Deacon says the Amen, a deacon who never calls down the Spirit in epiclesis in any of the Divine Services.

Also, I should have put this up in my original question: How many of your churches (and I'm addressing everyone here) have the Royal Doors CLOSED during the epiclesis?

Ours does not, but that is not unusual for GOA parish practice.  In the GOA, I've only seen closed doors at the epiclesis in the monasteries. 
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« Reply #60 on: May 26, 2010, 08:48:02 PM »

The people do say the Epiclesis Amens in the Greek Liturgy of St James, as well as the Syriac and Coptic Liturgies.  It would seem obvious that the only reason it is relegated to the deacon in the modern Byzantine Liturgy is because it is assumed he is the only one who can hear the priest.  If the Epiclesis is aloud the people should respond.

Alas, the only copy of the Liturgy of St. James I have is the one published by the Apostolic Ministry of the Church of Greece (1997 printing) which gives the Amens to the Deacons.

I know, I have that version too.  It is altered to conform to chrysostom and basil.  But all authentic texts of James have o laos Amin for the epiklesis.   For example, manuscripts Graec. 2504, Messanensis, Paris graec 476, Rossanensis, Vat. Graec 1970, Messina (Graec 177), several Sinai texts, the Cairo text, Halki text (which was damaged in the fire but studied and partially reproduced); other sources Assemani 1752, Parisiis G. Morelium 1560, 1624 Ducaeus, Venetian Liturgikon 1645, Romae 1752, Trollope 1848, Tetralogia 1849, Cod. lit eccl. ai Lips 1853; Liturgia pr.London 1858.     
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« Reply #61 on: May 26, 2010, 09:47:15 PM »

The clergy are vested (no pun intended) with the powers of calling down the spirit.  Such is not reserved for the people.  Maybe I'm being too legalistic, but I stand by my assertion.


The "clergy" are not all vested with the power to call down the Holy Spirit, only the Bishop and the Priest.  The Faithful do not usurp this power by simply agreeing with the Priest and acknowledging so by saying Amen.  And because the Faithful say "Amen" to something does not mean that they are somehow now empowered to say the prayers.  It is the duty of all Orthodox Christians to know the Liturgy and to participate in it.  It is when the participation becomes disruptive that a problem exists.  If the doors are closed and the curtain is drawn and you yell out Amen when you think the time is right, that would be disruptive.  But if the doors are open and the Priest is using a microphone (as does the priest at St. Mary's), there is nothing wrong with saying Amen in a low voice to indicate your agreement with the Priest asking God to change the bread and wine into His Body and Blood.  I also know that when I served there years ago, everyone in the altar area (servers and the adult watching them) would say the Amens.  Even when I attend the Serbian or Russian Church, where the doors are closed and the curtain drawn, I silently say Amen at the time that the Holy Spirit comes down.  I also silently read the priest's prayers as he is praying them and silently sing along with the choir as they sing their parts.  The Liturgy is the common work of the Body of Christ, not some dead Pharisaic ritual performed by the clergy while the people silently and dumbly look on.  Those that have made it so have done the Church a great disservice.     
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« Reply #62 on: May 27, 2010, 12:04:14 AM »

It was tradition in my family parish to have the doors and curtains drawn at the right time..same practice as rocor.
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« Reply #63 on: May 27, 2010, 01:19:38 PM »

I'll repeat my question for Scamandrius: What does the priest at your Antiochian church have to say about the epiclesis?

As for the Royal Doors...at every OCA church I've been to, they have been closed, while every Greek and Antiochian Church I've ever been to, they've been open. So my supposition is that closing them is specifically a Slavic tradition.
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« Reply #64 on: May 27, 2010, 04:25:17 PM »

Eugenio,

I haven't asked him though I'm pretty sure what his answer would be.  I think he would say that the people should say the Amens.  I do not know why but I've had way too many (unproductive) conversations about appropriate decorum when it comes to the reading of the 6 Psalms at Matins, when prostrations should/should not be made, etc..  I know that he is toeing a line between what is prescribed in the Liturgicon and what has been the established practice of the parish since long before he arrived.

As for the Royal Doors...at every OCA church I've been to, they have been closed, while every Greek and Antiochian Church I've ever been to, they've been open. So my supposition is that closing them is specifically a Slavic tradition.

No.  The GOA monasteries I have visited have their doors closed during the epiclesis as do the monasteries on Athos. I think that this shows that the opened doors are the innovation.

To another point, I consistently grow tired with the misguided assertion that if someone is not singing out loud and praying out loud that they are not participating in the Liturgy.  I suppose that you then know what is going on in the silent person's heart and mind?

Also, regardless of whether the doors are closed or opened during the epiclesis, that should not "endorse" or "suggest" to the people to chant "amen."
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« Reply #65 on: May 27, 2010, 05:16:27 PM »


No.  The GOA monasteries I have visited have their doors closed during the epiclesis as do the monasteries on Athos. I think that this shows that the opened doors are the innovation.

To another point, I consistently grow tired with the misguided assertion that if someone is not singing out loud and praying out loud that they are not participating in the Liturgy.  I suppose that you then know what is going on in the silent person's heart and mind?

Also, regardless of whether the doors are closed or opened during the epiclesis, that should not "endorse" or "suggest" to the people to chant "amen."

I agree but asserting that it is good that people participate more actively by singing along the choir, among other things, does not mean that the other side of the coin is asserting that those who do not are not participating in the liturgy. You are also right about the doors and the amens. But, again I do not know of anyone who is making the correlation.
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« Reply #66 on: May 27, 2010, 10:48:29 PM »

Is this the way it is actually printed in the liturgical books of the archdiocese?

Does the Antiochian Archdiocese have an official Liturgikon? 

Yes, they do (and I left it at the office, so I cannot reference it for you).  It is a handy reference guide (generally speaking).

It is indeed a handy reference guide. The work of Bishop Basil before his elevation, if I'm not mistaken? A really excellent piece of work.
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« Reply #67 on: June 01, 2010, 08:52:35 PM »

When I was in the OCA, the entire congregation said Amen during the Epiklesis. I have noticed in Rocor that the Amen's are said quietly only by the Priest and Deacon (though out of habit I also say Amen since I am behind the alter).

Is this just a minor jurisdictional difference or something more?

Thanks
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« Reply #68 on: June 01, 2010, 09:17:42 PM »

When I was in the OCA, the entire congregation said Amen during the Epiklesis. I have noticed in Rocor that the Amen's are said quietly only by the Priest and Deacon (though out of habit I also say Amen since I am behind the alter).

Is this just a minor jurisdictional difference or something more?

Thanks
I always thought it was supposed to be said by the congregation. However, after I looked in a Liturgy book, as well as the little red Antiochian Prayer Book (which has the Liturgy in it), there aren't even "Amens" said, except for the Threefold Amen at the end.

The online GOA Text shows that the faithful respond "Amen" when the Priest says:
"Take, eat, this is my Body which is broken for you for the forgiveness of sins. Amen ... Likewise, after supper, He took the cup, saying: Drink of it all of you; this is my Blood of the new Covenant which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Amen."

However, it doesn't say who says the second set of Amens when the Priest is asking the Holy Spirit to come down and actually change the gifts into the body and blood. I think it may be assumed that the Priest is saying the Amen there.
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« Reply #69 on: June 02, 2010, 09:05:33 AM »


I always thought it was supposed to be said by the congregation. However, after I looked in a Liturgy book, as well as the little red Antiochian Prayer Book (which has the Liturgy in it), there aren't even "Amens" said, except for the Threefold Amen at the end.

The online GOA Text shows that the faithful respond "Amen" when the Priest says:
"Take, eat, this is my Body which is broken for you for the forgiveness of sins. Amen ... Likewise, after supper, He took the cup, saying: Drink of it all of you; this is my Blood of the new Covenant which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Amen."

However, it doesn't say who says the second set of Amens when the Priest is asking the Holy Spirit to come down and actually change the gifts into the body and blood. I think it may be assumed that the Priest is saying the Amen there.

To clarify, Devin, the saying of Amen at the (forgive the old Protestant in me for using this phrase) Words of Institution are to be said by the congregation. It is the saying of "amen" at the epiclesis, that is the point of contention.

When I was in the OCA, the entire congregation said Amen during the Epiklesis. I have noticed in Rocor that the Amen's are said quietly only by the Priest and Deacon (though out of habit I also say Amen since I am behind the alter).

Marc, even an altar server, imho, should not be saying Amen during the epiclesis though you are within auditory range and it is, as you say, a force of habit.  This is a dialogue between the priest and deacon.  The ROCORs are following the liturgical rubrics correctly.
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« Reply #70 on: June 02, 2010, 11:20:59 AM »


I always thought it was supposed to be said by the congregation. However, after I looked in a Liturgy book, as well as the little red Antiochian Prayer Book (which has the Liturgy in it), there aren't even "Amens" said, except for the Threefold Amen at the end.

The online GOA Text shows that the faithful respond "Amen" when the Priest says:
"Take, eat, this is my Body which is broken for you for the forgiveness of sins. Amen ... Likewise, after supper, He took the cup, saying: Drink of it all of you; this is my Blood of the new Covenant which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Amen."

However, it doesn't say who says the second set of Amens when the Priest is asking the Holy Spirit to come down and actually change the gifts into the body and blood. I think it may be assumed that the Priest is saying the Amen there.

Okay.. Thanks.. I wasnt really putting much forethought into it. I shall restrain myself.

To clarify, Devin, the saying of Amen at the (forgive the old Protestant in me for using this phrase) Words of Institution are to be said by the congregation. It is the saying of "amen" at the epiclesis, that is the point of contention.

When I was in the OCA, the entire congregation said Amen during the Epiklesis. I have noticed in Rocor that the Amen's are said quietly only by the Priest and Deacon (though out of habit I also say Amen since I am behind the alter).

Marc, even an altar server, imho, should not be saying Amen during the epiclesis though you are within auditory range and it is, as you say, a force of habit.  This is a dialogue between the priest and deacon.  The ROCORs are following the liturgical rubrics correctly.
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« Reply #71 on: June 02, 2010, 11:38:19 AM »


I always thought it was supposed to be said by the congregation. However, after I looked in a Liturgy book, as well as the little red Antiochian Prayer Book (which has the Liturgy in it), there aren't even "Amens" said, except for the Threefold Amen at the end.

The online GOA Text shows that the faithful respond "Amen" when the Priest says:
"Take, eat, this is my Body which is broken for you for the forgiveness of sins. Amen ... Likewise, after supper, He took the cup, saying: Drink of it all of you; this is my Blood of the new Covenant which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Amen."

However, it doesn't say who says the second set of Amens when the Priest is asking the Holy Spirit to come down and actually change the gifts into the body and blood. I think it may be assumed that the Priest is saying the Amen there.

To clarify, Devin, the saying of Amen at the (forgive the old Protestant in me for using this phrase) Words of Institution are to be said by the congregation. It is the saying of "amen" at the epiclesis, that is the point of contention.

When I was in the OCA, the entire congregation said Amen during the Epiklesis. I have noticed in Rocor that the Amen's are said quietly only by the Priest and Deacon (though out of habit I also say Amen since I am behind the alter).

Marc, even an altar server, imho, should not be saying Amen during the epiclesis though you are within auditory range and it is, as you say, a force of habit.  This is a dialogue between the priest and deacon.  The ROCORs are following the liturgical rubrics correctly.
So the Holy Spirit comes down only on the priest and the deacon? Leaves an interesting question for those many, many Churches who do not have deacons.

Btw, have we addressed the question of ANY prayer being said "secretly?"
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« Reply #72 on: June 02, 2010, 11:48:23 AM »

i think the point that Church is about community and not individuals is even more in favor of an audible Epiklesis -- its not just about the priest, this is an effort of the whole community. The priest says that the offering is on behald of all and for all, and that we all offer the gifts to God. If we all can offer, and we call can partake, why is it so bad for us all to hear about it? what is the reasoning for these prayers belonging solely to clergy, other than that its a long-standing tradition?

I could swear that someone here gave some deep mystical reason.  I didn't buy it.

I read a study of the ruins of the Churches of the extinct Nubian Orthodox Church: the sanctuaries were over time getting bigger, whereas the nave was getting smaller.  From a variety of evidence it demonstrated that the DL had progressively became some deep secret of the clergy, which the laity kept their distance from, until all that was needed was the place of sacrifice and some room for deacons.  The laity, if they dared approach, only came and peeked inside, or stood outside.  The set up went a long way to explain why the Nubian Orthodox Church went extinct while the Coptic Church did not.  Btw, there was evidence also that the Nubians were Chalcedonian.

Came across what I was thinking of:
Since I find nothing uncanonical nor anticanonical-or, for that matter unOrthodox-about serving Proskomedia outside the Altar, in particular if the priest is demonstrating what the Church is doing to prepare the Euchariest, I don't have the urge to find a Canon.

Even if you had the urge to find a Canon, there just isn't a Canon for you to find. The reason why it's improper is because it doesn't reflect the symbolism of the Proskomedia.

I see Rome is speaking again.

Quote
One priest told me that Proskomedia is a mystery, indeed I've read that in many liturgical hand books. It represents the Nativity of Christ in the flesh (that's why there's an Icon of the Nativity on the Proskomedia) and just as the Nativity took place in a secret manner, in a cave, only announced to the shepherds, and glorified by them, the wise men, and the angels... in the same manner Proskomedia is done in secret, by the priest and the deacon without any people who are on the other side of the iconscrean noticing.

The nonsense of clericalism.
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« Reply #73 on: July 22, 2010, 10:14:21 AM »

Perhaps we should all start reciting he prayer of the antiphons win the priest and all holding hands around The altar during the anafora. 

but if the Liturgy is the work of the people, then the people should give an Amen to their own offering!

Well, hence the people singing tebe pojem while the priest and the deacon pray their part.  Church isn't about particular individual wants it's about what the church instructs.  Totally different mindset from the American thought on protestantism, "I think therefore it should be." 

Precisely!

And the people do give their Amen.  The Amen at the end of the Anaphora is their assent and affirmation of the whole prayer that has been offered - their taking it and making it their own.  They do not have to usurp the deacon's Amens within the prayer as well in order to make the prayer their own for the priest sums up the entire anaphora, of which the epiklesis is part, with the words, 'And grant unto us that with one mouth and one heart we may glorify and hymn thine all-honourable and majestic name, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages', to which the people boldly sing their Amen.

Throughout the anaphora, different orders have different roles.  The deacon calls us to attention, the priest bestows the apostolic blessing and exhorts us to let our hearts be on high, the people chant the hymn of the angels, the priest repeats the dominical words while the deacon performs the practical necessities with the vessels.  At the epiklesis, the people take part by elevating their hearts and minds to God and by joining in the reverent singing of the We praise Thee, we bless Thee..., while the priest takes part by addressing prayer to the Father, and the deacon takes part by peforming his role of keeping order and offering practical instruction, in this instance in dialogue with the priest's words.  In this way, the different orders within the Church come together to play their part in the corporate offering of prayer and worship to God.  To suggest that the people are not truly taking part unless they are saying the deacon's words is to denigrate their own part, as though it is something worthless and not really a means of participation.  This seems nothing more than clericalism of the worst sort, because it is dressed up as inclusion.

The We praise Thee, we bless Thee is not merely a patronsing insertion into the anaphora to keep the laity occupied while the priest and deacon get on with the "real business".  Rather, it is part of the anaphora, the great prayer, itself, and it is assigned to the people as their part of the offering whie the deacon and priest give theirs.  In fact, it is a direct continuation of the very sentence that the priest himself begins, showing the unity between the action of the priest and the action of the people:

Quote
Being mindful, therefore, of this saving commandment and of all that hath come to pass for us – the Cross, the grave, the Resurrection on the third day, the Ascension into heaven, the Session at the right hand, and the second and glorious Coming again - offering unto Thee thine own of thine own, on behalf of all and for all, we praise Thee, we bless Thee, we give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, and we pray unto Thee, O our God.

The practice in some parishes, mentioned upthread, of relegating the hymn We praise Thee, we bless Thee to after the epiklesis, interrupts this sentence, inserting the epiklesis between the two parts and thus completely depriving it of its sense, and disrupts the flow and order of the anaphora, for no other reason than to encourage the people to take part in the role of the clergy.  This further highlights the clericalism: the mentality seems to be "The role of the priest and deacon is far more important than that of the people, so we must put the people's part on hold so they don't miss the clergy's part, and then they can continue doing whatever insignificant thing it is that they do".  We ought to be affirming the role of the laity, not showing them that their part so worthless that it can be shunted aside.

Btw, have we addressed the question of ANY prayer being said "secretly?"

There's a rather good article on this here. (pdf).

In Christ,
Michael
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« Reply #74 on: July 22, 2010, 10:41:40 AM »

Perhaps we should all start reciting he prayer of the antiphons win the priest and all holding hands around The altar during the anafora.  

but if the Liturgy is the work of the people, then the people should give an Amen to their own offering!

Well, hence the people singing tebe pojem while the priest and the deacon pray their part.  Church isn't about particular individual wants it's about what the church instructs.  Totally different mindset from the American thought on protestantism, "I think therefore it should be."  

Precisely!

And the people do give their Amen.  The Amen at the end of the Anaphora is their assent and affirmation of the whole prayer that has been offered - their taking it and making it their own.  They do not have to usurp the deacon's Amens within the prayer as well in order to make the prayer their own for the priest sums up the entire anaphora, of which the epiklesis is part, with the words, 'And grant unto us that with one mouth and one heart we may glorify and hymn thine all-honourable and majestic name, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages', to which the people boldly sing their Amen.

Throughout the anaphora, different orders have different roles.  The deacon calls us to attention, the priest bestows the apostolic blessing and exhorts us to let our hearts be on high, the people chant the hymn of the angels, the priest repeats the dominical words while the deacon performs the practical necessities with the vessels.  At the epiklesis, the people take part by elevating their hearts and minds to God and by joining in the reverent singing of the We praise Thee, we bless Thee..., while the priest takes part by addressing prayer to the Father, and the deacon takes part by peforming his role of keeping order and offering practical instruction, in this instance in dialogue with the priest's words.  In this way, the different orders within the Church come together to play their part in the corporate offering of prayer and worship to God.  To suggest that the people are not truly taking part unless they are saying the deacon's words is to denigrate their own part, as though it is something worthless and not really a means of participation.  This seems nothing more than clericalism of the worst sort, because it is dressed up as inclusion.

The We praise Thee, we bless Thee is not merely a patronsing insertion into the anaphora to keep the laity occupied while the priest and deacon get on with the "real business".  Rather, it is part of the anaphora, the great prayer, itself, and it is assigned to the people as their part of the offering whie the deacon and priest give theirs.  In fact, it is a direct continuation of the very sentence that the priest himself begins, showing the unity between the action of the priest and the action of the people:

Quote
Being mindful, therefore, of this saving commandment and of all that hath come to pass for us – the Cross, the grave, the Resurrection on the third day, the Ascension into heaven, the Session at the right hand, and the second and glorious Coming again - offering unto Thee thine own of thine own, on behalf of all and for all, we praise Thee, we bless Thee, we give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, and we pray unto Thee, O our God.

The practice in some parishes, mentioned upthread, of relegating the hymn We praise Thee, we bless Thee to after the epiklesis, interrupts this sentence, inserting the epiklesis between the two parts and thus completely depriving it of its sense, and disrupts the flow and order of the anaphora, for no other reason than to encourage the people to take part in the role of the clergy.  This further highlights the clericalism: the mentality seems to be "The role of the priest and deacon is far more important than that of the people, so we must put the people's part on hold so they don't miss the clergy's part, and then they can continue doing whatever insignificant thing it is that they do".  We ought to be affirming the role of the laity, not showing them that their part so worthless that it can be shunted aside.

Btw, have we addressed the question of ANY prayer being said "secretly?"

There's a rather good article on this here. (pdf).

In Christ,
Michael

You are correct of course that the priest and the Deacon or the people start and finish the one prayer:

"(Priest) Being mindful, therefore, of this saving commandment and of all that hath come to pass for us – the Cross, the grave, the Resurrection on the third day, the Ascension into heaven, the Session at the right hand, and the second and glorious Coming again - offering unto Thee thine own of thine own, on behalf of all and for all, (people) we praise Thee, we bless Thee, we give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, and we pray unto Thee, O our God." In this prayer, the Priest pray for all, and the people pray for all as well, including the priest, deacon, subdeacon, bishop, etc...

While it may be true that in some parishes, "We praise Thee" portion of the prayer is sung after the Epiklesis, it is not so in all parishes. In my parish, after the people sing "We praise Thee," the Priest continues:

    Priest: And make this bread the precious Body of thy Christ.

    Choir/Readers/Deacons/People: Amen. etc...


I think that you may be clinging overmuch to the rubrics. Don't take me wrong: the rubrics are important but they are not as important as other needful things. If you look at the substance rather than the form of the Liturgy, there would not be anything wrong with doing away with parallel praying, that is the Priest and the people prying at the same time. The only practical result would be to lengthen the Divine Liturgy and I am not opposed to this. The service too often is over all to soon. I mean, haven't you ever left the nave thinking "where did the time go; here it is two hours after it started and yet it felt like a few minutes?"
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« Reply #75 on: July 22, 2010, 11:08:30 AM »

I agree with you entirely about time, Second Chance.  Smiley  There are times, (I wish this were the norm rather than the exception), that we finish the Liturgy, get all the ditying up done with, and only then does it suddenly occur to me that I'm hungry.  When I check the time and realise how late it is, I find myself genuinely at a loss to explain it.  I think it's wonderful!  These are the times we should savour.

Yet, the length of the Liturgy isn't really my concern here, neither is it necessarily a slavish approach to rubrics - at least not for its own sake.  Rather, it is a faithfulness and obedience to what we have received.  This concept of layered worship is part of our Orthodox heritage in both east and west going back to early times, (I would recommend reading that linked article on the mystical prayers).  It was the Protestant reformers and later the Puritans in the west who did away with such things as mystical prayers, rood screens, clergy facing east, and such like, because of their clericalist ideas that the people weren't truly participating unless they were constantly able to see and hear everything the priest was doing and saying, and this has been the protestant heritage by and large.  Now, with many converts coming to Orthodoxy from these confessions, I have suspected for some time that they have brought this mindset with them, and one priest, who is a personal friend, admitted as much to me.  Now I'm sure that there are other perspectives in addition to this but it is certainly one of them, and it is just so very alien to Orthodoxy.

I suppose I'm a bit hypersensitive to such things as the mystikos prayers read alound and illicit* serving with the doors open for this reason.  I suppose I've brought my own convert bagge with me, having, in my past church existence, been of the "do the red, say the black" school.  I still think there's merit in that, for the avoidance of distraction of others, and innovation for the sake of personal preference.

(*I refer to those priests who have not been awarded this privilege doing so nonetheless).

In Christ,
M
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« Reply #76 on: July 22, 2010, 11:40:59 AM »

I agree with you entirely about time, Second Chance.  Smiley  There are times, (I wish this were the norm rather than the exception), that we finish the Liturgy, get all the ditying up done with, and only then does it suddenly occur to me that I'm hungry.  When I check the time and realise how late it is, I find myself genuinely at a loss to explain it.  I think it's wonderful!  These are the times we should savour.

Yet, the length of the Liturgy isn't really my concern here, neither is it necessarily a slavish approach to rubrics - at least not for its own sake.  Rather, it is a faithfulness and obedience to what we have received.  This concept of layered worship is part of our Orthodox heritage in both east and west going back to early times, (I would recommend reading that linked article on the mystical prayers).  It was the Protestant reformers and later the Puritans in the west who did away with such things as mystical prayers, rood screens, clergy facing east, and such like, because of their clericalist ideas that the people weren't truly participating unless they were constantly able to see and hear everything the priest was doing and saying, and this has been the protestant heritage by and large.  Now, with many converts coming to Orthodoxy from these confessions, I have suspected for some time that they have brought this mindset with them, and one priest, who is a personal friend, admitted as much to me.  Now I'm sure that there are other perspectives in addition to this but it is certainly one of them, and it is just so very alien to Orthodoxy.

I suppose I'm a bit hypersensitive to such things as the mystikos prayers read alound and illicit* serving with the doors open for this reason.  I suppose I've brought my own convert bagge with me, having, in my past church existence, been of the "do the red, say the black" school.  I still think there's merit in that, for the avoidance of distraction of others, and innovation for the sake of personal preference.

(*I refer to those priests who have not been awarded this privilege doing so nonetheless).

In Christ,
M

I see your point. As a convert you must necessarily be particularly sensitive to not being perceived as bringing your "Protestant baggage" with you. As a subdeacon (although this applies to all of us), you would also be careful with "faithfulness and obedience to what we have received." Yet, I think it may be a particular conceit to be 100% faithful to all things. There is no question that we must be 100% to the faith but unless we do this with understanding, there is a problem no? I am not saying that you lack such understanding. What I am questioning, or rather driving at, is that it is more important for us to worship and to believe, as Apostle Paul says "I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind." (1 Corinthians 14:15). In my mind, it is important to understand, and not merely take as a given, what we do. If something that was passed down to us is not central to the faith, we should prayerfully consider whether we should do something else that is more truthful to our faith, which is supposed to be one and the same throughout all ages.

An example would be pews. Surely, we can agree that this is indeed a small matter, not worthy of great division. Another would be the interpretation of certain rubrics. In the Anaphora, for example, the Greek Church has decided to interpret the Rubrics as instructing a priest to day certain prayers "in a low voice" rather than "secretly." I read in a previous discussion (it may have even been on this thread) that in practice all the people hear these prayers as the priest is usually outfitted with a lapel microphone). In my church, these prayers are chanted aloud by the Priest (with the exception of the prayers between the "We praise Thee" and "And make this bread the precious Body of thy Christ."  Now, this issue is a weightier one because it touches upon ecclesiology and the role of the laity. Just as you are afraid of Protestant baggage (too high a role for the laity), I am afraid of Roman Catholic baggage (too low a role for the laity). Another way of saying this may be that I am leery of anything that divides the laity and the clergy into two separate species of Christians. The people saying the amens to the Epiklesis prayers help to preclude this and do not hurt our ecclesiology at all, even though it is indeed against some rubrics.
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« Reply #77 on: July 22, 2010, 01:27:10 PM »

I see your point. As a convert you must necessarily be particularly sensitive to not being perceived as bringing your "Protestant baggage" with you. As a subdeacon (although this applies to all of us), you would also be careful with "faithfulness and obedience to what we have received." Yet, I think it may be a particular conceit to be 100% faithful to all things. There is no question that we must be 100% to the faith but unless we do this with understanding, there is a problem no? I am not saying that you lack such understanding. What I am questioning, or rather driving at, is that it is more important for us to worship and to believe, as Apostle Paul says "I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind." (1 Corinthians 14:15). In my mind, it is important to understand, and not merely take as a given, what we do. If something that was passed down to us is not central to the faith, we should prayerfully consider whether we should do something else that is more truthful to our faith, which is supposed to be one and the same throughout all ages.

An example would be pews. Surely, we can agree that this is indeed a small matter, not worthy of great division. Another would be the interpretation of certain rubrics. In the Anaphora, for example, the Greek Church has decided to interpret the Rubrics as instructing a priest to day certain prayers "in a low voice" rather than "secretly." I read in a previous discussion (it may have even been on this thread) that in practice all the people hear these prayers as the priest is usually outfitted with a lapel microphone). In my church, these prayers are chanted aloud by the Priest (with the exception of the prayers between the "We praise Thee" and "And make this bread the precious Body of thy Christ."  Now, this issue is a weightier one because it touches upon ecclesiology and the role of the laity. Just as you are afraid of Protestant baggage (too high a role for the laity), I am afraid of Roman Catholic baggage (too low a role for the laity). Another way of saying this may be that I am leery of anything that divides the laity and the clergy into two separate species of Christians. The people saying the amens to the Epiklesis prayers help to preclude this and do not hurt our ecclesiology at all, even though it is indeed against some rubrics.

Thank you for your thoughts and insights here. I do agree with you about "what we have received" encompassing more than just externals.  I had intended it in that sense - indeed, externals don't exist on their own.  My own pre-Orthodox background is Anglo-Catholic, although growing up I didn't learn that term until my late teens.  Having grown up in part of the world where Anglicanism is uniformly Anglo-Catholic because that was the flavour of missionary that was sent there, there was simply no need to distinguish it from anything else.  We were simply Anglican.  It was only when I moved back to the UK (having been born here but left at an early age), that I was confronted with Anglicans who didn't believe in the sacraments, who didn't ask the prayers of the Saints, who didn't use incense, or chant, or wear vestments, or believe in the Eucharist, and such like.  It was only then that i began to appreciate that the way I worshipped had been coloured by a very interesting history of the Church of England.  Having developed a love for the mediaeval western rites, I began to see how they were based on a very different understanding of worship from the rites with which I had been brought up, and I saw the influence of the reformation and post-reformation period on how we perceived things.  I saw that the different orders within the church (of which only prietshood and laity remained in the CofE, the minor order having been abolished centuries ago and the diaconate being basically non-existent to all intents and purposes) were not just convenient categories but were real ministries actualised in the Church's worship and most of all at the Eucharist, (of course, my understanding of what the Church is was very different at the time but the point remains).

I understand your reticence about espousing anything that could be seen to perpetuate the excessive division between clergy and laity just as I can understand the reaction of the reformers against just this, as the late mediaeval rites had come to be heavily privatised in practice.  Yet they went too far to the other extreme.  Instead of restoring the people's parts to them so that they could participate that way, they instead introduced the concept that the only true way of participation was to be focussed on the priest.  This manifested itself in various ways in different places and over time, including the priest having to vest in front of the people, the abolition of the mystical prayers, the removal of rood screens, the priest having to face the people (if not in canon then at least in public perception), and so forth.  I reacted against this even when I was still Anglican and it was always a source of tension for me from then on, especially as so many of those around me held onto this legacy.  When I tried to explain the interwoven elements of the priest's and people's parts of the mediaeval mass, my friends simply saw the people being excluded from what the priest was doing.  Where I saw the priest and people, facing east together, praying together, looking together towards the New Jerusalem, my friends saw the priest with his "back to the people".  The mindset was so heavily entrenched that there was simply no challenging it.

This was not part of the reason I initially began to explore Orthodoxy (which was for ecclesiological reasons) but, having reached the conclusion that Orthodoxy alone is the Church of Christ and that I had no option but to uproot myself from all of which I had previously been part, it is certainly one of the things that made me begin to delight in my decision to embrace Orthodoxy.  All of a sudden, here it was: that mindset of each of us with our calling in the life of the Church and the actualisation of that in the Eucharist, not as something imagined from reading an historical liturgical text, and not something theorised about in a sermon about how liturgy should be bound up with life, but actually lived, here, now, in the present, before my very eyes, and now I was part of it!  I really dont know how to express that feeling in words.

The first time I went to the hierarchical Liturgy, I was bowled over.  There it was, all that I had never been able to experience before: the priests performing their role, the deacons theirs, the subdeacons theirs, the laity theirs, and these parts all ran simultaneously, often with everybody doing the same thing at the same time; often diverging, with different people doing different things at the same time, as the priests said prayers and the deacon censed and the choir sang; and interacting in parts as the deacons gave the litanies and the people responded; then converging at parts as the bishop brought everything together by exclaiming the doxologies of the prayers and the people gave their Amen.  Yet there was no sense of anybody being excluded from anything.  It is simply that we were all of different orders, all with different functions, but our common work was one, it was a corporate act of worship, and this reflects the sacramental life of the Church, its care for its members, and its apostolic mission.  There's an excellent article here (pdf) which explores this unity of liturgy and life as expressed specifically in the diaconal ministry and order.  I love that the deacon's offering of the litanies, exhorting the Eucharistic assembly to offer prayer to God, and his insertion of petitions for people in various states of need, all stems from the fact that, as deacon, it is his role to visit the sick, to comfort the sorrowful, anciently to distribute the alms of the parish to those in need, so he would know who was sick, who had died, who was pregnant, who was travelling, and so forth, and when the Christians gathered to make Eucharist, he would stand before them and lead them in praying to God for these members of their community.  This is the root of the additional petitions in the sluzhebnik for insertion into the Litany of Fervent Supplication.

The blurb on the back of the Hierarchical Liturgy book from the now defunct Christ of the Hills monastery has this quotation from St Ignatius, which I have quoted before but will repeat here because it is just so beautiful and sums it up perfectly:

Quote
"Be eager to do everything in God's harmony, with the Bishop presiding in the place of God, and the Presbytery in the place of the council of the Apostles, and the Deacons, most sweet to me, entrusted with the service of Jesus Christ." "Each of you must be part of this chorus so that, being harmonious in unity, receiving God's pitch in unison, you may sing with one voice through Jesus Christ to the Father."

So when I see this layered approach to worship being laid aside in parts, in favour of the more linear form of worship more akin to protestantism, (and Roman Catholicism since its liturgical revisions of the 20th century), where everybody has to say the same words, or at least hear all the words said, see everything that is done, where they complain about being left out if the priest faces any direction other than towards them, or if he does or says something that they do not see or hear, it makes me feel very uneasy indeed.  And when Orthodox clergy friends give their reasons for doing it, and they sound exactly like the reasons why the protestant reformers revised their services and altered their churches, I begin to wonder at the effects that this may have on Orthodox people's self-perception over time, and people's understanding of their place and role within the Church's common life.

So it is about following the rubrics, partly because my bishop would (rightly) have no qualms about correcting me or indeed my parish priest were we to do our own thing, but also because the rubrics and texts of the services exist not for their own sake but as an expression of what we do, which is itself bound up with how we understand what we are doing in worship, and our relationship to each other and to God.

So I much prefer what my bishop does.  He doesn't exclaim the mystikos prayers, including the epiklesis, aloud in order to make them heard, and he doesn't whisper them so as to make them inaudible.  He simply says them, and whether or not they are heard by the laity, who are performing their own role at this point, is inconsequential.  I only know one priest who offers the prayers in a whisper and one who exclaims them aloud (I'm in the Church Abroad but have served in the patirarchal church and Antiochian churches, also having visited a Greek parish from time to time) so what you referred to as the interpretation of the Greek church is what I suppose I consider to be usual from my experience in various churches.  It may be a transatlantic difference.

Anyway food is ready and won't eat itself.  Perhaps more later.

M
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« Reply #78 on: July 22, 2010, 01:58:21 PM »

I agree with you entirely about time, Second Chance.  Smiley  There are times, (I wish this were the norm rather than the exception), that we finish the Liturgy, get all the ditying up done with, and only then does it suddenly occur to me that I'm hungry.  When I check the time and realise how late it is, I find myself genuinely at a loss to explain it.  I think it's wonderful!  These are the times we should savour.

Yet, the length of the Liturgy isn't really my concern here, neither is it necessarily a slavish approach to rubrics - at least not for its own sake.  Rather, it is a faithfulness and obedience to what we have received.  This concept of layered worship is part of our Orthodox heritage in both east and west going back to early times, (I would recommend reading that linked article on the mystical prayers).  It was the Protestant reformers and later the Puritans in the west who did away with such things as mystical prayers, rood screens, clergy facing east, and such like, because of their clericalist ideas that the people weren't truly participating unless they were constantly able to see and hear everything the priest was doing and saying, and this has been the protestant heritage by and large.  Now, with many converts coming to Orthodoxy from these confessions, I have suspected for some time that they have brought this mindset with them, and one priest, who is a personal friend, admitted as much to me.  Now I'm sure that there are other perspectives in addition to this but it is certainly one of them, and it is just so very alien to Orthodoxy.

I suppose I'm a bit hypersensitive to such things as the mystikos prayers read alound and illicit* serving with the doors open for this reason.  I suppose I've brought my own convert bagge with me, having, in my past church existence, been of the "do the red, say the black" school.  I still think there's merit in that, for the avoidance of distraction of others, and innovation for the sake of personal preference.

(*I refer to those priests who have not been awarded this privilege doing so nonetheless).

In Christ,
M

The Emperor Justinian wasn't a Protestant by any stretch. And he is clear on the record against silent prayers.

While faithful adherance and obedience to what we have received is the core of Orthodoxy, doing so without discernment is not.  For two centuries the Russian Church adhered to obedience to the Holy Governing Synod, a horrid aberration of Orthodox ecclesiology which was adopted by Churches after the model of Russia, leading to the odd situation of communicants of the Vatican (the Kings of Greece and Romania) running Orthodox Churches.  Fortescue was right on that point:
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07428a.htm
Thankfully, he was proved wrong on the spread of this to the disappearance of the patriarchy a decade after he wrote it.

The article you cite suffers also from the principle that "Tradition is what was done in the generation before me," complete with worming in an argument over the Calendar (repeating the oft repeated, incorrect, statement that the Julian calendar is "far superior theologically and astronomically [a very odd claim] to the Gregorian": irrelevant as the New Calendar is revised Julian, not Gregorian. And superior theologically and astronomically).

In Nubia, one can see archeologically how the Churches got smaller until they were merely an enlarged sanctuary, a side effect of clericallism.  Nubia was once a Christian kingdom, even had a chapel in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  Now the Nubians are proud that not a single Christian is found among them.
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« Reply #79 on: July 22, 2010, 02:28:38 PM »

The Emperor Justinian wasn't a Protestant by any stretch. And he is clear on the record against silent prayers.

Thank you for your reply, ialmisry.

For the faults in the article to which I linked, it is not the only place that I have heard it said that Emperor Justinian's Novella 137 is often misused as early evidence against the mystikos prayers.  I have heard this elsewhere, including from Hieromonk Irinei who does (used to do? - I don't know whether it's still going) the "Word from the Holy Fathers" podcast on Ancient Faith Radio, and is something of a patristics scholar.  His reading is that there is little to nothing from the fathers that gives definitive evidence either way but that there are implications of a difference between the manner of the prayers of the laity and the clergy, and that Novella 137 was introducing an innovation rather than correcting one.

I'm no scholar of these things and do not have the original languages so can make no claims of my own but it seems the Emperor Justinian doesn't give us as clear a picture of ancient practice as he is sometimes presented as giving.

M
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« Reply #80 on: July 22, 2010, 02:35:04 PM »

There is an odd notion in some quarters that, while the Liturgy might not have fallen from Heaven complete with all the rubrics, what we have now (or before we started modernizing, however that is defined) is how the Holy Spirit wants it. This is just as extreme as digging up and using services as they were done in the 6th century because that's supposedly more authentic. We have traditionally been in between those extremes, which, of course, makes our position more difficult to define. But, throughout our history, our liturgical rites and rubrics have been diverse, subject to local custom, and at the discretion of the hierarch  (whether or not he is right--with all the various exceptions thereunto pertaining--the mob, though, isn't always right either when it protests).
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« Reply #81 on: July 22, 2010, 07:18:44 PM »

The Emperor Justinian wasn't a Protestant by any stretch. And he is clear on the record against silent prayers.

Thank you for your reply, ialmisry.

For the faults in the article to which I linked, it is not the only place that I have heard it said that Emperor Justinian's Novella 137 is often misused as early evidence against the mystikos prayers.  I have heard this elsewhere, including from Hieromonk Irinei who does (used to do? - I don't know whether it's still going) the "Word from the Holy Fathers" podcast on Ancient Faith Radio, and is something of a patristics scholar.  His reading is that there is little to nothing from the fathers that gives definitive evidence either way but that there are implications of a difference between the manner of the prayers of the laity and the clergy, and that Novella 137 was introducing an innovation rather than correcting one.

I'm no scholar of these things and do not have the original languages so can make no claims of my own but it seems the Emperor Justinian doesn't give us as clear a picture of ancient practice as he is sometimes presented as giving.

M

Btw, this came up on another thread:
Justinian's novella prohibited silent anaphora. Or is Justinian's empire of the Romans not enough of an Orthodox milieux, with an Orthodox majority going back centuries, for you?
Worship traditions in Armenia and the neighboring Christian East: an ... By Roberta R. Ervine
http://books.google.com/books?id=gdiZiQGDf1sC&pg=PA39&dq=Justinian+silent+prayers&hl=en&ei=THxGTI3IA8Sclgfy9oDoBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CD0Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=Justinian%20silent%20prayers&f=false
Oh, btw, the inaubible prayers are a Nestorian innovation, taken so far by them that the Words of Institution have dropped out of their liturgy.
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« Reply #82 on: July 22, 2010, 08:13:49 PM »

Just because the Nestorians said the anaphora inaudibly as well, doesn't mean this is a "Nestorian innovation". The Monophysites did/do the same. The same did the Latins, and we, of course.
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« Reply #83 on: July 22, 2010, 08:23:27 PM »

You're right, Shanghaiski, and I agree with you that we are not reconstructionists, trying to re-create the Liturgy exactly as it was at a given date in history.  The idea that the sluzhebnik as it is today fell from the Saviour's back pocket at the Ascension is ludicrous, and yet it is one that is often heard.  The point is well made in the linked article.  Still, it is useful to ensure that what we do now, while perhaps not the same as in the past, is yet in keeping with the spirit of it, whatever differences we may find.

Thank you for the reference, ialmisry.  I am familiar with the novella and have read it in its entirety (in translation).  I should clarify my meaning.  That Justinian was firmly opposed to the mystical prayers is not in dispute. That is the plain meaning of the text and nobody can argue with it.  The lack of clarity surrounds the context.  Some say that some priests had begun saying prayers quietly and Justinian was trying to put a stop to this innovation.  Others say that it seems from the text that it was Justinian who was trying to innovate by putting a stop to the mystical prayers, which were already the established practice.  As I said earlier, I am limited to English and am no historian so I must rely on the translations and work of others.  I claim no study on my own part.  In my post above, I was only making the point that, given the scholastic disagreement over the context of Justinian's novella, I don't think it can be reasonably presented as clear and irrefutable evidence that the mystical prayers were a novelty at the time.  It does't seem to me to be that simple.

Here is aforementioned Hieromonk Irinei's reading of the novella:

Quote
While it is absolutely clear that Justinian (alone among the patristic-era writers) emphatically does not like the custom of prayers being read inaudibly, what is equally clear is that he is not (as is sometimes claimed) arguing against this as an innovative practice that should be abandoned; rather, he is quite specifically arguing against what he understands to be the traditional practice of prayers being read inaudibly (he specifically mentions the prayers at the proskomedia, as well as baptism, though he is clearly referring also to others), which practice he does not like and wishes to replace with a new approach: the reading of all prayers audibly, 'in a voice that can be heard by the very faithful people'. He understands that this is a new practice, and seems also to anticipate that it will be highly controversial: his text goes on to spell out how his provincial governors are to follow up with bishops and their local synods, ensuring that the new legislation is enacted and the new commands fulfilled; and if any bishops are remiss in calling local synods in order to enact this new pattern, the governors are to report them to the emperor so that this tactic of 'delaying' the implementation of the new custom can be corrected ('...if they do not observe these orders, they will be subjected to the ultimate punishments' [!]). So while it is clear that Justinian himself does not like the inaudible reading of prayers by priests, it is absolutely clear that he is responding to what he knows perfectly well is the traditional and widespread practice of the Church in his day, which he wishes to change for something new (and which he seemed clearly enough to feel would find somewhat active and extensive opposition).

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.

Just some thoughts.

In Christ,
M
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« Reply #84 on: July 23, 2010, 06:25:52 PM »

The idea that the sluzhebnik as it is today fell from the Saviour's back pocket at the Ascension is ludicrous, and yet it is one that is often heard.  

What?  I am devastated.  Next you are going to tell me there is no Santa Clause and no Easter Bunny.
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« Reply #85 on: July 24, 2010, 02:43:21 AM »

The idea that the sluzhebnik as it is today fell from the Saviour's back pocket at the Ascension is ludicrous, and yet it is one that is often heard.  

What?  I am devastated.  Next you are going to tell me there is no Santa Clause and no Easter Bunny.

Oh dear! I'm sorry to have caused you such distress.  Yes, recent biblical scholarship shows that the verses describing the glorious descent of the sluzhebnik were in fact a later addition and are not to be found in early manuscripts.  They are thought to have been added at some point in the second century to combat the then growing trend of clergy suspending corks from their kamilavkas on feast days - something that was not in keeping with the rubrics and which led to many arguments over the appropriate shape and size of the corks, (with some positing that those for great feasts ought to be larger, with a sharp point at one end), whether they must be harvested only from cork oaks grown on land owned by Orthodox people, and much needless speculation over the reason for the absence from the trebnik of a rite for the blessing of festal corks.  Some ancient MSS still show signs of the use of Wite-Out/Tipp-Ex.

We should all learn from this.  I'm not sure exactly what we should learn but there's usually a moral to these stories.

M
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« Reply #86 on: July 26, 2010, 10:25:17 AM »


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.

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. That is what the Church of Greece to her great credit when She determined that the so-called secret prayers should be said in a non-loud/exclamatory voice (usually translated as "in a low voice"). In such a situation, it is logical that the end result would be uneven,with some in the congregation hearing the prayers and others not--all depending on acoustics. In mind mind, this situation is as bad as saying these prayers "mysteriously." (BTW, how does one ever say anything mysteriously anyway? I hate to be flippant here but the only thing I can think of is an aside from Boris Karloff or Christopher Lee!) Ergo, there being no justification, except in a rubric, the Church should consider chanting these prayers aloud for everone's understanding and benefit.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2010, 10:28:11 AM by Second Chance » Logged

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« Reply #87 on: July 26, 2010, 01:30:31 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?

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.  I have no idea where this idea came from and I'm quite sure it can't be justified, and I managed to convince her of this.

I share that story to point out that I would be right up there with you in countering the suggestion by anybody that the people are not to know what the priest is praying at this point, (because I don't see any justification or even any reason to desire such secrecy), but I don't think anybody here is saying that.  Rather, the question, as it seems to me, is whether praying with understanding as well as with the spirit necessitates hearing every word, even if we know what is being said, which is not the same thing.  Certainly, there were people in my Anglican past, who heard all of the words of the Eucharistic Prayer week by week and who yet had a far poorer understanding of what it was all about than most Orthodox people I have spoken with about liturgical matters.

For my part, I just don't see that hearing (in the modern sense in which we are using it) and understanding are the same thing.  The former doesn't necessarily imply the latter and the latter doesn't depend on the former, and St Paul seemed to think so as well.  Given other considerations, such as those I outlined about about the interplay of worship and how it shapes our understanding of what we are doing and who we are within the life of the people of God, I still can't see it as being any more beneficial to deliberately chant the mystikos prayers aloud with the intention that the people must hear them than it is to deliberately say them silently with the intention that the people must not hear them.  We must also remember that worship is not evangelism.  People may indeed come to the Faith through its worship but we ought not to compromise the hierarchical nature of our worship which reflects the nature of the Church in order to turn it into an evangelistic tool.  That isn't to denigrate the missionary call of the Church but only to keep the balance in worship and remember its purpose, and not to fail to always be imaginative in our zeal to spread the Faith.

Incidentally, in the Russian church I am accustomed to them being offered in a normal speaking voice.  My experience is not extensive but this is what I have seen almost universally in my own parish and diocese, and in the other Russian diocese in the UK.  I also have a CD of the setting of the Liturgy as composed by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, with him as principal celebrant.  This seems to be a live recording from an actual Liturgy as there are hints of this in the background, such as the censer at the appropropriate times.  During the cherubic hymn and the anaphora, one can hear the mystikos prayers being said.  From what the microphone picked up, it is clear that they are not being whispered but rather being offered in a normal speaking voice.  Perhaps my experience is not typical but I just would never think of this as being a peculiarity of the Greek church.

M
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« Reply #88 on: July 26, 2010, 01:37:14 PM »

On a related note: how does everyone feel about kneeling on Sunday during the Epiclesis?
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« Reply #89 on: July 26, 2010, 01:41:22 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
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