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Author Topic: First Divine Liturgy, Questions  (Read 638 times) Average Rating: 0
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JimCBrooklyn
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« on: July 18, 2010, 07:24:17 AM »

I;m an inquirer, and attended my first DL semi-seriously today at Knyaz Vladimirskiy Sobor in St. Petersburg, Russia. I was the first regular Sunday service I've attended (have gone with my wife at Easter and Christmas once or twice, more as an observer). Beautiful service, much was confusing; my Russian is fairly good, but my Slavonic, not so much! Some questions:

I of course had seen this before, and am not put off by it, but am curious, what is the concept behind the nearly constant signing of the cross?

Why do people sometimes touch the ground after giving the sign of the cross, and sometimes not?

I guess overall, as there is much repetition in the liturgy, what is the theology behind this?

Is it normal for the congregation to have a fairly informal attitude, i.e., wandering about, in and out, (1 even answered her cell phone waiting to venerate the cross, which I'm sure is not too kosher...)?

Overall, the experience was entirely positive. There is a lot of beautiful mystery and devotion. The standing for 2 1/2 hrs is tough, but no tougher than Calvary!
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Robert W
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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2010, 09:54:20 AM »

I of course had seen this before, and am not put off by it, but am curious, what is the concept behind the nearly constant signing of the cross?

Why do people sometimes touch the ground after giving the sign of the cross, and sometimes not?

I guess overall, as there is much repetition in the liturgy, what is the theology behind this?

Is it normal for the congregation to have a fairly informal attitude, i.e., wandering about, in and out, (1 even answered her cell phone waiting to venerate the cross, which I'm sure is not too kosher...)?
Crossing yourself is part of the way Orthodox pray. I imagine this is not that different from the Roman Catholic custom. Touching the ground or even bowing all the way to the ground is just part of the personal devotion of the persons doing it. There is generally no enforced uniformity in these matters. I say "usually" because in some services during the great fast (lent) you really should do it at some times.

People do wander around in Church during services; to light candles and pray or perhaps to greet someone with a kiss after communion. I understand that this could seem informal but it is actually part of what one should do at Church.

Orthodox people are not known to be the most punctual crowd. In some Churches there are prayer services going on both before and after Divine Liturgy. This makes it hard to tell exactly when the actual Liturgy starts. In other Churches there are very specific times when the Liturgy starts but people are kind of used to take these times more as guidelines.  Grin

The phone thing is a little bit surprising. My priest would definitely disapprove, as would the rest of the participants in the Liturgy. police laugh

I'm glad you liked the experience! Some say standing becomes easier with time.  Cheesy

EDIT: About the repetition, I don't actually know but the Orthodox Church adheres to the Lex orandi, lex credendi (he rule of prayer is the rule of belief). Our beliefs are contained in our prayers and these prayers are repeated so that they will "stick" in the hearts of the believers. Perhaps other posters can correct me or expand on this?
« Last Edit: July 18, 2010, 10:03:44 AM by Robert W » Logged
JLatimer
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« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2010, 03:02:06 PM »

Generally we make the sign of the cross at any mention of the Holy Trinity. We also make the sign of the cross at each petition of the litany. There are also several other places where the sign of the cross with or without a bow from the waist is prescribed. On weekdays and during fast periods full prostrations (head to the ground, like you see Muslims do) are sometimes called for.

As regards standing, whenever I get to feeling like I've been standing too long I just think of Holy Unction on Great and Holy Wednesday, which this last time was about 7 hours long.  Smiley
« Last Edit: July 18, 2010, 03:07:36 PM by JLatimer » Logged

1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.
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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2010, 05:22:00 PM »


People do wander around in Church during services; to light candles and pray or perhaps to greet someone with a kiss after communion. I understand that this could seem informal but it is actually part of what one should do at Church.

Those parts/actions fall into the "should" category ~ but when each of your seven children leaves the nave once (or sometimes twice!) during the service to go to the bathroom or what-have-you, on top of all the normal moving about, it feels pretty distracting.  (And, yes, we're working on this.   Tongue )

Jim, I'm glad your experience was positive.  Oh, I wanted to comment on the repetition.  A fellow parishioner made a comparison recently that really spoke to me and helped explain this.  She spoke of how a young child loves to have the same book read to them over and over and over (and over and over) again.  They know it, they love it, they feel comforted in the sameness, and since the story never changes, hearing it the same way again and again is just fine with them.  KNOWING is is part of their loving it.  Perhaps we can view the Divine Liturgy the same way.  I
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« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2010, 05:34:17 PM »


People do wander around in Church during services; to light candles and pray or perhaps to greet someone with a kiss after communion. I understand that this could seem informal but it is actually part of what one should do at Church.

Those parts/actions fall into the "should" category ~ but when each of your seven children leaves the nave once (or sometimes twice!) during the service to go to the bathroom or what-have-you, on top of all the normal moving about, it feels pretty distracting.  (And, yes, we're working on this.   Tongue )

Jim, I'm glad your experience was positive.  Oh, I wanted to comment on the repetition.  A fellow parishioner made a comparison recently that really spoke to me and helped explain this.  She spoke of how a young child loves to have the same book read to them over and over and over (and over and over) again.  They know it, they love it, they feel comforted in the sameness, and since the story never changes, hearing it the same way again and again is just fine with them.  KNOWING is is part of their loving it.  Perhaps we can view the Divine Liturgy the same way.  I

I know what you mean about the repetition. I don't know exactly why, but especially when I was inquirer I couldn't get enough of those repetitive litanies. It's like listening to your favorite song on loop lol.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2010, 05:35:13 PM by JLatimer » Logged

1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.
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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2010, 06:55:18 PM »

Oh yeah, and at the parish I was baptized at we sang the Our Father first in English, then in Slavonic. I liked it just because I got to sing the Our Father twice!
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1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.
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