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Author Topic: Prostration practice in the Old Rite  (Read 1719 times) Average Rating: 0
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Orthodox11
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« on: August 23, 2010, 07:59:08 AM »

Would anyone happen to know why bows/prostrations according to the Old Rite seem to accompany prayers to the Theotokos more frequently than those to the Holy Trinity?
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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2010, 11:21:19 PM »

I don't know why but it seems odd to me.
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« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2010, 11:26:01 PM »

The Old Rite just confuses me.  Huh

I can't keep up. Lenexa seems to have a love for all things Old Believer, so perhaps he can bring you up to pace?
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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2010, 06:43:06 PM »

My apologies for not responding sooner.
I wanted to not just rely on my books but ask this question to Old Believers much more competent than I ever could be. One whom I corresponded with was born into an Old Believer family in Oregon, belonging to Belokrinitsky, "priested Old Believers" , and has been an Old Believer all his life, has been the most helpful. Old Believers do not feel bows and prostrations to be strictly divided in the sense that a prostration is worship and a bow is veneration. - This does not mean other Orthodox believe this but I have encountered this misconception amongst Orthodox about the meaning of bows and prostrations - They understand bows and prostrations in the context of Tradition, of the whole cycle of prayers within the cycle of Church Services within the whole cycle of the Church Calendar. The only prayer to the Theotokos where a prostration is always made no matter what day or time of year is the "Axion Estin" AKA "Dostoinno est" AKA "It is Meet and Right . . . " This is a practice of veneration that has been handed down through Tradition and is simply accepted as such by Old Believers. There are many prayers to the Theotokos when a prostration is not prescribed and there are many more times when prostrations are made when it is not a prayer to the Theotokos.
Would anyone happen to know why bows/prostrations according to the Old Rite seem to accompany prayers to the Theotokos more frequently than those to the Holy Trinity?
This is simply as you put it: something that seems to be the case but really when you delve deeper is not. Factually this is not true . Throughout Lent prostrations are prescribed more often than during the rest of the year at several places during all Church Services when a bow would be the norm otherwise and are most often prayers to the Holy Trinity or Christ. On weekdays the Entrance Bows and Departure bows are prescribed to be to the ground AKA a prostration AKA "Zemkoy Poklon". Prostrations as part of a private rule of prayer are encouraged and most often accompany the Isusova molitva AKA Jesus Prayer.
I don't know why but it seems odd to me.
Encountering the "old-fashioned" or "old world" piety often is seen as odd by most Orthodox raised in Modern culture. The act of venerating icons by making prostrations is the prescribed manner on weekdays but is seldom followed in my experience. Even the act of making a prostration on Great Friday is not followed by many Orthodox when they attend Great Friday services. But I don't know if this is your meaning or it is something else?
When I was a kid I was only exposed to Roman Catholic piety. When I first saw the way Muslims pray making a prostation I remember thinking that I wanted to pray like that. It was only years later tha I learned this form of prayer was adopted from Orthodox Christianity. It seems very natural and pious to me and though at first I tended to feel that a prostration should be "limited" to worshipping God but I realized that veneration of the Mother of God and Saints & Angels is worshipping God!
Separately I would just like to add that pious devotion to the Mother of God is something that I've encountered over and over again when reading about and encountering Orthodox people from Orthodox cultures as they exist in rural areas influenced by monasticism, that is, the monasteries in the area the lay people inhabit. Elder Paisie (Olaru) and Elder Cleopa (Ilie) counseled lay people to pray the Akathist to the Mother of God in the Morning and her Canon at night, her canon is normally read as part of the Compline service, and Elder Paisie additionally encouraged praying personal prayers to her begging her love, mercy, forgiveness and help calling her "Sweet Mother!"
The Old Rite just confuses me.  Huh

I can't keep up. Lenexa seems to have a love for all things Old Believer, so perhaps he can bring you up to pace?
What is confusing about it for you? Is it the Old Rite itself or the Old Believer culture that is confusing?
I would recommend that for those who want to have a better understanding of why we, I mean all practicing the "Byzantine Rite", pray what we do, how we do, and when we do the book Treatise on Prayer by St.Symeon of Thessalonike
https://securehost85.hrwebservices.net/~cotn//shopping/product_info.php?cPath=21_23&products_id=457&osCsid=9b71b1aab4afcf6b0194f6ab4dda1f27
Hope this helped!
Please pray for this sinner, his family and pray for all who passed on this info to me!
« Last Edit: October 06, 2010, 06:43:59 PM by Lenexa » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2010, 11:40:59 PM »

When I first saw the way Muslims pray making a prostation I remember thinking that I wanted to pray like that.

I used to think the exact same thing! Then I spent a few weeks around some Russians, as well as some people with connections to the Old Rite community, and I was chanting the daily prayers together with them. Since then, I've always imitated them in my prayers. The prostrations, endlessly making the Sign of the Cross, chanting the prayers instead of just saying them...it really opens up worship, which, for us living in the West, is usually restrictive to the intellect.
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« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2010, 02:55:50 AM »

Oh! Oh! (jumps up and down and sticks hand in the air) Me too!

It has now become part of my own devotion at the Divine Liturgy to make the five/six prostrations that are prescribed in the New Rite.  When serving in the altar, it is very easy to become distracted, worrying about the next practical thing, answering questions from others who have fotgotten things or are unsure about something.  Remembering to reverence the High Place before and after entrances and making the prostrations always cals my mind back to where it should be and remindsmy heart of what I am doing.

I particularly love the prostration at the beginning of the Otche Nash.  Our cathedral practice on weekdays is to remain prostrate throughout.  I don't do this myself usually but follow the house custom whenever I visit them and it's quite refreshing.

M
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« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2010, 12:26:31 PM »


I particularly love the prostration at the beginning of the Otche Nash.  Our cathedral practice on weekdays is to remain prostrate throughout.  I don't do this myself usually but follow the house custom whenever I visit them and it's quite refreshing.

M
Then who sings the Our Father if everyone is prostrated?
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« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2010, 02:33:54 PM »


I particularly love the prostration at the beginning of the Otche Nash.  Our cathedral practice on weekdays is to remain prostrate throughout.  I don't do this myself usually but follow the house custom whenever I visit them and it's quite refreshing.

M
Then who sings the Our Father if everyone is prostrated?

This two things do not contradict each other.
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« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2010, 04:05:18 PM »


I particularly love the prostration at the beginning of the Otche Nash.  Our cathedral practice on weekdays is to remain prostrate throughout.  I don't do this myself usually but follow the house custom whenever I visit them and it's quite refreshing.

M
Then who sings the Our Father if everyone is prostrated?

This two things do not contradict each other.

Well, quite.
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« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2010, 06:59:39 PM »


I particularly love the prostration at the beginning of the Otche Nash.  Our cathedral practice on weekdays is to remain prostrate throughout.  I don't do this myself usually but follow the house custom whenever I visit them and it's quite refreshing.

M
Then who sings the Our Father if everyone is prostrated?

Normally the choir do not make prostrations or bows for the reason you mentioned though often in various Orthodox churches I've been to the choir will make bows but not prostrations.
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« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2010, 08:31:18 PM »


I particularly love the prostration at the beginning of the Otche Nash.  Our cathedral practice on weekdays is to remain prostrate throughout.  I don't do this myself usually but follow the house custom whenever I visit them and it's quite refreshing.

M
Then who sings the Our Father if everyone is prostrated?

Normally the choir do not make prostrations or bows for the reason you mentioned though often in various Orthodox churches I've been to the choir will make bows but not prostrations.

Lay folks do not sing Otche Nash?
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« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2010, 09:16:37 PM »


I particularly love the prostration at the beginning of the Otche Nash.  Our cathedral practice on weekdays is to remain prostrate throughout.  I don't do this myself usually but follow the house custom whenever I visit them and it's quite refreshing.

M
Then who sings the Our Father if everyone is prostrated?

Normally the choir do not make prostrations or bows for the reason you mentioned though often in various Orthodox churches I've been to the choir will make bows but not prostrations.

Lay folks do not sing Otche Nash?




At the parish I attend, the laypeople do not sing the Our Father, although I'd like to.  The problem is that the music the choir uses for it is so difficult to sing a long to.  It sounds like something that Rachmaninoff would have written.  :-/
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« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2010, 08:31:44 PM »


I particularly love the prostration at the beginning of the Otche Nash.  Our cathedral practice on weekdays is to remain prostrate throughout.  I don't do this myself usually but follow the house custom whenever I visit them and it's quite refreshing.

M
Then who sings the Our Father if everyone is prostrated?

Normally the choir do not make prostrations or bows for the reason you mentioned though often in various Orthodox churches I've been to the choir will make bows but not prostrations.

Lay folks do not sing Otche Nash?

This is one area where you would agree with the Old Believers. It seems almost providential that you mention this in a discussion topic about the Old Rite because in the Old Rite this is one of the few times when the entire laity, not just the choir, sing. A prostration is made during Lent and a Bow is made on Sundays and Feastdays at the end but no one remains prostrate during the singing of the Lord's Prayer.
The practices of the "Nikonians", especially during the 18th Century, focused a great deal on the choir singing in an operatic way and the laity taking an active role became less and less.
The Old Rite is not trying to be overly strict or harsh in maintaining prostrations, strict rules of conduct during the Services, standing still, etc. it is following the traditional Christian practice of the laity having a real role in the Liturgy mystically being an icon of the saints and angels in Heaven! who adore the Lord; adore the Holy Trinity & the Mother of God. The reforms in the Slavic and Greek Rites accompanied the practices in urban, large churches and cathedrals of basically accepting the norm as being that the laity simply come in at any time, mill about lighting candles, chatting, making the Sign of the Cross and bows irregularly, no one takes communion, and the Liturgy and Chruch Services became the work of the Priesthood instead of the Liturgy being the "Common Work" of all Christians who offer a Sacrifice of Praise FOR the Holy Trinity communing in the One God and of the One God. Of course things often remained much more traditional in rural areas.
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« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2010, 08:46:13 PM »

This is one area where you would agree with the Old Believers. It seems almost providential that you mention this in a discussion topic about the Old Rite because in the Old Rite this is one of the few times when the entire laity, not just the choir, sing. A prostration is made during Lent and a Bow is made on Sundays and Feastdays at the end but no one remains prostrate during the singing of the Lord's Prayer.
The practices of the "Nikonians", especially during the 18th Century, focused a great deal on the choir singing in an operatic way and the laity taking an active role became less and less.
The Old Rite is not trying to be overly strict or harsh in maintaining prostrations, strict rules of conduct during the Services, standing still, etc. it is following the traditional Christian practice of the laity having a real role in the Liturgy mystically being an icon of the saints and angels in Heaven! who adore the Lord; adore the Holy Trinity & the Mother of God. The reforms in the Slavic and Greek Rites accompanied the practices in urban, large churches and cathedrals of basically accepting the norm as being that the laity simply come in at any time, mill about lighting candles, chatting, making the Sign of the Cross and bows irregularly, no one takes communion, and the Liturgy and Chruch Services became the work of the Priesthood instead of the Liturgy being the "Common Work" of all Christians who offer a Sacrifice of Praise FOR the Holy Trinity communing in the One God and of the One God. Of course things often remained much more traditional in rural areas.

Amen.
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« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2010, 01:40:13 PM »


I particularly love the prostration at the beginning of the Otche Nash.  Our cathedral practice on weekdays is to remain prostrate throughout.  I don't do this myself usually but follow the house custom whenever I visit them and it's quite refreshing.

M
Then who sings the Our Father if everyone is prostrated?

Normally the choir do not make prostrations or bows for the reason you mentioned though often in various Orthodox churches I've been to the choir will make bows but not prostrations.

Lay folks do not sing Otche Nash?

In the Church that I attend, the laity say the Lord’s Prayer, in English.  Then the Choir sings the Otche Nash in Slavonic, of course.
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« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2010, 02:24:08 PM »

In the Church that I attend, the laity say the Lord’s Prayer, in English.

Why it is said rather than sang?
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« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2010, 02:30:15 PM »

In the Church that I attend, the laity say the Lord’s Prayer, in English.  Then the Choir sings the Otche Nash in Slavonic, of course.
Why it is said rather than sang?
That is the practice in the Serbian parish I attended as well. I think the idea is to have the laity say the prayer together in the vernacular so that it is understood and then hear it sung. It is part of a contemporary desire in to have the laity participate more while maintaining the cultural/musical heritage. In my own experience this is as far as liturgical reform has gone in Serbian church in the U.S.
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« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2010, 02:35:32 PM »

In the Church that I attend, the laity say the Lord’s Prayer, in English.

Why it is said rather than sang?

I don't know.  Does it really make a difference?  Same with the Creed.  I have heard it done both ways.
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« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2010, 02:37:30 PM »

In the Church that I attend, the laity say the Lord’s Prayer, in English.  Then the Choir sings the Otche Nash in Slavonic, of course.
Why it is said rather than sang?
That is the practice in the Serbian parish I attended as well. I think the idea is to have the laity say the prayer together in the vernacular so that it is understood and then hear it sung. It is part of a contemporary desire in to have the laity participate more while maintaining the cultural/musical heritage. In my own experience this is as far as liturgical reform has gone in Serbian church in the U.S.

Was that your parish choir in Omaha last Sunday?  They were from the Kansas City area.
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« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2010, 03:34:04 PM »

Does it really make a difference?

I don't know. In Finland it is always sang according to my experience so it felt weird that it is said rather than sang. I've attended only to Finnish parishes so I don't know much about other churches' practices.
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« Reply #20 on: October 26, 2010, 05:08:50 PM »

Does it really make a difference?

I don't know. In Finland it is always sang according to my experience so it felt weird that it is said rather than sang. I've attended only to Finnish parishes so I don't know much about other churches' practices.

Does the Finnish Church practice a lot of congregational singing?  I ask because I am interested if the strong Lutheran influence in Scandinavia has had any influence on the Orthodox practices.  Seems like congregational singing is not the norm in Orthodoxy.  Too bad, in a way.
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« Reply #21 on: October 26, 2010, 06:04:39 PM »

Does the Finnish Church practice a lot of congregational singing?  I ask because I am interested if the strong Lutheran influence in Scandinavia has had any influence on the Orthodox practices.  Seems like congregational singing is not the norm in Orthodoxy.  Too bad, in a way.

I don't think it's a Lutheran influence. The Lemkos also do that - that's what I've been told.
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« Reply #22 on: October 27, 2010, 01:58:42 AM »

Does the Finnish Church practice a lot of congregational singing?  I ask because I am interested if the strong Lutheran influence in Scandinavia has had any influence on the Orthodox practices.  Seems like congregational singing is not the norm in Orthodoxy.  Too bad, in a way.

The traditional choir-based way is pretty much norm also in Finland but there is some congegational singing. In my parish Our Father, Creed, troparion to St. Nicholas of Myra (parish's patron) and Axion Estin is usually sang congregationally* and the "I belive and I confess..." prayer is said congregationally. Sometimes also some other parts but it's mostly just those. In other parishes I've attended only Our Father and Creed has been sang congregationally. I don't know whether it varies on diocesean basis or whether it is up to celebrating clergy or cantor which is sang congregationally.

So does the choir sing everything in other churches? I don't know whether Finnish congregational singing is an influence from Lutheranism, an idea from some modern theologian or something else.

*at least if they are in Finnish. There is occasionally some Slavonic because of Russian immigrants. Slavonic parts are never sang nor said congregationally.
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« Reply #23 on: October 27, 2010, 06:50:06 AM »

At my Parishes: all people sing the Lord's prayer and the Creed and say the prayer before the Communion, the rest is sung/read by the choir but many from the people sing too.
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« Reply #24 on: October 27, 2010, 06:55:26 PM »

At my Parishes: all people sing the Lord's prayer and the Creed and say the prayer before the Communion, the rest is sung/read by the choir but many from the people sing too.

Pretty much the same in my parish.  A few may sing the Litany responses, but not many.
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