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Author Topic: difference between vespers and liturgy ?  (Read 1524 times) Average Rating: 0
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Jonathan Gress
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« on: September 10, 2010, 06:18:46 PM »

Is it better to hold the service the night before and get 50 people to come to communion or hold it the next morning and get 5 people to come to communion?

Depends; as long as you're not messing with Sunday morning, it is a good question you pose.

Why is it OK to mess around with the order of services on Feast days, but not on Sundays? This is not a trick question, I'm curious if the Typicon makes some kind of distinction. If you are living in a country where Sundays are ordinary work days, this could be an issue.
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« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2010, 07:02:30 PM »

Above all other times and celebrations, "early in the morning on the 1st day of the week" has been the hallmark gathering time for the Community, the distinctive Liturgical time of the Christian Church.  It is considered sacrosanct, above celebrations of all feastdays except Pascha (which is done really, really early on the 1st day of the week - Liturgy always beginning around or after midnight).

An example: Christmas and Theophany are double-Liturgy holy days; one Liturgy in the evening with Vespers, one Liturgy in the morning with Matins.  (Together with Pascha, they are the only days when 2 Liturgies in 1 Liturgical day are OK.)  However, when Christmas and Theophany fall on Sunday or Monday, this cycle is broken so as not to harm the Sunday Eucharistic gathering in any way (and the Liturgies are celebrated after Matins in the morning on the Eve, and then again after Matins on the Day).
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« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2010, 09:23:34 PM »


In response to your question, I ask the following:

Is it better to hold the service the night before and get 50 people to come to communion or hold it the next morning and get 5 people to come to communion?

-Nick

Depends on your beliefs concerning the Liturgy.  I am not sure that a Liturgy performed outside of the appointed times is, indeed, a Liturgy.  If that is so, what difference does it make how many people attend. 


That's interesting. It didn't occur to me that celebrating the Liturgy at the wrong time would actually invalidate the service. If that's true, you have a point.

As Fr. George says, we must be careful.  Obviously, those that celebrate at night don't think that there is anything wrong with it.  However, those that don't do so for good reason.  The one Liturgy on one altar by one priest in one day before Noon is taken pretty seriously in the Old Calendar Churches (unless specifically allowed otherwise in the Typikon).  However, since the day begins at sundown, anything from sundown until noon the next day would technically meet the "before noon" criteria.  However, if you are attending a typical church with one Priest and one altar, celebrating the night before would pretty much rule out any celebration the next day.  I could see evening services working in the big Russian churches with two and three altars and multiple Priests.  But you still cannot get passed the fact that in the Old Calendar traditions, one should not commune unless they attend the Vigil before the Liturgy.  Given the length of a properly performed festal Vigil, you would be in for a long night.
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« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2010, 09:29:23 PM »


An example: Christmas and Theophany are double-Liturgy holy days; one Liturgy in the evening with Vespers, one Liturgy in the morning with Matins.  (Together with Pascha, they are the only days when 2 Liturgies in 1 Liturgical day are OK.)  However, when Christmas and Theophany fall on Sunday or Monday, this cycle is broken so as not to harm the Sunday Eucharistic gathering in any way (and the Liturgies are celebrated after Matins in the morning on the Eve, and then again after Matins on the Day).

Not playing games, but an honest question:  is the above according to the Greek Typikon only, or do the Slavs also hold this tradition.  I have seen the Vigil with Litiy served in the evening in both the Serbian and ROCOR with the Liturgy the next day.  I have never seen two Liturgies served on the same day in either.
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« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2010, 10:03:50 AM »

I have seen the Vigil with Litiy served in the evening in both the Serbian and ROCOR with the Liturgy the next day.  I have never seen two Liturgies served on the same day in either.

Neither have I.
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« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2010, 01:50:02 PM »

I think he means the same liturgical day. According to the Typicon, on the Eve of Theophany, for example, January 5, Great Vespers of Theophany with the Liturgy of St Basil is celebrated around noon. In the evening the Vigil is celebrated with Great Compline and Matins. The next morning, January 6, the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom is celebrated. So it is the next calendar day, but still the same liturgical day.

The Greeks don't do it quite like this in my experience, but they do celebrate two liturgies for Theophany, one on the 5th after Vespers, and one on the morning of the 6th.
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« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2010, 09:46:53 AM »

Well, there is an implication (implicature?) in your question that everyone should be receiving communion as frequently as possible. I think that depends on the rank of the feast involved, and in general I am not of the opinion that very frequent communion is an appropriate practice in our day for most people, but that's a matter for another discussion. I certainly agree, however, that one should do what one can to get as many people as possible to services on feast days, whether or not they receive Holy Communion.

A lot depends on what the Typicon actually prescribes. If the Typicon says that Vesperal Liturgies are up to the rector, then I don't see a problem. If not, then I think we should think carefully about how much violence we want to do to the typicon in order to accommodate people's worldly lives. For instance, what happens to Matins if you do Liturgy right after Vespers? There is also the fact that the Typicon arranges the readings and hymns from Vespers through Matins to Liturgy in a deliberate order, and disrupting this order disrupts the liturgical harmony that the Fathers bequeathed us.

However, I am not actually clear on what leeway the Typicon gives for these kinds of variations. And you could make the valid point that the Typicon has been revised in the past to meet contemporary needs. Look e.g. at the Greek practice of transferring the Feast of the Annunciation to Pascha Sunday, if it falls on Good Friday or Great Saturday. So I am not going to come down definitely on one side or the other. As long as the revisions to the Church's order are done in an orderly fashion themselves, I don't see what's wrong with it.

Well, I will agree that my post did imply frequent communion, and I also agree that it is a discussion for a different thread.

I guess the point I was trying to get at albeit not so clearly was the idea of church attendance. Lets take communion out for a second. Is it better to have 50 people hear the Gospel reading and then have instruction from the priest via a sermon (my priest gives a sermon at every service, no exception), or to have 5 people come in the morning to hear the Gospel reading and then have instruction from the priest via a sermon? I think having the service at night gives many more people a chance to hear the word of God and learn a little bit (even in a 15 minute sermon one can take away a point or 2). If Liturgy is truly the work of the people should it then not be our goal to get as many people as possible to be at the Liturgy?

In response to convenience of service, I would argue that holding vespers with Liturgy is actually not convenient for some of us who attend. For those who work, lets assume you are going to go to communion that night (and you are prepared, etc). Working from lets say 9-5pm without partaking of food or drink after lunchtime (each parish might have different guidelines of an appropriate fasting period for communion) is pretty difficult for most of us. On Sundays, most of your fasting is done in sleep (when you would normally be fasting) and you are awake and fasting only maybe a maximum of 6 hours. If you aren't eating or drinking after lunch (lets say you go at 12:30 like I do) you're awake for almost 8 hours without eating or drinking before receiving the sacraments. I don't know about others, but I find this particularly difficult. Additionally, after working an 8 hour day and getting home around 5:30 to leave at 6:30 for church and then getting out at say 8:45 to get home at 9:15 is also particularly difficult for me (again not necessarily so for others). This I would argue actually makes the service less convenient (even if the inconvenience is caused by fits of laziness).

I guess the take away from this is that the decision is between the Bishop and Priest involved and when push comes to shove as long as the priest has his bishop's approval, what we say will have no bearing on the outcome.

I have a story for you punch, but I'll send you a PM or e-mail about it.

-Nick
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« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2010, 09:56:19 AM »

[
I have a story for you punch, but I'll send you a PM or e-mail about it.

-Nick

Please do.  I am always ready to learn something, and this is an issue that causes me quite a bit of turmoil.
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« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2010, 11:12:34 AM »

There is another time in which there are two Liturgies on the Same day. The Vesperal Liturgy for the Nativity of Christ is celebrated in the evening of December 24 and the Divine Liturgy  for the Nativity is celebrated on the date of December 25. Technically since many churches actually serve the Vesperal Liturgy ofter sunset, there are two Litugies on the same liturgical day.

Anciently the Liturgy for Holy Saturday, the Blessed Sabbath was held as a vesperal Divine Liturgy service (In current practice held around noon, in ancient practice held at sunset) where adult catechumen were baptized. This was followed by the Resurrectional Divine Liturgy held around midnight. Thus again 2 Liturgies on the same liturgical day.

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« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2010, 11:56:17 AM »

There is another time in which there are two Liturgies on the Same day. The Vesperal Liturgy for the Nativity of Christ is celebrated in the evening of December 24 and the Divine Liturgy  for the Nativity is celebrated on the date of December 25. Technically since many churches actually serve the Vesperal Liturgy ofter sunset, there are two Litugies on the same liturgical day.

Anciently the Liturgy for Holy Saturday, the Blessed Sabbath was held as a vesperal Divine Liturgy service (In current practice held around noon, in ancient practice held at sunset) where adult catechumen were baptized. This was followed by the Resurrectional Divine Liturgy held around midnight. Thus again 2 Liturgies on the same liturgical day.

Thomas

I thought what counts as the liturgical day is at what point you are in the cycle of services, not what time of day it happens to be. Basically, if you've started Vespers, you're in the next liturgical day. So even if you do the Vesperal Liturgy on January 5 at around 11am, like in our church and many other churches, you've still already left the cycle for the Eve of Theophany and have started the cycle for Theophany itself.

But I might be wrong about this. Are there times when the liturgical day does not start with Vespers?
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« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2010, 01:33:44 PM »

Possibly the best explanation that I have seen written:

http://www.holy-trinity.org/liturgics/tikhon.lit3.html
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« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2010, 10:01:12 PM »

About 3 hours.
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« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2010, 11:33:18 PM »

Possibly the best explanation that I have seen written:

http://www.holy-trinity.org/liturgics/tikhon.lit3.html

Quote
One prominent and revered modern Orthodox thinker, the ever-memorable Archimandrite Justin Popovich (D.D. honoris causa, St. Vladimirís Seminary) has written that the Church has known its infancy and its maturity and that to adopt the practices of the Church's infancy would be the equivalent of adults subsisting on the diet of infants. not what has not survived the test of time and the never-failing inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the life and consensus of our liturgical Tradition. The resurrection of discarded and outgrown customs (very clearly it is the customs that have survived that we call Tradition, since nothing NOT handed over can be considered to have been "traditted") has been till now the province of those who have no concept of Holy Tradition, the Protestant sects, who have to turn to customs lost in antiquity in order not to be at peace with Tradition
I'm afraid the canonizing of some imagined golden age may indicate the onset of senility. In the Patriarchate of Antioch, for instance, the resurrection of St. Igantius' teaching on the episcopacy, discarded and outgrown it seems by our metropolitans, is EXACTLY what is needed.  And the resurrection of the Patriarchate, over the Holy Ruling Synod of over two centuries, was most welcome. So too real patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch, instead of court bishops of the Phanar.

Why is Deuteronomy called the "Second Law"? Consult 4 Kingdoms/2 Kings 22-3, 2 Chronicles 34.

The essay sidesteps the question of the origin of Vesperal Liturgies, although it seems to admit that the Early Church had them. For all we know, judging from the essay, the limitation of Vesperal Liturgies could be an innovation of Peter the "Great."

And I can't even begin how much I support the resurrection of this:

from this

over this

I know some disagree.


Quote
I have authorized a one-time related innovation, but that proposal was not realized due to re-consideration by the pastor involved. This proposal was to experiment with moving the Divine Liturgy of Christmas Day back to the first stroke of midnight
Ah, this brings me back: I was in Cairo for Christmas, and went to the Arab Orthodox Church. The Christians are a minority, the EO a minority within that and (at the time) the Arab Orthodox a minority of the EO.  So I felt quite alone (for one thing, the Copts are still old (their own) calendar). I was in Church, and there was a reader doing hours, the priest, and a few others. So very alone.  Then the bell struck midnight, and it was like a rush of wind and the Church became packed-standing room only.

Btw, I went to the OCA (in Chicago) for 10 years, and we always went to Compline Vigil Christmas Eve and DL Christmas day.
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« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2010, 11:41:55 PM »

Is it better to hold the service the night before and get 50 people to come to communion or hold it the next morning and get 5 people to come to communion?

Depends; as long as you're not messing with Sunday morning, it is a good question you pose.

Why is it OK to mess around with the order of services on Feast days, but not on Sundays? This is not a trick question, I'm curious if the Typicon makes some kind of distinction. If you are living in a country where Sundays are ordinary work days, this could be an issue.
It is. In Muslim countries Friday ends up-by virtue of numbers-being the main DL of the week.  Saturday (rather, Sunday) night Vespers are still the main Vespers of the week. Nothing is changed, however.
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« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2010, 12:06:32 AM »

Well, I was glad to read from Bishop Tikhon that I am not alone in being suspicious of this innovation. It's especially interesting since I know Bishop Tikhon in other contexts to be quite militantly innovationist (he has spent quite a lot of time bashing the patristic calendar on traditionalist mailing lists). And it's always good to have the support of Blessed Justin Popovich.

ialmisry, obviously the answer for Antiochians like you is to just go to the OO churches, since you're in communion with them anyway. They're nice and Arab. A little doctrinally dubious, but hey, you got to make compromises somewhere, right? Unless of course the fact that they follow a traditional calendar upsets you.
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« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2010, 12:17:21 AM »

Well, I was glad to read from Bishop Tikhon that I am not alone in being suspicious of this innovation.
Good. Now you only needs some facts...

Quote
It's especially interesting since I know Bishop Tikhon in other contexts to be quite militantly innovationist (he has spent quite a lot of time bashing the patristic calendar on traditionalist mailing lists). And it's always good to have the support of Blessed Justin Popovich.

ialmisry, obviously the answer for Antiochians like you is to just go to the OO churches, since you're in communion with them anyway. They're nice and Arab.

Actually no, they are not-Arab that is (they are quite nice). Syriac is related, but as different from Arabic as Russian and Serbian. Coptic is even more distant, like Russiand and Greek. Armenian isn't related at all, like Russian and Georgian.

But the OO are quite something, that I'll admit. The Liturgies of SS. Athanasius and Cyril, SS Ephraim and Chrysostom are something.

Quote
A little doctrinally dubious, but hey, you got to make compromises somewhere, right?
Like the Holy Governing Synod, instead of the Patriarch?

 
Quote
Unless of course the fact that they follow a traditional calendar upsets you.
not at all.
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« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2010, 12:24:56 AM »

I love riling you up, Isa. Smiley
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« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2010, 09:35:13 PM »

While some parts of the above-linked article I agree with (especially the argument that Vesperal Liturgies deprive us of the teaching power of Orthros/Matins), I do take a bit of issue with Fr. Justin's broad stroke of infant/adult Church; if he's calling the Church of Sts. Peter & Paul, St. John, St. Polycarp, St. Ignatius, St. Athanasios, et al. an infant, then our modern-day Church (EO, Old-Cal, &/or OO) is but a single cell.

About 3 hours. 

Maybe the best post in this thread! Cheesy
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