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Author Topic: ROCOR OCA and convenience - some advice ?  (Read 2588 times) Average Rating: 0
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spiltteeth
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« on: September 20, 2010, 02:41:30 PM »

Hello everyone!

Here's my dilemma : there is a small beautiful ROCOR church not 10 minutes away from my house.
It is conservative, old calendar, and has alot of services; but the services are done in slavonic and the priest does not speak any english, although the Reader can.
Some of the parishioners speak english, many others do not and belong to a tight-nit Slavic community.

About an hour away is the other closest Orthodox church - OCA, and its services are all in english.
I only speak english.

The OCA church is pretty inconvenient, and I wouldn't be able to participate in many services - just Sun liturgy really; but I'm afraid the ROCOR services in Slavic won't benefit me as much and I'll feel alienated from it not speaking Slavic.

Could someone please offer their thoughts on this ?

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« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2010, 03:00:55 PM »

Attend both.  Perhaps you can attend the liturgy at the OCA Church and some of the other services at the ROCOR.  One advantage of ROCOR is that they perform the services pretty consistantly, and if you have the English version of their prayer books and even a remote understanding of the Liturgical Cycle, you can pretty much understand what is going on in a ROCOR Church, even if you do not know Slavonic (how is that for a long sentence).  There are also resources on line from ROCOR that will give you the Troparia and Kontakia, as well as the other variable parts of each service, in English.  If you are willing to put something in to your worship, you will get much out of it.
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« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2010, 03:14:34 PM »

Attend both.  Perhaps you can attend the liturgy at the OCA Church and some of the other services at the ROCOR.  One advantage of ROCOR is that they perform the services pretty consistantly, and if you have the English version of their prayer books and even a remote understanding of the Liturgical Cycle, you can pretty much understand what is going on in a ROCOR Church, even if you do not know Slavonic (how is that for a long sentence).  There are also resources on line from ROCOR that will give you the Troparia and Kontakia, as well as the other variable parts of each service, in English.  If you are willing to put something in to your worship, you will get much out of it.

For me the service I really like in English is Vigil because there are so many varying hymns and I like to hear and understand them. So much of the Liturgy is the same every Sunday I don't mind Slavonic.

I agree with the previous poster. Attend both, in a way that works for you.
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« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2010, 03:21:05 PM »

Of course there are options, but you will need to pray and perhaps try some trial and error to determine what will work best for you.  After reading your message, what concerned me most was that if the ROCOR priest does not speak English I do not know how you will go to Confession, unless you go to a Confession at a reputable monastery, but not knowing where you live I  have no idea how possible this would be for you.  

Between the Divine Liturgy and Vespers/Vigil, I would prefer to go to Vespers/Vigil in a language I can understand rather than Divine Liturgy if I had to choose, only because Vespers/Vigil contains most of the variable texts which teach you the significance and meaning of the feasts and the saints who are commemorated for each day, while the Divine Liturgy is more or less fixed from week to week with the exception of Troparia, Kontakia, and readings.  Here are a few other things to consider:  

1)  If the ROCOR priest cannot hear your confession because of the language barrier, one option would be to go to the OCA parish for Vespers and Confession and then the next day to the ROCOR parish for Divine Liturgy.  You will have to somehow discuss the matter with both priests (perhaps through a member of the parish who knows Russian and English in the case of the ROCOR parish) to make sure they both give their blessing for this arrangement.  

2)  If the ROCOR priest does speak English and can hear your confessions, another option would be to read the variable texts for the Vigil at home instead of or in addition to (which would be better) going to Vigil, and then go to Divine Liturgy the following day at the ROCOR parish.  You can subscribe to a Yahoo group that is run by Fr. John Whiteford of ROCOR who sends out the texts for Saturday Vigil according to the Old Calendar.  If you read the texts in English sometime before the Vigil and then attend Vigil, you can go to Confession at the appropriate time during Vigil.  Otherwise, you can arrange with the priest an alternative time for Confession.  The advantage of this arrangement is that you are on one calendar (and the right one ; )  ).  The concern with going to the OCA Sat evening and ROCOR on Sun morning is that it will make matters confusing for feasting and fasting since the OCA parish will be celebrating feasts while the ROCOR parish is still preparing for them through fasting.  If you do just attend the ROCOR parish, it would not be a bad idea to apply yourself to learning Slavonic.  The practicality doing so depends on various factors such as whether you are single (which I assume) or whether you have a wife and children for whom acquiring a new language may be more difficult.  

3)  You could just go to the OCA parish for Divine Liturgy and see if the priest will hear your Confession before the Divine Liturgy if you arrive early.  If you choose this option, the priest may be able to provide you with texts to read from the Vespers services either in photocopy or electronic format since it would be difficult to go to Vespers and the Divine Liturgy.  In this option you also would at least be on one calendar (though the wrong one ; )   ), and have one parish that you own your allegiance to rather than two.

Anyway, these are some considerations on the matter but you will have to perhaps see what works best for you.
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« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2010, 07:02:08 PM »

Go to the OCA parish for Sunday DL and confession and fellowship. For other services, go to the ROCOR, with a translation of the services in hand. Maybe fellowship may develop there in time.

10 years ago, I wouldn't give this advice. But things have changed now.
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« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2010, 07:47:42 PM »

Would you become a steward of both?
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« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2010, 08:49:31 PM »

Would you become a steward of both?

That would be a personal decision for each to make.  In my case, I am a Steward at a Serbian Orthodox Church, yet I try to attend the Antiochian Church with my wife once a month or so.  We give to both Churches, more than the so called "dues".  My wife teaches Sunday School at the Antiochian Church.  I chose to be a Steward at the Serbian Church because I prefer to be under an Old Calendar Bishop.  However, that does not mean that I cannot financially support both parishes.  The problem that I would see with being a Steward of both parishes is this: who is your Bishop?  In my case, it is clear.  It would not be so clear, and could cause quite a bit of problems, if I were a Steward member of both parishes.  Also, if I have to choose between being at one Church or the other, the Church where I am a Steward takes precedence.  I guess what I am saying is that the Lord's words about serving one Master are wise in this regard.  But just because you serve one Master does not mean that you cannot be on friendly terms with anyone else.

BTW - my Priest is aware of this arrangement and has OK'd it.
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« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2010, 10:41:40 PM »

Hello everyone!

Here's my dilemma : there is a small beautiful ROCOR church not 10 minutes away from my house.
It is conservative, old calendar, and has alot of services; but the services are done in slavonic and the priest does not speak any english, although the Reader can.
Some of the parishioners speak english, many others do not and belong to a tight-nit Slavic community.

About an hour away is the other closest Orthodox church - OCA, and its services are all in english.
I only speak english.

The OCA church is pretty inconvenient, and I wouldn't be able to participate in many services - just Sun liturgy really; but I'm afraid the ROCOR services in Slavic won't benefit me as much and I'll feel alienated from it not speaking Slavic.

Could someone please offer their thoughts on this ?




I often attend the local Greek parish for weekday liturgies and although the priest most certainly speaks English, the liturgy is almost entirely in Greek. I only know a few words in Greek but I can follow along just fine. If you go to the ROCOR parish take some time to learn a few key phrases and words in Slavonic and you won't have any problem at all following along with the liturgy.
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« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2010, 01:36:13 AM »

Of course there are options, but you will need to pray and perhaps try some trial and error to determine what will work best for you.  After reading your message, what concerned me most was that if the ROCOR priest does not speak English I do not know how you will go to Confession, unless you go to a Confession at a reputable monastery,
Why would they have to go to a monastery for confession?


but not knowing where you live I  have no idea how possible this would be for you.  

Between the Divine Liturgy and Vespers/Vigil, I would prefer to go to Vespers/Vigil in a language I can understand rather than Divine Liturgy if I had to choose, only because Vespers/Vigil contains most of the variable texts which teach you the significance and meaning of the feasts and the saints who are commemorated for each day, while the Divine Liturgy is more or less fixed from week to week with the exception of Troparia, Kontakia, and readings.  Here are a few other things to consider:  

1)  If the ROCOR priest cannot hear your confession because of the language barrier, one option would be to go to the OCA parish for Vespers and Confession and then the next day to the ROCOR parish for Divine Liturgy.  You will have to somehow discuss the matter with both priests (perhaps through a member of the parish who knows Russian and English in the case of the ROCOR parish) to make sure they both give their blessing for this arrangement.  

2)  If the ROCOR priest does speak English and can hear your confessions, another option would be to read the variable texts for the Vigil at home instead of or in addition to (which would be better) going to Vigil, and then go to Divine Liturgy the following day at the ROCOR parish.  You can subscribe to a Yahoo group that is run by Fr. John Whiteford of ROCOR who sends out the texts for Saturday Vigil according to the Old Calendar.  If you read the texts in English sometime before the Vigil and then attend Vigil, you can go to Confession at the appropriate time during Vigil.  Otherwise, you can arrange with the priest an alternative time for Confession.  The advantage of this arrangement is that you are on one calendar (and the right one ; )  ).  The concern with going to the OCA Sat evening and ROCOR on Sun morning is that it will make matters confusing for feasting and fasting since the OCA parish will be celebrating feasts while the ROCOR parish is still preparing for them through fasting.  If you do just attend the ROCOR parish, it would not be a bad idea to apply yourself to learning Slavonic.  The practicality doing so depends on various factors such as whether you are single (which I assume) or whether you have a wife and children for whom acquiring a new language may be more difficult.
And what if they have no slavic background, no philoslavic tendencies, perhaps even no language aptitude? I would think this would be a factor on whether to attend the ROCOR parish or not.  To be honest, if they have to learn a language, learning Russian in order to communicate with the rest of the parish might be better placed.

3)  You could just go to the OCA parish for Divine Liturgy and see if the priest will hear your Confession before the Divine Liturgy if you arrive early.  If you choose this option, the priest may be able to provide you with texts to read from the Vespers services either in photocopy or electronic format since it would be difficult to go to Vespers and the Divine Liturgy.  In this option you also would at least be on one calendar (though the wrong one ; )   ), and have one parish that you own your allegiance to rather than two.

Anyway, these are some considerations on the matter but you will have to perhaps see what works best for you.

If you find fellowship and support at the OCA parish, and none at the ROCOR, go to the OCA parish for DL, and arrange all else accordingly.

If, despite the language barrier at the ROCOR, by all means, go there and make arrangements accordingly.
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« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2010, 03:08:13 AM »

Perhaps I can share from my experience.

I used to be a Reader in the Greek Church, and recently (well, about one year) I transferred over to ROCOR because I found myself attending more and more services at the local Russian Church. The reason I even began going was because I heard they did fuller services than us (Vespers we never did, Matins we did in half), and yet at the same time it did not conflict with my obligations at the Greek parish, I could go to Vigil on Saturday at the Russian Church, then Liturgy on Sunday at the Greek Church. While everyone there is fully Russian and some can't speak English, I made lots of friends and it began to feel like home, so, to change over was something almost natural. Like the parish by where you are, all services are served in Slavonic. I've found that just be listening to the choir I now know many hymns off by heart in Slavonic - by all means, not everything of course - but standard hymns like Lord I have Cried, Gladsome Light, Having Beheld, More honorable etc. If you grasp the way Vespers/Matins/Liturgy are structured, you should have no problem even following the service without a translation in front of you.

There was once a Russian monk who belonged to one of the Greek Monasteries on Athos. He confessed to the Abbot he was having problems in Church because he could not understand the language of the services, Greek. The Abbot told him not to worry so much. He said that passengers on a boat need not understand how to sail the boat, the captains duties in detail, the crews duties in detail, how the motors work, and so on. All they need know is: their destination, and that they are on the boat. We of course are the passengers on the boat that is the Church. How exactly the boat operates is not of big importance, if we are in it, and do what the captain and crew tell us to do, we should arrive at the destination: the Kingdom of Heaven.

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« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2010, 08:29:11 AM »

Like Paisius said, you can learn some basic Slavonic phrases ("Gospodi pomiluj", "Slava Otsu i Sinu i Svyatomu Dukhu", etc.) and also read English translations of the services ahead of time (or bring them with you). Chances are, most of the folks at the ROCOR church don't know much Slavonic either... they know what's going on from years of experience soaking it all in.
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« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2010, 10:19:21 AM »

Perhaps I can share from my experience.

I used to be a Reader in the Greek Church, and recently (well, about one year) I transferred over to ROCOR because I found myself attending more and more services at the local Russian Church. The reason I even began going was because I heard they did fuller services than us (Vespers we never did, Matins we did in half), and yet at the same time it did not conflict with my obligations at the Greek parish, I could go to Vigil on Saturday at the Russian Church, then Liturgy on Sunday at the Greek Church. While everyone there is fully Russian and some can't speak English, I made lots of friends and it began to feel like home, so, to change over was something almost natural. Like the parish by where you are, all services are served in Slavonic. I've found that just be listening to the choir I now know many hymns off by heart in Slavonic - by all means, not everything of course - but standard hymns like Lord I have Cried, Gladsome Light, Having Beheld, More honorable etc. If you grasp the way Vespers/Matins/Liturgy are structured, you should have no problem even following the service without a translation in front of you.

There was once a Russian monk who belonged to one of the Greek Monasteries on Athos. He confessed to the Abbot he was having problems in Church because he could not understand the language of the services, Greek. The Abbot told him not to worry so much. He said that passengers on a boat need not understand how to sail the boat, the captains duties in detail, the crews duties in detail, how the motors work, and so on. All they need know is: their destination, and that they are on the boat. We of course are the passengers on the boat that is the Church. How exactly the boat operates is not of big importance, if we are in it, and do what the captain and crew tell us to do, we should arrive at the destination: the Kingdom of Heaven.

Rd. Ioannis
The problem is that the number one reason given (and the only sensible one, IMHO) for those fuller services is all the liturgical texts that explain the Feasts, etc. But if all of it as comprehenisive as meaningless syllables (somewhere we have a thread on that in chant), that pretty much reduces fuller services to ritualism.
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« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2010, 12:52:34 PM »

Quote
The problem is that the number one reason given (and the only sensible one, IMHO) for those fuller services is all the liturgical texts that explain the Feasts, etc. But if all of it as comprehensive as meaningless syllables (somewhere we have a thread on that in chant), that pretty much reduces fuller services to ritualism.

The primary goal of the services to offer up glory to God. Again, the Church should be thought of as a boat, with all those in it as passengers to the Kingdom. And beyond that, because everything we do is a Mysterion - a Mystery - it means just that: Mystery. Everything happens through an unseen way, a mystical way. You can't understand or comprehend fully the presence of the divine in the Temple, of God Himself, of the Theotokos, Saints, and Angels. You perhaps can feel it, but unless you are holy - and even then - you cannot fully comprehend it. You fully cannot comprehend what is going on in the Temple even if you where to understand 100 percent of whats being said because: your human, you have thoughts, thoughts wander. So I wouldn't say fuller services are ritualism. I'd say fuller services like the liturgical rites in the Orthodox Church at large come out of a desire for the chosen people of God to worship Him more fully and more extensively.

Rd. Ioannis

Edited quotes - Michał Kalina.
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« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2010, 01:49:17 PM »

The problem is that the number one reason given (and the only sensible one, IMHO) for those fuller services is all the liturgical texts that explain the Feasts, etc. But if all of it as comprehenisive as meaningless syllables (somewhere we have a thread on that in chant), that pretty much reduces fuller services to ritualism.

I could perhaps understand this arguement, at least to a degree, if we were referring to a case where there is a parish in America made up mostly of American converts who do not understand the language of the services, and yet the priest refuses to use any English because to do so would require a "change" to what is currently done, and any kind of "change" would be anathema to this priest.  In this case, perhaps such a priest could be considered a "ritualist" but I would not call the American converts "ritualists" for continuing to attend services at such a parish despite the language difficulties.  Whether or not one understands a language, they can by simply being present at the services with the right disposition and preparation, be caught up in the mystery of the ceaseless glorification offered by the angels before the throne of God.  In such a case a person may come to comprehend the worship even more deeply than another person who knows the language but does not have the right disposition and preparation.  Depending on the disposition of the person worshipping, the same service could be either a dead ritual or angelic worship with the heavenly hosts.   

While I myself would like to have complete services *and* services in a language I can understand, it amuses me when people complain about not understanding the language because is suggests that if a person knew the language they would comprehend the mysteries being spoken of.  Today we not only have practically all of the services translated into English, we also have the Holy Scriptures and so many writings of the Fathers.  I read all of these things and know the language very well, but do I understand any of it?  When I compare what I think I understand in my mind to may actual deeds and thoughts, I don't think I understand very much at all.   
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« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2010, 03:00:30 PM »

Quote
The problem is that the number one reason given (and the only sensible one, IMHO) for those fuller services is all the liturgical texts that explain the Feasts, etc. But if all of it as comprehensive as meaningless syllables (somewhere we have a thread on that in chant), that pretty much reduces fuller services to ritualism.

The primary goal of the services to offer up glory to God. Again, the Church should be thought of as a boat, with all those in it as passengers to the Kingdom. And beyond that, because everything we do is a Mysterion - a Mystery - it means just that: Mystery. Everything happens through an unseen way, a mystical way. You can't understand or comprehend fully the presence of the divine in the Temple, of God Himself, of the Theotokos, Saints, and Angels. You perhaps can feel it, but unless you are holy - and even then - you cannot fully comprehend it. You fully cannot comprehend what is going on in the Temple even if you where to understand 100 percent of whats being said because: your human, you have thoughts, thoughts wander. So I wouldn't say fuller services are ritualism. I'd say fuller services like the liturgical rites in the Orthodox Church at large come out of a desire for the chosen people of God to worship Him more fully and more extensively.
Ver. 19. “Howbeit in the Church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that I might instruct others also.”

What is that, “speak with my understanding, that I might instruct others also?” “Understanding what I say,” and “words which I can both interpret to others, and speak intelligently, and teach the hearers.” “Than ten thousand words in a tongue.” Wherefore? “That I may instruct others,” saith he. For the one hath but display only; the other, great utility: this being what he everywhere seeks, I mean the common profit. And yet the gift of tongues was strange, but that of prophecy familiar and ancient and heretofore given to many; this on the contrary then first given: howbeit it was not much cared for by him. Wherefore neither did he employ it; not because he had it not, but because he always sought the more profitable things: being as he was free from all vain-glory, and considering one thing only, how he might render the hearers better.
[And here is the reason of the faculty he had of looking to the expedient both to himself and to others: viz. because he was free from vain-glory. Since he assuredly that is enslaved by it, so far from discerning what is good to others, will not even know his own.

The Fathers didn't compose the dogmatic hymns to put them under a bushel so they could be a "mystery" to their flock, "for God is not the author of confusion but of peace as in all churches of the saints" I Cor. 14:33.

One time, a woman in the congregation complained that St. John, in his elevated Attic language, was confusing her and that she couldn't understand half of what he said.  St. John switched immediately into the Greek Koine. Such is the example of our Fathers among the Saints.

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« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2010, 10:03:46 PM »

Perhaps I can share from my experience.

I used to be a Reader in the Greek Church, and recently (well, about one year) I transferred over to ROCOR because I found myself attending more and more services at the local Russian Church. The reason I even began going was because I heard they did fuller services than us (Vespers we never did, Matins we did in half), and yet at the same time it did not conflict with my obligations at the Greek parish, I could go to Vigil on Saturday at the Russian Church, then Liturgy on Sunday at the Greek Church. While everyone there is fully Russian and some can't speak English, I made lots of friends and it began to feel like home, so, to change over was something almost natural. Like the parish by where you are, all services are served in Slavonic. I've found that just be listening to the choir I now know many hymns off by heart in Slavonic - by all means, not everything of course - but standard hymns like Lord I have Cried, Gladsome Light, Having Beheld, More honorable etc. If you grasp the way Vespers/Matins/Liturgy are structured, you should have no problem even following the service without a translation in front of you.

There was once a Russian monk who belonged to one of the Greek Monasteries on Athos. He confessed to the Abbot he was having problems in Church because he could not understand the language of the services, Greek. The Abbot told him not to worry so much. He said that passengers on a boat need not understand how to sail the boat, the captains duties in detail, the crews duties in detail, how the motors work, and so on. All they need know is: their destination, and that they are on the boat. We of course are the passengers on the boat that is the Church. How exactly the boat operates is not of big importance, if we are in it, and do what the captain and crew tell us to do, we should arrive at the destination: the Kingdom of Heaven.

Rd. Ioannis
The problem is that the number one reason given (and the only sensible one, IMHO) for those fuller services is all the liturgical texts that explain the Feasts, etc. But if all of it as comprehenisive as meaningless syllables (somewhere we have a thread on that in chant), that pretty much reduces fuller services to ritualism.

Let's say there were two churches, each with a primarily "ethnic" membership, both conducting services in languages unfamiliar to the average American. So both churches present the same language barrier, BUT one church has abbreviated services and one church full services. All other things being the same, which church should a hypothetical American go to?
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« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2010, 03:29:06 AM »

I would say the Church that does fuller services.
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« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2010, 06:20:06 AM »

Perhaps I can share from my experience.

I used to be a Reader in the Greek Church, and recently (well, about one year) I transferred over to ROCOR because I found myself attending more and more services at the local Russian Church. The reason I even began going was because I heard they did fuller services than us (Vespers we never did, Matins we did in half), and yet at the same time it did not conflict with my obligations at the Greek parish, I could go to Vigil on Saturday at the Russian Church, then Liturgy on Sunday at the Greek Church. While everyone there is fully Russian and some can't speak English, I made lots of friends and it began to feel like home, so, to change over was something almost natural. Like the parish by where you are, all services are served in Slavonic. I've found that just be listening to the choir I now know many hymns off by heart in Slavonic - by all means, not everything of course - but standard hymns like Lord I have Cried, Gladsome Light, Having Beheld, More honorable etc. If you grasp the way Vespers/Matins/Liturgy are structured, you should have no problem even following the service without a translation in front of you.

There was once a Russian monk who belonged to one of the Greek Monasteries on Athos. He confessed to the Abbot he was having problems in Church because he could not understand the language of the services, Greek. The Abbot told him not to worry so much. He said that passengers on a boat need not understand how to sail the boat, the captains duties in detail, the crews duties in detail, how the motors work, and so on. All they need know is: their destination, and that they are on the boat. We of course are the passengers on the boat that is the Church. How exactly the boat operates is not of big importance, if we are in it, and do what the captain and crew tell us to do, we should arrive at the destination: the Kingdom of Heaven.

Rd. Ioannis
The problem is that the number one reason given (and the only sensible one, IMHO) for those fuller services is all the liturgical texts that explain the Feasts, etc. But if all of it as comprehenisive as meaningless syllables (somewhere we have a thread on that in chant), that pretty much reduces fuller services to ritualism.

Let's say there were two churches, each with a primarily "ethnic" membership, both conducting services in languages unfamiliar to the average American. So both churches present the same language barrier, BUT one church has abbreviated services and one church full services. All other things being the same, which church should a hypothetical American go to?
The abbreviated services.  Your average American children aren't going to last through full services they fully do not understand. Then, after the serice is over, you get your translation of the stikhera etc. and read it.  In the morning (I'm not a fan of All-Night Vigil, but in your example that doesn't matter) you have your canon etc. and read that either during prepatory prayers or before Matins/Hours/DL as the case may be.

"And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words.' Matthew 6:7

The idea of Church is to produce captains and crew, not cargo.
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« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2010, 11:28:56 AM »

Perhaps I can share from my experience.

I used to be a Reader in the Greek Church, and recently (well, about one year) I transferred over to ROCOR because I found myself attending more and more services at the local Russian Church. The reason I even began going was because I heard they did fuller services than us (Vespers we never did, Matins we did in half), and yet at the same time it did not conflict with my obligations at the Greek parish, I could go to Vigil on Saturday at the Russian Church, then Liturgy on Sunday at the Greek Church. While everyone there is fully Russian and some can't speak English, I made lots of friends and it began to feel like home, so, to change over was something almost natural. Like the parish by where you are, all services are served in Slavonic. I've found that just be listening to the choir I now know many hymns off by heart in Slavonic - by all means, not everything of course - but standard hymns like Lord I have Cried, Gladsome Light, Having Beheld, More honorable etc. If you grasp the way Vespers/Matins/Liturgy are structured, you should have no problem even following the service without a translation in front of you.

There was once a Russian monk who belonged to one of the Greek Monasteries on Athos. He confessed to the Abbot he was having problems in Church because he could not understand the language of the services, Greek. The Abbot told him not to worry so much. He said that passengers on a boat need not understand how to sail the boat, the captains duties in detail, the crews duties in detail, how the motors work, and so on. All they need know is: their destination, and that they are on the boat. We of course are the passengers on the boat that is the Church. How exactly the boat operates is not of big importance, if we are in it, and do what the captain and crew tell us to do, we should arrive at the destination: the Kingdom of Heaven.

Rd. Ioannis
The problem is that the number one reason given (and the only sensible one, IMHO) for those fuller services is all the liturgical texts that explain the Feasts, etc. But if all of it as comprehenisive as meaningless syllables (somewhere we have a thread on that in chant), that pretty much reduces fuller services to ritualism.

Let's say there were two churches, each with a primarily "ethnic" membership, both conducting services in languages unfamiliar to the average American. So both churches present the same language barrier, BUT one church has abbreviated services and one church full services. All other things being the same, which church should a hypothetical American go to?
The abbreviated services.  Your average American children aren't going to last through full services they fully do not understand. Then, after the serice is over, you get your translation of the stikhera etc. and read it.  In the morning (I'm not a fan of All-Night Vigil, but in your example that doesn't matter) you have your canon etc. and read that either during prepatory prayers or before Matins/Hours/DL as the case may be.

"And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words.' Matthew 6:7

The idea of Church is to produce captains and crew, not cargo.

Right. Because the services of the Church are "empty phrases".

I think you're approaching the problem as if the hypothetical American lives in a solipsistic universe all by himself, and the question is simply, what can he get out of the services. I think it's important to remember though that the rest of the people at the two churches do understand the services, so the services themselves are not "ritualistic" or consisting of "empty phrases". The American could approach the longer services in a ritualistic manner, but then again, he could approach the abbreviated services in that way, too; to say that fuller services in an incomprehensible language "pretty much reduces fuller services to ritualism", unduly privileges our hypothetical American's perspective: he cannot single-handedly, by failing to understand the services, reduce them to empty rituals.

Moreover, he is not merely an individual; part of going to church and worshipping communally, it seems to me, is a sentiment along the lines of, 'I'm with these guys'. There's nothing wrong with attending a service in a foreign language (there being no other options) and throwing in one's lot so to speak with those who are worshipping God.

You mentioned children: yes that affects things, of course. Personally, I'm single and childless, so I'd probably go to the linger services.
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« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2010, 11:57:54 AM »

I would say the Church that does fuller services.

Agreed.  We should perform the virtues even if we do not understand them, because it is by practicing virtue that we recieve Grace and understanding.  If you attend the longer service because you know God is being worshiped and glorified, and you want to be part of that, you will recieve the blessing that comes with it even if you do not understand the language.  Those who have abbreviated the services in a false and misguided attempt to make it easier on the people have, instead, robbed the people of the blessing that comes from glorifying God in the Orthodox manner.  For those that find it too much to spend the full allotted time in the service should leave when they have had enough, not rob others due to their own weakness.
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« Reply #20 on: September 23, 2010, 12:26:52 PM »

Quote
If you attend the longer service because you know God is being worshiped and glorified, and you want to be part of that, you will recieve the blessing that comes with it even if you do not understand the language.

Agreed. It is if course preferable to understand the words being prayed, but if this is not possible, there is still benefit to be gained from attending Divine Services, otherwise, why would we take infants and small children to church?
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« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2010, 01:49:04 PM »

Perhaps I can share from my experience.

I used to be a Reader in the Greek Church, and recently (well, about one year) I transferred over to ROCOR because I found myself attending more and more services at the local Russian Church. The reason I even began going was because I heard they did fuller services than us (Vespers we never did, Matins we did in half), and yet at the same time it did not conflict with my obligations at the Greek parish, I could go to Vigil on Saturday at the Russian Church, then Liturgy on Sunday at the Greek Church. While everyone there is fully Russian and some can't speak English, I made lots of friends and it began to feel like home, so, to change over was something almost natural. Like the parish by where you are, all services are served in Slavonic. I've found that just be listening to the choir I now know many hymns off by heart in Slavonic - by all means, not everything of course - but standard hymns like Lord I have Cried, Gladsome Light, Having Beheld, More honorable etc. If you grasp the way Vespers/Matins/Liturgy are structured, you should have no problem even following the service without a translation in front of you.

There was once a Russian monk who belonged to one of the Greek Monasteries on Athos. He confessed to the Abbot he was having problems in Church because he could not understand the language of the services, Greek. The Abbot told him not to worry so much. He said that passengers on a boat need not understand how to sail the boat, the captains duties in detail, the crews duties in detail, how the motors work, and so on. All they need know is: their destination, and that they are on the boat. We of course are the passengers on the boat that is the Church. How exactly the boat operates is not of big importance, if we are in it, and do what the captain and crew tell us to do, we should arrive at the destination: the Kingdom of Heaven.

Rd. Ioannis
The problem is that the number one reason given (and the only sensible one, IMHO) for those fuller services is all the liturgical texts that explain the Feasts, etc. But if all of it as comprehenisive as meaningless syllables (somewhere we have a thread on that in chant), that pretty much reduces fuller services to ritualism.

Let's say there were two churches, each with a primarily "ethnic" membership, both conducting services in languages unfamiliar to the average American. So both churches present the same language barrier, BUT one church has abbreviated services and one church full services. All other things being the same, which church should a hypothetical American go to?

Neither. A typical, non-ethnic American should find a Church where the services are conducted in the vernacular. The question should be posed in line with the OP's question: Let's say we have two churches, one an ethnic one that conducts services in a language that I do not understand and another is a multi-ethnic one that conducts its services in a language that I understand. Furthermore, the Divine Liturgy at the multi-ethnic church is the same length as the ethnic one. Which Divine Liturgy should I attend?
« Last Edit: September 23, 2010, 01:54:25 PM by Second Chance » Logged

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« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2010, 01:56:36 PM »

Perhaps I can share from my experience.

I used to be a Reader in the Greek Church, and recently (well, about one year) I transferred over to ROCOR because I found myself attending more and more services at the local Russian Church. The reason I even began going was because I heard they did fuller services than us (Vespers we never did, Matins we did in half), and yet at the same time it did not conflict with my obligations at the Greek parish, I could go to Vigil on Saturday at the Russian Church, then Liturgy on Sunday at the Greek Church. While everyone there is fully Russian and some can't speak English, I made lots of friends and it began to feel like home, so, to change over was something almost natural. Like the parish by where you are, all services are served in Slavonic. I've found that just be listening to the choir I now know many hymns off by heart in Slavonic - by all means, not everything of course - but standard hymns like Lord I have Cried, Gladsome Light, Having Beheld, More honorable etc. If you grasp the way Vespers/Matins/Liturgy are structured, you should have no problem even following the service without a translation in front of you.

There was once a Russian monk who belonged to one of the Greek Monasteries on Athos. He confessed to the Abbot he was having problems in Church because he could not understand the language of the services, Greek. The Abbot told him not to worry so much. He said that passengers on a boat need not understand how to sail the boat, the captains duties in detail, the crews duties in detail, how the motors work, and so on. All they need know is: their destination, and that they are on the boat. We of course are the passengers on the boat that is the Church. How exactly the boat operates is not of big importance, if we are in it, and do what the captain and crew tell us to do, we should arrive at the destination: the Kingdom of Heaven.

Rd. Ioannis
The problem is that the number one reason given (and the only sensible one, IMHO) for those fuller services is all the liturgical texts that explain the Feasts, etc. But if all of it as comprehenisive as meaningless syllables (somewhere we have a thread on that in chant), that pretty much reduces fuller services to ritualism.

Let's say there were two churches, each with a primarily "ethnic" membership, both conducting services in languages unfamiliar to the average American. So both churches present the same language barrier, BUT one church has abbreviated services and one church full services. All other things being the same, which church should a hypothetical American go to?
The abbreviated services.  Your average American children aren't going to last through full services they fully do not understand. Then, after the serice is over, you get your translation of the stikhera etc. and read it.  In the morning (I'm not a fan of All-Night Vigil, but in your example that doesn't matter) you have your canon etc. and read that either during prepatory prayers or before Matins/Hours/DL as the case may be.

"And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words.' Matthew 6:7

The idea of Church is to produce captains and crew, not cargo.

Right. Because the services of the Church are "empty phrases".

No, sometimes it's worse.

Tiraz was a form of embroidery, very popular with the caliphs. Part of it was weaving phrases in gilded brocade onto robes of state given as rewards and marks of distincution. Given the value, they became sought in the Empire of the Romans and the kingdoms in the West, where they also became symbols of royalty and prestige. As such, icons of the Holy Theotokos, enthroned or not, began to don them. But like I said, the decoration is actually phrases in Arabic. So I have seen many icons of the Holy Theotkos where her sleeve holdong up Our Lord has written on it and proclaiming out loud and clearly-to those who understand-that "There is no God but God, and Muhammad is the Apostle of God."

(btw, someone at the UoC did a PhD dissertation on the subject, and I've found the Muslim creed on fringes of coverings in Orthodox Churches. Not Antiochian ones, of course).

Like I said, somewhere we have a thread on chants composed on nonsense syllables. Evidently the Greeks have a term for it, but it escapes me now. I remember listening to a youtube video on icons and trying to figure out what in the world they were chanting. It wasn't until after seeing the thread here that I found out that they weren't chanting anything. Not anything intelligible. Given how much the words "rational," "reason-endowed" etc. come up in worship, rather odd.

I once was at a Church where the liturgy books had parrallel texts: language X, with languag X on the facing page but in English letters.  That told me the switch to English was long overdue.

"Yet in the Church I had rather speak five words with my understanding that by my voice I might teach others also than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue" (I Cor. 14:19) A good Apostolic rule to follow. I see no reason to empty the sign at Pentecost of any meaning.

I think you're approaching the problem as if the hypothetical American lives in a solipsistic universe all by himself,
LOL. "solipsistic"? I had to look that one up: having a 98% score on the GRE verbal, that doesn't happen often. You are to be congratulated. Talk about understanding.

and the question is simply, what can he get out of the services.
God doesn't need the service, so the question arises how best can he offer it.  That is as a crew member, if not a captain. It is not as cargo.

I think it's important to remember though that the rest of the people at the two churches do understand the services,
you are assuming that. I have seen that is an unwarrented assumption.

so the services themselves are not "ritualistic" or consisting of "empty phrases".

I frequently have Indians Muslims recite their prayers (du'a, non-liturgical prayers) and ask me what they mean. They are not testing my Arabic, but trying to find out what they have been saying for years means. Millions of Muslims can recite the entire Qur'an without knowing what any word means.  Many Jews can recite long prayers in Hebrew (or Aramaic, they don't know the difference). I've been to six hour services in the Egyptian countryside where the peasants chanted in Greek and Coptic without knowing the meaning or difference between either. And I've known Greeks and Russians (or rather Greek-/Russian-Americans) who could do the same, but didn't know a word they were saying. For all of the above, it is empty phrases.

The American could approach the longer services in a ritualistic manner, but then again, he could approach the abbreviated services in that way, too;

That's true.

to say that fuller services in an incomprehensible language "pretty much reduces fuller services to ritualism", unduly privileges our hypothetical American's perspective: he cannot single-handedly, by failing to understand the services, reduce them to empty rituals.
We were only focused on him and his actions. Going to the fuller services because they are fuller (i.e., longer, as nothing much else, except perhaps the veneration of the Gospel or artos if we are talking about an All Night Vigil, would be different to him) would be nothing but ritualism. You are presuming that more comes with length. That is not necessarily the case.

Moreover, he is not merely an individual; part of going to church and worshipping communally, it seems to me, is a sentiment along the lines of, 'I'm with these guys'. There's nothing wrong with attending a service in a foreign language (there being no other options) and throwing in one's lot so to speak with those who are worshipping God.

And what do you think those at the abbreviated service Church are doing? In the scenario given, they too were in a foreign language, which in the case of no other option, I would add that the hypothetical American shouldn't be imposing English in either case as a matter of course. I suspect we will discuss this more.

You mentioned children: yes that affects things, of course. Personally, I'm single and childless, so I'd probably go to the linger services.

LOL. "Linger," not "longer?" Freudian slip?
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« Reply #23 on: September 23, 2010, 02:00:12 PM »

Perhaps I can share from my experience.

I used to be a Reader in the Greek Church, and recently (well, about one year) I transferred over to ROCOR because I found myself attending more and more services at the local Russian Church. The reason I even began going was because I heard they did fuller services than us (Vespers we never did, Matins we did in half), and yet at the same time it did not conflict with my obligations at the Greek parish, I could go to Vigil on Saturday at the Russian Church, then Liturgy on Sunday at the Greek Church. While everyone there is fully Russian and some can't speak English, I made lots of friends and it began to feel like home, so, to change over was something almost natural. Like the parish by where you are, all services are served in Slavonic. I've found that just be listening to the choir I now know many hymns off by heart in Slavonic - by all means, not everything of course - but standard hymns like Lord I have Cried, Gladsome Light, Having Beheld, More honorable etc. If you grasp the way Vespers/Matins/Liturgy are structured, you should have no problem even following the service without a translation in front of you.

There was once a Russian monk who belonged to one of the Greek Monasteries on Athos. He confessed to the Abbot he was having problems in Church because he could not understand the language of the services, Greek. The Abbot told him not to worry so much. He said that passengers on a boat need not understand how to sail the boat, the captains duties in detail, the crews duties in detail, how the motors work, and so on. All they need know is: their destination, and that they are on the boat. We of course are the passengers on the boat that is the Church. How exactly the boat operates is not of big importance, if we are in it, and do what the captain and crew tell us to do, we should arrive at the destination: the Kingdom of Heaven.

Rd. Ioannis
The problem is that the number one reason given (and the only sensible one, IMHO) for those fuller services is all the liturgical texts that explain the Feasts, etc. But if all of it as comprehenisive as meaningless syllables (somewhere we have a thread on that in chant), that pretty much reduces fuller services to ritualism.

Let's say there were two churches, each with a primarily "ethnic" membership, both conducting services in languages unfamiliar to the average American. So both churches present the same language barrier, BUT one church has abbreviated services and one church full services. All other things being the same, which church should a hypothetical American go to?

Neither. A typical, non-ethnic American should find a Church where the services are conducted in the vernacular. The question should be posed in line with the OP's question: Let's say we have two churches, one an ethnic one that conducts services in a language that I do not understand and another is a multi-ethnic one that conducts its services in a language that I understand. Furthermore, the Divine Liturgy at the multi-ethnic church is the same length as the ethnic one. Which Divine Liturgy should I attend?
LOL. Nice correction.
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« Reply #24 on: September 23, 2010, 02:19:54 PM »

Well, let's not forget the "about an hour away" part, mm-kay?
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« Reply #25 on: September 23, 2010, 02:39:11 PM »

Actually, the best solution would be this: Go to the OCA church for Sunday Divine Liturgy. I would also recommend that you go to Saturday Great Vespers at the OCA church as often as you can, but certainly for Confession.

For Matins, Vespers and weekday DLs go to the ROCOR Church and hope that some parts of the services will be in English. For example, the reader could do his part in English during Matins and Vespers. Perhaps the choir can also alternate Slavonic and English for the daily hymns that are often repeated. If the ROCOR parish is unwilling to do any adjustments for Orthodox folks who only speak English, I would say that they are not likely to welcome you into their community anyway. It is too bad that your ROCOR church is not like the one near our OCA church; it is almost 100% convert (unlike our multi-ethnic church with a large Russian component), nothing but English (like us), and otherwise is very similar (no pews, full services, etc.)

PS: You could always do your own morning and evening prayers at your icon corner at home, and download the daily readings and hymns to augment your regular prayers.
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« Reply #26 on: September 23, 2010, 02:40:57 PM »

ialmisry, this is a serious question: Is it the case, then, that in all of the Patriarchates God is worshipped with empty phrases and vain repititions?  Isn't it true that many Greeks do not really "understand" Koine and many Russians really do not "understand" Slavonic?  Has the Orthodox Church throughout the world, then, with the exception of those few places where the vernacular is actually employed, fallen away from true worship (Orthodoxy) altogether and dissolved into mere ritualism?
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« Reply #27 on: September 23, 2010, 02:49:39 PM »

Quote
You are presuming that more comes with length. That is not necessarily the case.

Actually, I would agree with you there. And if you would agree that more could come with length (but again, not necessarily), then we agree on quite a bit.

You say going to the fuller services because they are longer is ritualism, but honestly I could imagine going to longer services because they are longer just to spend more time in Gid's house where worship is being offered. I don't think that is inherently ritualistic. It could proceed from genuine love for God.

I would encourage you not to take a such a combative attitude on this one. It's really unnecessary. Let's try to see eye to eye, and acknowledge that we both have things to say which are true and valuable.

I for my part apologize for my quibbling style. I think perhaps you've been taking me to be making bigger, more far-reaching points than I actually have. But to have a discussion, which I think we all want, we have to be willing to let eachother offer caveats to what we each say w/o being defensive.

[/quote]I think it's important to remember though that the rest of the people at the two churches do understand the services,
Quote
you are assuming that. I have seen that is an unwarrented assumption.
[/quote]

I was speaking within the hypothetical, the parameters of which, unfortunately, I did not sufficiently define. Please forgive. What I meant was 'assume that the other people understand what's being said'. Again, I was aiming for a "controlled" thought experiment to deduce a principle. I understand that in the real world, many Russians do not understand Slavonic so well, etc.

And for the record, I am for all Orthodox parishes in America conducting services in English.

Quote
The question should be posed in line with the OP's question.

The reason my hypothetical departed from the OP is that I was trying to use a different case to deduce a principle which might in turn be relevant to the original case. That principle is that worship w/o understanding is not necessarily (in every case with no exceptions) dead ritualism. Furthermore, that mental "understanding" of the liturgical texts is not the sole legitimate goal of worship.

As to the OP I agree that going to services at the OCA where he understands the language, since this is available, is a good idea. SecondChance's suggestion, for example, seems a good one. However, I also see how an argument can be made that the ROCOR church is better, since   (as Iconodule just reminded us) it is much much closer. I don't think we should preclude going to the ethnic parish as a possibility.
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« Reply #28 on: September 23, 2010, 02:50:02 PM »

Well, let's not forget the "about an hour away" part, mm-kay?

Hmm. If it is an hour away, that adds two hours round trip, whereas the ROCOR is 20 minutes round trip, no?

The shortest Vespers I have ever been to (OCA) was about 40 minutes. I think the minimum would be a half an hour. So the total time set aside for worship going to the the OCA is 2 1/2 hours+.

I don't recall ever being to a ROCOR All Night Vigil (I'm assuming that is what all ROCOR parishes do for Sat., but correct me if I am wrong).  I used to go to the OCA Cathedral for All Night Vigil and I seem to remember it being around just under 2 hours or so. So how much would be set aside for worship going to the ROCOR parish?  How long does the All Night Vigil, if that is the universal practice of all their parishes, take?
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« Reply #29 on: September 23, 2010, 03:03:47 PM »

Well, let's not forget the "about an hour away" part, mm-kay?

Hmm. If it is an hour away, that adds two hours round trip, whereas the ROCOR is 20 minutes round trip, no?

The shortest Vespers I have ever been to (OCA) was about 40 minutes. I think the minimum would be a half an hour. So the total time set aside for worship going to the the OCA is 2 1/2 hours+.

I don't recall ever being to a ROCOR All Night Vigil (I'm assuming that is what all ROCOR parishes do for Sat., but correct me if I am wrong).  I used to go to the OCA Cathedral for All Night Vigil and I seem to remember it being around just under 2 hours or so. So how much would be set aside for worship going to the ROCOR parish?  How long does the All Night Vigil, if that is the universal practice of all their parishes, take?

Some ROCOR parishes do All Night Vigil every weekend, some just do Vespers. Vigil usually takes something like 2.5 hours. I'm guessing the parish in question is doing
All Night Vigil on Satirday evenings.

Keep in mind two hours of time spent going to the OCA church is spent driving in a car. As someone who commutes to church an hour each way, I can testify it's not fun and that the time spent in the car definitely sucks compared to time spent in church lol.
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« Reply #30 on: September 23, 2010, 03:05:41 PM »

Well, let's not forget the "about an hour away" part, mm-kay?

Hmm. If it is an hour away, that adds two hours round trip, whereas the ROCOR is 20 minutes round trip, no?

The shortest Vespers I have ever been to (OCA) was about 40 minutes. I think the minimum would be a half an hour. So the total time set aside for worship going to the the OCA is 2 1/2 hours+.

I don't recall ever being to a ROCOR All Night Vigil (I'm assuming that is what all ROCOR parishes do for Sat., but correct me if I am wrong).  I used to go to the OCA Cathedral for All Night Vigil and I seem to remember it being around just under 2 hours or so. So how much would be set aside for worship going to the ROCOR parish?  How long does the All Night Vigil, if that is the universal practice of all their parishes, take?

At my small OCA church, with a convert priest and all, the Vigil for the Nativity of Theotokos was about 2 hours and 30 minutes. I did feel as if I was suspended between heaven and earth. BTW, I love this service as I love Matins and Vespers. Most of all, I love being exposed (in a language that I can understand) to liturgical theology (carefully selected Scripture readings, hymns to the saints, the Theotokos and the critical events of our Lord's life, among other golden nuggets). And, to think that I got nothing but feelings and some small inkling of what I heard, sang and chanted in Church Slavonic earlier in my life. What an unfortunate waste of time. But, thanks be to God, I have found a way to worship in mind and heart--just like Apostle said--in my adopted country, the United States of America. My "epiphany" so to speak was at Saint Herman's Orthodox Mission in Colorado in 1976, when I attended my first all-English service and heard the Anaphora aloud for the first time.
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« Reply #31 on: September 23, 2010, 03:06:56 PM »

How long does the All Night Vigil, if that is the universal practice of all their parishes, take?

Vigil is the standard in ROCOR parishes but one can find rare exceptions.  For instance, I know of a very small parish that does not have very good A/C.  They have Vigil Fall through Spring but only do Vespers in the Summer because it just gets way too hot in their small chapel filled with people.

From my experience, Vigil lasts between 2.5 and 3 hrs, with 2 hrs 45 min being th norm.  I would certainly not suggest that spending 2 hrs in a car to get to church and back is anything like being in church for 2 hrs.  Not in the least.
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« Reply #32 on: September 23, 2010, 03:14:29 PM »

ialmisry, this is a serious question: Is it the case, then, that in all of the Patriarchates God is worshipped with empty phrases and vain repititions?  Isn't it true that many Greeks do not really "understand" Koine and many Russians really do not "understand" Slavonic?  Has the Orthodox Church throughout the world, then, with the exception of those few places where the vernacular is actually employed, fallen away from true worship (Orthodoxy) altogether and dissolved into mere ritualism?
Few places? The Romanian Church is entirely in the literary vernacular, and she is the second largest patriarchate.  Albania is following suit.  Bulgaria and Serbia both, from what I gather, have adopted their literary vernaculars but to what extent I am not sure.

In the case of the Greeks (much is not in Koine, but Atticized Greek) and Russians (and I would guess the Ukrainians) in Greece and Russia/Ukraine still live in an environment where Attic and Slavonic still loomed. In Greece, with the virtual abandonment of Katharevousa, and in Ukraine, where Church Slavonic competed with Latin and Polish as a language of culture and Russsian influence is not as dominating as in the past, these issues of ritualism are coming to a head as an issue.

In Antioch and Alexandria and Jerusalem (where Arabic is allowed  Roll Eyes police), the services are in Classical Arabic but so are the schools and the media. At least they try to be.

So not at present. But depending of the evolution of the linguistic state and the hiearchy's response, it could dissolve into mere ritualism.  In some areas of the "diaspora," it already has.
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« Reply #33 on: September 23, 2010, 03:15:37 PM »

How long does the All Night Vigil, if that is the universal practice of all their parishes, take?

Vigil is the standard in ROCOR parishes but one can find rare exceptions.  For instance, I know of a very small parish that does not have very good A/C.  They have Vigil Fall through Spring but only do Vespers in the Summer because it just gets way too hot in their small chapel filled with people.

From my experience, Vigil lasts between 2.5 and 3 hrs, with 2 hrs 45 min being th norm.  I would certainly not suggest that spending 2 hrs in a car to get to church and back is anything like being in church for 2 hrs.  Not in the least.
It can be.
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« Reply #34 on: September 23, 2010, 03:18:49 PM »

Spiltteeth:

Two questions:

1. How important is this to you:
Quote
It is conservative, old calendar, and has alot of services;

2. Does the OCA do vespers or all night vigil on Saturday evening?

Well, let's not forget the "about an hour away" part, mm-kay?

Hmm. If it is an hour away, that adds two hours round trip, whereas the ROCOR is 20 minutes round trip, no?

The shortest Vespers I have ever been to (OCA) was about 40 minutes. I think the minimum would be a half an hour. So the total time set aside for worship going to the the OCA is 2 1/2 hours+.

I don't recall ever being to a ROCOR All Night Vigil (I'm assuming that is what all ROCOR parishes do for Sat., but correct me if I am wrong).  I used to go to the OCA Cathedral for All Night Vigil and I seem to remember it being around just under 2 hours or so. So how much would be set aside for worship going to the ROCOR parish?  How long does the All Night Vigil, if that is the universal practice of all their parishes, take?

At my small OCA church, with a convert priest and all, the Vigil for the Nativity of Theotokos was about 2 hours and 30 minutes. I did feel as if I was suspended between heaven and earth. BTW, I love this service as I love Matins and Vespers. Most of all, I love being exposed (in a language that I can understand) to liturgical theology (carefully selected Scripture readings, hymns to the saints, the Theotokos and the critical events of our Lord's life, among other golden nuggets). And, to think that I got nothing but feelings and some small inkling of what I heard, sang and chanted in Church Slavonic earlier in my life. What an unfortunate waste of time. But, thanks be to God, I have found a way to worship in mind and heart--just like Apostle said--in my adopted country, the United States of America. My "epiphany" so to speak was at Saint Herman's Orthodox Mission in Colorado in 1976, when I attended my first all-English service and heard the Anaphora aloud for the first time.

When I went to Greece, I went to church and understood very litlle. Was that a waste of time?

How long does the All Night Vigil, if that is the universal practice of all their parishes, take?

Vigil is the standard in ROCOR parishes but one can find rare exceptions.  For instance, I know of a very small parish that does not have very good A/C.  They have Vigil Fall through Spring but only do Vespers in the Summer because it just gets way too hot in their small chapel filled with people.

From my experience, Vigil lasts between 2.5 and 3 hrs, with 2 hrs 45 min being th norm.  I would certainly not suggest that spending 2 hrs in a car to get to church and back is anything like being in church for 2 hrs.  Not in the least.

Not to mention the extra car time is more destructive to God's creation and more (gas) expensive.
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« Reply #35 on: September 23, 2010, 03:52:04 PM »

You are presuming that more comes with length. That is not necessarily the case.

Actually, I would agree with you there. And if you would agree that more could come with length (but again, not necessarily), then we agree on quite a bit.

You say going to the fuller services because they are longer is ritualism, but honestly I could imagine going to longer services because they are longer just to spend more time in Gid's house where worship is being offered. I don't think that is inherently ritualistic. It could proceed from genuine love for God.

I would encourage you not to take a such a combative attitude on this one. It's really unnecessary. Let's try to see eye to eye, and acknowledge that we both have things to say which are true and valuable.
OK. Sorry for the edge, I'll try to dull my tongue (or typing finger  Tongue).

I for my part apologize for my quibbling style. I think perhaps you've been taking me to be making bigger, more far-reaching points than I actually have. But to have a discussion, which I think we all want, we have to be willing to let eachother offer caveats to what we each say w/o being defensive.


I think it's important to remember though that the rest of the people at the two churches do understand the services,
you are assuming that. I have seen that is an unwarrented assumption.

I was speaking within the hypothetical, the parameters of which, unfortunately, I did not sufficiently define. Please forgive. What I meant was 'assume that the other people understand what's being said'. Again, I was aiming for a "controlled" thought experiment to deduce a principle. I understand that in the real world, many Russians do not understand Slavonic so well, etc.

And for the record, I am for all Orthodox parishes in America conducting services in English.

I'm actually not, especially the French, Spanish and Amerindian speaking parts.  As for the immigrant parishes, a general rule I employ is does the language of the DL match that of the coffee hour.  I couple months ago I was at the ROCOR Cathedral and I don't recall if it was all Russian/Slavonic or not (having gone to an OCA parish for years which used Slavonic, etc., it doesn't phase me), but I do recall Russian being spoken afterward. Ditto the Romanian Churches I have been to, and the Antiochian. When I am at a parish where English is exclusive outside the sanctuary, and isn't allowed at outside the sanctuary is when I see a problem.   The OCA parish I was at alternated parts in one language or the other, so it wasn't an issue of understanding. The changeable parts were almost all done in English, and the Slavonic ones are only tropars etc. which were also in English. And some parisoners learned, without me asking, to say "Christ is risen!" in Arabic.

I'm only against seeing languages as sancrosanct. Using them as liturgical languages for a reason doesn't bother me in the slightest.

The question should be posed in line with the OP's question.
The reason my hypothetical departed from the OP is that I was trying to use a different case to deduce a principle which might in turn be relevant to the original case. That principle is that worship w/o understanding is not necessarily (in every case with no exceptions) dead ritualism. Furthermore, that mental "understanding" of the liturgical texts is not the sole legitimate goal of worship.

While I would agree, the opposite extreme from those who want everything only in English are those who argue meaning is not important.

As to the OP I agree that going to services at the OCA where he understands the language, since this is available, is a good idea. SecondChance's suggestion, for example, seems a good one. However, I also see how an argument can be made that the ROCOR church is better, since   (as Iconodule just reminded us) it is much much closer. I don't think we should preclude going to the ethnic parish as a possibility.
I didn't.
If you find fellowship and support at the OCA parish, and none at the ROCOR, go to the OCA parish for DL, and arrange all else accordingly.

If, despite the language barrier at the ROCOR, you find fellowship and support, by all means, go there and make arrangements accordingly.

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« Reply #36 on: September 23, 2010, 04:29:40 PM »

Quote
I'm actually not, especially the French, Spanish and Amerindian speaking parts.  As for the immigrant parishes, a general rule I employ is does the language of the DL match that of the coffee hour.

lol Good point. I was being rather ethnocentric. I would agree that in places where the local community speaks Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Tlingit, etc., the services are best conducted in those languages. However, in the predominantly English-speaking areas within the US and Canada, I think English or mostly English should be a goal. I would say that even if English is not the main coffee hour language for this reason:

I have been to ROCOR parishes where the services are conducted entirely in Slavonic. (disclaimer: I find Slavonic beautiful, I know a bit of it, and I am edified by services in Slavonic; however, I do not understand much of it, and neither would most Americans.) Now at many all-Slavonic parishes a large number of parishioners may speak Russian, either as a first or second language, and this may be the coffee hour language, but usually the majority also speaks English, which is the lingua franca in the USA. There is often also a large number who do not understand Russian/Slavonic! So why is the service being conducted in Slavonic so that many cannot understand, if it could be conducted in a common denominator language (English) to maximize the number of people understanding? One reason I have heard (though I understand there are others) is to preserve 19th century Russian culture - well that may be a good thing, but it is a much lower priority in my book than understanding the services and making the church accessible to the public which needs to be evangelized.
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« Reply #37 on: September 23, 2010, 04:37:39 PM »


At my small OCA church, with a convert priest and all, the Vigil for the Nativity of Theotokos was about 2 hours and 30 minutes. I did feel as if I was suspended between heaven and earth. BTW, I love this service as I love Matins and Vespers. Most of all, I love being exposed (in a language that I can understand) to liturgical theology (carefully selected Scripture readings, hymns to the saints, the Theotokos and the critical events of our Lord's life, among other golden nuggets). And, to think that I got nothing but feelings and some small inkling of what I heard, sang and chanted in Church Slavonic earlier in my life. What an unfortunate waste of time. But, thanks be to God, I have found a way to worship in mind and heart--just like Apostle said--in my adopted country, the United States of America. My "epiphany" so to speak was at Saint Herman's Orthodox Mission in Colorado in 1976, when I attended my first all-English service and heard the Anaphora aloud for the first time.

When I went to Greece, I went to church and understood very litlle. Was that a waste of time?


I would hope not!

 I was speaking only for myself. I should add that this happened over a long period of time, not just a service here and a service there. I should also add that I said it was a waste of time in the sense of a lost opportunity to more fully participate in the cycle of services and to learn from them, as they are, as you surely must agree, a living and experiential cathechesis.
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« Reply #38 on: September 23, 2010, 04:43:11 PM »


At my small OCA church, with a convert priest and all, the Vigil for the Nativity of Theotokos was about 2 hours and 30 minutes. I did feel as if I was suspended between heaven and earth. BTW, I love this service as I love Matins and Vespers. Most of all, I love being exposed (in a language that I can understand) to liturgical theology (carefully selected Scripture readings, hymns to the saints, the Theotokos and the critical events of our Lord's life, among other golden nuggets). And, to think that I got nothing but feelings and some small inkling of what I heard, sang and chanted in Church Slavonic earlier in my life. What an unfortunate waste of time. But, thanks be to God, I have found a way to worship in mind and heart--just like Apostle said--in my adopted country, the United States of America. My "epiphany" so to speak was at Saint Herman's Orthodox Mission in Colorado in 1976, when I attended my first all-English service and heard the Anaphora aloud for the first time.

When I went to Greece, I went to church and understood very litlle. Was that a waste of time?


I would hope not!

 I was speaking only for myself. I should add that this happened over a long period of time, not just a service here and a service there. I should also add that I said it was a waste of time in the sense of a lost opportunity to more fully participate in the cycle of services and to learn from them, as they are, as you surely must agree, a living and experiential cathechesis.

Okay I see your meaning. 'Missed catechetical opportunity' seems right to me. 'Waste of time' - no way.

Being present for and hopefully receiving the Eucharist, for example, regardless of the language of the service, is hardly a waste of time.
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« Reply #39 on: September 23, 2010, 05:28:47 PM »


I have been to ROCOR parishes where the services are conducted entirely in Slavonic. (disclaimer: I find Slavonic beautiful, I know a bit of it, and I am edified by services in Slavonic; however, I do not understand much of it, and neither would most Americans.) Now at many all-Slavonic parishes a large number of parishioners may speak Russian, either as a first or second language, and this may be the coffee hour language, but usually the majority also speaks English, which is the lingua franca in the USA. There is often also a large number who do not understand Russian/Slavonic! So why is the service being conducted in Slavonic so that many cannot understand, if it could be conducted in a common denominator language (English) to maximize the number of people understanding? One reason I have heard (though I understand there are others) is to preserve 19th century Russian culture - well that may be a good thing, but it is a much lower priority in my book than understanding the services and making the church accessible to the public which needs to be evangelized.

I have been involved with two parishes that use a lot of Slavonic, one having a Priest from the old country, and one an American convert.  One was Serbian, the other ROCOR.  Both gave the same answer to this question:

Slavonic is a “Church” language.  It is a language of worship.  It provides us the opportunity to worship God in a language that is not vulgar and common.  It completes the “other worldly” aspect of our worship.  It is important that the “teaching” parts (variable) of the Liturgy is in the language of the people, and both churches do so.  However, the fixed parts of the Liturgy are not that difficult to learn given that most churches have dual language service books, or at least they are available.  We are to work out our Salvation, and part of this work is to study the Liturgy and learn about the cycle of services.  The problem with modern man is that they do not want to put any effort into their religion, and want it all handed to them on a silver platter.  God is something they pay attention to for a couple hours on Sunday (if it has not been abbreviated more) and then forgot about the rest of the week.  For those that take this matter seriously, having the fixed parts of the Liturgy chanted in Church Slavonic is no impediment.  In fact, it is a blessing as the language is so well suited for worship.  People learn what is important to them.  It amazes me that young people can learn to use computers and to send Text Messages in codes, yet grown men and woman cannot learn the Liturgy in Slavonic, or the Scriptures in less than modern English.  This is a symptom of two problems: laziness on the part of the individual, and lack of proper instruction on the part of the Church Leaders.  Compared to the Lutheran Church that I came from, I have found the various Orthodox Churches that I have attended to be grossly lacking in adult education (and not too much better when it comes to educating the children).  Perhaps if we spent more time teaching our members instead of holding bake sales and fund raisers, language would not be such an issue. 
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« Reply #40 on: September 23, 2010, 06:04:48 PM »

Quote
Slavonic is a “Church” language.  It is a language of worship.  It provides us the opportunity to worship God in a language that is not vulgar and common.

While I do find Church Slavonic beautiful in its own right and I've also put forth some effort in studying it, I'm not sure I quite agree that worshipping God in our own native tongue is somehow "vulgar and common". Didn't God become incarnate in the man (how vulgar and common,really!) Jesus Christ; doesn't God's grace act through humble things just as effectively as it does through the obscure and esoteric? Is it not possible that we are idolizing a language,rather than teaching the Gospel message? Maybe it would be better if we were simply taught more of the practical aspects of being a Christian, rather than insisting on maintaining languages which are difficult to understand and which, sadly, can also alienate. I know more than one young person of Russian descent, but who was born and raised in this country who has left the Church in frustration because of the language barrier. Even with Russian ethnicity and all, it was too much. Should we make everything SO difficult for ordinary people?


As to the OP's question: I'm lazy and hate long travel times and expenses, so I know beyond any doubt that I'd chose the ROCOR parish despite its CS any day over the more distant OCA parish. But then, I already know the basic services almost by heart in CS, so really I likely can't even begin to give you advice!
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« Reply #41 on: September 23, 2010, 07:37:39 PM »

Slavonic is a “Church” language.  It is a language of worship.  It provides us the opportunity to worship God in a language that is not vulgar and common.  It completes the “other worldly” aspect of our worship.


Oh, puh-LEEZ!

SS Cyril and Methodius weren't taken up to the third heaven and took dictation.  They learned Slavonic in the streets of Thessalonica, and spoke it with the masses in Moravia.  People worshipped and praised God in it, and rejoiced when they heard the Gospel in it, just as the speakers of modern languages do.  People also cursed, swore, lied and committed fornication in it as well.  There was a dictionary compiled of unmentionable words and their etymologies and derivations done in Czarist Russian, but the Bolsheviks suppressed it. The Reds it turned out were quite the prudes.

Just because a language is living, i.e. children actually learn it from their parents, does not make it "vulgar" or "common," as Classical Greek, Latin, Arabic and yes, Old Slavonic, have their vulgar and common forms. We just don't, and shouldn't, use them in Church any more than we should use "vulgar" or "common" "vernaculars" (as the Vatican, who also has a language fetish, calls them) in Church.

And the proof that "Church" languages are not eternal is the fact that Church Slavonic as we have it today is not identical to the speach of SS Cyril and Methodios: it has everywhere been transmitted in "recensions" which reflect the actual speech of the people.

Foreign =/= otherwordliness.  Otherwise, we might as well be Hindus and chant mantras.

It is important that the “teaching” parts (variable) of the Liturgy is in the language of the people, and both churches do so.  However, the fixed parts of the Liturgy are not that difficult to learn given that most churches have dual language service books, or at least they are available.
Is there any reason in particular that the fixed parts are in Slavonic?

We are to work out our Salvation, and part of this work is to study the Liturgy and learn about the cycle of services.

Where does the "learn a foreign language" sneak in?

The problem with modern man is that they do not want to put any effort into their religion, and want it all handed to them on a silver platter.

Well, the story is that St. John shortened the DL of St. Basil who shortened the DL of St. James, so it would seem modern man isn't the only one, if length of services is what you are getting at.

God is something they pay attention to for a couple hours on Sunday (if it has not been abbreviated more) and then forgot about the rest of the week.

If you read the Fathers, that is hardly a modern problem.

For those that take this matter seriously,
and they would be who (no tautologies, please)?

having the fixed parts of the Liturgy chanted in Church Slavonic is no impediment.
Is it necassary?

In fact, it is a blessing as the language is so well suited for worship.

Really? How is it so well suited for worship?

People learn what is important to them.

There language or somebody else's nostalgia?

It amazes me that young people can learn to use computers and to send Text Messages in codes, yet grown men and woman cannot learn the Liturgy in Slavonic, or the Scriptures in less than modern English.

Are you comparing mastering dribble to learning the word of God?

God didn't speak Attic.

This is a symptom of two problems: laziness on the part of the individual, and lack of proper instruction on the part of the Church Leaders.

So worshipping in the native tongue is a disease? So the Spirit of Pentecost is an evil spirit?

Compared to the Lutheran Church that I came from, I have found the various Orthodox Churches that I have attended to be grossly lacking in adult education (and not too much better when it comes to educating the children).
I have to agree on this as far as the children, the adults, not so much.  I've seen, and at present am at, an exception. In fact, you can hear our Sunday adult education here:
http://homepage.mac.com/wonderpuppy/phrii.html

Perhaps if we spent more time teaching our members instead of holding bake sales and fund raisers, language would not be such an issue.  
To be honest, among the Orthodox, most bake sales and fund raisers I've seen had to do with the language.  I remember seeing someone I knew who was marrying an Orthodox, and he was reading a language primer.  "They don't have Sunday school. You don't learn about God or anything like that, you learn [language X]


As a side note, Punch, what IS your avatar?
« Last Edit: September 23, 2010, 07:43:27 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #42 on: September 23, 2010, 08:48:40 PM »

ialmisry,

Obviously, I do not agree with you on this point.  However, that is the beauty of the current situation here in the US, and one of the main reasons that I hope it never changes.  You can run the gamut of 2 hr Liturgies in Slavonic to a 45 minute Mass in English and still be associated with an Orthodox Church.  Something for everyone.  May it ever be so.

As to my avatar, here is a larger image.



A photograph that is nearly identical to a dream that I had many years ago.  Our future.
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« Reply #43 on: September 23, 2010, 08:53:11 PM »

Quote
The problem with modern man is that they do not want to put any effort into their religion, and want it all handed to them on a silver platter.
Quote
Well, the story is that St. John shortened the DL of St. Basil who shortened the DL of St. James, so it would seem modern man isn't the only one, if length of services is what you are getting at.

Interestingly, though, there is no word for "boredom" in ancient Greek, etc., or so I've heard (so could be total BS lol).
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« Reply #44 on: September 23, 2010, 08:58:15 PM »

Something for everyone.  May it ever be so.

Weren't you just complaining about modern man?
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ialmisry
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« Reply #45 on: September 23, 2010, 09:02:03 PM »

Quote
The problem with modern man is that they do not want to put any effort into their religion, and want it all handed to them on a silver platter.
Quote
Well, the story is that St. John shortened the DL of St. Basil who shortened the DL of St. James, so it would seem modern man isn't the only one, if length of services is what you are getting at.

Interestingly, though, there is no word for "boredom" in ancient Greek, etc., or so I've heard (so could be total BS lol).

ἄλυς
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If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
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« Reply #46 on: September 23, 2010, 09:04:42 PM »

A photograph that is nearly identical to a dream that I had many years ago.  Our future.
Looks like something from S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
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« Reply #47 on: September 23, 2010, 09:23:11 PM »

A photograph that is nearly identical to a dream that I had many years ago.  Our future.
Looks like something from S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

My understanding is that it was taken by a group of guys that play S.T.A.L.K.E.R with Air-soft guns.  This particular group is from Finland, I believe.  I guess that it is pretty popular in Europe.
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« Reply #48 on: September 23, 2010, 09:26:46 PM »

Something for everyone.  May it ever be so.

Weren't you just complaining about modern man?

What's your point?  There has been diversity in the Orthodox Church in the US for quite a while.  Since when has maintaining the status quo been modern?
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« Reply #49 on: September 24, 2010, 11:33:53 PM »

Well, let's not forget the "about an hour away" part, mm-kay?

Hmm. If it is an hour away, that adds two hours round trip, whereas the ROCOR is 20 minutes round trip, no?

The shortest Vespers I have ever been to (OCA) was about 40 minutes. I think the minimum would be a half an hour. So the total time set aside for worship going to the the OCA is 2 1/2 hours+.

I don't recall ever being to a ROCOR All Night Vigil (I'm assuming that is what all ROCOR parishes do for Sat., but correct me if I am wrong).  I used to go to the OCA Cathedral for All Night Vigil and I seem to remember it being around just under 2 hours or so. So how much would be set aside for worship going to the ROCOR parish?  How long does the All Night Vigil, if that is the universal practice of all their parishes, take?

Some ROCOR parishes do All Night Vigil every weekend, some just do Vespers. Vigil usually takes something like 2.5 hours. I'm guessing the parish in question is doing
All Night Vigil on Satirday evenings.

Keep in mind two hours of time spent going to the OCA church is spent driving in a car. As someone who commutes to church an hour each way, I can testify it's not fun and that the time spent in the car definitely sucks compared to time spent in church lol.

We travel an hour toand from church, try to get a dvd of canons before communion to play and pray enroute, it makes the travel time more productive.

THOMAS
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« Reply #50 on: September 26, 2010, 02:13:05 PM »

try to get a dvd of canons before communion to play and pray enroute, it makes the travel time more productive.

THOMAS

This is a good one:

http://www.holycross-hermitage.com/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?preadd=action&key=CD0103
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