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Author Topic: Proskomedia in the Nave  (Read 2692 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: October 04, 2010, 08:21:46 AM »

This weekend, our parish priest will be performing the proskomedia in the nave of the church. He has done this a couple of times in his 34 years as a priest in order to educate members or our church.

Has anyone seen this done in the nave before? I imagine that it may somewhere still be performed in the nave, but off to the side near the altar.
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« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2010, 08:48:38 AM »

This weekend, our parish priest will be performing the proskomedia in the nave of the church. He has done this a couple of times in his 34 years as a priest in order to educate members or our church.

Has anyone seen this done in the nave before? I imagine that it may somewhere still be performed in the nave, but off to the side near the altar.


I have seen it several times. No, it was in the center of the back. Btw, IIRC at the Great Church in Constantinople, it originally was done in a seperate building/chapel.  In the Coptic equivalent, it is done front and center.
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« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2010, 11:50:04 AM »

This weekend, our parish priest will be performing the proskomedia in the nave of the church. He has done this a couple of times in his 34 years as a priest in order to educate members or our church.

Has anyone seen this done in the nave before? I imagine that it may somewhere still be performed in the nave, but off to the side near the altar.

Completely misplaced zeal etc. "Proscomidia" is the priest's business, and no layman's.
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« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2010, 12:41:42 PM »

This weekend, our parish priest will be performing the proskomedia in the nave of the church. He has done this a couple of times in his 34 years as a priest in order to educate members or our church.

Has anyone seen this done in the nave before? I imagine that it may somewhere still be performed in the nave, but off to the side near the altar.

Completely misplaced zeal etc. "Proscomidia" is the priest's business, and no layman's.

My sentiments exactly.
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« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2010, 01:16:37 PM »

This weekend, our parish priest will be performing the proskomedia in the nave of the church. He has done this a couple of times in his 34 years as a priest in order to educate members or our church.

Has anyone seen this done in the nave before? I imagine that it may somewhere still be performed in the nave, but off to the side near the altar.

Completely misplaced zeal etc. "Proscomidia" is the priest's business, and no layman's.
So the priest should bake all the bread; grow the grapes, crush them and make them into wine; and only remember those who have a direct relationship to himself?

I also suppose the Liturgy of St. James should never be celebrated because of the place of the proskomedia in the context of that liturgy.
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« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2010, 01:33:39 PM »

Completely misplaced zeal etc. "Proscomidia" is the priest's business, and no layman's. 

You know, for awhile the priests had nothing to do with Proskomede; only the deacons did, and would bring the prepared gifts into the Church (you know, Great Entrance) when they would be received by the Bishop and Presbyters.

If Father so-and-so feels that this teaching exercise will benefit his flock, and if he has the permission of his hierarch, then it's ok.
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« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2010, 01:36:27 PM »

I would also note the fact that, in 34 years, this priest has only done this "a couple times."

It's not like he does this on a weekly basis in some misguided effort to change the liturgy to allow more people to "participate" in it.
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« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2010, 02:10:11 PM »

This weekend, our parish priest will be performing the proskomedia in the nave of the church. He has done this a couple of times in his 34 years as a priest in order to educate members or our church.

Has anyone seen this done in the nave before? I imagine that it may somewhere still be performed in the nave, but off to the side near the altar.


Our priest traditionally does it once a year for the church school students.  It is a way to educate the children about church liturgical life.   It's done specifically for the children studying the liturgy in Church school but open to everyone to come.

On Great and Holy Saturday the Altar is brought down into the center of the church and the liturgy is served there.  
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« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2010, 02:58:24 PM »

Quote
On Great and Holy Saturday the Altar is brought down into the center of the church and the liturgy is served there.  
Roll Eyes Huh Roll Eyes
What is this bizarre practice?
« Last Edit: October 04, 2010, 02:59:33 PM by augustin717 » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2010, 03:44:53 PM »

This weekend, our parish priest will be performing the proskomedia in the nave of the church. He has done this a couple of times in his 34 years as a priest in order to educate members or our church.

Has anyone seen this done in the nave before? I imagine that it may somewhere still be performed in the nave, but off to the side near the altar.


Our priest traditionally does it once a year for the church school students.  It is a way to educate the children about church liturgical life.   It's done specifically for the children studying the liturgy in Church school but open to everyone to come.

On Great and Holy Saturday the Altar is brought down into the center of the church and the liturgy is served there.  

We also celebrate the Proskomedie once a year  (during Great Lent) in the centre of the Church - there was a discussion about this recently on the Yahoo group Orthodox Forum and a number of other Churches do the same.  Our Priest asks each person to read his book of rememberance in turn as he cuts the particles out of the prosphoras.  It is a wonderful way of instructing everyone of what is done for and on behalf of them at every Liturgy.


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« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2010, 03:58:46 PM »

Quote
On Great and Holy Saturday the Altar is brought down into the center of the church and the liturgy is served there.  
Roll Eyes Huh Roll Eyes
What is this bizarre practice?

The altar is stripped Great and Holy Friday. The DL is celebrated on the Epitaphion, as it is celebrated in the Holy Sepulchre/Edicule in the Church of the Resurrection. The Epitaphion and antimensis are returned to the altar at the Paschal Vigil during the last Ode.
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« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2010, 04:06:12 PM »

I would also note the fact that, in 34 years, this priest has only done this "a couple times."

It's not like he does this on a weekly basis in some misguided effort to change the liturgy to allow more people to "participate" in it.
Yes and no. Many people don't even know of the existence of the service, and have, for instance, no idea that the lists for remembrance are read with a particle cut out for each name. So the father seems only to want to inform the participation they already have.
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« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2010, 04:13:52 PM »

I don't see the problem with doing the service twice a year so the faithful can witness Liturgy of Preperation.  Most people don't know what it is so why not teach them something more about what they are participating in?  It's not some secret ritual that no one should know about afterall, it teaches greater appreciation and helps the faithful understand the care and preparation that go into our services.
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« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2010, 07:55:41 PM »

Quote
On Great and Holy Saturday the Altar is brought down into the center of the church and the liturgy is served there.  
Roll Eyes Huh Roll Eyes
What is this bizarre practice?

The altar is stripped Great and Holy Friday. The DL is celebrated on the Epitaphion, as it is celebrated in the Holy Sepulchre/Edicule in the Church of the Resurrection. The Epitaphion and antimensis are returned to the altar at the Paschal Vigil during the last Ode.

Oh yes, that's right... it's not the altar it's the tomb with Christ (Epitaphion) on top of it.  Sorry for the confusion.

This leads me to another question I've wondered about.  Why do we celebrate the liturgy and receive communion on Great and Holy Saturday?  I can certainly understand having a service but I dont quite understand the white vestments and celebrating the Eucharist before the Paschal services in the evening. 
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« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2010, 07:57:54 PM »

I don't see the problem with doing the service twice a year so the faithful can witness Liturgy of Preperation.  Most people don't know what it is so why not teach them something more about what they are participating in?  It's not some secret ritual that no one should know about afterall, it teaches greater appreciation and helps the faithful understand the care and preparation that go into our services.

I agree.  It is quite a lovely service.   
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« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2010, 08:37:27 PM »

This leads me to another question I've wondered about.  Why do we celebrate the liturgy and receive communion on Great and Holy Saturday? 

An anomaly of Liturgical movement.  Technically, there is no Liturgy on "Great and Holy Saturday," which begins Friday afternoon with Vespers and ends Saturday morning when we begin the Vespers.  The reason why the Liturgy happens when it does (early on Saturday) is because, well, everything in Holy Week shifted up 1/2 day, beginning Palm Sunday evening with doing the Monday morning service.

I can certainly understand having a service but I dont quite understand the white vestments and celebrating the Eucharist before the Paschal services in the evening.   

Ahh - well, the Vesperal Liturgy was originally part of the all-night Vigil of Pascha, and is one of only 3 occasions in the ecclesiastical year when 2 Liturgies on the same Liturgical day is prescribed (the other two being Christmas and Theophany).  The focus of the Vesperal Liturgy is Resurrection - hence the bright vestments (in Greek practice we wear more gold/bright Sat morning, and then white or red for Saturday night).  The vespers focuses on the conquering of hades, and all the Old Testament precursors to the Resurrection; the Vigil (with the Light and all) focuses a bit more on the bodily Resurrection - coming out of the tomb, bringing the light back into the world (although neither service ignores either aspect - these focuses are more de facto because of the timing of the celebrations nowadays).

So you're celebrating the first half of the ancient Paschal feast in the morning on Saturday, then fasting all day (as is tradition on Holy Saturday), then celebrating the second half in the evening Sat-Sun.  Make more sense?
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« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2010, 08:48:57 PM »

This leads me to another question I've wondered about.  Why do we celebrate the liturgy and receive communion on Great and Holy Saturday? 

An anomaly of Liturgical movement.  Technically, there is no Liturgy on "Great and Holy Saturday," which begins Friday afternoon with Vespers and ends Saturday morning when we begin the Vespers.  The reason why the Liturgy happens when it does (early on Saturday) is because, well, everything in Holy Week shifted up 1/2 day, beginning Palm Sunday evening with doing the Monday morning service.

I can certainly understand having a service but I dont quite understand the white vestments and celebrating the Eucharist before the Paschal services in the evening.   

Ahh - well, the Vesperal Liturgy was originally part of the all-night Vigil of Pascha, and is one of only 3 occasions in the ecclesiastical year when 2 Liturgies on the same Liturgical day is prescribed (the other two being Christmas and Theophany).  The focus of the Vesperal Liturgy is Resurrection - hence the bright vestments (in Greek practice we wear more gold/bright Sat morning, and then white or red for Saturday night).  The vespers focuses on the conquering of hades, and all the Old Testament precursors to the Resurrection; the Vigil (with the Light and all) focuses a bit more on the bodily Resurrection - coming out of the tomb, bringing the light back into the world (although neither service ignores either aspect - these focuses are more de facto because of the timing of the celebrations nowadays).

So you're celebrating the first half of the ancient Paschal feast in the morning on Saturday, then fasting all day (as is tradition on Holy Saturday), then celebrating the second half in the evening Sat-Sun.  Make more sense?

almost makes sense  Grin  So are you saying that at one time the service was one long one from Saturday morning (vespers) to early Sunday morning (Nocturns, Matins, DL, etc.) with no break in between?  Doesn't that mean that there'd be two Eucharistic meals as well?

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« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2010, 09:12:41 PM »

At one time the Vesperal Liturgy was actually in the evening and it was the Resurrection service of Hagia Sophia.  The Morning Orthros/Divine Liturgy is an importation from Jerusalem.
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« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2010, 09:25:46 PM »

On Great and Holy Saturday the Altar is brought down into the center of the church and the liturgy is served there.  

!!??  The Holy Table here is bolted to the floor.  

Quotes edited - Michał Kalina.
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« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2010, 09:27:26 PM »

I would also note the fact that, in 34 years, this priest has only done this "a couple times."

It's not like he does this on a weekly basis in some misguided effort to change the liturgy to allow more people to "participate" in it.

Right.  It is a teaching proskomedia.   I myself have never done it but the priest before me, over a decade ago, did it at some point. 
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« Reply #20 on: October 04, 2010, 09:50:37 PM »

I don't see the reason for a "teaching proscomidia"; or what, are the laypeople supposed to learn its movements and do it at home?
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« Reply #21 on: October 04, 2010, 09:58:04 PM »

This leads me to another question I've wondered about.  Why do we celebrate the liturgy and receive communion on Great and Holy Saturday? 

An anomaly of Liturgical movement.  Technically, there is no Liturgy on "Great and Holy Saturday," which begins Friday afternoon with Vespers and ends Saturday morning when we begin the Vespers.  The reason why the Liturgy happens when it does (early on Saturday) is because, well, everything in Holy Week shifted up 1/2 day, beginning Palm Sunday evening with doing the Monday morning service.

I can certainly understand having a service but I dont quite understand the white vestments and celebrating the Eucharist before the Paschal services in the evening.   

Ahh - well, the Vesperal Liturgy was originally part of the all-night Vigil of Pascha, and is one of only 3 occasions in the ecclesiastical year when 2 Liturgies on the same Liturgical day is prescribed (the other two being Christmas and Theophany).  The focus of the Vesperal Liturgy is Resurrection - hence the bright vestments (in Greek practice we wear more gold/bright Sat morning, and then white or red for Saturday night).  The vespers focuses on the conquering of hades, and all the Old Testament precursors to the Resurrection; the Vigil (with the Light and all) focuses a bit more on the bodily Resurrection - coming out of the tomb, bringing the light back into the world (although neither service ignores either aspect - these focuses are more de facto because of the timing of the celebrations nowadays).

So you're celebrating the first half of the ancient Paschal feast in the morning on Saturday, then fasting all day (as is tradition on Holy Saturday), then celebrating the second half in the evening Sat-Sun.  Make more sense?

almost makes sense  Grin  So are you saying that at one time the service was one long one from Saturday morning (vespers) to early Sunday morning (Nocturns, Matins, DL, etc.) with no break in between?  Doesn't that mean that there'd be two Eucharistic meals as well?

No, in fact is prescribed time is to take place after 4pm in the afternoon in the Jerusalem Typikon of St. Savvas.   In Jerusalem still today it is celebrated late in the afternoon after the Holy Light appears.    The typikon looks like this (“by the letter”):   A single Resurrection vigil—
At 4pm the semandran is struck to call all to the church.  
--Vespers with Liturgy of St. Basil begins thereafter between 4 and 5pm
--The typikon prescribes that the Liturgy is to end by 8pm so that the book of Acts can be read in its entirety (in place of Compline)
--At “the 4th hour of the night” (10 pm), Nocturnes are to begin, followed by Matins followed by Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.

And so, a complete cycle of services are served before we break the fast with the festal Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.  

Eventually in common practice, the Basil Liturgy was moved back to the late morning or noonish, and in some places even the early morning.    
  
But regardless, it is the last service of Holy Saturday and the first of Pascha (Holy Saturday coming to an end at the entrance at the Vespers/Liturgy of St. Basil).

So the feast day begins and culminates with a Liturgy, and as Fr. George said, so also it is at Nativity and Theophany.
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« Reply #22 on: October 04, 2010, 10:05:34 PM »

I don't see the reason for a "teaching proscomidia"; or what, are the laypeople supposed to learn its movements and do it at home?

No, just to make them aware that it happens and what happens, thus making more sense of the rest of the Liturgy.   
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« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2010, 04:35:17 AM »

Quote
On Great and Holy Saturday the Altar is brought down into the center of the church and the liturgy is served there.  
Roll Eyes Huh Roll Eyes
What is this bizarre practice?

The altar is stripped Great and Holy Friday. The DL is celebrated on the Epitaphion, as it is celebrated in the Holy Sepulchre/Edicule in the Church of the Resurrection. The Epitaphion and antimensis are returned to the altar at the Paschal Vigil during the last Ode.

Oh yes, that's right... it's not the altar it's the tomb with Christ (Epitaphion) on top of it.  Sorry for the confusion.

I must admit to still being confused by this.  I have never seen the Holy Table stripped or the Holy Saturday Liturgy served on the plashchanitsa in the midst of the nave but only on the Holy Table.

Quote
This leads me to another question I've wondered about.  Why do we celebrate the liturgy and receive communion on Great and Holy Saturday?  I can certainly understand having a service but I dont quite understand the white vestments and celebrating the Eucharist before the Paschal services in the evening.  

The Paschal Vigil that is currently served from Holy Saturday night to the early morning of Pascha is a later development.  At a talk given by Metropiolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, he suggested this was possibly around the 7th-8th centuries.

What is now the Vesperal Divine Liturgy on Holy Saturday was originally the night vigil, and anybody who comes from a western Christian background will recognise this because it has the same roots as the Western Paschal Vigil.  As an Anglican, this was the first Orthodox service I ever attended and some of the similarities struck me immediately.  Both east and west have numerous readings from the Old Testament, many of which are the same.  The Gospel readings are both from Matthew 28.  In both east and west, the service starts with the clergy in dark vestments and dark cloths on the Holy Table and icon-stands, and these are changed to white/silver vestments part-way through.  Baptisms take place in the western vigil and we have the remnant of that in the Byzantine vigil with As many as have been baptised into Christ replacing the Trisagion, and both culminate with the celebration of the Eucharist.   It is clear that this is the original paschal service which must have taken its form and content early enough to be common to both east and west, (although it then developed differently within the context of each rite).

Yet for some reason, in the Byzantine Rite, when the new vigil was introduced, the old vigil was not replaced but was simply moved to earlier in the day and combined with Vespers.  Now it is served on Holy Saturday afternoon. (I understand that the ustav prescribes it for 4 p.m. although at my parish it usually starts between 2.30 and 3 p.m.  I've heard that some parishes even serve it in the morning!)  So now, what we essentially have is two paschal vigils, although we are told that we must not greet each other with the news of the Resurrection until the second vigil.  Really, while it's all very lovely, it's a bit of a liturgical mess.

However, what we find at our parish is that the people who would struggle to come to the night vigil, (elderly people, people with very young children and a long distance to travel, people who rely on carers, and so forth), come to the afternoon vesperal vigil, and afterwards they bring their baskets to be blessed, they greet each other with the paschal greeting, and they break their eggs together - all festivities that would usually not be expected until the night vigil.  Then they go home, satisfied that, while they might not have endured the night, they have come together and given honour to the Lord's Resurrection.  So while having two vigils may be nonsense liturgically, it is actually very useful pastorally.

I don't know whether that helps.

M
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« Reply #24 on: October 05, 2010, 08:36:04 AM »

Thank you all for your replies.  I love a history lesson!
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« Reply #25 on: October 05, 2010, 09:02:23 AM »

Thank you all for your replies.  I love a history lesson!

Michael, you are probably confused because I am most likely using the wrong terms for things.  Does your parish have the tomb in the center of the church on Holy Saturday?  Where is the Epitaphion?  Are your clergy serving the Liturgy of St. Bail on Great and Holy Saturday behind the Iconostasis in the Sanctuary? 

That's ok, PrincessMommy.  I am generally a very confused person at the best of times, so you mustn't worry about possibly contributing to this.  Wink

Yes, my parish has the tomb in the centre of the church.  I think the confusion is perhaps partly arising because, in my parish, our linguistic custom is to use English words for liturgical implements if such words exist in English, and if they don't, then we tend to use the Russian words.  We tend not to use Greek words for things, not because of any anti-Greek sentiments but only because it is not our custom, so that's what's ingrained in my mind.

At the end of Vespers on Great Friday, the plashchanitsa (which, in the Greek church, is called the epitaphion/epitaphios) is carried in procession into the midst of the nave and laid on the table that serves as the tomb.

The Vesperal Divine Liturgy of St Basil is served on the Holy Table in the usual way.

The plashchanitsa remains in the midst of the nave until the ninth ode of the canon at the Midnight Office on Holy Saturday night, when it is carried in solemn procession back into the altar and laid on the Holy Table.  Then there is the Procession, Paschal Matins, and the Paschal Hours.  Then the Paschal Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom is the first Liturgy to be served on the plaschanitsa, but by this time it is on the Holy Table.  To my knowledge, at no point on Holy Saturday do the rubrics call for the Liturgy to be served anywhere other than on the Holy Table itself.

However, a number of pious local customs, which are not found in the rubrics, have developed around the services of Holy Week in different parts of the world - some good (having the women of he parish offer flowers at the tomb and sprinkle it with rose water on Great Friday), some not so good (having the priest hammer nails into an icon of the Saviour) - and it is possible that your priest's practice of serving at the central tomb on Holy Saturday reflects one such local custom.  It's just one that I had never encountered before you mentioned it.

M
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« Reply #26 on: October 05, 2010, 01:25:20 PM »

The confusion may come if one is used to (at least what I have experienced as) the Greek custom regarding the Epitaphios.

After the procession around the Church on Friday evening, the Kouvouklion (tomb representation) which has the Epitaphios on it is held up so the people can walk underneath it.  After everyone has passed underneath, it is brought back into the Church, and the priest removes the Epitaphios and places it on the Altar Table (after making 3 trips around the Table, being censed).  Thus, the Vesperal Liturgy is celebrated from the Holy Table as usual, only with the Epitaphios that was placed there the night before.  This is the practice I've seen at every Pascha (regardless of the Church I've been in), and know of no alternate practice, at least not in the GOA.

Aside: because the Epitaphios was taken around the Holy Table 3 times, and we didn't have any deacons, we used an interesting formation to cense it: we had 2 censers active from the great procession around the Church (1 which went before the Kouvouklion/Epitaphion, and 1 which went before the Priest who was holding the Gospel book); these two altar boys would stand 1 North and 1 South of the Holy Table, and as the priest would go around, each one would cense for half the distance, and then the other would do the other half (so neither censer-holder would be forced to walk in front of the Holy Table).  I considered it one of the fun formations to manage that night (amongst many).
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« Reply #27 on: October 05, 2010, 08:43:15 PM »

The confusion may come if one is used to (at least what I have experienced as) the Greek custom regarding the Epitaphios.

After the procession around the Church on Friday evening, the Kouvouklion (tomb representation) which has the Epitaphios on it is held up so the people can walk underneath it.  After everyone has passed underneath, it is brought back into the Church, and the priest removes the Epitaphios and places it on the Altar Table (after making 3 trips around the Table, being censed).  Thus, the Vesperal Liturgy is celebrated from the Holy Table as usual, only with the Epitaphios that was placed there the night before.  This is the practice I've seen at every Pascha (regardless of the Church I've been in), and know of no alternate practice, at least not in the GOA.

Aside: because the Epitaphios was taken around the Holy Table 3 times, and we didn't have any deacons, we used an interesting formation to cense it: we had 2 censers active from the great procession around the Church (1 which went before the Kouvouklion/Epitaphion, and 1 which went before the Priest who was holding the Gospel book); these two altar boys would stand 1 North and 1 South of the Holy Table, and as the priest would go around, each one would cense for half the distance, and then the other would do the other half (so neither censer-holder would be forced to walk in front of the Holy Table).  I considered it one of the fun formations to manage that night (amongst many).
Do the acolytes with the censor walk backwards during the procession?
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« Reply #28 on: October 05, 2010, 10:00:04 PM »

Re Fr. Georges last post:

In addition to the two "received" methods of taking in the epitaphios/plaschanitsa today (one at Holy Sat. Matins and the other at Noctornes on Pascha), there was also the practice for some time, still found in the Kiev (Kyiv) caves lavra in the early 1900's, of taking it in during the entrance at the Basil Liturgy.   
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« Reply #29 on: October 06, 2010, 03:45:29 AM »

Re Fr. Georges last post:

In addition to the two "received" methods of taking in the epitaphios/plaschanitsa today (one at Holy Sat. Matins and the other at Noctornes on Pascha), there was also the practice for some time, still found in the Kiev (Kyiv) caves lavra in the early 1900's, of taking it in during the entrance at the Basil Liturgy.   

Thank you for this: it is very interesting.  I suspect that this likely reflects an ancient practice.  From memory, I seem to recall that Professor Taft suggests that the origin of the plashchanitsa is in the large veil that was carried over the Oblations during the Great Entrance at all Byzantine Rite Liturgies, (which now survives only as the much small aer carried on the deacon's shoulder), which later developed its own separate identity and became increasingly heavily decorated, initially just with the image of the Christ in the tomb, and later with the scene more common today, of the Mother of God and the Holy Myrrh-bearers surrounding the body.

You are in a better position to confirm one way or another what I have heard, which is that the simpler version of the plaschanitsa, with just the image of the entombed Saviour, is still not uncommonly found in Ukrainian churches.  Is that right?

Thank you.

M
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« Reply #30 on: October 09, 2010, 10:16:55 PM »

Do the acolytes with the censor walk backwards during the procession?

In my experience, yes, facing the person or object that they are censing (except when going up stairs, unless they're very experienced).
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« Reply #31 on: October 09, 2010, 11:00:33 PM »

Re Fr. Georges last post:In addition to the two "received" methods of taking in the epitaphios/plaschanitsa today (one at Holy Sat. Matins and the other at Noctornes on Pascha), there was also the practice for some time, still found in the Kiev (Kyiv) caves lavra in the early 1900's, of taking it in during the entrance at the Basil Liturgy.   
Thank you for this: it is very interesting.  I suspect that this likely reflects an ancient practice.  From memory, I seem to recall that Professor Taft suggests that the origin of the plashchanitsa is in the large veil that was carried over the Oblations during the Great Entrance at all Byzantine Rite Liturgies, (which now survives only as the much small aer carried on the deacon's shoulder), which later developed its own separate identity and became increasingly heavily decorated, initially just with the image of the Christ in the tomb, and later with the scene more common today, of the Mother of God and the Holy Myrrh-bearers surrounding the body.
You are in a better position to confirm one way or another what I have heard, which is that the simpler version of the plaschanitsa, with just the image of the entombed Saviour, is still not uncommonly found in Ukrainian churches.  Is that right?Thank you.  M

That is correct.  Although our parish uses two plaschanitsyas (interchangeably) of the more "complicated" form, we also have a third that is about 300 years old hanging in the altar that is simply Christ entombed with no other decor.   We dare not use the latter in that it is in a fragile yet well preserved state. 
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« Reply #32 on: October 10, 2010, 11:35:32 AM »

Do the acolytes with the censor walk backwards during the procession?

In my experience, yes, facing the person or object that they are censing (except when going up stairs, unless they're very experienced).

... and their stikharia are not oversized ....  laugh
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« Reply #33 on: December 03, 2010, 05:44:07 AM »

I know this thread has been dead for a few months, but I just wanted to add the following:

I used to serve in a Greek parish. Recently, I saw my former parish priest and he told me that before him, due to the altar being so small, the priest would do proskomedia outside in the nave, on a table to the left. When he arrived he quote: "carved out a niche in the altar's left wall, because it is improper to do the proskomedia anywhere else than in the altar." Remember, there are many liturgical explanatory books out there that go through all this stuff in great detail. We don't need to make Orthodox worship a show and tell experience.
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« Reply #34 on: December 03, 2010, 09:54:05 PM »

I know this thread has been dead for a few months, but I just wanted to add the following:

I used to serve in a Greek parish. Recently, I saw my former parish priest and he told me that before him, due to the altar being so small, the priest would do proskomedia outside in the nave, on a table to the left. When he arrived he quote: "carved out a niche in the altar's left wall, because it is improper to do the proskomedia anywhere else than in the altar." Remember, there are many liturgical explanatory books out there that go through all this stuff in great detail. We don't need to make Orthodox worship a show and tell experience.

Historically speaking, the proskimedi was not done in the altar and this is why we have a procession in the liturgy to bring the gifts to the altar. Secondly, the "secretness" of the service is incorporation of the secret rites of pagans and gnostics similar to celebrating Christmas on a pagan holiday or having a steeple (phallic fertility god symbol) on a church building.

Orthodoxy should very much be a show and tell. In fact, we should proclaim the gospel to the world.
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« Reply #35 on: December 03, 2010, 11:20:07 PM »

Christmas being celebrated on a pagan holiday is purely circumstantial: many other pagan holidays exist that Church holidays co-incide with. Similarly, Orthodox Christian holidays may co-incide with Muslim, Jewish, or even Hindu holidays. Christmas depends on the date of the Annunciation, 9th months before, which depends on the 6th month of Elizabeth's pregnancy with John the Baptist, who was conceived when Zacharias left the Temple. Although this has nothing to do with the Proskomedia, it's part of the Christianity isn't true because the Apostles copy cated it off of paganism. Which of course is blatantly untrue.

As for the Proskomedia, it was done in the skevofilakion which was a room beside the temple, either within it or physically outside of it. No people, except for the clergy, were present... so your point doesn't stand. As for us copying secret rites off of gnostics, again, moot point. Although the Proskomedia is done in secret what goes on is no secret, if a believer back then was interested he'd just ask the clergy and I'm sure they'd tell him. Also, back then many of the common folk were educated in these matters and knew from catechism classes what went on during Proskomedia and other parts of the services that were inaudible or done secretly. This is contrast to the pagan - gnostic mumbo jumbo which was indeed, perfectly secret: only those whom the cult's leaders were sure had attained "gnosis" could be initiated and taught the secret rites, which for the Manicheans included believing the "initiates" number 2 would emit light, from which knowledge could be attained.

Sound's very similar to Orthodox Christianity to me. *Read Sarcasm*
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« Reply #36 on: December 03, 2010, 11:38:41 PM »

I know this thread has been dead for a few months, but I just wanted to add the following:

I used to serve in a Greek parish. Recently, I saw my former parish priest and he told me that before him, due to the altar being so small, the priest would do proskomedia outside in the nave, on a table to the left. When he arrived he quote: "carved out a niche in the altar's left wall, because it is improper to do the proskomedia anywhere else than in the altar."

Says who? As you post yourself, not only was it originally done outside of the sanctuary, but outside of the Church as well.

Quote
Remember, there are many liturgical explanatory books out there that go through all this stuff in great detail. We don't need to make Orthodox worship a show and tell experience.
We don't have to do because it already is.  Come and see.
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« Reply #37 on: December 04, 2010, 12:43:32 AM »

You are totally correct, as always.

I'd say that it is liturgical archeology, a practice of the past that fell into disuse and should not be resurrected. Now, you could argue around it all day back and forth, but the point is we do what we do now for better or for worse, and it's best to keep things the way they are.
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« Reply #38 on: December 04, 2010, 12:56:08 AM »

You are totally correct, as always.

I'd say that it is liturgical archeology, a practice of the past that fell into disuse and should not be resurrected.

The same could be said about the office of Patriarch of Moscow.  Yet St. Tikhon and the Holy Governing Synod resurrected it after two centuries of disuse.  Ditto the diptychs (during the HGS, only the president of the HGS read then only in the HGS chapel when he celebrated DL there, lest the Faithful be reminded of the defunct Patriarchate).

Quote
Now, you could argue around it all day back and forth, but the point is we do what we do now for better or for worse, and it's best to keep things the way they are.
Sorry, Traidtion is more than what your grandfather did.
Doing this was for the worse:

so we went back to this


Ah. Much better.
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« Reply #39 on: December 06, 2011, 04:21:37 PM »

The confusion may come if one is used to (at least what I have experienced as) the Greek custom regarding the Epitaphios.

After the procession around the Church on Friday evening, the Kouvouklion (tomb representation) which has the Epitaphios on it is held up so the people can walk underneath it.  After everyone has passed underneath, it is brought back into the Church, and the priest removes the Epitaphios and places it on the Altar Table (after making 3 trips around the Table, being censed).  Thus, the Vesperal Liturgy is celebrated from the Holy Table as usual, only with the Epitaphios that was placed there the night before.  This is the practice I've seen at every Pascha (regardless of the Church I've been in), and know of no alternate practice, at least not in the GOA.

Aside: because the Epitaphios was taken around the Holy Table 3 times, and we didn't have any deacons, we used an interesting formation to cense it: we had 2 censers active from the great procession around the Church (1 which went before the Kouvouklion/Epitaphion, and 1 which went before the Priest who was holding the Gospel book); these two altar boys would stand 1 North and 1 South of the Holy Table, and as the priest would go around, each one would cense for half the distance, and then the other would do the other half (so neither censer-holder would be forced to walk in front of the Holy Table).  I considered it one of the fun formations to manage that night (amongst many).
Weird! Is this still the case? Is there still no deacon at your parish?
Returning to the meat of the matter, I have seen and participated in a proskomedia demonstration, but it did not happen during Liturgy.
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« Reply #40 on: December 06, 2011, 05:41:40 PM »

I see the proskomedia every liturgy, I usually stand and listen.  Seeing that most of the deceased on the list are family members and people that have been connected to my family for years before immigrating and the living.. same deal, so I really like being there for it.  Plus I show up early for church, save for the times snow or something gets me there a few minutes before the beginning. 
More people should see this service, maybe not everyday, but maybe twice a year.  I was at a Greek parish while on business and they had the entire Sunday school go on the altar for it (had one of those iron bar icon screens).  Not sure if I would let everyone on the altar but the intentions were totally sound. 
It's always good to teach, it keeps people in the church.  If you're not willing to teach then someone outside of the church is waiting to do it for you and we don't need that happening.
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