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« on: October 09, 2010, 02:54:00 PM »

Glory to Jesus Christ!
  Last Sunday I attended liturgy at a Greek Church for the first time. A number of things struck me as odd coming from a slavic church but what really struck me as odd was that everyone even the priest was kneeling during the Epiclisis is this just a "Greek thing" or is there a basis in tradition?

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« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2010, 03:03:04 PM »

About half my (Antiochian) parish does that, half does not. It was decided at the First Ecumenical Council (Canon 20) that people should not kneel on Sundays. Somewhere along the way this agreement in practice began to change, I'm not sure where though.
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« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2010, 03:06:30 PM »

I've only seen this practice in Greek and Antiochian parishes. 
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« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2010, 03:10:40 PM »

At non-Sunday Liturgies, you will see clergy and bishops prostrating during the epiclesis although I did see Bishop BASIL do that at Dormition Liturgy back in August.  I don't know when the custom of laity kneeling during the epiclesis came in, but it is an innovation, though those who do it clearly see it as a "pious custom."  I go to an Antiochian parish where about 1/5 of the people kneel during the epiclesis--most of them converts.  I do not.

An interesting side note, however.  We are buying new pews for the nave.  The subject of kneelers came up and was voted down overwhelmingly even by those who kneel during the epiclesis on Sunday.
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« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2010, 03:37:36 PM »

At non-Sunday Liturgies, you will see clergy and bishops prostrating during the epiclesis although I did see Bishop BASIL do that at Dormition Liturgy back in August.  I don't know when the custom of laity kneeling during the epiclesis came in, but it is an innovation, though those who do it clearly see it as a "pious custom."  I go to an Antiochian parish where about 1/5 of the people kneel during the epiclesis--most of them converts.  I do not.

An interesting side note, however.  We are buying new pews for the nave.  The subject of kneelers came up and was voted down overwhelmingly even by those who kneel during the epiclesis on Sunday.
Is kneeling considered to be a latinisation of some sort? I know at the local Byzantine Catholic Church they did have kneelers, but they removed all of them a while back in order to avoid any appearance of latinisation.
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« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2010, 04:16:21 PM »

At non-Sunday Liturgies, you will see clergy and bishops prostrating during the epiclesis although I did see Bishop BASIL do that at Dormition Liturgy back in August.  I don't know when the custom of laity kneeling during the epiclesis came in, but it is an innovation, though those who do it clearly see it as a "pious custom."  I go to an Antiochian parish where about 1/5 of the people kneel during the epiclesis--most of them converts.  I do not.

An interesting side note, however.  We are buying new pews for the nave.  The subject of kneelers came up and was voted down overwhelmingly even by those who kneel during the epiclesis on Sunday.
Is kneeling considered to be a latinisation of some sort? I know at the local Byzantine Catholic Church they did have kneelers, but they removed all of them a while back in order to avoid any appearance of latinisation.
The late Pope told Eastern Catholics (in union with Rome) to return to their ancient liturgical traditions. As a result, many latinizations have been reversed.

I did, however, see kneelers in a Greek Orhodox Church, and the Western Rite Orthodox do use their kneelers on Sunday.
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« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2010, 05:51:55 PM »

Nothing odd about what you saw. Orthodoxy is larger than your "slavic church".
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« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2010, 07:57:00 PM »


Huh...scratching head....

If you see your bishop and/or priest fall to their knees in prayer or reverence towards God, why would you remain on your feet?
Should you, as well, not humble yourself before the Lord?

Is not the Liturgy a service of the "people"?  Is not the whole congregation praying and glorifying God together?  Are you saying only the bishop/priest is praying? 

What are the people doing in church then?  Being spectators or participants in the Liturgy?

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« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2010, 08:13:29 PM »


Huh...scratching head....

If you see your bishop and/or priest fall to their knees in prayer or reverence towards God, why would you remain on your feet?
Should you, as well, not humble yourself before the Lord?

Is not the Liturgy a service of the "people"?  Is not the whole congregation praying and glorifying God together?  Are you saying only the bishop/priest is praying? 

What are the people doing in church then?  Being spectators or participants in the Liturgy?

To be fair, the priest and/or bishop does do things that are private or reserved just for the clergy. Maybe we don't do use curtains/doors as much as we once did, but some things done during a service are still mainly a clerical thing, no? I'm not saying that people shouldn't kneel if they see the clergy doing so, I'm just saying that we don't have to do exactly what they do either.
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« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2010, 08:43:35 PM »

Nothing odd about what you saw. Orthodoxy is larger than your "slavic church".

No "slavic" church existed at the time of the First Ecumenical Council and its Canon that forbids kneeling on Sundays. That said, when I was growing up in the Bulgarian Church, folks knelt twice during the DL on Sundays: Epiklesis (Tebe poem) and Lord's Prayer. OTH, I had never seen anyone prostrate themselves except for the clergy and the wife of the old priest. I think people did not prostrate because it was too similar to Muslim practices, particularly in a pre-dominantly Muslim country. I have a personal opinion that kneeling itself is Western (Latin or Protestant) practice that crept into Greek, Bulgarian and Antiochian piety. I have no idea what and why the Romanians do but I am sure that they are exemplars for Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2010, 10:07:46 PM »


Huh...scratching head....

If you see your bishop and/or priest fall to their knees in prayer or reverence towards God, why would you remain on your feet?
Should you, as well, not humble yourself before the Lord?

Is not the Liturgy a service of the "people"?  Is not the whole congregation praying and glorifying God together?  Are you saying only the bishop/priest is praying? 

What are the people doing in church then?  Being spectators or participants in the Liturgy?


If I see a Bishop or Priest co-celebrate with heretics, am I supposed to do so, too?  There are specific reasons for the laity NOT to kneel on Sunday.  I was told that to do so denies the Paschal nature of the Liturgy, if not the Resurrection itself.  Below is an excerpt from a web site by the late +Christodulos of Athens:

"The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece at its meeting of October 1999 included in its agenda the topic entitled, “Liturgical precision, orderliness and unity, and ballot vote on a Constitution for a Special Synodal Committee of Liturgical Regeneration” with Metropolitan Nikodemos of Patrai as chairman on account of his tempered knowledge of liturgical matters. The Most Reverend Metropolitan Nikodemos presented to the Synodal body the conclusions of the 10 member Committee which had examined the above topic under his chairmanship. On the matter of kneeling the Committee proposed the following: “That kneeling on Sunday is not required at the consecration and is not imposed. It is simply tolerated.”"

This was pretty much what was told to me by a ROCOR Priest in the mid 1990's.  He stated that the Canons forbid kneeling on Sunday, but that he was not going to cause a pious person who prostrated themselves at the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Gifts to violate their conscience.  The practice was not condoned, but simply tolerated. 

The issue with the Clergy seems to be different.  The Sluzhebnik of the ROCOR says, after the exclamation "Thine own . . .",

"And the deacon then putteth aside the fan and draweth nigh to the priest, and both of them bow thrice before the Holy Table, praying secretly and saying:"

If my memory serves me correctly, the ROCOR priest bowed and did not prostrate.  However, I was only behind the altar once in that Church, and the doors are closed in the ROCOR at that time.

The Serbian Sluzhebnik is somewhat different.  Here it states:

"CONSECRATION OF THE PRECIOUS GIFTS

37 The priest makes three reverences before the holy table, praying secretly, saying: . . .

. . .Erecting himself, the priest makes the sign of the cross over the holy bread saying:"

The practice in the Church where I serve as an Altar Server is for the Priest and servers at the altar to make prostrations.  The people remain standing.

I can confirm the current practice in the Church where Scamandrius attends.  However, that is not a recent practice.  When I served with the altar servers at that congregation 15 years ago, the practice was identical to that of the Serbs.  However, in recent times, the priest's wife and certain converts, along with a few families, practice kneeling on Sunday.

 
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« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2010, 02:04:20 AM »

I am Greek Orthodox and kneel during the Epiklisis, because it is a VERY HOLY moment.  I asked my priest one day about kneeling.  He said some do on Sunday for the reason I just gave.  Some do not because Sunday is resurrection day and is celebrated.  As far as I know both ways of thinking are acceptable.
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« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2010, 02:26:31 AM »

I also attend a Greek Church and we kneel during the Anaphora. But I've been to a Serbian Church and they didnt so I am thinking its a greek thing.
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« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2010, 04:41:42 AM »

I have only ever seen Sunday kneeling by the congregation at a Ukrainian Greek Cathoic church which was otherwise very latinised so I assumed the kneeling was a result of that.  In this country, the two hierarchs of the Russian Patriarchal Church do kneel for the first part of the epiklesis, even on Sundays.  I assume this is a modern Russian custom as I have never seen this done by any hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad.

Only yesterday, I had a friendly and informative discussion with one of their subdeacons about our mutual confusion when serving in each other's churches because the Church Abroad keeps many customs which, it transpires, are pre-revolutionary, as that is what was brought out of Russia in the early 20th century and we have just continued doing it that way.  However, while we consider these practices quite normal, many of them are seldom seen, if at all, in the modern Patriarchal Church, which has lost some of its pre-revolutionary practices.  Likewise, they have developed some customs over the past eighty years which are unknown in the Church Abroad.  For instance, modern Russian practice allows for the bishop's crosier to be brought into the altar in preparation for the entrances, although the bishop himself will never use it except outside the altar.  In the Church Abroad, it is simply never carried into the altar - ever - as this is a patriarchal privilege.  In the Church Abroad, after the bishop's hands are washed, he sprinkles the water from his hands onto the people, then after his hands are dried, they are kissed by the attending subdeacons and server - these customs are largely forgotten in the Patriarchal Church.  The Patriarchal Church's clergy in the altar do not turn to reverence the High Place at the Slava Tebe... before and after the Gospel, nor do they sing a threefold Gospodi, pomilui (with the servers gathered before the High Place, joining in) during the petition for the hierarchy in the Fervent Litany.  There are a number of small things like this, none of which poses any big problem beyond some minor confusion among clergy and servers when we from different Russian traditions come together, but they do serve to illustrate just how quickly widespread customs can change, and that the customs we have grown up with, and what we think of as "the way things have always been done" may be quite localised and may, in fact, be no older than a generation or two, if that.

So this business of the people kneeling during the Anaphora on Sundays does seem to be a modern custom, and it is one that I have never seen in any Greek or Antiochian church in this country, so it is by no means universal even in those jurisdictions where it is to be found.

As for the inherited tradition:

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'On the Lord's Day we consider it improper to fast or to kneel; and we also enjoy this freedom from Pascha until Pentecost.'
- Tertullian On the Crown

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'There are many other observances in the Church which, though due to tradition, have acquired the authority of the written law, as, for instance, the practice of not praying on bended knees on Sunday.'
- St Jerome

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'This, too, we ought to know, that from the evening of Saturday which precedes the Sunday, up to the following evening, among the Egyptians they never kneel, nor from Easter to Whitsuntide; nor do they at these times observe a rule of fasting.'
- St John Cassian the Roman, The Institutes

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'Wednesday is to be fasted, because then the Jews conspired to betray Jesus; Friday, because he then suffered for us. We keep the Lord’s Day as a day of joy, because then our Lord rose. Our tradition is to refrain from kneeling on that day.'
- Pope St Peter of Alexandria

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Forasmuch as there are certain persons who kneel on the Lord’s Day and in the days of Pentecost, therefore, to the intent that all things may be uniformly observed everywhere, it seems good to the holy Synod that prayer be made to God standing.
- Canon 20 of the First Ecumenical Synod

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We have received from our divine Fathers the canon law that in honour of Christ’s Resurrection, we are not to kneel on Sundays. Lest therefore we should ignore the fullness of this observance we make it plain to the faithful that after the priests have gone to the Altar for Vespers on Saturdays (according to the prevailing custom) no one shall kneel in prayer until the evening of Sunday, at which time after the entrance for compline, again with bended knees we offer our prayers to the Lord. For taking the night after the Sabbath, which was the forerunner of our Lord’s Resurrection, we begin from it to sing in the spirit hymns to God, leading our feast out of darkness into light, and thus during an entire day and night, we celebrate the Resurrection.
- Canon 90 of the Sixth Ecumenical Synod (Trullo)

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'Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or publicly enjoined which are preserved in the Church some we possess derived from written teaching; others we have received delivered to us "in a mystery"  by the tradition of the apostles; and both of these in relation to true religion have the same force. And these no one will gainsay—no one, at all events, who is even moderately versed in the institutions of the Church. For were we to attempt to reject such customs as have no written authority, on the ground that the importance they possess is small, we should unintentionally injure the Gospel in its very vitals; or, rather, should make our public definition a mere phrase and nothing more.  For instance, to take the first and most general example, who is thence who has taught us in writing to sign with the sign of the Cross those who have trusted in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ? What writing has taught us to turn to the East at the prayer? Which of the saints has left us in writing the words of the invocation at the displaying  of the bread of the Eucharist and the cup of blessing? For we are not, as is well known, content with what the apostle or the Gospel has recorded, but both in preface and conclusion we add other words as being of great importance to the validity of the ministry, and these we derive from unwritten teaching. Moreover we bless the water of baptism and the oil of the chrism, and besides this the catechumen who is being baptized. On what written authority do we do this? Is not our authority silent and mystical tradition? Nay, by what written word is the anointing of oil itself taught? And whence comes the custom of baptizing thrice?  And as to the other customs of baptism from what Scripture do we derive the renunciation of Satan and his angels? Does not this come from that unpublished and secret teaching which our fathers guarded in a silence out of the reach of curious meddling and inquisitive investigation? Well had they learned the lesson that the awesome dignity of the mysteries is best preserved by silence. What the uninitiated are not even allowed to look at was hardly likely to be publicly paraded about in written documents.

...

Thus we all look to the East at our prayers, but few of us know that we are seeking our own old country, Paradise, which God planted in Eden in the East. We pray standing on the first day of the week but we do not all know the reason. On the day of the resurrection (or "standing again" Grk. ἀ νάστασις) we remind ourselves of the grace given to us by standing at prayer, not only because we rose with Christ, and are bound to "seek those things which are above," (Colossians 3:1) but because the day seems to us to be in some sense an image of the age which we expect, wherefore, though it is the beginning of days, it is not called by Moses first, but one.  For he says "There was evening, and there was morning, one day," as though the same day often recurred. Now "one" and "eighth" are the same, in itself distinctly indicating that really "one" and "eighth" of which the Psalmist makes mention in certain titles of the Psalms, the state which follows after this present time, the day which knows no waning or eventide, and no successor, that age which ends not nor grows old.  Of necessity, then, the church teaches her own foster children to offer their prayers on that day standing, to the end that through continual reminder of the endless life we may not neglect to make provision for our removal there. Moreover all Pentecost is a reminder of the resurrection expected in the age to come. For that one and first day, if seven times multiplied by seven, completes the seven weeks of the holy Pentecost; for, beginning at the first, Pentecost ends with the same, making fifty revolutions through the like intervening days. And so it is a likeness of eternity, beginning as it does and ending, as in a circling course, at the same point.

On this day the rules of the church have educated us to prefer the upright attitude of prayer, for by their plain reminder they, as it were, make our mind to dwell no longer in the present but in the future. Moreover every time we fall upon our knees and rise from off them we show by the very deed that by our sin we fell down to earth, and by the loving kindness of our Creator were called back to heaven.'
St Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit
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« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2010, 08:52:34 AM »

But during Lent, no kneeling is allowed. However, our priest usually has to remind a few folks of that on a Sunday or two during Lent.
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« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2010, 02:13:18 PM »


The practice in the Church where I serve as an Altar Server is for the Priest and servers at the altar to make prostrations.  The people remain standing.


What I posted above was in error.  Since I was not at the altar serving today with my face buried in the carpet on the floor during this time, I paid attention to what was going on.  The priest did not prostrate when the servers do, but kneels.  At the part where the Sluzhebnik states:

"Blessing both holy gifts, the priest says:

Effecting the change with Thy Holy Spirit. Amen. Amen. Amen.

The priest kneeling prays:"

At this point, the priest did kneel in accordance with the rubrics.  Where I though he prostrated himself in my previous post, he simply bows. 
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« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2010, 04:43:58 PM »

In addition to the reasons cited for kneeling or not kneeling, there may be other reasons as well.

1. It is extremely difficult for the laity to prostrate or even do a full bow (hand to the floor) while penned by pews. Thus, kneeling may be a substitute for prostrations and/or bows.

2. Kneeling is called for at at some services, instead of prostrations. Since they both express deepest reverence, some folks may be confusing the two.

3. Kneeling is easier than prostrating for some folks.

4. In some cultures, kneeling is s sign of respect but prostrating is a sign of abasement. Thus, for some folks, kneeling is preferred for cultural reasons.

5. In some places, prostrations are too much like the prayers of the Muslims and thus are not practiced.

6. In some local traditions, the desire to fit in or not to call attention to oneself may have resulted in the practice of any of the above.

7. What a worshiper wears to services may influence his/her bowing and/or prostrations. Kneeling does not seem to be as bad a problem, particularly if he/she can hide in the pews.
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« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2010, 11:12:32 AM »

This is an interesting liturgical study.

What are the "standard" times for prostrating outside of Lent, at any of the services (DL, Vespers, Matins, etc.)? Of course, this differs from tradition-to-tradition, even parish-to-parish is some cases, but I'd like to hear everyone's experience about this in their own parish as well as parishes that they've visited.
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« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2010, 11:56:25 AM »

We kneel at the Anaphora+Epiklesis, Lord's Prayer, the Elevation and the Prayer before Communion on all Sundays outside Pentecost.  Additionally, the silent prayers are kept silent.
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« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2010, 12:54:19 PM »

This is an interesting liturgical study.

What are the "standard" times for prostrating outside of Lent, at any of the services (DL, Vespers, Matins, etc.)? Of course, this differs from tradition-to-tradition, even parish-to-parish is some cases, but I'd like to hear everyone's experience about this in their own parish as well as parishes that they've visited.

In various Parishes I have seen kneeling on (I mean during the DL) CHerubims' Hymn, Anaphora and Epiclesis, and Lord's Prayer.
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« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2010, 01:43:10 PM »

Interesting that there are so many variations. I have no problem with such variations, not do I have a problem each local church adjusting canons to suit herself. I am just wondering how many of those churches that practice anything other than the bow (kneeling & prostrations) on a Sunday are doing so:
a. In full knowledge that it is against the canons.
b. Thinking that this is the proper Orthodox praxis (in the sense of, it should be followed by every church)
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« Reply #21 on: October 27, 2010, 02:55:32 PM »

For most people the Orthodox Church is their parish.
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« Reply #22 on: October 27, 2010, 03:26:03 PM »

For most people the Orthodox Church is their parish.

And it certainly is in many ways. Although, there is a difference between (a) not knowing that my parish is not the whole Orthodox Church and perhaps thinking that every other Church is like mine, and (b) persisting on the narrow view even after finding out that it is not the entire Church, that others may be different, and that my parish may be slightly wrong here and there. Then, there is the matter of changing if my parish concludes that what we had been doing is not wholly Orthodox.

Let me ask another question: do you think that it is normal for most Orthodox people to believe that the Orthodox Church--the Body of Christ-- is their parish (insert state, region, nation if you like)?
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« Reply #23 on: October 27, 2010, 04:34:59 PM »

A former priest & professor at Holy Cross Seminary, had written, that the practice of kneeling during the Consecretion, did come from Greece, though it seems not to be common in Greece.  The practice of kneeling, in piety, on Sunday's in the GOAA was authorized by the late Archbishop of America, Michael, in the 1950's.
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« Reply #24 on: October 27, 2010, 04:41:12 PM »

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do you think that it is normal for most Orthodox people to believe that the Orthodox Church--the Body of Christ-- is their parish (insert state, region, nation if you like)?

I think it's normal for most people to identify with the customs of their own particular church (i.e. Greek, Romanian, etc.), and that their experience of this is framed mostly at the parochial level.  Right or wrong, the things that concern many of the people on this board and others like it, do not enter in to normal parish life.  That is bad in some ways, and frankly very good in others.  

So that is why I think for most people Orthodoxy, or the Orthodox Church, exists as a construct fundamentally on the local level (i.e. the Orthodox Church is their parish).  It would not surprise me if for instance people visited other churches more often for things like weddings, baptisms, etc. than they did to attend services at another Orthodox Church.

Are people aware of the wider meaning of some of their practices?  I suppose it depends on what's in question.  My guess is the canon on kneeling is not well known.  To give a non ritual example, I would guess most people would not be aware that the semi-congregational nature of most Orthodox Church polity in North America is not the norm worldwide.

In regards to kneeling, enforcement of the canons would cause undue discord and hard feelings in my own opinion.  It may be canonically wrong, but is in my opinion done for the right reasons.  So I look at it as a "if it ain't broke...".

Everyone has their own hot buttons though.  Audible enunciation of the silent prayers drives me crazy.
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« Reply #25 on: October 27, 2010, 05:01:43 PM »

Interesting that there are so many variations. I have no problem with such variations, not do I have a problem each local church adjusting canons to suit herself. I am just wondering how many of those churches that practice anything other than the bow (kneeling & prostrations) on a Sunday are doing so:
a. In full knowledge that it is against the canons.
b. Thinking that this is the proper Orthodox praxis (in the sense of, it should be followed by every church)

In Romania, outside of the Pentecostarion, Orthodox Christians kneel often during the Sunday DL: At the Gospel reading, Great Entrance, Anaphora, and Lord's Prayer.

Suggesting such things are uncanonical to a traditional monk or priest will earn you a quick smack!
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« Reply #26 on: October 28, 2010, 04:54:56 PM »

For most people the Orthodox Church is their parish.

So what happens when a new Priest comes to town and wishes to change things? My parish is on their 5th Priest in 10 years. We now say, "new Priest - new Book". For us Orthodoxy has become the personal opinion of the current Priest.
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« Reply #27 on: October 28, 2010, 05:01:07 PM »

For most people the Orthodox Church is their parish.

So what happens when a new Priest comes to town and wishes to change things? My parish is on their 5th Priest in 10 years. We now say, "new Priest - new Book". For us Orthodoxy has become the personal opinion of the current Priest.

What does that have to do with this thread?   Huh

Did each of the 5 Priests change how the Congregation kneeled during the Anaphora?  Huh
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« Reply #28 on: October 28, 2010, 05:42:08 PM »

For most people the Orthodox Church is their parish.

Well, there is something to be said for, "The Parish is the Church as much as the Diocese is the Church, as much as the Archdiocese is the Church, as much as the Patriarchate is the Church, as much as All Orthodoxy is the Church," since the defining boundary of the Church - Baptism, Chrismation, Communion - makes each level united and in many ways equal at all times.

So what happens when a new Priest comes to town and wishes to change things?

1. Unless the parish is doing something horribly wrong, which is very rare, changes should be implemented over time, and IMO never in the first 6 months.
2. Changes are openly done - if people need/want to question them, then they should, and if they hold up to scrutiny then great, and if they don't then a dialogue should be had either with priest or bishop about it.

My parish is on their 5th Priest in 10 years. We now say, "new Priest - new Book". For us Orthodoxy has become the personal opinion of the current Priest.

Not to be overly critical, but your statements here says more about your parish than they do about the priests.
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« Reply #29 on: October 28, 2010, 06:37:40 PM »

For most people the Orthodox Church is their parish.

Well, there is something to be said for, "The Parish is the Church as much as the Diocese is the Church, as much as the Archdiocese is the Church, as much as the Patriarchate is the Church, as much as All Orthodoxy is the Church," since the defining boundary of the Church - Baptism, Chrismation, Communion - makes each level united and in many ways equal at all times.

So what happens when a new Priest comes to town and wishes to change things?

1. Unless the parish is doing something horribly wrong, which is very rare, changes should be implemented over time, and IMO never in the first 6 months.
2. Changes are openly done - if people need/want to question them, then they should, and if they hold up to scrutiny then great, and if they don't then a dialogue should be had either with priest or bishop about it.

My parish is on their 5th Priest in 10 years. We now say, "new Priest - new Book". For us Orthodoxy has become the personal opinion of the current Priest.

Not to be overly critical, but your statements here says more about your parish than they do about the priests.
Sounds like you would do well at my parish. The current Priest started making changes to things which we had done for over 50 years on day one.

Before this batch of Priests we had 3 Priests who each served over 20 years (2 head and 1 assistant). I think the change in Priests coming through so fast is that the Bishop changed.  The new Bishop does not listen to the parish council and sends Priests who do not match the needs of the community.

This is relevant to the thread because right or wrong I do not think a Priest should demand the laity to change a 50 plus year old practice which has stood the test of multiple Bishops because he feels like it. This is the type of change which comes from a Bishop or Synod.

Whether you agree with it or not there should be some respect for what many Bishops, Priests, and Laity have practiced for multiple generations so that the current laity knows nothing else.
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« Reply #30 on: October 28, 2010, 07:19:39 PM »

As a priest friend of mine says, four generations does not make Holy Tradition—especially when people are doing things wrong and need to be corrected.

Here is an example. In all of the Antiochian parishes I have been to, the Prokemenon is read at the Divine Liturgy, rather than sung in the proper fashion. But it is sung at Matins and Vespers (because it rarely if ever changes so it's easy). If a new priest comes and tells his parish to sing it, and they resist because it is "traditional" to read it, the parish is being ridiculous. It is traditional to *sing* the Prokemenon, and their parish started their own incorrect custom 50 years ago. Many incorrect customs are peculiar to the West, due to the distance of immigrants from anyone who could correct them.

At my parish, we have a version of the Cherubic Hymn which was a favorite of the parish. When our current priest came a few years ago, he hated it and asked that we never sing it again. So we don't. This is more a personal preference issue than a canonical issue, but the priest is our shepherd and we can be charitable by not doing something that will annoy him while we are praying together, even if the rest of us like it.

As to kneeling, my parish does not kneel at the Epiklesis on Sundays, but we do on weekdays (the priest usually turns around and gestures to remind us, ha ha). A friend goes to an Antiochian parish, and they kneel on Sundays, despite the Liturgy book explicitly saying that custom is in error. (All of this is not to rip on Antiochians, they're just examples.)

I suppose people do what they will do, but I support priests and bishops who attempt to bring things into their proper canonical place.
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« Reply #31 on: October 28, 2010, 07:28:30 PM »

5. In some places, prostrations are too much like the prayers of the Muslims and thus are not practiced.

Interesting, considering Muslims got the idea of prostrations from Christianity.
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« Reply #32 on: October 28, 2010, 08:38:57 PM »

5. In some places, prostrations are too much like the prayers of the Muslims and thus are not practiced.
Interesting, considering Muslims got the idea of prostrations from Christianity.

Just like the Christians got the idea from Judaisms and "Paganisms." It's called being human. When you worship something, you fall down before it.
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« Reply #33 on: October 28, 2010, 08:42:51 PM »

The new Bishop does not listen to the parish council and sends Priests who do not match the needs of the community.

So you just "fire" the priest, since he is in your employ and there to meet your needs?

Wow. Sounds pretty cutthroat. Oh, and pretty...yep, here it comes...PROTESTANT!!!!!  Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked
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« Reply #34 on: October 28, 2010, 08:44:18 PM »

Just like the Christians got the idea from Judaisms and "Paganisms." It's called being human. When you worship something, you fall down before it.

So you just "fire" the priest, since he is in your employ and there to meet your needs?

Wow. Sounds pretty cutthroat. Oh, and pretty...yep, here it comes...PROTESTANT!!!!!  Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked

You're feisty tonight  Cool
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« Reply #35 on: October 28, 2010, 09:08:38 PM »

The new Bishop does not listen to the parish council and sends Priests who do not match the needs of the community.

So you just "fire" the priest, since he is in your employ and there to meet your needs?

Wow. Sounds pretty cutthroat. Oh, and pretty...yep, here it comes...PROTESTANT!!!!!  Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked

There was only one Priest in my memory who the parish council and Priest mutually agreed to write to the Bishop for transfer. All the others asked to be transfered on their own. Usually the parish found out from the Bishop telling us in a letter that he would be sending a new Priest. If the parish council had any say in the matter of selecting or for that matter firing a Priest there would be no issue. Yes there is a problem with the Church falling under the influence of the Pope the first Protestant.

Not only are we not allowed to fire the Priest we do not even decide on his salary. Our Priest is paid over $100,000 each year. Including all the benefits ie car, insurance, paid vacation, travel to conferences etc he is paid close to $200,000.
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« Reply #36 on: October 28, 2010, 09:20:07 PM »

As a priest friend of mine says, four generations does not make Holy Tradition—especially when people are doing things wrong and need to be corrected.

Here is an example. In all of the Antiochian parishes I have been to, the Prokemenon is read at the Divine Liturgy, rather than sung in the proper fashion. But it is sung at Matins and Vespers (because it rarely if ever changes so it's easy). If a new priest comes and tells his parish to sing it, and they resist because it is "traditional" to read it, the parish is being ridiculous. It is traditional to *sing* the Prokemenon, and their parish started their own incorrect custom 50 years ago. Many incorrect customs are peculiar to the West, due to the distance of immigrants from anyone who could correct them.

At my parish, we have a version of the Cherubic Hymn which was a favorite of the parish. When our current priest came a few years ago, he hated it and asked that we never sing it again. So we don't. This is more a personal preference issue than a canonical issue, but the priest is our shepherd and we can be charitable by not doing something that will annoy him while we are praying together, even if the rest of us like it.

As to kneeling, my parish does not kneel at the Epiklesis on Sundays, but we do on weekdays (the priest usually turns around and gestures to remind us, ha ha). A friend goes to an Antiochian parish, and they kneel on Sundays, despite the Liturgy book explicitly saying that custom is in error. (All of this is not to rip on Antiochians, they're just examples.)

I suppose people do what they will do, but I support priests and bishops who attempt to bring things into their proper canonical place.

You make a valid argument but somehow in my gut it seems wrong to forbid the community from having a pagan Christmas tree in their house. Actually I am told it is Tradition from the earliest foundations of the Church to incorporate the external practices of the pagans into worship since the externalities are not what is important.
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« Reply #37 on: October 28, 2010, 09:24:29 PM »

You make a valid argument but somehow in my gut it seems wrong to forbid the community from having a pagan Christmas tree in their house.

If I had a priest pushing this garbage I'm just point to the hundreds of examples readily available in every Orthodox Church that are just as "pagan", whatever that is supposed to be.

Or better yet, just ask the priest what he means by "pagan."

Not only are we not allowed to fire the Priest we do not even decide on his salary. Our Priest is paid over $100,000 each year. Including all the benefits ie car, insurance, paid vacation, travel to conferences etc he is paid close to $200,000.

Man, it sounds like the GOA USA is the place to be!
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« Reply #38 on: October 28, 2010, 09:36:05 PM »

As a priest friend of mine says, four generations does not make Holy Tradition—especially when people are doing things wrong and need to be corrected.

Here is an example. In all of the Antiochian parishes I have been to, the Prokemenon is read at the Divine Liturgy, rather than sung in the proper fashion. But it is sung at Matins and Vespers (because it rarely if ever changes so it's easy). If a new priest comes and tells his parish to sing it, and they resist because it is "traditional" to read it, the parish is being ridiculous. It is traditional to *sing* the Prokemenon, and their parish started their own incorrect custom 50 years ago. Many incorrect customs are peculiar to the West, due to the distance of immigrants from anyone who could correct them.

At my parish, we have a version of the Cherubic Hymn which was a favorite of the parish. When our current priest came a few years ago, he hated it and asked that we never sing it again. So we don't. This is more a personal preference issue than a canonical issue, but the priest is our shepherd and we can be charitable by not doing something that will annoy him while we are praying together, even if the rest of us like it.

As to kneeling, my parish does not kneel at the Epiklesis on Sundays, but we do on weekdays (the priest usually turns around and gestures to remind us, ha ha). A friend goes to an Antiochian parish, and they kneel on Sundays, despite the Liturgy book explicitly saying that custom is in error. (All of this is not to rip on Antiochians, they're just examples.)

I suppose people do what they will do, but I support priests and bishops who attempt to bring things into their proper canonical place.

You make a valid argument but somehow in my gut it seems wrong to forbid the community from having a pagan Christmas tree in their house. Actually I am told it is Tradition from the earliest foundations of the Church to incorporate the external practices of the pagans into worship since the externalities are not what is important.

I would agree with you there. I know an extremely conservative Russian parish that puts a Christmas tree right in the nave, so I would be hard-pressed to think this is a widespread opinion.

My concern was about liturgical practice and doing that correctly. Other things I am less concerned about, certainly not Christmas trees!
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« Reply #39 on: October 28, 2010, 09:41:18 PM »

The first "tradition" I think that should be changed is that the Bishop should not wear the uniform of the Emperor. Something a little less flashy and more Christ like is in order in my humble opinion.

I wonder what Christ and the Apostles wore in the first 300 years of the Liturgy?
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« Reply #40 on: October 28, 2010, 09:47:08 PM »

Sounds like you would do well at my parish. The current Priest started making changes to things which we had done for over 50 years on day one.

I can't judge him.  But - yikes.

Before this batch of Priests we had 3 Priests who each served over 20 years (2 head and 1 assistant).

A blessing, I'm sure.  I know it has been for most parishes that I've observed that have been permitted to build a relationship with their priest for a very long time.

This is relevant to the thread because right or wrong I do not think a Priest should demand the laity to change a 50 plus year old practice which has stood the test of multiple Bishops because he feels like it. This is the type of change which comes from a Bishop or Synod.

I suppose a big part is "how" one wants to approach change.  For example: say your parish has knelt on Sundays during the Anaphora for 50 years.  The new priest comes in and would like people to begin standing, not from an "old is bad" but rather a "let's stand for the Resurrection" perspective (which is where the canons are rooted on this subject).  If he just tells people to stop kneeling, then he's accomplished nothing, but rather started a riot (very Pilate-esque).  But if he, over the course of the year, emphasizes through sermons and articles the importance of our weekly remembrance of the resurrection, and how our prayer positions are reflect that importance, and then after a year begins telling people that, "you can stand if you wish," then change has happened in a constructive way.

Whether you agree with it or not there should be some respect for what many Bishops, Priests, and Laity have practiced for multiple generations so that the current laity knows nothing else.  

I would add, "sensitivity," to respect.  I think there are a number of priests who forget about "Economy" when it comes to changing things; they remember that "Economy" can be the relaxing of a rule for pastoral needs, but it can also be not jumping back to the standard instantly when one wants to change something; "Economy" can be used to gently help people see a new perspective, rather than dictating it via fiat, and then finding yourself going the way of a dictator.
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« Reply #41 on: October 28, 2010, 09:51:46 PM »

I wonder what Christ and the Apostles wore in the first 300 years of the Liturgy?

A t-shirt and jeans.
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« Reply #42 on: October 28, 2010, 09:52:24 PM »

Sounds like you would do well at my parish. The current Priest started making changes to things which we had done for over 50 years on day one.

I can't judge him.  But - yikes.

Before this batch of Priests we had 3 Priests who each served over 20 years (2 head and 1 assistant).

A blessing, I'm sure.  I know it has been for most parishes that I've observed that have been permitted to build a relationship with their priest for a very long time.

This is relevant to the thread because right or wrong I do not think a Priest should demand the laity to change a 50 plus year old practice which has stood the test of multiple Bishops because he feels like it. This is the type of change which comes from a Bishop or Synod.

I suppose a big part is "how" one wants to approach change.  For example: say your parish has knelt on Sundays during the Anaphora for 50 years.  The new priest comes in and would like people to begin standing, not from an "old is bad" but rather a "let's stand for the Resurrection" perspective (which is where the canons are rooted on this subject).  If he just tells people to stop kneeling, then he's accomplished nothing, but rather started a riot (very Pilate-esque).  But if he, over the course of the year, emphasizes through sermons and articles the importance of our weekly remembrance of the resurrection, and how our prayer positions are reflect that importance, and then after a year begins telling people that, "you can stand if you wish," then change has happened in a constructive way.

Whether you agree with it or not there should be some respect for what many Bishops, Priests, and Laity have practiced for multiple generations so that the current laity knows nothing else.  

I would add, "sensitivity," to respect.  I think there are a number of priests who forget about "Economy" when it comes to changing things; they remember that "Economy" can be the relaxing of a rule for pastoral needs, but it can also be not jumping back to the standard instantly when one wants to change something; "Economy" can be used to gently help people see a new perspective, rather than dictating it via fiat, and then finding yourself going the way of a dictator.
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« Reply #43 on: October 28, 2010, 09:54:12 PM »

I wonder what Christ and the Apostles wore in the first 300 years of the Liturgy?

A t-shirt and jeans.

That would not go over well in my conservative parish. Maybe I should think this over some more  Cool

Irony: My Priest does not have a full beard. So when he goes to Greece to visit the conservative Priests do not receive him.
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« Reply #44 on: October 28, 2010, 10:08:25 PM »

There was only one Priest in my memory who the parish council and Priest mutually agreed to write to the Bishop for transfer. All the others asked to be transfered on their own. Usually the parish found out from the Bishop telling us in a letter that he would be sending a new Priest. If the parish council had any say in the matter of selecting or for that matter firing a Priest there would be no issue. Yes there is a problem with the Church falling under the influence of the Pope the first Protestant.

Oh, great - a popularity contest.  Shall the priest campaign for "stay" votes? Wink  I do agree that there should be input from the parish, which is not only heard but thoughtfully considered and integrated into the decision-making process.  But we shouldn't go off on the Prot model of parishes hiring and firing their own priests on their own.

Not only are we not allowed to fire the Priest we do not even decide on his salary. Our Priest is paid over $100,000 each year. Including all the benefits ie car, insurance, paid vacation, travel to conferences etc he is paid close to $200,000.

Since you brought it up:

The Archdiocesan Clergy remuneration scale is a flexible guideline for compensation, graded for years of service.  How closely your parish should follow it depends on (a) the parish's ability to (i.e. the unique financial situation of the parish), (b) cost of living in your area, and (c) their arrangement with the local hierarch regarding said scale.  For example, many parishes cannot afford to follow it, and have dispensation from their hierarchs not to, at least in a few of the dimensions.  The parishes that follow it to a "t" either do it because they value their priest, or because the hierarch has instructed them to.

If your priest's base salary is over 100,000, that means he is a priest of over 21 years of service (in the older scale it was 26+ years of service), which makes him a fairly experienced clergyman.  If the priest lives in a parish home, then the "equitable and reasonable 'deduction adjustment'" is removed from that salary.  Most parishes that I've visited aren't technically paying their priests "to scale," but they try to stay close.  As for the other "benefits,"

- Auto - in the course of pastoral duties (hospital and home visits, house blessings, etc.) priests routinely rack up more than 20,000 business miles per year (for my dad, it was closer to 30,000); it is less expensive purchasing or leasing a car for him than it would be to pay for his mileage or expenses in that situation.  For occupations that travel a lot (salesmen, etc.), this isn't counted as part of their remuneration.  Most parishes that I've seen do cover this.

- Vacation is standard.  Health Insurance is also standard.  Whether businesses count these as part of remuneration depends on the field.  All parishes I've seen provide vacation; most also do health coverage - the ones that don't, I have no sympathy for, as I consider it to be borderline criminal to not cover the clergyman's health in a field that has poor health overall.

- FICA/SECA - half of this would have been paid otherwise (i.e. if he were an employee as defined by the IRS); the other half is very nice.  It's never counted by a business in the total remuneration - it's just the cost of having people instead of robots.  Some parishes do this, some don't.

- Expenses for Conferences: this only covers Archdiocesan and Metropolis Clergy-Laity, and Clergy retreats, which are mandatory events for the priests; businesses very typically cover these types of expenses without counting them in the total remuneration package.  Many parishes do this; the ones that don't are usually small, and often they can get discounted registration rates and travel stipends, so they only cover part of travel and all of lodging.

- Sabbatical.  This is really a spiritual/mental health break - very beneficial, in my estimation, in a field that includes a lot of physical and emotional wear and tear.  Included with educators (which, coincidentally, is frequently the comparison structure used to see if clergy are paid a fair wage - they're compared to education administrators like principals and the like), not others.  Only parishes that have nearby support (retired priests, 2nd priest in the parish, etc.) provide this.  E.g. My proistamenos took a sabbatical this summer, the only one in 22+ years at this parish.  He did it because I was finally ordained and able to take care of things while he was gone.
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