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Author Topic: Lord's Prayer Forbidden to Those Outside the Church?  (Read 1348 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: October 27, 2010, 02:18:13 PM »

Hey all,

Was listening to Fr. Thomas Hopko's podcast on the Lord's Prayer. He makes the point that no one ought to be praying the Lord's Prayer save those sealed through chrismation. Not to go into the whys and wherefores, but I am sure most here can imagine his reasons.

This perhaps provocative question is to ask in general to what degree should a non-Orthodox, non-catachumen participate in liturgy?

The Priest at the church I have been visiting basically said the following: participate to whatever degree you feel comfortable except receiving communion. Because of my perhaps excessive concerns about giving offense and embarrassment, he gave the gentle suggestion he did. He said that my becoming a catachumen will be a process that primarily will be seen in the degree to which I show up for liturgy and my involvement with others in the church.

He suggested that I do what feels comfortable, not to worry too much about doing things "correctly" (he jokingly suggested in most things there is not absolutely "correct" way: crossing oneself, bowing, venerating icons, etc.) but just to participate to the degree I can.

Again I wish not to give offense and I respect Fr. Hopko a great deal and the Priest I have been speaking with was a student of his and they are quite close, to what degree do you all think a non-catachumen can participate in liturgy?

My Priest welcomed me to venerate the Cross, icons, etc. In fact, he said that coming to venerate an icon is in his experience something that most converts come to do late in their progression towards Orthodoxy that if you can't do that, you certainly are not ready to become Orthodox.

Saying the Lord's Prayer (something I've done probably thousands of times in recovery) is one of the places I never thought much about being out of line. But I understand Fr. Hopko's point of view and he is quite convincing to me at least. Saying the Creed is also something I feel comfortable participating in.

FWIW, I was baptized in a Trinitarian fashion as a kid in a protestant church. While Trinitarian, it certainly was made clear it was "a profession of faith."
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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2010, 02:49:35 PM »

Hey all,

Was listening to Fr. Thomas Hopko's podcast on the Lord's Prayer. He makes the point that no one ought to be praying the Lord's Prayer save those sealed through chrismation. Not to go into the whys and wherefores, but I am sure most here can imagine his reasons.

This perhaps provocative question is to ask in general to what degree should a non-Orthodox, non-catachumen participate in liturgy?

The Priest at the church I have been visiting basically said the following: participate to whatever degree you feel comfortable except receiving communion. Because of my perhaps excessive concerns about giving offense and embarrassment, he gave the gentle suggestion he did. He said that my becoming a catachumen will be a process that primarily will be seen in the degree to which I show up for liturgy and my involvement with others in the church.

He suggested that I do what feels comfortable, not to worry too much about doing things "correctly" (he jokingly suggested in most things there is not absolutely "correct" way: crossing oneself, bowing, venerating icons, etc.) but just to participate to the degree I can.

Again I wish not to give offense and I respect Fr. Hopko a great deal and the Priest I have been speaking with was a student of his and they are quite close, to what degree do you all think a non-catachumen can participate in liturgy?

My Priest welcomed me to venerate the Cross, icons, etc. In fact, he said that coming to venerate an icon is in his experience something that most converts come to do late in their progression towards Orthodoxy that if you can't do that, you certainly are not ready to become Orthodox.

Saying the Lord's Prayer (something I've done probably thousands of times in recovery) is one of the places I never thought much about being out of line. But I understand Fr. Hopko's point of view and he is quite convincing to me at least. Saying the Creed is also something I feel comfortable participating in.

FWIW, I was baptized in a Trinitarian fashion as a kid in a protestant church. While Trinitarian, it certainly was made clear it was "a profession of faith."


I can't find the podcast in question. Could you please link to it?
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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2010, 03:07:10 PM »

It is in his "Special Lecture Series":

http://ancientfaith.com/specials/hopko_lectures/the_lords_prayer
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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2010, 03:36:56 PM »

Hey all,

Was listening to Fr. Thomas Hopko's podcast on the Lord's Prayer. He makes the point that no one ought to be praying the Lord's Prayer save those sealed through chrismation. Not to go into the whys and wherefores, but I am sure most here can imagine his reasons.

This perhaps provocative question is to ask in general to what degree should a non-Orthodox, non-catachumen participate in liturgy?

The Priest at the church I have been visiting basically said the following: participate to whatever degree you feel comfortable except receiving communion. Because of my perhaps excessive concerns about giving offense and embarrassment, he gave the gentle suggestion he did. He said that my becoming a catachumen will be a process that primarily will be seen in the degree to which I show up for liturgy and my involvement with others in the church.

He suggested that I do what feels comfortable, not to worry too much about doing things "correctly" (he jokingly suggested in most things there is not absolutely "correct" way: crossing oneself, bowing, venerating icons, etc.) but just to participate to the degree I can.

Again I wish not to give offense and I respect Fr. Hopko a great deal and the Priest I have been speaking with was a student of his and they are quite close, to what degree do you all think a non-catachumen can participate in liturgy?

My Priest welcomed me to venerate the Cross, icons, etc. In fact, he said that coming to venerate an icon is in his experience something that most converts come to do late in their progression towards Orthodoxy that if you can't do that, you certainly are not ready to become Orthodox.

Saying the Lord's Prayer (something I've done probably thousands of times in recovery) is one of the places I never thought much about being out of line. But I understand Fr. Hopko's point of view and he is quite convincing to me at least. Saying the Creed is also something I feel comfortable participating in.

FWIW, I was baptized in a Trinitarian fashion as a kid in a protestant church. While Trinitarian, it certainly was made clear it was "a profession of faith."

You already had a very good answer from your priest (my emphasis): "participate to whatever degree you feel comfortable except receiving communion. " Above all, pray; that is the reason you are there in the first place. If you are not comfortable with the Creed and the Lord's Prayer, for whatever reason, OK. Once the pressure is off, you may be surprised how soon things will happen.
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« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2010, 03:42:22 PM »

 Sad I had not known that the policy of not saying the Our Father until chrismation was still to be done today. (I knew about the practice of the early Church.) I have yet to be chrismated, but I've been saying the Our Father and the Creed along with the rest of the congregation every week. Of course, I don't receive Communion. I don't know if I should be worried. The Our Father is such a common prayer-- it seems to be the one thing everybody knows by heart, in any church, because Our Lord gave it to us. Can I still pray it at home? I don't mean to sound presumptuous, but you can figure that people will wind up saying that prayer in their private devotions... it is in the Gospel, after all. I'd hate to think I'd been doing something seriously wrong all along.  Huh
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« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2010, 03:43:58 PM »

Sad I had not known that the policy of not saying the Our Father until chrismation was still to be done today.

Until this thread, I had never heard anyone suggest such a thing.
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« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2010, 03:57:20 PM »

If the practice is correct, then it's because, as Fr. Thomas Hopko says, the only person who has the intrinsic right to call God "Father" is Jesus Christ, and the only reason we would have that right is if we were bound to God by sacramental adoption (Baptism and/or Chrismation).
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« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2010, 04:04:44 PM »

Sad I had not known that the policy of not saying the Our Father until chrismation was still to be done today. (I knew about the practice of the early Church.) I have yet to be chrismated, but I've been saying the Our Father and the Creed along with the rest of the congregation every week. Of course, I don't receive Communion. I don't know if I should be worried. The Our Father is such a common prayer-- it seems to be the one thing everybody knows by heart, in any church, because Our Lord gave it to us. Can I still pray it at home? I don't mean to sound presumptuous, but you can figure that people will wind up saying that prayer in their private devotions... it is in the Gospel, after all. I'd hate to think I'd been doing something seriously wrong all along.  Huh


You are not doing anything wrong. In the early Church you would not have been present during the Lord's Prayer. Also, almost certainly people of the time would not have had a copy of the Scriptures in their home and quite likely wouldn't have been able to read them anyway. That is why it was possible to keep it a secret.

We live in a different age. If we don't bother to dismiss the catechumens anymore there is certainly no reason why you can't participate in the Lord's Prayer.


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« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2010, 04:06:28 PM »

Sad I had not known that the policy of not saying the Our Father until chrismation was still to be done today. (I knew about the practice of the early Church.) I have yet to be chrismated, but I've been saying the Our Father and the Creed along with the rest of the congregation every week. Of course, I don't receive Communion. I don't know if I should be worried. The Our Father is such a common prayer-- it seems to be the one thing everybody knows by heart, in any church, because Our Lord gave it to us. Can I still pray it at home? I don't mean to sound presumptuous, but you can figure that people will wind up saying that prayer in their private devotions... it is in the Gospel, after all. I'd hate to think I'd been doing something seriously wrong all along.  Huh

Just read Paisius' post and I agree with him 100%.

The Lord's Prayer is an essential part of the Liturgy of the Faithful and, of course, all catechumens used to be asked to leave before it started. Indeed, all of the prayers during this part of the Divine Liturgy presuppose that they are said by or on behalf of baptized and Chrismated Christians in good standing. That was the case at least up until the third century.  Today, we no longer have roaming bands of pagans who are lynching Orthodox Christians for killing and eating human babies and for incestuous orgies during the Divine Liturgy. We thus do not need to protect ourselves against such slander by kicking out non-members proactively. That said, if I were a catechumen, I would invest some time on the meaning of the prayers, particularly the Lord's Prayer and the Creed, since they are so critical to growth as Orthodox Christians. We must always remember to pray in our hearts and our minds as Saint Paul instructed.
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« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2010, 09:11:29 PM »

Thank you, that is very helpful.   Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2010, 09:14:22 PM »

Sad I had not known that the policy of not saying the Our Father until chrismation was still to be done today. (I knew about the practice of the early Church.) I have yet to be chrismated, but I've been saying the Our Father and the Creed along with the rest of the congregation every week. Of course, I don't receive Communion. I don't know if I should be worried. The Our Father is such a common prayer-- it seems to be the one thing everybody knows by heart, in any church, because Our Lord gave it to us. Can I still pray it at home? I don't mean to sound presumptuous, but you can figure that people will wind up saying that prayer in their private devotions... it is in the Gospel, after all. I'd hate to think I'd been doing something seriously wrong all along.  Huh

Just read Paisius' post and I agree with him 100%.

The Lord's Prayer is an essential part of the Liturgy of the Faithful and, of course, all catechumens used to be asked to leave before it started. Indeed, all of the prayers during this part of the Divine Liturgy presuppose that they are said by or on behalf of baptized and Chrismated Christians in good standing. That was the case at least up until the third century.  Today, we no longer have roaming bands of pagans who are lynching Orthodox Christians for killing and eating human babies and for incestuous orgies during the Divine Liturgy. We thus do not need to protect ourselves against such slander by kicking out non-members proactively. That said, if I were a catechumen, I would invest some time on the meaning of the prayers, particularly the Lord's Prayer and the Creed, since they are so critical to growth as Orthodox Christians. We must always remember to pray in our hearts and our minds as Saint Paul instructed.

Did you listen to the reasoning Fr. Hopko offered? It had nothing to do with what you are arguing against.
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« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2010, 11:48:23 PM »

Could you please summarize Father Hopko's reasons for this?

As for the Creed, it is usually memorized during the catechumen process, which I would imagine must involve  "professing" and "praying" it. As for the Lord's prayer, I usually try to initiate this prayer when Evangelical Protestants wish to pray with me or for me. The Lord's Prayer prevents them from weaving their own heterodox ideas into their prayers.


Selam
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« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2010, 04:15:02 AM »

It is my understanding that in the early days of christianity, many 'mysteries' of the faith were not revealed to the catechumen until after they were initiated, including doctrinal truths. Perhaps the Lord's prayer was traditionally one of those truths witheld.
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« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2010, 04:21:33 AM »

Could you please summarize Father Hopko's reasons for this?

As for the Creed, it is usually memorized during the catechumen process, which I would imagine must involve  "professing" and "praying" it. As for the Lord's prayer, I usually try to initiate this prayer when Evangelical Protestants wish to pray with me or for me. The Lord's Prayer prevents them from weaving their own heterodox ideas into their prayers.


Selam

And they will probably look at you strangely after you stop the prayer before saying "for thine is the kingdom, power, and glory, forever, amen".
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« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2010, 04:53:05 AM »

It is my understanding that in the early days of christianity, many 'mysteries' of the faith were not revealed to the catechumen until after they were initiated, including doctrinal truths. Perhaps the Lord's prayer was traditionally one of those truths witheld.


That brings up an interesting question about which I have often wondered: What are the "mysteries of the Faith" that we should not reveal to God's adversaries, and who exactly are these adversaries? In our evangelistic efforts, we certainly try to defend and articulate the Sacramental Mysteries to those we are trying to lead to the Faith. Are these adversaries spiritual and demonic, or do they also include pagans, unbelievers, and the heterodox?

Any thoughts?


Selam
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« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2010, 04:55:08 AM »

Could you please summarize Father Hopko's reasons for this?

As for the Creed, it is usually memorized during the catechumen process, which I would imagine must involve  "professing" and "praying" it. As for the Lord's prayer, I usually try to initiate this prayer when Evangelical Protestants wish to pray with me or for me. The Lord's Prayer prevents them from weaving their own heterodox ideas into their prayers.


Selam

And they will probably look at you strangely after you stop the prayer before saying "for thine is the kingdom, power, and glory, forever, amen".


I still haven't broken my Protestant habit of saying that! lol. Is it ok to say it in our private prayer, or do we always leave it off? And I have never really understand why we don't include the ending. Can you enlighten me, for I'm sure I will be asked about this.


Selam
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« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2010, 05:34:29 AM »

Could you please summarize Father Hopko's reasons for this?

As for the Creed, it is usually memorized during the catechumen process, which I would imagine must involve  "professing" and "praying" it. As for the Lord's prayer, I usually try to initiate this prayer when Evangelical Protestants wish to pray with me or for me. The Lord's Prayer prevents them from weaving their own heterodox ideas into their prayers.


Selam

And they will probably look at you strangely after you stop the prayer before saying "for thine is the kingdom, power, and glory, forever, amen".


I still haven't broken my Protestant habit of saying that! lol. Is it ok to say it in our private prayer, or do we always leave it off? And I have never really understand why we don't include the ending. Can you enlighten me, for I'm sure I will be asked about this.


Selam

I pulled this from wiki:

"For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen

The doxology of the prayer is not contained in Luke's version, nor is it present in the earliest manuscripts of Matthew, representative of the Alexandrian text, but is present in the manuscripts representative of the Byzantine text.[24] The first known use of the doxology, in a less lengthy form ("for yours is the power and the glory forever"),[25] as a conclusion for the Lord's Prayer (in a version slightly different from that of Matthew) is in the Didache, 8:2. There are at least ten different versions of the doxology in early manuscripts of Matthew before it seems to have standardised. Jewish prayers at the time had doxological endings. The doxology may have been originally appended to the Lord's Prayer for use during congregational worship. If so, it could be based on 1 Chronicles 29:11. Most scholars do not consider it part of the original text of Matthew,[26][27] and modern translations do not include it, mentioning it only in footnotes. In Orthodox Christianity, a similar doxology is sung within the context of the Divine Liturgy. Following the last line of the prayer, the priest sings "For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages". Latin Rite Roman Catholics, as well as some Lutherans,[28] do not use it when reciting the Lord's Prayer, but it has been included as an independent item, not as part of the Lord's Prayer, in the Mass. It is attached to the version of the Lord's Prayer used by most Protestants. A minority posit that the doxology was so important that early manuscripts of Matthew neglected it due to its obviousness,[citation needed] though several other quite obvious things are mentioned in the Gospels."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord's_Prayer#.22For_thine_is_the_kingdom.2C_and_the_power.2C_and_the_glory.2C_for_ever_and_ever._Amen.22

So from what I gather, as it pertains to Orthodoxy, the doxology appears in the liturgy, but it is not considered as scripture (words attributed to Jesus, in this case), due to it's lack of representation in the earliest manuscripts.

 
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« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2010, 06:01:15 AM »

Could you please summarize Father Hopko's reasons for this?

As for the Creed, it is usually memorized during the catechumen process, which I would imagine must involve  "professing" and "praying" it. As for the Lord's prayer, I usually try to initiate this prayer when Evangelical Protestants wish to pray with me or for me. The Lord's Prayer prevents them from weaving their own heterodox ideas into their prayers.


Selam

And they will probably look at you strangely after you stop the prayer before saying "for thine is the kingdom, power, and glory, forever, amen".


I still haven't broken my Protestant habit of saying that! lol. Is it ok to say it in our private prayer, or do we always leave it off? And I have never really understand why we don't include the ending. Can you enlighten me, for I'm sure I will be asked about this.


Selam

I pulled this from wiki:

"For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen

The doxology of the prayer is not contained in Luke's version, nor is it present in the earliest manuscripts of Matthew, representative of the Alexandrian text, but is present in the manuscripts representative of the Byzantine text.[24] The first known use of the doxology, in a less lengthy form ("for yours is the power and the glory forever"),[25] as a conclusion for the Lord's Prayer (in a version slightly different from that of Matthew) is in the Didache, 8:2. There are at least ten different versions of the doxology in early manuscripts of Matthew before it seems to have standardised. Jewish prayers at the time had doxological endings. The doxology may have been originally appended to the Lord's Prayer for use during congregational worship. If so, it could be based on 1 Chronicles 29:11. Most scholars do not consider it part of the original text of Matthew,[26][27] and modern translations do not include it, mentioning it only in footnotes. In Orthodox Christianity, a similar doxology is sung within the context of the Divine Liturgy. Following the last line of the prayer, the priest sings "For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages". Latin Rite Roman Catholics, as well as some Lutherans,[28] do not use it when reciting the Lord's Prayer, but it has been included as an independent item, not as part of the Lord's Prayer, in the Mass. It is attached to the version of the Lord's Prayer used by most Protestants. A minority posit that the doxology was so important that early manuscripts of Matthew neglected it due to its obviousness,[citation needed] though several other quite obvious things are mentioned in the Gospels."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord's_Prayer#.22For_thine_is_the_kingdom.2C_and_the_power.2C_and_the_glory.2C_for_ever_and_ever._Amen.22

So from what I gather, as it pertains to Orthodoxy, the doxology appears in the liturgy, but it is not considered as scripture (words attributed to Jesus, in this case), due to it's lack of representation in the earliest manuscripts.

 


Thank you. So perhaps it is the Orthodox custom for the laity not to say it, but not necessarily wrong if we do? (Not during the Liturgy of course.)


Selam
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« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2010, 06:37:00 AM »

I can't see how reciting the doxology in personal prayer could be interpreted as anything other than a pious tradition, to say the least. Being that the Greek Orthodox bible translation relies heavily on the Byzantine text type (which includes the doxology) I've always been surprised that the Orthodox version of the prayer doesn't include it. Maybe someone else can shed some light on this?
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« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2010, 01:28:45 PM »

Could you please summarize Father Hopko's reasons for this?

As for the Creed, it is usually memorized during the catechumen process, which I would imagine must involve  "professing" and "praying" it. As for the Lord's prayer, I usually try to initiate this prayer when Evangelical Protestants wish to pray with me or for me. The Lord's Prayer prevents them from weaving their own heterodox ideas into their prayers.


Selam

I would rather not, as I think the podcast is well worth listening to even if you do not end up agreeing with Fr. Hopko.

But if you are unable to listen to the podcast, I will try to write up a decent, longer summary over the weekend. Cymbyz gave a very succinct and good summary. The context and reasoning behind the summary given though is interesting and again has little to do with anything mentioned so far in this thread.
 
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« Reply #20 on: October 28, 2010, 01:35:12 PM »

Hey all,

Was listening to Fr. Thomas Hopko's podcast on the Lord's Prayer. He makes the point that no one ought to be praying the Lord's Prayer save those sealed through chrismation. Not to go into the whys and wherefores, but I am sure most here can imagine his reasons.

This perhaps provocative question is to ask in general to what degree should a non-Orthodox, non-catachumen participate in liturgy?

The Priest at the church I have been visiting basically said the following: participate to whatever degree you feel comfortable except receiving communion. Because of my perhaps excessive concerns about giving offense and embarrassment, he gave the gentle suggestion he did. He said that my becoming a catachumen will be a process that primarily will be seen in the degree to which I show up for liturgy and my involvement with others in the church.

He suggested that I do what feels comfortable, not to worry too much about doing things "correctly" (he jokingly suggested in most things there is not absolutely "correct" way: crossing oneself, bowing, venerating icons, etc.) but just to participate to the degree I can.

Again I wish not to give offense and I respect Fr. Hopko a great deal and the Priest I have been speaking with was a student of his and they are quite close, to what degree do you all think a non-catachumen can participate in liturgy?

My Priest welcomed me to venerate the Cross, icons, etc. In fact, he said that coming to venerate an icon is in his experience something that most converts come to do late in their progression towards Orthodoxy that if you can't do that, you certainly are not ready to become Orthodox.

Saying the Lord's Prayer (something I've done probably thousands of times in recovery) is one of the places I never thought much about being out of line. But I understand Fr. Hopko's point of view and he is quite convincing to me at least. Saying the Creed is also something I feel comfortable participating in.

FWIW, I was baptized in a Trinitarian fashion as a kid in a protestant church. While Trinitarian, it certainly was made clear it was "a profession of faith."

You already had a very good answer from your priest (my emphasis): "participate to whatever degree you feel comfortable except receiving communion. " Above all, pray; that is the reason you are there in the first place. If you are not comfortable with the Creed and the Lord's Prayer, for whatever reason, OK. Once the pressure is off, you may be surprised how soon things will happen.

Thank you for your reply to my question in general.

But can I ask what seem like a dumb question?

How do I pray during the Liturgy, if not accustomed or familiar with the Liturgy? So far, I have been trying to "absord" what I can in mindful manner and participate outwardly by crossing myself when I am sure it is pretty much the practice, reciting the Lord's Prayer and saying the Creed.

We have a midweek Vespers service and it is by my "favorite" service, because of the degree I have been able to pick up on what is happening if in albeit superficial way.

Any suggestions on resources I can use get a better grasp of the Great Liturgy, readingwise? So far, I pretty much remain overwhelmed.

Thanks.

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« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2010, 03:17:33 PM »

Sad I had not known that the policy of not saying the Our Father until chrismation was still to be done today. (I knew about the practice of the early Church.) I have yet to be chrismated, but I've been saying the Our Father and the Creed along with the rest of the congregation every week. Of course, I don't receive Communion. I don't know if I should be worried. The Our Father is such a common prayer-- it seems to be the one thing everybody knows by heart, in any church, because Our Lord gave it to us. Can I still pray it at home? I don't mean to sound presumptuous, but you can figure that people will wind up saying that prayer in their private devotions... it is in the Gospel, after all. I'd hate to think I'd been doing something seriously wrong all along.  Huh

Just read Paisius' post and I agree with him 100%.

The Lord's Prayer is an essential part of the Liturgy of the Faithful and, of course, all catechumens used to be asked to leave before it started. Indeed, all of the prayers during this part of the Divine Liturgy presuppose that they are said by or on behalf of baptized and Chrismated Christians in good standing. That was the case at least up until the third century.  Today, we no longer have roaming bands of pagans who are lynching Orthodox Christians for killing and eating human babies and for incestuous orgies during the Divine Liturgy. We thus do not need to protect ourselves against such slander by kicking out non-members proactively. That said, if I were a catechumen, I would invest some time on the meaning of the prayers, particularly the Lord's Prayer and the Creed, since they are so critical to growth as Orthodox Christians. We must always remember to pray in our hearts and our minds as Saint Paul instructed.

Did you listen to the reasoning Fr. Hopko offered? It had nothing to do with what you are arguing against.
Actually, I did listen to Father Tom and I  of course agree with him when he said that Lord Jesus gave this prayer to His disciples. I do not agree that this means that one must be baptized and Chrismated before one can pray this prayer, either in church or in his closet. It all depends on the definition of discipleship. Is someone who has chosen to follow the Lord but not yet baptized and/or Chrismated not a disciple at all? You know, the Orthodox Church gives church burials to the catechumens; this must mean something, no?
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« Reply #22 on: October 28, 2010, 03:20:51 PM »


How do I pray during the Liturgy, if not accustomed or familiar with the Liturgy? So far, I have been trying to "absord" what I can in mindful manner and participate outwardly by crossing myself when I am sure it is pretty much the practice, reciting the Lord's Prayer and saying the Creed.

We have a midweek Vespers service and it is by my "favorite" service, because of the degree I have been able to pick up on what is happening if in albeit superficial way.

Any suggestions on resources I can use get a better grasp of the Great Liturgy, readingwise? So far, I pretty much remain overwhelmed.

Thanks.

Orthonorm, there is a short book entitled Living the Liturgy by Stanley S. Harakas (published by Light & Life), that seeks to assist those that are relatively new to attending Liturgy or simply not engaging it fully.  The book is not without flaws, as frankly, the 140 pages probably could have been condensed to 75, but it does present some very helpful suggestions.

The book explains what the Liturgy is intended to be, i.e. its purpose, how the liturgy is organized, and how the laity may participate more fully.  Providing a summation, it instructs us to view the Divine Liturgy as a series of mystical enactments of worship.  In order to fully participate, we must recognize the meaning and importance of each movement.  For example, the reading of the Gospel is not just a priest reading from a book, but the actual words of Christ being delivered to us. So, Harakas charges that we essentially change our mindset and view these portions in their mystical sense.  If Christ is delivering his word directly to us, that should fundamentally alter the way in which we receive that message.

Regarding prayer, Harakas focuses on the various versions of the Shorter Litany spoken by the priest.  Many of these are, in fact, instructing the laity to pray.  For instance, when the priest says, "For the peace of the whole world, for the stability of the Holy Churches of God, and for the union of all, let us pray to the Lord," we are supposed to give relevant prayer.  This can be quite challenging, as sometimes there is not ample time to provide a thorough prayer.  In this case, he refers back to the frequent choir response of "Lord, have mercy" which is very succinct, and if said contemplatively, is still entirely meaningful.  

Once again, while this book is not perfect, I did find it useful in better preparing me to participate in the Liturgy.  I hope this suggestion helps you.  
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« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2010, 03:30:45 PM »

Hey all,

Was listening to Fr. Thomas Hopko's podcast on the Lord's Prayer. He makes the point that no one ought to be praying the Lord's Prayer save those sealed through chrismation. Not to go into the whys and wherefores, but I am sure most here can imagine his reasons.

This perhaps provocative question is to ask in general to what degree should a non-Orthodox, non-catachumen participate in liturgy?

The Priest at the church I have been visiting basically said the following: participate to whatever degree you feel comfortable except receiving communion. Because of my perhaps excessive concerns about giving offense and embarrassment, he gave the gentle suggestion he did. He said that my becoming a catachumen will be a process that primarily will be seen in the degree to which I show up for liturgy and my involvement with others in the church.

He suggested that I do what feels comfortable, not to worry too much about doing things "correctly" (he jokingly suggested in most things there is not absolutely "correct" way: crossing oneself, bowing, venerating icons, etc.) but just to participate to the degree I can.

Again I wish not to give offense and I respect Fr. Hopko a great deal and the Priest I have been speaking with was a student of his and they are quite close, to what degree do you all think a non-catachumen can participate in liturgy?

My Priest welcomed me to venerate the Cross, icons, etc. In fact, he said that coming to venerate an icon is in his experience something that most converts come to do late in their progression towards Orthodoxy that if you can't do that, you certainly are not ready to become Orthodox.

Saying the Lord's Prayer (something I've done probably thousands of times in recovery) is one of the places I never thought much about being out of line. But I understand Fr. Hopko's point of view and he is quite convincing to me at least. Saying the Creed is also something I feel comfortable participating in.

FWIW, I was baptized in a Trinitarian fashion as a kid in a protestant church. While Trinitarian, it certainly was made clear it was "a profession of faith."

You already had a very good answer from your priest (my emphasis): "participate to whatever degree you feel comfortable except receiving communion. " Above all, pray; that is the reason you are there in the first place. If you are not comfortable with the Creed and the Lord's Prayer, for whatever reason, OK. Once the pressure is off, you may be surprised how soon things will happen.

Thank you for your reply to my question in general.

But can I ask what seem like a dumb question?

How do I pray during the Liturgy, if not accustomed or familiar with the Liturgy? So far, I have been trying to "absord" what I can in mindful manner and participate outwardly by crossing myself when I am sure it is pretty much the practice, reciting the Lord's Prayer and saying the Creed.

We have a midweek Vespers service and it is by my "favorite" service, because of the degree I have been able to pick up on what is happening if in albeit superficial way.

Any suggestions on resources I can use get a better grasp of the Great Liturgy, readingwise? So far, I pretty much remain overwhelmed.

Thanks.



Actually, Father Hopko's is one of the simplest and it may be found on line at http://www.oca.org/OCchapter.asp?SID=2&ID=101. The OCA site has all four of Father Hopko's books on line and they are all good. I do not usually recommend this, but I have seen some people buy a book on the DL and/or the Great Vespers, etc.. and follow the services in real time. You may also want to do this until you get the general outline of the services but I do think it is best for the services to just "wash over" you as my Priest recommends.

As for how to pray, I think we must pray along with the readers/chanters and sing along with the choir and pay close attention to the prayers of the deacon and the priest because this is common prayer/common work. On the other hand, many folks (myself included) find themselves zapped by a particularly word, phrase or sentence and we end up reflecting on that for a while. Not to worry; there is repetition and plenty of it to allow you to "catch up." I tell you that I love our services, precisely because they buck the common desire to shorten them, to streamline them, to rationalize them...all of the worldly and logical reasons.  
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« Reply #24 on: October 28, 2010, 10:35:51 PM »

Catechumen recite the creed when they are made catechumen.

Thomas
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