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Author Topic: Organs in Greek Orthodox Churches  (Read 25660 times) Average Rating: 0
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Tikhon29605
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« on: April 18, 2004, 03:29:37 PM »

Does anyone know when the use of organs in Greek Orthodox parishes in the USA started? In the 1960s? Immediately after the Second World War? Or earlier? I've never seen a Greek Orthodox monastery that used an organ, not even here in the USA.  I am told that the use of an organ in Greece itself in almost unknown.  What about the Greek Orthodox in Canada, South America, and Australia?  Do they use the organ to acccompany the Liturgy too, or is this just an American thing? I'm not condemning anybody, I'm just curious.
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« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2004, 03:33:23 PM »

1939, at the NYC Cathedral. Why: couldn't find a good cantor.

ICK.
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« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2004, 04:28:53 PM »

1939, at the NYC Cathedral. Why: couldn't find a good cantor.

ICK.

 WOW, Anastasios!  I had no idea.  That surprises me.  The Greek Orthodox parishes I've visited have always had good chanters.  Interesting.
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« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2004, 05:04:11 PM »

There are some good psaltis in the GOA, but the all the good ones I know were trained in Greece, not the United States (but I hope this isn't universal!)....   From what I know the chanting at Saint Anthony's can rival anything from the Holy Mountain...  but to be 100% honest most GOA choirs are awful and need an organ to play the melody in order to match pitch.    

As I understand it Antiochians use Byzantine chant, what do they do with thier choirs....the GOA could learn from them.
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« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2004, 05:08:16 PM »

As I understand it Antiochians use Byzantine chant, what do they do with thier choirs....the GOA could learn from them.  

I've only been to one Antiochian parish and they didn't use Byzantine chant for the liturgy, only for Vespers. Keep in mind this is the parish where the Boston Byzantine Choir is based, so I'm sure they were quite capable of doing a Byzantine liturgy.
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« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2004, 06:14:36 PM »

...  but to be 100% honest most GOA choirs are awful and need an organ to play the melody in order to match pitch.    


I noticed a few weeks back when I had to "attend" services via the internet that St. Barbara's in CT (GOA) was using their organ only to give a lead key to the choir which sang a capella - VERY nice. Maybe this will spread. (Hint: Greeks- join choir, then agitate to unplug the organ  Cheesy )

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« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2004, 06:29:05 PM »

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As I understand it Antiochians use Byzantine chant, what do they do with thier choirs....the GOA could learn from them

For vespers and orthros in the Antiochian parishes you will hear Byzantine chant. For Liturgy there are 4 different things you might hear; 1. Tchaikovsky's setting for the Divine Liturgy translated into English, 2. Fr. James Meena's arrangement of the Divine Liturgy (which is based on the Byzantine music but uses 4 part harmony), 3. "The Congregational Liturgy" which is Byzantine music done on a single part scale, mostly in tone 2. and finally 4. The best of.... which takes pieces of works from every Orthodox source out there. The skill level and size of the choir/ congregation vary a lot from parish to parish and unfortunately there are those parishes that use and organ but this practice is dying a slow death.

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« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2004, 08:14:32 PM »

I noticed a few weeks back when I had to "attend" services via the internet that St. Barbara's in CT (GOA) was using their organ only to give a lead key to the choir which sang a capella - VERY nice. Maybe this will spread. (Hint: Greeks- join choir, then agitate to unplug the organ  Cheesy )

Demetri

I have an easier solution. Americans join the choir then agitate that ALL chanting and and singing be in ENGLISH!

THAT would solve the problem of having to go to Greece to find a chanter.
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« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2004, 08:18:23 PM »

OK, TomS, what about the organs?

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« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2004, 08:26:07 PM »

We could organize an OC.net covert organ robbing raid across America. Steal the organs, sell them to the Episcopal or Catholic Church and use the money for sending the GOA' choirs off for singing lessons. Problem solved.
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« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2004, 08:28:04 PM »

OK, TomS, what about the organs?

Demetri

ANATHEMA!  I hate organs! If I wanted to hear organs I would go to a Protestant church. But get this - at St. Sophia the chanter, instead of an organ, has started to use this machine that just does the ison (the single note that you hear the background male choir members doing in the background). He got it from Greece. It only has 16 keys for the upper and lower scale (Ne Pa Vu Ga De Ke Zo Nii) and is basically a recording of a person doing the ison which is constant when you hold down the key.

As a member of the choir who used to show up and help do this, I am not happy about it. This was the only way I could contribute when he was doing strict chanting.


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« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2004, 08:49:52 PM »

Quote
I have an easier solution. Americans join the choir then agitate that ALL chanting and and singing be in ENGLISH!

THAT would solve the problem of having to go to Greece to find a chanter.

If you don't know how to chant, it doesn't matter what language you're chanting!
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« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2004, 09:09:27 PM »

If you don't know how to chant, it doesn't matter what language you're chanting!

Wrong! The main purpose of the chant is to TEACH the faithful and to enable the faithful to meditate on the teaching. Read what is being chanted.  By chanting in a language that 90% of the people do not understand is the Church FAILING in its mission.
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« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2004, 09:17:52 PM »

You missed the point of what I was saying....once you can chant in Greek you can also chant in English almost as easily.  The problem of un-trained chanters is the skill level of chanters in America, not language.  I agree language is a problem in the GOA, but this is time it is not the main culprit.
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« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2004, 09:47:54 PM »

You missed the point of what I was saying....once you can chant in Greek you can also chant in English almost as easily.  The problem of un-trained chanters is the skill level of chanters in America, not language.  I agree language is a problem in the GOA, but this is time it is not the main culprit.  

Okay. Sorry -- However, I still disagree with you. I took chanting lessons for a year and although it is hard to learn how to chant, the major problem is that 90% of the chants are only in Greek. They have not been converted (for lack of a better term) into an English style that fits the chant notes. And this is because the GOA has not felt the need to foster this or underwrite the cost which, I feel, is the responsibility of the GOA.
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« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2004, 10:13:15 PM »

Okay. Sorry -- However, I still disagree with you. I took chanting lessons for a year and although it is hard to learn how to chant, the major problem is that 90% of the chants are only in Greek. They have not been converted (for lack of a better term) into an English style that fits the chant notes. And this is because the GOA has not felt the need to foster this or underwrite the cost which, I feel, is the responsibility of the GOA.



Here's what I find strangest of all: The GOA is quite possibly the most "modernist" of the jurisdictions in the US. They've accepted organs and pews, their clergy generally no longer appear as Orthodox clergy, they have downplayed the importance of confession, communion and fasting...all, presumably, in an attempt to "fit in" with the West. Yet, at the same time, this jurisdiction holds more foreign language services than any other. Whose idea was it to do away with the important things which help make us Orthodox, but keep the old language which helps no one?
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« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2004, 11:20:02 PM »

in a word...GREEKS......they are crazy but I like them anyway (well a few of them)
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« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2004, 11:26:20 PM »

at St. Sophia the chanter, instead of an organ, has started to use this machine that just does the ison (the single note that you hear the background male choir members doing in the background). He got it from Greece. It only has 16 keys for the upper and lower scale (Ne Pa Vu Ga De Ke Zo Nii) and is basically a recording of a person doing the ison which is constant when you hold down the key.


Wow! An Ison "machine"! What will they think of next? LOL
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« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2004, 11:28:11 PM »

We could organize an OC.net covert organ robbing raid across America. Steal the organs, sell them to the Episcopal or Catholic Church and use the money for sending the GOA' choirs off for singing lessons. Problem solved.

Bogo:  This is hilarious!  We need more of this light hearted humor here.
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« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2004, 11:31:09 PM »

I had no idea that the choirs in the GOA were "awful" as someone posted.  The ones I have heard, although they did use organ accompaniment, were pretty good.  I was surprised that the GOA choirs I've heard have sung very little Byzantine chant.  Most of what they sang sounded like Russian music, with a Greek text, and organ accompaniment.  Being from a Russian Orthodox background, it rather surprised me.
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« Reply #20 on: April 19, 2004, 01:10:34 AM »

hehehe this is kinda funny the only 2 GOA churches i have been to neither one used organs. Although oddly the parish I am in has an organ but I have never seen it used.
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« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2004, 01:13:19 AM »

at St. Sophia the chanter, instead of an organ, has started to use this machine that just does the ison (the single note that you hear the background male choir members doing in the background). He got it from Greece. It only has 16 keys for the upper and lower scale (Ne Pa Vu Ga De Ke Zo Nii) and is basically a recording of a person doing the ison which is constant when you hold down the key.


Wow! An Ison "machine"! What will they think of next? LOL

A friend who has posted on this board a few times just got one.  He's all excited about it.   Roll Eyes  I think that the only time it would be appropriate to use is if there is only one chanter who showed up.  The machine is supposed to imitate the chanter's voice (NOT prerecorded of someone elses).

At an Antiochian parish in SF, they use an organ rather quietly for the melody.  I was annoyed at first, but a little while in the service, it was barely noticeable.  Any more involvement than that should be verboten though.
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« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2004, 01:32:04 AM »

Dare I ask this question? LOL  Do any of the Greek Orthodox Churches with organs give organ concerts?
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« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2004, 03:17:31 AM »

hehehe this is kinda funny the only 2 GOA churches i have been to neither one used organs. Although oddly the parish I am in has an organ but I have never seen it used.

Thanks for the comment, Historynut.
Being one of the few Greeks who modestly participates here I see another round of Greek-bashing starting up again among the natives. It is little wonder at the number of Greeks who join here and then (thinking, "well, their converts, what do you expect" Wink ) quietly leave and never post again.
In point of fact, I've only been to three or four OCA parishes and one ROCOR. ALL except ONE had pews. I neither applaud nor comdemn them.
And I have seen Greek parishes run the gamut from excessive organ use to almost none - one in particular was a large parish with a choir of only THREE that I would put up against any other I have ever heard ( it could have been larger but sounded so good that no one wanted to ruin it).
I have been to OCA parishes where the choir director thinks he's Lawrence Welk or Mitch Miller and totally disrupts the flow of the liturgy with his leads (a case where I would welcome an organ) and where the delivery in English was so poor I wished they would have switched to Slavonic.
And where I worship now, we have no choir other than us poor parishoners in our pews which only some use while singing a'capella plain chant in English.
I am usually more thankful at having or finding an Orthodox church to worship in.

Demetri
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« Reply #24 on: April 19, 2004, 09:23:59 AM »

Some Antiochian parishes use a modified form of Byzantine chant for choral chanting, and some even get the congregation involved.  Hard to do with the full-metal-jacket version, which requires a well-trained psaltis, but it can be done with some creative, yet faithful, tinkering of the tones to make them more choral-friendly, while still being tonal and not modern choral.

It's a *very* important issue in contemporary American Orthodoxy, of whatever jurisdiction.  While there are some parishes that have managed to swing this, in my own experience there are many who have either (1) choirs that do not sing tones, really, but more modern arrangements from the last few hundred years and noone in the congregation sings, (2) choirs that sing tones, and noone in the congregation sings, and (3) parishes with well-trained psaltis and noone in the congregation sings.  What I would like to see more of is a creative, yet faithful, tinkering with the tones so that it can be done by a fair choir leading the people in chanting.  That would be the most Orthodox, I think, solution.
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« Reply #25 on: April 19, 2004, 10:14:00 AM »

Quote
Dare I ask this question? LOL  Do any of the Greek Orthodox Churches with organs give organ concerts?

My guess is probably not. The one time I've heard one used by the Greeks, in their cathedral in Pittsburgh, it was only to give the pitch to the choir.

It sounds like the ison machine does the same thing and seems to fit the Byzantine Rite's +ªsthetic much better.
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« Reply #26 on: April 19, 2004, 07:19:38 PM »

Should we make a rule Demetri, that you have to have served a year in the GOA before you can bash them?
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« Reply #27 on: April 19, 2004, 11:32:00 PM »

Should we make a rule Demetri, that you have to have served a year in the GOA before you can bash them?

No, Nektarios, that's not necessary. Anyway, a year's too short to get a good grasp of Greek assuming one would spend time (as you do) learning the language.  Perhaps just a tiny bit of respect for a tradition nearly 1000 years older than the Slavic ones - this opinion that of my local ROCOR priest - would be nice, however.

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« Reply #28 on: April 19, 2004, 11:52:16 PM »

The GREEK traditional is absoultly amazing, and I prefer it to the Slav one in all ways.

But the GOA (for the most part) has little to do with traditional Greek Orthodoxy, alas.   Now if the entire GOA were run like one of Geronda's monasteries....
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« Reply #29 on: April 19, 2004, 11:57:08 PM »

Brendan's former Melkite parish does Byzantine Chant in congregational style with the more complex and rare hymns being changed by psaltis. I think it is a model for Orthodox parishes interested in better congregational participation.

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« Reply #30 on: April 20, 2004, 12:04:11 AM »

The GREEK traditional is absoultly amazing, and I prefer it to the Slav one in all ways.

But the GOA (for the most part) has little to do with traditional Greek Orthodoxy, alas.   Now if the entire GOA were run like one of Geronda's monasteries....

Somehow, I knew you were going to come back with that one  Wink
Let me know when you've finished your survey of all 550 parishes of the GOA  Kiss
As you well know already, I love ALL of the traditions. And only here can we experience them all. Rather than bash each of the others, enjoy them while we can.

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« Reply #31 on: April 20, 2004, 10:38:19 AM »

Demetri kai Nektarios,

Afti then katalavenate.
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« Reply #32 on: April 20, 2004, 03:39:35 PM »

I hope no one thinks I am bashing the GOA, because that's certainly NOT my intention.  I am from an OCA background, and I do NOT think that the OCA is some kind of "pure" Orthodox jurisdiction that is somehow "more Orthodox" than other jurisdictions.  Let me say a few things that I really LIKE about the GOA.  First of all, GOA parishes tend to have NICE buildings and the pay the priest a REAL living wage.  I think that is excellent!  So many of our priests in the OCA just barely get by on their small salaries. Secondly, I actually LIKE the use of Koine Greek in the GOA.  I studied Greek in college, and the kind people of the GOA taught me how to pronounce it correctly, like a Greek Smiley  In fact, every time I visit the local Greek Orthodox Church in town, I am invited to sing in the choir.  I love singing the liturgy in Greek.  And I love hearing the Scriptures chanted in Greek as well.  You won't hear me bashing the GOA for using Greek.  In fact, the GOA parish in my town does a 50/50 split Greek/English liturgy that seems to statisfy everybody.  Thirdly, I love the fact that in the GOA the priests still say the priest's prayers in a low voice.  There seem to be a Protestant attitude that has crept into the OCA in recent years that demands all the priests prayers be said aloud (and ususally VERY loud).  The only fault I have with the GOA is that the sacrament of Confession is almost unknown in many areas.  But in the GOA parish in my town, the priest actually preaches sermons on the need for frequent confession, and it attempting to restore it among his people.  I see great potential for the GOA, I really do.  Koine Greek can indeed be learned.  I've learned it and I'm certainly no genius.  I know a former Southern Baptist boy in Columbia, SC who converted to Greek Orthodoxy and who could recite the Nicene Creed and the Lord's Prayer flawlessly in Greek. Far be it from me to criticize the Greeks for being Greek.  That's silly.
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« Reply #33 on: April 20, 2004, 08:30:57 PM »

So, Tikhon29605, you too studied Greek in college! My Greek professor (who was also my Latin one) told me that I would have a very difficult time learning Ancient Greek because of my knowledge of modern Greek (such as it was). He was not very wrong. Hearing him read Homer and Sophocles just sounded so wrong. Not to mention all the other real differences. I struggled for my A's.
Then last year I joined an online forum on Ancient/Koine Greek and Latin. The same discussions were there about proper prounciation of Greek and how we moderns botched the 'accepted' pronunciations so badly. It took me quite a while to realize that the Koine I heard in church really was basically correct and only probably slightly differing from the Koine of the NT era. Since then I've grown to really appreciate the services in Greek.
I am split in my thoughts and foresee a time when these old ethnic languages will be gone from our churches here, Slavonic included. I don't know how I feel about that, but it is inevitable.
Guess I had best visit an Antiocian parish soon, just in case :-

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« Reply #34 on: April 21, 2004, 09:35:08 PM »

Awww yeah, Greek is the bomb. Everyone should learn it in college, just like the good old days!

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« Reply #35 on: April 21, 2004, 11:18:20 PM »

Aristocles,

I'm with you 100% on the issue of translation. In Latin (which I use a lot in my area of study, 16th-century Western Christianity) I almost always prefer the "ecclesiastical" pronunciation (basically pretend it's Italian!). The "approved" classical pronunciation sounds very awkward to me, and it's hard for me to believe that people really talked like that ("waynee, weedee, weekee"). To me, the whole "classical" pronunciation is a very Protestant idea--that you can archaeologically resurrect how things were "originally" done instead of relying on living tradition.

In Greek, unfortunately, I was taught the "school" pronunciation and have only picked up the "modern" pronunciation in bits and pieces through occasional conversations with Greeks or with Orthodox clergy (my first exposure was in a conversation with a seminarian in a train station in Romania--I was reading my Greek NT and he picked it up and started reading it in what seemed to me the most bizarre pronunciation!). Now, when I read the Scriptures in Greek (I often tend to murmur it aloud to myself under my breath), I try to do it as close to the modern/liturgical pronunciation as I can. But some things confuse me. At first it seemed like the rule of thumb was "all vowels are pronounced like English "e" but of course it isn't that simple. Dipthongs with upsilon are particularly confusing. Epsilon upsilon I know is "ev" or "ef," but then omicron upsilon is "oo." I'm still not clear on alpha upsilon. Is it "ow" or "af"?

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« Reply #36 on: April 21, 2004, 11:20:05 PM »

I meant "pronunciation" not "translation." It's getting near bed-time and I have to teach a class on the Italian Renaissance tomorrow, before flying to Chicago for the weekend where my wife and I are going to be godparents for three children of some friends of ours (former nondenominational Pentecostals, now attending an Episcopal church, hence the mass baptism!).

In Christ,

Edwin
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« Reply #37 on: April 22, 2004, 12:16:35 AM »

I like both the reconstructed pronunciation (not Erasmian, though, that is just a hybrid) and Modern.  Modern sounds better but reconstructed is easier to learn by because each vowel is distinct!

So I learned how to do both and can do them at will Smiley
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« Reply #38 on: April 22, 2004, 05:43:49 AM »


 At first it seemed like the rule of thumb was "all vowels are pronounced like English "e" but of course it isn't that simple. Dipthongs with upsilon are particularly confusing. Epsilon upsilon I know is "ev" or "ef," but then omicron upsilon is "oo." I'm still not clear on alpha upsilon. Is it "ow" or "af"?


Well,Edwin, at least I'm not alone in my confusion! The differences in vowel pronunciation ancient vs. modern (with Koine somewhere in between) are the START of the problem to the dipthong pronunciation. If one speaks Greek as one speaks English or German (sounds formed differently or in a back of the mouth rather than the "front" as my first "Greek school" teacher used to say), the dipthongs are difficult. If dipthongs are pronounced "dentally" (as in Spanish or Italian) using the "ancient" vowel sounds and these are spoken quickly (almost slurring) one can hear how the modern dipthong sounds came from the ancient, af for +¦-à , for example. At least that's my observation.
My father understands and speaks Pontic Greek which is supposedly a more direct descendent of the ancient (and presumably closer to Koine). It does seem slightly more gutteral than mainland Greek but I think modern Greeks in Hellas have more of a vocabulary problem handling Pontic than a prounciation issue.
We should continue this via PM?
Demetri

PS: "ow" for Attic, "af" for modern - so it's both. In church you hear "af".
How about something simple: +¦+¦+¦ ?  Tongue
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« Reply #39 on: April 22, 2004, 10:59:01 AM »

Here's what I find strangest of all: The GOA is quite possibly the most "modernist" of the jurisdictions in the US. They've accepted organs and pews, their clergy generally no longer appear as Orthodox clergy, they have downplayed the importance of confession, communion and fasting...all, presumably, in an attempt to "fit in" with the West. Yet, at the same time, this jurisdiction holds more foreign language services than any other. Whose idea was it to do away with the important things which help make us Orthodox, but keep the old language which helps no one?

oh, let me guess...
because they're more interested in being Greek, maybe? Roll Eyes
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« Reply #40 on: April 22, 2004, 12:05:48 PM »

Here's what I find strangest of all: The GOA is quite possibly the most "modernist" of the jurisdictions in the US. They've accepted organs and pews, their clergy generally no longer appear as Orthodox clergy, they have downplayed the importance of confession, communion and fasting...all, presumably, in an attempt to "fit in" with the West. Yet, at the same time, this jurisdiction holds more foreign language services than any other. Whose idea was it to do away with the important things which help make us Orthodox, but keep the old language which helps no one?

oh, let me guess...
because they're more interested in being Greek, maybe? Roll Eyes

Dear neworthodox,
I will try to be as polite as possible - too bad we don't have a smiley face shaking its head. Here's what I find strangest of all:
Actually I find the AOC the more "modernist" in many respects, but guess what? It doesn't bother me. I do not find their faith to be less Orthodox nor do I think you can prove the GOA has a corrupt version of Orthodoxy based on pews and organs. Those are mere trappings and small "t" items that mean nothing except to those who wish to feel as if they are SuperOrthodox or some such thing. Incredibly you bash the GOA for pews and organs and then complain about their use of Greek - one of the two original languages of the Church - the language nearly all of the patristics are written in, the language the Divine Liturgy was developed in, the language nearly all hymms were composed in originally, the language of the New Testament. How's that "modernist"? You cannot complain about one thing and flip out when the GOA adheres to another small "t", can you?
I attend a Slavic (ACROD) parish. We have pews. Some use them, some don't . Just because they are there doesn't mean one must use them.
Three miles away is a Ukrainian parish -Slavic, with pews , all Slavonic and they will readily let you know they want to stay "all Ukie".
Four miles from them is a new ROCOR parish - pews and 50/50 English/Slavonic
30 miles north of me, an OCA parish - guess what? Yep, pews. (English)

I never feel that I've experienced a less-than-Orthodox liturgy in any of them (and, no, I don't use the pews Smiley )

My home GOA parish in VA is old, mostly Greeks, has pews, organ and uses Greek/Eng - 60/40%.
A new GOA parish in nearby Va Beach has pews from an existing facility, doesn't use the organ, and uses English 95% - Why 95%? Because the majority of the congregation asked for it (and I know it was hard on the 70 year old priest to switch to English - he was my deacon when I was an altarboy 40 years ago- but he made the switch).
 
If you attend an OCA parish, why do you care what "the Greeks" do and how does any ethnic tradition affect the True Faith or make it less Orthodox?

Demetri
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« Reply #41 on: April 22, 2004, 01:35:24 PM »

Do I care (actually, really) what other Orthodox churches do? Nope. I'm just too happy to have found Orthodoxy. But my (own,personal, admittedly limited, as I have not met every single Greek-American or attended every GOA parish church) is that some Greek-Americans that I have personally met and observed are interested in maintaining ethnic identity to the exclusion of others. Do I love Byzantiine chant? Yep. And I loved hearing the Gospel in Greek for the first time, even though I didn't understand a word of it. And the issue of language is an extremely divisive one, as the Greek-Americans that I know and work with argue about this nearly every day. Do I care that some churches have pews? Absolutely not. I'm just glad to have a place to sit down for a little when my feet are killing me. Do I care that some churches use organs? Why should I? Was my post vicious or slanderous? Not intentionally. Aren't we all family?
Will I post here again?
Probably not, since it causes such a strain on others to respond politely and since I seem to cause antagonism.
Life is too short and as I said before, I'm just happy to have found Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #42 on: May 06, 2004, 11:42:01 AM »

Just like to point out a random fact...
In Russia, at the Great Council in 1918 (same one that chose St. Tihon as patriarch) in the agenda there was listed a discussion on adding organs to the liturgy.  As everyone knows, the council was rudely interupted by the Bolshivik Revolution, the discussion never happened, and after that people had more important things to worry about that organs in churches.  (Also just wanted to point out that the Anglicans had there representatives at this council, very <<gasp>> ecumenical.
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« Reply #43 on: May 06, 2004, 01:54:58 PM »

Bit off the topic, but...

Anybody know when organs were introduced in the West?  Also, what was the reaction in the East?

This comes from someone who isn't terribly sure why organs are to be universally despised in Orthodoxy.  One will say, "Well, the Fathers condemned it, saying we should focus on the 'strings of our hearts' rather than the strings of our instruments."  Fair enough, and I can see the point, since instruments can be a distraction.  Yet, a similar argument is made against burning incense in the Early Church (our prayers should be our incense), and we all use incense now.  Why accept one and not the other?

Thoughts on any or all comments?
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« Reply #44 on: May 06, 2004, 02:01:37 PM »

because while we were being eaten in the colliseum during the Christian persecutions of Pagan Roman Emperors they were playing Organs, just like in Baseball games we would often hear Organs too.
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« Reply #45 on: May 06, 2004, 03:15:24 PM »

They were burning incense to idols while the martyrs were being martyred also, not a strong arguement.
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« Reply #46 on: May 06, 2004, 03:23:34 PM »

History of the Pipe Organ, beginnings through 800 A.D.:

http://panther.bsc.edu/~jhcook/OrgHist/begin.htm

Started, apparently by a Greek in Alexandria.

Ebor

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« Reply #47 on: May 06, 2004, 04:20:29 PM »

Nice article, Ebor -- anyone know how the eastern churches reacted to all this?

Still curious as to why they're not accepted.
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« Reply #48 on: May 06, 2004, 07:00:44 PM »

They were burning incense to idols while the martyrs were being martyred also, not a strong arguement.

I agree, Deacon Lance. I now am beginning to question all the bad-mouthing that the Greek parishes are taking over organs after viewing this thread.
I tended to agree about "modernizations"  before, but now think I need to re-visit my thinking on organs, and pews and those that dwell on trivialities in their zeal to appear more Orthodox (as if that phrase makes sense).

Demetri
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« Reply #49 on: May 06, 2004, 10:44:33 PM »

Sorry, maybe I'm just tired.  But I just don't see anything wrong with having an organ in church.   From what I've read they seem to be found in GOA parishes in the US and I would gather that they got there because some hardworking immigrants wanted to have what they considered good things in their churches.  Considering how long organs have been extant, I don't see how they're "moderizations".  And I *Don't* see how having instruments playing is somehow not honouring God in music.  The human voice is wonderful and so is music played on instruments.  We have both due to God's creation.

Sometimes this seems to come across as proving ones zeal by being as different as possible from any Western Christian church.  Well, there are some of those who didn't/don't allow any instruments either, but only the human voice. John Calvin wrote against it:

http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/InstCalv.htm

As well as others.
http://www.gty.org/~phil/dabney/organs.htm

Part of their dislike seems to have been along the lines of "The RC's/English Church(Anglicans I'd gather/etc use instruments. We're not like Them.  We're serious believers, so we don't use instruments."  
 
My apologies for sounding cranky.

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« Reply #50 on: May 06, 2004, 11:48:32 PM »

I agree, Deacon Lance. I now am beginning to question all the bad-mouthing that the Greek parishes are taking over organs after viewing this thread.
I tended to agree about "modernizations"  before, but now think I need to re-visit my thinking on organs, and pews and those that dwell on trivialities in their zeal to appear more Orthodox (as if that phrase makes sense).

Demetri

Pews inhibit prostrations although I am not a stickler about them.  Organs though have got to go. Period.  They ruin Byzantine Chant.  If we want more congregational participation, it won't happen until the organ is removed.

Byzantine chant is so beautiful, especially in English.  Organs just ruin the whole experience.

anastasios
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« Reply #51 on: May 07, 2004, 01:16:35 AM »

Considering how long organs have been extant, I don't see how they're "moderizations".  And I *Don't* see how having instruments playing is somehow not honouring God in music.  The human voice is wonderful and so is music played on instruments.  We have both due to God's creation.

Sometimes this seems to come across as proving ones zeal by being as different as possible from any Western Christian church.

Well put, Ebor.

Anastasios -- I see your point about Byzantine chant being inhibited by organ music -- but what about Russian chant?  A lot of the things we sing in Divine Liturgy (by Bortniansky (sp?), for example) would sound fabulous with some accompaniment, I think.
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« Reply #52 on: May 07, 2004, 01:20:20 AM »

Pedro,

Ugh, no way.  I don't like many of the Russian choral compositions anyway. Smiley  I prefer Znamenny chant and Kievan chant.  My favorite chant though is Carpatho-Rusyn prostopinje which is sung congregationally.

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« Reply #53 on: May 07, 2004, 01:56:40 AM »

I don't know, Pedro...I think a lot of Russian choral stuff would sound horrible with accompaniment.  I shudder to think of an organ playing Bortniansky's Cherubic Hymn with a choir.
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« Reply #54 on: May 07, 2004, 12:02:19 PM »

Pedro, I think an organ would really throw people with Russian choral music.  The Russian choral tradition has become so elaborate & advanced, that acompaniment (sp?) would push it over the top (and there are already peices that are over the top even without it).  
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« Reply #55 on: May 07, 2004, 12:21:00 PM »

If we want more congregational participation, it won't happen until the organ is removed.

Removing the organ isn't going to help that, necessarily. Where there is a tradition of non-participation, the presence or absence of an organ isn't going to make a difference.
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« Reply #56 on: May 07, 2004, 04:14:50 PM »

Removing the organ isn't going to help that, necessarily. Where there is a tradition of non-participation, the presence or absence of an organ isn't going to make a difference.

Very true; my wife and I are both in our church's choir and it bugs us to no end that we (the choir) are almost the ONLY ones you can hear singing in our Church.

Quote
ania: Pedro, I think an organ would really throw people with Russian choral music.  The Russian choral tradition has become so elaborate & advanced, that acompaniment (sp?) would push it over the top (and there are already peices that are over the top even without it).

OK, so I could be off here.  We just have a "Blessed Be the Name of the Lord" that I would love to hear w/an organ; that's what prompted my initial comment.  By "over the top," I assume you mean that people would be less inclined to treat it as prayer and more inclined to treat it as a concert?
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« Reply #57 on: May 07, 2004, 04:35:20 PM »

Keble and Pedro,

I am very aware of this.  Choirs help obscure congregational paticipation if they are not used correctly as well.  The priest has to actively prod the people until they participate, and it has to be gentle enough not to alientate them.

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« Reply #58 on: May 07, 2004, 04:47:56 PM »

Keble and Pedro,

I am very aware of this.  Choirs help obscure congregational paticipation if they are not used correctly as well.  The priest has to actively prod the people until they participate, and it has to be gentle enough not to alientate them.

anastasios
I have to agree here. If they would just turn the volume down -way down - it wouldn't be so bad. I like to be able to hear my own voice when I sing (not speaking as to what the rest of the congregation thinks of my meager talents, of course).

Demetri
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« Reply #59 on: May 07, 2004, 04:58:46 PM »

I have to agree here. If they would just turn the volume down -way down - it wouldn't be so bad.

From my point of view, though, I have to wonder: if we "turned the volume down," would Father just be responding to mumbled, feeble "Lord have mercies"?
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« Reply #60 on: May 07, 2004, 05:33:09 PM »

Pedro,

At first, yes.  But when the people see that no one is going to pick up the slack for them, and Father encourages them, they will respond.  I have been to a parish where congregational Byzantine Chanting was restored.

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« Reply #61 on: May 07, 2004, 05:40:59 PM »

I don't know if I am totally for congregational singing. Yes, it encourages more participation in the service, but at the same time God has each given us certain gifts. Some have not been given the gift of having a musical ear. Bad singing definately does not create a prayerful atmosphere.
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« Reply #62 on: May 07, 2004, 05:59:05 PM »

No, and I know this because the singing in my parish can be bad often enough (all congregational singing...it's not so much bad singing as it is people who can't sing for ____ singing loud).  But if they want to, they can be good, and when they are good...well, my parish's Liturgy could beat up your parish's Liturgy any day of the week.  Tongue
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« Reply #63 on: May 07, 2004, 07:25:12 PM »

No, and I know this because the singing in my parish can be bad often enough (all congregational singing...it's not so much bad singing as it is people who can't sing for ____ singing loud).  But if they want to, they can be good, and when they are good...well, my parish's Liturgy could beat up your parish's Liturgy any day of the week.  Tongue

It may sound good but... God can't hear Monophysites.  Wink
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« Reply #64 on: May 08, 2004, 08:34:14 PM »

If God can't hear Monophysites, then the God of the Orthodox is not all powerful.  Tongue
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« Reply #65 on: May 08, 2004, 08:46:50 PM »

If God can't hear Monophysites, then the God of the Orthodox is not all powerful.  Tongue

HA!

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« Reply #66 on: May 09, 2004, 04:39:42 PM »

Pedro,

At first, yes.  But when the people see that no one is going to pick up the slack for them, and Father encourages them, they will respond.  I have been to a parish where congregational Byzantine Chanting was restored.

anastasios

My priest (in our OCA parish) is very much in favor of congregational singing.  As I understand it, it's been used with success in the Carpatho-Russian diocese (ACROD).  He said a very good point, that it's really in-line with traditional America, going back to American congregationalist roots.  Also, it's unrealistic for Americans to become "high-church Russians" or so and to "shush" them up if someone from the congregation starts to sing.  In our parish, even though we have a choir, many from the congregation choose to sing as well.  I see nothing wrong with it.
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« Reply #67 on: May 09, 2004, 10:25:53 PM »

It may sound good but... God can't hear Monophysites.  Wink

HA! back atcher. I reckon God heard my parish singing "Old Hundredth" today.
 Grin

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« Reply #68 on: May 18, 2004, 04:15:42 PM »

HA! back atcher. I reckon God heard my parish singing "Old Hundredth" today.
 Grin

Oh!  Ebor, are you...what?  Episcopalian/Anglican?
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« Reply #69 on: May 19, 2004, 02:45:07 PM »

OK, I must be a rarity indeed -- a convert to Orthodoxy who attends a GOA parish!  And I've been there 22 years!  (In the interest of full disclosure, I admit that I probably would have chosen an OCA parish had one existed in my town 22 years ago.  Today, I drive past thriving Antiochian and OCA parishes to get to my parish, which also has its share of "white people" or "Americans" or "Gentiles" or whatever Greeks call us converts.  Personally, I prefer "WASO" for "White Anglo-Saxon Orthodox.")

Anyway, yes, we have an organ.  I'd rather we weaned ourselves off it, or at least reduced it to the role of giving the pitch, but I don't feel an urge to take an ax to it.  My objection to the organ isn't theological.  I just think that the best choral singing tends to be acapella.

As for Byzantine chant, I've learned to appreciate it only gradually, after hearing it done -- and done well -- in English; my personal tastes run more toward obikhod and four-part harmony on the Russian model.  I praise God for the vast variety of music in Orthodoxy!

As for congregational singing, I can tell you one way to promote it that will NOT work.  Ten years ago, a former priest, zealous to promote congregational singing by decree, purchased a setting of the Divine Liturgy that NOBODY KNEW.  The choir was sight-reading music it had never seen before, and the congregation didn't open its mouth, so, four or five joyless weeks later, the priest pronounced the experiment a failure.
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« Reply #70 on: May 19, 2004, 03:06:35 PM »

Ive never worshipped in an Orthodox parish that had an organ, so I have no experience with that.  I am generally in favor of congregational singing, it requires some work to do it well, and an acceptance on the part of the parishioners that some of the more elaborate, complex arrangements will drop away.  On balance I think the better part is to have congregational singing, because that is the way the liturgy was designed to be done.

On pews, on the other hand, I am very against them, they should be stripped out and burned.  They only serve to create a very un-Orthodox environment in our churches.  Orthodox services are supposed to permit movement around the church to venerate icons, to place candles and the like.  Pews destroy this atmosphere.  Pews also encourage people to sit during parts of the liturgy when they should be standing, as is our tradition.  They also, as pointed out above, really interfere with prostrations, and that gets really messy during Lenten services.  I am more open minded to chairs, because chairs can at least be removed (eg, for certain services, during Lent, etc.).  And I can understand that parishes that purchase a western church building don't have the money to remove the pews.  But it is really beyond me why Orthodox would build a church from the ground up with pews in it, they really ruin the liturgy and the atmosphere of the liturgy.
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« Reply #71 on: May 19, 2004, 03:48:33 PM »

I have to say, Brendan03, that I agree with you 100%; after having been in both a "converted" building that still had pews and my current OCA parish (pewless), I MUCH prefer that there not be pews.  I definitely see the logic behind it.
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« Reply #72 on: May 19, 2004, 08:12:25 PM »

Oh!  Ebor, are you...what?  Episcopalian/Anglican?

I'm sorry, Pedro. I didn't notice that you had posted this yesterday.

Yes, I admit it. I am an Episcopalian/Anglican. But the admins and mods are nice enough to let me hang out here anyway. Cheesy  And I sing in the choir, so I have strong feelings about music too.

Ebor

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« Reply #73 on: May 20, 2004, 11:02:05 AM »

Well...I GUESS I'm OK with talking to you, then.  Wink
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« Reply #74 on: May 20, 2004, 01:14:51 PM »

Well...I GUESS I'm OK with talking to you, then.  Wink

You're not worried about getting Anglican-Cooties?  Grin

In my parish we have an organ, a choir, a congregation that sings, a priest that sings/chants (though I personally think that he sounds like Mel Torme or someone of that ilk at times.  The man could use some voice training). We do hymns, Anthems, Chant (Anglican, Gregorian, occasionally Russian) Music that's over 1000 years old, music that was written last year by one of the choir people,  and sometimes "Praise songs" (but they're not allowed to take over.)

Have you ever heard the joke about the difference between a hymn and an anthem?

Ebor
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« Reply #75 on: August 04, 2004, 11:37:22 AM »

Sorry I know this is a late post but just thought i would add something!

I have been to many Greek Orthodox Churches in Australia (my home land) and I have never seen an organ in any of them, and truly hope I never do. The church i go to here in Spain is GOA and does not use an organ either. As strong as it may be to say this, I doubt I would continue going to any church that introduced an organ. I would prefer to hear bad chanting than good organ music.

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« Reply #76 on: August 04, 2004, 11:52:45 AM »

BTW - According to the book "From Mars Hill to Manhattan", the first organ in the Greek Church was introduced by Athenagoras, who at that time was the Metropolitan of Corfu, in the 1920's.

Then when he became Archbishop of North and South America he pushed to have it introduced in the American Churches to make Orthodoxy "more palatable" to western ears.

Interesting.
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« Reply #77 on: August 04, 2004, 12:01:37 PM »

when he became Archbishop of North and South America he pushed to have it introduced in the American Churches to make Orthodoxy "more palatable" to western ears.

Interesting.

interesting but i find the most common reaction to the old traditional chanting is that it is beautiful because it IS different to the western style. it is often the music of our churches that bring westerners to us in the beginning. Smiley
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« Reply #78 on: August 04, 2004, 12:20:20 PM »

interesting but i find the most common reaction to the old traditional chanting is that it is beautiful because it IS different to the western style. it is often the music of our churches that bring westerners to us in the beginning. Smiley

True... but that is today.

You have to remember that back in the 1920's and 1930's cultural differences were NOT accepted and cellebrated like they are today.  Back then, to be different was a bad thing.

Athenagoras wanted Greeks assimilated into America. He became an American citizen as soon as he could and wanted to bring the west to Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #79 on: August 04, 2004, 12:30:08 PM »

Cool. That I can respect. It is very difficult in trying to maintain an old-style religion in a very modernised world. I suppose some thigns have to give. I suppose we all have to choice to accept some of these changes or not. I just hope we don't see more schisms as time goes on.

Thanks for the info Tom.
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« Reply #80 on: August 04, 2004, 12:55:14 PM »

All that being said -- I HATE organs in the church.
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« Reply #81 on: August 04, 2004, 01:01:08 PM »

I just can't imagine what you would do with an organ in a Greek church!
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« Reply #82 on: August 04, 2004, 01:02:49 PM »

Yeah, they suck a** and should be gotten rid of.

Oh, what was this topic about?  I guess I'll read the most recent posts. Grin
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« Reply #83 on: August 04, 2004, 01:11:16 PM »

I just can't imagine what you would do with an organ in a Greek church!


Well, those Greek churches that DO use organs are not utilizing Byzantine chant -- they are utilizing the western 4 part harmony.
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« Reply #84 on: August 04, 2004, 03:23:36 PM »

I just can't imagine what you would do with an organ in a Greek church!


I can...you could unplug the blasted thing  Cool

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« Reply #85 on: August 05, 2004, 08:49:43 AM »

The organs in most Greek Orthodox churches simply play 4 part Western harmony along with the Church.  The GOA parish here in my town doesn't us any traditional Byzantine music that I know of.  Most of what they sing sounds like the Russian music in the OCA, except that the organ plays along with it while the choir sings in Greek.  I've heard the Greeks play Bortniansky on the organ more than once.  LOL
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« Reply #86 on: August 16, 2004, 05:20:59 PM »

I have an easier solution. Americans join the choir then agitate that ALL chanting and and singing be in ENGLISH!

THAT would solve the problem of having to go to Greece to find a chanter.


Here's an even better solution. Insist on congregational singing in English! "Let everything hath breath prais the Lord!"
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« Reply #87 on: August 16, 2004, 05:43:29 PM »

Yep. That would be the best solution.
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« Reply #88 on: October 06, 2004, 10:48:13 PM »

In a few conversations with some older GOA priests I have been given some additional info on the whole pew and organ thing....
When they first came to this country (with no priests, might i add), the greeks, when looking to start churches), were often only able to afford purchasing existing churches (versus building new ones, as greeks are wont to do now, almost excessively).  Inevitably, these churches had *gasp* pews and organs, which were foreign to these folk... Thus, they became part of the worship life for these people, and when they were able to build their own churches, they liked these American things so much they kept them.

I'm sure the immigrants from Russia and E. Europe went through similar experiences to some degree, thus partially explaining their presence in some OCA and other parishes.

That being said, the organ has no place in a church - the only musical instrument should be the human voice.  While I grew up GOA and love byzantine music, i can appreciate the 4-part harmony - as long as everyone is singing the same thing at the same time.  Once you start having different sections on different words, it confuses the people and turns worship into a performance (which i hate from everyone - the byzantine cantors, western musicians, etc).
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« Reply #89 on: October 06, 2004, 10:55:10 PM »

They need to have cantors and English singing in the congregation together.

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« Reply #90 on: October 07, 2004, 10:00:13 AM »

ORGANS,  BLAH!
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« Reply #91 on: October 07, 2004, 05:30:44 PM »

That might depend on *who* is 'a capella'-ing, maybe.

Sorry,  liking or not liking organ music in church, it  seems to me, might be personal taste and other factors like one grew up with and what sounds good with certain musics.  Organ doesn't sound right with Byz. Chant, that's just the way it is.  It doesn't mean that "Organs Are Evil" or something like that, imho.

I personally do not like Byzantine Chant.  It does nothing for me in being conducive to worship.  But my taste or preference is not a Law of The Universe (pat. pending)  Others can worship with it.  Otoh, neither is anyone else's preferences to be the Rule except for God, since He *does* make the laws of the Universe.  He also made humans with music and the ability to make instruments, play them, compose and sing.  And humans have used all this to praise him and create beautiful things all over the world and across the span of millenia.

I know of no place in Scripture where God has said "NO instrumental music."  I recall reading how certain intruments (cymbals, bells?) are a tradition amoungst iirc Ethiopian Christians (this was some while ago here, the deaconess plays them...I'll have to look for it.)

And remember, the organ was invented in Greece.  Wink

Ebor

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« Reply #92 on: October 07, 2004, 05:44:54 PM »

I agree, JoeS, if congregational chanting.

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« Reply #93 on: October 07, 2004, 08:24:46 PM »

Sorry,  liking or not liking organ music in church, it  seems to me, might be personal taste and other factors like one grew up with and what sounds good with certain musics.  Organ doesn't sound right with Byz. Chant, that's just the way it is.  It doesn't mean that "Organs Are Evil" or something like that, imho.

I personally do not like Byzantine Chant.  It does nothing for me in being conducive to worship.  But my taste or preference is not a Law of The Universe (pat. pending)  Others can worship with it.  Otoh, neither is anyone else's preferences to be the Rule except for God, since He *does* make the laws of the Universe.  He also made humans with music and the ability to make instruments, play them, compose and sing.  And humans have used all this to praise him and create beautiful things all over the world and across the span of millenia.

I know of no place in Scripture where God has said "NO instrumental music."  I recall reading how certain intruments (cymbals, bells?) are a tradition amoungst iirc Ethiopian Christians (this was some while ago here, the deaconess plays them...I'll have to look for it.)

And remember, the organ was invented in Greece.  Wink

Ebor

edited for syntax  
In the Psalms David talks about praising God with various instruments, so I think it's more of a cultural thing than anything else whether or not they're used.  When it comes to music, I think people should just accept whatever it is their church does musically, whether it be Byzantine chant, Russian 4-part chant, or whatever, so long as God is praised.  If the music doesn't do it for you right away, it will with time, once you get used to it.  No use causing division over it.  I had to get used to Byzantine chant myself, it's a little (or a lot) austere for my natural tastes.  There are a thousand ways to praise God; it's the words, not the music, that make the liturgy.  So overall I think I'm agreeing with you lol  Smiley
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« Reply #94 on: October 07, 2004, 11:31:19 PM »

Quote
I recall reading how certain intruments (cymbals, bells?) are a tradition amoungst iirc Ethiopian Christians (this was some while ago here, the deaconess plays them...I'll have to look for it.)

Ebor,

I also recall reading something about the Ethiopian ORthodox Church using some kind of instruments during their liturgy, although I cannot recall what they were. When I visited the local Coptic ORthodox Church they had used cymbals during their liturgy and I have to say that I did not find it distracting, matter of fact I enjoyed them! I'd highly recommend that everyone should visit a Coptic Orthodox Church, even if your only reason would be to see how their churches,  liturgies and traditions differ from your own Church's.

I think the question of instument usage in the ORiental Orthodox Churches would be an interesting topic to bring up in the OO'dox forum.

In Christ,
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« Reply #95 on: October 14, 2004, 12:48:29 PM »

Yes, David says to praise with tymbral, etc.  But that must be taken into context: instruments were not allowed in the Jewish temple.  They were played outside the temple.  The focus of worship is the act of giving from yourself, and only yourself, without assistance from an organ, or whatever.  That's why I also prefer learning the services by heart, so that one can say the prayers and be able to focus on exactly what they're saying, versus reading which often isnt condusive to meditation on the meaning of the prayers.
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« Reply #96 on: January 21, 2005, 06:31:34 PM »

The GO church i go to was just built two years ago. (the old one just got too small apparently)  I know there is an organ up there because they do use it sometimes, but the choir doesnt usually sing n the summer, and we have great cantors.  I started going in the sunmmer, so when fall came and the choir came back it sounded very odd to me!

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« Reply #97 on: January 29, 2005, 11:22:53 PM »

Ehem..........a quote from Stravinsky:

"The ogan quavers at an erratic rate , making it impossible to stay on pitch with or without it. Besides, the Monster does not Breathe!! Grin"

Such is the case with the piano as well. It has what is called "Tempered Tuning
" wherein the strings are tuned slightly off to produce harmonics quickly. But because of the loss of tune, the singer/chorus that practices and sings with it will never truly be in tune. HAve you ever listened to opera singer? Ever notice how they are slightly off from the music, especially in songs with a high tesatura (vocal range)? Ever notice when choruses with alot of piano accompaniment in the or program either go sharp or flat wheile doing a capella music? Yep....blame it on the piano and the organ! Real tuning for the human voice takes place a capella. There, true overtones can be created, and the overtone series can really be heard if they are perfectly in tune. Roll Eyes Shocked Afro

I have to say that what makes the Orhodox music so different is that it is intended to be sung without instruments and sounds better that way. Adding chords and accompaniment to it would only complicate and indeed destroy both the atmosphere and the flow of the music. It's one of the things that attracted me to the church (not the only thing). Its not easy to sing A capella, but it is so worth it. One parish I was a member of just did the service with a pitch pipe and the choral director singing the triad so that everyone got the pitch in their mind and it was GO time. I like that solution, BTW. Cool


Oh, I do like Anglican and Gregorian Chant as well, especially when done correctly (no inst.). It was made for the church, and is a joy to listen to. I wonder if any would have objectiosn to using those in a liturgy. Oh I know that we have our tones and I think they are great! Wouldn't trade them! But since they were written and practised mostly durring the periods befroe the Great Schism, I donet see anything wrong with using them if they can fit into the liturgy. Maybe as a troparia setting or a Stikeria setting. Any opinions? What do the clergy think?

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« Reply #98 on: February 09, 2005, 11:40:36 PM »

Speaking of chanting, does anyone have any advice on how one might learn to chant properly, either in English or Greek, other than going to Holy Cross? The Antiochian parish I attend has a self taught chanter, who travels a lot so I fill in when she's gone when I can, but I find it hard to learn as fast as I would like to without a mentor.




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« Reply #99 on: February 09, 2005, 11:45:30 PM »

Pick up a copy of "A Guide to the Music of the Eastern Orthodox Church." it's out of print but you can get it through interlibrary loan.  It teaches the theory well.

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« Reply #100 on: February 09, 2005, 11:53:34 PM »


Thank you Anastasios! I'll try to find it.
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« Reply #101 on: February 10, 2005, 12:29:19 AM »

Also you might want to try this site http://chant.hchc.edu/ it is run by Holy Cross and I know a couple of people who have found it helpful.
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« Reply #102 on: February 11, 2005, 12:53:36 AM »

Speaking of chanting, does anyone have any advice on how one might learn to chant properly, either in English or Greek, other than going to Holy Cross? The Antiochian parish I attend has a self taught chanter, who travels a lot so I fill in when she's gone when I can, but I find it hard to learn as fast as I would like to without a mentor.


Psalti Boy,
since you intend to learn Chant and you have a responsibility in a church, I advise you to go to an official school if it's available in your area. it's more practical and easier than following books and web pages that's according to my personel expirience.

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« Reply #103 on: February 11, 2005, 02:57:29 AM »



Psalti Boy,
since you intend to learn Chant and you have a responsibility in a church, I advise you to go to an official school if it's available in your area.  it's more practical and easier than following books and web pages that's according to my personel expirience.

Protopsalti

Protopsalti,
Those are rather few and far between in the USA.  But yes, you are definitely right about learning from others (as in people) being much better than from the Web or books.
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« Reply #104 on: February 16, 2005, 12:48:50 PM »

[quote author=Ian Lazarus link=topic=3224.msg67183#msg67183 date=1107055373]
Ehem..........a quote from Stravinsky:



I have to say that what makes the Orhodox music so different is that it is intended to be sung without instruments and sounds better that way. Adding chords and accompaniment to it would only complicate and indeed destroy both the atmosphere and the flow of the music. It's one of the things that attracted me to the church (not the only thing). Its not easy to sing A capella, but it is so worth it. One parish I was a member of just did the service with a pitch pipe and the choral director singing the triad so that everyone got the pitch in their mind and it was GO time. I like that solution, BTW. Cool


Oh, I do like Anglican and Gregorian Chant as well, especially when done correctly (no inst.). It was made for the church, and is a joy to listen to. I wonder if any would have objectiosn to using those in a liturgy. Oh I know that we have our tones and I think they are great! Wouldn't trade them! But since they were written and practised mostly durring the periods befroe the Great Schism, I donet see anything wrong with using them if they can fit into the liturgy. Maybe as a troparia setting or a Stikeria setting. Any opinions? What do the clergy think?

Peace ad Butterda (they tells me not to but I still drinks it!),

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Quote
[/color][/color]

All, There is a fascinating history of Byzantine music and Hymnography by E. Wellesz that reviews much of the history of music tradition in the church. I will summarize here. The organ was used several centuries before the Schism, having been a gift to the west to King Pepin by Constantine V of Constantinople. The historical writings indicate that Constantinople was viewed as 'supreme' because it had the organ, and this gift was an equalizer. In the West, monks, and one Pope became the organ builders during this time. Before this time, originally, the organ (invented a few centuried BC by Ctebesius, water powered, called the Hydraulis) was used in celebrations and, as one of the few instruments of the time, had a reputation associated with 'orgies' and the like. Hence it wasn't used in worship. However, over time the Byzantine Christian Empire used it for formal ceremonies and it began to take on a different reputation. All of the ceremonies of the Emperor were officiated by the Patriarch... church and state were one. The tradition of congregational singing was banned early in Constantinople to allow for trained psatltis to praise God and other trained chanters to exalt the Emperor. This would happen during processions, side by side, with the organ in the procession, two groups of chanters for the Emperor and two groups of psaltis for the Patriarch, chanting antiphonally. These would end in the church. The Byzantine chant itself was not unique music, - it was the popular music of the era, with history back to Pythagoras.. it was the only choice from which to pick church music. The specific modes were chosen for the feeling they conveyed which paralleled the scriptures they were to be used with, however they were in existence long before. People would know the specific feeling of each tone, having been familiar with the music of the time. Wellesc notes that near the end of the Empire, that a traveller noted in his travel notes that there were organs in all the churches and they were used on certain days throughout the week. Note that monasteries favored little singing or chanting ,less than the churches, so the tradition was not there. Wellesz speculates that the organs may have been used to hold the ison, or for practice.. Since they were made of gold, they were likely plundered during the fall. Wellesz also comments that the Byzantine chant used today is different from the early chant, which was more diatonic, having been influenced later under Turkish rule. The organ, which was an engineering miracle, captured the air of the universe and turned it into beautiful sound.. and for some it symbolized the cosmos in church, and the connection between man and the universe. Hence its use in church. It was picked not for spectacle, but to aid in solemnity and the feeling of meditation and the scriptures. In Russia, where Moscow was established by Peter the Great as the "new Rome", great composers were commisioned to compose for the church.. And here you have Tchaik., and others. Again, the music of the Russian church incorporated some folk or popular tradition in its music,and it is easy to hear the difference between Russian chant and Byzantine chant. But the organ was never gifted to Russia.

If one considers the thinking behind the choice of music that happened in the early church, one point becomes clear: The music was chosen to reinforce the the feeling of the words... The challenge for Orthodoxy today is what happens when the Byzantine tradition doesn't follow the ethos of it's original intent and doesn't convey the scriptural feelings to todays parishioners? Is that Orthodox tradition?? While I personally enjoy it, some parishioners view it as awful, ear wrenching belly aching (esp if it's in Greek, but sometimes even in English) and this takes away from the words. At the same time, the traditional organ has few uses but church music.... and the music written for it was done for the exact same reason as the tones were chosen: to convey the feeling of the words. So, as long as the words are the focus, and the organ the support (not the other way around), this follows the spirit of the tradition and helps non-ethnic Americans worship in the Orthodox faith. Thiis is why the GOA uses the organ, and has established a new Orthodox tradition of music for the church, with composers of Orthodox music writing for chanters, choirs, and organs.As an instrument, it is less 'even toned' than the piano, and overtones are it's magic.  America is a new frontier for Orthodoxy and has in it all of the challenges presented years ago as Christianity spread throughout the East, West, North and South. It's all of that roled into one country and requires evolution of tradition, just as it evolved in the past.   If you check out some of the new church music being written by Orthoodox composers, there are elements of Byzantine and non-Byzantine sounds, to help everyone pray...

 
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« Reply #105 on: February 16, 2005, 01:11:45 PM »

    I've never been to a Greek Church that uses them...but we use an organ in my WR parish because it aids in the music and atmosphere, not hamper.   A good organist can send shivers up your spine with a haunting grined- like the bagpipes.  But if you want a real organ, you don't use those that you can easaly move around, you have it installed.
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« Reply #106 on: February 22, 2005, 05:40:09 PM »

The choir director at my Carpatho-Russian church tried to get organs and guitars in the church. My father who is the cantor fought to keep them out and fortunately he succeeded. The choir director has been at odds with him since.

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« Reply #107 on: February 22, 2005, 06:02:43 PM »

The choir director at my Carpatho-Russian church tried to get organs and guitars in the church. My father who is the cantor fought to keep them out and fortunately he succeeded. The choir director has been at odds with him since.

-Nick

Wow!
This would never fly at my wife's Carpatho-Russian parish. This old Greek is on your father's side 100%

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« Reply #108 on: February 22, 2005, 10:50:34 PM »

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This old Greek is on your father's side 100%

And now, from our studios in Burbank, California, its "THIS OLD GREEK!" with your host, Bob Villa.

On today's show, we'll be regrouting the basement............. laugh


(sorry, couldnt resist! Grin)

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« Reply #109 on: February 23, 2005, 09:20:30 AM »


Naw...it would be a Windex infomercial
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« Reply #110 on: February 23, 2005, 10:35:43 AM »

I was going to say that....or the spit-o-matic (for roasting in your yard) with all the attachments!

NO disrespect intended, its just that i have seen a house such as the one in that movie, Greek flag on the garage door and all...and I love them for it! 
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« Reply #111 on: February 23, 2005, 11:39:25 PM »



ANATHEMA! I hate organs! If I wanted to hear organs I would go to a Protestant church. But get this - at St. Sophia the chanter, instead of an organ, has started to use this machine that just does the ison (the single note that you hear the background male choir members doing in the background). He got it from Greece. It only has 16 keys for the upper and lower scale (Ne Pa Vu Ga De Ke Zo Nii) and is basically a recording of a person doing the ison which is constant when you hold down the key.

As a member of the choir who used to show up and help do this, I am not happy about it. This was the only way I could contribute when he was doing strict chanting.




Toms! LOL! I love your stand of Tradition against the organs. With thee, and garantee you have all the holy Fathers of the Church backing up on this one! To these modernization of the Church Hymnology with the use of organs, and those who support this, Anathema!

Good Job!
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« Reply #112 on: February 24, 2005, 01:25:20 PM »

I just discovered that it isnt so bad if I sit closer to the front than i have been... laugh
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« Reply #113 on: February 26, 2005, 02:11:16 AM »

" Again, with our fresh zeal for perfectionism, on finding a discrepancy between what we have found out in a book and what is done, we try to enforce the thing read and dismiss the thing done. The thing done just happens to be the on-going prayer life of the Church. When we attempt to drive the wedge of our opinions between the faithful and their prayer life, the most likely result is that we will drive a wedge between ourselves and the Church. In any case, the last thing the Church needs is a re-enactment of the Protestant Reformation masquerading as purest Orthodoxy. "
Father George Johnsons, "Music as Prayer", www. roca.org.


Let us not be tempted to fall into the trap of witch trials or create the 5th crusade...people can have personal preferences... but the organ in the GO church was introduced in America in 1929...When C. Jacovidis, migrated from Cyprus, having grown up in a monastery and graduating as a teacher... He then came to America and formed the first mixed choir in Norfolk, wiith organ music... The organist just retired at the age of 90, though Christos passed on years ago. Christos became a composer and much of his work is in use in churches in America. I have heard some psalti speak so horribly vicious on the organ issue... to the point that I believe the devil has possessed them to act so hatefully...anyone with that much hate in their heart should not be a psalti... it is heretical....

And the Russian composer. A. Kastalsky, who wrote a Requiem for voice and instruments(including the organ) in commemoration of war dead, tried to bring the organ to the Russian church...and voted for it in counsel. He was a firm believer in trying to bring Christian unity....yet he wrote liturgies for the Russian church.

With 550 parishes in America, the GOA is a major part of Orthodoxy in this country, and it is not the Greek church of Greece, nor the OCA, nor the church of Russia, but the American Greek Orthodox Church...and by and large it is what supports the Ecumencial Patriarchate...which is the head of all Orthodoxy.... If our Patriarch and his Synod approve the organ use... then that is fine with me...that is what a hierarchical church structure is all about...
.
Take heed of anyone who would turn this topic into a war!... There are some Orthodox (quite a few) for whom the chanting of the psalti (in Greek or English) does nothing for in terms of assiting in prayer, which is what its intent is...
If the organ helps people pray, then so be it.. that is why they are in church!

In XC, D.
 


 

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« Reply #114 on: February 26, 2005, 08:56:27 AM »

I was going to say that....or the spit-o-matic (for roasting in your yard) with all the attachments!

NO disrespect intended, its just that i have seen a house such as the one in that movie, Greek flag on the garage door and all...and I love them for it!

Hmmmm....I have considered flying the Byzantine flag below the Stars and Stripes on the old homestead here, but, well, I do have a roasting spit in backyard  Cheesy
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« Reply #115 on: February 26, 2005, 09:05:07 AM »

...
Let us not be tempted to fall into the trap of witch trials or  create the 5th crusade...people can have personal preferences... but the organ in the GO church was introduced in America in 1929...When C. Jacovidis, migrated from Cyprus, having grown up in a monastery and graduating as a teacher... He then  came to America and formed the first mixed choir in Norfolk, wiith organ music... The organist just retired at the age of 90, though Christos passed on years ago. Christos became a composer and much of his work is in use in churches in America.  I have heard some psalti speak so horribly vicious on the organ  issue... to the point that I believe the devil has possessed them to act so hatefully...anyone with that much hate in their heart should not be a psalti... it is heretical....
...

NORFOLK? My parish started this? I remember the old original church established in 1911 and replaced in 1955.I was baptized there in 1950. No wonder I can't get them to turn the organ even down, much less off (my sister sings in that choir). I'll never live this down here.  Wink

Goods points on the rest of your post, Kizzy.

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« Reply #116 on: February 26, 2005, 01:24:41 PM »

Kizzy,

Psaltis aren't the only people who get that upset--try suggesting to an organist such as yourself that we get rid of organs and they flip out sometimes, too.  I think that obviously we are going to have to phase out organs because they are simply not part of the greater Orthodox tradition, especially as the jurisdictions coalesce into one over the next two or three hundred years--other Orthodox Churches don't think very highly of organs and many non-Greek people I know going to Greek parishes for the first time are suprised by the organ.  I know people like yourself who like the organ but they are a minority in my experience.  Perhaps our "experience" is colored though by the people we speak with the most, and it really is the other way from what you or I are saying Wink

The organ seems to ruin the chant and make the service seem utterly dead to most people.  However, your dichotomy between organ and psalti music doesn't have to stand; while I love psalti music, I think that a better solution for most parishes would be to retain their choir and teach them to sing Byzantine chant. I have seen this done, and it works. It just requires effort.  Also, while we're at it, teach the choir to lead the people instead of supplant them, so that EVERYONE sings it.  If you want to see an example of an entire parish doing Byzantine Chant in unison, check out the Melkite (Eastern Rite Catholic) parish in Washington, DC, Holy Transfiguration.  There, the entire liturgy is done this way and it is simply amazing.  Although I think there are still time for psaltic compositions that are too complex for the congregation, and they might be retained for things like the cherubic hymn where it is beneficial for the people just to bow their heads in reverence and contemplation.

Now to address some of your other points:

Kastalsky and other Russian composers really pushed the limits; to even compose church music like they did seems to many to be foreign to Orthodox tradition. I am glad that traditional Russian CHANTS are making a comeback.  Have you ever seen the difference in execution between a simply chanted hymn in Kievan chant versus one of the Kastalsky bohemoths?  Compare the two and tell me which is easier to pray to Smiley

The GOA being somehow different than the Church of Greece: culturally maybe but it is still part of the Greek Orthodox Church.  You can't say that being on its own for less than 100 years makes it mature enough to make all of its own decisions.  The GOA has too many tensions and cleavages in its ranks to be its "own" tradition.  And besides, there never will be what you describe because the GOA will coalesce with the OCA and Antiochians in the next 100-200-300 years and it will develope a truly American Orthodox culture--sans the Greek, Russian, or Arab.

The patriarch--who is NOT the head of Orthodoxy--does not even like organ use if you read some of his interviews but leaves it as a concession to those who would freak out if they were taken out.

And finally, they were installed in many parishes not as an aid to prayer but simply so the parish would look more "American."

I don't deny that the organ might benefit a few people in prayer, but the cons outweigh the pros here.

Anastasios
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« Reply #117 on: February 26, 2005, 01:56:24 PM »

Interesting points, Anastasios.
Now that I am finding out details of the history of my own home parish which I've never heard before I wonder if C. Jacovidis whom Kizzy names as bringing organs into the church there picked this up from the Anglican Brits who held Cyprus as a colony back then?

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« Reply #118 on: February 26, 2005, 02:13:14 PM »

Well the person who installed Organs on Crete first was no other than--you guessed it! Meletios!
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« Reply #119 on: February 27, 2005, 12:42:54 PM »

There are 550 GO churches in America, the largest denomination of Orthodoxy here.  The members now more and more are interfaith families.. that is 70% of all marriages that take place in the church are interchristian...and this is the group that the church must hold onto... and their offspring, otherwise, statistically, it will be extinct in 20+years.... The 3rd and 4th generation like choral music, and organ accompaniment, and English  chant.  For the most part we use Kevin Lawrence, Anna Gallos, and Tikey Zes liturgical music.   I am in a little start up parish, and we do all of that.  Actually, I am only recently an organist... only 2 years... after being begged by the congregation and clergy to play it... I had to teach myself... But I have gone to churches all over the US, old, new, large, small, modern American, and 'ethnic immigrant'  and they always had the organ... so, the generation of baby boomers that grew up with this hold this as their church experience and prayer tradition... and there are alot of 'boomers'. 
Take away the organ and good number of couples will have their wedding elsewhere....
We have tried to get the congregation to sing... most will not... it is not their tradition or they feel they cannot.... While the Orthodox churches may come closer together.... the greater pull is people from  other Christian faiths that the church must attract and retain if it is to survive... In the end... I believe Greek will dwindle, Chant will be there but it will evolve, and so will the organ....

In any case, when I speak of the Patriarch, it is his role as 'first among equals' I was referring to. 
My point on psaltis going to war: it's one thing for each individual to have their preference (for whatever reason), it's another to insist the otherperson  is less Christian because of their preference...Somehow psaltis I have heard from  (not all of course) think it is their right to make this judgement... and in doing so, remove themselves from the church itself...








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« Reply #120 on: February 27, 2005, 02:50:11 PM »

Kizzy,

If we are putting in organs to make ourselves look like "everyone else" since we have interfaith marriages, you will see in 1-2 generations that the Orthodox Church will be dead. If we don't have something unique to offer, we will go the way of mainline Protestantism in this country: on its last leg.  The Antiochian Archdiocese--which statistics show is the fastest growing Orthodox Church in America--does not have organs (except in a small handful of parishes in the North) and no one seems to mind.

I'm sorry you couldn't get your congregation to sing. I have been in enough where the people do sing to know it is possible at least in some places.  And most Greeks in any parish will sing the hirmoi of Christmas and the Lamentations of Holy Saturday Matins, so I would think there must be some way to get them to make the connection between that experience and everyday life. But I'm not at your parish so I won't presume to tell you how to do things.

Anastasios
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« Reply #121 on: February 27, 2005, 05:06:23 PM »

PS Kizzy,

Even though I don't like organs the fact that you take the time to volunteer at your parish is important and to be commended. We need more people like you who are so inclined, especially in this day and age of "Drive through" Church services.

Anastasios
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« Reply #122 on: February 27, 2005, 05:22:07 PM »

ps, Thanks Anastasio... actually, I have found the entire  church music experience to be uplifting. I am in a small start up, and sometimes it turns out that I am chanter, choir and organist all by myself....I never thought that was something I could do!


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« Reply #123 on: February 27, 2005, 05:38:47 PM »

According to a rep of the GO archdiocese, the only faith growing in America is the Evangelical faith.  Orthodox growth is traditionally through immigration, and a research project conducted through the Hartford Religious Institute on Orthodoxy concluded that this is still so...Evangelicals are very active on college campuses, and this is the source of their growth..

In the end, the uniqueness of Orthodoxy transcends anything of this world...be it chant, organ, dome, or steeple.... and the faith has survived despite differences in nations and cultures... It's biggest challenge in history was surviving  once it was not a 'state church'...and the people had to fund  it instead of the government..this it has done...(though I might add that some people from the old country had a difficult adjustment with this concept...) 

I think that the church will continue to evolve its music in order to reach the people who need to be reached....

Interesting, the article on C. Jacovidis I just happened to see in a newsletter where he was being recognized for his work, posthumously... The article only mentioned in passing that he formed the first mixed choir in America.... and that his original organist just retired....I don't know that he brought the organ, but writing the music for the church probably solidified it within an Orthodox Liturgical setting...I wonder if he had one in the monastery he was raised in??? He seems to have embraced it from the getgo....

In XC, Kizzy 


 
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« Reply #124 on: March 01, 2005, 05:50:15 AM »

I'm sorry you couldn't get your congregation to sing. I have been in enough where the people do sing to know it is possible at least in some places. And most Greeks in any parish will sing the hirmoi of Christmas and the Lamentations of Holy Saturday Matins, so I would think there must be some way to get them to make the connection between that experience and everyday life. But I'm not at your parish so I won't presume to tell you how to do things.

Anastasios

I, too, am sad that you can't motivate the congregation to sing. In my small, but old Greek parish the choir KNOWS we congregants WILL give them heavy competition. Now that I've convinced the organist to turn down the volume of that thing, we really do have congregational singing with as many in the pews singing as in the choir loft.
I just can't constrain myself from letting loose - after experiencing congregational singing in my wife's Carpatho-Russian (and organless) parish, it comes naturally.
Bit of advice for you in your many roles - IF you must use the organ, moderate the volume and be mindful of the tempo. When the organist cannot play at my Greek parish, the choir comes down into the pews with the rest of us sinners, and the singing togther is much more lively, spirited, and uplifting. In fact if it weren't 4:45AM local time right now, I would practise as I type - but wifey might object.  Smiley
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« Reply #125 on: March 01, 2005, 11:45:59 AM »

One of the most moving things I have seen was at St. Anthony's in one of their chapels...  I was wandering around one Sunday afternoon and happened to walk in and about a dozen lay people of all ages were chanting the paraklesis to the Theotokos... I didn't see a single prayer book either, they sang the entire thing by heart, and the whole group was singing!
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« Reply #126 on: March 01, 2005, 03:42:13 PM »

Its for reasons like what Nektarios is talking about that I detest the use of Organs - they drown out people's voices to a small degree and they dictate the pace and tempo of the service.  As I said before, instruments were not allowed within the inner precincts of the Jewish Temple, and I happen to agree - the only way within the Church proper that we should worship God is with our voices-  this way we can encourage the people around us to sing with us. 

Of course, I know that there is a lot more involved to the issue of congregational singing.  And I know that my experiences in Greek churches should not cloud my vision of how organs are used - the Russians have a much better-developed organ tradition than we do.  But still, there is something to be said for mimicing the angels, who sing their praises to the Lord without the use of these human contraptions.
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« Reply #127 on: March 01, 2005, 04:56:01 PM »

Kizzy, I've been following the discussion on the PSALM  list over the past few days, and I see you making many of the same arguments here as you did there. Unfortunately, I don't think you're going to persuade anyone here. It is simply a fact that the organ is not part of the wider Orthodox tradition, and does not fit with our services, our music, or our history.

Quote
.I wonder if he had one in the monastery he was raised in?

If you can find a cite for any Orthodox monastery anywhere having ever used an organ liturgically, I would be very interested in seeing it.

Quote
I think that the church will continue to evolve its music in order to reach the people who need to be reached.

But why bring the organ into it? It's not making the music any more accessable. If anything, it's the opposite; indeed, I have non-Orthodox friends who dislike Byzantine chant but will tolerate it, but absolutely detest Byzantine chant combined with an organ -- in their view, it's taking a bad thing and mixing it with a good thing, which comes out to be an even worse thing. Me, I like Byzantine chant, but I see trying to mix it with polyphony as similar to taking Coco Puffs and fish soup (both of which are good) and mixing them together. Adding an organ to that is like throwing in some nicely aged port -- all the components are fine individually, but together, they just don't work.
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« Reply #128 on: March 01, 2005, 11:28:49 PM »

Well, the same questions came up here... so I responded.  Seems to me that in this country the wider tradition is that of the organ.. because the GoA is larger... In any case... I'm not trying to persuade anyone... our church can't get it's own act together to be 'united'...too much turf wars... politics...yuk... what gives anyone the idea that persuasion is an Orthodox tradition?Huh  I just answer with historical data that answers a posted question...
If Jacovidis was a certified teacher from a monastery... and he came here and composed for the organ...Why?? He had the reins and could have lead the church music elsewhere... it's not like there were so many churches at that time... someone's post here suggested maybe in Cyprus the organ was an influence from the British.... In any case, here we have a monastic teacher composing liturgical music and using the organ... Perhaps his background certification' created a perception of acceptance...

I think we also need to be careful about  monastic tradition..   'the Handbook of Spiritual Counsel'... which contains the writings of St. Nikodemas..shows how different it is...  His recommendations include: don't bathe, don't have  a pet, don't listen to birds, don't have a plant,etc...Quote: "After the hedonistic sounds of human voices and musical instruments, one must also guard his ears against similar sounds from birds, such as parrots, nightingales, finches, canaries, and other song birds. The same holds true with the barking of small dogs, which are often cared for at great expense in the homes not only of the laity but also of the clergy. I hope and pray that you will avoid the vanity of such things and if you now have such animals in your home, please see to it that they are taken away. "   Wedding Receptions were also discouraged and one Council banned them... And some monasteries advocate against singing and chanting alltogether... preferring silence...Churches evolved audible singing to make sure everyone was saying the same thing the church wanted to be said...no private praying allowed... Remember in all of this: Constantinople was the center of the Theatrical stage as well as the church(long before theater in the West), and everything the Byzantines did was full of pomp...which is why the Latins hated them so much and tried to 'out pomp' them...

So, if we wan't to follow monastic recommendations... everyone ditch your pet, potted plants, and stop taking a bath....

The evolution of the church music will happen as it needs to... and some people say the organ does make the church more solemn and praying in church easier...everyone is different...which is why I believe the tradition will evolve to include chant, polyphonic singing, and also organ accompaniment....



 

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« Reply #129 on: March 01, 2005, 11:56:29 PM »

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Seems to me that in this country the wider tradition is that of the organ.. because the GoA is larger

It is true that the GOA is the largest single jurisdiction in America. However, no single jurisdiction makes up an absolute majority, and the churches using organs are far outnumbered by the churches who are not.

Quote
After the hedonistic sounds of human voices and musical instruments, one must also guard his ears against similar sounds from birds, such as parrots, nightingales, finches, canaries, and other song birds. The same holds true with the barking of small dogs, which are often cared for at great expense in the homes not only of the laity but also of the clergy.

Now, I can agree with this wrt birds -- the little winged rats are only good for grilling. Chihuahuas rule, though, and I'm sure if St. Nikodemos had had one, he would agree with me. ^_^

Obviously, not everything that monks do should be done by the laity as well. When it comes to liturgical practices, however, monasteries have been both great preservers of tradition as well as great innovators -- most of our hymnography, to say nothing of our Typikons, have come from them.. I find it instructive, therefore, that none of them have seen fit to introduce organs into their worship.
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« Reply #130 on: March 04, 2005, 03:35:39 PM »




 
The evolution of the church music will happen as it needs to... and some people say the organ does make the church more solemn and praying in church easier...everyone is different...which is why I believe the tradition will evolve to include chant, polyphonic singing, and also organ accompaniment....



 
Kizzy:
         Very Well Put!

         Michael
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« Reply #131 on: March 13, 2005, 09:17:32 PM »

I visited the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in sacramento today. I haven't been to a greek church for many years. They had an organ playing which sounded very presbyterian/anglican in tone, pews, & stained glass windows on all sides instead of icons  Roll Eyes. Those factors really hampered in my opinion the worship of the people and it felt like a weird blend of high church anglicanism with the Divine Liturgy. I didn't know what to really think of it but it wasn't for me I guess.  Embarrassed
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« Reply #132 on: March 13, 2005, 09:49:16 PM »

Those factors really hampered in my opinion the worship of the people and it felt like a weird blend of high church anglicanism with the Divine Liturgy. I didn't know what to really think of it but it wasn't for me I guess. Embarrassed

I am curious as to how you came to the conclusion that the worship of the people were hampered? The cathedral I believe is rather new, and was built by the congregation of 1000 families, with their input. I go to an old GO church that has stained glass windows and I used to attend St. Paul's cathedral on Long Island - which also was built with stained glass window and icons. However, the icons and windows were installed over the years with donations from people. In the beginning the windows were plain colored glass (in both churches) and the walls were plain, and over time they were transformed into stained glass icons, 'in honor of' certain individuals with donations from their family, and the walls had icon murals. So if the cathedral is new, it will probably have icons added over the years as people donate them. This can be a long process as they are very expensive. But the worship of the people.. how can you say it is hampered?? were they not praying?? How can you tell??
just curious as to how someone makes this judgement..

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« Reply #133 on: March 13, 2005, 11:19:19 PM »

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I am curious as to how you came to the conclusion that the worship of the people were hampered?  The cathedral I believe is rather new, and was built by the congregation of 1000 families, with their input. I go to an old GO church that has stained glass windows and I used to attend St. Paul's cathedral on Long Island - which also was built with stained glass window and icons. However, the icons and windows were installed over the years with donations from people. In the beginning the windows were plain colored glass (in both churches) and the walls were plain, and over time they were transformed into stained glass icons, 'in honor of' certain individuals with donations from their family, and the walls had icon murals.  So if the cathedral is new, it will probably have icons added over the years as people donate them. This can be a long process as they are very expensive.  But the worship of the people.. how can you say it is hampered?? were they not praying?? How can you tell??
just curious as to how someone makes this judgement..

I didn't mean any kind of judgement. It was just an observation I was making between the organ playing and the choir/people trying to get the "perfect" timing. I could tell there were times when it seemed the people wanted to sing throughout parts of the liturgy, but then had to wait for the organ to kick in. That's what I meant that I felt it hampered thier worship. To me I don't want to have to think about when an organ is going to start playing in order for me to start singing. I think it's much more natural for people just to chant the liturgy without any other hindrance. It's much easier for an organ to acompany worship in a western liturgy in my opinion because there is not as much interaction between the priest and laity thus making it somewhat more manageable. The Divine Liturgy is not like this and is much more involved making it harder for an organist to stop and then play through every part of the liturgy and timing is key. If I'm wrong I apologize but that's just how I percieved it. In regards to the stained glass windows also, I wasn't aware this was an Eastern Tradition. I thought it was exclusively western and I wondered why they had them at that greek church because it's one of the oldest greek churches on the west coast. I'm also not a fan of pews, but I understand this is a problem in alot of jurisidicitions.   
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« Reply #134 on: March 14, 2005, 12:30:11 AM »

While I realize that an organ-lead choir is Kizzy's ministry, I tend to agree with Nacho on their use. Last Sunday I was unable to attend church as I was suffering from aggravating an old back injury. I "live-interneted" the Divine Liturgy at St Barbara's in CT. Their organ was so barely audible, being used as a pitch pipe in that it only gave about one bar as a lead, that I had to strain to pick up that it was even used.
Pews are a pain. Period. Kizzy is correct in how they are acquired and that is, as she states, the same for stained glass windows.
I am not aware of canons against stained glass windows per se, but am aware that icons should not be upon anything breakable. Whether this comes from the reaction to the iconoclasts or not I do not know.
Hence, the iconic stained glass windows in my baptismal parish ARE a problem for me while the generic stained glass ones in my current GOA parish (which are not iconic) are not. That stated, I do not let these issues - pews, organs, or windows-  keep me from attending church when visiting my parents.

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« Reply #135 on: March 14, 2005, 11:40:40 AM »

[I  am not aware of canons against stained glass windows per se, but am aware that icons should not be upon anything breakable. Whether this comes from the reaction to the iconoclasts or not I do not know.
Hence, the iconic stained glass windows in my baptismal parish ARE a problem for me while the generic stained glass ones in my current GOA parish (which are not iconic) are not. That stated, I do not let these issues - pews, organs, or windows- keep me from attending church when visiting my parents.]


The Romanians have been 'writing' Icons on glass for centuries.  It is part of their tradition -

http://www.romanian-folklife.ro/Eng/RTC_03.htm

Excerpt:   
   
The Romanian icons dedicated to the Orthodox Christian rite were painted on two types of support: wood (sycamore, cherry, pear, lime, and fir) and glass (bottle-glass, manufactory or industrial glass).Both the icons painted on wood and those painted on glass developed from common iconographic origins, retraceable in the Byzantine iconography perpetuated in the Orthodox Christian milieu to this day. The Byzantine iconographic motifs have been preserved by the peasant icon painter to a large extent, in conformity with churchly cannons, but the interpretation thereof is creative, through the introduction into the religious thematic range of folk, anecdotal, or even jocular themes emerged from the observation of village life. Therein lies the iconographic individuality (and originality) of icon artisans in a traditional Romanian society imbued with holiness, yet conserving a mode of thought prone to rationality and a minute, critical perception of daily facts.
   
=======

Romanian Icons On Glass -

http://byzantium.xyz.ro/photo2.html

Orthodoc   





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« Reply #136 on: March 15, 2005, 02:15:52 PM »

Thanks Orthodoc.
In my usual stupor I had forgotten that there is more breadth in "small t" traditions in Orthodoxy beyond the usual Slavic versus Greek banter most often found on internet fora. Bringing up the Romanians (real Romans) has reminded me of the Church of Georgia (the real Georgia) -  an obvious oversight on my part.  Embarrassed

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« Reply #137 on: March 19, 2005, 01:18:31 PM »

I had never heard that icons were not to be written on breakable media.  I had a long-term plan of mounting some paper icon reprints on wood that I bought from the local Tae Kwon Do center.  Obviously, breakable material... Tongue
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« Reply #138 on: March 22, 2005, 01:14:51 PM »

I think we also need to be careful about monastic tradition.. 'the Handbook of Spiritual Counsel'... which contains the writings of St. Nikodemas..shows how different it is... His recommendations include: don't bathe, don't have a pet, don't listen to birds, don't have a plant,etc...Quote: "After the hedonistic sounds of human voices and musical instruments, one must also guard his ears against similar sounds from birds, such as parrots, nightingales, finches, canaries, and other song birds. The same holds true with the barking of small dogs, which are often cared for at great expense in the homes not only of the laity but also of the clergy. I hope and pray that you will avoid the vanity of such things and if you now have such animals in your home, please see to it that they are taken away. " Wedding Receptions were also discouraged and one Council banned them... And some monasteries advocate against singing and chanting alltogether... preferring silence...

Kizzy I think you are misreading St.Nikodemos or just using him for your own ends. Having pets simply for vanity and taking care of them at the expense of your fellow man is a bad thing and what St.Nikodemos writes immediately after the quote you gaves shows that this is what he was saying. People paying $600 for a pet snake is a good example. Pampering a poodle or pet chihuahua with water purifiers for their drinking water is another example.

Please read the entire Handbook of Spiritual Counsels! and please do not judge a Church Father because you do not like what he has to say. I personally found the book to be incredible and beautiful. He tells us to look at the beauty of the sky above us during the night with its stars during the day the 'majestic roof fretted with golden fire' and to praise and grow in our love for our Creator who has given us such beauty. "27Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." St.Luke 12
In the very first chapter St.Nikodemos even talks of the sense of hearing and shows how wondrous it is when it is used properly to listen to the chanting in church which helps us to grow in love for our Lord. Basically the reason why chanting is done the way it is is to allow us to focus more on what is happening inside us rather than being drawn outside. When I listen to the chanting in church I can feel the warmth in my heart the prayers being sung inside of me. When I am blasted by the organ, as I was when I was in Music Appreciation class and listened to several Organ pieces played at the local Methodist church I could not imagine how anyone could feel this. You are too jarred!

As much as I like Bach and his Organ Fugues I would never want it in church.
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« Reply #139 on: March 22, 2005, 01:33:40 PM »

Pet example:
For me, my kitten was free from a litter from my choir director.  (I can't really afford my mortgage, let alone $$$ for a purebred or whatever).  What I will say though, is that I think my kitten helps me be less selfish since I have to spend time taking care of him...and there's also the affection he gives back to me (and lot's of it too - he's an emotional wimp).
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« Reply #140 on: March 22, 2005, 02:32:04 PM »

Oh I know what you are saying. I have a Border Collie at home who we got for free from an old man who went into the hospital and couldn't take care of her anymore. I enjoy taking her for walks and how she's always so happy to see me. We also have a cat that would have died as a kitten if we had left it because its mother had died just the day after giving birth. I think the Platina monastery set up by Fr.Seraphim and Fr.Herman is a good example of how humans naturally bond with animals and maintain a relationship with them in the same way that Adam and Eve did. There is a lot about this in Fr.Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works By Hieromonk Damascene. What St.Nikodemos was clearly stating was that it is necessary to guard our senses and not be distracted or indulge in vain fancies. Consider the rich people who pamper expensive dogs but will not give to charity. St.Nikodemos even goes on to mention an Emperor who fell in love with a tree and pampered it as if it were a human being by putting rings and jewelry all over it!
I just was bothered by Kizzy using our Church Father St.Nikodemos, who I rely on to help me, and wrote and compiled such amazing works for the Church, for her own ends. It is not that I am judging her but such an academic approach to the Fathers is not Orthodox. We are supposed to love our Church Fathers not resent them for giving us good advice.
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« Reply #141 on: March 22, 2005, 03:00:29 PM »

Sabbas,
A day old stranded kitten?  Yikes!  That sounds like it must have needed constant care for a couple of months.
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« Reply #142 on: March 22, 2005, 11:02:25 PM »



Kizzy I think you are misreading St.Nikodemos or just using him for your own ends. Having pets simply for vanity and taking care of them at the expense of your fellow man is a bad thing and what St.Nikodemos writes immediately after the quote you gaves shows that this is what he was saying. People paying $600 for a pet snake is a good example. Pampering a poodle or pet chihuahua with water purifiers for their drinking water is another example.....

...You are too jarred!...


As much as I like Bach and his Organ Fugues I would never want it in church.

I wasn't judging a church father, but rather, the way in which people try to blanket everything under the statements which come from a monastic tradition. My point was that some monastic traditions were even against chanting. While St. Nikodemos does talk to the points you made, he also says "guard your ears from the sounds of birds," etc. My point was that his recommendations are from a monastic viewpoint and while he talks about avoiding the extremes you mention, he also talks to behaviors which are non extremes. By the way, I only have a small beta fish and I do not like when people treat a pet better than a child- I know he makes this point. But he also makes the point that listenting to birds singing is bad, regular bathing is bad, and all touching should be avoided. Looking at the sky however is okay... "Be careful not to bring your hands and your feet close to other bodies, especially of the young. Be especially careful not to stretch your hands to touch anything, unless it is necessary, nor upon members of your body, or even to scratch yourself... " I suppose he would disapprove of hugging your children? In fact there are cultures that don't hug them... What is necessary touch?? Note, after the discovery of the orphans in Romania, who at the age of 12 were no taller than a small 3 year old, we learned that touch is essential to growth and development. I know the health researcher in the case and the institute continuing the work.  We know from the research that touch, such as therapeutic massage, reduces depression in severely medically depressed patients. It also speeds recovery from certain illnesses. When he discusses bathing he mentions that people who are 'dried out' don't smell and to get this way, he recommends prostrations ... basically to work up a sweat and dry out. He speaks of a King who was dry and didn't smell. Then he says an occasional bath for health is okay. So what was occasional then? What is occasional now - once a year?? once a week?? once a day?? As a health researcher on a leading global health project  I will tell you that the leading cause of infant death in the world is not hunger, nor poor quality or quantity of water, but lack of washing with soap and water. 6000 children under five die each day from diarrheal disease and respiratory infections - the equivalent of 20 jumbo jets crashing each day. The biggest misnomer is that AIDS is the leading killer... the leading killers are Respiratory infections (non-Aids related) and Diarrheal diseases- both preventable by washing with soap and water daily and hands more frequently.

It is not that I think the writings are bad. There are some good points and beauty in them. The problem is that people try to use them as hard and fast rules for all occasions, in all situations, and take it upon themselves to play judge and jury on their interpretation. And who was talking about playing a Fugue in church?? Not me. Subtle support for a choir who is singing the hymns is a completely different thing. And while you may not like it, in all the parishes I've been a steward of, everyone wants it ... And while you enjoy chanting, there are people who do not find any connection to it and prayer, in fact they find it a disruption in their praying.   Like I said, the the musical tradition of the church in America will evolve.   In my opinion, America is where all of the challenges  it  had in the first 1800 years in the East are happening in one place, at the same time, in a much shorter span of time. It also is faced with challenges it did not have in the beginning.  All of the challenges include:  evangelism to diverse cultures but living side by side  in the same place, rather than miles away from each other; struggling to survive in a culture that must respect all faiths equally(that didn't happen in the early church); separation of church and state, and the financial requirement that the congregation support the church/clergy financially. And the churches must support the Archdiocese, which supports the Patriarchate...
 
Remember, one tradition that didn't follow Orthodoxy, was the fact that the church as originally conceived was funded by the Emperor...being a priest was the best paying job in town back in the early days.  The Emperor  had to issue an edict limiting them to no more than 420 in the Hagia Sophia. In Greece it is funded by the Government. So the struggle in America is completely different from anything before... and finding it's way to connect with American experience so it's fundamental tenets can be appreciated is very important. 

 

 
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« Reply #143 on: March 28, 2005, 08:44:47 PM »

Of course, in our efforts to "baptize American culture," which is what we are called to do, the organ has been included in the Greek churches where it did not exist before... but what it has done is lengthened the services (more than having a psalti, which the people groan about sometimes and claim that he's the reason why the services are long), and has at times polluted the air in the churches with noise.  (Notice - I am not saying ALWAYS or EVERYWHERE or anything of the sort).  In the Greek Churches I have been to in my travels (especially in the Ohio-PA-WVa-MI area and the MA-NH area) the organs are operated poorly (often purposly out of tune), the choirs are executed poorly (with little or no practice as part of their weekly routine), and the music is stale (okay, that's a personal bias).
One of the most heartening experiences was when my home parish finally dropped the Organ to go a-capella.  They didn't do this out of their respect for my preferences - the organist quit and they haven't found a new one. 

But for one glorious Sunday when I was home I could finally hear the entire choir (instead of only hearing the 3 voices that could make it above the Organ), and the Liturgy took 10 minutes less time than normal - and that was because the director had to give the pitch on nearly every petition (Imagine the time saving once they get used to it).  Even though they didn't sound the best (over 50 years they have become dependant on that organ), I thought it was one of the most beautiful Liturgies I've heard at my church.

And I don't buy the argument I hear from some (a minority) that say that they want the organ-style choir to "keep the kids" - the kids (the ones I have spoken to) would prefer a-capella.

Eh, it still all sounds like my bias towards no instruments in the church - I just don't see the organ as a part of "American culture".
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« Reply #144 on: February 10, 2009, 02:34:31 PM »

Could one post any links to videos or music recordings containing organ music? Photos also would be welcome.
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« Reply #145 on: February 10, 2009, 03:26:08 PM »

Could one post any links to videos or music recordings containing organ music? Photos also would be welcome.

This is all I could find:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3quPM9TqDow

Curiously enough, I found these videos of somebody snooping around our pipe organ here in Atlanta! While the guy snooping around the pipe organ isn't really interesting, it does give you a view of our beautiful cathedral and our iconography.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cA0U4MYYxME&feature=channel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfYFjS9SpKg
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« Reply #146 on: February 10, 2009, 03:35:04 PM »

Great thanks! Although I prefer simpler Church music I quite enjoyed the recording. The choir is so professional.

Your cathedral is indeed beautiful.

BTW Do only Greeks use organs or people from other jurisdictions do also?
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« Reply #147 on: February 10, 2009, 04:27:53 PM »

Great thanks! Although I prefer simpler Church music I quite enjoyed the recording. The choir is so professional.

Your cathedral is indeed beautiful.

BTW Do only Greeks use organs or people from other jurisdictions do also?

IIRC I heard one in the last Romanian parish I visited; however, they do also have a long tradition of (4 part) harmonized music.
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« Reply #148 on: February 10, 2009, 04:31:41 PM »

Great thanks! Although I prefer simpler Church music I quite enjoyed the recording. The choir is so professional.

Your cathedral is indeed beautiful.

BTW Do only Greeks use organs or people from other jurisdictions do also?


Some years ago, we visited a WR parish that was using part of another EO church and they used a little organ for the hymns.

Ebor
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« Reply #149 on: February 10, 2009, 06:01:37 PM »

Great thanks! Although I prefer simpler Church music I quite enjoyed the recording. The choir is so professional.

Your cathedral is indeed beautiful.

BTW Do only Greeks use organs or people from other jurisdictions do also?


The Antiochian parish in San Francisco has one, where they play the melody quietly to accompany the choir.  This is the only Antiochian parish I know of with an organ (and I grew up in one and have visited many). 
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« Reply #150 on: February 10, 2009, 07:02:40 PM »

I'll take the Byzantine chant any day!  That's the ol' time gospel music I like to hear!
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« Reply #151 on: February 26, 2010, 11:26:41 PM »

It was interesting to hear about the "ison machine." Now that I know it exists, I am 99% certain that a recording I have uses it- it's Byzantine Chant in Arabic sung by Rana Nassour Derbaly. She is a wonderful cantor, but it seems to me the producers at St. Tikhon's decided to use this machine or something like it to back her up. I wonder what the circumstances were... could they really not find at least 2-3 good people to sing the ison? I think a mediocre ison would have been better than someone falling asleep on the keyboard.
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« Reply #152 on: February 27, 2010, 07:37:17 AM »

It was interesting to hear about the "ison machine." Now that I know it exists, I am 99% certain that a recording I have uses it- it's Byzantine Chant in Arabic sung by Rana Nassour Derbaly. She is a wonderful cantor, but it seems to me the producers at St. Tikhon's decided to use this machine or something like it to back her up. I wonder what the circumstances were... could they really not find at least 2-3 good people to sing the ison? I think a mediocre ison would have been better than someone falling asleep on the keyboard.

I disagree.  I've been forced to listen to mediocre Ison for a few weeks now at our parish (a visiting cantor), and I'd rather hear the machine than that distracting... I'll save my less charitable comments.  It's Lent.
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« Reply #153 on: February 27, 2010, 06:15:45 PM »

Yes, surely a machine producing a good ison would be preferable to bad ison. I, for one, wish my parish had the machine!
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« Reply #154 on: February 27, 2010, 06:20:45 PM »

Yes, surely a machine producing a good ison would be preferable to bad ison. I, for one, wish my parish had the machine!
That's why I prefer the Znamenny body of Slavic chant.  It often uses an ison, but the ison actually moves with the changing tonality of the melody.  I'm not sure you can replicate this with an ison machine.
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« Reply #155 on: February 01, 2013, 03:30:52 PM »

I have been Orthodox now for over 4 years and it has been a blessing. The Divine Liturgy is the most beautiful service in the world and I love everything about it except, the organ. Now don't get me wrong, the organ music itself is beautiful but I don't feel like it belongs in Orthodox services, it feels too Western. Is the use of the Organ only used in the West or is it also used in some parts of the East?
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« Reply #156 on: February 01, 2013, 03:41:54 PM »

As far as I know, the organ is only used in a few orthodox churches in the west, often greek churches. The tradition is to sing a cappella only and this is still the case in almost all orthodox churches.
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« Reply #157 on: February 01, 2013, 03:48:52 PM »

I have been Orthodox now for over 4 years and it has been a blessing. The Divine Liturgy is the most beautiful service in the world and I love everything about it except, the organ. Now don't get me wrong, the organ music itself is beautiful but I don't feel like it belongs in Orthodox services, it feels too Western. Is the use of the Organ only used in the West or is it also used in some parts of the East?
Welcome to the board! I merged your question with the other Organs thread that died a quick death. Do a little searching about the topic and may find the answer you are looking for.

Yeah most of us hate organs. We want them to go away. Every priest I see that uses an organ, I tell them their choir would sound so much better without an organ (even if it is a lie).
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« Reply #158 on: February 01, 2013, 04:32:35 PM »

I have been Orthodox now for over 4 years and it has been a blessing. The Divine Liturgy is the most beautiful service in the world and I love everything about it except, the organ. Now don't get me wrong, the organ music itself is beautiful but I don't feel like it belongs in Orthodox services, it feels too Western. Is the use of the Organ only used in the West or is it also used in some parts of the East?
Welcome to the board! I merged your question with the other Organs thread that died a quick death. Do a little searching about the topic and may find the answer you are looking for.

Yeah most of us hate organs. We want them to go away. Every priest I see that uses an organ, I tell them their choir would sound so much better without an organ (even if it is a lie).

Maybe as an act of Christian Unity we can donate them to our RC traddie friends who think a Mass is not a Mass without an organ.
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« Reply #159 on: February 01, 2013, 04:56:22 PM »

Maybe as an act of Christian Unity we can donate them to our RC traddie friends who think a Mass is not a Mass without an organ.

Even gregorian chant is better without an organ.
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« Reply #160 on: February 01, 2013, 06:33:43 PM »

Next we'll have another pew thread...
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« Reply #161 on: February 03, 2013, 05:05:27 AM »

Church has pews meanwhile onuphrius the newbie is mad about the pipe organ.
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« Reply #162 on: February 03, 2013, 09:21:44 PM »

Maybe as an act of Christian Unity we can donate them to our RC traddie friends who think a Mass is not a Mass without an organ.

Even gregorian chant is better without an organ.

A matter of opinion. Winfrid Douglas's accompaniments in the Hymnal 1940 are really quite excellent.
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« Reply #163 on: September 16, 2013, 02:29:05 PM »

OK, TomS, what about the organs?

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ANATHEMA!  I hate organs! If I wanted to hear organs I would go to a Protestant church. But get this - at St. Sophia the chanter, instead of an organ, has started to use this machine that just does the ison (the single note that you hear the background male choir members doing in the background). He got it from Greece. It only has 16 keys for the upper and lower scale (Ne Pa Vu Ga De Ke Zo Nii) and is basically a recording of a person doing the ison which is constant when you hold down the key.

As a member of the choir who used to show up and help do this, I am not happy about it. This was the only way I could contribute when he was doing strict chanting.


I went to an RC parish with an organ... Shudder.
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« Reply #164 on: September 16, 2013, 03:42:35 PM »

OK, TomS, what about the organs?

Demetri

ANATHEMA!  I hate organs! If I wanted to hear organs I would go to a Protestant church. But get this - at St. Sophia the chanter, instead of an organ, has started to use this machine that just does the ison (the single note that you hear the background male choir members doing in the background). He got it from Greece. It only has 16 keys for the upper and lower scale (Ne Pa Vu Ga De Ke Zo Nii) and is basically a recording of a person doing the ison which is constant when you hold down the key.

As a member of the choir who used to show up and help do this, I am not happy about it. This was the only way I could contribute when he was doing strict chanting.


I went to an RC parish with an organ... Shudder.

I see no problem with organs in Roman Catholic Churches, I think it complements Gregorian Chant quite well.
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« Reply #165 on: September 16, 2013, 03:48:35 PM »

I was watching the local Protestant station yesterday, as I am wont to do from time to time when I need a good laugh. Anyway, so I started watching right at the end of some music program about this lady that goes around to various places with classical or traditional church music, and they were playing up the classical element, organs, and all sorts of things you'd probably find in very few of the (bible believin) parishes their target demographic would attend. Thought it was a bit strange. What was especially strange was that in this particular episode they had gone to some Benedictine Catholic monastery in Europe. The music was beautiful, but most of the programming on this station, if it mentions Catholicism at all, treats it with suspicion or disdain. I guess for them this is a "broken clock is right twice a day" situation.  Cool
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« Reply #166 on: September 16, 2013, 03:55:30 PM »

I was watching the local Protestant station yesterday, as I am wont to do from time to time when I need a good laugh. Anyway, so I started watching right at the end of some music program about this lady that goes around to various places with classical or traditional church music, and they were playing up the classical element, organs, and all sorts of things you'd probably find in very few of the (bible believin) parishes their target demographic would attend. Thought it was a bit strange. What was especially strange was that in this particular episode they had gone to some Benedictine Catholic monastery in Europe. The music was beautiful, but most of the programming on this station, if it mentions Catholicism at all, treats it with suspicion or disdain. I guess for them this is a "broken clock is right twice a day" situation.  Cool

That has to be the Joy of Music with Diane Bish.  She was a classical organist for many years at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, whose pastor, Rev. D. James Kennedy, was renowned in Reformed circles as an astute theologian.  Definitely not low brow stuff.  She is sometimes featured on EWTN as well. 
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« Reply #167 on: September 17, 2013, 01:46:29 AM »

melt the organs!!!

That is all I have to say at this time.
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« Reply #168 on: September 24, 2013, 12:17:35 PM »

I had not seen this topic before now.  I read the first page of replies and skimmed through the other three.  The thread seems to have become mostly an exchange of opinions about the topic, but only a very few replies responded to the original question.  The following is a little information that I have in connection with these issues, though I do not know exactly how it came about that GOAA parishes use organs and pews.

Archbishop Athenagoras was enthroned the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of No. & So. America's primate in Feb., 1931. He had been Metropolitan of Kyrkera (Corfu) the previous 8 years.  I'm not sure if he initiated its instillation, but the St. Spyridon Cathedral in Corfu had an organ while Athenagoras was its metropolitan.  There was some controversy regarding the organ and it seems the matter came up to the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece.  Metropolitan Athenagoras defended the organ, advising that an organ was used in the Cathedral of the Holy Wisdom in Constantinople, hundreds of years earlier; (others have argued contrary to this assertion of Metropolitan Athengoras').  The Holy Synod of Greece did not act to have the organ at the Cathedral of Corfu removed and an organ exists to this day therein, which is said to be the only organ in a parish in Greece.  

In the history of the mother GOAA parish in my area, it reports that pews were installed into the church sometime during the 1930's; (the parish had been erected in 1911).

Archbishop Athenagoras encouraged development of mixed choirs in the GOANSA parishes in the 1940's in an effort to involve the youth in parish activities, a successful effort in that regard.

Matthew Namie, who has engaged in extensive research into the history of the Orthodox Church on the North American continent, had written a few years ago that he had not as yet determined how pews and organs had become accepted in the churches.
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