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Author Topic: Organs in Greek Orthodox Churches  (Read 28773 times) Average Rating: 0
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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

Demetri
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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.

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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?

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.
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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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