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Author Topic: Forgiveness Sunday in Greece - Question  (Read 2581 times) Average Rating: 0
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88Devin12
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« on: March 02, 2011, 10:40:56 AM »

I was wondering, what is Forgiveness Sunday like in Greece? What time is it usually? Do they prostrate?

Also, what would be the statement & response? (Like, forgive me, I forgive you)
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« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2011, 02:22:26 PM »

I was wondering, what is Forgiveness Sunday like in Greece? What time is it usually? Do they prostrate?

Also, what would be the statement & response? (Like, forgive me, I forgive you)
Forgiveness Sunday actually starts with Saturday Vespers and ends with Sunday Vespers. Wink

However, if you're talking about the Rite of Mutual Forgiveness, that is liturgically an extension of Vespers on the Sunday evening immediately leading into Clean Monday, so I imagine that any church that follows the rubrics on this would conduct the Rite of Forgiveness on Sunday evening. However, many parish churches do not, at least here in the States, choosing instead to conduct the Rite shortly after the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy to make sure the maximum number of parishioners can participate.

What people do in Greece, however, I cannot say. I imagine it varies from church to church just as it does here in the USA.
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88Devin12
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« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2011, 02:35:36 PM »

I was wondering, what is Forgiveness Sunday like in Greece? What time is it usually? Do they prostrate?

Also, what would be the statement & response? (Like, forgive me, I forgive you)
Forgiveness Sunday actually starts with Saturday Vespers and ends with Sunday Vespers. Wink

However, if you're talking about the Rite of Mutual Forgiveness, that is liturgically an extension of Vespers on the Sunday evening immediately leading into Clean Monday, so I imagine that any church that follows the rubrics on this would conduct the Rite of Forgiveness on Sunday evening. However, many parish churches do not, at least here in the States, choosing instead to conduct the Rite shortly after the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy to make sure the maximum number of parishioners can participate.

What people do in Greece, however, I cannot say. I imagine it varies from church to church just as it does here in the USA.

I'm kind of hoping they don't do it after Liturgy... That would be over 300 people... (there wouldn't actually even be room)
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« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2011, 03:05:30 PM »

I  venture to say that they won't do the rite you expect, that is the prostrations plus kissing etc;  On a parish level at least, it's only practiced by the Russians. In other places, it's not done, except in monasteries, perhaps.
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« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2011, 03:32:10 PM »

How is Greece? I'm so jealous!
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« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2011, 02:02:05 AM »

I  venture to say that they won't do the rite you expect, that is the prostrations plus kissing etc;  On a parish level at least, it's only practiced by the Russians. In other places, it's not done, except in monasteries, perhaps.


We're Antiochian and do the prostrations and kissing in our parish. So does the other Antiochian parish I'm familiar with, as well as an OCA that I'm familiar with. Just a note ...
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« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2011, 02:44:05 PM »

I  venture to say that they won't do the rite you expect, that is the prostrations plus kissing etc;  On a parish level at least, it's only practiced by the Russians. In other places, it's not done, except in monasteries, perhaps.


We're Antiochian and do the prostrations and kissing in our parish. So does the other Antiochian parish I'm familiar with, as well as an OCA that I'm familiar with. Just a note ...

OCA comes from Russia.
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« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2011, 02:49:31 PM »

I  venture to say that they won't do the rite you expect, that is the prostrations plus kissing etc;  On a parish level at least, it's only practiced by the Russians. In other places, it's not done, except in monasteries, perhaps.


We're Antiochian and do the prostrations and kissing in our parish. So does the other Antiochian parish I'm familiar with, as well as an OCA that I'm familiar with. Just a note ...
That's quite irrelevant, since it happens in America, under Russian influence, especially if the parish is mostly white.
I doubt they do it in Lebanon, Syria etc.
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« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2011, 03:16:29 PM »

I  venture to say that they won't do the rite you expect, that is the prostrations plus kissing etc;  On a parish level at least, it's only practiced by the Russians. In other places, it's not done, except in monasteries, perhaps.


We're Antiochian and do the prostrations and kissing in our parish. So does the other Antiochian parish I'm familiar with, as well as an OCA that I'm familiar with. Just a note ...
That's quite irrelevant, since it happens in America, under Russian influence, especially if the parish is mostly white.
I doubt they do it in Lebanon, Syria etc.

Why is that irrelevant? And, what's this bit about "especially if the parish is mostly white"? Granted the OCA membership is mostly Caucasian (white), but so are the memberships of the Serbian Romanian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, and Greek churches--just to count the ones in the Balkans.
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« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2011, 06:13:26 PM »

It's not done in Romania. Perhaps in monasteries, maybe.
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« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2011, 07:31:01 PM »

I  venture to say that they won't do the rite you expect, that is the prostrations plus kissing etc;  On a parish level at least, it's only practiced by the Russians. In other places, it's not done, except in monasteries, perhaps.


We're Antiochian and do the prostrations and kissing in our parish. So does the other Antiochian parish I'm familiar with, as well as an OCA that I'm familiar with. Just a note ...
That's quite irrelevant, since it happens in America, under Russian influence, especially if the parish is mostly white.
I doubt they do it in Lebanon, Syria etc.

Why is that irrelevant? And, what's this bit about "especially if the parish is mostly white"? Granted the OCA membership is mostly Caucasian (white), but so are the memberships of the Serbian Romanian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, and Greek churches--just to count the ones in the Balkans.
What Antiochians in America do is often irrelevant from a historical perspective, that is they often don't follow the historic customs of the Patriarchate of Antioch in Syrian and Lebanon, but adopted Russian practices. That's why I said it's irrelevant.
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« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2011, 07:40:24 PM »

I'm actually surprised and a little saddened to hear that the rite of mutual forgiveness is not part of general paish practice outside of the Russian tradition.  It had never occurred to me before that this might be the case as it is all that I have ever known.  Sad
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« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2011, 08:04:03 PM »

What Antiochians in America do is often irrelevant from a historical perspective, that is they often don't follow the historic customs of the Patriarchate of Antioch in Syrian and Lebanon, but adopted Russian practices. That's why I said it's irrelevant.

Is that because they were originally under the Russians/later OCA?
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« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2011, 01:31:01 AM »

I love that the original post was asking people who live(d) in Greece a specific question and yet, everyone feels they need to chime in with their own opinions that do not answer the question asked but, instead take over this topic and, hijack it.
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« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2011, 02:34:19 AM »

I love that the original post was asking people who live(d) in Greece a specific question and yet, everyone feels they need to chime in with their own opinions that do not answer the question asked but, instead take over this topic and, hijack it.

Arimethea, I take part in a number of internet discussion boards and it is often the case that the opening post asks a question to which a number of people do not know the answer.  In none of those other places would it be considered unreasonable for other people to take part in the thread, conducting a discussion about the general topic of the OP until somebody comes along who can actually answer the question.  I am not saying that OC.net should be like everywhere else but simply that the people whom you have accused of hijacking may have had no intention of doing so, and may have considered their questions and comments to amount to nothing more than an innocent exchange of thoughts.  That was certanly the case with me.  Therefore, I hope you can forgive me and I shall try to tread more carefully in future.
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« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2011, 11:40:35 AM »

I was wondering, what is Forgiveness Sunday like in Greece? What time is it usually? Do they prostrate?

It's not called "Forgiveness Sunday" in any of the ancient patriarchates or the Church of Greece to my knowledge. It's called Κυριακὴ Τυρινῆς (and whatever that is in Arabic), which means Cheesefare Sunday basically.

That Sunday evening (not actually Sunday liturgically) is the first time a "κατανυκτικὸς Ἑσπερινός" (solemn Vespers) is served. In my experience in Greece, many parishes and certainly the monasteries serve the solemn Vespers every single night of Great Lent. It has a modified structure determined by the Triodion, including the famous difference in the ending with the short hymns and the prayer of St. Ephrem.

The very first time the solemn Vespers is served it is called the solemn Vespers of Forgiveness (ὁ κατανυκτικὸς Ἑσπερινός της Συγνώμης). According to the Typikon itself, the people approach the priest and receive his forgiveness. That's all that's said. This is unusual, since in the Byzantine tradition, the priest does not offer blessings with a blessing cross or any other means after a typical Vespers. The priest retreats behind the iconostasion, the curtains are closed, the people venerate the Icons in the front of the church and then leave. That's what I've seen even in Slavic and Romanian monasteries/sketes on Mt. Athos. I'm not sure where the whole blessing cross after every single service comes from.

Anyway, there is no mention in the Typikon of if or how the people should ask forgiveness of each other.

Finally, in terms of popular piety, I would say Clean Monday is generally seen as a much bigger deal than the solemn Vespers of Forgiveness.
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« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2011, 11:56:26 AM »

What Antiochians in America do is often irrelevant from a historical perspective, that is they often don't follow the historic customs of the Patriarchate of Antioch in Syrian and Lebanon, but adopted Russian practices. That's why I said it's irrelevant.

Is that because they were originally under the Russians/later OCA?

When it comes to Forgiveness Sunday in particular, I would imagine it has more to do with the powerful influence of Fr Alexander Schmemann. He made a big deal of the rite at SVS for years, encouraging generations of Antiochian and OCA priests to introduce the practice, and he also wrote and spoke about it in popular fora, including his radio program. His book on Great Lent was also probably the only full-length, devotional introduction available in English for at least 20 years. Even today, you can still find plenty of people who know nothing else.
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« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2011, 12:05:33 PM »

I was wondering, what is Forgiveness Sunday like in Greece? What time is it usually? Do they prostrate?

It's not called "Forgiveness Sunday" in any of the ancient patriarchates or the Church of Greece to my knowledge. It's called Κυριακὴ Τυρινῆς (and whatever that is in Arabic), which means Cheesefare Sunday basically.

That Sunday evening (not actually Sunday liturgically) is the first time a "κατανυκτικὸς Ἑσπερινός" (solemn Vespers) is served. In my experience in Greece, many parishes and certainly the monasteries serve the solemn Vespers every single night of Great Lent. It has a modified structure determined by the Triodion, including the famous difference in the ending with the short hymns and the prayer of St. Ephrem.

The very first time the solemn Vespers is served it is called the solemn Vespers of Forgiveness (ὁ κατανυκτικὸς Ἑσπερινός της Συγνώμης). According to the Typikon itself, the people approach the priest and receive his forgiveness. That's all that's said. This is unusual, since in the Byzantine tradition, the priest does not offer blessings with a blessing cross or any other means after a typical Vespers. The priest retreats behind the iconostasion, the curtains are closed, the people venerate the Icons in the front of the church and then leave. That's what I've seen even in Slavic and Romanian monasteries/sketes on Mt. Athos. I'm not sure where the whole blessing cross after every single service comes from.

Anyway, there is no mention in the Typikon of if or how the people should ask forgiveness of each other.

Finally, in terms of popular piety, I would say Clean Monday is generally seen as a much bigger deal than the solemn Vespers of Forgiveness.

This is true among the Slavs who became 'Greek Catholics' as well. The liturgical books refer to the day as "Nedila Syropustnaja"  - literally 'Cheesefast Sunday.'  Growing up in the 50's and 60's I frankly never heard of Forgiveness Sunday. The first day of the Fast was a 'big deal' to the early immigrants like my grandparents.

The nomenclature of Forgiveness Sunday was not commonly adopted by either the American Ruthenian Greek Catholics or ACROD until relatively recent years and can be traced to the Russian penitential tradition. Even during the 'Uniate' centuries, vespers retained the polkoni (prostrations) but the mutual, congregational exchange of a kiss was unknown. This is consistent with Augustin's recollections as the Romanian Church was not influenced by Russian norms but rather those of the Greeks. Although the Vespers has been introduced in many parishes in the form referenced by the OP, there has not been, at least at my parish, a popular acceptance of the practice. Hence, I suspect that the service that the OP is familiar with in the states is not common in Greece unless it was introduced in recent times.

This is just another example of the wide spectrum of good pious traditions and practices throughout the Orthodox world which may be treasured by some and relatively unknown to others.

By the way, in my estimation, the concept of Forgiveness Sunday and its introduction and adaptation in the States by other traditions is a good thing as it is far more instructive than the old 'Cheesefare' Sunday nomenclature and ties into the culmination of the pre-Lenten scriptural cycle.
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« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2011, 12:10:09 PM »

What Antiochians in America do is often irrelevant from a historical perspective, that is they often don't follow the historic customs of the Patriarchate of Antioch in Syrian and Lebanon, but adopted Russian practices. That's why I said it's irrelevant.

Is that because they were originally under the Russians/later OCA?

When it comes to Forgiveness Sunday in particular, I would imagine it has more to do with the powerful influence of Fr Alexander Schmemann. He made a big deal of the rite at SVS for years, encouraging generations of Antiochian and OCA priests to introduce the practice, and he also wrote and spoke about it in popular fora, including his radio program. His book on Great Lent was also probably the only full-length, devotional introduction available in English for at least 20 years. Even today, you can still find plenty of people who know nothing else.

In the Bulgarian Church, at least in Istanbul, we had the tradition of asking forgiveness from family and close friends, but I do not remember if this was done at the Sunday night Vespers (Monday liturgically). In the Macedono-Bulgarian Churches in North America, this was done like the Russian practice but without the prostrations and I do not remember when this started. In any case, I agree with you about father Schmemann's great influence over world Orthodoxy; that is what happens when his readers feel the Holy Spirit in his words. And, as Podkarpatska pointed out, it seems to be a good thing (both the diversity of practices and Forgiveness Vespers itself).
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« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2011, 05:33:18 PM »

What Antiochians in America do is often irrelevant from a historical perspective, that is they often don't follow the historic customs of the Patriarchate of Antioch in Syrian and Lebanon, but adopted Russian practices. That's why I said it's irrelevant.

Is that because they were originally under the Russians/later OCA?

When it comes to Forgiveness Sunday in particular, I would imagine it has more to do with the powerful influence of Fr Alexander Schmemann. He made a big deal of the rite at SVS for years, encouraging generations of Antiochian and OCA priests to introduce the practice, and he also wrote and spoke about it in popular fora, including his radio program. His book on Great Lent was also probably the only full-length, devotional introduction available in English for at least 20 years. Even today, you can still find plenty of people who know nothing else.

In the Bulgarian Church, at least in Istanbul, we had the tradition of asking forgiveness from family and close friends, but I do not remember if this was done at the Sunday night Vespers (Monday liturgically). In the Macedono-Bulgarian Churches in North America, this was done like the Russian practice but without the prostrations and I do not remember when this started. In any case, I agree with you about father Schmemann's great influence over world Orthodoxy; that is what happens when his readers feel the Holy Spirit in his words. And, as Podkarpatska pointed out, it seems to be a good thing (both the diversity of practices and Forgiveness Vespers itself).

ADDED at 4:35 PM. As I was checking out the Lenten sections of the OCA, GOARCH and Antiochian sites, I noticed that all three called Cheesefare Sunday as the Forgiveness Sunday and talked about the Vespers service and the forgiveness rite that concludes it. So, it looks like there is indeed some confluence of practices, perhaps thanks to Father Alexander and perhaps due to the increased inter-communion between the jurisdictions. I have the feeling that it is the Holy Spirit moving us closer together. Truly something to be thankful for.
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« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2011, 08:01:12 PM »


ADDED at 4:35 PM. As I was checking out the Lenten sections of the OCA, GOARCH and Antiochian sites, I noticed that all three called Cheesefare Sunday as the Forgiveness Sunday and talked about the Vespers service and the forgiveness rite that concludes it. So, it looks like there is indeed some confluence of practices, perhaps thanks to Father Alexander and perhaps due to the increased inter-communion between the jurisdictions. I have the feeling that it is the Holy Spirit moving us closer together. Truly something to be thankful for.
Yet the Antiochians, at least, are not consistent. The online guide for the liturgical services for the day call it "Cheesefare Sunday", with no mention at all of Forgiveness Vespers. Those details are found elsewhere, of course.
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« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2011, 08:54:24 PM »

At my parish, everybody asks each other for forgiveness every week before Holy Communion.
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« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2011, 08:57:26 PM »

We call it "Duminica lasatei secului la branza" (Cheesfare Sunday) or "Duminica izgonirii lui Adam din Rai" (Sunday of Adam's expulsion from Paradise), but never heard it called as
"Forgiveness Sunday".
One prayer that I used to hear back home after almost every service during Lent , but didn't hear in America, is "O Lord, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of those far off on the sea, that brought us into these most honourable days, that also in 40 days gave to your servant Moses the tables written with divine letters..." That's what I remember of it.
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« Reply #23 on: March 08, 2011, 08:07:44 AM »

One prayer that I used to hear back home after almost every service during Lent , but didn't hear in America, is "O Lord, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of those far off on the sea, that brought us into these most honourable days, that also in 40 days gave to your servant Moses the tables written with divine letters..." That's what I remember of it.

You sure you're remembering that right? Sounds like a mix of two different prayers. The beginning is from the Litia and the last part is from the end of the Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts.
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