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Author Topic: ...this may be a silly question  (Read 1732 times) Average Rating: 0
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casisthename
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« on: March 23, 2011, 12:42:06 PM »

Last Saturday I had the privilege to visit St.Gregory Palamas Monastery on their Saint's Feast Day. I noticed a variance in conduct of what I've seen at the Orthodox Parish (OCA) I attend. (Admittedly, it has only been a couple months). Are these differences due to it being a monastery or does it have more to do with differences between jurisdictions?

-The vast majority of women wearing head coverings. (at church there's only about 3 of us who normally do)
-I think I was the only female in pants. All others were in skirts or dresses.
-Some people were kneeling during certain parts of the service
-The service was significantly longer (Though I suspect that had more to do with it being their Patron Saint's Feast day)
-When leaving the service the icons were not kissed nor the cross
-Those who did not commune took part in the blessed bread (can't remember the correct term for it) before those who did commune
-and ...what's with boiled meat during Lent?
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« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2011, 12:54:18 PM »

I'll do my best to answer some of the questions numerically in the order they were posed....

Last Saturday I had the privilege to visit St.Gregory Palamas Monastery on their Saint's Feast Day. I noticed a variance in conduct of what I've seen at the Orthodox Parish (OCA) I attend. (Admittedly, it has only been a couple months). Are these differences due to it being a monastery or does it have more to do with differences between jurisdictions?

-The vast majority of women wearing head coverings. (at church there's only about 3 of us who normally do)
-I think I was the only female in pants. All others were in skirts or dresses.
-Some people were kneeling during certain parts of the service
-The service was significantly longer (Though I suspect that had more to do with it being their Patron Saint's Feast day)
-When leaving the service the icons were not kissed nor the cross
-Those who did not commune took part in the blessed bread (can't remember the correct term for it) before those who did commune
-and ...what's with boiled meat during Lent?

1.  Sounds typical for a monastic community.

2.  Be lucky no one asked you to leave or offered you a skirt to wear.  Since you had been there before, they figured you as a regular.

3.  Sounds typical....

4.  Was a Bishop present?  That tends to lengthen services.  Also, the monasteries perform Matins service, Hours services prior to the Divine Liturgy which extend the service.

5.  That doesn't sound unusual.

6.  Antidoron = blessed bread and that is distributed after the Liturgy in non-monastic settings.  The monastery dispenses with serving the blessed bread to those who don't commune because other services usually follow the DL at a monastery which allows those who were there only for the DL to leave quietly.

7.  Did you mean boiled wheat?  The Monastery performed a memorial service and boiled wheat, aka koliva, is distributed to the faithful.
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« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2011, 01:49:29 PM »

^ No, the bishop wasn't present.  I would have been, if it were not for the youth event we hosted that day.  My proistamenos was there, though, and was the homilist.  Otherwise, everything sounds typical for the monastery, including the celebration with kolyva (boiled wheat).  They have their Spring pilgrimage on the Saturday before Palamas Sunday so they can get participation from area clergy (which is also the reason why they have their Summer pilgrimage on the Saturday closest to Transfiguration).
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« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2011, 03:10:46 PM »

Silly questions? No problem. We specialize in them.

I've never known a silly question come from a catechumen.  I know plenty of silly questions from those who are cradles or those who have been Orthodox for some time, although it is more usual for us to have silly answers rather than silly questions.

Last Saturday I had the privilege to visit St.Gregory Palamas Monastery on their Saint's Feast Day. I noticed a variance in conduct of what I've seen at the Orthodox Parish (OCA) I attend. (Admittedly, it has only been a couple months). Are these differences due to it being a monastery or does it have more to do with differences between jurisdictions?

-The vast majority of women wearing head coverings. (at church there's only about 3 of us who normally do)
-I think I was the only female in pants. All others were in skirts or dresses.
-Some people were kneeling during certain parts of the service
-The service was significantly longer (Though I suspect that had more to do with it being their Patron Saint's Feast day)
-When leaving the service the icons were not kissed nor the cross
-Those who did not commune took part in the blessed bread (can't remember the correct term for it) before those who did commune
-and ...what's with boiled meat during Lent?

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« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2011, 03:43:41 PM »

if there was lots of kneeling it probably wasn't a sunday.
orthodox services are supposed to have lots of kneeling, sunday (and usually saturday) is the exception.

one is 'supposed to' often go to services that are not on sunday. with modern work patterns etc. most people these days go mainly on sunday, so maybe u didn't see so much kneeling before if you only went on sunday, this seems to be the habit of many orthodox people (i too can't often go on other days).
in many oriental orthodox churches, the 'no kneeling/prostrating on sundays' rule has been allowed to slip, it's not unusual for people in those churches to kneel, especially in the eritrean church i have been to, where literally no-one enters church without a full head to the ground ('bottoms up') prostration 3 times.
i try to do a half-way thing (i love to kneel) and bow without actually touching my head to the ground in a full prostration. the proper action for people like me to take, though is to go to church more often on weekdays, where you can kneel and prostrate to your heart's content!
by the way, no prostrating after easter for the 50 days until the ascension! prostrating starts again during the apostles' fast.
by the way (2) i suppose you also do huge numbers of prostrations on good friday, in the coptic church we do loads, of course i love that part  Wink
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« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2011, 04:24:49 PM »

I'll do my best to answer some of the questions numerically in the order they were posed....

Last Saturday I had the privilege to visit St.Gregory Palamas Monastery on their Saint's Feast Day. I noticed a variance in conduct of what I've seen at the Orthodox Parish (OCA) I attend. (Admittedly, it has only been a couple months). Are these differences due to it being a monastery or does it have more to do with differences between jurisdictions?

-The vast majority of women wearing head coverings. (at church there's only about 3 of us who normally do)
-I think I was the only female in pants. All others were in skirts or dresses.
-Some people were kneeling during certain parts of the service
-The service was significantly longer (Though I suspect that had more to do with it being their Patron Saint's Feast day)
-When leaving the service the icons were not kissed nor the cross
-Those who did not commune took part in the blessed bread (can't remember the correct term for it) before those who did commune
-and ...what's with boiled meat during Lent?

1.  Sounds typical for a monastic community.

2.  Be lucky no one asked you to leave or offered you a skirt to wear.  Since you had been there before, they figured you as a regular.

3.  Sounds typical....

4.  Was a Bishop present?  That tends to lengthen services.  Also, the monasteries perform Matins service, Hours services prior to the Divine Liturgy which extend the service.

5.  That doesn't sound unusual.

6.  Antidoron = blessed bread and that is distributed after the Liturgy in non-monastic settings.  The monastery dispenses with serving the blessed bread to those who don't commune because other services usually follow the DL at a monastery which allows those who were there only for the DL to leave quietly.

7.  Did you mean boiled wheat?  The Monastery performed a memorial service and boiled wheat, aka koliva, is distributed to the faithful.

Um I thought my friends mom said meat. She very well may have said wheat though. Also, I'm not a regular at the monastery. It was the first time I had been to one and I'm not actually a catechumen yet (my parents asked me to wait) so perhaps they didn't say anything since I honestly didn't know better. At the parish I attend most of the girls my age wear pants as well as some of the woman who are in their mid twenties to I would guess late thirties.
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« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2011, 04:52:52 PM »

if there was lots of kneeling it probably wasn't a sunday.
orthodox services are supposed to have lots of kneeling, sunday (and usually saturday) is the exception.

It was a Saturday.
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« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2011, 04:55:28 PM »

Um I thought my friends mom said meat. She very well may have said wheat though.

It was definitely wheat.

It was the first time I had been to one and I'm not actually a catechumen yet (my parents asked me to wait) so perhaps they didn't say anything since I honestly didn't know better. At the parish I attend most of the girls my age wear pants as well as some of the woman who are in their mid twenties to I would guess late thirties.

Monasteries tend to be a bit more traditional/strict (depending on your POV) viz-a-viz women and skirts.  In the monastery's notes that it sends out for the Summer Pilgrimage it makes a mention of this (preferring women to wear skirts at St. Gregory's).  Remember, too, that outside of pilgrimages and Sundays women must have permission to come to the monastery - as it is with every men's monastery (and the converse is true of women's monasteries).
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« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2011, 05:12:37 PM »

Why is it necessary for women to wear skirts? I'm not trying to be rude it's simply that the only religious group I've heard of having the view of women needing to wear pants are fundamentalist Pentecostals
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« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2011, 05:15:26 PM »

Some say that's because trousers are male clothes and in Pauline letters it is forbidden to wear clothes of the other sex.

I know it's stupid.
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« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2011, 09:04:50 PM »

Some say that's because trousers are male clothes and in Pauline letters it is forbidden to wear clothes of the other sex.

I know it's stupid.

so what category do kilts fall under?
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« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2011, 09:11:24 AM »

so what category do kilts fall under?

I like this argument too Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2011, 11:29:22 AM »

Why is it necessary for women to wear skirts? I'm not trying to be rude it's simply that the only religious group I've heard of having the view of women needing to wear pants are fundamentalist Pentecostals

Cultural/societal customs of clothing of one group that they apply as a kind of universal is what I think. What they know or like or have done in the past is what must always apply.   Undecided  So the definition of what are the correct kinds of clothing for different people to wear can be, shall we say, limited.  Then again, some traditions might not be all that timeless, considering that different technology and techniques are needed to make various kinds of clothing and these developed over time. Many "male" or "female" forms of clothing, as people now might think of them, didn't exist in the first century; no three-piece suits or jeans or the like, the standards and styles changed many many times over the centuries. The history of clothing is quite varied and interesting.   

As others have mentioned there are places where kilts are worn by men (Scotland, Greece has the "fustanella" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fustanella etc).  There are other places where some form of trousers are either worn by women or by both males and females such as the "shalwar kameez" in parts of India and Pakistan or the "mompe" trousers in Japan. 

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« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2011, 11:48:10 AM »

Why is it necessary for women to wear skirts? I'm not trying to be rude it's simply that the only religious group I've heard of having the view of women needing to wear pants are fundamentalist Pentecostals

Not trying to be rude either, and it's certainly not a religious reason, but I don't think most women would wear pants if they knew what they looked like from the back when they venerated icons or bowed.  Wink
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« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2011, 12:32:57 PM »

Why is it necessary for women to wear skirts? I'm not trying to be rude it's simply that the only religious group I've heard of having the view of women needing to wear pants are fundamentalist Pentecostals

Not trying to be rude either, and it's certainly not a religious reason, but I don't think most women would wear pants if they knew what they looked like from the back when they venerated icons or bowed.  Wink

This. Honestly. I've never heard the argument from any one in the Church (though I'm sure it's out there...somewhere) that is most often heard from fundamentalist Pentecostals. The answer usually is much more practical: You are in a community of men who have pledged their lives to celibacy in order to serve Christ. That doesn't mean they're steel-hardened against falling into sin. Why would you want to tempt them by your choice of clothes?

I'm no monk, but I am male...trust me, we don't need plunging necklines and skin-tight jeans to stumble in our thoughts. Skirts and headscarves go a long way in helping us focus our attention properly during the divine services.
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« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2011, 01:49:29 PM »

Why is it necessary for women to wear skirts? I'm not trying to be rude it's simply that the only religious group I've heard of having the view of women needing to wear pants are fundamentalist Pentecostals

Not trying to be rude either, and it's certainly not a religious reason, but I don't think most women would wear pants if they knew what they looked like from the back when they venerated icons or bowed.  Wink

This. Honestly. I've never heard the argument from any one in the Church (though I'm sure it's out there...somewhere) that is most often heard from fundamentalist Pentecostals. The answer usually is much more practical: You are in a community of men who have pledged their lives to celibacy in order to serve Christ. That doesn't mean they're steel-hardened against falling into sin. Why would you want to tempt them by your choice of clothes?

I'm no monk, but I am male...trust me, we don't need plunging necklines and skin-tight jeans to stumble in our thoughts. Skirts and headscarves go a long way in helping us focus our attention properly during the divine services.

Exactly. It's not to restrict women or something. I grew up in a mega church type setting and Sunday morning was when I was most tempted; especially come summer when the suburbanite ladies busted out the mini-skirts. Many say it has no point and is stupid in today's age, but I think the exact opposite. There is so much hyper-sexulization that it needs to be combated. Plus it teaches obedience, like beards for men. It may be silly to you, but if it was absolutely required would you follow it despite that? Just my thoughts.
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« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2011, 04:19:50 PM »

I'm no monk, but I am male...trust me, we don't need lunging necklines and skin-tight jeans to stumble in our thoughts. Skirts and headscarves go a long way in helping us focus our attention properly during the divine services.

I feel exactly the opposite way. I much prefer women in skirts than in trousers Wink
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« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2011, 04:23:39 PM »

I'm no monk, but I am male...trust me, we don't need plunging necklines and skin-tight jeans to stumble in our thoughts. Skirts and headscarves go a long way in helping us focus our attention properly during the divine services.

Slippery slope.  Trousers =/= tight jeans.  My wife, for instance, prefers to wear what she calls 'work jammies' in that they are very loose trousers.  It's a rare occasion that she wears anything considered tight.

Also, unless the headscarves are plain white or black and the skirts the same, they can be just as distracting as a woman in trousers.

I think Jesus said it best: "What entereth into the mouth polluteth not the man, but what goes out of the mouth polluteth the man".  While he was talking about food, sartorial choices also fit the bill.
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« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2011, 05:00:21 PM »

I think folks ought to wear modest clothes to church. That said, I recall with delight Greek Chef's classic retort to somebody who said mini-skirts and tight pants are distracting: "Why are you looking at their behind, rather than at the altar?"  Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: March 24, 2011, 05:34:10 PM »

I think folks ought to wear modest clothes to church. That said, I recall with delight Greek Chef's classic retort to somebody who said mini-skirts and tight pants are distracting: "Why are you looking at their behind, rather than at the altar?"  Smiley
I agree, it can't be all on us, y'know?  Wink

But I do agree with dressing modestly. However, reading what some men have said (and I'm not talking about you guys in particular; this is a subject I've researched years ago), it sometimes feels like there isn't any clothing that men won't like/notice/stare at.

I wear a skirt instead of trousers. It's a skirt that hits mid-calf. It's apparently showing my lovely calves and ankles.  Roll Eyes And I LIKE v-neck shirts. I wear a tank top under them when I'm in a church and apparently that doesn't work so well either. Sometimes I feel like I should wear a trucker cap, my gym shirt and jeans. Although that would be entirely inappropriate, it seems like that has the least chance to catch men's eyes in the U.S.

I have men commenting on my clothing ALL the dang time (I dress pretty traditionally, a lot of skirts and dresses, peasant tops) while my friends in jeans don't get that kind of attention (well of course they get male attention, just not the extra comments about their skirts, dresses, and clothing choices).

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« Reply #20 on: March 24, 2011, 05:45:24 PM »

I think folks ought to wear modest clothes to church. That said, I recall with delight Greek Chef's classic retort to somebody who said mini-skirts and tight pants are distracting: "Why are you looking at their behind, rather than at the altar?"  Smiley
I wear a skirt instead of trousers. It's a skirt that hits mid-calf. It's apparently showing my lovely calves and ankles.  Roll Eyes And I LIKE v-neck shirts. I wear a tank top under them when I'm in a church and apparently that doesn't work so well either. Sometimes I feel like I should wear a trucker cap, my gym shirt and jeans. Although that would be entirely inappropriate, it seems like that has the least chance to catch men's eyes in the U.S.

You don't live in the South, do you?
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« Reply #21 on: March 24, 2011, 05:54:15 PM »



You don't live in the South, do you?
Actually, I do!  Grin And I went to churches where everyone wore jeans (that's probably why I stood out). But I haven't seen anyone at my local Orthodox church wear them to church. That's what I meant.
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« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2011, 06:00:32 PM »

womens' trousers are really tight these days, we should wear loose trousers or skirts outside of church anyway. all women should bend down in front of the mirror (back and front to check out tightness of material) and jump up and down (to check how much those synthetic skirts get shorter and shorter) before going out. it's crazy how in so many developed countries women show so much flesh these days. i can't do it, i get too cold!  Wink
asian clothes like shalwar khameez (loose trousers and tunic top) are awesome, i keep looking for some that look a bit european so i can wear them more often, they are comfortable, pretty, feminine and not revealing. i think they should be perfect for church.
oh, and could men please stop bending down in a way that shows their underpants (or worse..) i find it really distracting!
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« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2011, 06:01:46 PM »



You don't live in the South, do you?
Actually, I do!  Grin And I went to churches where everyone wore jeans (that's probably why I stood out). But I haven't seen anyone at my local Orthodox church wear them to church. That's what I meant.

Oh, no, I was talking about the bolded part in what I quoted. Tongue
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« Reply #24 on: March 24, 2011, 06:18:20 PM »

Oh LOL I'm slow on the uptake.  Cool
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