Author Topic: Liturgical abbreviation and odd priorities  (Read 394 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Regnare

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 444
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: OCA
Liturgical abbreviation and odd priorities
« on: April 13, 2015, 03:51:21 PM »
Holy Week is a time of especially long church services, which are frequently abbreviated to make the parishioners' lives easier. But has anyone else ever been in a situation where the clergy and choir seemed to make very odd decisions about what to abbreviate?
For example, this year at Holy Friday Matins, we skipped more than 2/3 of the antiphons between Gospel readings (including Antiphon XV, "Today He Who Hung The Earth Upon the Waters"), but did every single Little Litany, and we even added something I'd never heard of, the "Royal Beginning" of Matins, where the usual beginning is followed by Ps. 19 & 20, a Little Litany, and a couple of other short things. I don't understand the reasoning at all.
Has anyone else had this experience?

Offline PeterTheAleut

  • The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
  • Section Moderator
  • Hypatos
  • *****
  • Posts: 34,234
  • Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Liturgical abbreviation and odd priorities
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2015, 04:10:05 PM »
Holy Week is a time of especially long church services, which are frequently abbreviated to make the parishioners' lives easier. But has anyone else ever been in a situation where the clergy and choir seemed to make very odd decisions about what to abbreviate?
For example, this year at Holy Friday Matins, we skipped more than 2/3 of the antiphons between Gospel readings (including Antiphon XV, "Today He Who Hung The Earth Upon the Waters"), but did every single Little Litany, and we even added something I'd never heard of, the "Royal Beginning" of Matins, where the usual beginning is followed by Ps. 19 & 20, a Little Litany, and a couple of other short things. I don't understand the reasoning at all.
Has anyone else had this experience?
This does sound odd. The "Royal" beginning and the litanies are common to all Matins services, while the Gospel readings and the antiphons in between are what make the Passion Vigil unique to Holy Friday. This smells of liturgical revisionism to me. To my knowledge, AntiphonXV is in fact the signature moment of the service for the Greek churches (as "The Wise Thief" tends to be for the Slavic churches).
« Last Edit: April 13, 2015, 05:10:08 PM by PeterTheAleut »
Not all who wander are lost.

Offline Mor Ephrem

  • The Fourteenth Apostle and Judge of the Interwebs
  • Section Moderator
  • Stratopedarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 21,189
  • Christ is risen!
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
Re: Liturgical abbreviation and odd priorities
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2015, 04:30:09 PM »
This smells of liturgical revisionism to me.

How are you using that term?
"Do not tempt the Mor thy Mod."

Mor no longer posts on OCNet.  He follows threads, posts his responses daily, occasionally starts threads, and responds to private messages when and as he wants.  But he really isn't around anymore.


Offline PeterTheAleut

  • The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
  • Section Moderator
  • Hypatos
  • *****
  • Posts: 34,234
  • Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Liturgical abbreviation and odd priorities
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2015, 04:47:24 PM »
This smells of liturgical revisionism to me.

How are you using that term?
Certainly not in any academic sense. It may not even be the right term. I'm talking mainly about making changes to the liturgics that violate the spirit of the rubrics and might possibly raise the ire of the local bishop.
Not all who wander are lost.

Offline Dominika

  • Serbian/Polish
  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,184
    • My youtube channel
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Sth different than my heart belongs to
Re: Liturgical abbreviation and odd priorities
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2015, 03:42:02 PM »
Holy Week is a time of especially long church services, which are frequently abbreviated to make the parishioners' lives easier. But has anyone else ever been in a situation where the clergy and choir seemed to make very odd decisions about what to abbreviate?
For example, this year at Holy Friday Matins, we skipped more than 2/3 of the antiphons between Gospel readings (including Antiphon XV, "Today He Who Hung The Earth Upon the Waters"), but did every single Little Litany, and we even added something I'd never heard of, the "Royal Beginning" of Matins, where the usual beginning is followed by Ps. 19 & 20, a Little Litany, and a couple of other short things. I don't understand the reasoning at all.
Has anyone else had this experience?

No, sounds really strange.

To my knowledge, AntiphonXV is in fact the signature moment of the service for the Greek churches (as "The Wise Thief" tends to be for the Slavic churches).
Not really, in Slavic churches (especially Southern ones, but not only) the 15th antiphon is also very important. The "Wise Thief" it's important probably mostly in "synodal" Churches (I mean, following more or less Russian practices) just because of opera-like compositions of this hymn ::)
Pray for persecuted Christians, especially in Serbian Kosovo and Raška, Egypt and Syria

Offline gzt

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 153
    • Skeptical Science
Re: Liturgical abbreviation and odd priorities
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2015, 06:55:05 PM »
At my own parish we ended up doing the ryoal beginning at matins. It wasn't foreign to me, being, after all, simply the beginning of matins. We did it because it's what the priest had written down, and I don't know if it was really what he wanted to be done. After all, we're OCA and it's not in the little booklets. I agree it's weird to abbreviate the antiphons, esp. the 15th antiphon, but I don't have strong feelings about the antiphons besides #15 (even if it's somewhat less of a high point in our liturgical practice).

Offline homedad76

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 491
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: OCA
Re: Liturgical abbreviation and odd priorities
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2015, 08:18:42 PM »
Our OCA parish does not do the Royal Beginning but I think we leave everything else in.
"However hard I try, I find it impossible to construct anything greater than these three words, 'Love one another' —only to the end, and without exceptions: then all is justified and life is illumined, whereas otherwise it is an abomination and a burden."

—Mother Maria of Paris

Offline scamandrius

  • Crusher of Secrets; House Lannister
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,535
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Greek in exile
Re: Liturgical abbreviation and odd priorities
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2015, 08:21:16 PM »
No fifteenth antiphon really strikes me as odd.  That is the crux (pun intended) of the entire 12 Gospel service.
I seek the truth by which no man was ever harmed--Marcus Aurelius

Those who do not read  history are doomed to get their facts from Hollywood--Anonymous

What earthly joy remains untouched by grief?--St. John Damascene

Offline PeterTheAleut

  • The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
  • Section Moderator
  • Hypatos
  • *****
  • Posts: 34,234
  • Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Liturgical abbreviation and odd priorities
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2015, 12:17:34 AM »
No fifteenth antiphon really strikes me as odd.  That is the crux (pun intended) of the entire 12 Gospel service.
Which is made even more clear by the dramatic presentation, at least in my church, of taking the icon of Christ crucified and, while the antiphon is being sung, suspending it from the cross that we have placed in the middle of the church.
Not all who wander are lost.

Offline gzt

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 153
    • Skeptical Science
Re: Liturgical abbreviation and odd priorities
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2015, 12:32:53 AM »
No fifteenth antiphon really strikes me as odd.  That is the crux (pun intended) of the entire 12 Gospel service.
Which is made even more clear by the dramatic presentation, at least in my church, of taking the icon of Christ crucified and, while the antiphon is being sung, suspending it from the cross that we have placed in the middle of the church.
Isn't that a late development and not really "in the book"?

Offline Regnare

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 444
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: OCA
Re: Liturgical abbreviation and odd priorities
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2015, 11:07:55 AM »
No fifteenth antiphon really strikes me as odd.  That is the crux (pun intended) of the entire 12 Gospel service.
Which is made even more clear by the dramatic presentation, at least in my church, of taking the icon of Christ crucified and, while the antiphon is being sung, suspending it from the cross that we have placed in the middle of the church.
I thought they only did that in Greek churches. At my church Christ and the cross are one piece.

Offline scamandrius

  • Crusher of Secrets; House Lannister
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,535
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Greek in exile
Re: Liturgical abbreviation and odd priorities
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2015, 02:11:34 PM »
No fifteenth antiphon really strikes me as odd.  That is the crux (pun intended) of the entire 12 Gospel service.
Which is made even more clear by the dramatic presentation, at least in my church, of taking the icon of Christ crucified and, while the antiphon is being sung, suspending it from the cross that we have placed in the middle of the church.
Isn't that a late development and not really "in the book"?

It may be, but it has been accepted for quite some time. 
I seek the truth by which no man was ever harmed--Marcus Aurelius

Those who do not read  history are doomed to get their facts from Hollywood--Anonymous

What earthly joy remains untouched by grief?--St. John Damascene

Offline podkarpatska

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 9,251
  • Pokrov
    • ACROD (home)
Re: Liturgical abbreviation and odd priorities
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2015, 06:36:01 PM »
Again, this points out the future difficulties of administrative and eparchial unity. How do you really expect a geographic based bishop to keep on top of all of  historical and geographical variants of practice and rubrics and to tolerate them? Bishops are people too and they too are influenced by the 'way things have always been done' in their own experience.  And if the answer is that at the primatial see level, the national Synod will have an office designed to 'keep on top ' of these matters to monitor each and every acceptable tradition, that really strikes me as un-Orthodox - for it goes to the heart of the local authority of a regional bishop to administer his diocese or eparchy. In other words, it grants the primate a supremacy that is at best troubling.

This is at the heart of a service, that is at the heart of the service..and so on.. I am not being critical of anyone here as I fully understand where you are coming from and I respect those regional differences. But I simply do not see how homogenizing the American situation is going to work.






Offline PeterTheAleut

  • The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
  • Section Moderator
  • Hypatos
  • *****
  • Posts: 34,234
  • Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Liturgical abbreviation and odd priorities
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2015, 07:42:31 PM »
Again, this points out the future difficulties of administrative and eparchial unity. How do you really expect a geographic based bishop to keep on top of all of  historical and geographical variants of practice and rubrics and to tolerate them? Bishops are people too and they too are influenced by the 'way things have always been done' in their own experience.  And if the answer is that at the primatial see level, the national Synod will have an office designed to 'keep on top ' of these matters to monitor each and every acceptable tradition, that really strikes me as un-Orthodox - for it goes to the heart of the local authority of a regional bishop to administer his diocese or eparchy. In other words, it grants the primate a supremacy that is at best troubling.

This is at the heart of a service, that is at the heart of the service..and so on.. I am not being critical of anyone here as I fully understand where you are coming from and I respect those regional differences. But I simply do not see how homogenizing the American situation is going to work.
How do you proceed from the OP to this commentary on national unity? ??? I really think you're addressing a pet personal issue rather than the topic of this thread.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2015, 07:43:22 PM by PeterTheAleut »
Not all who wander are lost.

Offline podkarpatska

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 9,251
  • Pokrov
    • ACROD (home)
Re: Liturgical abbreviation and odd priorities
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2015, 08:53:13 PM »
Peter, I mention it when discussions like this come up. Usually such discussions are civil here and people try to understand each other's various liturgical differences and accept them. But...in terms of the future of American Orthodoxy, such little things have the capacity to become big things and the discussions may indeed become less civil. The law of unintended consequences applies to the church as much as any other sector of human endeavor. Hence the need to discuss such things before they become a reality. Questions like these need to be addressed and answered by our hierarchs before the implementation of any unity plans in order for such plans to meet acceptance on the parochial level. Some bishops I know get this, others I am less sanguine about....Sorry if it seems like a broken record, but the wide variance of Paschal season traditions presents a good time to think about it. Being proactive is better than being reactive.

Offline PeterTheAleut

  • The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
  • Section Moderator
  • Hypatos
  • *****
  • Posts: 34,234
  • Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Liturgical abbreviation and odd priorities
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2015, 09:03:14 PM »
Peter, I mention it when discussions like this come up. Usually such discussions are civil here and people try to understand each other's various liturgical differences and accept them. But...in terms of the future of American Orthodoxy, such little things have the capacity to become big things and the discussions may indeed become less civil. The law of unintended consequences applies to the church as much as any other sector of human endeavor. Hence the need to discuss such things before they become a reality. Questions like these need to be addressed and answered by our hierarchs before the implementation of any unity plans in order for such plans to meet acceptance on the parochial level. Some bishops I know get this, others I am less sanguine about....Sorry if it seems like a broken record, but the wide variance of Paschal season traditions presents a good time to think about it. Being proactive is better than being reactive.
IMO, though, it might be better to broach that subject on another thread. Here it's off topic.
Not all who wander are lost.

Offline podkarpatska

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 9,251
  • Pokrov
    • ACROD (home)
Re: Liturgical abbreviation and odd priorities
« Reply #16 on: April 16, 2015, 09:56:42 PM »
^ Point taken. Thanks!
« Last Edit: April 16, 2015, 09:57:10 PM by podkarpatska »

Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,350
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Diocese of the South (OCA)
Re: Liturgical abbreviation and odd priorities
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2015, 11:12:04 AM »
No fifteenth antiphon really strikes me as odd.  That is the crux (pun intended) of the entire 12 Gospel service.
Which is made even more clear by the dramatic presentation, at least in my church, of taking the icon of Christ crucified and, while the antiphon is being sung, suspending it from the cross that we have placed in the middle of the church.
I thought they only did that in Greek churches. At my church Christ and the cross are one piece.

I suspect that the practice follows the kind of cross that a church has. If it has a detachable Christ, then He is put on the cross, either suspending Him on a nail or actually nailing him to the cross, as related here: "Kneeling on Holy and Great Thursday and listening to the hammer blows resound as my husband nailed the icon of Jesus’ corpus to the cross; seeing my daughter’s shoulders shake with sobbing."  Kh. Frederica Mathewes-Green in http://frederica.com/writings/from-episcopalian-to-orthodox.html