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Author Topic: greek orthodox vespers tonight  (Read 3797 times) Average Rating: 0
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mabsoota
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« on: July 30, 2011, 05:18:32 AM »

peace in Christ, dear friends.
i am planning to go to a greek orthodox vespers tonight.
(i am 5 hours ahead of the time zone of this forum)
from my previous experience in a (different) greek church, i want to be prepared in case there is no translation.
i have found some information here:

http://www.goarch.org/chapel/liturgical_texts/vespers

but i want to ask, which tones/parts would be in the vespers today? and roughly how long does it take?
i will be going alone, so i won't have anyone to ask during the service but i want to also pray and to know what i am praying.
roughly how long does it take?

thanks for any advice/information.
 Smiley
« Last Edit: July 30, 2011, 05:18:53 AM by mabsoota » Logged
zekarja
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« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2011, 07:03:22 AM »

peace in Christ, dear friends.
i am planning to go to a greek orthodox vespers tonight.
(i am 5 hours ahead of the time zone of this forum)
from my previous experience in a (different) greek church, i want to be prepared in case there is no translation.
i have found some information here:

http://www.goarch.org/chapel/liturgical_texts/vespers

but i want to ask, which tones/parts would be in the vespers today? and roughly how long does it take?
i will be going alone, so i won't have anyone to ask during the service but i want to also pray and to know what i am praying.
roughly how long does it take?

thanks for any advice/information.
 Smiley

I have never been to Greek Vespers, however, Saturday night/Sunday is Tone Six. Smiley

Irini pasi,
zekarja
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2011, 08:04:13 AM »

It is also the pre-feast of the Procession of the Cross (unless they are on the Old Calendar, then I think it is for the 4th Council) and there are special hymns for that.
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Joseph
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« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2011, 08:58:02 AM »

Great Vespers

Length: One hour, 20 minutes (+/-), excluding any commentary the priest may possibly offer.  
Tone: Plagal Second.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2011, 09:09:05 AM by Basil 320 » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2011, 09:47:53 AM »

thanks, guys  Smiley
can we have a vote on the tone six/ second tone so i know which one to look up?
 Wink
also what's a pre-feast?
sounds like you are about to celebrate something and then stop at the last minute!
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« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2011, 09:51:50 AM »

I'm listening to the broadcast from the patriarchal cathedral in bucharest; besides the stichera of the resurrection from the Ochoechos (3 I think), they had three for the Procession of the Cross, if I'm not mistaken.
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« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2011, 09:56:48 AM »

thanks, guys  Smiley
can we have a vote on the tone six/ second tone so i know which one to look up?
 Wink
also what's a pre-feast?
sounds like you are about to celebrate something and then stop at the last minute!
Tone 6 is "Plagal" Tone 2.
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zekarja
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« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2011, 09:59:35 AM »

TONE VI
Called Hypolydian by the ancient Greeks, Tone VI is the Plagal of the Second Tone. It is one of the favorite tones of Mid-Eastern chanters, and one of the more difficult ones for students to learn. Tone VI is distinguished by its rich texture, funeralic character, and generally sorrowful tone.

Source: http://www.holycrossonline.org/our_ministries/parish_ministries/chant/byzantine_chant/
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« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2011, 12:01:28 PM »

thanks a lot. i am about to leave.
what's a stichera?
also if anyone wants to translate the list of greek words that are used a lot on this site, which i think are names of hymns and stuff, that would be great.
like kontakion and prospion (?spelling) and all the other ...ions
thanks
 Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2011, 12:16:13 PM »

thanks a lot. i am about to leave.
what's a stichera?
also if anyone wants to translate the list of greek words that are used a lot on this site, which i think are names of hymns and stuff, that would be great.
like kontakion and prospion (?spelling) and all the other ...ions
thanks
 Smiley


Stichera [singular Sticheron] are hymn verses that, when used during Vespers, go in between the Psalm verses after they sing "Lord, I Have Cried."

Here are some explanations on the different hymns:
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Sticheron
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Troparion
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Kontakion
« Last Edit: July 30, 2011, 12:18:09 PM by zekarja » Logged

zekarja
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« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2011, 12:21:55 PM »

Antiochian Stichera for tonight: “O LORD, I HAVE CRIED” IN TONE SIX

O Lord, I have cried out unto Thee, hear Thou me; hear Thou me, O Lord. O
Lord, I have cried out unto Thee, hear Thou me. Give ear to the voice of my
supplication when I cry out unto Thee: hear Thou me, O Lord.
Let my prayer be set forth before Thee as the incense, and the lifting up of my
hands as the evening sacrifice; hear Thou me, O Lord.

+  Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, and a protecting door round about my lips.
+  Incline not my heart to evil words, to make excuses in sins.
+  With men that work iniquity; and I will not communicate with the choicest of them.
+  The just man shall correct me in mercy and shall reprove me; but let not the oil of the sinner
anoint my head.
+  For my prayer also shall still be against the things with which they are well pleased; their
judges falling upon the rock have been swallowed up.
+  They shall hear my words, for they are sweet; as when the thickness of the earth is broken
upon the ground, their bones are scattered by the side of hell.
+  But to Thee, O Lord, Lord, are mine eyes; in Thee have I put my trust, take not away my soul.
+  Keep me from the snare which they have laid for me, and the traps of the workers of iniquity.
+  Let the wicked fall into their own nets, whilst I alone escape.
+  I cried unto the Lord with my voice, with my voice unto the Lord, did I make my supplication.
+  I poured out my supplication before Him; I showed before Him my trouble.
+  When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then Thou knewest my path.
+  In the way wherein I walked have they secretly laid a snare for me.
+  I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me.
+  Refuge failed me; no one cared for my soul.
+  I cried unto Thee, O Lord; I said: Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.
+  Attend unto my cry, for I am brought very low.
+  Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are stronger than I.

The full Antiochian Vespers for tonight: http://www.antiochianladiocese.org/service_texts_weekends.html
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« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2011, 02:19:24 PM »

thanks for your help guys  Smiley
i am back from church.
i was quite surprised.
i am used to being the first one in church, but this is the first time i was the only one in church!
there was a guy who looked liked he had just opened the gate to the very small car park and a lady that seemed to live in the next door house who was just outside her house.
i asked her if the church was open, and she said it was and something about the priest arriving (i did not understand her accent when speaking english).
i arrived at the advertised time for vespers (the board outside the church said 5.30 - 6.30).
i entered the back of the church and there were 2 doors, one to the right which opened onto an office. there was a middle aged man sitting behind a desk, wearing a blue shirt. i asked him where was the church, and he gestured to the other door.

i went in and found a small chapel and the church was the other side of the small chapel.
the building was beautiful, covered in wall paintings and icons. i was glad to arrive first, so i could venerate the icons without feeling self-conscious, and after half an hour of venerating icons and private prayer, i realised nothing was happening.
it was good to go and pray and i felt very peaceful there.
there were printed leaflets in english and greek with the sunday readings (for tomorrow), so i could see they do have sunday services.
i lit a candle and then left after 45 minutes, and met the lady outside.
she asked me if the priest had left, i said 'i don't know', and then she said 'i think he left'.
i asked her if they have vespers services and she said 'yes'.
i asked her 'what time?" and she said 'any time'
 Huh
i did not expect to see many people in church, but this has left me rather confused.
any ideas?
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zekarja
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« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2011, 02:22:02 PM »

thanks for your help guys  Smiley
i am back from church.
i was quite surprised.
i am used to being the first one in church, but this is the first time i was the only one in church!
there was a guy who looked liked he had just opened the gate to the very small car park and a lady that seemed to live in the next door house who was just outside her house.
i asked her if the church was open, and she said it was and something about the priest arriving (i did not understand her accent when speaking english).
i arrived at the advertised time for vespers (the board outside the church said 5.30 - 6.30).
i entered the back of the church and there were 2 doors, one to the right which opened onto an office. there was a middle aged man sitting behind a desk, wearing a blue shirt. i asked him where was the church, and he gestured to the other door.

i went in and found a small chapel and the church was the other side of the small chapel.
the building was beautiful, covered in wall paintings and icons. i was glad to arrive first, so i could venerate the icons without feeling self-conscious, and after half an hour of venerating icons and private prayer, i realised nothing was happening.
it was good to go and pray and i felt very peaceful there.
there were printed leaflets in english and greek with the sunday readings (for tomorrow), so i could see they do have sunday services.
i lit a candle and then left after 45 minutes, and met the lady outside.
she asked me if the priest had left, i said 'i don't know', and then she said 'i think he left'.
i asked her if they have vespers services and she said 'yes'.
i asked her 'what time?" and she said 'any time'
 Huh
i did not expect to see many people in church, but this has left me rather confused.
any ideas?

That's odd. Huh
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« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2011, 02:25:11 PM »

thanks for your help guys  Smiley
i am back from church.
i was quite surprised.
i am used to being the first one in church, but this is the first time i was the only one in church!
there was a guy who looked liked he had just opened the gate to the very small car park and a lady that seemed to live in the next door house who was just outside her house.
i asked her if the church was open, and she said it was and something about the priest arriving (i did not understand her accent when speaking english).
i arrived at the advertised time for vespers (the board outside the church said 5.30 - 6.30).
i entered the back of the church and there were 2 doors, one to the right which opened onto an office. there was a middle aged man sitting behind a desk, wearing a blue shirt. i asked him where was the church, and he gestured to the other door.

i went in and found a small chapel and the church was the other side of the small chapel.
the building was beautiful, covered in wall paintings and icons. i was glad to arrive first, so i could venerate the icons without feeling self-conscious, and after half an hour of venerating icons and private prayer, i realised nothing was happening.
it was good to go and pray and i felt very peaceful there.
there were printed leaflets in english and greek with the sunday readings (for tomorrow), so i could see they do have sunday services.
i lit a candle and then left after 45 minutes, and met the lady outside.
she asked me if the priest had left, i said 'i don't know', and then she said 'i think he left'.
i asked her if they have vespers services and she said 'yes'.
i asked her 'what time?" and she said 'any time'
 Huh
i did not expect to see many people in church, but this has left me rather confused.
any ideas?

That's odd. Huh
It's not,. It happened all the time back home, since people wouldn't attend, the priest then would just cancel it on the spot kind of. He would say to the 2-3 people present:i'm tired, had 1 or two burials today, we'll skip vespers tonight.
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zekarja
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« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2011, 02:29:01 PM »

thanks for your help guys  Smiley
i am back from church.
i was quite surprised.
i am used to being the first one in church, but this is the first time i was the only one in church!
there was a guy who looked liked he had just opened the gate to the very small car park and a lady that seemed to live in the next door house who was just outside her house.
i asked her if the church was open, and she said it was and something about the priest arriving (i did not understand her accent when speaking english).
i arrived at the advertised time for vespers (the board outside the church said 5.30 - 6.30).
i entered the back of the church and there were 2 doors, one to the right which opened onto an office. there was a middle aged man sitting behind a desk, wearing a blue shirt. i asked him where was the church, and he gestured to the other door.

i went in and found a small chapel and the church was the other side of the small chapel.
the building was beautiful, covered in wall paintings and icons. i was glad to arrive first, so i could venerate the icons without feeling self-conscious, and after half an hour of venerating icons and private prayer, i realised nothing was happening.
it was good to go and pray and i felt very peaceful there.
there were printed leaflets in english and greek with the sunday readings (for tomorrow), so i could see they do have sunday services.
i lit a candle and then left after 45 minutes, and met the lady outside.
she asked me if the priest had left, i said 'i don't know', and then she said 'i think he left'.
i asked her if they have vespers services and she said 'yes'.
i asked her 'what time?" and she said 'any time'
 Huh
i did not expect to see many people in church, but this has left me rather confused.
any ideas?

That's odd. Huh
It's not,. It happened all the time back home, since people wouldn't attend, the priest then would just cancel it on the spot kind of. He would say to the 2-3 people present:i'm tired, had 1 or two burials today, we'll skip vespers tonight.
I see.
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« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2011, 04:57:28 PM »

do u think the priest was the guy in the blue shirt working at the desk?
i sort of expected to know who the priest was!
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« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2011, 05:52:50 PM »

I've been to Greek Vespers when I've been the only one there. THe priest travels 5 kilometres to the church every evening to say vespers and light the perpetual vigil lamp. If there is no Divine Liturgy he says Matins at home I think. If there is no congregation he says his vespers sitting near the iconostasis outside of it. When I've arrived he's got up, commenced the service again and completed it all on his own without chanters (I don't chant in Greek, although I do in Slavonic- kindof).
Usually now though, the chanters are present for Saturday eve vespers and the service is chanted normally.
The Orthodox Services are quite complicated and require a selection of three or four books to be chanted in their entirity. Search this board for helpful threads on the services.
Good idea to phone the priest and ask if there will be a service even though the bulletin board may advertise it.
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« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2011, 06:07:52 PM »

i asked her if they have vespers services and she said 'yes'.
i asked her 'what time?" and she said 'any time'

Sounds like something out of Alice in Wonderland.
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« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2011, 06:14:02 PM »

yes, i think she meant they do it if they want to!
what surprised me was that there was no-one else in church, not even a priest. there were 4 candles burning before i added one, but no lamps lit. there was no sound except someone walking in the back of the church, i think it was the lady from the house nearby.
i felt a bit bad, like there was something i should have done, maybe i should have come out of the church earlier, then i would have seen the blue shirt man before he left.
i was just hanging around in the church, expecting someone to come in!
oh, well, it was a really beautiful church, i have never seen so many icons in one place before  Smiley

i was thinking of going for a liturgy service sometime, but now i'm not so sure...
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« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2011, 06:43:09 PM »

yes, i think she meant they do it if they want to!
what surprised me was that there was no-one else in church, not even a priest. there were 4 candles burning before i added one, but no lamps lit. there was no sound except someone walking in the back of the church, i think it was the lady from the house nearby.
i felt a bit bad, like there was something i should have done, maybe i should have come out of the church earlier, then i would have seen the blue shirt man before he left.
i was just hanging around in the church, expecting someone to come in!
oh, well, it was a really beautiful church, i have never seen so many icons in one place before  Smiley

i was thinking of going for a liturgy service sometime, but now i'm not so sure...

I'm sure the priest and people will be there for liturgy, at least.  Wink
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« Reply #20 on: July 30, 2011, 06:54:12 PM »

There are many reason that Vespers may not have happened tonight for you. My own parish did not serve Vespers because the priest are traveling back from the Archdiocese Convention. During the summer months many weddings occur on Saturdays which can cause an unfortunate disruption in the liturgical cycle.
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« Reply #21 on: August 02, 2011, 05:39:55 AM »

thanks all for your helpful answers.
in case anyone can guess, can i ask 2 more questions?
1. was the guy in the blue shirt the priest? i mean do priests sometimes turn up for vespers in ordinary clothes and only get changed into priestly clothes later?
2. why do u think no-one came into church while i was there? i can't imagine i scared them, i am a small female and was carrying a fairly small handbag which did not look like there was anything dangerous in it. maybe is it because their english wasn't good? or is it quite unusual to have a new person visiting? we have new people at my church quite often, so i think maybe i don't understand the culture of that greek congregation and i am trying to guess. i don't want to phone them and ask because a) it would be like i was telling them off and i don't want to upset them and b) maybe they don't speak english.

i am moving house soon, so may not get a chance to go back, but the answers to these questions will help me when i visit churches in my new area  Smiley
thanks!
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« Reply #22 on: August 02, 2011, 06:58:30 AM »

This scenario seems very strange to me.  The parish had Vespers scheduled but did not conduct them?  Why not?  Why didn't "the guy in the blue shirt" speak to you and mention that there would be no service that evening, for whatever reason.  Why didn't "the guy in the blue shirt" say anything to you--no one here can speculate about what you are telling us here.

Whatever it is you experienced that evening, has nothing to do with it being a "greek" parish.  Do you know, is it a Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America parish, a separated Greek Old Calendar parish, or a non-canonical free lance entity?

Why didn't you ask "the guy in the blue shirt," whether there were going to be church services?

Is this an urban setting?  Maybe they're accustomed to people coming in off the street to light candles.  This past Saturday, following a wedding I chanted at in a parish other than my own,  an urban neighborhood church. I was standing on the front steps, after the wedding party and the congregation had left, a couple from the neighborhood came into the church to look at it, while the custodian was cleaning up.  There were plenty of candles burning from the wedding that had ended earlier, but no one, other than the custodian, and me on the front steps, was around.

I chant at my parish's services.  On a few occasions, when no one is in church at the scheduled start (like a 9:00 a.m. start for Presanctified Liturgy on Great Wednesday), my priest starts, knowing that someone will show up.  

It is not at all common, but a priest could possibly arrive at the church not dressed in clerical street attire, but how can anyone on this forum know, if "the guy in the blue shirt [was] the priest?"  He might have been the priest or deacon, he could have been the chanter, office manager, a Parish Council officer or member; but who here could possibly know?
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« Reply #23 on: August 02, 2011, 07:56:59 AM »

thanks for your help, i realise no-one will know, but i was hoping for some educated guesses.
to answer your points;
this website http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cathedrals_in_England_and_Wales#Greek_Orthodox_Church
says it's in the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain, but it is no longer a cathedral, just a regular church.
there was no information about the church in the church, other than the sign outside saying 'greek orthodox church' and it's name and the service times.

i waited inside the church instead of going back to the blue shirt guy as i was expecting something to happen. being from western europe, i assumed (this was probably a mistake) that if something is advertised at a certain time and then someone comes in, and the person/people there know that it is not going to happen that they would tell the outsider who is walking in asking 'where is the church?'.
i am used to services starting 15 to 30 mins late, but after 30 mins, i thought i have probably misunderstood something and decided to leave to seek out the blue shirt guy. on my way out i lit a candle and prayed a bit, so i suppose i left after about 40 mins. i kept thinking someone was going to come in and anyway all the walls were covered with wall paintings and other icons, so there was plenty to look at.

i thought the guy was maybe the priest as the lady who didn't speak good english asked 'has priest left?' and as i answered i didn't know, i saw a car leaving the car park, and the blue shirt guy was not there anymore. the car was too far away for me to see who was in it.

it was in uk in a big town, but i don't want to give the name. i went by the church once before and it was shut so i don't think it is open a lot, however i suppose someone went in to light a candle who was not going to the service.

i think what i am asking you guys is 'is there anything i can do differently next time to avoid a similar misunderstanding', i mean other than phoning, as i didn't see a 'phone number.

thanks for your help.
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« Reply #24 on: August 06, 2011, 09:05:10 PM »

The first time we visited was also for Vespers.  Keep in mind this is a parish in rural Georgia in the United States, so cultural differences abound.  Still, we rolled up and parked at about 10 minutes before service time, and there was no one there.  Literally.  Except one guy in blue coveralls working in the garden.  So I walked up and introduced myself and asked if there would be Vespers that evening, and he said, "hi, I'm Father Andrew, yes -- we will have Vespers in a few minutes."  His wife came out and showed us around the Church and sure enough in a few minutes he came in with his clerical on (I assume he was wearing it while working in the garden -- I've never asked).  My best guess is we got started about 5 minutes after we were supposed to.

Orthodox time is relative.  You typically don't have an "okay, it's 6:00 -- time for Vespers lets get this rolling!" attitude.  Rather, there are things to do, vesting (it's not just getting dressed), prayers to be said, etc. 

Having said all that, it's not THAT relative.  I'm surprised you had that experience.  Did you call first to verify there would be a service?  We didn't, mind you -- I'm just curious.  If not, I'd attend a liturgy and then ask the priest there if they will have Vespers and when.
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« Reply #25 on: August 06, 2011, 09:20:44 PM »

I've been to Greek Vespers when I've been the only one there. THe priest travels 5 kilometres to the church every evening to say vespers and light the perpetual vigil lamp. If there is no Divine Liturgy he says Matins at home I think. If there is no congregation he says his vespers sitting near the iconostasis outside of it. When I've arrived he's got up, commenced the service again and completed it all on his own without chanters (I don't chant in Greek, although I do in Slavonic- kindof).
Usually now though, the chanters are present for Saturday eve vespers and the service is chanted normally.
The Orthodox Services are quite complicated and require a selection of three or four books to be chanted in their entirity. Search this board for helpful threads on the services.
Good idea to phone the priest and ask if there will be a service even though the bulletin board may advertise it.
Adelphi
Correct me if I'm wrong, but there has to be at least 1 person other than the priest for a service to be held. Why is this priest doing stuff on his own?
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genesisone
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« Reply #26 on: August 06, 2011, 09:42:02 PM »

Correct me if I'm wrong, but there has to be at least 1 person other than the priest for a service to be held. Why is this priest doing stuff on his own?
I, too, may be wrong, but I think the rule is that the Divine Liturgy requires at least one other person.
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arimethea
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« Reply #27 on: August 07, 2011, 02:19:01 AM »

Correct me if I'm wrong, but there has to be at least 1 person other than the priest for a service to be held. Why is this priest doing stuff on his own?
I, too, may be wrong, but I think the rule is that the Divine Liturgy requires at least one other person.

You are correct, only Divine Liturgy requires more then just a priest. It is very common for the daily cycle to be said by one person.
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Joseph
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« Reply #28 on: August 07, 2011, 02:41:59 AM »

hi david garner,
no i didn't call them. it was in a big city, so i assumed there may be someone around.
it was a nice hot sunny day, though, maybe they got distracted!
about there being more than 1 person, also in our church vespers can be said just by the priest.
liturgy requires a minimum of 3 people, a priest, altar server (reader, subdeacon etc.) and 1 other person. the smallest liturgy i went to had 4 people. it was lovely, though  Smiley
i will soon move to a small town, so when i next go visiting different churches, i will call first.
 Smiley
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NicholasMyra
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« Reply #29 on: August 07, 2011, 04:03:10 AM »

Mabsoota, you didn't do anything wrong. I think most of us would have been just as confused.

I'm sorry the experience was so vacuous.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2011, 04:03:38 AM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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« Reply #30 on: August 07, 2011, 06:17:21 AM »

thanks nicholas myra and thanks everyone.
i think i am over it now, i was just confused and a bit disappointed. next time i will be more chilled!
 Cool
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Margaret S.
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« Reply #31 on: August 07, 2011, 06:58:37 PM »


i was thinking of going for a liturgy service sometime, but now i'm not so sure...

I think there must be another Greek Orthodox Church in your part of the world... perhaps it would be a good idea to find it! Or go down to London to Vespers at the Antiochian Cathedral and introduce yourself to my SF who sings beautifully and is always there Smiley

Margaret
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« Reply #32 on: August 07, 2011, 06:59:50 PM »

I've been to Greek Vespers when I've been the only one there. THe priest travels 5 kilometres to the church every evening to say vespers and light the perpetual vigil lamp. If there is no Divine Liturgy he says Matins at home I think. If there is no congregation he says his vespers sitting near the iconostasis outside of it. When I've arrived he's got up, commenced the service again and completed it all on his own without chanters (I don't chant in Greek, although I do in Slavonic- kindof).
Usually now though, the chanters are present for Saturday eve vespers and the service is chanted normally.
The Orthodox Services are quite complicated and require a selection of three or four books to be chanted in their entirity. Search this board for helpful threads on the services.
Good idea to phone the priest and ask if there will be a service even though the bulletin board may advertise it.
Adelphi
Correct me if I'm wrong, but there has to be at least 1 person other than the priest for a service to be held. Why is this priest doing stuff on his own?

I think they often start alone with the assumption/hope that someone else will turn up. At least such is my experience.

Margaret
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« Reply #33 on: August 07, 2011, 10:51:22 PM »

hi, margaret, what is your sf? special friend? silly feature?
i've been to the smaller antiochian church in london, i was trying to meet the famous father michael harper, who was not there that week. one of his talks on ancient faith radio encouraged me very much as he had many of the same experiences joining orthodoxy as i had. i will now have to meet him in heaven as he has gone on ahead.
it was lovely and i was made very welcome, although i had to turn down the glass of wine after Holy Communion (we all ate together which was lovely). i hadn't been coptic for very long, but long enough to be psychologically unable to drink alcohol after church! even though i hadn't communed, it was still against my culture, although obviously not against my religion (as that is the same).
one thing i love about the eastern orthodox liturgies is the 'great entrance' of the Holy Body and Blood. we don't always do this in the oriental orthodox churches (we do in major festivals), it is instead taken around the altar. in the antiochian church there was a clear moment of deep holiness where i was very aware of God's presence during the great entrance, and i felt almost like i had taken Holy Communion with them.

i have a good friend at that church who also visits my church a lot.
she even missed epiphany to stand in solidarity with the murdered copts in alexandria when she came for our Christmas service on 6th january night. seeing her in the church, i was very encouraged and remembered the psalm 'behold how good and how pleasant it is when bretheren dwell in unity'.
 Smiley
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