Author Topic: New traditions...  (Read 7594 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Timon

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,818
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: OCA
New traditions...
« on: October 05, 2011, 11:56:17 PM »
I know I am really gonna sound like a protestant with this post, but this is something that has been on my mind.

I realize the Orthodox church is very set in its ways, and wants to keep the tradition like it was 2000 years ago.. I think that is a wonderful and beautiful thing.

However, i cant help but wonder about this.  At some point, werent ALL of the traditions in the church new?? Take things like incense, style of music and the way the Eucharist or baptism is done.  At some point, werent all of these things "new"??

If so, why is it a huge problem for us to create new traditions that can maybe reach out to our local/cultural communities a little better?  In a moder age where music is so important, why would it be a problem to make more modern musical arrangements of certain hymns or chants?  

Again, im not necessarily advocating for change.  I have just had this question asked by a very intelligent friend of mine.  He is very educated, however he is protestant.  When I was talking about him about wanting to convert to Orthodoxy, we eventually talked about the traditions of the church.  He is the one who pointed out that all traditions were at some point "new."  

So why is it so bad to make more "new" traditions??  I dont really mean theologically, but aesthetically.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2011, 11:56:44 PM by Timon »
Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.

— Chrysostom

BLOG

Offline Shiny

  • Site Supporter
  • Toumarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 13,265
  • Paint It Red
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2011, 12:02:16 AM »
I would say all of the Church's traditions are Jewish, but with the Church we have the full revelation of God where I would argue what the Jews had was limited.

Idea of the Eucharist, baptism, incense, etc all were Jewish IIRC.
“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan

Offline John of the North

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,535
  • Christ is Risen!
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2011, 12:20:21 AM »
I realize the Orthodox church is very set in its ways, and wants to keep the tradition like it was 2000 years ago.

The goal isn't to preserve the Church like a 2000 year old fossil, but to keep what is good and discard what no longer works. We no longer receive adult converts naked, we no longer have public confession of sins, we no longer take the Eucharist home, and so on. At the same time, I haven't seen any evidence that our aesthetics no longer--quite the contrary.

Quote
However, i cant help but wonder about this.  At some point, werent ALL of the traditions in the church new?? Take things like incense, style of music and the way the Eucharist or baptism is done.  At some point, werent all of these things "new"??

To a point, yes. At the same time, their origins are rooted in Old Testament.

Quote
If so, why is it a huge problem for us to create new traditions that can maybe reach out to our local/cultural communities a little better?

Is there anything in what we do now that would somehow prevent such outreach?? In any case, certainly, where it was beneficial, the Church has adapted liturgical traditions to a local community. This is why the Slavic liturgical tradition is different than the Byzantine tradition, from which it originated.

Quote
In a modern age where music is so important, why would it be a problem to make more modern musical arrangements of certain hymns or chants?

The Church doesn't really do change for the sake of change. Our liturgical music is not centered on us, but it is directed at God.

Quote
So why is it so bad to make more "new" traditions??  I dont really mean theologically, but aesthetically.

"Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around." - G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy.
“Find the door of your heart, and you will discover it is the door to the kingdom of God.” - St. John Chrysostom

Offline Timon

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,818
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: OCA
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2011, 01:03:38 AM »
I understand. 

And also keep in mind that I was kind of playing the devils advocate with this question.  I just want to know how to better address it when it comes up.  Before now, I really didnt know what to say... 

But to continue the discussion,  if Orthodox music is truly centered on God, why does it matter what it sounds like?  Can music with a guitar not glorify God?  It almost seems like the Orthodox can be equally as guilty. Would it bother you if liturgical music was changed?  If so, does that make you guilty of centering the music on your preferences rather than God??

Just tossing it out there.  Really I'm on your side, Im just trying to get questions answered that have come up before and/or might come up again...
Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.

— Chrysostom

BLOG

Offline Timon

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,818
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: OCA
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2011, 01:05:31 AM »
and i realize my goal shouldnt always be to try to convince people of something.  Orthodoxy truly needs to be experienced.  The problem is that sometimes I make myself look like an idiot when I dont have good enough answers.  If i look like an idiot, then I make Orthodoxy look like an idiot too.  (at least to some people.)

I just want to be prepared is all.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2011, 01:05:44 AM by Timon »
Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.

— Chrysostom

BLOG

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,325
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2011, 01:06:34 AM »
So why is it so bad to make more "new" traditions??  I dont really mean theologically, but aesthetically.

It's not. Most people work from a bad definition of tradition, as though tradition equates to something being very old.   :)

Offline jah777

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,124
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2011, 08:10:18 AM »
Tradition is simply the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church.  The various details, aesthetics, and gestures which constitute various "traditions" developed organically and universally under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit and are not the products of man's intellectual vanity or imposed natural "creativity".  The problem with attempts to introduce "new traditions" or to change or remove old traditions is that these attempts usually originate from man's pride and vanity, thinking that he knows better than the countless saints which preceded him and diligently preserved such traditions.  Sometimes we want to change things because we do not understand them, or we find certain things "too difficult", when in fact it is usually our own understanding and zeal that are limited and not the traditions with which we find fault.  While an Orthodox Christian should not sit around daydreaming about what "new traditions" they should invent, contemporary traditions may need to be constantly re-evaluated by the hierarchs to ensure consistency with and fidelity to the most ancient principles and practices of our Faith.

Offline Melodist

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,522
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2011, 09:11:03 AM »
I know I am really gonna sound like a protestant with this post, but this is something that has been on my mind.

I realize the Orthodox church is very set in its ways, and wants to keep the tradition like it was 2000 years ago.. I think that is a wonderful and beautiful thing.

However, i cant help but wonder about this.  At some point, werent ALL of the traditions in the church new?? Take things like incense, style of music and the way the Eucharist or baptism is done.  At some point, werent all of these things "new"??

If so, why is it a huge problem for us to create new traditions that can maybe reach out to our local/cultural communities a little better?  In a moder age where music is so important, why would it be a problem to make more modern musical arrangements of certain hymns or chants?  

Again, im not necessarily advocating for change.  I have just had this question asked by a very intelligent friend of mine.  He is very educated, however he is protestant.  When I was talking about him about wanting to convert to Orthodoxy, we eventually talked about the traditions of the church.  He is the one who pointed out that all traditions were at some point "new."  

So why is it so bad to make more "new" traditions??  I dont really mean theologically, but aesthetically.

I know what you're asking, and practically speaking, it's not impossible. Local customs come about as a natural growth and expression of the local church done in accordance with the bishop.

Otherwise we would still be crossing ourselves only on our forehead using only one finger.

The question should be "what would be the purpose and fruit of this change in how things are done".

I go to church, receive communion, and then go stuff myself with turkey and those salami and cream cheese rolls every Thanksgiving during the Nativity fast with the blessing of my church's hierarchy. This would be a "new tradition", but at the same time we're not going to "invent" a new color scheme for what vestments to wear for what celebrations, just to "do something different" or "change things around a little".
And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

Made Perfect in Weakness - Latest Post: The Son of God

Offline podkarpatska

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 9,732
  • Pokrov
    • ACROD (home)
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2011, 09:28:35 AM »
An interesting and provocative question. I think that we are treading on the 'big T' v. 'little T' discussions here. Just look at the difficulty in 'uniting' Orthodoxy in lands not traditionally Orthodox. The diaspora carried with it both 'big' and 'little' traditions. We generally agree upon and understand 'big' T, while the 'devil with the details' lies with 'little' T. By this I mean regional or national differences in custom, liturgics, chant etc.... So it is fair to say that new traditions do develop over time, how we deal with them and 'assimilate' them remains a big problem for us Orthodox.

Offline recent convert

  • Orthodox Chrisitan
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,275
  • St.David of Wales pray for us
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Antioch
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2011, 10:14:48 AM »
and i realize my goal shouldnt always be to try to convince people of something.  Orthodoxy truly needs to be experienced.  The problem is that sometimes I make myself look like an idiot when I dont have good enough answers.  If i look like an idiot, then I make Orthodoxy look like an idiot too.  (at least to some people.)

I just want to be prepared is all.

I think you are being a bit hard on yourself. Seeing that, like myself, you are American, we have to sift through certain aspects of tradition that are cultural imports while trying to find a basic articulation of faith. We do have to be cautious though in approaching tradition even along these lines though. We have to keep to Tradtion & not add things like sacred heart devotions but at the same time be given the basic means to express our faith as literate 21st century Americans. This need not be difficult; for ex. most of the structure of the DL can be known in basic terms although particulars like when to prostrate must be experienced (but to know the framework prior to particulars could be most helpful for any new inquirer). Much of what we see in the DL is a wonderous expression of soemthing that is part of a most easily recognized framework but not many new observers can realize this & I am not sure if many long time participants could articulate them although they know by reflex.
Antiochian OC NA

Beware the wrath of the guardians of "love."

Offline FatherGiryus

  • Don't Ask
  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 4,195
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2011, 11:18:11 AM »
New traditions come up all the time: just look at liturgics between regions.  The key is whether they are intentional or not.  Unintentional traditions are natural, and arise without a plan to be 'creative' or 'express one's self.'  People who try to create traditions end up creating 'fashions' which last for a season.

Here in the US, the Orthodox 'fashion' used to be 'look American.'  Priests shaved and wore collars and tried not to look 'foreign.'  The younger generation as a whole rejects this (judging from the cassocks and beards amongst the under-50 clergy) and is reverting to the older tradition because the newer one looks 'dated.'  After all, the churches the Orthodox were trying to duplicate by wearing Western garb have dropped that fashion in favor of lay clothing, and so we are left with a fashion that is not even strictly followed by the heterodox. We'll have to see where all this heads.

Same with church design: years ago every Orthodox parish (with a few exceptions) dreamed of having an organ.  Now, many organs are falling silent (partly due to the fact that most kids don't get piano lessons anymore so there isn't a new generation to pick up the craft unless you want to pay a pro).

Yet, walk into any parish of any jurisdiction here in the US, and you will find unintentional differences from the patterns they are intending to follow.  These unintentional differences become the local tradition.
You can't find wisdom in the mirror.

Offline podkarpatska

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 9,732
  • Pokrov
    • ACROD (home)
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2011, 11:24:53 AM »
New traditions come up all the time: just look at liturgics between regions.  The key is whether they are intentional or not.  Unintentional traditions are natural, and arise without a plan to be 'creative' or 'express one's self.'  People who try to create traditions end up creating 'fashions' which last for a season.

Here in the US, the Orthodox 'fashion' used to be 'look American.'  Priests shaved and wore collars and tried not to look 'foreign.'  The younger generation as a whole rejects this (judging from the cassocks and beards amongst the under-50 clergy) and is reverting to the older tradition because the newer one looks 'dated.'  After all, the churches the Orthodox were trying to duplicate by wearing Western garb have dropped that fashion in favor of lay clothing, and so we are left with a fashion that is not even strictly followed by the heterodox. We'll have to see where all this heads.

Same with church design: years ago every Orthodox parish (with a few exceptions) dreamed of having an organ.  Now, many organs are falling silent (partly due to the fact that most kids don't get piano lessons anymore so there isn't a new generation to pick up the craft unless you want to pay a pro).

Yet, walk into any parish of any jurisdiction here in the US, and you will find unintentional differences from the patterns they are intending to follow.  These unintentional differences become the local tradition.


I have to disagee on one point with Father. I never was in any Slavic Orthodox church - Russian, Serbian, Ukrainian, Carpatho-Russian etc... where anyone ever 'dreamed' of having an organ. We used to think that the Greeks were 'strange' in that regard.

Offline Timon

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,818
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: OCA
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2011, 01:20:28 PM »
So I guess it does come down to "Big T" and "little T".

Just so I understand, is the "Big T" more the teaching of the church, while the "Little t" is more the aesthetic side?  It is the "little t" that does change a little big from time to time, while the "Big T" traditions arent up for discussion. If I got that wrong, someone let me know!

Also, I hear a lot about different changes in the liturgy from place to place.  Someone mentioned the Slavic being different than Byzantine.  Are there any specific examples of this?  Or any specific liturgical differences between any two countries/cultures?

Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.

— Chrysostom

BLOG

Offline Ortho_cat

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 5,392
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2011, 01:32:59 PM »
New traditions come up all the time: just look at liturgics between regions.  The key is whether they are intentional or not.  Unintentional traditions are natural, and arise without a plan to be 'creative' or 'express one's self.'  People who try to create traditions end up creating 'fashions' which last for a season.

Here in the US, the Orthodox 'fashion' used to be 'look American.'  Priests shaved and wore collars and tried not to look 'foreign.'  The younger generation as a whole rejects this (judging from the cassocks and beards amongst the under-50 clergy) and is reverting to the older tradition because the newer one looks 'dated.'  After all, the churches the Orthodox were trying to duplicate by wearing Western garb have dropped that fashion in favor of lay clothing, and so we are left with a fashion that is not even strictly followed by the heterodox. We'll have to see where all this heads.

Same with church design: years ago every Orthodox parish (with a few exceptions) dreamed of having an organ.  Now, many organs are falling silent (partly due to the fact that most kids don't get piano lessons anymore so there isn't a new generation to pick up the craft unless you want to pay a pro).

Yet, walk into any parish of any jurisdiction here in the US, and you will find unintentional differences from the patterns they are intending to follow.  These unintentional differences become the local tradition.



Organs?? Say it isn't so...  :laugh:
« Last Edit: October 06, 2011, 01:33:34 PM by Ortho_cat »

Offline Timon

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,818
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: OCA
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2011, 01:35:59 PM »
Quote
Organs?? Say it isn't so... 

I did notice an organ at one of the Greek churches in my area.  I was wondering why it was there.  I just figured maybe it was a different type of church at one point.  However, im pretty sure it was built with the Organ included.  It has always been an Orthodox church.
Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.

— Chrysostom

BLOG

Offline katherineofdixie

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,719
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2011, 02:00:40 PM »
Tradition is simply the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church.  The various details, aesthetics, and gestures which constitute various "traditions" developed organically and universally under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit and are not the products of man's intellectual vanity or imposed natural "creativity".  The problem with attempts to introduce "new traditions" or to change or remove old traditions is that these attempts usually originate from man's pride and vanity, thinking that he knows better than the countless saints which preceded him and diligently preserved such traditions.  Sometimes we want to change things because we do not understand them, or we find certain things "too difficult", when in fact it is usually our own understanding and zeal that are limited and not the traditions with which we find fault.  While an Orthodox Christian should not sit around daydreaming about what "new traditions" they should invent, contemporary traditions may need to be constantly re-evaluated by the hierarchs to ensure consistency with and fidelity to the most ancient principles and practices of our Faith.

Excellent!
"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

 St. John Chrysostom

Offline Fabio Leite

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 4,790
    • Vida Ortodoxa
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2011, 02:26:27 PM »
I see that what people usually want to introduce as new is not something that brings us deeper into the life in Christ, but things that make what is difficult more palatable either to the individual or to social mores.

The traditions are like physical exercises. They are meant to shape the body (soul). If we shape the exercises so that they are effortless, they will fail in forcing us into better shape.

Just like physical exercises, there are forms that are too aggressive, and not everybody can take the same load of exercises. Also, people may pretend to exercise and not to. It's all this that led people today to think that lifting weights would be so much easier and practiced if only the weights were made of plastic. But it's true the material doesn't matter. Only that it's not the fetishistic movement that improve the muscles but the resistance of the weight, the thing that makes us 'suffer' and sweat. Unfortunately, it's precisely that that 20th century innovations have been trying to do in communities of Christianity.
Many Energies, 3 Persons, 2 Natures, 1 God, 1 Church, 1 Baptism, and 1 Cup. The Son begotten only from the Father, the Spirit proceeding only from the Father, Each glorifying the Other. The Son sends the Spirit, the Spirit Reveals the Son, the Father is seen in the Son. The Spirit spoke through the Prophets and Fathers and does so even today.

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,325
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2011, 10:28:03 PM »
So I guess it does come down to "Big T" and "little T".

Just so I understand, is the "Big T" more the teaching of the church, while the "Little t" is more the aesthetic side?  It is the "little t" that does change a little big from time to time, while the "Big T" traditions arent up for discussion. If I got that wrong, someone let me know!


You know what the funny part is? The whole Big vs. little T dichotomy, for all it's common sensical utility, is... a new tradition ;)

Offline akimori makoto

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 3,125
  • No-one bound by fleshly pleasures is worthy ...
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2011, 11:31:33 PM »
My opinion may be controversial, but ...

The Church of Christ does not recognise any particular practice that has existed for a while or even for a very long time as forming part of the "Tradition".

"Tradition" is nothing less than the faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints and propagated by the Apostles. Everything else is custom.

I don't like it when people say that the Orthodox Church has two sources of authority: Scripture and Tradition. There is only the Tradition, of which Scripture is a pre-eminent part. Customs are compatible with the Tradition to a greater or lesser degree. If it is questionable whether a practice is compatible with the Tradition, it should be allowed to die. If a practice is unquestionably in keeping with the faith preached by the Apostles, it should be held on to with great fervour.

Even practices which have been going on within the Orthodox Church for hundreds of years are not necessarily part of the Tradition. The test is whether those practices are faithful to the Truth once and for all delivered to us. A long-standing error is still an error.
The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.

Offline akimori makoto

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 3,125
  • No-one bound by fleshly pleasures is worthy ...
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #19 on: October 06, 2011, 11:32:40 PM »
Also, this:

Tradition is simply the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church.  The various details, aesthetics, and gestures which constitute various "traditions" developed organically and universally under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit and are not the products of man's intellectual vanity or imposed natural "creativity".  The problem with attempts to introduce "new traditions" or to change or remove old traditions is that these attempts usually originate from man's pride and vanity, thinking that he knows better than the countless saints which preceded him and diligently preserved such traditions.  Sometimes we want to change things because we do not understand them, or we find certain things "too difficult", when in fact it is usually our own understanding and zeal that are limited and not the traditions with which we find fault.  While an Orthodox Christian should not sit around daydreaming about what "new traditions" they should invent, contemporary traditions may need to be constantly re-evaluated by the hierarchs to ensure consistency with and fidelity to the most ancient principles and practices of our Faith.
The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,325
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2011, 11:37:55 PM »
My opinion may be controversial, but ...

Not controversial, IMO. I think many would agree with you. Your opinion is unorthodox as compared to what the Fathers said, yes, absolutely and positively unorthodox, not to mention philosophically wrong-headed... but it's not controversial as compared to what many Orthodox believe today. So rest easy :)

Offline akimori makoto

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 3,125
  • No-one bound by fleshly pleasures is worthy ...
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #21 on: October 07, 2011, 12:23:17 AM »
My opinion may be controversial, but ...

Not controversial, IMO. I think many would agree with you. Your opinion is unorthodox as compared to what the Fathers said, yes, absolutely and positively unorthodox, not to mention philosophically wrong-headed... but it's not controversial as compared to what many Orthodox believe today. So rest easy :)

I have read enough of the Fathers to know where you're coming from, and I certainly agree that the distinction between big and little T/tradition is not so neat or even helpful as many make out, but I'm not sure I am so wrong on this.

There are a great many bad practices which have taken root in the Church of Christ over the centuries which have faithfully been weeded out, often at the insistence of men we now call our God-bearing Fathers. May this faithfulness to the faith once and for all delivered to the saints long continue.
The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.

Offline myrrhbear

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 194
  • Trust in God
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #22 on: October 07, 2011, 02:14:56 PM »
There are much better replies on other threads on the topic of contemporary music in the church, but what comes to my mind is that our singing is really just prayer, with the focus on the words and on the Lord. Doesn't the focus shift to our own entertainment/fleeting emotional response when we try to make it "more relevant" to our pop culture?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

Offline Ortho_cat

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 5,392
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #23 on: October 07, 2011, 02:23:41 PM »
My opinion may be controversial, but ...

Not controversial, IMO. I think many would agree with you. Your opinion is unorthodox as compared to what the Fathers said, yes, absolutely and positively unorthodox, not to mention philosophically wrong-headed... but it's not controversial as compared to what many Orthodox believe today. So rest easy :)

care to expound, brother? ;)

Offline Alveus Lacuna

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,337
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: OCA
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #24 on: October 07, 2011, 03:42:27 PM »
Regarding why using rock music isn't a good idea, my main argument is that to have a cappella singing prevents something timeless from getting stuck in a particular setting. Then it becomes a game of always keeping current, which is quite different than what happens in Orthodoxy. In the Slavic churches new settings and arrangements were composed all of the time based-on Western influence. Nobody really fought against that, as the "newness" wasn't a problem. But there are some things which can carry the timelessness of the liturgy and make it so vulgar, base and common that there is little room to lift up the soul.

Offline HandmaidenofGod

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 3,397
  • O Holy St. Demetrius pray to God for us!
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #25 on: October 07, 2011, 04:28:26 PM »
I know I am really gonna sound like a protestant with this post, but this is something that has been on my mind.

I realize the Orthodox church is very set in its ways, and wants to keep the tradition like it was 2000 years ago.. I think that is a wonderful and beautiful thing.

However, i cant help but wonder about this.  At some point, werent ALL of the traditions in the church new?? Take things like incense, style of music and the way the Eucharist or baptism is done.  At some point, werent all of these things "new"??

If so, why is it a huge problem for us to create new traditions that can maybe reach out to our local/cultural communities a little better?  In a moder age where music is so important, why would it be a problem to make more modern musical arrangements of certain hymns or chants?  

Again, im not necessarily advocating for change.  I have just had this question asked by a very intelligent friend of mine.  He is very educated, however he is protestant.  When I was talking about him about wanting to convert to Orthodoxy, we eventually talked about the traditions of the church.  He is the one who pointed out that all traditions were at some point "new."  

So why is it so bad to make more "new" traditions??  I dont really mean theologically, but aesthetically.

You are correct; at some point everything we did that is now "old" was new. Was electricity part of worship in the upper room? Of course not! Yet outside of a monastery, I ask you to find me a parish that does not incorporate electric lighting, heating, and/or air conditioning into its building. :)

"Big T" is as you said, doctrine, dogma. The Nicene-Constantinople Creed being a perfect example. That is not up for change or discussion.

Other things, are. In every Liturgy we pray for those "who travel by sea and by air." I highly doubt in 4th Century Constantinople, St. John Chrysostom had envisioned humans flying when he wrote the Liturgy, yet we still pray for those who fly. :)

Remember, the Church is conciliar. That mean it is of the people. If a tradition or a practice is introduced, but the people don't accept it, it is cast away. Other things, take time and councils to figure out. The Iconoclasts and the 7th Ecumenical Council being an example of this.

Why don't we incorporate rock music or instruments into our worship? It is because our worship is supposed to be timeless as God is timeless. It is not supposed to invoke all kinds of emotion, but rather teach us doctrine. (This is also why the Epistle and Gospel readings are chanted; so that the reader does not invoke his own emotion towards a passage.) We do not use instruments because instruments are made by man, whereas the human voice is made by God. We use God's own creation to praise him. Even when David played the lyre or the flute, it was not in a liturgical setting.

I am not going to pretend that the Church is not subject to outside influence that is not consistent with Orthodox doctrine. Pews, organs, paraffin candles, are all non-Orthodox in origin. However, the Bishops and her clergy have seen these things as minor enough changes that ultimately, they aren't going to affect our salvation.

Hope this helps.
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jer 29:11

Offline Αριστοκλής

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 10,031
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #26 on: October 07, 2011, 04:41:24 PM »
Er...the first pipe organ heard in a Christian church was in the Church of the Holy Wisdom -Saint Sophia - at Constantinople. It caught on in the west, but not in the east. Just a tidbit, trivia.
"Religion is a neurobiological illness and Orthodoxy is its cure." - Fr. John S. Romanides

Offline Ortho_cat

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 5,392
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #27 on: October 07, 2011, 05:28:44 PM »
Er...the first pipe organ heard in a Christian church was in the Church of the Holy Wisdom -Saint Sophia - at Constantinople. It caught on in the west, but not in the east. Just a tidbit, trivia.

nice! didn't know that.

Offline Timon

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,818
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: OCA
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #28 on: October 07, 2011, 09:50:20 PM »

Quote

You are correct; at some point everything we did that is now "old" was new. Was electricity part of worship in the upper room? Of course not! Yet outside of a monastery, I ask you to find me a parish that does not incorporate electric lighting, heating, and/or air conditioning into its building. :)

"Big T" is as you said, doctrine, dogma. The Nicene-Constantinople Creed being a perfect example. That is not up for change or discussion.

Other things, are. In every Liturgy we pray for those "who travel by sea and by air." I highly doubt in 4th Century Constantinople, St. John Chrysostom had envisioned humans flying when he wrote the Liturgy, yet we still pray for those who fly. :)

Remember, the Church is conciliar. That mean it is of the people. If a tradition or a practice is introduced, but the people don't accept it, it is cast away. Other things, take time and councils to figure out. The Iconoclasts and the 7th Ecumenical Council being an example of this.

Why don't we incorporate rock music or instruments into our worship? It is because our worship is supposed to be timeless as God is timeless. It is not supposed to invoke all kinds of emotion, but rather teach us doctrine. (This is also why the Epistle and Gospel readings are chanted; so that the reader does not invoke his own emotion towards a passage.) We do not use instruments because instruments are made by man, whereas the human voice is made by God. We use God's own creation to praise him. Even when David played the lyre or the flute, it was not in a liturgical setting.

I am not going to pretend that the Church is not subject to outside influence that is not consistent with Orthodox doctrine. Pews, organs, paraffin candles, are all non-Orthodox in origin. However, the Bishops and her clergy have seen these things as minor enough changes that ultimately, they aren't going to affect our salvation.

Hope this helps.

Very good answer.  Thanks!!
Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.

— Chrysostom

BLOG

Offline Timon

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,818
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: OCA
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #29 on: October 07, 2011, 09:55:38 PM »
Although I do have to ask... I realize a pipe organ isnt exactly rock music, but isnt it still made by man??  Essentially, wouldnt an electric guitar be the same thing?  Although different, a pipe organ could still bring about certain emotion just as a guitar or drum set could....

Sorry for being a pain... ;D
Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.

— Chrysostom

BLOG

Offline genesisone

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,906
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Antioch
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #30 on: October 08, 2011, 06:56:57 AM »
Although I do have to ask... I realize a pipe organ isnt exactly rock music, but isnt it still made by man??  Essentially, wouldnt an electric guitar be the same thing?  Although different, a pipe organ could still bring about certain emotion just as a guitar or drum set could....

Sorry for being a pain... ;D
Yep, pipe organs will bring out the emotions - especially amongst those who post on Orthodox forums  ;) :).

Offline Melodist

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,522
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #31 on: October 08, 2011, 08:35:31 AM »
Just a thought from St Athanasius.

Quote from: http://www.athanasius.com/psalms/aletterm.htm
Well, then, they who do not read the Scriptures in this way, that is to say, who do not chant the divine Songs intelligently but simply please themselves, most surely are to blame, for praise is not befitting in a sinner's mouth. [Ecclus 15:9] But those who do sing as I have indicated, so that the melody of the words springs naturally from the rhythm of the soul and her own union with the Spirit, they sing with the tongue and with the understanding also, and greatly benefit not themselves alone but also those who want to listen to them. So was it with the blessed David when he played to Saul: he pleased God and, at the same time, he drove from Saul his madness and his anger and gave back peace to his distracted spirit. In like manner, the priests by their singing contributed towards the calming of the people's spirits and helped to unite them with those who lead the heavenly choir. When, therefore, the Psalms are chanted, it is not from any mere desire for sweet music but as the outward expression of the inward harmony obtaining in the soul, because such harmonious recitation is in itself the index of a peaceful and well-ordered heart. To praise God tunefully upon an instrument, such as well-tuned cymbals, cithara, or ten-stringed psaltery, is, as we know, an outward token that the members of the body and the thoughts of the heart are, like the instruments themselves, in proper order and control, all of them together living and moving by the Spirit's cry and breath. And similarly, as it is written that By the Spirit a man lives and mortifies his bodily actions, [Rom 8:13] so he who sings well puts his soul in tune, correcting by degrees its faulty rhythm so that at last, being truly natural and integrated, it has fear of nothing, but in peaceful freedom from all vain imaginings may apply itself with greater longing to the good things to come. For a soul rightly ordered by chanting the sacred words forgets its own afflictions and contemplates with joy the things of Christ alone.
And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

Made Perfect in Weakness - Latest Post: The Son of God

Offline biro

  • Site Supporter
  • Stratopedarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 20,827
  • Excelsior
    • Archive of Our Own works
  • Faith: GOAA
  • Jurisdiction: Antonis said I'm not Christian, so...
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #32 on: October 08, 2011, 02:36:26 PM »
St. Romanos didn't have an electric guitar, that we know about.  :( Poor guy...   ;) :D
My only weakness is, well, never mind

And you'll sleep, but they'll find you

Come back my dream into my arms, into my arms

London is drowning, and I live by the river

https://archiveofourown.org/users/Parakeetist

Offline Ortho_cat

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 5,392
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #33 on: October 08, 2011, 02:38:43 PM »
St. Romanos didn't have an electric guitar, that we know about.  :( Poor guy...   ;) :D

He was missing out no doubt...

Offline Thomas

  • Moderator
  • Archon
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,014
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #34 on: October 08, 2011, 10:26:26 PM »
A new Anniversary Crowning Service written by His Grace Bishop Basil (Essey) is such a new tradition in the Antiochian Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America. It is a way to re-empasize that marriage is an eternal sacrament and not a temporary, transient event that many Americans see it as. As one married for 39 years, I found the service very edifying and inspiring, a great new tradition for the local church.

Thomas
« Last Edit: October 10, 2011, 09:56:25 PM by Thomas »
Your brother in Christ ,
Thomas

Offline HandmaidenofGod

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 3,397
  • O Holy St. Demetrius pray to God for us!
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #35 on: October 09, 2011, 09:41:27 AM »
Although I do have to ask... I realize a pipe organ isnt exactly rock music, but isnt it still made by man??  Essentially, wouldnt an electric guitar be the same thing?  Although different, a pipe organ could still bring about certain emotion just as a guitar or drum set could....

Sorry for being a pain... ;D

Yes it is made by man, which is why its use is so controversial in the Orthodox Church.

Spend some time on these boards and you will see the kinds of arguments and fights it brings about. I don't even want to imagine what discussion of a drum set would do!

Furthermore, Orthodox hymnography is not written for instrument accompaniment.  If you ever attend a parish that uses an organ, you see that for the most part it just gives the chords and will occasionally follow the melody of the hymn. To include other instruments, you would have to broaden the arrangement. It then changes the feeling from a period of solemn worship, to more of a concert, which is the last thing you want.

The other thing you have to realize is that EVERYONE is supposed to sing along in church. Everyone. As my priest said in his homily last week, traditional Orthodox architecture does not include a choir loft. The choir or cantors will stand to the left or the right of the iconostas at the front of the church to lead the congregation in song. The Liturgy is supposed to be a dialogue of praise to God that goes back and forth between the people and the priest. Although many Liturgy books will read "Priest" and "Choir", this is incorrect. It should read "Priest" and "People."

By introducing more instruments, you are changing it from a work of all of the people, to a concert led by a few.

As I've said in other threads, I had a hybrid upbringing in both the Orthodox and Baptist churches. (Dad was Orthodox, Mom was Protestant.)

I've seen what it's like to be lead by a "Worship Team" complete with sound, lighting, and PowerPoint presentation. What finally turned me off is when I saw my pastor putting on make-up so his face wouldn't shine in the lighting, prior to a service. I then thought, "Are we here to worship God, or to put on a show?"

I've never been back since.
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jer 29:11

Offline dzheremi

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 4,371
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #36 on: October 09, 2011, 01:11:38 PM »
In my church (Coptic), we only use voice and the cymbal, and the cymbal only occasionally. I really couldn't imagine what a Coptic liturgy would sound like with an organ or other instruments because (thankfully, in my opinion) those are not part of the culture of the church. Occasionally I have found renditions of Coptic hymns with full instrumentation (such as the excellent Ensemble David or Fariq El-Shahid Abu Fam), but when I asked a Coptic friend of mine who plays the piano how she would feel about attempts to introduce it liturgically (as I've never met a Copt who had any problems with instruments in worship outside of a liturgical context), she replied that it wouldn't fit with the chanting style and arrangements. I would say that the same applies to the Byzantine and Slavic chant of the EO, as far as I've experienced it. Whenever I have observed an organ in use it has always been only to provide the "base tone" (sorry, I'm not familiar with Byzantine musical terminology; I trust that you all know what I mean) in those choirs that were too small or new to the discipline to sustain it by human voice. It never provided a melody as would be recognized in Western traditions. I don't see how such restricted usage could be a problem, but then I'm not EO. Apparently not every church in the OO has a problem with organs, either, though I will admit I was a little surprised when I found this Syriac qurbono using one, if only because I haven't found another that uses organ -- except among the Indians, who I will openly admit I do not understand. Their practice apparently ranges from full instrumentation with keyboards, drums, and bass guitars to unaccompanied chant. It is interesting to note, for those of you who might think that the Orthodox church would be better suited to the American (or Western) culture by adopting instrumental music and the like, that the first video was shot in India, and the second in America. I know which one I, as a non-Indian American, feel more comfortable with, but I digress...  :) (It's the second one, just in case that's not clear.)

Your point about tradition and our ways of viewing it is well taken, but I really do prefer the point of view espoused in the excellent Chesterton quote. We do not have the right, no matter our jurisdiction or culture, to subject the Holy Church of God to the vagaries of our times, especially since there is almost without fail (if we are talking about the historically Christian West, anyway) an older Orthodox tradition from which to draw that is already authentically Western, and such does not have to be "formed" into anything new under the pressure (I would say stranglehold, really) of modern society's likes or dislikes, most of which are little more than passing fancies in the context of 2000+ year old faith. The point is not to revere the ancient merely for its age (most heresies are quite old, after all), but to hold fast to that which was given to us, adapting and allowing for organic growth in the ways that will invite people to be at home in the unchanging and unchangeable Orthodox faith, so that they too can continue it and nurture it in their own communities.

Offline genesisone

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,906
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Antioch
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #37 on: October 09, 2011, 02:16:59 PM »
Whenever I have observed an organ in use it has always been only to provide the "base tone" (sorry, I'm not familiar with Byzantine musical terminology; I trust that you all know what I mean) in those choirs that were too small or new to the discipline to sustain it by human voice. It never provided a melody as would be recognized in Western traditions. I don't see how such restricted usage could be a problem, but then I'm not EO.
The word you're looking for is "ison". What you heard may have been an ison machine, such as was discussed in this thread.

Offline dzheremi

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 4,371
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #38 on: October 09, 2011, 02:40:23 PM »
Ah, thank you.

Offline pasadi97

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,109
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #39 on: October 09, 2011, 02:51:44 PM »
These NEW TRADITIONS came from Jesus via Apostles.

THE NEW PROTESTANT TRADITIONS CAME FROM MEN using SOLA IMAGINATION.

Jesus can give us Eternal Life and entrance to heaven.

I know I am really gonna sound like a protestant with this post, but this is something that has been on my mind.

I realize the Orthodox church is very set in its ways, and wants to keep the tradition like it was 2000 years ago.. I think that is a wonderful and beautiful thing.

However, i cant help but wonder about this.  At some point, werent ALL of the traditions in the church new?? Take things like incense, style of music and the way the Eucharist or baptism is done.  At some point, werent all of these things "new"??

If so, why is it a huge problem for us to create new traditions that can maybe reach out to our local/cultural communities a little better?  In a moder age where music is so important, why would it be a problem to make more modern musical arrangements of certain hymns or chants? 

Again, im not necessarily advocating for change.  I have just had this question asked by a very intelligent friend of mine.  He is very educated, however he is protestant.  When I was talking about him about wanting to convert to Orthodoxy, we eventually talked about the traditions of the church.  He is the one who pointed out that all traditions were at some point "new." 

So why is it so bad to make more "new" traditions??  I dont really mean theologically, but aesthetically.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2011, 02:52:16 PM by pasadi97 »
God the Father is great. God the Father is good.

Offline Timon

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,818
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: OCA
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #40 on: October 10, 2011, 02:21:36 PM »
I think this answers my question.  Thanks for all the help everyone!
Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.

— Chrysostom

BLOG

Offline Golgotha

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 100
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #41 on: October 17, 2011, 01:57:38 AM »
Pews. Shaved clergy. shaking hands and saying "Christ is in our midst". http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/greeting_dl.aspx

Some stuff happens.

Offline Timon

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,818
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: OCA
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #42 on: October 17, 2011, 02:39:16 PM »
Pews. Shaved clergy. shaking hands and saying "Christ is in our midst". http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/greeting_dl.aspx

Some stuff happens.

Understood.  I just hate when people use the "all traditions were at some point new" to reduce the importance of maintaining tradition in the Church...
Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God's mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.

— Chrysostom

BLOG

Offline Golgotha

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 100
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #43 on: October 17, 2011, 06:07:33 PM »
+1

Offline jah777

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,124
Re: New traditions...
« Reply #44 on: October 18, 2011, 10:33:45 AM »
Understood.  I just hate when people use the "all traditions were at some point new" to reduce the importance of maintaining tradition in the Church...

Agreed.  The Church is guided by the Holy Spirit.  If something was once done that has not been done now for centuries, then there may be a good reason why it should not be done today (for instance, public vs private confession).  Just because we do not understand how various gradual changes took place does not give us license to unilaterally introduce our own changes or reverse those changes which have been accepted by the Church for centuries.