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Author Topic: Question regarding Divine Liturgy during weekdays  (Read 4163 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 04, 2012, 05:58:54 PM »

So here is something that has had me wondering since becoming OC. I used to be an RC and as you probably know most Catholic Churches celebrate Daily Mass. I have noticed that most OC Churches even Cathedrals celebrate the Liturgy only on Sunday and Holy Days. Just curious why that is.
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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2012, 06:09:20 PM »

So here is something that has had me wondering since becoming OC. I used to be an RC and as you probably know most Catholic Churches celebrate Daily Mass. I have noticed that most OC Churches even Cathedrals celebrate the Liturgy only on Sunday and Holy Days. Just curious why that is.

In places with an Orthodox "critical mass" - i.e. where the Orthodox are a large minority or the majority of the population - it is very common to find daily liturgies in many (especially urban) parishes.  In the U.S., where the Orthodox population is relatively small, it is not common, likely because we just don't have enough people in the parishes who are interested in attending. 

Three "advantages" (from their POV) that the RC's have in this regard:
1. If no one shows up for Mass, the priest can continue serving alone; in the EO/OO tradition, there must be at least 1-2 others present for Liturgy, if not more. 
2. The average RC parish is 3-5 times the size of, say, the average GOA parish (let alone the generally smaller OCA parishes), and so you have many more people interested in services. 
3. IME, daily mass is shorter than an Orthodox Liturgy.  This makes it more convenient for people to attend services and still make it to work/appointments/etc.

Really, the only way to get more Liturgies in the US Orthodox parishes is to rectify #2 above; #'s 1 and 3 are (or should be) untouchable. 

Honestly, if people wanted a daily divine Liturgy in my parish, I'd be all for it.  We could schedule it for before the work day (beginning at 7am so people could commune and be out by 8am) so the 8-4 / 9-5 crowd could attend.
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« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2012, 06:11:46 PM »

A few things I've heard are:

1) In addition to tending a flock Orthodox priests also have families that they have to devote time to. Even without daily services ministers can already work long hours, so they have to find time somewhere for family. Or it's also possible that the time is devoted to another type of ministry or something else.

2) I remember reading that Orthodox priests are--or at least in the past were--supposed to not have sexual relations the night before giving communion. That wouldn't exactly go well with the whole idea of Orthodox priests creating a family if that was the case almost every single night.

3) People just might not show up (more than just the priest has to be there for the service to happen).

4) Possibly (?) it just never was a practice adopted outside monastic-related places...
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« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2012, 06:12:47 PM »

Fr. George, can you comment on my 2nd one? Is that accurate, or am I misremembering/misreading/misrepresenting?

EDIT--Also, disregard anything I said which disagrees with Fr. George  Cheesy
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« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2012, 06:15:02 PM »

Fr. George, can you comment on my 2nd one? Is that accurate, or am I misremembering/misreading/misrepresenting?

EDIT--Also, disregard anything I said which disagrees with Fr. George  Cheesy

I'll just step in here and say that what you have described is my understanding.
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« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2012, 07:11:04 PM »

Thanks Fathers and Asteriktos.
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« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2012, 07:40:38 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

In Ethiopia proper there is Divine Liturgy daily celebrating the respective Saints' days from the calendar.  Here in the US, the logistics of an exiled community make it more difficult to have Divine Liturgy celebrations on non-holiday weekdays, because many of the laity have to travel relatively far to make it to our parishes, and so at times there would be no lay members to celebrate, and I understand in the Tewahedo Church that there is no Divine Liturgy without accompanying laity to celebrate. 

We do have weekday services at my Ethiopian parish on our name-sake Saints' days dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and I make a point to attend them whenever I have the luxury of a day off from work.  I ADORE weekday services, they are much more intimate, at times its just been me, two elderly ladies, two priests and not even a deacon!! To me, that feels more like the "early Church" and for those from a Protestant background who criticize liturgical worship as not being part of the early Church, they are wrong.  Just as the early Church may have indeed gathered in homes around consecrated Altars to celebrate the Liturgy, when I attend more intimate services I feel that continuity.  Plus, you get to meet and greet people better, as everybody is more friendly to mingle when they don't have as much familial obligations as on Sundays, weekday services are how I became such good friends with my clergy and a welcomed member of their lunch table Smiley

I will say this, in God's Grace in the past 2 years I have seen our weekday celebrations grow from an average of 10 people to upwards of 50-60!

I pray continually that more and more weekday opportunities are given by God, but the Catholics have what me might call home-field advantage in regards to attracting an audience, which is also why their parishes tend to be open all day where as most Orthodox parishes here in the US are padlocked up and you have to call ahead to the clergy who will be kind to open up and welcome.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2012, 08:20:26 PM »

Greetings HabteSelessie!

I didn't know that about Ethiopia. It sounds like its best to live around a lot of Orthodox Christians if you want daily liturgy. laugh
I feel the same about small groups. At my Parish we have a mid week Vespers service which is usually just me and three other people and the Priest of course. I also feel that continuity. Thats great that your weekday services went from 10 to 60. God Be Praised!
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« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2012, 12:42:20 AM »

My parish priest offers daily Orthros (matins) services and daily Vespers. Divine Liturgies are served on Major Feast Days and every Sunday.

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« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2012, 02:54:22 AM »

Three "advantages" (from their POV) that the RC's have in this regard:
1. If no one shows up for Mass, the priest can continue serving alone; in the EO/OO tradition, there must be at least 1-2 others present for Liturgy, if not more. 

This is a myth.  No faithful priest of the Catholic Church will say mass without at least one other there.

Many times, years ago, I would run late to a 7am mass only to arrive and find Father in the sacristy removing his vestments and getting ready to go to his office because no one else was there.

The only time a "private" liturgy is permitted by the bishop is with retired priests who are essentially shut-ins...and even then the retired priest will most often time the liturgy so that the fellows from the breakfast club or the checker club or the poker club can be there with him.

So you need to revisit this particular assertion...or presumption...or assumption.

M.
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« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2012, 08:45:19 AM »

Three "advantages" (from their POV) that the RC's have in this regard:
1. If no one shows up for Mass, the priest can continue serving alone; in the EO/OO tradition, there must be at least 1-2 others present for Liturgy, if not more. 

This is a myth.  No faithful priest of the Catholic Church will say mass without at least one other there.

Many times, years ago, I would run late to a 7am mass only to arrive and find Father in the sacristy removing his vestments and getting ready to go to his office because no one else was there.

The only time a "private" liturgy is permitted by the bishop is with retired priests who are essentially shut-ins...and even then the retired priest will most often time the liturgy so that the fellows from the breakfast club or the checker club or the poker club can be there with him.

So you need to revisit this particular assertion...or presumption...or assumption.

M.

This may be true now but Priests at least before the reformation said private Masses all the time. And there are currently some confraternities of Priests that say Mass for the souls in purgatory every day whether there are people there or not.
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« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2012, 11:23:11 AM »

Our parish has daily Divine Liturgies.
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« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2012, 11:33:44 AM »

Our parish has daily Divine Liturgies.
Very cool. Where in Dixie is this?

I know of several parishes that serve daily Matins or Vespers (or both), and — if I lived close enough — I would probably attend a couple of times a week. For me, just participating in the corporate prayers of the Church is often enough, and though I believe in communing more than four times a year, I don’t feel the need to receive every time I step in a church.
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« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2012, 12:57:26 PM »

This is a myth.  No faithful priest of the Catholic Church will say mass without at least one other there.

Many times, years ago, I would run late to a 7am mass only to arrive and find Father in the sacristy removing his vestments and getting ready to go to his office because no one else was there.

The only time a "private" liturgy is permitted by the bishop is with retired priests who are essentially shut-ins...and even then the retired priest will most often time the liturgy so that the fellows from the breakfast club or the checker club or the poker club can be there with him.

So you need to revisit this particular assertion...or presumption...or assumption.

M.

What is this, a preemptive No True Scotsman fallacy?  I know priests who at least used to do private masses frequently, so at the very least I have anecdotal evidence to counter your assertion.  Since I'm not around as many RC priests now as I was 12-16 years ago, I can't verify if the practice is current or not, so I can accept your assumption that no RC priest anywhere does any private masses anymore (except your stated exception), but that cannot be asserted as the case in the (recent) past.
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« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2012, 02:17:14 PM »

Our parish has daily Divine Liturgies.

So does ours, excepting of course during the Great Lent.
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« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2012, 02:24:24 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Our parish has daily Divine Liturgies.

So does ours, excepting of course during the Great Lent.
Not in the afternoons? On Fasting days, we celebrate Divine Liturgy after 12pm noon.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2012, 03:36:47 PM »

In my parish (Warsaw) we have Liturgies on the Sundays, feasts and Wednesdays. We have also all-night vigil on all Saturdays and feasts. If there were more services, probably nobody (or almost) woudn't come e.g. today we had Vesperal Liturgy. There were 3 priests, 3 deacons and 3 laymen (actually, laywomen: me and two anothers women). Maybe if people did know more about some specific services, they would come or if it was earlier than 9 a.m. However, in the metropolitan cathedral (also Warsaw) there are daily Liturgies and Vespers, but this is cathedral and quite near to the centre of city, so it's more probable somebody will come. I see one value that the Liturgy in most parishes is not served daily: we can feel more hm, festivily, feel more the uniqueness of the Divine Liturgy. On the other hand, as HabteSelassie said, the weekdays services are more intimate, which is also unusual experience, maybe we can better focus on it. As an ex-catholic I was used to going to church sometimes also for daily Masses, but they were celebrated in very fast and careless way, which is rather not frewuently (thnaks to God), in Orhodoxy. The reason I was attending the Masses I wanted to celebrate e.g some saints or imporatant days for me, that's a minus thaht for some orthodox it's difficult to go for a Liturgy in weekday if there is no any parish which celebrates them
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« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2012, 03:40:58 PM »

As anex-catholic I was used to go to church sometimes also for daily Masses, but they were celebrated in very fast and careless way,

Yes this seemed to always be a problem with daily Mass in the Roman Catholic churches I have been too.
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« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2012, 03:53:07 PM »

Sometimes it is like a race to see which priest can get through it the fastest.
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« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2012, 03:58:56 PM »

Three "advantages" (from their POV) that the RC's have in this regard:
1. If no one shows up for Mass, the priest can continue serving alone; in the EO/OO tradition, there must be at least 1-2 others present for Liturgy, if not more. 

This is a myth.  No faithful priest of the Catholic Church will say mass without at least one other there.

Many times, years ago, I would run late to a 7am mass only to arrive and find Father in the sacristy removing his vestments and getting ready to go to his office because no one else was there.

The only time a "private" liturgy is permitted by the bishop is with retired priests who are essentially shut-ins...and even then the retired priest will most often time the liturgy so that the fellows from the breakfast club or the checker club or the poker club can be there with him.

So you need to revisit this particular assertion...or presumption...or assumption.

M.

This may be true now but Priests at least before the reformation said private Masses all the time. And there are currently some confraternities of Priests that say Mass for the souls in purgatory every day whether there are people there or not.

This also is nonsense.  There were masses at the side altars at Cathedrals.  And they were never the priest alone.  There were always acolytes and servers with him and whoever might be in the cathedral to pray.  The same in the monastery churches.

The "private" mass is hardly ever the priest alone and there is never any kind of generic private mass...It is always the exception under the economy of the local ordinary or abbott.

M.
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« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2012, 03:58:56 PM »

This is a myth.  No faithful priest of the Catholic Church will say mass without at least one other there.

Many times, years ago, I would run late to a 7am mass only to arrive and find Father in the sacristy removing his vestments and getting ready to go to his office because no one else was there.

The only time a "private" liturgy is permitted by the bishop is with retired priests who are essentially shut-ins...and even then the retired priest will most often time the liturgy so that the fellows from the breakfast club or the checker club or the poker club can be there with him.

So you need to revisit this particular assertion...or presumption...or assumption.

M.

What is this, a preemptive No True Scotsman fallacy?  I know priests who at least used to do private masses frequently, so at the very least I have anecdotal evidence to counter your assertion.  Since I'm not around as many RC priests now as I was 12-16 years ago, I can't verify if the practice is current or not, so I can accept your assumption that no RC priest anywhere does any private masses anymore (except your stated exception), but that cannot be asserted as the case in the (recent) past.

I have no idea what you saw however long ago it was.  But a "private" mass is not something that is allowed canonically in the Church without the express permission of a bishop who must be given compelling reason to give that permission and even then there should be one other there.

IF what you saw were priests saying masses all alone...and how you could "see" that I don't know and still have the priest be totally alone...then there is a strong chance that what you "witnessed" was an abuse and not the proper use of the liturgy.

Mary
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« Reply #21 on: January 05, 2012, 05:42:57 PM »

So here is something that has had me wondering since becoming OC. I used to be an RC and as you probably know most Catholic Churches celebrate Daily Mass. I have noticed that most OC Churches even Cathedrals celebrate the Liturgy only on Sunday and Holy Days. Just curious why that is.

In places with an Orthodox "critical mass" - i.e. where the Orthodox are a large minority or the majority of the population - it is very common to find daily liturgies in many (especially urban) parishes.  In the U.S., where the Orthodox population is relatively small, it is not common, likely because we just don't have enough people in the parishes who are interested in attending. 

Three "advantages" (from their POV) that the RC's have in this regard:
1. If no one shows up for Mass, the priest can continue serving alone; in the EO/OO tradition, there must be at least 1-2 others present for Liturgy, if not more. 
2. The average RC parish is 3-5 times the size of, say, the average GOA parish (let alone the generally smaller OCA parishes), and so you have many more people interested in services. 
3. IME, daily mass is shorter than an Orthodox Liturgy.  This makes it more convenient for people to attend services and still make it to work/appointments/etc.

Really, the only way to get more Liturgies in the US Orthodox parishes is to rectify #2 above; #'s 1 and 3 are (or should be) untouchable. 

Honestly, if people wanted a daily divine Liturgy in my parish, I'd be all for it.  We could schedule it for before the work day (beginning at 7am so people could commune and be out by 8am) so the 8-4 / 9-5 crowd could attend.

Father, on point one, why then have I read that St. Theophan the Recluse, and Fr. Michael of New Valaam would celebrate Liturgy every day, usually by themselves?  I'm not saying you're wrong or that they did anything wrong (as I believe that Fr. Michael - at least - had special permission).  I am just curious why exceptions are allowed? 
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« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2012, 05:59:37 PM »

So here is something that has had me wondering since becoming OC. I used to be an RC and as you probably know most Catholic Churches celebrate Daily Mass. I have noticed that most OC Churches even Cathedrals celebrate the Liturgy only on Sunday and Holy Days. Just curious why that is.

In places with an Orthodox "critical mass" - i.e. where the Orthodox are a large minority or the majority of the population - it is very common to find daily liturgies in many (especially urban) parishes.  In the U.S., where the Orthodox population is relatively small, it is not common, likely because we just don't have enough people in the parishes who are interested in attending. 

Three "advantages" (from their POV) that the RC's have in this regard:
1. If no one shows up for Mass, the priest can continue serving alone; in the EO/OO tradition, there must be at least 1-2 others present for Liturgy, if not more. 
2. The average RC parish is 3-5 times the size of, say, the average GOA parish (let alone the generally smaller OCA parishes), and so you have many more people interested in services. 
3. IME, daily mass is shorter than an Orthodox Liturgy.  This makes it more convenient for people to attend services and still make it to work/appointments/etc.

Really, the only way to get more Liturgies in the US Orthodox parishes is to rectify #2 above; #'s 1 and 3 are (or should be) untouchable. 

Honestly, if people wanted a daily divine Liturgy in my parish, I'd be all for it.  We could schedule it for before the work day (beginning at 7am so people could commune and be out by 8am) so the 8-4 / 9-5 crowd could attend.

Father, on point one, why then have I read that St. Theophan the Recluse, and Fr. Michael of New Valaam would celebrate Liturgy every day, usually by themselves?  I'm not saying you're wrong or that they did anything wrong (as I believe that Fr. Michael - at least - had special permission).  I am just curious why exceptions are allowed? 

Correct.  There are many more saints besides these who served alone.  There is no canon against serving "alone," because a priest is not alone, as the Saints and Angels are there.  However, at the turn of the 20th century, several authors, including Bulgakov, pointed out that the responses require another person.  Thus, the priest could serve the other services minus the litanies, but not the Liturgy, as it had other responses in the anaphora.  Thus the "rule" became to serve obednitsa/typica if was to serve alone.  But even St. John Maximovitch stated that a priest could serve daily "regardless of how many people" are there, as the saints complete the responses, even if unheard.  As I recall, in one of the lives of the Saints, they were finally granted to hear the responses when serving alone.  I cannot recall which one, but perhaps someone can help me out on this.   However, no liturgy can be "private," that is, unposted thus not giving others the right to attend.  Modern praxis has it that he is to just serve matins, hours and typika if no one shows up.   
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« Reply #23 on: January 05, 2012, 06:52:03 PM »

Father, on point one, why then have I read that St. Theophan the Recluse, and Fr. Michael of New Valaam would celebrate Liturgy every day, usually by themselves?  I'm not saying you're wrong or that they did anything wrong (as I believe that Fr. Michael - at least - had special permission).  I am just curious why exceptions are allowed?   

Honest answer: I don't know.  FatherHLL describes one factor (the presence of the Saints and Angels in the Liturgy), but all I set forth was the common direction/restriction given to us sinners; as for St. Theophan (or anyone else), I judge not.
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« Reply #24 on: January 05, 2012, 08:28:48 PM »

Thank you both, very much.
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« Reply #25 on: January 05, 2012, 08:32:41 PM »

I think I seem to recall reading that St Seraphim of Sarov celebrated the liturgy alone as well.
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« Reply #26 on: January 05, 2012, 10:56:38 PM »

I think I seem to recall reading that St Seraphim of Sarov celebrated the liturgy alone as well.

I think you are right, and I think that he is one who heard at one liturgy the angels and saints replying to his petitions.  As I recall, and someone correct me if wrong, a passer by heard the great choir when passing by the church, and wondered what great occasion it was, and entered in and saw just St. Seraphim serving without another earthly soul yet heard the choir of saints replying.  Of course, there were many desert fathers and monastic priests who served liturgy without any other earthly person there.  As I recall, also St. John Chrysostom while in exile in one of the accounts of his life, and St. Spyridon also served daily and regularly whether anyone was there or not. 
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« Reply #27 on: January 05, 2012, 11:17:06 PM »

Father, on point one, why then have I read that St. Theophan the Recluse, and Fr. Michael of New Valaam would celebrate Liturgy every day, usually by themselves?  I'm not saying you're wrong or that they did anything wrong (as I believe that Fr. Michael - at least - had special permission).  I am just curious why exceptions are allowed?   

Honest answer: I don't know.  FatherHLL describes one factor (the presence of the Saints and Angels in the Liturgy), but all I set forth was the common direction/restriction given to us sinners; as for St. Theophan (or anyone else), I judge not.

I know, it is a tough one. 

“Liturgy must be served, if impossible daily, but at least on all Sundays and Church Feastdays, without taking into account the number of faithful that are able to attend the service. The Liturgy is the Bloodless Sacrifice for the whole world and it is the priest's duty to serve it when required.” (St. John Maximovitch, “How to Keep the Church Typikon”).

I think that what happened was that the restrictions on "private liturgies" eventualy morphed to "to discourage private liturgies, we will forbid the priest to serve alone."  It was an abuse that needed corrected--priests who really didn't want others to come, and thus wouldn't post it.  Neither the Typikon nor the canons have any restriction on this.  But it is a common proscription in both Greek and Slavic praxis.  I actually read one stupid thing on a church website that said "a priest cannot even commune when no one else is present."  Where did they get that?  If so, we would have to throw tens of thousands of monastics who daily did that, both sinners and saints alike, "to the dogs."   
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« Reply #28 on: January 05, 2012, 11:45:30 PM »

3. IME, daily mass is shorter than an Orthodox Liturgy.  This makes it more convenient for people to attend services and still make it to work/appointments/etc.
Of course this depends on the priest and my own personal perception, but a liturgy sans sermon -- especially if only a few communicants are receiving -- doesn't seem that long to me.
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« Reply #29 on: January 06, 2012, 01:02:43 AM »

3. IME, daily mass is shorter than an Orthodox Liturgy.  This makes it more convenient for people to attend services and still make it to work/appointments/etc.
Of course this depends on the priest and my own personal perception, but a liturgy sans sermon -- especially if only a few communicants are receiving -- doesn't seem that long to me.

Especially if serving it "old" (codex) Barbarini style like the Carpatho-Russians, or modified Barbarini style like the Greeks (but with not as long neo-Byz chanting--Athonite style preferred).  Of course, if we did not take extra long on the entrance with the gifts, as is the custum with many, then it really does not take that long.  I know a priest that can serve a daily full northern slavic liturgy in 35 minutes.   Of course, the words are spoken at hyper-speed, no sermon, etc.  Regardless, the whole Liturgy, even the longer (north slavic) style can be done in under an hour. 
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« Reply #30 on: January 06, 2012, 02:58:10 AM »

My parish has either a Vespers, Matins or Liturgy each day, with there being at least two services on any given day during Advent or Lent. I'm hoping to be able to attend Vespers more often once I get my driver's license.
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« Reply #31 on: January 06, 2012, 08:29:58 AM »


 However, no liturgy can be "private," that is, unposted thus not giving others the right to attend. 

This is a very important distinction and I am glad you brought it up!

Mary
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