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Author Topic: Epistle Reading  (Read 2231 times) Average Rating: 0
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JamesRottnek
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« on: February 08, 2012, 02:50:36 AM »

Why do we sit during the epistle reading?
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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2012, 06:42:16 AM »

Because there are pews.  Wink


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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2012, 10:24:07 AM »

I wonder if it's because they wanted to distinguish it from the importance of the Gospel? Just a guess on my part.
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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2012, 11:15:01 AM »

The only parishes I've attended that sit during the Epistle are those that have pews. Parishes that only have seating along the sides will stand for the entire Liturgy.
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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2012, 11:46:00 AM »


Even with pews, we have people stand. 

It's not strictly enforced and nobody cares, or should care, what others are doing.

However, we are told to definitely stand at certain points of the Liturgy - Gospel Reading, etc.
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« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2012, 12:12:13 PM »

No one has ever sat in my parish, when I first saw it, I was floored.
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« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2012, 01:05:53 PM »

I was told by my priest, that only the priests may sit during the epistle reading because his office is sort of like the Apostles'.  No one else should sit, but many people just do as the priest does.
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« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2012, 01:07:33 PM »

No one has ever sat in my parish, when I first saw it, I was floored.
Pews are there to keep you off the floor.  Grin
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« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2012, 01:17:20 PM »

I was told by my priest, that only the priests may sit during the epistle reading because his office is sort of like the Apostles'.  No one else should sit, but many people just do as the priest does.

I should have been clear, the priest would always retreat behind the Altar and sit during the epistle. In our parish, the lay people did not. although, like lemmings they always follow the lead of the Pani-matka/Matuska in the first pew, so I suppose if the next Pani-matka sits...well they will sit. I always laugh when I remember my late mother getting so wrapped up in thought that she didn't exit immediately after Liturgy. It was hilarious watching the folks downstairs from my perch at the cantor's lectern in the choir loft.
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« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2012, 01:18:39 PM »

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

In the Ethiopian jurisdiction, we don't Wink

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2012, 01:21:56 PM »

No one has ever sat in my parish, when I first saw it, I was floored.
Pews are there to keep you off the floor.  Grin

good one! Grin

I think I would be floored as well if I were to see people start to sit during the readings, When I read the question I was like " what?" Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2012, 01:28:11 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Quote
In the Ethiopian jurisdiction, we don't Wink

stay blessed,
habte selassie


See. told y'all Wink

No one has ever sat in my parish, when I first saw it, I was floored.
Pews are there to keep you off the floor.  Grin

good one! Grin

I think I would be floored as well if I were to see people start to sit during the readings, When I read the question I was like " what?" Smiley


stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2012, 01:34:06 PM »

I was told by my priest, that only the priests may sit during the epistle reading because his office is sort of like the Apostles'.  No one else should sit, but many people just do as the priest does.

I should have been clear, the priest would always retreat behind the Altar and sit during the epistle. In our parish, the lay people did not. although, like lemmings they always follow the lead of the Pani-matka/Matuska in the first pew, so I suppose if the next Pani-matka sits...well they will sit. I always laugh when I remember my late mother getting so wrapped up in thought that she didn't exit immediately after Liturgy. It was hilarious watching the folks downstairs from my perch at the cantor's lectern in the choir loft.

you reminded me of when I was a child, and went to the liturgy it was so long before it starts and after so me and my sister will sit on some part of it. the old ladys will say to us, as we lingered between sitting down on the floor and getting up varying comands would be told to us: now get up, you can not sit now, now you can sit, get up, so we figured its easier if we follow one of the leading old lady. she will indicate with her hand for us to sit and extend her prayer staff when we have to get up. untill we realy got it. but before we did got , one time she forgot about us, and went on standing and my sister passed out. lol and the lady said if you can not stand up there is no problem you can sit anytime you do not feel well, she was very distressed that she forgot about us waiting for her to indicate when to sit.  Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2012, 01:41:53 PM »

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



so we figured its easier if we follow one of the leading old lady.

That is what I've always done Wink

I am a fit young man, 90 year old Ethiopian women continually motivate (and brow beat) me to ! Ten-i-sue Le-se-lot (stand up for prayer!)..

Of course I have always wondered why folks seem to be a bit backwards, as habitually whenever the Deacon calls for us to stand up for prayer, that is exactly when some elderly, ill, or tired folks momentarily take a seat for a rest, it is kind of weird.

stay blessed,
habte selassie

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« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2012, 01:53:35 PM »

Humans are indeed unique as a species and our peculiarities do cross economic, cultural and religious borders with impunity. We tend to forget that here from time to time!
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« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2012, 02:08:12 PM »

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



so we figured its easier if we follow one of the leading old lady.

That is what I've always done Wink

I am a fit young man, 90 year old Ethiopian women continually motivate (and brow beat) me to ! Ten-i-sue Le-se-lot (stand up for prayer!)..

Of course I have always wondered why folks seem to be a bit backwards, as habitually whenever the Deacon calls for us to stand up for prayer, that is exactly when some elderly, ill, or tired folks momentarily take a seat for a rest, it is kind of weird.

stay blessed,
habte selassie



LOL thats funny, yes the old ladies do that lol and the others: they are probably thinking there is plenty of that call , that will come ( as the decon will say a lot of 'rise up for prayer!' before the liturgy is done) that they can stand up for. Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2012, 02:08:42 PM »

Humans are indeed unique as a species and our peculiarities do cross economic, cultural and religious borders with impunity. We tend to forget that here from time to time!
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« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2012, 10:50:49 PM »

Why do we sit during the epistle reading?

Some need to because they simply cannot stand, most others are just lazy. My opinion, of course.
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« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2012, 11:37:33 PM »

Why do we sit during the epistle reading?

Some need to because they simply cannot stand, most others are just lazy. My opinion, of course.

I suppose so.  Though, I think there are others like me who sit because everyone else, en masse, sits down for the Epistle (and I'd rather not draw a bunch of attention to myself and distract from the Epistle).
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« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2012, 04:04:35 AM »

We attend a Greek Orthodox Church here since we are so from our EOTC Church. They have pews, and alas, an organ too! But it's a wonderful Church, full of faithful Christian people. At first I wasn't used to wearing shoes and sitting down alot. In fact, I used to stand the whole time. But then I noticed that the Priest would actually motion for us to sit down at specific times, so I certainly didn't want to ignore the Priest. He always tells us when to stand and when to sit. The only problem is that now I am quite spoiled and will not be used to standing for 5 hours whenever I make it back to our own EOTC Church! lol.



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« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2012, 05:52:17 AM »

The only problem is that now I am quite spoiled and will not be used to standing for 5 hours whenever I make it back to our own EOTC Church! lol.

Regular Ethiopian Divine Liturgy takes 5 hours? Because the service is long or because there are lots of communing parishioners?

A Finnish liturgy takes about 2 hours. Some people seem to sit at some point but most people stand the whole service except during the sermons. Somewhere here some people wrote that it's inappropriate to sit on the floor but Finns do if there aren't any pews left.
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« Reply #21 on: February 09, 2012, 06:16:15 AM »

The only problem is that now I am quite spoiled and will not be used to standing for 5 hours whenever I make it back to our own EOTC Church! lol.

Regular Ethiopian Divine Liturgy takes 5 hours? Because the service is long or because there are lots of communing parishioners?

A Finnish liturgy takes about 2 hours. Some people seem to sit at some point but most people stand the whole service except during the sermons. Somewhere here some people wrote that it's inappropriate to sit on the floor but Finns do if there aren't any pews left.

The actual Liturgy itself is probably two hours, but the pre-Litrugy prayers and the sermon afterwards (we do sit during the sermon) altogether last about 4-5 hours.


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« Reply #22 on: February 09, 2012, 10:22:17 AM »

i don't like sitting for the epistle, but I like getting up for the gospel.
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« Reply #23 on: February 09, 2012, 11:33:57 AM »

Yes. "Wisdom, arise, let us hear the Holy Gospel..."
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« Reply #24 on: February 09, 2012, 03:40:02 PM »

We stand at the apostle reading and kneel at the gospel
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« Reply #25 on: February 09, 2012, 03:43:43 PM »

We stand at the apostle reading and kneel at the gospel

even on a sunday?  Huh
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« Reply #26 on: February 09, 2012, 03:46:32 PM »

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

We stand at the apostle reading and kneel at the gospel

even on a sunday?  Huh

Yes, we also kneel and prostrate dozens of times on Sundays, hundreds even! (we don't have the Sunday prostration prohibitions of the Eastern Orthodox Wink  )

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #27 on: February 09, 2012, 03:53:38 PM »

Yes. "Wisdom, arise, let us hear the Holy Gospel..."

An interesting, trick question for our Koine translators or our OCS ones as well. Since many here hold a passionate hatred for pews, some even calling them an heretical (yikes) innovation, why then the need for the command to ARISE for the proclamation of the Holy Gospel? Seems redundant in that context?
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« Reply #28 on: February 09, 2012, 04:05:59 PM »

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

Yes. "Wisdom, arise, let us hear the Holy Gospel..."

An interesting, trick question for our Koine translators or our OCS ones as well. Since many here hold a passionate hatred for pews, some even calling them an heretical (yikes) innovation, why then the need for the command to ARISE for the proclamation of the Holy Gospel? Seems redundant in that context?

Not to be confusing, but the "Stand Up For Prayer" chanted during the Liturgy is not in the context of pews or chairs because such language clearly predates the addition of chairs and pews into the Church, rather it is to call to those who are bowing, kneeling, or lying on the floor prostrated in prayer, and further to choreograph the worship service after the opposite directions have been given sporadically to "Bow for Prayer."

I think the vitriol against pews is a bit of self-righteous pontification, and in the Ethiopian tradition we have a delightful and ancient adaptation for those who hate pews but can't stand up for too long unassisted



Its also a liturgical musical instrument Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #29 on: February 09, 2012, 04:48:12 PM »

lol
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« Reply #30 on: February 09, 2012, 05:28:24 PM »

Ah, but while we're told to "arise," our traditional practice is to have our heads bowed during the reading of the Gospel, out of respect for the "Word of God."
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« Reply #31 on: February 09, 2012, 10:25:13 PM »

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

We stand at the apostle reading and kneel at the gospel

even on a sunday?  Huh

Yes, we also kneel and prostrate dozens of times on Sundays, hundreds even! (we don't have the Sunday prostration prohibitions of the Eastern Orthodox Wink  )

stay blessed,
habte selassie

that was part of the 1st ecumenical council though wasn't it?
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« Reply #32 on: February 09, 2012, 11:38:25 PM »

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

We stand at the apostle reading and kneel at the gospel

even on a sunday?  Huh

Yes, we also kneel and prostrate dozens of times on Sundays, hundreds even! (we don't have the Sunday prostration prohibitions of the Eastern Orthodox Wink  )

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Really? That's interesting. The Coptic Church certainly maintains the ancient and universal tradition of not bending the knee on Sundays or during the Holy 50 (on paper anyways, if not always in practise)... Is it only the Ethiopian tradition that does not follow this, or are there others in the OO community that do not? Do you know at what point in history this practise was changed from the rite received from the Copts, and if particular cultural needs motivated it? Even when kneeling is permitted, we never kneel during the Gospel, but always stand for it. It sounds like an interesting cultural difference.
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« Reply #33 on: February 10, 2012, 12:15:22 AM »

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

We stand at the apostle reading and kneel at the gospel

even on a sunday?  Huh

Yes, we also kneel and prostrate dozens of times on Sundays, hundreds even! (we don't have the Sunday prostration prohibitions of the Eastern Orthodox Wink  )

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Really? That's interesting. The Coptic Church certainly maintains the ancient and universal tradition of not bending the knee on Sundays or during the Holy 50 (on paper anyways, if not always in practise)... Is it only the Ethiopian tradition that does not follow this, or are there others in the OO community that do not? Do you know at what point in history this practise was changed from the rite received from the Copts, and if particular cultural needs motivated it? Even when kneeling is permitted, we never kneel during the Gospel, but always stand for it. It sounds like an interesting cultural difference.

My understanding has been that prostrations are allowed and encouraged at all times by EOTC Christians except for the 50 days following Fasika (Pascha). I may be wrong though.


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« Reply #34 on: February 10, 2012, 01:06:00 AM »

No one has ever sat in my parish, when I first saw it, I was floored.
Pews are there to keep you off the floor.  Grin

good one! Grin

I think I would be floored as well if I were to see people start to sit during the readings, When I read the question I was like " what?" Smiley
Good one! laugh I'd be floored, too, if I had to sit on the floor. Grin
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« Reply #35 on: February 10, 2012, 01:26:06 AM »

hmm sitting on the floor...i like it! Very ancient...  Cool
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« Reply #36 on: February 10, 2012, 04:04:54 AM »

Prayer tipis/yurts/igloos/wigwams would be a pretty cool baptism of American native culture. We could all enter it to sit for the sermon.
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« Reply #37 on: February 10, 2012, 06:10:33 AM »

The only problem is that now I am quite spoiled and will not be used to standing for 5 hours whenever I make it back to our own EOTC Church! lol.

Regular Ethiopian Divine Liturgy takes 5 hours? Because the service is long or because there are lots of communing parishioners?

A Finnish liturgy takes about 2 hours. Some people seem to sit at some point but most people stand the whole service except during the sermons. Somewhere here some people wrote that it's inappropriate to sit on the floor but Finns do if there aren't any pews left.

In my parish, Orthros is about an hour, liturgy is two hours. Mom thinks it's a little bit odd that I like to go to three-hour services.  Smiley
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« Reply #38 on: May 13, 2013, 02:55:45 PM »

I have never received instruction on this point, so this is just my observations and my opinion.  In my small OCA parish, practically everyone stands during the Epistle reading, but a few will sometimes sit.  If I am especially tired, I will choose the Epistle reading as a time to sit, but normally stand as an expression of unity of posture with the body of worshippers.  I sing in the choir and read (not ordained, not usually the Epistle, mostly Hours and Psalms), so I am typically standing anyway. At Vespers, I will sometimes sit for the Old Testament reading(s) (if someone else is reading) just because I believe one *should* sit for the OT and Epistle readings.  The reason I believe this is the same as the reason we should sit during the sermon, or if the life of a Saint is being read.  That is the time when we are receiving instruction.  Just as we would sit in a school classroom, we should sit in the classroom of the church.  My perspective is probably influenced by my being a convert from Roman Catholicism, where the universal practice (at least in this country) is to sit during the OT and Epistle, but I think my opinion holds valid for Orthodox worship as well.  The reason we stand during the Gospel, even though it is also instruction, is that the Gospel is in a special way "equivalent" to the Divine Logos, Jesus Christ, more so that the other parts of the Holy Scriptures.  We stand then out of reverence. 

On a related note, in my limited experience with OCA parishes, the general rule that the parishioners use to guide their own postures seems to be "Stand while the Royal Doors are open, sit while they are closed".  However, before I joined the choir at my current parish, I would always stand during Liturgy as long as there was at least one other person standing (usually a grandmother or grandfather with iron feet).  My former priest taught me that it is proper to stand regardless of whether the Doors are open or closed, and in particular it is absurd to sit during a Litany, which makes sense to me. 
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« Reply #39 on: May 13, 2013, 08:49:32 PM »

Why do we sit during the epistle reading?

Because we can. But at churches without pews, most people stand.
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« Reply #40 on: May 13, 2013, 08:50:31 PM »

No one has ever sat in my parish, when I first saw it, I was floored.

Does anyone sit during the kathismata?
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« Reply #41 on: May 13, 2013, 08:53:53 PM »

Yes. "Wisdom, arise, let us hear the Holy Gospel..."

Notice the lack of response where the people sing, "We've been standing for two hours already before the Lord."
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« Reply #42 on: May 13, 2013, 08:54:34 PM »

We stand at the apostle reading and kneel at the gospel

even on a sunday?  Huh

Yes. Romanians kneel all the time.
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« Reply #43 on: May 13, 2013, 08:55:48 PM »

Yes. "Wisdom, arise, let us hear the Holy Gospel..."

An interesting, trick question for our Koine translators or our OCS ones as well. Since many here hold a passionate hatred for pews, some even calling them an heretical (yikes) innovation, why then the need for the command to ARISE for the proclamation of the Holy Gospel? Seems redundant in that context?

Because, back in the fourth century (or "back in the day"), people sat for the epistle.
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« Reply #44 on: May 21, 2013, 05:23:46 PM »

We stand at the apostle reading and kneel at the gospel

even on a sunday?  Huh

Yes. Romanians kneel all the time.

A useful and interesting question here is, what do you mean by "kneel"?  If both of your knees are on the ground, are you therefore by definition "kneeling"?  In my Roman Catholic experience, that would certainly be a "yes".  However, I read in a primer of Orthodox faith and worship (which I think was from a Greek-American source) that in the context of Orthodox worship, "kneeling" refers to the posture in which one's knees, hands, and forehead are ALL touching the ground.  This is what most would call "prostration".  According to that source, the posture in which one's knees are on the ground, but the body is vertical from the knees up, is more properly referred to as "standing on one's knees".  So, if there is a prohibition against "kneeling" on Sundays and during the 50 days, does that refer only to "prostrations", or also to "standing on one's knees".  And if the priest says, "on bended knee let us pray...", what exactly is called for? 

I'm not looking for any definitive answers to these questions, just trying to point out an area of ambiguity. 
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