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Author Topic: Organs in Orthodox?  (Read 9799 times) Average Rating: 0
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88Devin12
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« Reply #45 on: February 09, 2012, 02:58:29 PM »

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





One question, is it a Rasta church or an Ethiopian Orthodox Church?

What does my profile say Wink

stay blessed,
habte selassie

It seems a bit contradictory, because on the one hand it refers to you as Rastafarian, and then as Ethiopian Orthodox. You cannot be both, HIM is not God/Christ. You cannot be a Christian and believe that HIM is Christ.

Blah Blah Blah Wink

Quote
Faith:    Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction:    Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church

stay blessed,
habte selassie



Then I assume you are Orthodox and not Rastafarian? Rastafarians are heretics and are not Christians. Glad to hear you're Orthodox.
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HabteSelassie
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« Reply #46 on: February 09, 2012, 03:02:35 PM »

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

Rastafarians are heretics and are not Christians. Glad to hear you're Orthodox.
But wait, I thought you just said that Oriental are heretics too? Roll Eyes



stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #47 on: February 09, 2012, 03:03:37 PM »

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

Rastafarians are heretics and are not Christians. Glad to hear you're Orthodox.
But wait, I thought you just said that Oriental are heretics too? Roll Eyes



stay blessed,
habte selassie

Nope, never said that. Oriental Orthodox are Orthodox... There is a difference between non-Christians like Rastafarians and Orthodox Christians like the Ethiopian Orthodox.
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« Reply #48 on: February 09, 2012, 03:10:30 PM »

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


Rastafarians are heretics and are not Christians. Glad to hear you're Orthodox.
But wait, I thought you just said that Oriental are heretics too? Roll Eyes



stay blessed,
habte selassie

Nope, never said that. Oriental Orthodox are Orthodox... There is a difference between non-Christians like Rastafarians and Orthodox Christians like the Ethiopian Orthodox.

My mistake, I must have misinterpreted this statement


There is a reason those non-Orthodox churches are non-Orthodox and heretical.



If you weren't applying this to Oriental Orthodox, than I sincerely apologize for the misconception Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #49 on: February 09, 2012, 03:31:09 PM »

Quote
you aren't going to get answers...
because you can't answer them.

Quote
Nope, never said that. Oriental Orthodox are Orthodox... There is a difference between non-Christians like Rastafarians and Orthodox Christians like the Ethiopian Orthodox
Unless of course, they use projectors.....

PP
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« Reply #50 on: February 09, 2012, 03:59:37 PM »

Quote
phone apps, print books, but don't put up a projector, since those walls should be adorned with icons and not be left bare
You dont need an entire wall to be bare for a projector.

Quote
t is good to provide translations for people, but take donations and come up with texts that people can hold and follow along with
So whats the difference between holding something and reading and looking at the wall and reading?

Quote
We don't "modernize" like the Protestants and the Catholics. We should burn our pews, and throw out our organs
Well then, pull the bulbs out and light only with candles and torches. Afterall, electric lighting used to be modern. How far back should we go? Should we throw away all books that were printed using a printing press? That was moden technology at one time...or only books printed with computer printers? Hmm? Today's passe' resources used to be modern innovations. Your rant is emotionally based and not based on logic.

PP

Who cares if it isn't from "logic"... Are you a rationalist heretic? Are you a product of the godless enlightenment?

Wasn't St. Nicholas' striking of the disgusting worm Arius out of his emotion more righteous than the rest of the Bishops who were trying to refute him "logically"?
(no, I'm not equating myself to Nicholas, and I'm not equating others to Arius, just drawing an example of supposed logic vs. emotion)

God have mercy on you if your mind is so muddled as to anathematize all who may dare to think rationally and those whose intellectual state (like all of us alive today who are university graduates and post-graduates) is a product of the Enlightenment and the leveling of class distinction and oppression which followed. I am sorry you feel that way

Modern university has been turned into a disgusting tool of the godless, anti-theists and by those who wish to destroy Christ's Church and any sense of Christian morality that exists in Western society. Its a haven of liberalism, secularism and atheism. I'm sick of people trying to champion the "university" as some high idea or goal. There is a reason many people go into the university and then fall into all sorts of vice and lose their faith. Instead of being a place where you can lead people to Christ and to the truth, its used to distort the truth, distort the gospel and lead people into liberal ideas and away from God. There is absolutely nothing logical or rational about that.

sigh....Good luck. It is said that there is nothing new under the sun and your frustration with our current times has been mirrored by idealists throughout Christian history. We live when we live, it sounds to me as if you are falling under the sway of the 'end-timers'. Just remember the Bridegroom.
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« Reply #51 on: February 09, 2012, 04:10:28 PM »

We start bringing in pews, and organs, and now projectors... Can anyone tell me where to draw the line? How about having electric candles instead of wax ones? Why don't we get rid of candles too? They get wax on the floor and burn my fingers while I'm chanting at Vigil sometimes. Why not make the Holy Mysteries available to be downloaded onto your phone instead of taken at the Chalice? We could just show a picture of bread and wine. It's artificial but still gets the point across, I think.

Seems like a lot of this stuff is for conformity or to make things more convenient. Technology has it's proper place for teaching or to communicate ideas. I don't think it's good for Worship. We can use projectors and organs and other devices to teach people outside of the Liturgy.

That's just my opinion. I've never been in an Orthodox Church with organs and projectors, but the feeling I get in my soul when I think about worshipping with those things is something that doesn't sit well with me. It feels artificial to me. And I don't think I could stay in a parish that had those things.
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« Reply #52 on: February 09, 2012, 04:27:12 PM »

Let me state, I have no problem with folks who want to make sure things like projectors are not in our churches. All I want is a decent argument other than some wild conspiracy theory of "well, just because!" kind of statement.

Its not to convince me or anything, but you have to be able to understand why you believe something, or why you're convicted to do a thing.

My church does not use projectors, and honestly, it would be weird if we started. But please, at least be able to elucidate your opinion.

PP
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« Reply #53 on: February 09, 2012, 08:48:27 PM »

I personally would hope that any event which necessitated using a projector would be something like a class, where they showed a film- and that should be held in the parish community room, the events hall or whatever you have. In other words, not in the sanctuary and not during liturgy. Things like a small clip-on microphone for the priest in my parish is useful, because otherwise people could not hear him. However, there's a fine line between tasteful, reasonable things, and creating the thought that you are in a movie theater. I would err on the side of the less elaborate, the better.
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« Reply #54 on: February 09, 2012, 08:58:33 PM »

I love organs (especially Apparat Organ Quartet!) but I hate them in liturgies.
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« Reply #55 on: February 09, 2012, 09:04:28 PM »

I almost thought this was going to be a thread about organ donation. Oops.  Wink
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« Reply #56 on: February 09, 2012, 09:09:35 PM »

I almost thought this was going to be a thread about organ donation. Oops.  Wink
Something that Im not totally on board with......
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« Reply #57 on: February 09, 2012, 09:42:13 PM »

Surely we can all agree that projectors are ugly and tacky and should be used, if at all, only when they are serving a very necessary purpose?
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« Reply #58 on: February 09, 2012, 09:49:16 PM »

I almost thought this was going to be a thread about organ donation. Oops.  Wink
Perhaps we could suggest that an Orthodox church with organ could (should?) donate it to a needy Protestant or RC church  Wink.
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« Reply #59 on: February 10, 2012, 01:54:14 AM »

Correct me if I am wrong, but the first recorded use of a pneumatic organ was for liturgical use at the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople in the early fourth century: http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/julian_apostate_epigrams.htm.  The first organs in Western Europe were also from Constantinople. One might consider the pneumatic organ an Orthodox musical instrument and it is not surprising that from an early date (ninth century) in Western Europe the organ was mainly installed in churches. If Church fathers complained about organs, maybe they were referring to the earlier hydraulic organs.


Image of a pipe organ depicted on the Constantinople Obelisk, erected by Theodosius in 395 A.D.
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« Reply #60 on: February 10, 2012, 02:15:30 AM »

The fathers rejected the use of instruments in general. Even in the west it was opposed, even though it eventually became prominent. Even Luther disapproved of organs.
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« Reply #61 on: February 10, 2012, 06:06:15 AM »

Surely we can all agree that projectors are ugly and tacky and should be used, if at all, only when they are serving a very necessary purpose?

The concept of 'tacky' seems to be lost on a lot of people, particularly the Orthodox.
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« Reply #62 on: February 10, 2012, 09:17:14 AM »


I've always wondered why so many people actually use books during the Liturgy.

It's fine for visitors, or newbies....but, if the service is in your mother tongue....and you've been attending it for the past 50 years....why is your nose buried in a book?  I think they get so distracted in finding which page they should be in, or wondering why the choir skipped over this or that....that they are completely distracted and miss the peacefullness and awesomeness that is before them.


I've never used service books during Liturgy, for that exact reason. The only time I have a text in front of me is when I'm attending the akathist at my parish during the week.
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« Reply #63 on: February 10, 2012, 10:30:17 AM »


I've always wondered why so many people actually use books during the Liturgy.

It's fine for visitors, or newbies....but, if the service is in your mother tongue....and you've been attending it for the past 50 years....why is your nose buried in a book?  I think they get so distracted in finding which page they should be in, or wondering why the choir skipped over this or that....that they are completely distracted and miss the peacefullness and awesomeness that is before them.


I've never used service books during Liturgy, for that exact reason. The only time I have a text in front of me is when I'm attending the akathist at my parish during the week.

In parishes where congregational chant is the preferred mode, rather than choral chanting or performing, it is difficult to expect participation without service books. Many of us can muddle through the 'regular' portions without a book, but when it comes to specific antiphons, troparia, prokeimenon etc...it is unrealistic to dismiss the use of a book by most congregants. Don't keep your 'nose' in the book but don't be afraid to use it either. They are also a great tool for visitors and potential converts. Projected text is over the top, but as books are replaced by tablets, don't be upset when folks come in with apps on their iPads etc... as the years go by....
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« Reply #64 on: February 10, 2012, 11:46:08 AM »


I've always wondered why so many people actually use books during the Liturgy.

It's fine for visitors, or newbies....but, if the service is in your mother tongue....and you've been attending it for the past 50 years....why is your nose buried in a book?  I think they get so distracted in finding which page they should be in, or wondering why the choir skipped over this or that....that they are completely distracted and miss the peacefullness and awesomeness that is before them.


I've never used service books during Liturgy, for that exact reason. The only time I have a text in front of me is when I'm attending the akathist at my parish during the week.

In parishes where congregational chant is the preferred mode, rather than choral chanting or performing, it is difficult to expect participation without service books. Many of us can muddle through the 'regular' portions without a book, but when it comes to specific antiphons, troparia, prokeimenon etc...it is unrealistic to dismiss the use of a book by most congregants. Don't keep your 'nose' in the book but don't be afraid to use it either. They are also a great tool for visitors and potential converts. Projected text is over the top, but as books are replaced by tablets, don't be upset when folks come in with apps on their iPads etc... as the years go by....


I already use apps and the internet for some more obscure services.
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« Reply #65 on: February 10, 2012, 12:40:08 PM »


I've always wondered why so many people actually use books during the Liturgy.

It's fine for visitors, or newbies....but, if the service is in your mother tongue....and you've been attending it for the past 50 years....why is your nose buried in a book?  I think they get so distracted in finding which page they should be in, or wondering why the choir skipped over this or that....that they are completely distracted and miss the peacefullness and awesomeness that is before them.


I've never used service books during Liturgy, for that exact reason. The only time I have a text in front of me is when I'm attending the akathist at my parish during the week.

In parishes where congregational chant is the preferred mode, rather than choral chanting or performing, it is difficult to expect participation without service books. Many of us can muddle through the 'regular' portions without a book, but when it comes to specific antiphons, troparia, prokeimenon etc...it is unrealistic to dismiss the use of a book by most congregants. Don't keep your 'nose' in the book but don't be afraid to use it either. They are also a great tool for visitors and potential converts. Projected text is over the top, but as books are replaced by tablets, don't be upset when folks come in with apps on their iPads etc... as the years go by....


Chuckle...reminds me of the weekday Divine Liturgy I attended a few years ago  with the liturgy on my PDA. I got some really weird looks as I prostrated holding that device. Never used it again. Books are better.  Cheesy
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« Reply #66 on: February 10, 2012, 12:42:52 PM »


I've always wondered why so many people actually use books during the Liturgy.

It's fine for visitors, or newbies....but, if the service is in your mother tongue....and you've been attending it for the past 50 years....why is your nose buried in a book?  I think they get so distracted in finding which page they should be in, or wondering why the choir skipped over this or that....that they are completely distracted and miss the peacefullness and awesomeness that is before them.

I am assuming that your curiosity is genuine. In some respects I fit your example except that after 50 years I do not wonder about why a choir skips over this or that, nor other deletions and additions that are either accidental or deliberate. I never thought of the possibility someone would find reading the Divine Liturgy during the service objectionable and I never thought about why I do it. Without psychoanalyzing myself, I believe it is because it allows me to participate in the Divine Liturgy more fully. It is rewarding on a personal level and helps me. I read at a glance what is going to be said or chanted, I listen, I look up with my eyes only (head still in its original position) in each instance. On a given day, a particular phrase may lead me to contemplation and I leave the book lift my head and take in everything as I contemplate. On occasion this contemplative period extends for some duration and that is when I flip pages to get back to where the service is and that is when I start the process all over again for the help that it provides. When I see people flipping pages of the liturgy book, I usually think it is a good thing.

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« Reply #67 on: February 10, 2012, 03:15:44 PM »

I think in this subject there are two different questions. The first is if the organs or generally instruments in Orthodox sacral music are canonical. The second is if they are necessary.
So, the first one: unfortunately I don’t know well the canons and the patristic scriptures, but some of you mentioned the instruments can’t be used. The exception is the cultural aspect of Oriental Orthodox (personally I really like e.g. Coptic cymbals).
My answer for the second questions is also rather negative. God granted us the voice which we use to exalt Him in the chant. It’s the most beautiful instrument which don’t need any instrumental background like organs. I know quite a lot of roman catholic who attend an Orthodox service just to listen to the chant without any instrument. I also remember the Liturgies of Triduum Paschale when I was roman catholic and from Great Thursday until “alleluia” during the Paschal Vigil the organs weren’t used. The congregational singing (sometimes with help of the parishional choir which generally wasn’t singing!) was so beautiful and moving. Nowadays Western Christianity has a big problem with definitely not traditional instruments such as electric guitar. I can’t imagine playing guitar in Orthodox church. And many people, also young, are disgusted by it, because the Liturgy is not an entertainment, a concert. In Orthodoxy we accentuate that when we enter into a church we enter in a sacral world. For me, using instruments in church is mixing sacrum with profane. I watched a piece of the video and I heard some recordings of Holy Week celebrations from a Greek Orthodox parish in USA which uses in some parts of Liturgy organs. It’s interesting, maybe sometimes sublime, but I don’t see the way it could enrich the liturgical experiences. I also don’t think organs as something ecumenical. We have own tradition, why after centuries we should change something that wouldn’t have rather any positive aspects.
Another topic are the projectors. I know also from my experience when I was roman catholic that they distract the attention from the liturgical action. The better option are bulletins with variable parts of the Liturgy or prayer books.
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« Reply #68 on: February 10, 2012, 05:10:57 PM »

I'm really enjoying this topic.  Very entertaining.

I've grown up with organs being used in Church and they've never been a distraction to me.  In some ways they are helpful in that they help ensure some of the hymns (especially the kontakions, etc) are sung in the correct tones.   

In my current Church, we have an organ, but we don't use it.  We do sing a capella, but do end up having challenges with the changeable hymns, to the point now we only have one person sing them.   

To me, it's all about distraction.  An organ that is overplayed or too loud (because, unfortunately, organists sometimes do have egos) is distracting.  When done tastefully and as an accompanyment, then it can be good.   An a capella choir that sings out of tune or not together can just as distracting to me as well.   And, finally, chanting can be beautiful, but not every Church has trained Chanters.  A Chanter that sings the wrong tones and doesn't flow with the service is also distracting, as is a great Chanter who takes 15 seconds to chant, "Lord Have Mercy". 

Our Orthodox Services have an incredible rythymn, and anything that detracts from that rythymn distracts from the service.  If a Church needs an organ to avoid that, then use it.  If a Chanter is needed because the Choir struggles, use the Chanter.   

I struggle with absolute statements that organs aren't cannonical, because I'm not sure they are or are not, and we know that there are a number of cannons we don't follow.    The cannons don't refer to electric lighting, pews, or microphones, but we do use them and do fine with them. 

Projection?  I've never seen that used, but if I was a Priest I may actually incorporate it every once an a while as an accompaniment to my sermon, but not part of the liturgy.   In today's day and age, people are used to and expect visual reinforcements.   Incorporating them, in order to help enhance or reinforce a message is not bad thing.
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« Reply #69 on: February 10, 2012, 05:20:39 PM »

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

I can’t imagine playing guitar in Orthodox church.


haha its so true.  I play guitar.  I teach the young adult Sunday School program.  We've been trying to organize youth activities, and I have had the idea to use my acoustic guitar to play our Mezmur (not at Liturgy, not in the Church, but at these extracurricular activities in the same way we might have a DJ playing music for entertainment) which I already do at home for myself.  Ethiopian hymnal is in the pentatonic like most African music, it is essentially the blues, and I come from blues bands, so it was a natural and even spontaneous fit when I stumbled into playing Ethiopian music almost by accident.

 However, when I asked around all my friends from the Choir if they would help me on the side practice some Mezmur to get it down better, there was not only ZERO positive responses, but indeed mostly negative and reactionary responses.  The guitar then was clearly a touchy issue, even when mechanically, I would suppose the acoustic guitar actually fits in better theologically with Ethiopian instruments such as the Krar then does the electric keyboard, as the Krar is a stringed instrument (symbolically the strings represent the long hair of Our Lady, the neck represents her sturdy spine which stood upright for prayer in Faith) and I highly doubt Pythagoras (who was himself terrified by horns which he thought were entirely of the Devil let alone electronic instruments) would approve of the keys in this sense.

Alas, I had to concede utter defeat before folks started to gossip and misunderstand completely my intentions. I never wanted to bring the guitar into the Divine Liturgy, or even into the Church building at all, rather to play it with my students at other functions, but no body was feeling it!

The guitar and the Orthodox seem to be a non-starter, which may offend my musical sentiments, but which I can absolutely understand.

In regards to folks misunderstanding using books or even PowerPoint, perhaps y'all are from spoiled traditions where the Liturgy is sung in a vernacular language, but in our Ethiopian tradition, even the priests sometimes don't fully comprehend what is being chanted so much as can simply read the letters and sing the words.  Ge'ez hasn't been a spoken language for over 600 years, and while there are many cognates with Ge'ez and Amharic and other Ethiopian languages (similar to Latin to Spanish for example) there are also glaring gaps.  If we don't know the depths of the meaning of the texts, how are we guided therapeutically by their meanings which the Fathers compiled? The words of the Liturgy are like therapy, the guide our meditation and prayers to understand the depth of what should be experiencing.  Yes, we can still feel the Holy Spirit even if we do not comprehend a single word (I can vouch for this from direct, personal experience) however when ones do know the words, the meaning conveyed is even deeper and magnified (I can also vouch for this since)

Further, with just a few years of effort, ones can learn the entire Liturgy by heart as if they were a priest with just a minimal effort of reading along with a book or PowerPoint accompanying, which is how at my parish we ALL seem to know every word, and we all sing our responses.  The Choir point made is highly relevant, in the Ethiopian Tradition we do not have a specific choir to sing the People's portions and response of the Liturgy, rather we ALL as a parish sing these words TOGETHER.  It is then important obviously that in time folks learn and understand these words, since we are singing them for the duration of our lives, and indeed, we in our tradition believe we will sing these same words in the Kingdom Age.  

Also, correct me if I am wrong people, but don't the PRIESTS read along using the books? Why should we scorn their example as if using books was then tacky or worse? Do we judge them for having not memorized the entire Liturgy?

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #70 on: February 10, 2012, 06:19:25 PM »



Also, correct me if I am wrong people, but don't the PRIESTS read along using the books? Why should we scorn their example as if using books was then tacky or worse? Do we judge them for having not memorized the entire Liturgy?

stay blessed,
habte selassie

As a word of explanation, dear friend: Yes, priests keep a book open nearby - it's too easy to have a momentary lapse or distraction. As for the congregation, I'd really like to see more people set the books aside and simply pay attention to the flow of the service and the visual and verbal cues that are part of the Liturgy. I'm appalled at the number of people in my congregation who have books opened up but remain seated even where it says "The people stand" when, for example, the priest gives a blessing. They seem so busy looking at the words that they don't seem to be thinking about the service. I say that in pity for them, not in condemnation. I really think they're missing a lot. The whole visual impact of worship was one of the key points in drawing me into Orthodoxy.

Now, I serve as a chanter, so I have to keep my book open in front of me all the time - too many new things each week, and I'm prone to the same lapses as the priest. But that's one of the reasons the chanters are there - to act as prompters for the people. We will give them the verbal cues they need to sing along the recurring portions of the Liturgy and to say the Creed and many of the prayers that are said together. Every once in a while I like to take a Sunday vacation from my chanting responsibilities and just participate as a member of the congregation - free from the distraction of a book.

I usually suggest to visitors that for the first time or two that they not take a book - but just observe. Later, to participate more they can use a book until fairly comfortable with the services and then rely on the visual cues and the verbal cues from the chanters.
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« Reply #71 on: February 10, 2012, 06:27:46 PM »

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



As a word of explanation, dear friend: Yes, priests keep a book open nearby - it's too easy to have a momentary lapse or distraction. As for the congregation, I'd really like to see more people set the books aside and simply pay attention to the flow of the service and the visual and verbal cues that are part of the Liturgy. I'm appalled at the number of people in my congregation who have books opened up but remain seated even where it says "The people stand" when, for example, the priest gives a blessing. They seem so busy looking at the words that they don't seem to be thinking about the service. I say that in pity for them, not in condemnation. I really think they're missing a lot. The whole visual impact of worship was one of the key points in drawing me into Orthodoxy.

Now, I serve as a chanter, so I have to keep my book open in front of me all the time - too many new things each week, and I'm prone to the same lapses as the priest. But that's one of the reasons the chanters are there - to act as prompters for the people. We will give them the verbal cues they need to sing along the recurring portions of the Liturgy and to say the Creed and many of the prayers that are said together. [/quote]

A) How do you know that the people are not attentively following along in the Spirit when they are reading the very words being prayed? Perhaps they are absorbing the depth of prayer and meaning underlying those words, just as we all do once we already have them committed to heart?

B) That is the result of a difference in jurisdictional traditions, in Ethiopian tradition we don't rely on Cantors for the Liturgy (to be sure we do have them but their position is minimal, and in my parish they aren't even visible but say the prayers from the sound room in the back!) rather all the people are expected to learn their parts as best as a lifetime can afford one to learn.  So folks like to learn the words as much as the flow.  Also it is a tangible result of literacy, before folks in the world largely could read, of course the congregations didn't use books, but now we can mostly read, and so like follow along Smiley

C) To the Copts, I thought it was so interesting that Egyptians are using Liturgy books to follow along here in the US because the services may be in English which some folks don't speak, whereas in Ethiopian parishes it is the opposite, we follow along because the Liturgy is in Ge'ez, which NOBODY speaks and so we read along translations into our respective vernaculars.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #72 on: February 10, 2012, 08:09:46 PM »

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



As a word of explanation, dear friend: Yes, priests keep a book open nearby - it's too easy to have a momentary lapse or distraction. As for the congregation, I'd really like to see more people set the books aside and simply pay attention to the flow of the service and the visual and verbal cues that are part of the Liturgy. I'm appalled at the number of people in my congregation who have books opened up but remain seated even where it says "The people stand" when, for example, the priest gives a blessing. They seem so busy looking at the words that they don't seem to be thinking about the service. I say that in pity for them, not in condemnation. I really think they're missing a lot. The whole visual impact of worship was one of the key points in drawing me into Orthodoxy.

A) How do you know that the people are not attentively following along in the Spirit when they are reading the very words being prayed? Perhaps they are absorbing the depth of prayer and meaning underlying those words, just as we all do once we already have them committed to heart?

Of course I don't "know" what's in their hearts which is why I used the verb "seem". I also gave one example to point out how I came to my conclusion. I'll let you decide how much they've absorbed by considering this: when there is a service for which there is no book, many people don't know basic things such as to stand for the reading of the Gospel.

I will also point out that merely committing the words of the services to heart does not necessarily mean that one has absorbed "the depth of prayer and meaning underlying those words". If you are in a congregation where you can confidently say "we all do" to these things, then glory to God! But that's not my reality, and I don't expect it to be.

I merely point out that a book can be as limiting to worship as pews or an organ that replaces the human voice, though all of these things may be useful in the right time and place.
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« Reply #73 on: February 10, 2012, 09:28:16 PM »

I'm really enjoying this topic.  Very entertaining.

I've grown up with organs being used in Church and they've never been a distraction to me.  In some ways they are helpful in that they help ensure some of the hymns (especially the kontakions, etc) are sung in the correct tones.   

In my current Church, we have an organ, but we don't use it.  We do sing a capella, but do end up having challenges with the changeable hymns, to the point now we only have one person sing them.   

To me, it's all about distraction.  An organ that is overplayed or too loud (because, unfortunately, organists sometimes do have egos) is distracting.  When done tastefully and as an accompanyment, then it can be good.   An a capella choir that sings out of tune or not together can just as distracting to me as well.   And, finally, chanting can be beautiful, but not every Church has trained Chanters.  A Chanter that sings the wrong tones and doesn't flow with the service is also distracting, as is a great Chanter who takes 15 seconds to chant, "Lord Have Mercy". 

Our Orthodox Services have an incredible rythymn, and anything that detracts from that rythymn distracts from the service.  If a Church needs an organ to avoid that, then use it.  If a Chanter is needed because the Choir struggles, use the Chanter.   

I struggle with absolute statements that organs aren't cannonical, because I'm not sure they are or are not, and we know that there are a number of cannons we don't follow.    The cannons don't refer to electric lighting, pews, or microphones, but we do use them and do fine with them. 

Projection?  I've never seen that used, but if I was a Priest I may actually incorporate it every once an a while as an accompaniment to my sermon, but not part of the liturgy.   In today's day and age, people are used to and expect visual reinforcements.   Incorporating them, in order to help enhance or reinforce a message is not bad thing.

Welcome to the forum! BTW, I like your way of thinking. Alas, I am too old and hidebound to start getting used to musical instruments, except when it is used to give us the starting notes. I must confess though that sometimes I wish we did have a piano or electric organ discreetly accompanying the choir/us; when a capella goes off key, it is worse than distracting, it is just horrible.
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« Reply #74 on: February 10, 2012, 10:34:23 PM »

We start bringing in pews, and organs, and now projectors... Can anyone tell me where to draw the line? How about having electric candles instead of wax ones? Why don't we get rid of candles too? They get wax on the floor and burn my fingers while I'm chanting at Vigil sometimes. Why not make the Holy Mysteries available to be downloaded onto your phone instead of taken at the Chalice? We could just show a picture of bread and wine. It's artificial but still gets the point across, I think.

Seems like a lot of this stuff is for conformity or to make things more convenient. Technology has it's proper place for teaching or to communicate ideas. I don't think it's good for Worship. We can use projectors and organs and other devices to teach people outside of the Liturgy.

That's just my opinion. I've never been in an Orthodox Church with organs and projectors, but the feeling I get in my soul when I think about worshipping with those things is something that doesn't sit well with me. It feels artificial to me. And I don't think I could stay in a parish that had those things.

This was my understanding of Orthodoxy as well and I agree with your opinion.   I was shocked to see the organ being used.

As we all know, the great schism was party caused by 3 simple words "and the son" of filioque, yet the worship and prayers sung has an organ background and is accepted.

Does artificial lighting lead to more tolerance of pews?
Does more tolerance to pews lead to tolerance to no beards?
Does no beards give tolerance to IPAD liturgy books?
Does IPAD liturgy books give tolerance to power point liturgy projectors?
Does power point liturgy projectors give tolerance to electric candles?

OF course, this could go on to just sticking a can of air freshener on a censor, a boom box instead of a choir, and a laptop on the altar with a priest video conferencing in.  Wink

Okay, I know it wouldn't go that far, but I was shocked to find that video of the organ being used.

The preservation of the Orthodox hymns as they have been sung through the ages would seem to me to be very important to the Orthodox.  The church was supposed to be "unchanged" without the patriarch of Rome's vote.... My understanding of Orthodoxy was supposed to be "the preservation of faith & the church".   Organs being used in worship would seem like a drastic change.

I'm curious if that was the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew in the video.  It really looked like him.

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« Reply #75 on: February 10, 2012, 10:41:30 PM »



Also, correct me if I am wrong people, but don't the PRIESTS read along using the books? Why should we scorn their example as if using books was then tacky or worse? Do we judge them for having not memorized the entire Liturgy?

stay blessed,
habte selassie

As a word of explanation, dear friend: Yes, priests keep a book open nearby - it's too easy to have a momentary lapse or distraction. As for the congregation, I'd really like to see more people set the books aside and simply pay attention to the flow of the service and the visual and verbal cues that are part of the Liturgy. I'm appalled at the number of people in my congregation who have books opened up but remain seated even where it says "The people stand" when, for example, the priest gives a blessing. They seem so busy looking at the words that they don't seem to be thinking about the service. I say that in pity for them, not in condemnation. I really think they're missing a lot. The whole visual impact of worship was one of the key points in drawing me into Orthodoxy.

Now, I serve as a chanter, so I have to keep my book open in front of me all the time - too many new things each week, and I'm prone to the same lapses as the priest. But that's one of the reasons the chanters are there - to act as prompters for the people. We will give them the verbal cues they need to sing along the recurring portions of the Liturgy and to say the Creed and many of the prayers that are said together. Every once in a while I like to take a Sunday vacation from my chanting responsibilities and just participate as a member of the congregation - free from the distraction of a book.

I usually suggest to visitors that for the first time or two that they not take a book - but just observe. Later, to participate more they can use a book until fairly comfortable with the services and then rely on the visual cues and the verbal cues from the chanters.

I don't blame priests for having their books opened nearby.... There is SO much stuff prayed privately.  If you ever get a chance to see their books (if you have not already), it is quite amazing the stuff they say in private while other stuff is going on.  Some of it is really quite beautiful and very spiritually deep.   I don't think I could memorize all of it even if I did it every Sunday for years.   I mean even going all the way to the table of Oblation on through the liturgy there is LOTS of beautiful things prayed & stuff going on.
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« Reply #76 on: February 10, 2012, 10:47:48 PM »

All of these "slippery slope" questions/arguments actually seem pretty easy to address. Like someone else said about having never been to a Coptic liturgy where there wasn't a projector, and yes, there are a variety of opinions about that (I personally would be in favor of getting rid of them, but I understand the reasons why they're there), but it hasn't actually led to an acceptance of more innovations/deviations like electric candles and beardless priests. So it would seem that the answer is "no", but it is good to see that people are still on guard about these things, since we don't want what little has been brought in to be an open door for even more things. (Keeping in mind that some people are already not happy with the projectors.)
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« Reply #77 on: February 10, 2012, 11:31:27 PM »

I'd be curious what some of you thought about liturgy being filmed & streamed online?
Or perhaps filmed once for youtube or something like that...

How about confessions over Email (I've actually KNOW of a somebody who did this, that but it was an established situation between the clergy & layman)?  Telephone?

See, some of these things I would not see mattering in entirety, as there has to be some variables to being practical.  Situational circumstances happen all the time worldwide.   

The original video I posted though seemed like a deliberate "change", as I have not known of Orthodoxy (outside of groups of OO that use drums) to EVER use anything but their voices for prayer.

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« Reply #78 on: February 11, 2012, 12:37:09 AM »

I thought that organs were not terribly uncommon (or at least certainly not as uncommon as some in this thread would like them to be) among the Greeks in the USA? I hate to make you more upset, but I have record albums in my library dating back to the 1950s of Greek Orthodox hymns that feature the organ quite prominently, as in the video you've posted.

The cymbals in the COC keep the measure and proper rhythm of the chants in which they are used, and I'm told that the drums used by the Habesha serve a similar purpose, so I'm not sure if it's right to think of them as instrumental decoration, or at least not any more than a metronome would be (though I know that they also have a spiritual significance, so again, it's not really a matter of arguing about the use of "instruments").
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« Reply #79 on: February 11, 2012, 02:39:01 AM »

I thought that organs were not terribly uncommon (or at least certainly not as uncommon as some in this thread would like them to be) among the Greeks in the USA? I hate to make you more upset, but I have record albums in my library dating back to the 1950s of Greek Orthodox hymns that feature the organ quite prominently, as in the video you've posted.

The cymbals in the COC keep the measure and proper rhythm of the chants in which they are used, and I'm told that the drums used by the Habesha serve a similar purpose, so I'm not sure if it's right to think of them as instrumental decoration, or at least not any more than a metronome would be (though I know that they also have a spiritual significance, so again, it's not really a matter of arguing about the use of "instruments").

Organs are used, but they aren't supposed to be. Many Western Innovations have crept into some Orthodox Churches, the organ and the pew just being two. It is truly very sad.
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« Reply #80 on: February 11, 2012, 02:44:55 AM »

We start bringing in pews, and organs, and now projectors... Can anyone tell me where to draw the line? How about having electric candles instead of wax ones? Why don't we get rid of candles too? They get wax on the floor and burn my fingers while I'm chanting at Vigil sometimes. Why not make the Holy Mysteries available to be downloaded onto your phone instead of taken at the Chalice? We could just show a picture of bread and wine. It's artificial but still gets the point across, I think.

Seems like a lot of this stuff is for conformity or to make things more convenient. Technology has it's proper place for teaching or to communicate ideas. I don't think it's good for Worship. We can use projectors and organs and other devices to teach people outside of the Liturgy.

That's just my opinion. I've never been in an Orthodox Church with organs and projectors, but the feeling I get in my soul when I think about worshipping with those things is something that doesn't sit well with me. It feels artificial to me. And I don't think I could stay in a parish that had those things.

This was my understanding of Orthodoxy as well and I agree with your opinion.   I was shocked to see the organ being used.

As we all know, the great schism was party caused by 3 simple words "and the son" of filioque, yet the worship and prayers sung has an organ background and is accepted.

Does artificial lighting lead to more tolerance of pews?
Does more tolerance to pews lead to tolerance to no beards?
Does no beards give tolerance to IPAD liturgy books?
Does IPAD liturgy books give tolerance to power point liturgy projectors?
Does power point liturgy projectors give tolerance to electric candles?

OF course, this could go on to just sticking a can of air freshener on a censor, a boom box instead of a choir, and a laptop on the altar with a priest video conferencing in.  Wink

Okay, I know it wouldn't go that far, but I was shocked to find that video of the organ being used.

The preservation of the Orthodox hymns as they have been sung through the ages would seem to me to be very important to the Orthodox.  The church was supposed to be "unchanged" without the patriarch of Rome's vote.... My understanding of Orthodoxy was supposed to be "the preservation of faith & the church".   Organs being used in worship would seem like a drastic change.

I'm curious if that was the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew in the video.  It really looked like him.



Why are organs a drastic change?  That seems to me to be a drastic statement.  Again, I don't prefer organs, but they play the same hymns.  They don't of themselves change the melodys.   And, which hymns are you looking to preserve? The ones sung by the ROCR, the GOA, the OCA, etc.?  Go to any Church and you'll find some variation in the way the hymns are chanted?  Why? Because they're chanted by humans who tend to deviate.

I'm not sure there really is a pure, authoritative source on hymnology.  While the hymns are similar, the chanter, choir, organist ALL tend to sing/play them to their own interpretations....
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« Reply #81 on: February 11, 2012, 02:46:20 AM »

ok I've seen an organ once in an Orthodox Church.  The neatest piece, Bortiansky's Cherubic Hymn in Greek accompanied by an organ.  Not for nothing, the fact that there were probably 1000 people in the pews made me feel like I was home. When I was Greek Catholic and had to attend Roman CAtholic churches because of the places I lived (didn't have Greek Catholic churches) they used the organ and usually had upwards of a thousand people at mass.  Hey, organ or not that congregation was awesome.
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« Reply #82 on: February 11, 2012, 02:51:06 AM »

I thought that organs were not terribly uncommon (or at least certainly not as uncommon as some in this thread would like them to be) among the Greeks in the USA? I hate to make you more upset, but I have record albums in my library dating back to the 1950s of Greek Orthodox hymns that feature the organ quite prominently, as in the video you've posted.

The cymbals in the COC keep the measure and proper rhythm of the chants in which they are used, and I'm told that the drums used by the Habesha serve a similar purpose, so I'm not sure if it's right to think of them as instrumental decoration, or at least not any more than a metronome would be (though I know that they also have a spiritual significance, so again, it's not really a matter of arguing about the use of "instruments").

Organs are used, but they aren't supposed to be. Many Western Innovations have crept into some Orthodox Churches, the organ and the pew just being two. It is truly very sad.

I guess it's perspective.  The organ and pew haven't made me sad, and I don't think of myself as less of an Orthodox Christian when I attend a Church that has them.  

It seems to me that Orthodoxy has always adopted some bit of custom or traditions, many ethnically based, from many different country's.    At the end of the day, they are all little "t's"' not big "T's"....
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« Reply #83 on: February 11, 2012, 03:06:06 AM »

what makes me sadder than pews or organs is that I don't see enough matthew 25 stuff going on in our parishes.

What about coat drives, food drives, etc... or just do it on your own.  That's the best way, just drop off some food at the food bank or what not, don't say anything and don't tell anyone you did it.

I started a food drive, the people would go into the hall before liturgy and leave it on the table and then I'd take it up to the women's shelter, hand it over and leave. 

Simple stuff, but Christ said this was the most important stuff.  And no, not the kind of giving to the poor that involves a committee and a church budget, just something simple done without notice.
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« Reply #84 on: February 11, 2012, 03:13:41 AM »

what makes me sadder than pews or organs is that I don't see enough matthew 25 stuff going on in our parishes.

What about coat drives, food drives, etc... or just do it on your own.  That's the best way, just drop off some food at the food bank or what not, don't say anything and don't tell anyone you did it.

I started a food drive, the people would go into the hall before liturgy and leave it on the table and then I'd take it up to the women's shelter, hand it over and leave. 

Simple stuff, but Christ said this was the most important stuff.  And no, not the kind of giving to the poor that involves a committee and a church budget, just something simple done without notice.

Best and most relevant thing said in this entire thread.  Lord have mercy.
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« Reply #85 on: February 11, 2012, 03:20:50 AM »

Rastafarians are heretics and are not Christians.

You mean like these EO's?

http://www.roadtoemmaus.net/back_issue_articles/RTE_27/Songs_of_Freedom.pdf
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« Reply #86 on: February 11, 2012, 03:24:18 AM »

You haven't read the fathers if you think organs in church is ok.

You also can't worship God on you rear end, you should only be sitting if you are elderly, infirm, injured, or a nursing mother.

It's sick that even Greek churches in Greece have hundreds of seats. We need to kick out this western influences. The Greeks were to heavily influenced by Roman Catholicism and the Russians were too influenced by the heretical Czar Peter I.
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« Reply #87 on: February 11, 2012, 03:28:08 AM »

what makes me sadder than pews or organs is that I don't see enough matthew 25 stuff going on in our parishes.

What about coat drives, food drives, etc... or just do it on your own.  That's the best way, just drop off some food at the food bank or what not, don't say anything and don't tell anyone you did it.

I started a food drive, the people would go into the hall before liturgy and leave it on the table and then I'd take it up to the women's shelter, hand it over and leave. 

Simple stuff, but Christ said this was the most important stuff.  And no, not the kind of giving to the poor that involves a committee and a church budget, just something simple done without notice.

Best and most relevant thing said in this entire thread.  Lord have mercy.

Thank you.  At least you listened, I think not helping people in light of matthew 25 and arguing about whether the church fathers think organs are ok (they didn't even know what an organ was, but they knew to take the poor old lady up the street some bread) is what the devil makes of idle hands.
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« Reply #88 on: February 11, 2012, 03:30:00 AM »

I stand by my statement, Rastafarians are heretics, just like Nestorians, Arians, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc...

EO and OO are Orthodox, Rastafarians are neither, and aren't even Christians. To be a Christian you must adhere to the beliefs set forth by the apostolic fathers, and shown forth in the Creed.
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« Reply #89 on: February 11, 2012, 03:31:41 AM »

what makes me sadder than pews or organs is that I don't see enough matthew 25 stuff going on in our parishes.

What about coat drives, food drives, etc... or just do it on your own.  That's the best way, just drop off some food at the food bank or what not, don't say anything and don't tell anyone you did it.

I started a food drive, the people would go into the hall before liturgy and leave it on the table and then I'd take it up to the women's shelter, hand it over and leave. 

Simple stuff, but Christ said this was the most important stuff.  And no, not the kind of giving to the poor that involves a committee and a church budget, just something simple done without notice.

Best and most relevant thing said in this entire thread.  Lord have mercy.

Thank you.  At least you listened, I think not helping people in light of matthew 25 and arguing about whether the church fathers think organs are ok (they didn't even know what an organ was, but they knew to take the poor old lady up the street some bread) is what the devil makes of idle hands.

It's undeniable, the fathers were against instruments in worship other than the human voice. The organ is an instrument and doesn't belong in worship.
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