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Author Topic: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers  (Read 1961 times) Average Rating: 0
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Gamliel
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« on: February 19, 2012, 02:54:30 PM »

Hi

     I have not been to Forgiveness Sunday Vespers.  Next Sunday we are going to have ours right after Liturgy.  What happens during this Vespers and the Circle of Forgiveness?
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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2012, 12:17:23 AM »

Also, how long would this normally take, especially in a parish with about 120-150 people or so.
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« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2012, 01:36:43 PM »

In our church, everyone embraces each other one on one & we ask our neighbor to forgive as we forgive those who embrace us.
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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2012, 01:38:03 PM »

maybe an hour...
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« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2012, 01:57:44 PM »


Really?

We don't do that.

I think some of the folks would faint dead away if you even mentioned that they need to ask someone for forgiveness.

We do however, make a point of asking forgiveness of anyone we may have had an issue with, argued, gossiped about, etc....PRIOR to Holy Communion.  So, if you don't catch them during the week, or during Vespers on Saturday...then Sunday you find them in church and ask.

That way you go to Holy Communion, with a clear conscience, and are able to begin the fast, fresh and ready to face what's ahead.

Our priest asks everyone for forgiveness individually as they come to venerate the Cross at the end of Liturgy.

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« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2012, 02:04:19 PM »

Bow, kiss, ask for forgiveness, move to the left till everyone has asked everyone. Please don't cross yourself.

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« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2012, 02:28:18 PM »

it's something only Russians do.
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« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2012, 03:28:42 PM »

?
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« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2012, 03:32:31 PM »

it's something only Russians do.
The vespers is only done in a specific slavic tradition, or do you mean the forgiveness circle with the bowing and kissing?
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« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2012, 05:47:30 PM »

it's something only Russians do.

nope. we're antiochian and we do it.
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« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2012, 05:48:06 PM »

Bow, kiss, ask for forgiveness, move to the left till everyone has asked everyone. Please don't cross yourself.



why not cross yourself?  Huh
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« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2012, 05:51:08 PM »

it's something only Russians do.

nope. we're antiochian and we do it.
Yeah, but American antiochians do all sorts of Russian stuff.
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« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2012, 05:51:39 PM »

Bow, kiss, ask for forgiveness, move to the left till everyone has asked everyone. Please don't cross yourself.



why not cross yourself?  Huh
The type of bow you do during forgiveness vespers is not a metanya with a cross, it's touching the head and then the ground.
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« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2012, 05:53:37 PM »

Any advice for those of us not comfortable with touchy-feely stuff?
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« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2012, 06:07:03 PM »

it's something only Russians do.

nope. we're antiochian and we do it.

What I was told is that it was originally a specifically monastic custom. St. Vladimir's adopted it for their seminary setting. And then graduates of St. Vladimir's took it with them and introduced it into their parishes. Thus it's primarily an OCA thing with some extension into other jurisdictions depending on how many extensively they use St. Vlad's for their seminarians.
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« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2012, 06:10:57 PM »

Any advice for those of us not comfortable with touchy-feely stuff?

Accept that the Church will sometimes push you outside of your comfort zone.
(I am definitely not a touchy-feely person either, but it is what it is. Your options are to just skip a service, choosing not to participate in this moment of the parish's life, or to go and participate).
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« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2012, 06:23:26 PM »

I have no problem with Forgiveness Vespers and have seen it done several ways. I do get a little chuckle about 'innovation' given how some within a parish or online act as if the heavens will open and consume you if you think that anything done today differs than the way it was done during some unspecified 'then' and 'there.' I suppose to a non-Orthodox these debates seem odd in that we have nothing like Novus Ordus etc...but we still get ourselves riled up.
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« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2012, 08:03:13 PM »

Bow, kiss, ask for forgiveness, move to the left till everyone has asked everyone. Please don't cross yourself.



why not cross yourself?  Huh

Better yet, why would you?
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« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2012, 09:13:12 PM »

Bow, kiss, ask for forgiveness, move to the left till everyone has asked everyone. Please don't cross yourself.



why not cross yourself?  Huh

Better yet, why would you?

cause we are venerating the divine presence in another?
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« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2012, 09:32:32 PM »

In my OCA parish, here is how we do it. We form a line counterclockwise. As you approach the first person waiting (usually our Priest), both he and I will make a full prostration. Then, I ask "Please forgive me." He says "God forgives and I forgive. Please forgive me." I say "God forgives and I forgive." We embrace and kiss each other cheek three times. Then I repeat the entire procedure with the next person waiting.

In my Bulgarian and Antiochian parishes, we usually bowed to each other, no prostration. On the other hand, in my current parish, one can do the full prostration or the deep bow; shake hands instead of the embrace and/or the kiss.

I like it either way, but if I can make the full prostration (my body does not always cooperate anymore), I feel blessed. Often, what goes in my mind is the endless repetition of prostrations between Saint Mary of Egypt and Saint Zosimas.
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« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2012, 09:38:45 PM »

Bow, kiss, ask for forgiveness, move to the left till everyone has asked everyone. Please don't cross yourself.



why not cross yourself?  Huh

Better yet, why would you?

cause we are venerating the divine presence in another?

Namaste?
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« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2012, 10:13:13 PM »

I think some of the folks would faint dead away if you even mentioned that they need to ask someone for forgiveness.

*Head explodes*
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« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2012, 04:49:28 AM »

it's something only Russians do.

nope. we're antiochian and we do it.

And some Greek Orthodox parishes have begun to re-institute this wonderful service.
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« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2012, 01:44:18 PM »

I don't know. Something similar -albeit less flamboyant I've heard than what I saw in an OCA parish- is done in some ?!? monasteries, but not in parish churches. Anyways that's the case in my home country. Older people anyways knew that they were supposed to ask forgiveness, before Lent from whoever they were in bad terms with, even without having ever participated in the ritual itself. It's some sort of common, folk knowledge that neither Xmas or Easter should  find people not talking to each other.
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« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2012, 01:50:22 PM »

I agree with Augustin. The reality is that the expansion of the Forgiveness Sunday Vespers into a sort of 'kick off for Great Lent' is a fairly new innovation in the US. I recall our Bishop explaining that since many converts were used to beginning lent with Ash Wednesday services, it was viewed as a good idea to expand upon the largely forgotten group forgiveness Aspect of the Vespers as practiced monastically.  For most of us older than 45 or so, we grew up calling this Sunday not Forgiveness, but rather 'Cheese-Fare.' The Sluzebnik and Typicons in slavonic so identify it as such - at least pre-war books.

I view this a good thing as it reminds us of the purpose of the Fast and it sets the mood, no matter what external format one's parish uses.
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« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2012, 02:04:58 PM »

One of my favorite lenten services. Couldn't imagine doing without it...
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« Reply #26 on: February 21, 2012, 02:16:15 PM »

It is Cheesefare Sunday for us & forgiveness vespers is observed in the evening at 6:00 pm (this is variable as indicated by others here).
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« Reply #27 on: February 21, 2012, 02:26:34 PM »

Speaking of prostrations, when we lived in Istanbul (a small island in a sea of Muslim Turks), I remember our old priest's wife used to make prostrations during Lent. I was astounded that the priest's wife would emulate a Muslim!!! And, I resolved that I, a proud Bulgarian Orthodox Christian, would never emulate a Turkish Muslim. When we came to the United States, my father ( a late vocation priest at that time), introduced the congregation to Forgiveness Vespers, without the prostrations. It was a moving service that drew the parish closer. Later, I was personally introduced to prostrations during the Elevation of the Cross and I could not believe that I was so proud and close minded to think that it was a Turkish or Muslim thing.

Like Podkarpatska often says (and God bless him for his wisdom), there are many variances in Orthodox praxis and that is often a good thing.
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« Reply #28 on: February 21, 2012, 02:54:45 PM »

I believe our prostrations during lent start with this vespers for us Antiochians with the prayer of St Ephraim the Syrian that we use throughout Great Lent during the presanctified liturgy:




O Lord and Master of my life
take from me the spirit of sloth
faint-heartedness,
lust of power
and idle talk.
  
(prostration)

But give rather the spirit of chastity,
humility,
patience,
and love to thy servant.

(prostration)


Yea, O Lord and King
grant me to see my own errors
and not to judge my brother;
for Thou art blessed unto the ages of ages.

Amen.

(prostration)
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« Reply #29 on: February 21, 2012, 04:09:22 PM »

Bow, kiss, ask for forgiveness, move to the left till everyone has asked everyone. Please don't cross yourself.



why not cross yourself?  Huh

Better yet, why would you?

cause we are venerating the divine presence in another?

Namaste?

lol?
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« Reply #30 on: February 21, 2012, 04:15:15 PM »

So this Vespers service is to ask forgiveness of your fellow parishoners? What if I didnt do anything to any of them? Do I just a book? Knitting needles? Play one-potato with one of the kiddies?

PP
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« Reply #31 on: February 21, 2012, 04:22:55 PM »

So this Vespers service is to ask forgiveness of your fellow parishoners? What if I didnt do anything to any of them? ...

Then just go around and forgive your fellow parishioners when they ask you for forgiveness.
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« Reply #32 on: February 21, 2012, 04:28:37 PM »

So this Vespers service is to ask forgiveness of your fellow parishoners? What if I didnt do anything to any of them? ...

Then just go around an forgive your fellow parishioners when they ask you for forgiveness.
For what though? Why ask forgiveness if nothing has been done?

If you have wronged your brothers and sisters in Christ, then yes forgive. But if you or they have not wronged each other, why do it? To me, it would seem that doing so would really diminish the whole affair.

PP
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« Reply #33 on: February 21, 2012, 04:40:46 PM »

So this Vespers service is to ask forgiveness of your fellow parishoners? What if I didnt do anything to any of them? ...

Then just go around an forgive your fellow parishioners when they ask you for forgiveness.
For what though? Why ask forgiveness if nothing has been done?

If you have wronged your brothers and sisters in Christ, then yes forgive. But if you or they have not wronged each other, why do it? To me, it would seem that doing so would really diminish the whole affair.

PP

I did not say to ask them for forgiveness if you do not feel you should, I just suggested that you just forgive the folks that ask you for forgiveness.  And please forgive me, I know that it must sound strange, but sometimes people may feel that there is a chance that they have somehow, even in that slightest way need to ask you for forgiveness, and if you sincerely see no offense that is great but let them know by forgiveness.
 
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« Reply #34 on: February 21, 2012, 04:45:07 PM »

So this Vespers service is to ask forgiveness of your fellow parishoners? What if I didnt do anything to any of them? Do I just a book? Knitting needles? Play one-potato with one of the kiddies?

PP

We ask for forgiveness for what we have done and have not done that hurt them and have not done that could have helped.

In short, you are asking for forgiveness of being a perfect neighbor at the maximum. The minimum would be asking forgiveness for specific trespasses.

Unless you think your scorecard is perfect on those three categories, then you ask for forgiveness.

As with most things Lenten, this really ought not be a "special" exception of the year, but an explicit example of how every day ought to be.

You have to take this into consideration given the Gospel passages within the liturgy prior to Lent. Think about those pre-Lenten readings.

Really the _Great Lent_ is invaluable in understanding Lent as what every day, not just the Liturgy, for a Christian ought to be writ very large.

I can expound on this at great length if you wish. Within and without OC.
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« Reply #35 on: February 21, 2012, 04:53:47 PM »

Quote
I did not say to ask them for forgiveness if you do not feel you should, I just suggested that you just forgive the folks that ask you for forgiveness.  And please forgive me, I know that it must sound strange, but sometimes people may feel that there is a chance that they have somehow, even in that slightest way need to ask you for forgiveness, and if you sincerely see no offense that is great but let them know by forgiveness
Yeah, it is odd to me. So could I say, "You have not done me wrong, but I love you in Christ?" I dunno, I just cant say, "I forgive you" if they have done me no wrong. I just could not do something with no meaning behind it. Im not saying that it has or has not meaning, but for me, I can not say, "I forgive you" if someone has done me no wrong.

Quote
I can expound on this at great length if you wish. Within and without OC
That sounds good. I'd like that. Mebbe this is hard because its still so new.

PP
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« Reply #36 on: February 21, 2012, 04:56:03 PM »

Quote
I can expound on this at great length if you wish. Within and without OC
That sounds good. I'd like that. Mebbe this is hard because its still so new.

PP

Once you consider the points I already made. Do you take issue with them in general? And have you thought about what we are forgiving and asking to be forgiven within the context of those pre-Lenten Sunday Gospel readings (when do you capitalize stuff, I need an OC style guide).
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« Reply #37 on: February 21, 2012, 04:59:06 PM »

Quote
I did not say to ask them for forgiveness if you do not feel you should, I just suggested that you just forgive the folks that ask you for forgiveness.  And please forgive me, I know that it must sound strange, but sometimes people may feel that there is a chance that they have somehow, even in that slightest way need to ask you for forgiveness, and if you sincerely see no offense that is great but let them know by forgiveness
Yeah, it is odd to me. So could I say, "You have not done me wrong, but I love you in Christ?" I dunno, I just cant say, "I forgive you" if they have done me no wrong. I just could not do something with no meaning behind it. Im not saying that it has or has not meaning, but for me, I can not say, "I forgive you" if someone has done me no wrong.

Quote
I can expound on this at great length if you wish. Within and without OC
That sounds good. I'd like that. Mebbe this is hard because its still so new.

PP

Don't feel that because 'it is still so new' that you are alone with your concerns. I have heard many people express the same thing - convert, cradle, visitor ---- I think that the concept that you never know how your neighbor might have taken something you didn't even notice or intend to offend is something worth seeking their forgiveness. Maybe you were just glancing around the church and the person thought you were admonishing them with a look...Things like that....
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« Reply #38 on: February 21, 2012, 05:00:26 PM »

Quote
I did not say to ask them for forgiveness if you do not feel you should, I just suggested that you just forgive the folks that ask you for forgiveness.  And please forgive me, I know that it must sound strange, but sometimes people may feel that there is a chance that they have somehow, even in that slightest way need to ask you for forgiveness, and if you sincerely see no offense that is great but let them know by forgiveness
Yeah, it is odd to me. So could I say, "You have not done me wrong, but I love you in Christ?" I dunno, I just cant say, "I forgive you" if they have done me no wrong. I just could not do something with no meaning behind it. Im not saying that it has or has not meaning, but for me, I can not say, "I forgive you" if someone has done me no wrong.

Quote
I can expound on this at great length if you wish. Within and without OC
That sounds good. I'd like that. Mebbe this is hard because its still so new.

PP

Don't feel that because 'it is still so new' that you are alone with your concerns. I have heard many people express the same thing - convert, cradle, visitor ---- I think that the concept that you never know how your neighbor might have taken something you didn't even notice or intend to offend is something worth seeking their forgiveness. Maybe you were just glancing around the church and the person thought you were admonishing them with a look...Things like that....
Ah, that makes some sense. Thanks Smiley

PP
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« Reply #39 on: March 03, 2012, 03:13:23 PM »

 hello please pray for me
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« Reply #40 on: March 03, 2012, 10:12:34 PM »

Any advice for those of us not comfortable with touchy-feely stuff?

Try to avoid that awkward moment that happens sometimes when both people turn their head to the same side to kiss each other on the cheek.
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

Made Perfect in Weakness - Latest Post: The Son of God
Gamliel
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Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Metropolis of San Francisco
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« Reply #41 on: March 03, 2012, 10:34:19 PM »

I had it last Sunday after Liturgy.  Fortunately, we were given a choice between shaking hands and that touchy feely stuff.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2012, 10:34:41 PM by Gamliel » Logged
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