Author Topic: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers  (Read 5712 times)

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Offline Luke

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Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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?
« Last Edit: February 19, 2012, 02:55:10 PM by Gamliel »

Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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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Offline recent convert

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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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Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2012, 01:38:03 PM »
maybe an hour...

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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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Offline orthonorm

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2012, 02:28:18 PM »
it's something only Russians do.
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Offline recent convert

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2012, 03:28:42 PM »
?
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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?
Quote from: Fr. Thomas Hopko, dystopian parable of the prodigal son
...you can imagine so-called healing services of the pigpen. The books that could be written, you know: Life in the Pigpen. How to Cope in the Pigpen. Being Happy in the Pigpen. Surviving in the Pigpen. And then there could be counselling, for people who feel unhappy in the pigpen, to try to get them to come to terms with the pigpen, and to accept the pigpen.

Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2012, 05:47:30 PM »
it's something only Russians do.

nope. we're antiochian and we do it.

Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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?  ???

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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.
Quote from: Fr. Thomas Hopko, dystopian parable of the prodigal son
...you can imagine so-called healing services of the pigpen. The books that could be written, you know: Life in the Pigpen. How to Cope in the Pigpen. Being Happy in the Pigpen. Surviving in the Pigpen. And then there could be counselling, for people who feel unhappy in the pigpen, to try to get them to come to terms with the pigpen, and to accept the pigpen.

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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?  ???
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.
Quote from: Fr. Thomas Hopko, dystopian parable of the prodigal son
...you can imagine so-called healing services of the pigpen. The books that could be written, you know: Life in the Pigpen. How to Cope in the Pigpen. Being Happy in the Pigpen. Surviving in the Pigpen. And then there could be counselling, for people who feel unhappy in the pigpen, to try to get them to come to terms with the pigpen, and to accept the pigpen.

Offline William

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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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Offline witega

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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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Offline witega

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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.

Offline orthonorm

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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?  ???

Better yet, why would you?

Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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?  ???

Better yet, why would you?

cause we are venerating the divine presence in another?

Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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.

Offline orthonorm

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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?  ???

Better yet, why would you?

cause we are venerating the divine presence in another?

Namaste?

Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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.

Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2012, 02:04:58 PM »
One of my favorite lenten services. Couldn't imagine doing without it...

Offline recent convert

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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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Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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)
« Last Edit: February 21, 2012, 02:56:54 PM by recent convert »
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Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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?  ???

Better yet, why would you?

cause we are venerating the divine presence in another?

Namaste?

lol?

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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?

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2012, 04:28:10 PM by AWR »

Offline primuspilus

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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.

Offline primuspilus

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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).

Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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....

Offline primuspilus

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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.

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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 :)

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Offline WPM

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #39 on: March 03, 2012, 03:13:23 PM »
 hello please pray for me
« Last Edit: March 03, 2012, 03:13:46 PM by WPM »
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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« 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 »

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #42 on: February 26, 2017, 09:00:31 PM »
Here we are at another Forgiveness Sunday.  If I have offended anyone the pest year, forgive me, the sinner.

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #43 on: February 26, 2017, 09:19:38 PM »
I ask the same. Please, forgive me, and, if you're still offended by anything I've said, just PM me, it would be a pleasure to clean it up so we could start Lent in peace with each other. The forgiveness service today truly moved me, so I'm apologising and forgiving all I can, although I'm still flawed and can hold some grudges...
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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #44 on: February 26, 2017, 10:11:14 PM »
May God forgive us both.


This was my first forgiveness Sunday, it was a very touching moment. Orthodoxy continues to amaze me.


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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #45 on: February 28, 2017, 10:45:49 AM »
Any advice for those of us not comfortable with touchy-feely stuff?

Trust your gut and stay away from it.

I hate the circle of forgiveness and avoid it when possible. I am happy to currently attend a parish that does not inflict it upon us. My understanding is that it is a recent introduction to parish life generally, via Valaam monastery. While it might make a lot of sense in a monastic setting, where the monks/ nuns have been living in close quarters and getting on each other's nerves all year, among the laity it is highly artificial and bound to be shot through with hypocrisy and affectation.

I am curious how often our members outside the US encounter this practice in parishes.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2017, 10:47:20 AM by Iconodule »
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“A goose to hatch the Crystal Egg after an Eagle had half-hatched it! Aye, aye, to be sure, that’s right,” said the Old Woman of Beare. “And now you must go find out what happened to it. Go now, and when you come back I will give you your name.”
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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #46 on: February 28, 2017, 10:50:34 AM »
I am curious how often our members outside the US encounter this practice in parishes.

I've only seen it in my UK parish, where there are maybe 30-35 people present. In Greece, with hundreds of people there, it would take longer than the DL.
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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #47 on: February 28, 2017, 11:34:46 AM »
Any advice for those of us not comfortable with touchy-feely stuff?
Trust your gut and stay away from it.

If someone is uncomfortable with the ritual, then yes, they should avoid it... to a point.  If the action is spiritually beneficial, then at some point it would be good to go through it.  But that's between them and their Spiritual Father.

I hate the circle of forgiveness and avoid it when possible. I am happy to currently attend a parish that does not inflict it upon us.

OK, I'll bite - why "hate?"

My understanding is that it is a recent introduction to parish life generally, via Valaam monastery.

I suppose so.  Although saying that it was introduced to parish life via a Monastery doesn't make sense.  Are you saying they encouraged pilgrims to take it back to their parishes, or are you saying that pilgrims decided to emulate what they saw at the monastery?

While it might make a lot of sense in a monastic setting, where the monks/ nuns have been living in close quarters and getting on each other's nerves all year, among the laity it is highly artificial and bound to be shot through with hypocrisy and affectation.

1. If you don't think that parishioners get on each other's nerves, you're naive to the full nature of parish life.

2. There are myriad ways in which you can inadvertently hurt / offend your neighbor

3. Avoiding a spiritual activity because the participants may engage in it with hypocrisy and affectation pretty much precludes the parish from doing anything.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2017, 11:35:02 AM by Fr. George »
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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #48 on: February 28, 2017, 11:45:18 AM »

If someone is uncomfortable with the ritual, then yes, they should avoid it... to a point.  If the action is spiritually beneficial, then at some point it would be good to go through it.  But that's between them and their Spiritual Father.

Or they could just attend a sensible parish where such absurdities are not perpetrated.


Quote
OK, I'll bite - why "hate?"

Asking forgiveness from/ being asked for forgiveness by people whom I never talk to, and who never talk to me, and then smooching over said imaginary slights, which we both know never happened, is awkward, absurd, and downright pretentious. It's the sort of empty pious gesture that makes the church into a spiritual theme park. It's exactly the sort of fake humility that we are warned against in our ascetic literature.

Quote
1. If you don't think that parishioners get on each other's nerves, you're naive to the full nature of parish life.

2. There are myriad ways in which you can inadvertently hurt / offend your neighbor

Of course parishioners get on each other's nerves. It does not follow that every parishioner gets on every other parishioner's nerves, especially in larger parishes where half the people don't even know each other.

Quote
3. Avoiding a spiritual activity because the participants may engage in it with hypocrisy and affectation pretty much precludes the parish from doing anything.

There is no way for a reasonably sized parish to do a "circle of forgiveness" without hypocrisy and affectation. It is inherent to the practice.  If one parishioner has actually offended another, he should approach the problem directly and not abstract it in a depersonalized, ostentatious ritual where forgiveness is asked and given in precisely the same way between strangers.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2017, 11:50:41 AM by Iconodule »
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“A goose to hatch the Crystal Egg after an Eagle had half-hatched it! Aye, aye, to be sure, that’s right,” said the Old Woman of Beare. “And now you must go find out what happened to it. Go now, and when you come back I will give you your name.”
- from The King of Ireland's Son, by Padraic Colum

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #49 on: February 28, 2017, 11:51:21 AM »
If you follow the church calendar for the year.
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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #50 on: February 28, 2017, 12:04:15 PM »
Any advice for those of us not comfortable with touchy-feely stuff?

Trust your gut and stay away from it.

I hate the circle of forgiveness and avoid it when possible. I am happy to currently attend a parish that does not inflict it upon us. My understanding is that it is a recent introduction to parish life generally, via Valaam monastery. While it might make a lot of sense in a monastic setting, where the monks/ nuns have been living in close quarters and getting on each other's nerves all year, among the laity it is highly artificial and bound to be shot through with hypocrisy and affectation.

I am curious how often our members outside the US encounter this practice in parishes.

In our Church, the rite of forgiveness is its own service*, celebrated at noon on the first Monday of Lent after the canonical hours have been prayed.  It is sometimes anticipated on Sunday evening or even Sunday morning after the Liturgy, but it's a thing and not an import from a particular monastery. 

Among us, my experience is that the exchange of forgiveness is often rather perfunctory, and so I can sympathise with your criticism.  That said, the priests seem to be working on changing that for the better, and I don't see how that would happen without practice.  There's definitely a need for it: unless you show up for services and leave immediately after with no further interaction with anyone, you're bound to offend and be offended in any parish.  If anything, it should be done more than just at the beginning of Lent.   

This year, I had to attend the service at a (Greek) church at which I am a recurring visitor but in no way part of the community.  I left after the dismissal thinking there was no point in going through the rite of forgiveness if I'm hardly ever there, but I'm not sure they did it either because everyone else followed me out.  :)

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #51 on: February 28, 2017, 12:07:20 PM »
.  Although saying that it was introduced to parish life via a Monastery doesn't make sense.  Are you saying they encouraged pilgrims to take it back to their parishes, or are you saying that pilgrims decided to emulate what they saw at the monastery?

One or the other is how I understand it. And this began sometime in the 19th century. If anyone can produce evidence that this was done in parishes before then, of course, I would be curious to see that.
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“A goose to hatch the Crystal Egg after an Eagle had half-hatched it! Aye, aye, to be sure, that’s right,” said the Old Woman of Beare. “And now you must go find out what happened to it. Go now, and when you come back I will give you your name.”
- from The King of Ireland's Son, by Padraic Colum

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #52 on: February 28, 2017, 12:12:24 PM »
In our cathedral in Serres, the bishop called us, after the vesper, to bless us and then we kissed a miraculous icon of Christ and some relics of saint Basil, saint John the Baptist,...
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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #53 on: February 28, 2017, 12:18:31 PM »
Among us, my experience is that the exchange of forgiveness is often rather perfunctory, and so I can sympathise with your criticism.  That said, the priests seem to be working on changing that for the better, and I don't see how that would happen without practice.  There's definitely a need for it: unless you show up for services and leave immediately after with no further interaction with anyone, you're bound to offend and be offended in any parish.  If anything, it should be done more than just at the beginning of Lent.   

Parishioners who have offended each other should exchange forgiveness. And it may even be proper to have a moment in the liturgy for them to do this- in which case, one person can deliberately seek out the other person he has offended. But having all the parishioners line up and do the same forgiveness ritual with each other, regardless of what was or wasn't done, or how well they know each other, seems to me to severely mitigate any possible power the act can have when conducted between two people who actually have beef.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2017, 12:26:21 PM by Iconodule »
Quote
“A goose to hatch the Crystal Egg after an Eagle had half-hatched it! Aye, aye, to be sure, that’s right,” said the Old Woman of Beare. “And now you must go find out what happened to it. Go now, and when you come back I will give you your name.”
- from The King of Ireland's Son, by Padraic Colum

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #54 on: February 28, 2017, 01:07:57 PM »
Among us, my experience is that the exchange of forgiveness is often rather perfunctory, and so I can sympathise with your criticism.  That said, the priests seem to be working on changing that for the better, and I don't see how that would happen without practice.  There's definitely a need for it: unless you show up for services and leave immediately after with no further interaction with anyone, you're bound to offend and be offended in any parish.  If anything, it should be done more than just at the beginning of Lent.   

Parishioners who have offended each other should exchange forgiveness. And it may even be proper to have a moment in the liturgy for them to do this- in which case, one person can deliberately seek out the other person he has offended. But having all the parishioners line up and do the same forgiveness ritual with each other, regardless of what was or wasn't done, or how well they know each other, seems to me to severely mitigate any possible power the act can have when conducted between two people who actually have beef.

When I was in seminary, I participated in this rite for the first time in a non-Indian church.  In some ways, a seminary is like a monastery...a relatively stable community of faculty, staff, and students living, working, and worshiping together.  I remember feeling uneasy about the rite of forgiveness for reasons similar to yours.  There were definitely people I knew well and interacted with all the time and from whom I ought to have asked forgiveness.  There were other people I barely knew and had little interaction with, and yet I couldn't ignore them in the context of the rite, I had to confront each of them and ask for forgiveness and offer it.  It seemed weird to me.   

I'm generally cynical about these things, but I can't adequately express the feeling of abiding love that I felt at the end of the service and for a long time thereafter.  Some of those people whom I barely knew became great friends, and I really think it started at the beginning of that first Lent. 

I think there's a value in going through this ritual even with people you don't know and interact with.  I could spin a theological yarn about how our sins affect other members of the body of Christ whether we know it or not and so we should ask forgiveness of all indiscriminately, etc., but even without that, I think it's enough to ask forgiveness of the "strangers" because, for example, we have kept them as strangers to us rather than making them friends.  In the end, I think that, while it starts with expressions of forgiveness, it is really about love.   
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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #55 on: February 28, 2017, 01:08:30 PM »
In our Church, the rite of forgiveness is its own service*, celebrated at noon on the first Monday of Lent after the canonical hours have been prayed.  It is sometimes anticipated on Sunday evening or even Sunday morning after the Liturgy, but it's a thing and not an import from a particular monastery. 

It may very well have been practiced in a different form among us EO as well.  I don't know.  We do know that it was common to have the kiss of peace exchanged among people of the same station (clergy w/ clergy, others with people of the same gender) within the Liturgy - an act that, in a large Church, would have consumed the better part of an hour.  There may have been an understanding that forgiveness must be sought if one knew that they offended someone, and that the kiss of peace was the time to do so (which would make sense in light of the Lord's direction to "leave your offering" and seek forgiveness).

Among us, my experience is that the exchange of forgiveness is often rather perfunctory, and so I can sympathise with your criticism.  That said, the priests seem to be working on changing that for the better, and I don't see how that would happen without practice.  There's definitely a need for it: unless you show up for services and leave immediately after with no further interaction with anyone, you're bound to offend and be offended in any parish.  If anything, it should be done more than just at the beginning of Lent.   

The first time I went through the exchange of forgiveness I also found it to be rather perfunctory, partially because I wasn't as good about forgiving then as I should have been, and partially because others wanted to treat it in said (disrespectful, IMO) manner.  But there are lots of solemn rituals that when first experienced come off as perfunctory, underappreciated, and/or misunderstood, including Confession, the reception of Holy Communion, Marriage, Initiation (Baptism/Chrismation), Blessing the Home, etc.  There is a degree to which my appreciation of each of those ceremonies, which I either participated in or witnessed in my early years, grew through further experience, study, prayer, instruction, and the like.  I'm still not fully sure that my experience of each of these services/sacraments is fully what it could/should be; each time I see or participate or celebrate them, I find new insight and complexity where I had scarcely perceived it. 

My hope is the same with forgiveness, whether sought individually or in a formalized ritual.  Even one-on-one, I don't think most of us appreciate the full depths of what the Lord is looking for with our granting of forgiveness, and I think the only way to deepen our appreciation is through experience.
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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #56 on: February 28, 2017, 01:10:10 PM »
In our Church, the rite of forgiveness is its own service*, celebrated at noon on the first Monday of Lent after the canonical hours have been prayed.  It is sometimes anticipated on Sunday evening or even Sunday morning after the Liturgy, but it's a thing and not an import from a particular monastery. 

It may very well have been practiced in a different form among us EO as well.  I don't know.  We do know that it was common to have the kiss of peace exchanged among people of the same station (clergy w/ clergy, others with people of the same gender) within the Liturgy - an act that, in a large Church, would have consumed the better part of an hour.  There may have been an understanding that forgiveness must be sought if one knew that they offended someone, and that the kiss of peace was the time to do so (which would make sense in light of the Lord's direction to "leave your offering" and seek forgiveness).

Among us, my experience is that the exchange of forgiveness is often rather perfunctory, and so I can sympathise with your criticism.  That said, the priests seem to be working on changing that for the better, and I don't see how that would happen without practice.  There's definitely a need for it: unless you show up for services and leave immediately after with no further interaction with anyone, you're bound to offend and be offended in any parish.  If anything, it should be done more than just at the beginning of Lent.   

The first time I went through the exchange of forgiveness I also found it to be rather perfunctory, partially because I wasn't as good about forgiving then as I should have been, and partially because others wanted to treat it in said (disrespectful, IMO) manner.  But there are lots of solemn rituals that when first experienced come off as perfunctory, underappreciated, and/or misunderstood, including Confession, the reception of Holy Communion, Marriage, Initiation (Baptism/Chrismation), Blessing the Home, etc.  There is a degree to which my appreciation of each of those ceremonies, which I either participated in or witnessed in my early years, grew through further experience, study, prayer, instruction, and the like.  I'm still not fully sure that my experience of each of these services/sacraments is fully what it could/should be; each time I see or participate or celebrate them, I find new insight and complexity where I had scarcely perceived it. 

My hope is the same with forgiveness, whether sought individually or in a formalized ritual.  Even one-on-one, I don't think most of us appreciate the full depths of what the Lord is looking for with our granting of forgiveness, and I think the only way to deepen our appreciation is through experience.

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #57 on: February 28, 2017, 01:11:36 PM »
Among us, my experience is that the exchange of forgiveness is often rather perfunctory, and so I can sympathise with your criticism.  That said, the priests seem to be working on changing that for the better, and I don't see how that would happen without practice.  There's definitely a need for it: unless you show up for services and leave immediately after with no further interaction with anyone, you're bound to offend and be offended in any parish.  If anything, it should be done more than just at the beginning of Lent.   

Parishioners who have offended each other should exchange forgiveness. And it may even be proper to have a moment in the liturgy for them to do this- in which case, one person can deliberately seek out the other person he has offended. But having all the parishioners line up and do the same forgiveness ritual with each other, regardless of what was or wasn't done, or how well they know each other, seems to me to severely mitigate any possible power the act can have when conducted between two people who actually have beef.

When I was in seminary, I participated in this rite for the first time in a non-Indian church.  In some ways, a seminary is like a monastery...a relatively stable community of faculty, staff, and students living, working, and worshiping together.  I remember feeling uneasy about the rite of forgiveness for reasons similar to yours.  There were definitely people I knew well and interacted with all the time and from whom I ought to have asked forgiveness.  There were other people I barely knew and had little interaction with, and yet I couldn't ignore them in the context of the rite, I had to confront each of them and ask for forgiveness and offer it.  It seemed weird to me.   

I'm generally cynical about these things, but I can't adequately express the feeling of abiding love that I felt at the end of the service and for a long time thereafter.  Some of those people whom I barely knew became great friends, and I really think it started at the beginning of that first Lent. 

I think there's a value in going through this ritual even with people you don't know and interact with.  I could spin a theological yarn about how our sins affect other members of the body of Christ whether we know it or not and so we should ask forgiveness of all indiscriminately, etc., but even without that, I think it's enough to ask forgiveness of the "strangers" because, for example, we have kept them as strangers to us rather than making them friends.  In the end, I think that, while it starts with expressions of forgiveness, it is really about love.   

All fair points. I may be overreacting. I prostrate and beg your forgiveness with many tears and sloppy kisses.
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“A goose to hatch the Crystal Egg after an Eagle had half-hatched it! Aye, aye, to be sure, that’s right,” said the Old Woman of Beare. “And now you must go find out what happened to it. Go now, and when you come back I will give you your name.”
- from The King of Ireland's Son, by Padraic Colum

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #58 on: February 28, 2017, 01:15:11 PM »
Among us, my experience is that the exchange of forgiveness is often rather perfunctory, and so I can sympathise with your criticism.  That said, the priests seem to be working on changing that for the better, and I don't see how that would happen without practice.  There's definitely a need for it: unless you show up for services and leave immediately after with no further interaction with anyone, you're bound to offend and be offended in any parish.  If anything, it should be done more than just at the beginning of Lent.   

Parishioners who have offended each other should exchange forgiveness. And it may even be proper to have a moment in the liturgy for them to do this- in which case, one person can deliberately seek out the other person he has offended. But having all the parishioners line up and do the same forgiveness ritual with each other, regardless of what was or wasn't done, or how well they know each other, seems to me to severely mitigate any possible power the act can have when conducted between two people who actually have beef.

When I was in seminary, I participated in this rite for the first time in a non-Indian church.  In some ways, a seminary is like a monastery...a relatively stable community of faculty, staff, and students living, working, and worshiping together.  I remember feeling uneasy about the rite of forgiveness for reasons similar to yours.  There were definitely people I knew well and interacted with all the time and from whom I ought to have asked forgiveness.  There were other people I barely knew and had little interaction with, and yet I couldn't ignore them in the context of the rite, I had to confront each of them and ask for forgiveness and offer it.  It seemed weird to me.   

I'm generally cynical about these things, but I can't adequately express the feeling of abiding love that I felt at the end of the service and for a long time thereafter.  Some of those people whom I barely knew became great friends, and I really think it started at the beginning of that first Lent. 

I think there's a value in going through this ritual even with people you don't know and interact with.  I could spin a theological yarn about how our sins affect other members of the body of Christ whether we know it or not and so we should ask forgiveness of all indiscriminately, etc., but even without that, I think it's enough to ask forgiveness of the "strangers" because, for example, we have kept them as strangers to us rather than making them friends.  In the end, I think that, while it starts with expressions of forgiveness, it is really about love.   

All fair points. I may be overreacting. I prostrate and beg your forgiveness with many tears and sloppy kisses.

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Offline Luke

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #59 on: February 28, 2017, 01:16:54 PM »
I went through the line on Forgiveness Sunday.  If someone asked me how many of them were hypocritical, I would say that I have no idea.  Only the Lord knows.  It is still a good thing, as many of us go through the circle sincerely.  I also agree with Fr. George that there may be some who we have offended without knowing it.  It reminds me of Job.  He was righteous enough that he offered sacrifices for his young ones in case they committed an unknown offense.

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #60 on: February 28, 2017, 01:34:54 PM »
If someone is uncomfortable with the ritual, then yes, they should avoid it... to a point.  If the action is spiritually beneficial, then at some point it would be good to go through it.  But that's between them and their Spiritual Father.

Or they could just attend a sensible parish where such absurdities are not perpetrated.

I suppose I recoil from the stronger language of "absurdities" when applied to a spiritual exercise which is being attempted in good faith.  I can understand the discomfort considering what was discussed above (perfunctory execution at best, downright hypocrisy or lying at worst), but to dismiss it entirely within the scope of parish life seems misguided.  The Metropolis I serve has at least half of its parishes with fewer than 100 families each "on the books" (mailing list, stewardship list), and most of those parishes would have the right level of familiarity and intimacy on a regular basis to make such a service meaningful (especially when one takes into account the level of inter-relatedness, both by blood and by the sacraments).  The same ritual of forgiveness being done in a 400+ family parish, OTOH, would have limited effect on the people present, especially if it were done after Liturgy (to try and "trap" people there) vs. in the evening (when only those who wish to engage in the ritual would come, most likely). 

OK, I'll bite - why "hate?"

Asking forgiveness from/ being asked for forgiveness by people whom I never talk to, and who never talk to me, and then smooching over said imaginary slights, which we both know never happened, is awkward, absurd, and downright pretentious. It's the sort of empty pious gesture that makes the church into a spiritual theme park. It's exactly the sort of fake humility that we are warned against in our ascetic literature.

I think Mor's post (Reply #54) speaks well enough to your concerns here.  I cannot say it better than he did.

1. If you don't think that parishioners get on each other's nerves, you're naive to the full nature of parish life.

2. There are myriad ways in which you can inadvertently hurt / offend your neighbor

Of course parishioners get on each other's nerves. It does not follow that every parishioner gets on every other parishioner's nerves, especially in larger parishes where half the people don't even know each other.

You'd be surprised.  I served for 5 years in a parish of 600 families, and my experience indicates that it is very likely that parishioners who have never spoken to one another have inadvertently offended each other at least once, if not once per year.

3. Avoiding a spiritual activity because the participants may engage in it with hypocrisy and affectation pretty much precludes the parish from doing anything.

There is no way for a reasonably sized parish to do a "circle of forgiveness" without hypocrisy and affectation. It is inherent to the practice.  If one parishioner has actually offended another, he should approach the problem directly and not abstract it in a depersonalized, ostentatious ritual where forgiveness is asked and given in precisely the same way between strangers.

I could repeat your sentiment above and simply replace "circle of forgiveness" with "reception of Holy Communion" or "mandatory confession before communion" (a la Slavic practice) and it would be as apropos.  I don't dispute your point, but I do dispute your conclusion - that the presence of a hypocritical spirit among the people should cause us to avoid a spiritually beneficial practice.

I don't think the circle of forgiveness is right for every parish.  But I don't think it's wrong for every parish, either.
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Offline Iconodule

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #61 on: February 28, 2017, 01:42:45 PM »
If someone is uncomfortable with the ritual, then yes, they should avoid it... to a point.  If the action is spiritually beneficial, then at some point it would be good to go through it.  But that's between them and their Spiritual Father.

Or they could just attend a sensible parish where such absurdities are not perpetrated.

I suppose I recoil from the stronger language of "absurdities" when applied to a spiritual exercise which is being attempted in good faith.  I can understand the discomfort considering what was discussed above (perfunctory execution at best, downright hypocrisy or lying at worst), but to dismiss it entirely within the scope of parish life seems misguided.  The Metropolis I serve has at least half of its parishes with fewer than 100 families each "on the books" (mailing list, stewardship list), and most of those parishes would have the right level of familiarity and intimacy on a regular basis to make such a service meaningful (especially when one takes into account the level of inter-relatedness, both by blood and by the sacraments).  The same ritual of forgiveness being done in a 400+ family parish, OTOH, would have limited effect on the people present, especially if it were done after Liturgy (to try and "trap" people there) vs. in the evening (when only those who wish to engage in the ritual would come, most likely). 

OK, I'll bite - why "hate?"

Asking forgiveness from/ being asked for forgiveness by people whom I never talk to, and who never talk to me, and then smooching over said imaginary slights, which we both know never happened, is awkward, absurd, and downright pretentious. It's the sort of empty pious gesture that makes the church into a spiritual theme park. It's exactly the sort of fake humility that we are warned against in our ascetic literature.

I think Mor's post (Reply #54) speaks well enough to your concerns here.  I cannot say it better than he did.

1. If you don't think that parishioners get on each other's nerves, you're naive to the full nature of parish life.

2. There are myriad ways in which you can inadvertently hurt / offend your neighbor

Of course parishioners get on each other's nerves. It does not follow that every parishioner gets on every other parishioner's nerves, especially in larger parishes where half the people don't even know each other.

You'd be surprised.  I served for 5 years in a parish of 600 families, and my experience indicates that it is very likely that parishioners who have never spoken to one another have inadvertently offended each other at least once, if not once per year.

3. Avoiding a spiritual activity because the participants may engage in it with hypocrisy and affectation pretty much precludes the parish from doing anything.

There is no way for a reasonably sized parish to do a "circle of forgiveness" without hypocrisy and affectation. It is inherent to the practice.  If one parishioner has actually offended another, he should approach the problem directly and not abstract it in a depersonalized, ostentatious ritual where forgiveness is asked and given in precisely the same way between strangers.

I could repeat your sentiment above and simply replace "circle of forgiveness" with "reception of Holy Communion" or "mandatory confession before communion" (a la Slavic practice) and it would be as apropos.  I don't dispute your point, but I do dispute your conclusion - that the presence of a hypocritical spirit among the people should cause us to avoid a spiritually beneficial practice.

I don't think the circle of forgiveness is right for every parish.  But I don't think it's wrong for every parish, either.

Fair enough. I concede the point. It's still icky, though.
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Offline Bob2

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #62 on: February 28, 2017, 03:33:59 PM »
I enjoy this service, it just doesn't seem like clean Monday unless your legs are a little sore from all the prostrations, and it is fun to see all those in prodrasniks covered in sweat from the effort. It seems to me in my parish like it is done with sincerity.

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #63 on: February 28, 2017, 05:50:13 PM »
 :laugh:
I enjoy this service, it just doesn't seem like clean Monday unless your legs are a little sore from all the prostrations, and it is fun to see all those in prodrasniks covered in sweat from the effort. It seems to me in my parish like it is done with sincerity.

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Please don't project meta-debates onto me.

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Offline Luke

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #65 on: March 01, 2017, 01:55:55 PM »
I had to look up " perfunctory." :P

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #66 on: March 05, 2017, 10:08:19 PM »
When I was in seminary, I participated in this rite for the first time in a non-Indian church.  In some ways, a seminary is like a monastery...a relatively stable community of faculty, staff, and students living, working, and worshiping together.  I remember feeling uneasy about the rite of forgiveness for reasons similar to yours.  There were definitely people I knew well and interacted with all the time and from whom I ought to have asked forgiveness.  There were other people I barely knew and had little interaction with, and yet I couldn't ignore them in the context of the rite, I had to confront each of them and ask for forgiveness and offer it.  It seemed weird to me.   

I'm generally cynical about these things, but I can't adequately express the feeling of abiding love that I felt at the end of the service and for a long time thereafter.  Some of those people whom I barely knew became great friends, and I really think it started at the beginning of that first Lent. 

I think there's a value in going through this ritual even with people you don't know and interact with.  I could spin a theological yarn about how our sins affect other members of the body of Christ whether we know it or not and so we should ask forgiveness of all indiscriminately, etc., but even without that, I think it's enough to ask forgiveness of the "strangers" because, for example, we have kept them as strangers to us rather than making them friends.  In the end, I think that, while it starts with expressions of forgiveness, it is really about love.   
I participated in an Antiochian church I had been visiting. I liked the ritual.
I think you gave a very good summary, and I felt the same good way you did about it.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2017, 10:08:40 PM by rakovsky »
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Offline Bridget

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #67 on: March 06, 2017, 11:59:00 AM »
In my parish we were offered an explanation about asking for forgiveness from people we don't really know or who we do not believe we have offended before the service. I'm probably going to paraphrase the priest badly, but the gist was that regardless of the specific relationships, all of us in the church injure each other by sin. Because we all sin, we all contribute to making the world a place where it is harder to obtain salvation, and if nothing else that is worth asking each other for forgiveness from.

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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #68 on: May 28, 2017, 10:33:23 PM »
Any advice for those of us not comfortable with touchy-feely stuff?

Trust your gut and stay away from it.

I hate the circle of forgiveness and avoid it when possible. I am happy to currently attend a parish that does not inflict it upon us. My understanding is that it is a recent introduction to parish life generally, via Valaam monastery. While it might make a lot of sense in a monastic setting, where the monks/ nuns have been living in close quarters and getting on each other's nerves all year, among the laity it is highly artificial and bound to be shot through with hypocrisy and affectation.

I am curious how often our members outside the US encounter this practice in parishes.

Interesting, I did not know it was a recent introduction. It always did seem rather out of place in a religion whose liturgy is about formality and gravity.
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Re: Forgiveness Sunday Vespers
« Reply #69 on: May 28, 2017, 10:43:10 PM »
Any advice for those of us not comfortable with touchy-feely stuff?

Trust your gut and stay away from it.

I hate the circle of forgiveness and avoid it when possible. I am happy to currently attend a parish that does not inflict it upon us. My understanding is that it is a recent introduction to parish life generally, via Valaam monastery. While it might make a lot of sense in a monastic setting, where the monks/ nuns have been living in close quarters and getting on each other's nerves all year, among the laity it is highly artificial and bound to be shot through with hypocrisy and affectation.

I am curious how often our members outside the US encounter this practice in parishes.

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