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Author Topic: tv/projector screens during liturgical services??  (Read 4963 times) Average Rating: 0
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Timos
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« on: April 01, 2012, 09:32:10 AM »

Hi, I recently went to a few Orthodox churches and I noticed that they had projector or tv screens positioned immediately above the iconostasis or to the side of the iconostasis during the divine liturgy. It had the text of the liturgy displayed so that the laity could follow along with the clergy as the liturgy progressed. Is there any reason for or against this?

In my own personal opinion, I find that it is extremely distracting from the liturgy itself. I have to focus my attention on reading the words of a bright screen (covering some of the icons no less) or if it is to the side of the iconostasis, I have to twist my head away from the altar where our attention should be...am I making a big deal out of nothing? What is the limit for using technology in liturgical services?
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« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2012, 10:52:37 AM »

Personally, I don't like the idea, especially if icons are being covered by text.

If the parish can not afford to buy service books perhaps they could print out a few copies of just the liturgy and vespers for parishoners to use.
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« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2012, 11:26:29 AM »

Oh, please let this be an April Fools post...
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« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2012, 11:58:37 AM »

No...this is true...it's widespread in the Coptic Church...

I don't see the problem.  I'm sure the use of electric lighting and microphones with speakers were very controversial in their times.  The use of projectors are an excellent idea in my humble opinion.  No difference than following along in a book if you need to.

And if you don't need to follow along, then there's no need to look in that direction, or better yet, close your eyes to prayer.
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« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2012, 12:28:25 PM »

On reflection, it makes sense,particularly in a church with a lot of converts. Liturgy is complex and service books can be hard to follow. I guess it's just the modern equivalent of the ancient cantor.

The not so serious side of me is having a lot of fun with this though. I think we can improve on the idea. Let's add an animated CG figure to the screen - kind of like the robot football player the NFL uses - to direct the laity. Like a little electronic richard simmons , it can show everyone when to cross themselves, when to respond, and when to prostrate. Maybe it could look like Hyperdox Herman. Grin
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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2012, 12:57:44 PM »

On reflection, it makes sense,particularly in a church with a lot of converts. Liturgy is complex and service books can be hard to follow. I guess it's just the modern equivalent of the ancient cantor.

The not so serious side of me is having a lot of fun with this though. I think we can improve on the idea. Let's add an animated CG figure to the screen - kind of like the robot football player the NFL uses - to direct the laity. Like a little electronic richard simmons , it can show everyone when to cross themselves, when to respond, and when to prostrate. Maybe it could look like Hyperdox Herman. Grin

wait till holograms come out  Wink
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« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2012, 01:03:30 PM »

Oh, please let this be an April Fools post...

Yeah. Everybody I know has service books.
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« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2012, 01:21:58 PM »

If they do have tvs... they should replay football games and the like. I bet attendance would go up 10% fairly quickly. And I know what you naysayers will nayingly say: that these people would be watching tv and not the liturgy. Well there are commercial breaks, did you ever think of that?
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« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2012, 01:35:46 PM »

Oh, please let this be an April Fools post...

my thoughts exactly. people 1500 years ago didn't need these things to follow along and worship, why should we? It's just laziness...
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« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2012, 01:56:55 PM »

Oh, please let this be an April Fools post...

my thoughts exactly. people 1500 years ago didn't need these things to follow along and worship, why should we? It's just laziness...

I know right!  Forget microphones, air conditioning/heating, and electric lighting!!!  Such novelties the Church fathers would have been condemning!
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« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2012, 02:01:33 PM »

Oh, please let this be an April Fools post...

my thoughts exactly. people 1500 years ago didn't need these things to follow along and worship, why should we? It's just laziness...

I know right!  Forget microphones, air conditioning/heating, and electric lighting!!!  Such novelties the Church fathers would have been condemning!

agreed! Wink
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« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2012, 02:02:00 PM »

Oh, please let this be an April Fools post...

Yeah. Everybody I know has service books.
Sorry, but when I first read the OP, this is the image that first came to mind:
 http://dailyserving.com/2009/11/joe-johnson-mega-churches/
And all I could think was, "No, please, not our churches, too..."
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« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2012, 02:04:22 PM »

While my own church uses these projector screens (as Mina says, they're quite popular in Coptic churches), part of me wishes they didn't. I try to follow along in the service books as best as I can, but I find it's often a losing battle, as it's so much easier to just look at the screen (especially since I'm relatively new to the Coptic liturgy, and often get lost even when I have the service book handy). Then of course there are some times when no one advances the slide or the slide gets stuck and you can really tell who is paying attention...it's shameful.
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« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2012, 02:04:42 PM »

There is such a thing as what is tasteful and appropriate. I'm not sure that I want church to be the same atmosphere as a baseball game.

An air conditioner creates no such problem. A giganto screen and subtitles and whatnot? Yes it does. There is a difference.
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« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2012, 02:10:12 PM »

I will tell you that I have had recurring nightmares that my new church becomes modernized (and big screens are a very vivid part of the dream). I am highly distressed in the dream, and am always left with the thought "what happened??" My megachurch past has done alot of damage to my psyche...everything always being in constant flux. Makes me hesitant to trust my new church...still waiting for someone to pull the rug out from under me. Hopefully with time it will earn my trust and the bad dreams will go away!  Smiley
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« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2012, 02:30:06 PM »

Hi, I recently went to a few Orthodox churches and I noticed that they had projector or tv screens positioned immediately above the iconostasis or to the side of the iconostasis during the divine liturgy. It had the text of the liturgy displayed so that the laity could follow along with the clergy as the liturgy progressed. Is there any reason for or against this?

In my own personal opinion, I find that it is extremely distracting from the liturgy itself. I have to focus my attention on reading the words of a bright screen (covering some of the icons no less) or if it is to the side of the iconostasis, I have to twist my head away from the altar where our attention should be...am I making a big deal out of nothing? What is the limit for using technology in liturgical services?

I read an article how this was being tested in a Moscow parish but it was discontinued after a few weeks because of negative reaction amongst the faithful. Even then it was not near the iconostasis but off to the side. I am surprised to see that this is being done in a few Orthodox churches. Where in the world is this happening? Personally, I do not like it because it distracts the faithful from putting their attention towards the altar.
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« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2012, 03:12:53 PM »

While my own church uses these projector screens (as Mina says, they're quite popular in Coptic churches), part of me wishes they didn't. I try to follow along in the service books as best as I can, but I find it's often a losing battle, as it's so much easier to just look at the screen (especially since I'm relatively new to the Coptic liturgy, and often get lost even when I have the service book handy). Then of course there are some times when no one advances the slide or the slide gets stuck and you can really tell who is paying attention...it's shameful.
Just where exactly is your screen located? I would agree that there is a fairly serious problem if the screen is off to the side somewhere, but if it's as close to front and centre as can be done without interfering with the icons, then it seems to me that it would be an improvement over having people's noses stuck inside a service book and not even realizing what's going on in the service. At least their eyes would be up and looking forward.

Your comment about having a responsible and alert person managing the slides is also correct.

Much of this discussion I think we've had before, but focused more on chanters/choir having an electronic version of the service in front of them. It could be a good thing - but like any other tool, is only as good as the operator.

I've seen cases of chanters and priests missing whole sections of a service because they turned to the wrong page of a printed book. All of these things have potential problems.
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« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2012, 03:15:51 PM »

The medium is the message.
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« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2012, 03:20:07 PM »

If I saw that in a church I'd walk out. I'm a snob like that.
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« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2012, 03:26:37 PM »

Quote
Just where exactly is your screen located? I would agree that there is a fairly serious problem if the screen is off to the side somewhere, but if it's as close to front and centre as can be done without interfering with the icons, then it seems to me that it would be an improvement over having people's noses stuck inside a service book and not even realizing what's going on in the service. At least their eyes would be up and looking forward.

I assume that is in line with the thinking of those who put in the screen in the first place. I have only been attending liturgy here for 7 months, and it was here when I got here. It would be hard to explain its placement without a picture, and our situation here in Albuquerque is probably very different than most Coptic churches anyway, as we are a tiny community (~40 people) and we lack our own church. We worship in a private home and what icons there are are not blocked in any way by the screen. It's not a very big screen, and it is angled in such a way that you can see everything that goes on in front of the altar without any problems. It is more a matter of concentrating on what is actually going on, as you've noted. I've seen people become just as distracted by their children or their cellphones, yet no one has suggested throwing either of those out.
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« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2012, 03:30:23 PM »

Actually I was talking about Coptic Orthodox parishes. Based on what biro said: "There is such a thing as what is tasteful and appropriate. I'm not sure that I want church to be the same atmosphere as a baseball game.

An air conditioner creates no such problem. A giganto screen and subtitles and whatnot? Yes it does. There is a difference." ... I tend to see things like that as well. Its not that having a screen is inherently wrong but I just think that it is really misplaced. The focus and attention of the divine liturgy is on the altar and the icons help to bring that into focus. But when the icons are (partially) covered by a huge screen, it takes away from the mystical aspect/transcendence of the liturgy..projector screen make me think of school and work while tv screens make me think of hockey games (I'm Canadian eh Smiley ) at Wacky Wings. Nothing from the outside world is supposed to enter our church to distract us from the central worship. I think that's also why for the most part, we do not have instruments in our church...our worship is not meant to mirror this world but to show a glimpse of the next (ie heaven). Huge bright neon lights and distracting screens do not seem to fit into that description.
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« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2012, 03:32:01 PM »

Then of course there are some times when no one advances the slide or the slide gets stuck and you can really tell who is paying attention...it's shameful.

I agree...that is very shameful.
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« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2012, 03:34:25 PM »

It is more a matter of concentrating on what is actually going on, as you've noted. I've seen people become just as distracted by their children or their cellphones, yet no one has suggested throwing either of those out.

Can't concentrate on what's going on if I've left the church. Also, that's strange about the cell phones. Leaving your cell phone on by accident once might just get you some dirty stares... but making the mistake more than once? I'd expect a stern talking to by several old women, the deacon, and then the priest. Regarding children, they're an investment, we can't really throw them out. It's sort of like that super-ugly and super-large painting in the hall that will never get thrown out because it was painted by a wealthy member of the parish and donated with the expectation that it would be shown. Sometimes you just put up with stuff like that to secure long-term financial health.
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« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2012, 03:34:54 PM »

Actually I was talking about Coptic Orthodox parishes. Based on what biro said: "There is such a thing as what is tasteful and appropriate. I'm not sure that I want church to be the same atmosphere as a baseball game.

An air conditioner creates no such problem. A giganto screen and subtitles and whatnot? Yes it does. There is a difference." ... I tend to see things like that as well. Its not that having a screen is inherently wrong but I just think that it is really misplaced. The focus and attention of the divine liturgy is on the altar and the icons help to bring that into focus. But when the icons are (partially) covered by a huge screen, it takes away from the mystical aspect/transcendence of the liturgy..projector screen make me think of school and work while tv screens make me think of hockey games (I'm Canadian eh Smiley ) at Wacky Wings. Nothing from the outside world is supposed to enter our church to distract us from the central worship. I think that's also why for the most part, we do not have instruments in our church...our worship is not meant to mirror this world but to show a glimpse of the next (ie heaven). Huge bright neon lights and distracting screens do not seem to fit into that description.

If everything was in English, you would have a good argument Wink
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« Reply #24 on: April 01, 2012, 03:52:59 PM »

Mina habibi, most churches these days have books with 2 or 3 languages printed side by side...tons and tons of books! There's no reason not to simply notify people of changes such as differing anaphoras or fraction prayers etc. Theres also lots of books for communion hymns that are often placed in the pocket of the pews.  At the end of the day, anything that covers up the icons or takes away the focus from the altar is not really desirable but to each their own. Screens are not 'necessary' they're just a luxury for people who are too lazy to open up a book and it also shows negatively on the clergy because of the disrespect of casually covering the icons like that.
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« Reply #25 on: April 01, 2012, 03:53:28 PM »

It is one thing to talk about how things should be; I don't think you'd find any Coptic Orthodox person who wouldn't be in favor of getting rid of the screens (I know I would like to see them gone, even though I just admitted that I do use them) if it could be guaranteed that they wouldn't be proven necessary the very next week when it became obvious that not everyone has learned the liturgy. So there'd be a certain amount of retraining of the laity that would have to happen. I think it would be good to see it, but I'm not about to suggest to abouna that he undertake it when he already flies in from out of state once every two weeks to celebrate the liturgy with us in the first place. And of course, being new and not Coptic, I would not be able to back up my request with the necessary action on my part. There's just too much I don't know for me to go around telling others to learn. So I keep my preferences to myself and try to learn from watching and listening to others. I know this is not the most "mystical" approach, but it is the reality of life in our tiny Coptic community where there is some variation in terms of English/Coptic/Arabic fluency and general retention of the various portions of the liturgy. Perhaps we could all use some sunday school lessons. I don't know. We try our best despite all our shortcomings.
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« Reply #26 on: April 01, 2012, 04:11:14 PM »

dzheremi, it isn't only parishes (sadly) which use them...I went to a US (Coptic) monastery for a visit last summer and they also used the screen extensively...clearly your situation is different from mine so I cannot really comment because I've never been in your shoes. I'm not trying to start random problems. For me (and many others I've spoken to), it just seems like a twisted approach to liturgy. It becomes more like we're watching something than truly actively participating despite the irony that this is what it is meant to induce.
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« Reply #27 on: April 01, 2012, 04:45:45 PM »

dzheremi, it isn't only parishes (sadly) which use them...I went to a US (Coptic) monastery for a visit last summer and they also used the screen extensively...clearly your situation is different from mine so I cannot really comment because I've never been in your shoes. I'm not trying to start random problems. For me (and many others I've spoken to), it just seems like a twisted approach to liturgy. It becomes more like we're watching something than truly actively participating despite the irony that this is what it is meant to induce.

That's my point though: While the specific situation here may present certain challenges that are unique to us, I don't think our response would be anything out of the ordinary if we decided to get rid of the screens. I hardly think we would be the only ones to realize how little we actually know if we were to take away the screens. My point was more that, yes, I would like to see them gone, but I am not in the position to fix things so that we can stop using them. I suspect many people would be forced to admit the same about their parishes, no matter what their size or makeup. At any rate, it is something to be dealt with in the churches themselves. As Genesisone has already pointed out, we could have analogous problems while not using screens.
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« Reply #28 on: April 01, 2012, 05:22:18 PM »

I waiting for them to start handing out ipads as u enter the church.

The Ipad then sinks to the proper line being read. with pictures and translations and explenations of whats going on.

Humm...i was just joking but it dosent sound all that bad, at least for a new convert it would be very helpfull.


though, it annoys me when i loose my place in the church book and then i have to flip around to find where we are.
in general i find that following along in the liturgy book takes away from the holy feel i get in church.
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« Reply #29 on: April 01, 2012, 05:46:33 PM »

dzheremi, it isn't only parishes (sadly) which use them...I went to a US (Coptic) monastery for a visit last summer and they also used the screen extensively...clearly your situation is different from mine so I cannot really comment because I've never been in your shoes. I'm not trying to start random problems. For me (and many others I've spoken to), it just seems like a twisted approach to liturgy. It becomes more like we're watching something than truly actively participating despite the irony that this is what it is meant to induce.

It eliminates the "I-don't-go-to-church-because-I-don't-understand-what-they-are-saying" excuse.  Of course they then say they don't go because the liturgy is too long.

Whatever. 

The intent is to help people get closer to God by being able to follow with the prayers.  Of course there are the books, but so many people say that holding a book is too burdensome.

 Roll Eyes

Again, whatever.
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« Reply #30 on: April 01, 2012, 06:09:47 PM »

Oh, please let this be an April Fools post...

my thoughts exactly. people 1500 years ago didn't need these things to follow along and worship, why should we? It's just laziness...

I know right!  Forget microphones, air conditioning/heating, and electric lighting!!!  Such novelties the Church fathers would have been condemning!

Personally, I think the buzz of flourescent lights starting up one by one when the doxology is sung is rather distracting.

I also find it rather irksome when liturgical action is interrupted by the constant fussing over the positioning of microphones, or when clergy are so attached to them they cannot project their voices further than a few centimetres in their absence.

I suppose projector technology has at least the same capacity to distract from and hinder worship, if not utilised properly.
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« Reply #31 on: April 01, 2012, 06:11:43 PM »

While my own church uses these projector screens (as Mina says, they're quite popular in Coptic churches), part of me wishes they didn't. I try to follow along in the service books as best as I can, but I find it's often a losing battle, as it's so much easier to just look at the screen (especially since I'm relatively new to the Coptic liturgy, and often get lost even when I have the service book handy). Then of course there are some times when no one advances the slide or the slide gets stuck and you can really tell who is paying attention...it's shameful.

I assume yours is not an English language parish, Jeremy?
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« Reply #32 on: April 01, 2012, 06:13:59 PM »

dzheremi, it isn't only parishes (sadly) which use them...I went to a US (Coptic) monastery for a visit last summer and they also used the screen extensively...clearly your situation is different from mine so I cannot really comment because I've never been in your shoes. I'm not trying to start random problems. For me (and many others I've spoken to), it just seems like a twisted approach to liturgy. It becomes more like we're watching something than truly actively participating despite the irony that this is what it is meant to induce.

It eliminates the "I-don't-go-to-church-because-I-don't-understand-what-they-are-saying" excuse.  Of course they then say they don't go because the liturgy is too long.

Whatever. 

The intent is to help people get closer to God by being able to follow with the prayers.  Of course there are the books, but so many people say that holding a book is too burdensome.

 Roll Eyes

Again, whatever.


This is kinda the point, isn't it?

People will find any excuse to say that the liturgy is impenetrable to their mental powers.
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« Reply #33 on: April 01, 2012, 06:19:55 PM »

While my own church uses these projector screens (as Mina says, they're quite popular in Coptic churches), part of me wishes they didn't. I try to follow along in the service books as best as I can, but I find it's often a losing battle, as it's so much easier to just look at the screen (especially since I'm relatively new to the Coptic liturgy, and often get lost even when I have the service book handy). Then of course there are some times when no one advances the slide or the slide gets stuck and you can really tell who is paying attention...it's shameful.

I assume yours is not an English language parish, Jeremy?

I'm not sure how to answer that question. The liturgy is about 75% in English, but I am the only native English-speaking person who regularly attends, and there is wide variation in the level of English-proficiency among the laity.
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« Reply #34 on: April 01, 2012, 06:26:04 PM »

While my own church uses these projector screens (as Mina says, they're quite popular in Coptic churches), part of me wishes they didn't. I try to follow along in the service books as best as I can, but I find it's often a losing battle, as it's so much easier to just look at the screen (especially since I'm relatively new to the Coptic liturgy, and often get lost even when I have the service book handy). Then of course there are some times when no one advances the slide or the slide gets stuck and you can really tell who is paying attention...it's shameful.

I assume yours is not an English language parish, Jeremy?

I'm not sure how to answer that question. The liturgy is about 75% in English, but I am the only native English-speaking person who regularly attends, and there is wide variation in the level of English-proficiency among the laity.

Highlighting the necessity of things like service books, I suppose.

I don't like having my head buried in a service book, but sometimes they are a necessary evil.
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« Reply #35 on: April 01, 2012, 07:05:56 PM »

While my own church uses these projector screens (as Mina says, they're quite popular in Coptic churches), part of me wishes they didn't. I try to follow along in the service books as best as I can, but I find it's often a losing battle, as it's so much easier to just look at the screen (especially since I'm relatively new to the Coptic liturgy, and often get lost even when I have the service book handy). Then of course there are some times when no one advances the slide or the slide gets stuck and you can really tell who is paying attention...it's shameful.

I assume yours is not an English language parish, Jeremy?

I'm not sure how to answer that question. The liturgy is about 75% in English, but I am the only native English-speaking person who regularly attends, and there is wide variation in the level of English-proficiency among the laity.

Highlighting the necessity of things like service books, I suppose.

I don't like having my head buried in a service book, but sometimes they are a necessary evil.

they are necessary at first, but once we learn the services we want to stop them eventually. That is, they encourage us to learn the text so that later we don't have to rely on it. With a scrolling banner, most likely people wouldn't have any incentive to learn it, they would just keep reading it as it scrolls (it's too easy, so no reason to bother learning it).
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« Reply #36 on: April 01, 2012, 07:40:46 PM »

When I attended an Indian Orthodox parish, I'll admit, I would rather have the screen than a book.  Sometimes, things get skipped around in the book that it's hard for the person to follow for the longest time until they finally understand the rubrics of the liturgy.  Coptic liturgical books aren't that much different.  I mean granted there is a nice organization to them now, but yet still, there are some areas of skipping around that if not understood or experience, will end up making one getting lost.

With the screen, after a couple of months, one will get to understand what's going on.  No need to be distracted flipping books and learning where things go.  When one learns the essentials of liturgical prayers, then the "extra" in books are to be understood later.  I don't see the learning by books vs. learning by projectors any different.  Furthermore, while I lament that some churches are designed in ways where the screen covers the iconostases, there are yet others where this isn't much of a problem, and thus less distracting.

Nevertheless, one weighs the pros and cons.  Would the icons of the Apostles be shown better, or would following along the liturgy while the icons of the Apostles be blocked better?  I choose the latter, especially since it's a bigger luxury for churches to have extra icons, such as those of the Apostles, than it is to provide the congregation with a sense of following along the liturgy without getting lost, and without constant complaints of people saying "I don't understand anything in the liturgy."  It would be great if EVERYTHING was in English, but at the moment, we make due with what we have until people are tolerant enough to have English, and the English is accurate enough for its theological depth.

Nothing is ever perfect in any place we go.  But we want people's intellect to be in prayer, a very important part of prayer.  You can only stare at an image of Christ for so long, and it would be sad when you stare and pray your own prayers, and not the prayers of the community together.  In fact, Coptic tradition has it that we even close our eyes in prayer.  In the end, whether books or screens, it should make no difference for the one who is proficient in the liturgy.

PS  There was a time when a small number led screen was above the iconostases indicating the page number in the book to help the people follow along.  This was before the advent of screens.
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« Reply #37 on: April 02, 2012, 09:59:50 AM »

i agree with salpy. we shouldn't get hung up on this one.
but if parts of the service are not in your language, u can't follow along in a bilingual service book if the liturgy is unfamiliar, as u don't know which bit they have just said.
but we should wind the screen up at the end of the service, so i can go and see saint matthias.
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« Reply #38 on: April 03, 2012, 12:29:18 PM »

Hi, I recently went to a few Orthodox churches and I noticed that they had projector or tv screens positioned immediately above the iconostasis or to the side of the iconostasis during the divine liturgy.

Everyone, when you are asking a question about a specific tradition or practice please be specific in identifying the Orthodox church. There are awide variety of churches that call themselves Orthodox with a wide variety of practices. In this case, something that seems to be common and acceptable amongst the Orientals is seen as a scandal amongst the Byzantine. It will make everyone's life easier if you add a modifier to Orthodox.
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« Reply #39 on: April 06, 2012, 11:54:34 PM »

This. Is. Deplorable.

I'd rather not understand a word of the Liturgy than have some ugly jumbotron up front. Now, I say this because I know the Liturgy in English now and will know what's happening and being said no matter what language it's in. If I go to a different Liturgy (like OO Liturgy) that I'm not too familiar with, you all still follow the same basic outline. I'll still know what's going on.

You know, I hated those screens as an evangelical! They're unsightly and distracting. The Liturgy is about the entire experience, not just reading the words off. I can read the Liturgy from the comfort of my couch. How about you WATCH and HEAR the Liturgy? It's just as important to see what is happening as to know what is being said.

People who complain and refuse to come to Liturgy for reasons like, "I can't follow along" or "it's too long" are always going to complain, because they only want to come to church when it's comfortable for them. Church isn't about being comfortable. If you want to be comfy...stay home. If you want to be saved, come to church.
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« Reply #40 on: April 07, 2012, 11:24:20 PM »

Hi, I recently went to a few Orthodox churches and I noticed that they had projector or tv screens positioned immediately above the iconostasis or to the side of the iconostasis during the divine liturgy.

Everyone, when you are asking a question about a specific tradition or practice please be specific in identifying the Orthodox church. There are awide variety of churches that call themselves Orthodox with a wide variety of practices. In this case, something that seems to be common and acceptable amongst the Orientals is seen as a scandal amongst the Byzantine. It will make everyone's life easier if you add a modifier to Orthodox.

Good point! Why is it considered a scandal amongst the byzantines?
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« Reply #41 on: April 09, 2012, 04:27:52 PM »

This. Is. Deplorable.

I'd rather not understand a word of the Liturgy than have some ugly jumbotron up front. Now, I say this because I know the Liturgy in English now and will know what's happening and being said no matter what language it's in. If I go to a different Liturgy (like OO Liturgy) that I'm not too familiar with, you all still follow the same basic outline. I'll still know what's going on.

You know, I hated those screens as an evangelical! They're unsightly and distracting. The Liturgy is about the entire experience, not just reading the words off. I can read the Liturgy from the comfort of my couch. How about you WATCH and HEAR the Liturgy? It's just as important to see what is happening as to know what is being said.

People who complain and refuse to come to Liturgy for reasons like, "I can't follow along" or "it's too long" are always going to complain, because they only want to come to church when it's comfortable for them. Church isn't about being comfortable. If you want to be comfy...stay home. If you want to be saved, come to church.

I absolutely agree.
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« Reply #42 on: April 09, 2012, 04:44:08 PM »

There is such a thing as what is tasteful and appropriate. I'm not sure that I want church to be the same atmosphere as a baseball game.

An air conditioner creates no such problem. A giganto screen and subtitles and whatnot? Yes it does. There is a difference.

I absolutely, positively, 100,000% agree.  This is stupid junk, borrowing from protestant mega churches.  Oh, God, help me.  I left all that stuff to become Orthodox and it's following me.  I think I'll probably wind up just worshipping in my house if this gets widespread. 
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« Reply #43 on: April 09, 2012, 05:12:45 PM »

There is such a thing as what is tasteful and appropriate. I'm not sure that I want church to be the same atmosphere as a baseball game.

An air conditioner creates no such problem. A giganto screen and subtitles and whatnot? Yes it does. There is a difference.

I absolutely, positively, 100,000% agree.  This is stupid junk, borrowing from protestant mega churches.  Oh, God, help me.  I left all that stuff to become Orthodox and it's following me.  I think I'll probably wind up just worshipping in my house if this gets widespread. 

I bet Gregory of Colorado wouldn't use no stinkin' tvs! You should give him a call, you could worship at your house, and even have a shot at becoming bishop if you play your cards right.
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« Reply #44 on: April 09, 2012, 05:29:51 PM »

There are two parishes in my area that have no projectors, no microphones, no dimmable lights, no service books for the laity, and no air conditioning. And people still come—even The Youth™ !
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« Reply #45 on: April 09, 2012, 06:59:00 PM »

There is such a thing as what is tasteful and appropriate. I'm not sure that I want church to be the same atmosphere as a baseball game.

An air conditioner creates no such problem. A giganto screen and subtitles and whatnot? Yes it does. There is a difference.

I absolutely, positively, 100,000% agree.  This is stupid junk, borrowing from protestant mega churches.  Oh, God, help me.  I left all that stuff to become Orthodox and it's following me.  I think I'll probably wind up just worshipping in my house if this gets widespread. 

I bet Gregory of Colorado wouldn't use no stinkin' tvs! You should give him a call, you could worship at your house, and even have a shot at becoming bishop if you play your cards right.

Quick tongue, huh?  I love how people feel free to say what they want when they are in the comfort of their mom's basement. 

I have no plans on worshiping at home permanently.  I belong to a great church and have a great priest.  Not looking to start a church and become a bishop.  Remember when Jesus said "if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off"?  That's called rabbinic hyperbole; a dramatic way to make a strong point. 
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« Reply #46 on: April 09, 2012, 07:20:35 PM »

There is such a thing as what is tasteful and appropriate. I'm not sure that I want church to be the same atmosphere as a baseball game.

An air conditioner creates no such problem. A giganto screen and subtitles and whatnot? Yes it does. There is a difference.

I absolutely, positively, 100,000% agree.  This is stupid junk, borrowing from protestant mega churches.  Oh, God, help me.  I left all that stuff to become Orthodox and it's following me.  I think I'll probably wind up just worshipping in my house if this gets widespread. 

I bet Gregory of Colorado wouldn't use no stinkin' tvs! You should give him a call, you could worship at your house, and even have a shot at becoming bishop if you play your cards right.

Quick tongue, huh?  I love how people feel free to say what they want when they are in the comfort of their mom's basement. 

I have no plans on worshiping at home permanently.  I belong to a great church and have a great priest.  Not looking to start a church and become a bishop.  Remember when Jesus said "if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off"?  That's called rabbinic hyperbole; a dramatic way to make a strong point. 

I'm in my Dad's trailer, not my Mom's basement. Get it right.

You already worship at home, stop trying to pull our leg.

Your priest sucks.

You want to be a bishop.

Jesus wasn't real.

Thanks, I didn't know what hypobollocks was.

You may go now.
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« Reply #47 on: April 09, 2012, 08:06:55 PM »

 Roll Eyes

Of course, because big screens equates Protestantism...my God people.  I like at least how consistent some people are here, i.e. no electricity or electric appliances in Church.  But to call it Protestant, that's just ridiculous.  How about you come and take a visit to St. Mina's at Holmdel, NJ.  Then let me know about the supposed Protestantism you see above.
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« Reply #48 on: April 09, 2012, 08:22:03 PM »

I really don't like the TV's. Or the over-boosted sound systems.

It is really distracting. When the Liturgy is prayed in a church with no sound system, projectors, florescent lights, or pews, it feels like being in heaven. But at some churches, the sound system is so loud it gives you a headache, and makes everything sound unnatural. It makes it like watching an event rather than participating in prayer. There is just a big artificial disconnect there. Then the florescent lights start flickering, contributing to the headache the sound system started even more than their harsh white light. Finally, the giant TV's (or alternately projectors set up with screens covering the icons of Christ, John the Baptist, the Virgin, and a few others) are so bright they burn the retinas even when you're looking at the altar and they're hitting the 10 degree of center part where the eyes are most sensitive to light. Just when you think it can't get worse, pixelated screen captures from Protestant Bible movies start "highlighting" the readings, with different bright coloured backgrounds to demand attention.

Air conditioning takes a way a distraction of discomfort (though there is benefit to having to suffer a little to worship). Electric lights make it possible to have the church brighter, and be able to read books, and light the building quickly. They are again convenient, and not distracting (if they aren't flickering, harsh florescence). The other applications of technology can be much more disruptive, and kill the sense of sacred. I know the Holy Spirit is still there, as is the Body and Blood of Christ, and the preaching of the true Gospel. I know it is just as sacred. But in Orthodoxy we recognize that all the senses are needed to involve man, because man is physical as well as spiritual. We have incense, prostrations, kissing, partaking, singing, etc. Just as the physical can help us to be more aware of the spiritual reality that is Church, these physical distractions can be, and are, a hindrance.

I find it especially puzzling that the Coptic Church feels the need to do this, since they are so adamant about using the vernacular. It is so needless when the projectors show English, and the whole Liturgy is prayed in English! Even if it is an Arabic Liturgy, or even a French Liturgy where I can't pick up odd words like Arabic, I prefer no screen, and to be guided to where we are by the familiar tunes alone. Anything else distracts from prayer. When I sometimes had to lead I would use a book, but as I don't now, I rarely tough a book. It too can be a distraction from prayer and attention.

Orthodoxy for many centuries at least exposed people to the Liturgy by hearing, learning, and participating, without even books, let alone projectors. These Christians struggled, and worked to internalize it, and so it truly became a part of them. Now, it's up there on the projector, so we don't get to know it, with that guide taken away, we're completely lost. It doesn't help us know it better, it is a crutch that hinders us. Just like our sense of direction when driving is diminished after years of relying on a GPS. Just like no one knows the Bible well today because you can just look it up, unlike our fathers who did not have ready access to Bibles, and who had to memorize great parts of Scripture, and so truly internalize it.

Worship without sacrifice and strife is not worship.

Don't even get me started on the live webcast from virtually every Church. So much for dismissing the catechumens after the Gospel, let's broadcast the Mysteries for anyone with a computer to see. Do we want people to stay home and not bother coming? Do we even suspect there might be something sacred here we should respect?

yes, I have been told I'm a fanatic.
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« Reply #49 on: April 09, 2012, 09:05:48 PM »

There is such a thing as what is tasteful and appropriate. I'm not sure that I want church to be the same atmosphere as a baseball game.

An air conditioner creates no such problem. A giganto screen and subtitles and whatnot? Yes it does. There is a difference.

I absolutely, positively, 100,000% agree.  This is stupid junk, borrowing from protestant mega churches.  Oh, God, help me.  I left all that stuff to become Orthodox and it's following me.  I think I'll probably wind up just worshipping in my house if this gets widespread. 

I bet Gregory of Colorado wouldn't use no stinkin' tvs! You should give him a call, you could worship at your house, and even have a shot at becoming bishop if you play your cards right.

Quick tongue, huh?  I love how people feel free to say what they want when they are in the comfort of their mom's basement. 

I have no plans on worshiping at home permanently.  I belong to a great church and have a great priest.  Not looking to start a church and become a bishop.  Remember when Jesus said "if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off"?  That's called rabbinic hyperbole; a dramatic way to make a strong point. 

I'm in my Dad's trailer, not my Mom's basement. Get it right.

You already worship at home, stop trying to pull our leg.

Your priest sucks.

You want to be a bishop.

Jesus wasn't real.

Thanks, I didn't know what hypobollocks was.

You may go now.

OK trailer park boy.  Go listen to some Em n Em and write songs about 8 mile.  If you deny Jesus was real you shouldn't be chiming in on discussions about the worship of Jesus. 
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« Reply #50 on: April 09, 2012, 09:07:45 PM »

There is such a thing as what is tasteful and appropriate. I'm not sure that I want church to be the same atmosphere as a baseball game.

An air conditioner creates no such problem. A giganto screen and subtitles and whatnot? Yes it does. There is a difference.

I absolutely, positively, 100,000% agree.  This is stupid junk, borrowing from protestant mega churches.  Oh, God, help me.  I left all that stuff to become Orthodox and it's following me.  I think I'll probably wind up just worshipping in my house if this gets widespread.  

I bet Gregory of Colorado wouldn't use no stinkin' tvs! You should give him a call, you could worship at your house, and even have a shot at becoming bishop if you play your cards right.

Quick tongue, huh?  I love how people feel free to say what they want when they are in the comfort of their mom's basement.  

I have no plans on worshiping at home permanently.  I belong to a great church and have a great priest.  Not looking to start a church and become a bishop.  Remember when Jesus said "if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off"?  That's called rabbinic hyperbole; a dramatic way to make a strong point.  

I'm in my Dad's trailer, not my Mom's basement. Get it right.

You already worship at home, stop trying to pull our leg.

Your priest sucks.

You want to be a bishop.

Jesus wasn't real.

Thanks, I didn't know what hypobollocks was.

You may go now.

OK trailer park boy.  Go listen to some Em n Em and write songs about 8 mile.  If you deny Jesus was real you shouldn't be chiming in on discussions about the worship of Jesus.  

Can't nobody beat Vanilla Ice, you know it!  Cool

Oh, but that rap scene in the 8 mile movie where he called the black guy out for coming from an upper class family? That was phat pwnage right there!

PS. I'm sure your priest is great. I just figured if I was gonna be an *ss I might as well go full throttle

EDIT--After the polite pm you sent me I take it back, your priest is again on my not-liked list.  Cool
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« Reply #51 on: April 09, 2012, 09:32:25 PM »

Yikes...this is a really bad thread for Holy Week...Lord have mercy.
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« Reply #52 on: April 09, 2012, 09:42:33 PM »

I promise to be good now. Btw, the above might be seen as a horror flick--sort of obscene, but completely fictional and meant for entertainment.
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« Reply #53 on: April 09, 2012, 10:52:31 PM »

While my own church uses these projector screens (as Mina says, they're quite popular in Coptic churches), part of me wishes they didn't. I try to follow along in the service books as best as I can, but I find it's often a losing battle, as it's so much easier to just look at the screen (especially since I'm relatively new to the Coptic liturgy, and often get lost even when I have the service book handy). Then of course there are some times when no one advances the slide or the slide gets stuck and you can really tell who is paying attention...it's shameful.

I assume yours is not an English language parish, Jeremy?

I'm not sure how to answer that question. The liturgy is about 75% in English, but I am the only native English-speaking person who regularly attends, and there is wide variation in the level of English-proficiency among the laity.

Highlighting the necessity of things like service books, I suppose.

I don't like having my head buried in a service book, but sometimes they are a necessary evil.

they are necessary at first, but once we learn the services we want to stop them eventually. That is, they encourage us to learn the text so that later we don't have to rely on it. With a scrolling banner, most likely people wouldn't have any incentive to learn it, they would just keep reading it as it scrolls (it's too easy, so no reason to bother learning it).

I agree. The books are for familiarizing yourself with the Liturgy. I feel (and it seems that some others on this thread do too) that when we are in church, what we are supposed to be doing is paying attention to the other living human beings present and participating in the worship of the living Spirit of God present. We should not have our noses buried in some book, or be watching a TV. Obviously it helps when services are in a language people understand, but even this is certainly not a necessity--most Orthodox people in places like Russia and Greece don't understand the words, and yet they do fine without pew books or projectors.

A blessed Pascha to everyone. Smiley
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« Reply #54 on: April 09, 2012, 11:05:20 PM »

Oh, please let this be an April Fools post...

my thoughts exactly. people 1500 years ago didn't need these things to follow along and worship, why should we? It's just laziness...

I know right!  Forget microphones, air conditioning/heating, and electric lighting!!!  Such novelties the Church fathers would have been condemning!

Personally, I think the buzz of flourescent lights starting up one by one when the doxology is sung is rather distracting.

I also find it rather irksome when liturgical action is interrupted by the constant fussing over the positioning of microphones, or when clergy are so attached to them they cannot project their voices further than a few centimetres in their absence.

I suppose projector technology has at least the same capacity to distract from and hinder worship, if not utilised properly.

Yes, some people just need microphones, but when they're over-amplified, it's a huge distraction. For some reason, overdependence on microphones has always irritated me. People rarely learn how to project properly anymore.

My fellow chanter and I have loud, carrying voices, and our church building is small, so we've never needed amplification. One day, some people decided we were crazy not to use a microphone, so they gave one to us. We put it in front of the analogion, but didn't turn it on. But people assumed we were using it, so they were happy.
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« Reply #55 on: April 09, 2012, 11:34:38 PM »

Maybe one day the iconostasis itself will be 6 blank screens and the icons will be projected onto them! It would make it easier to change out the festal icons... (isnt there one that is changed out from time to time? i could be wrong....)
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« Reply #56 on: April 09, 2012, 11:43:41 PM »

I actually suggested tablets in another thread, not too long ago because I keep getting lost in the service book, but I like the TV/projector idea better because it's easier to do the sign of the cross if your hands are free. Still, I think I like the idea of memorizing the liturgy better and it is my goal. I agree, though, that having the TV/projector would likely harbor dependence on the TV/ projector. So maybe it is best to just stay with the books and loose them as soon as possible.

I don't agree though that this is necessarily "Protestantizing" though. As has been alluded to with light and AC just because a Protestant church may have something first doesn't make that something a Protestant thing.
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« Reply #57 on: April 10, 2012, 12:13:40 AM »

Since this practice is limited to Oriental Orthodox this thread is being moved to the Oriental Orthodox section to encourage a better discussion.

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« Reply #58 on: April 10, 2012, 12:30:48 AM »

I promise to be good now. Btw, the above might be seen as a horror flick--sort of obscene, but completely fictional and meant for entertainment.

Thank you for the promise.   Smiley

I am going to expect everyone now to keep the discussion polite and on topic.

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« Reply #59 on: April 10, 2012, 06:08:10 AM »

Oh, please let this be an April Fools post...

my thoughts exactly. people 1500 years ago didn't need these things to follow along and worship, why should we? It's just laziness...

I know right!  Forget microphones, air conditioning/heating, and electric lighting!!!  Such novelties the Church fathers would have been condemning!

Personally, I think the buzz of flourescent lights starting up one by one when the doxology is sung is rather distracting.

I also find it rather irksome when liturgical action is interrupted by the constant fussing over the positioning of microphones, or when clergy are so attached to them they cannot project their voices further than a few centimetres in their absence.

I suppose projector technology has at least the same capacity to distract from and hinder worship, if not utilised properly.

Yes, some people just need microphones, but when they're over-amplified, it's a huge distraction. For some reason, overdependence on microphones has always irritated me. People rarely learn how to project properly anymore.

My fellow chanter and I have loud, carrying voices, and our church building is small, so we've never needed amplification. One day, some people decided we were crazy not to use a microphone, so they gave one to us. We put it in front of the analogion, but didn't turn it on. But people assumed we were using it, so they were happy.

I originally posted this here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,12140.msg318218.html#msg318218

Some food for thought on the horrors of sound systems in churches:

Acute Microphonitis in the Psaltic Arts

A plea to every authority for the preservation of the art of chanting on our island: With this missive of mine, I would like to publicize a great problem: great, as I’m told, because it acutely affects many others. For years, I have been searching for a church to attend, not to go through the motions, but to feel compunction, to participate in the services, rejoicing in mind and heart. In other words, a spiritual haven. So what’s required? A simple, pious, humble priest, and a chanter who can distinguish between “I chant” and “I sing”. And fortunately, there do exist priests who have the requisite spirituality and authority, respected and loved by the people. There are good chanters as well, few that they are.

So what is happening today at the chanter’s box? Not only do most chanters have bad voices – though, on the other hand, they can’t all have melodious voices – but they also have no idea how to chant properly. In addition, many are illiterate, though we can turn a blind eye to these, as they are headed for extinction. Of off-key notes and garbled words, “plenteous are Thy mercies”. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. In the last twenty years, the microphone has become the center of sacred worship.

This incursion is widespread, in large and small churches, tiny chapels, and even in monasteries. An incredible, unbearable nuisance, a real torture, as all the chanters, with the exception of a scant few shining examples, shout – no, bellow would be more accurate, while seemingly swallowing the microphones which have been installed by God-knows what sort of “technicians”. This situation extends to priests as well. The microphone reigns in all church services. During festal services, the whole retinue of clergy revolves around it, some even move it around. The ill-designed installation of sound systems with their high output volume, combined with the terrible voices of the majority of chanters have transformed Byzantine music from an art “drawing us to God” to an art “driving us out of church”.

This acute microphonitis is unfortunately also offensive to those mellifluous and well-trained masters of the psaltic arts, where you would have wished you had a thousand ears with which to enjoy listening to them. Today, all is sacrificed to the barbarian Moloch of the decibel.

Dare I mention the conceit of singing hymns of contrition such as the Cherubic Hymn, or the mournful troparia of Holy Week with insensitivity or affectation? You’d think there was a party on! If we add to all this the “musical creations” of these self-styled “masters” (who are in their element particularly on Holy Tuesday, rendering the Troparion of Kassiane unrecognizable), we complete the unspeakable mess which passes for chanting in many churches.

Yet it seems there’s no-one around to do something about it. What does our clergy say? What are those in authority doing? We, the congregation? I won’t say “we, the faithful”, because the very stones will rise up and strike us. Indignant, we grumble about it amongst ourselves, we sometimes have a word to the priest if we feel he could understand, and things go on as before.

And yet. I have found myself in little village churches, with unschooled clergy, and choirs which do not use microphones, unless perhaps occasionally to give a little boost when the church is full. I have also been to Kapnikarea in Athens. Unforgettable atmosphere, a sense of the sacred, compunction. What gratitude I have felt for such priests and chanters in both instances! I felt like shaking their hands and thanking them in gratitude for chanting so simply, without recklessness or histrionic display, and, by respecting the ears of the congregation, created an atmosphere of prayer and participation. Unfortunately, I refrained from doing so, lest I would be seen to be overreacting!

It is inexcusable for Chios, which also maintains a School of Byzantine Music, for there not to exist a choir worthy of the name which sings daily at any church, as is the case in neighbouring Mytilene, at most churches.

Forgive me, dear readers, for the sharpness of my criticism. I am trying not to be judgemental, but I simply grieve and suffer with you. Zero visibility. Our tolerance, or, more correctly, our indifference to the situation, amounts to contempt for Byzantine music.

I am at the service of any person in authority who believes in the worth of Byzantine music, who respects and loves it, to work together to confront and solve this problem.

Eleftheria Lykopantis
Choirmistress, Chios Choir.

29/10/2003 “I ALITHEIA” daily newspaper of Chios
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« Reply #60 on: April 10, 2012, 07:31:48 AM »

I actually suggested tablets in another thread, not too long ago because I keep getting lost in the service book, but I like the TV/projector idea better because it's easier to do the sign of the cross if your hands are free. Still, I think I like the idea of memorizing the liturgy better and it is my goal. I agree, though, that having the TV/projector would likely harbor dependence on the TV/ projector. So maybe it is best to just stay with the books and loose them as soon as possible.

I don't agree though that this is necessarily "Protestantizing" though. As has been alluded to with light and AC just because a Protestant church may have something first doesn't make that something a Protestant thing.

I know a couple of chanters who use iPads to store great volumes of Byzantine-notated music. This is great because many such books are impossible to find in America and it is easier to not fumble around with dozens of giant books.

The problem with screens in my opinion is not that they are new, but that they are conspicuous and detract from the worship and likely obstruct the iconostasis.

They also serve less of a purpose, considering the same liturgy is sung every week. While a tablet is useful to a chanter when there are literally hundreds of melodies, I don't see the same necessity to see the often repeated service texts projected, especially when service books work just as well.

At least with service books, you can choose whether or not to use them. When there's a screen, it's right there for all to see. And I have a hard time not staring at screens when they are in view, so I would have difficulty worshipping in a church that has them.

As for microphones, I have never been to an Orthodox church that uses them effectively. There is invariably a problem with them or they sound distorted or just bad. If anything we need church architects to pay more attention to acoustics. A well designed building does not need microphones.
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« Reply #61 on: April 10, 2012, 04:03:03 PM »

Oh, please let this be an April Fools post...

my thoughts exactly. people 1500 years ago didn't need these things to follow along and worship, why should we? It's just laziness...

I know right!  Forget microphones, air conditioning/heating, and electric lighting!!!  Such novelties the Church fathers would have been condemning!

Personally, I think the buzz of flourescent lights starting up one by one when the doxology is sung is rather distracting.

I also find it rather irksome when liturgical action is interrupted by the constant fussing over the positioning of microphones, or when clergy are so attached to them they cannot project their voices further than a few centimetres in their absence.

I suppose projector technology has at least the same capacity to distract from and hinder worship, if not utilised properly.

Yes, some people just need microphones, but when they're over-amplified, it's a huge distraction. For some reason, overdependence on microphones has always irritated me. People rarely learn how to project properly anymore.

My fellow chanter and I have loud, carrying voices, and our church building is small, so we've never needed amplification. One day, some people decided we were crazy not to use a microphone, so they gave one to us. We put it in front of the analogion, but didn't turn it on. But people assumed we were using it, so they were happy.

I originally posted this here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,12140.msg318218.html#msg318218

Some food for thought on the horrors of sound systems in churches:

Acute Microphonitis in the Psaltic Arts

A plea to every authority...

I'm so glad I'm not the last person on earth who feels this way about Psaltic music.
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« Reply #62 on: April 10, 2012, 06:24:27 PM »

Wow, I guess I am blessed that no church I have been a member of has ever had a microphone. There is no need for one if you are not in a mega-church!
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« Reply #63 on: April 11, 2012, 01:32:43 AM »

Just returned from evening vespers...a visiting priest from Egypt (!) and no tv screen and no microphone? Holy week truly is heaven on earth! Smiley
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« Reply #64 on: April 18, 2012, 12:39:53 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and most Precious Name of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ!

Can we please tone down the cultural chauvinism and borderline fundamentalist posturing?  I can only add one thing, lets all agree to get over it!  We also use the powerpoint at my parish, and for my part it has a big positive impact. Its not for converts, the cradles use it the most, just listen when a slide is off or such and the chorus of the People's Responses is greatly diminished.  Folks are using these powerpoints to gain a deeper, elevated, spiritual understanding of the Liturgy by understanding the words, the sequence, the meanings.  For centuries many people just knew the melodies, could hum the words, but now people have access to all the words, including the priests prayers which they normally do not even get to read!  This has been excellent, as the Divine Liturgy is like a guided meditation or therapy session, the words are important.  What is really the fuss? technology? really?

The printed word in bound Liturgy books is the 14th century version of the modern screen and projector, it is the modern technology of the past, it is not necessarily what the Fathers used.  Surely fundamentalists then would have criticised saying that the Holy Spirit is most active through the hand written process of copying, and that machines are not people so machine printed texts are not divinely inspired.  Do we all agree to this today? Its already been mentioned about air conditioning, and public audio systems, and electric lighting, all of which are technology no one honestly seems to object too.  Folks drive up in modern cars, wearing synthetic fabrics and taking modern medicines.  What is the difference?

See, folks miss the point entirely when they get caught up in legalistic fundamentalism.  Through the Grace of Divine Synergy, GOD WORKS THROUGH THE TECHNOLOGY.  The Holy Spirit is not limited by modernization and is not favored in primitive settings.  God acts through the powerpoint just as He acts through the written word of the books themselves just as He acts through the hearts and voices of the celebrating priests and laity.  Powerpoints are good, and if they are just a matter of poor taste, then isn't it most Orthodox to be humble about our personal preferences and accept the Church as it is? We are not allowed to criticise the cadence and tone of the celebrating priest's voice, or to notice the level of attentiveness of our neighbors standing around us, neither should we get caught up with our own interpretations of good taste in the Church be it art, architecture, or technology.  If our ordained, Apostolic , spiritual fathers approve enough to implement such, we as laity need to remain humble enough to accept the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #65 on: April 19, 2012, 03:26:44 PM »

I don't agree that it is fundamentalism to object to screens and projectors in Church. I work with IT every day, but not in Church.

There will never be screens and projectors in my Church. I have many people who do not follow the words in a book for various reasons but it is not difficult to hear the words and make the usual responses.

I find the idea of any sort of screen on the iconostasis to be completely offensive.

I don't mean to sound harsh but I absolutely object to modifying worship in this way. It is not at all a matter of resisting necessary change, nor is it at all like air conditioning. It is changing the relationship of the worshipper to the Liturgy.

If the Liturgy is in the language of the people then there is little need for a regular worship to follow in a book. It is easy to hear and respond to the litanies. The Creed and Lord's Prayer should be well known by heart etc etc. For most of Church history the laity have not followed the words in a book, the Liturgy has been written on their hearts.
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« Reply #66 on: April 20, 2012, 11:57:34 AM »

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



I don't mean to sound harsh but I absolutely object to modifying worship in this way. It is not at all a matter of resisting necessary change, nor is it at all like air conditioning. It is changing the relationship of the worshipper to the Liturgy.


So do you equally and vehemently disagree with the laity reading along with printed Liturgy books?

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #67 on: April 20, 2012, 12:03:59 PM »

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



I don't mean to sound harsh but I absolutely object to modifying worship in this way. It is not at all a matter of resisting necessary change, nor is it at all like air conditioning. It is changing the relationship of the worshipper to the Liturgy.


So do you equally and vehemently disagree with the laity reading along with printed Liturgy books?

stay blessed,
habte selassie

There's a wee bit of difference in the degree of intrusiveness of a small handbook, compared to a large illuminated screen which blocks off part of the iconostasis, no?
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« Reply #68 on: April 20, 2012, 12:42:35 PM »

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



I don't mean to sound harsh but I absolutely object to modifying worship in this way. It is not at all a matter of resisting necessary change, nor is it at all like air conditioning. It is changing the relationship of the worshipper to the Liturgy.


So do you equally and vehemently disagree with the laity reading along with printed Liturgy books?

stay blessed,
habte selassie

There's a wee bit of difference in the degree of intrusiveness of a small handbook, compared to a large illuminated screen which blocks off part of the iconostasis, no?
So if it didn't block off the iconostasis you wouldn't have any problems with it at all?
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« Reply #69 on: April 20, 2012, 12:58:25 PM »



Oh, but that rap scene in the 8 mile movie where he called the black guy out for coming from an upper class family? That was phat pwnage right there!


Watch what you say about 8 Mile!  My church is less than 1/4 mile north of it, and I travel it all the time!  Wink  Don't mess with Detroit!


So do you equally and vehemently disagree with the laity reading along with printed Liturgy books?

stay blessed,
habte selassie

I could never "get" the use of the little books.  The only people who actually should need them are those who don't know the Liturgy or don't speak the language...and that's not always so.  I have attended Liturgy at churches where the only word I understood was "Christos"...but, I still knew what was going on and could follow along in the Liturgy...no need of any book.

Too often people who speak the language, and have attended that parish for 20+ years get lost in these books!  They don't actually "participate" in the Liturgy, instead they are too busy finding their spot, flipping pages, and simply reading...not praying.  Does that make sense?

Use the book to learn, but, once you've learned, put it away.  The Liturgy is the same almost every single Sunday.  No reason not to know the "order" of it.


Now as to no-technology....I'm not sure "no" technology should be a rule.  I prefer no microphones, and definitely no large projectors and screens, however, I have seen the readers referring to their iPhones for the day's readings...it's small and unobtrusive....or to get the list of saints for the day, etc.  I don't think there's anything wrong with it.

We also have electric lights, in addition to the candles, in my church!   Shocked    ....but, then again, we are a few steps from 8 Mile!


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« Reply #70 on: April 20, 2012, 01:10:17 PM »

I was greatly helped by the Greek and English liturgy books. But then, I needed them. To each his own, I guess.
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« Reply #71 on: April 20, 2012, 01:27:18 PM »


Yes, but, you were "new", right?

I'm thinking that after attending the same parish, which speaks your native language, you won't need to keep your eyes on a book, but, will be free to look around at the icons, the priest, etc. 


No?
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« Reply #72 on: April 20, 2012, 01:42:05 PM »

If I saw that in a church I'd walk out. I'm a snob like that.

 Let's first get you to want to go to church, then we'll talk about it.
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« Reply #73 on: April 20, 2012, 01:48:51 PM »


Yes, but, you were "new", right?

I'm thinking that after attending the same parish, which speaks your native language, you won't need to keep your eyes on a book, but, will be free to look around at the icons, the priest, etc. 


No?


True, I can handle most of it with no book now.
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« Reply #74 on: April 20, 2012, 02:05:38 PM »

I'm seeing a lot of rhetorical excess on both sides of this question.

Perhaps we can all agree on two principles:
1) The addition of technological innovations to the worship environment are not inherently bad (mina's AC, all those huge domes)
2) The addition of technological innovations to the worship environment are not inherently good (podkarpasta's recent mention on another thread of neon signs above the Royal Doors dramatic shudder)

Any innovation (technological or otherwise) to the time-honored and time-tested Traditional worship of our Churches is going to be controversial. Some people will think its a good idea (or they wouldn't have suggested it); some people will think its a bad idea. And its only over time and *rational* discussion that we eventually determine if it was good idea that actually enhances the worship and should be retained or a mistake to be put aside.

Personally, I don't like the idea of a projector screen in the Church--unlike a liturgy book, the projector is making a decision for the whole parish rather than leaving it up to the individual to determine if its useful or not. But I don't think those who are trying it out are therefore heretical or idiots.
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« Reply #75 on: April 20, 2012, 02:08:20 PM »

I find the idea of any sort of screen on the iconostasis in church to be completely offensive.

Amen!  I can't believe folks are actually advocating for this!  Screens in the narthex or nave are offensive, gaudy, garish, cheap, tacky and for the lazy MTV generation who refuses to slow down and pay attention for two hours.  This sort of foolishness is for the Protestant Megacircus and I will not stand for it.  Sorry to be so adamant, but down where I come from, we have a saying: "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything!"  And seeing how some Orthodox churches have pews and organs (organs!!), I'd say the expression holds.
 
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« Reply #76 on: April 20, 2012, 02:12:10 PM »

I find the idea of any sort of screen on the iconostasis in church to be completely offensive.

Amen!  I can't believe folks are actually advocating for this!  Screens in the narthex or nave are offensive, gaudy, garish, cheap, tacky and for the lazy MTV generation who refuses to slow down and pay attention for two hours.  This sort of foolishness is for the Protestant Megacircus and I will not stand for it.  Sorry to be so adamant, but down where I come from, we have a saying: "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything!"  And seeing how some Orthodox churches have pews and organs (organs!!), I'd say the expression holds.

This is gonna get some responses.
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« Reply #77 on: April 20, 2012, 02:43:49 PM »

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

I think a few things have been lost in all this discussing..

 Vernacular or not (in Ethiopian tradition, we use Ge'ez, a language which NOBODY speaks, cradle, convert or even realistically clergy and so we all need to follow along a bit more carefully) when folks are using accompanying Liturgy books or heaven help us, a powerpoint slide show, these folks are not reading a magazine, playing on facebook, or otherwise distracting activities, they are reading the Divine Liturgy! How is this a distraction from the liturgy then, when it is precisely the Liturgy which folks are praying and following along? I think it is a bit condescending for folks to be so accusing as if reading the Liturgy book somehow detracted from the Liturgy itself.  If some folks like to pray a bit more fully to the words, what is the harm to them?  The priests have their copy of the Liturgy right on the Altar, and they recite these same words sometimes every single day of the week, and yet no one is scathing against them for not having the entirety committed to memory, why should the laity be held to even stricter standards than the celebrating priests themselves?

stay blessed,
habte selassie


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« Reply #78 on: April 20, 2012, 03:00:19 PM »


Well, since that comment is aimed at me, let me answer.

I once visited a sister church.  This church was Ukrainian, but, the services were all strictly in English because that's the language the parishioners were comfortable with.

First, I arrived early and took a spot in the 3rd row.  A woman, council president no less, comes and tells me I am in her spot.  OK...so, I move down a bit...then she whips out the book and starts flipping pages.  Not only is she lost, she's confusing me with all the noise...then elbowing me to ask "where we are"...when the service is in English and after being at that church for 40+ years she SHOULD KNOW WHERE WE ARE.  She doesn't need a book.  She needs to look up and see what the priest is doing...not fluttering pages.

If I were to tell her that during the Creed the priest flutters the aer over the Chalice and discus, she would be floored...because even though the church is small, and the 3rd row is only a matter of yards from the Altar, I will bet she's never seen this happen.....because she's reading out of her book.

WHY does she need a book?  Please, tell me, why. 

She's so busy reading the map, that she's not looking out the window and noticing God's beauty around her.


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« Reply #79 on: April 20, 2012, 03:06:13 PM »

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


Well, since that comment is aimed at me, let me answer.

I once visited a sister church.  This church was Ukrainian, but, the services were all strictly in English because that's the language the parishioners were comfortable with.

First, I arrived early and took a spot in the 3rd row.  A woman, council president no less, comes and tells me I am in her spot.  OK...so, I move down a bit...then she whips out the book and starts flipping pages.  Not only is she lost, she's confusing me with all the noise...then elbowing me to ask "where we are"...when the service is in English and after being at that church for 40+ years she SHOULD KNOW WHERE WE ARE.  She doesn't need a book.  She needs to look up and see what the priest is doing...not fluttering pages.

If I were to tell her that during the Creed the priest flutters the aer over the Chalice and discus, she would be floored...because even though the church is small, and the 3rd row is only a matter of yards from the Altar, I will bet she's never seen this happen.....because she's reading out of her book.

WHY does she need a book?  Please, tell me, why.  

She's so busy reading the map, that she's not looking out the window and noticing God's beauty around her.




yes but why generalize or conflate a single or handful of negative experiences with what clearly works for many thousands of parishioners who seem to regularly enjoy and benefit from the use of Liturgy books and powerpoints?  My point is just that we shouldn't assume that the books/powerpoints are automatically distracting, sometimes quite the opposite Smiley

as for that woman, I can't speak for her, but perhaps she would have been just as absent minded with the book or not, and that is just her disposition? Again, what about my comments about the priests themselves using the books? Clergy who have celebrated the Liturgy day after day for decades are not expected to memorize the entire text?

The main thing my priests taught me is not to be too concerned with what other people are doing or not doing during Liturgy, as noticing them is perhaps more so a distraction than anything Wink
stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #80 on: April 20, 2012, 03:06:58 PM »

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

I think a few things have been lost in all this discussing..

 Vernacular or not (in Ethiopian tradition, we use Ge'ez, a language which NOBODY speaks, cradle, convert or even realistically clergy and so we all need to follow along a bit more carefully) when folks are using accompanying Liturgy books or heaven help us, a powerpoint slide show, these folks are not reading a magazine, playing on facebook, or otherwise distracting activities, they are reading the Divine Liturgy! How is this a distraction from the liturgy then, when it is precisely the Liturgy which folks are praying and following along? I think it is a bit condescending for folks to be so accusing as if reading the Liturgy book somehow detracted from the Liturgy itself.  If some folks like to pray a bit more fully to the words, what is the harm to them?  The priests have their copy of the Liturgy right on the Altar, and they recite these same words sometimes every single day of the week, and yet no one is scathing against them for not having the entirety committed to memory, why should the laity be held to even stricter standards than the celebrating priests themselves?

stay blessed,
habte selassie




But you are trying to shift the argument to something no one has required, paint that as ridiculous, and then hope we don't notice that it isn't our opinion you've ridiculed, but a shift from it.

No one said it's bad for people to have access to books. The discussion was about projectors. An advantage of books over projectors is that people can choose to pick up a book, or not. Those who benefit from the book can use it, and those who do not can ignore it. With a large bright screen, this is not possible, it is there for those for whom it is a benefit, and those for whom it is a distraction.

The books are a crutch. If someone's leg is too weak to walk, and you don't give them a crutch, it will be very hard for them to gain the strength to walk. But if they keep walking with a crutch permanently instead of letting it go, then then will never relearn to walk properly, they will always be dependent. With the TV, the crutch is forced, and it cannot be put down, so everyone will be made weak.

Now, if the Liturgy is in a dead language, this is an added disability, which will of course necessitate a crutch. It's simply the best that can be done with the disability. But it is wrong to pray the Liturgy in a dead language. The answer is not to build better and better crutches to make due, but never get past the weakness, the right answer is to take away the disability, to pray in vernacular. Wasn't Ge'ez vernacular when it was first used? The spirit of the Gospel and of Orthodoxy requires prayer with understanding, not maintaining dead languages because they used to be used when they were living. But that's another debate.

The priest has to give up freedom of prayer, they are responsible for making sure the Liturgy is conducted in an orderly fashion for the sake of the prayer fo the people. Just like parents sacrifice their prayer to teach their children to pray. So the priest will usually keep a book near them since they are leading, and have to be on the ball with transitions and variable parts. But the people should be able to follow, not having to lead, without such a crutch. If you watch older preist, many of them never look at the book beside them, they are lost in prayer, but it is there with an acolyte keeping it on the right page in case, for the sake of the people.

Again, the book is there if needed, but the priest, and the people should be lost in prayer, referring if and while needed.

The TV on the other hand is always there, you can't start putting it down more and more, it's hard to tune it out. So it's very hard to learn it by heart and let go of the crutch.
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« Reply #81 on: April 20, 2012, 03:10:15 PM »

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



The books are a crutch. If someone's leg is too weak to walk, and you don't give them a crutch, it will be very hard for them to gain the strength to walk. But if they keep walking with a crutch permanently instead of letting it go, then then will never relearn to walk properly, they will always be dependent. With the TV, the crutch is forced, and it cannot be put down, so everyone will be made weak.



So the priests are using spiritual crutches when the lead the celebration reading in Liturgy books as well?

Again, we all should be more careful in how we speak on this issue to mutually respect each other, folks have been borderline condescending..

I am not trying to argue that all parishes should start using Powerpoints, rather just offering the apologetics for parishes like my own which do chose to use this technology Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #82 on: April 20, 2012, 03:15:43 PM »


Would you be able to post a photo of what it looks like?

I'm interested to see how distracting it really is....or not.
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« Reply #83 on: April 20, 2012, 03:47:28 PM »

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



The books are a crutch. If someone's leg is too weak to walk, and you don't give them a crutch, it will be very hard for them to gain the strength to walk. But if they keep walking with a crutch permanently instead of letting it go, then then will never relearn to walk properly, they will always be dependent. With the TV, the crutch is forced, and it cannot be put down, so everyone will be made weak.



So the priests are using spiritual crutches when the lead the celebration reading in Liturgy books as well?

Again, we all should be more careful in how we speak on this issue to mutually respect each other, folks have been borderline condescending..

I am not trying to argue that all parishes should start using Powerpoints, rather just offering the apologetics for parishes like my own which do chose to use this technology Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie

I addressed very clearly in my post why it is more needful for priests to make use of the books, and that the advantage of books is that those who benefit from them can use them without disrupting those who are distracted by them. If anyone has been condescending, it is you for beginning this thread by demanding that everyone immediately relinquish their opinion and accept yours:

"I can only add one thing, lets all agree to get over it!".

If your opinion is that projectors are beneficial, that the pros outweigh the cons, then argue that. You haven't been defending that position, you have been attacking people who have a different opinion than yourself. If you want me to change my opinion, stop calling me condescending for disagreeing with you, and convince me of your position.

Whether you like it or not, it is perfectly legitimate for us to discuss the appropriateness of a practise that is being introduced into our Liturgical worship.
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« Reply #84 on: April 20, 2012, 04:16:03 PM »

There's a small Coptic parish a few hours away. They place the screens so that, they're completely visible to the congregation, but, they don't obscure, distract from, or block the iconostasis. I'm sure liturgical books can be rather expensive and difficult to follow for the inquirer and Church veteran alike. So long as the screens help the people to participate more fully in the Liturgy and don't detract from worship, I think they're a viable option.

Liza, I'll try to find a few pictures of the screens in this particular church. There are only two in the parish: one on the left and one on the right side. It's nothing like what "mega churches" have, really.
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« Reply #85 on: April 20, 2012, 04:30:03 PM »


Would you be able to post a photo of what it looks like?

I'm interested to see how distracting it really is....or not.

This is a picture of the Coptic Church near me. They have two TV's off to the sides and one screen way up at the top in the middle; unfortunately, the screen is rolled up in this pic. I've never found it too distracting since if you look directly at the altar you can usually ignore the screens until you need them.

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« Reply #86 on: April 20, 2012, 04:51:35 PM »

There's a small Coptic parish a few hours away. They place the screens so that, they're completely visible to the congregation, but, they don't obscure, distract from, or block the iconostasis. I'm sure liturgical books can be rather expensive and difficult to follow for the inquirer and Church veteran alike. So long as the screens help the people to participate more fully in the Liturgy and don't detract from worship, I think they're a viable option.

Liza, I'll try to find a few pictures of the screens in this particular church. There are only two in the parish: one on the left and one on the right side. It's nothing like what "mega churches" have, really.
Yes. Precisely!  I think it's very disrespectful for anyone to criticize something they haven't seen and call it a mega church Protestant style.  When I get the time, I'll take a picture of my church as well.  I agree that if it doesn't block the iconostasis, then it should be fine. 

And the argument about distraction:  frankly the Coptic Church while does use icons does not go overboard as some Greek churches do (which I don't criticize; I think it's beautiful and I stand in awe when being in a church like that).  I get very distracted when being in a church like that, and it would probably take me about a week or two to adjust.  This whole "distraction" argument in my opinion doesnt really hold strongly.  Its not like theyre playing movies on them.  If you like, close your eyes in prayer, which is what you're supposed to do anyway.
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« Reply #87 on: April 20, 2012, 05:06:08 PM »

If the Liturgy is in the language of the people then there is little need for a regular worship to follow in a book.

Father you said it, and there's no arguing with you here.  But that isn't the case always with Copts.
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« Reply #88 on: April 20, 2012, 05:51:27 PM »


Would you be able to post a photo of what it looks like?

I'm interested to see how distracting it really is....or not.

This is a picture of the Coptic Church near me. They have two TV's off to the sides and one screen way up at the top in the middle; unfortunately, the screen is rolled up in this pic. I've never found it too distracting since if you look directly at the altar you can usually ignore the screens until you need them.



It's a pretty church.  I would love to see the dome better.

However, what exactly is the purpose of the screens?  I see there are books, already. 

In other words, do the screens show what's happening in the altar?  Or do they project words?
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« Reply #89 on: April 20, 2012, 06:01:02 PM »


Would you be able to post a photo of what it looks like?

I'm interested to see how distracting it really is....or not.

This is a picture of the Coptic Church near me. They have two TV's off to the sides and one screen way up at the top in the middle; unfortunately, the screen is rolled up in this pic. I've never found it too distracting since if you look directly at the altar you can usually ignore the screens until you need them.



It's a pretty church.  I would love to see the dome better.

However, what exactly is the purpose of the screens?  I see there are books, already. 

In other words, do the screens show what's happening in the altar?  Or do they project words?

The screens project the words of the liturgy in three languages, English, Coptic, and Arabic. They're also used to project PowerPoint slides during the homily.
For the books I don't remember seeing any actual service books, mostly just Bibles. The books that weren't Bibles were mostly in Arabic I think for the more traditional people.
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« Reply #90 on: April 21, 2012, 12:53:11 AM »


Would you be able to post a photo of what it looks like?

I'm interested to see how distracting it really is....or not.

This is a picture of the Coptic Church near me. They have two TV's off to the sides and one screen way up at the top in the middle; unfortunately, the screen is rolled up in this pic. I've never found it too distracting since if you look directly at the altar you can usually ignore the screens until you need them.



Just to give a perspective of our placement of the screens, it would be directly above the icons of the Apostles rather than to the side.  Our ceilings are high enough for that to occur.
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« Reply #91 on: April 21, 2012, 04:23:19 PM »


Would you be able to post a photo of what it looks like?

I'm interested to see how distracting it really is....or not.

This is a picture of the Coptic Church near me. They have two TV's off to the sides and one screen way up at the top in the middle; unfortunately, the screen is rolled up in this pic. I've never found it too distracting since if you look directly at the altar you can usually ignore the screens until you need them.



Just to give a perspective of our placement of the screens, it would be directly above the icons of the Apostles rather than to the side.  Our ceilings are high enough for that to occur.

This size and placement of TV screens may actually be an improvement over using books, because people can be looking up at the service rather than, to repeat a phrase I used previously, "having their noses buried in some book."
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« Reply #92 on: April 21, 2012, 04:40:03 PM »

If the technology existed back in the time of the apostles, do you think they would have used TVs too? What about microphones and speakers? They seem to be beneficial. This may be the left over protestant in me, but I dont get why its such a big deal.  When the printing press was invented, that was ground breaking technology.  By using books, arent you still using a form of technology that didnt exist in the early days of the Church?

I know Im not really qualified to speak on this topic, but these are just a few thoughts I had.
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« Reply #93 on: April 21, 2012, 07:16:44 PM »

Books did exist in the early Church, as scrolls.
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« Reply #94 on: April 21, 2012, 07:26:43 PM »

Books did exist in the early Church, as scrolls.
Yes but they were rare, handwritten and most probably not available to the laity; who likely couldn't even read.
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« Reply #95 on: April 21, 2012, 10:48:16 PM »

Books did exist in the early Church, as scrolls.
Yes but they were rare, handwritten and most probably not available to the laity; who likely couldn't even read.

Exactly. You dont have "scrolls" in the back of the pews. You have books, printed on a printing press. Probably an even more modern version of it. It was the TV/projector of its day.
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« Reply #96 on: April 21, 2012, 10:50:08 PM »

Honestly, I dont care either way.  I guess my point is that I dont see why its such a big deal.  I can understand not wanting instruments or rock bands, but in a country where Orthodoxy is in the minority, not everyone is completely familiar with the liturgy like they would be in Greece, Cyprus, Russia, etc.  I can see why they would be beneficial.  
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« Reply #97 on: April 22, 2012, 12:00:41 AM »

Honestly, I dont care either way.  I guess my point is that I dont see why its such a big deal.  I can understand not wanting instruments or rock bands, but in a country where Orthodoxy is in the minority, not everyone is completely familiar with the liturgy like they would be in Greece, Cyprus, Russia, etc.  I can see why they would be beneficial.  

God bless, Timon. I think a lot of people are just worried about maintaining the integrity of liturgical worship.
Still, I've seen the screens in use and they do serve, at least in the eyes of this novice, a legitimate function. Service books are not cheap, especially for a small parish, and the TVs provide an excellent solution... that is, until illuminated manuscripts become cost-effective  Wink
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« Reply #98 on: April 22, 2012, 12:38:37 AM »

I certainly see how projectors would be useful, and I don't have anything against technology, but I can see how it would be distracting. A bright screen with shifting text would be constantly catching the eye and until you can learn to tune it out if you don't need it, it would be quite maddening.

Pointing out that this would have a negative economic impact on the often small, religious publishers of service books. I know charity can't always be a consideration for businesses, but still.
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« Reply #99 on: April 22, 2012, 03:21:10 AM »

Honestly, I dont care either way.  I guess my point is that I dont see why its such a big deal.  I can understand not wanting instruments or rock bands, but in a country where Orthodoxy is in the minority, not everyone is completely familiar with the liturgy like they would be in Greece, Cyprus, Russia, etc.  I can see why they would be beneficial.  

God bless, Timon. I think a lot of people are just worried about maintaining the integrity of liturgical worship.
Still, I've seen the screens in use and they do serve, at least in the eyes of this novice, a legitimate function. Service books are not cheap, especially for a small parish, and the TVs provide an excellent solution... that is, until illuminated manuscripts become cost-effective  Wink

I'm sure there's an app for that
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« Reply #100 on: April 22, 2012, 04:08:49 AM »

Quote
Service books are not cheap, especially for a small parish,

Service books don't need to be expensive. A small parish near where I live has bilingual service books available, not just for Liturgy, but for the major feasts as well. They have been compiled and printed by a parishioner, using a computer, domestic printer, and binding equipment available ay any office supplies store. It can be done.
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« Reply #101 on: April 22, 2012, 09:51:19 AM »

To me it's not about price.  Liturgies can be compiled if one is able to follow along.  My experience in the Malankara church really convinced me the screens are that much more useful, especially when I have that desire to participate in prayer at parts when I don't understand what is said.
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« Reply #102 on: April 22, 2012, 08:16:16 PM »

One thing I notice is people, keep referencing bright screens. A bright white screen with black print would have quite a footprint. A dark background with brighter print, however, or even a background colored to blend in with the paint on the wall it's mounted on with contrasting text even if it's the same physical size would have a much smaller visual footprint.

As a bonus we do have an Old Testament precedent with God's writting on the wall in the book of Daniel. Grin
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« Reply #103 on: April 23, 2012, 01:27:50 AM »

This is what most Coptic Churches that do have screens use:

http://stshenoudajc.org/coptic-presentations/about-coptic-presentations-mainmenu-39

It is indeed a black background and white lettering.
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« Reply #104 on: April 23, 2012, 12:46:10 PM »

Timon, churches never did have copies of the liturgy in the pews. Most Christians have never expected to follow along in the liturgy. They are called to participate in it. It is a very modern and false concern.

You do not need to know the full text of the Liturgy to participate. It just needs to be in a language you can understand and it needs to be attended to with care and attention. I am not very keen on my congregation having their nose in a book, or eyes on a screen. The laity parts are usually very straightforward and do not require following along in a book or on a screen. 90% of the laity parts are 'Kyrie Eleison/Lord have mercy', 'And with thy spirit', 'To you O Lord', the Creed and the Lord's Prayer. The litanies are to be heard and responded to, not read by the congregation. It is as if we are attending a performance of the Royal Shakespeare Company and are insisting on having all the words appearing on projectors around the stage. This changes entirely the relationship of performers and audience in a negative manner.

If the Liturgy is not in the language of the people then that is the problem. If you are visiting then there is value perhaps in following along (but I am not at all convinced that the Liturgy is to be 'followed along'). But there is no reason at all to modify the entire liturgical relationship with the congregation in case there is a visitor.
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« Reply #105 on: April 23, 2012, 01:05:26 PM »

Timon, churches never did have copies of the liturgy in the pews. Most Christians have never expected to follow along in the liturgy. They are called to participate in it. It is a very modern and false concern.

You do not need to know the full text of the Liturgy to participate. It just needs to be in a language you can understand and it needs to be attended to with care and attention. I am not very keen on my congregation having their nose in a book, or eyes on a screen. The laity parts are usually very straightforward and do not require following along in a book or on a screen. 90% of the laity parts are 'Kyrie Eleison/Lord have mercy', 'And with thy spirit', 'To you O Lord', the Creed and the Lord's Prayer. The litanies are to be heard and responded to, not read by the congregation. It is as if we are attending a performance of the Royal Shakespeare Company and are insisting on having all the words appearing on projectors around the stage. This changes entirely the relationship of performers and audience in a negative manner.

If the Liturgy is not in the language of the people then that is the problem. If you are visiting then there is value perhaps in following along (but I am not at all convinced that the Liturgy is to be 'followed along'). But there is no reason at all to modify the entire liturgical relationship with the congregation in case there is a visitor.

Father Peter,

I see your point that liturgy doesnt really require people to "follow along."  In fact when I first began visiting Orthodox liturgies, all I really wanted to do is sit there (or stand) and watch for the most part.  Sure, I participated in the Litanies, Lords prayer, and Creed, but for the most part I just wanted to observe as I was so unfamiliar with the Tradition.  I would imagine thats how most visitors feel too.  I was distracted by the book they gave me as I felt like I had to look at them.  When I wasnt looking at the book, a member would just assumed that I was lost and try to help me find my place in the book when all I really wanted to do was watch, pray, and begin to familiarize myself with the services.

I guess I can see how TVs could be beneficial if people needed to follow along, but I also recognize that it may not be necessary.  My opinion doesnt really matter anyways.  I just wanted to share a couple ideas that i had. 
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« Reply #106 on: April 23, 2012, 01:06:03 PM »

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

Timon, churches never did have copies of the liturgy in the pews. Most Christians have never expected to follow along in the liturgy. They are called to participate in it. It is a very modern and false concern.

You do not need to know the full text of the Liturgy to participate. It just needs to be in a language you can understand and it needs to be attended to with care and attention.

If the Liturgy is not in the language of the people then that is the problem. If you are visiting then there is value perhaps in following along (but I am not at all convinced that the Liturgy is to be 'followed along'). But there is no reason at all to modify the entire liturgical relationship with the congregation in case there is a visitor.

No disrespect Father, but in the Ethiopian tradition the laity fulfilling and singing their accompanying parts of the Liturgy have always been as crucial as the celebrating priests themselves and is not then a modern invention or anachronism in at least Ethiopian Orthodoxy.  True, the printed books were rarer than our clergies would have liked, but our churches have always been filled with unordained Debtera who are chanting scribes.  During our Vigil services (Mahalet) these debtera actually play a crucial role in chanting the prayers with the celebrating clergies.  That being said, while all the laity have not been expected or had the best opportunities at being educated in the Liturgy, many unordained and therefore lay members have always played crucial roles in our liturgical services.  This is why our priests in the modern era have so emphatically embrace the technology of the printing press and then the Powerpoint.  

Further, our liturgy has always been in a language which even the priests do not strictly speak or necessarily comprehend, and so our parishes need this enhancement to assist folks in learning their parts while also having the ability to translate into understood vernaculars which greatly enhance the depth and profundity of the experience when the people not only know how to sing their parts, but also fully comprehend their inherent meanings.

We can of course respect where you are coming from, and I understand the apprehensions about folks getting too caught up in reading rather than praying, but what they are reading are prayers!  Further, couldn't we have a let by-gones be by-gones approach, where y'all kindly don't hate on us considering we are never trying to force our technology on other jurisdictions? We understand where y'all are coming from, perhaps y'all could pray to better empathize rather than vilifying us?

stay blessed,
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« Reply #107 on: April 23, 2012, 01:34:00 PM »

I have to admit that I have a much greater problem with liturgy in a language that is not understood, even by clergy, than with the use of projector screens. That seems to me to be the biggest issue. Worship should be in a language understood by the people.

But I do believe that projector screens change the relationship of participants to the liturgy and should be rejected. This has nothing to do with any particular jurisdiction, as if my opinion mattered in any case. But I believe that it is as negative as allowing instruments in worship. And reading prayers is not why we attend the liturgy, it is to pray prayers. It is to respond, as laity, with a spiritual dynamic to the contributions of the clergy, and vice-versa. If we are struggling to find a place in a book, and not even sure that the English we are reading matches the <X-Language> that is being pronounced then we are not participating. This is the issue with not using the vernacular in worship.

I don't mean this hyper-critically as if I would walk out of any Orthodox Church. But this is my opinion.
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« Reply #108 on: April 23, 2012, 01:38:10 PM »

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

I have to admit that I have a much greater problem with liturgy in a language that is not understood, even by clergy, than with the use of projector screens. That seems to me to be the biggest issue. Worship should be in a language understood by the people.

But I do believe that projector screens change the relationship of participants to the liturgy and should be rejected. This has nothing to do with any particular jurisdiction, as if my opinion mattered in any case. But I believe that it is as negative as allowing instruments in worship. And reading prayers is not why we attend the liturgy, it is to pray prayers. It is to respond, as laity, with a spiritual dynamic to the contributions of the clergy, and vice-versa. If we are struggling to find a place in a book, and not even sure that the English we are reading matches the <X-Language> that is being pronounced then we are not participating. This is the issue with not using the vernacular in worship.

I don't mean this hyper-critically as if I would walk out of any Orthodox Church. But this is my opinion.

Again, no disrespect but we in the Ethiopian tradition have a radically different opinion about several things you've expressed here.  My point is not to criticize or attack your positions, rather just to share with you and others here our Ethiopian perspective in regards to liturgical languages, the level of laity involvement, and the use of Powerpoint since you may not be aware Smiley

stay blessed,
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« Reply #109 on: April 23, 2012, 01:48:34 PM »

I appreciate that you have a different view, but it is possible to believe, respectfully, that it is not correct to celebrate the liturgy in a language that is not understood.

This is my view. I believe that it is justified by the history of Orthodoxy. Surely the reason that Ge'ez was used was because it was the vernacular of the Axumite empire? In Orthodoxy the liturgy should be in the vernacular. It always was. If it was then certainly in the West there would be much less need for any projectors.
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« Reply #110 on: April 23, 2012, 02:17:53 PM »

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

I appreciate that you have a different view, but it is possible to believe, respectfully, that it is not correct to celebrate the liturgy in a language that is not understood.

This is my view. I believe that it is justified by the history of Orthodoxy. Surely the reason that Ge'ez was used was because it was the vernacular of the Axumite empire? In Orthodoxy the liturgy should be in the vernacular. It always was. If it was then certainly in the West there would be much less need for any projectors.

Again, Father, I am not challenging your opinions, nor trying to persuade you, more so inform Smiley

Our Liturgy is in Ge'ez, a language that hasn't been spoken as a vernacular in at least 500 years, but our fathers have consistently copied, updated translations, and preferred a Ge'ez Liturgy, even with vernacular translations to accompany and enhance.  My Ethiopian fathers have explained to me that this reason is because the musical notation for our three Liturgical modes of chanting do not readily adapt for translations into other languages.  True, the Ethiopian Syllabic Alphabet is the same for Ge'ez and vernaculars such as Amharic, however the syllables do not match in translations, and so I understand the musical notation does not match.  While I assume the fathers could  devise an adapted system to work the musical notation into translations, for whatever reasons they have insistently refused and instead expanded and enhanced the Ge'ez versions across the past 1500 years continuously.  Again, I am not trying to persuade you to suddenly follow our traditions, however, I could hope that as a priest from a sister jurisdiction you could be a bit more reverent in your criticisms, we are not intentionally being rebellious, rather our differences are from our genuine uniqueness even within the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church.  In fact, I thought that kind of flexibility between jurisdictions is entirely what has traditionally separated the contrastingly rigid Latin and Orthodox experience as to how exactly to define and maintain "universal"

All the same, I am sorry we seem to have a misunderstanding, but my honest intentions are to share my faith and the experience of my jurisdiction, not to be antagonistic to you or y'all Smiley

I respect and revere other jurisdictions decisions to use vernaculars and to reject projectors, however, I must also politely respect the tradition of my own jurisdiction first and foremost.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #111 on: April 23, 2012, 08:57:38 PM »

I have to admit that I have a much greater problem with liturgy in a language that is not understood, even by clergy, than with the use of projector screens. That seems to me to be the biggest issue. Worship should be in a language understood by the people.

But I do believe that projector screens change the relationship of participants to the liturgy and should be rejected. This has nothing to do with any particular jurisdiction, as if my opinion mattered in any case. But I believe that it is as negative as allowing instruments in worship. And reading prayers is not why we attend the liturgy, it is to pray prayers. It is to respond, as laity, with a spiritual dynamic to the contributions of the clergy, and vice-versa. If we are struggling to find a place in a book, and not even sure that the English we are reading matches the <X-Language> that is being pronounced then we are not participating. This is the issue with not using the vernacular in worship.

I don't mean this hyper-critically as if I would walk out of any Orthodox Church. But this is my opinion.
Father, I personally agree with you that the vernacular is extremely important, and if the Orthodox churches actually knew the value of the vernacular, we probably wouldn't need any books or screens in the Church.

Nevertheless, I don't see how you can think the use of instruments is bad, so long as we don't cross the line.  Just as not any music is chosen, not any instruments are chosen either.  I will admit, we as Copts can do away with our cymbals and triangles, as our congregational voices are beautiful enough.  But I can't imagine the Ethiopians do away with their array of drums and dances as they seem to be an intrinsic part of their liturgical tradition.

In the end, we make due with whatever we can.  If the vernacular isn't chanted, especially since people in Church are so prideful to keep their original languages as if they were "holy" in their nature, then I see a necessity in screens, even more so than books.  Perhaps you can call them a necessary evil to reflect the sad state of our "unuse" of vernacular.
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« Reply #112 on: April 23, 2012, 09:22:57 PM »

Hmmm. I suppose our situation in Albquerque is a bit outside of this discussion, then? If they got rid of the screen, there would be some people who would not be able to understand what was going on in the liturgy, since there are some non-Anglophones among us and the liturgy is majority English (75-80%). It would be a little unfair to them, I think, to expect them to learn it in situ in the context of the liturgy. I mean, I've been attending for the better part of a year, and my Arabic certainly has not gotten measurably better (and that is pretty much all that is used in the post-liturgy Agpeya meal conversations, since I am the only native English-speaker).
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« Reply #113 on: April 23, 2012, 11:48:58 PM »

Hi, I recently went to a few Orthodox churches and I noticed that they had projector or tv screens positioned immediately above the iconostasis or to the side of the iconostasis during the divine liturgy.
So is it true then that Orthodox do not allow musical instrumentation during the service, but they do allow projector screens?
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« Reply #114 on: April 24, 2012, 12:18:05 AM »

Hi, I recently went to a few Orthodox churches and I noticed that they had projector or tv screens positioned immediately above the iconostasis or to the side of the iconostasis during the divine liturgy.
So is it true then that Orthodox do not allow musical instrumentation during the service, but they do allow projector screens?

Most churches don't generally use instruments, though there is some use of bells, cymbals and triangles as Mina mentioned can be found in Coptic Churches, drums in Ethiopian churches and some Churches in the US have allowed the use of organs. But generally music is acappella.

TVs and screen projectors are very rare except perhaps in the African churches and as this thread suggests are somewhat controversial.

On another note it occurs to me that an additional factor for consideration in the value of TVs/projectors is the nature of congregational participation. If the primary participation, as was the case in one church visited is observation, while a choir or chanter does all the singing I see little need for them. For that matter if most congregational responses are "Lord have mercy" or the equivalent again I don't see so much need. If however, most of the service is sung by the congregation then I can see more need.
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« Reply #115 on: April 26, 2012, 04:43:56 AM »

Christ is Risen!

Selam to all  Smiley

Dear Father, the DL on Sundays is done mixed with geez and amharic. the reading part  in Amharic as far as I  know and the sung parts are mostly repetitions of few lines over and over throughout the liturgy in geez which makes it relatively easier to follow, on other days, it could be as 75% of the DL is in Ge’ez.  You can listen to the English liturgy on this link and the usage of Amharic is exactly the same in the Liturgy, so you can gauge the percentage of language usage. all that is sung is sung in geez however all that can be read is read in Amharic. http://ethiopianorthodox.org/churchmusic/liturgyinenglish/geeze.html . This improvement on the Sundays is a huge leap by itself and is the result of knowing that it is the responsibility of the Church that the vernacular is what should be used for the DL. However there is still no work done to turn the vernacular to be sung like the Ge’ez for various organizational and leadership problems. The demand of some to restrict the liturgical usage of the vernacular is quite contrary to the orthodox theology. Its as if the Pentecost has thought some nothing as to the deep value of language in spreading the Gospel and in worshiping mindfully. They are very few however, and now there is great effort to correct this. I hope and pray along many Ethiopians that soon we will get our act together and properly carry out the Church’s apostolic mission and her worship in the working language of the people : from all ethnic languages of Ethiopia to English and other languages of the countries of her mission.

I want to address the musical instruments during DL in Ethiopian Orthodox Churches, I think there might be a misunderstanding of their role during the DL because  the only instrument that makes sound by itself and that is used during the Divine Liturgy is the bell. The drums and the cymbals etc. are never used with the DL it Is all  acappella . The Choir ( the Cantors)  is the one that uses those instruments during the Church’s other Liturgical services. For instance those musical instruments are used before and after the DL  to sing the Liturgical hymns of the day.

The projectors and screens , I am afraid are a necessary evil so to speak. Wish they weren’t .

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« Reply #116 on: April 26, 2012, 08:50:30 AM »

Christ is Risen!

Recently I attended an Ethiopian church Divine Liturgy in London and was surprised at the amount of English used. I could understand enough and if needed there was a nice new English liturgy book to refer to. The priest (first language English) called out page numbers to refer to in the book.

Very hopeful!
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« Reply #117 on: April 26, 2012, 02:02:32 PM »

Hi, I recently went to a few Orthodox churches and I noticed that they had projector or tv screens positioned immediately above the iconostasis or to the side of the iconostasis during the divine liturgy.
So is it true then that Orthodox do not allow musical instrumentation during the service, but they do allow projector screens?

Most churches don't generally use instruments, though there is some use of bells, cymbals and triangles as Mina mentioned can be found in Coptic Churches, drums in Ethiopian churches and some Churches in the US have allowed the use of organs. But generally music is acappella.

TVs and screen projectors are very rare except perhaps in the African churches and as this thread suggests are somewhat controversial.

On another note it occurs to me that an additional factor for consideration in the value of TVs/projectors is the nature of congregational participation. If the primary participation, as was the case in one church visited is observation, while a choir or chanter does all the singing I see little need for them. For that matter if most congregational responses are "Lord have mercy" or the equivalent again I don't see so much need. If however, most of the service is sung by the congregation then I can see more need.
So there is no rule against the use of organs during the DL? Somehow I thought there was.
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« Reply #118 on: April 26, 2012, 07:58:13 PM »

Hi, I recently went to a few Orthodox churches and I noticed that they had projector or tv screens positioned immediately above the iconostasis or to the side of the iconostasis during the divine liturgy.
So is it true then that Orthodox do not allow musical instrumentation during the service, but they do allow projector screens?

Most churches don't generally use instruments, though there is some use of bells, cymbals and triangles as Mina mentioned can be found in Coptic Churches, drums in Ethiopian churches and some Churches in the US have allowed the use of organs. But generally music is acappella.

TVs and screen projectors are very rare except perhaps in the African churches and as this thread suggests are somewhat controversial.

On another note it occurs to me that an additional factor for consideration in the value of TVs/projectors is the nature of congregational participation. If the primary participation, as was the case in one church visited is observation, while a choir or chanter does all the singing I see little need for them. For that matter if most congregational responses are "Lord have mercy" or the equivalent again I don't see so much need. If however, most of the service is sung by the congregation then I can see more need.
So there is no rule against the use of organs during the DL? Somehow I thought there was.
Rule? I don't know, but in so much as there are some, I would guess not or at least not universally.
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« Reply #119 on: April 26, 2012, 09:58:08 PM »

Hi, I recently went to a few Orthodox churches and I noticed that they had projector or tv screens positioned immediately above the iconostasis or to the side of the iconostasis during the divine liturgy.
So is it true then that Orthodox do not allow musical instrumentation during the service, but they do allow projector screens?

Most churches don't generally use instruments, though there is some use of bells, cymbals and triangles as Mina mentioned can be found in Coptic Churches, drums in Ethiopian churches and some Churches in the US have allowed the use of organs. But generally music is acappella.

TVs and screen projectors are very rare except perhaps in the African churches and as this thread suggests are somewhat controversial.

On another note it occurs to me that an additional factor for consideration in the value of TVs/projectors is the nature of congregational participation. If the primary participation, as was the case in one church visited is observation, while a choir or chanter does all the singing I see little need for them. For that matter if most congregational responses are "Lord have mercy" or the equivalent again I don't see so much need. If however, most of the service is sung by the congregation then I can see more need.
So there is no rule against the use of organs during the DL? Somehow I thought there was.

There is no rule. The tradition is very much one of a cappella music, and many of us feel fairly strongly that maintaining that tradition is most consistent with the overall dignity and spirit of our worship, but it's not a violation of any actual rule to use instruments.
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« Reply #120 on: May 02, 2013, 08:51:06 PM »

Sorry for bumping this thread, but I promised before to share with you pictures of my parish's use of the projector screens, so here's two photos from facebook I found (notice also the computer screens on the iconostasis):



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« Reply #121 on: May 03, 2013, 12:03:51 AM »

On reflection, it makes sense,particularly in a church with a lot of converts. Liturgy is complex and service books can be hard to follow. I guess it's just the modern equivalent of the ancient cantor.
There is some truth to this. I've asked for help finding my place in an Armenian liturgy book before, but the Coptic ones have the place on the screen. You just can't take it home with you afterwards to read and learn prayers from.
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« Reply #122 on: May 03, 2013, 01:47:42 AM »

To me it's not about price.  Liturgies can be compiled if one is able to follow along.  My experience in the Malankara church really convinced me the screens are that much more useful, especially when I have that desire to participate in prayer at parts when I don't understand what is said.

Mina obviously wants to start a fight with the repeated attacks on the Malankara church... Tongue

Personally, I find myself on the side of not having projectors, but only books (if needed).  But I think the variability of the liturgy, the organization of the book, and the role of the congregation all play a factor in whether projectors are useful. 

Armenians pray in classical Armenian, and use no vernacular except maybe for the two or three readings (in my experience).  The priest's prayers are, by and large, taken silently, and the variable portions of the liturgy are sung by the choir and/or deacons; I've seen very little congregational singing.  But they have a nice book, at least in the US (contains the entire liturgy).  It's not too thick, but the pages are pretty big, so it's annoying to hold after a while.  But it's easy enough to use, esp. when the parish has some LED sign with the page number displayed in red.  Once you are familiar enough with the order of the liturgy, you don't even need the sign, but unless you know classical Armenian or don't care about having even a rudimentary understanding of what's being prayed at any moment, the book is useful.  I don't see how a projector would beneficial in this context. 

Indians in the US pray in a mix of Malayalam and English; usually the majority of the service is in one language, but readings and some litanies may be done in the other.  There is congregational singing, whether or not there's a choir, but for the most part, the responses (much more than just Kyrie eleison and Amen, btw) and hymns are the same every Sunday, so they can be committed to memory eventually, at least in one language.  The variable portions are included in the book, which is fairly small and light (it only contains the deacons' and people's parts, as the priest's parts are part aloud and part silent, and there are so many anaphoras that could be chosen on any given day that it makes no sense to bother printing those).  Thus, the book is not a terrible inconvenience to use in worship; when propers are sung, the page number will be announced by whomever is leading the singing.  If there happen to be no proper texts for the day, generic texts will be sung, and those are usually committed to memory, so no announcement needs to be made, they'll just start singing.  Personally, I don't think a projector would be beneficial here; newcomers and visitors can be helped along in following the liturgy by a) someone who helps them with the book, or b) just taking it in. 

I suspect, though I have no experience to back it up, that the Syrians in the US have the same basic experience as the Indians, but with different languages being employed. 

My experience with the Copts, however, is quite different.  I don't know how Copts who grew up in the Church and know their rites well enough feel about projectors, but I certainly find it helpful.  All the parishes I've visited use three languages almost interchangeably; it's not uncommon to have priests switch among the three languages in the middle of one long-ish prayer during the anaphora, for example.  There are variable texts that seem longer than anything I'm used to just in terms of how long they are (without taking the chanting style into consideration).  These, too, get divvy'd up into different languages.  There are a number of readings, not all of which are in English.  There's so much linguistic transition going on.  And the rite itself is not visibly similar enough to other rites that you could just "tell" where you were in the service beyond "First we read and then we eat".  Byzantine, Syriac, and Armenian liturgy (collectively, the bulk of Eastern Christianity) follow a very similar plan in the rite of the Eucharist; Coptic liturgy flows differently.  I've used liturgy books in Coptic parishes in the past; they are bulky (they contain everyone's parts for everything for Vespers, Matins, and the Liturgy, including three anaphoras), and if you don't know how the liturgy works, you'll get lost fast.  No one I've worshipped with ever seemed comfortable enough with the liturgy and  the book to get me back on the right page.  With a projector, everyone's "on the same page" with all the variation in text and language.  It doesn't offend the eyes, and the computer programs created for this purpose are really good.  The only time it really is a distraction is when someone doesn't know how to operate the projector or the computer program, or is not quick enough to flip to the next page.  That's annoying and distracting.  But assuming the person in charge of the computer knows what they're doing, I find it helpful to my participation.  And it seems that there is congregational singing in Coptic parishes, so having texts displayed in all three languages helps you to keep up.  If you don't need or want the projector, it's usually easy enough to tune it out.   

I prefer books to projectors, and vernacular to classical languages, but we are in this world, not in our ideal world.  And while we ought to work toward improving things, we may need to use crutches to walk from time to time.  In most cases, my experience is that a book works just fine for this purpose.  But strange as it may sound to some, I think projectors work better for the Copts.
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« Reply #123 on: May 05, 2013, 07:51:48 AM »

To me it's not about price.  Liturgies can be compiled if one is able to follow along.  My experience in the Malankara church really convinced me the screens are that much more useful, especially when I have that desire to participate in prayer at parts when I don't understand what is said.

Mina obviously wants to start a fight with the repeated attacks on the Malankara church... Tongue

Personally, I find myself on the side of not having projectors, but only books (if needed).  But I think the variability of the liturgy, the organization of the book, and the role of the congregation all play a factor in whether projectors are useful. 

Armenians pray in classical Armenian, and use no vernacular except maybe for the two or three readings (in my experience).  The priest's prayers are, by and large, taken silently, and the variable portions of the liturgy are sung by the choir and/or deacons; I've seen very little congregational singing.  But they have a nice book, at least in the US (contains the entire liturgy).  It's not too thick, but the pages are pretty big, so it's annoying to hold after a while.  But it's easy enough to use, esp. when the parish has some LED sign with the page number displayed in red.  Once you are familiar enough with the order of the liturgy, you don't even need the sign, but unless you know classical Armenian or don't care about having even a rudimentary understanding of what's being prayed at any moment, the book is useful.  I don't see how a projector would beneficial in this context. 

Indians in the US pray in a mix of Malayalam and English; usually the majority of the service is in one language, but readings and some litanies may be done in the other.  There is congregational singing, whether or not there's a choir, but for the most part, the responses (much more than just Kyrie eleison and Amen, btw) and hymns are the same every Sunday, so they can be committed to memory eventually, at least in one language.  The variable portions are included in the book, which is fairly small and light (it only contains the deacons' and people's parts, as the priest's parts are part aloud and part silent, and there are so many anaphoras that could be chosen on any given day that it makes no sense to bother printing those).  Thus, the book is not a terrible inconvenience to use in worship; when propers are sung, the page number will be announced by whomever is leading the singing.  If there happen to be no proper texts for the day, generic texts will be sung, and those are usually committed to memory, so no announcement needs to be made, they'll just start singing.  Personally, I don't think a projector would be beneficial here; newcomers and visitors can be helped along in following the liturgy by a) someone who helps them with the book, or b) just taking it in. 

I suspect, though I have no experience to back it up, that the Syrians in the US have the same basic experience as the Indians, but with different languages being employed. 

My experience with the Copts, however, is quite different.  I don't know how Copts who grew up in the Church and know their rites well enough feel about projectors, but I certainly find it helpful.  All the parishes I've visited use three languages almost interchangeably; it's not uncommon to have priests switch among the three languages in the middle of one long-ish prayer during the anaphora, for example.  There are variable texts that seem longer than anything I'm used to just in terms of how long they are (without taking the chanting style into consideration).  These, too, get divvy'd up into different languages.  There are a number of readings, not all of which are in English.  There's so much linguistic transition going on.  And the rite itself is not visibly similar enough to other rites that you could just "tell" where you were in the service beyond "First we read and then we eat".  Byzantine, Syriac, and Armenian liturgy (collectively, the bulk of Eastern Christianity) follow a very similar plan in the rite of the Eucharist; Coptic liturgy flows differently.  I've used liturgy books in Coptic parishes in the past; they are bulky (they contain everyone's parts for everything for Vespers, Matins, and the Liturgy, including three anaphoras), and if you don't know how the liturgy works, you'll get lost fast.  No one I've worshipped with ever seemed comfortable enough with the liturgy and  the book to get me back on the right page.  With a projector, everyone's "on the same page" with all the variation in text and language.  It doesn't offend the eyes, and the computer programs created for this purpose are really good.  The only time it really is a distraction is when someone doesn't know how to operate the projector or the computer program, or is not quick enough to flip to the next page.  That's annoying and distracting.  But assuming the person in charge of the computer knows what they're doing, I find it helpful to my participation.  And it seems that there is congregational singing in Coptic parishes, so having texts displayed in all three languages helps you to keep up.  If you don't need or want the projector, it's usually easy enough to tune it out.   

I prefer books to projectors, and vernacular to classical languages, but we are in this world, not in our ideal world.  And while we ought to work toward improving things, we may need to use crutches to walk from time to time.  In most cases, my experience is that a book works just fine for this purpose.  But strange as it may sound to some, I think projectors work better for the Copts.

I agree with you. Here in the USA I find people participating more with the projectors. 10 years ago, I found people zoned out and not participating. Now I can actually hear the whole sound of the congregation saying "LORD have Mercy" and  also reciting the Creed. It sounds amazing. I also like to follow the Gospel reading, this was not available before in the Liturgy books.

And like you said it does suck when someone does not know how to use it. It happened one time and It is really annoying! but 99% of the time it is very helpful addition.
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« Reply #124 on: May 08, 2013, 11:23:07 AM »

To me it's not about price.  Liturgies can be compiled if one is able to follow along.  My experience in the Malankara church really convinced me the screens are that much more useful, especially when I have that desire to participate in prayer at parts when I don't understand what is said.

Mina obviously wants to start a fight with the repeated attacks on the Malankara church... Tongue

Personally, I find myself on the side of not having projectors, but only books (if needed).  But I think the variability of the liturgy, the organization of the book, and the role of the congregation all play a factor in whether projectors are useful. 

Armenians pray in classical Armenian, and use no vernacular except maybe for the two or three readings (in my experience).  The priest's prayers are, by and large, taken silently, and the variable portions of the liturgy are sung by the choir and/or deacons; I've seen very little congregational singing.  But they have a nice book, at least in the US (contains the entire liturgy).  It's not too thick, but the pages are pretty big, so it's annoying to hold after a while.  But it's easy enough to use, esp. when the parish has some LED sign with the page number displayed in red.  Once you are familiar enough with the order of the liturgy, you don't even need the sign, but unless you know classical Armenian or don't care about having even a rudimentary understanding of what's being prayed at any moment, the book is useful.  I don't see how a projector would beneficial in this context. 

Indians in the US pray in a mix of Malayalam and English; usually the majority of the service is in one language, but readings and some litanies may be done in the other.  There is congregational singing, whether or not there's a choir, but for the most part, the responses (much more than just Kyrie eleison and Amen, btw) and hymns are the same every Sunday, so they can be committed to memory eventually, at least in one language.  The variable portions are included in the book, which is fairly small and light (it only contains the deacons' and people's parts, as the priest's parts are part aloud and part silent, and there are so many anaphoras that could be chosen on any given day that it makes no sense to bother printing those).  Thus, the book is not a terrible inconvenience to use in worship; when propers are sung, the page number will be announced by whomever is leading the singing.  If there happen to be no proper texts for the day, generic texts will be sung, and those are usually committed to memory, so no announcement needs to be made, they'll just start singing.  Personally, I don't think a projector would be beneficial here; newcomers and visitors can be helped along in following the liturgy by a) someone who helps them with the book, or b) just taking it in. 

I suspect, though I have no experience to back it up, that the Syrians in the US have the same basic experience as the Indians, but with different languages being employed. 

My experience with the Copts, however, is quite different.  I don't know how Copts who grew up in the Church and know their rites well enough feel about projectors, but I certainly find it helpful.  All the parishes I've visited use three languages almost interchangeably; it's not uncommon to have priests switch among the three languages in the middle of one long-ish prayer during the anaphora, for example.  There are variable texts that seem longer than anything I'm used to just in terms of how long they are (without taking the chanting style into consideration).  These, too, get divvy'd up into different languages.  There are a number of readings, not all of which are in English.  There's so much linguistic transition going on.  And the rite itself is not visibly similar enough to other rites that you could just "tell" where you were in the service beyond "First we read and then we eat".  Byzantine, Syriac, and Armenian liturgy (collectively, the bulk of Eastern Christianity) follow a very similar plan in the rite of the Eucharist; Coptic liturgy flows differently.  I've used liturgy books in Coptic parishes in the past; they are bulky (they contain everyone's parts for everything for Vespers, Matins, and the Liturgy, including three anaphoras), and if you don't know how the liturgy works, you'll get lost fast.  No one I've worshipped with ever seemed comfortable enough with the liturgy and  the book to get me back on the right page.  With a projector, everyone's "on the same page" with all the variation in text and language.  It doesn't offend the eyes, and the computer programs created for this purpose are really good.  The only time it really is a distraction is when someone doesn't know how to operate the projector or the computer program, or is not quick enough to flip to the next page.  That's annoying and distracting.  But assuming the person in charge of the computer knows what they're doing, I find it helpful to my participation.  And it seems that there is congregational singing in Coptic parishes, so having texts displayed in all three languages helps you to keep up.  If you don't need or want the projector, it's usually easy enough to tune it out.   

I prefer books to projectors, and vernacular to classical languages, but we are in this world, not in our ideal world.  And while we ought to work toward improving things, we may need to use crutches to walk from time to time.  In most cases, my experience is that a book works just fine for this purpose.  But strange as it may sound to some, I think projectors work better for the Copts.

Lol! I love Malankara services, but I'm convinced if you can't use vernacular, use a crutch. Before projector screens came out, some Coptic churches had an LED number display corresponding with the page number on the liturgy book to help follow along.  I think the next step is an "app" that syncs the church presentation to your iPad where the church will turn to the page for you Tongue

In all seriousness, I would just love to close my eyes and listen to the priest pray in English where I can be in contemplation with him.  But that doesn't happen.  We have a "holy" language, and we have no end in sight on immigrants. Sooooo...even if you don't like projectors, the word "crutch" or "necessary evil" applies Tongue
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« Reply #125 on: May 08, 2013, 12:01:15 PM »

In all seriousness, I would just love to close my eyes and listen to the priest pray in English where I can be in contemplation with him.  But that doesn't happen.  We have a "holy" language, and we have no end in sight on immigrants. Sooooo...even if you don't like projectors, the word "crutch" or "necessary evil" applies Tongue

The Copts should really try to reach out and make converts among the native population of the countries they immigrated to. Copts have an amazing treasure to offer but jealously guard it.
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« Reply #126 on: May 08, 2013, 01:14:48 PM »

In all seriousness, I would just love to close my eyes and listen to the priest pray in English where I can be in contemplation with him.  But that doesn't happen.  We have a "holy" language, and we have no end in sight on immigrants. Sooooo...even if you don't like projectors, the word "crutch" or "necessary evil" applies Tongue

The Copts should really try to reach out and make converts among the native population of the countries they immigrated to. Copts have an amazing treasure to offer but jealously guard it.

I'm not sure this is a fair assessment of Coptic Evangelization. Especially considering most Coptic churches and parishes outside Egypt are less than 50 years old.
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« Reply #127 on: May 08, 2013, 01:34:14 PM »

The Copts should really try to reach out and make converts among the native population of the countries they immigrated to. Copts have an amazing treasure to offer but jealously guard it.

I'm not sure this is a fair assessment of Coptic Evangelization. Especially considering most Coptic churches and parishes outside Egypt are less than 50 years old.

I agree. Certainly in London, the EO could learn a lot from the openness of the Copts and their active attitude to mission. That being said, some of the Coptic churches I attended in the States seemed far more closed and ethnocentric...so I suppose it depends on the size, age, social standing and location of a community, which tends also to be the case with EO parishes.
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« Reply #128 on: May 08, 2013, 03:17:43 PM »

In all seriousness, I would just love to close my eyes and listen to the priest pray in English where I can be in contemplation with him.  But that doesn't happen.  We have a "holy" language, and we have no end in sight on immigrants. Sooooo...even if you don't like projectors, the word "crutch" or "necessary evil" applies Tongue

The Copts should really try to reach out and make converts among the native population of the countries they immigrated to. Copts have an amazing treasure to offer but jealously guard it.

You mean like in Bolivia? Or in Kenya? Or in Italy? Or...where, exactly? Things are definitely not uniform, and I have heard from some Coptic friends in places like Belgium that their priest can't handle the local language well enough, but I think overall things are improving rather than getting worse or even staying stagnant. It is a matter of persistence and giving the time to acculturate...the Coptic immigrant population is still growing, after all.

I was looking around for an example of the liturgy in German, because I know I've seen it before somewhere (Tasbeha, too), but I couldn't find it. I found this instead. Shocked I guess there's more than one way to reach out to the natives, but anyway...point is, it seems like the Coptic Church is committed to evangelism and just needs time to adapt itself to all the new places it suddenly finds itself in (learn the languages, meet the people, etc). In some places, Copts are doing things I've never seen any other Orthodox church doing, and I think it's great to see them taking advantage of the freedom they now have that isn't available in Egypt. I know that a class on evangelism is offer through the Southern United States diocese, too...

(Couldn't find anything in Dutch, but there is this, which is hopefully a sign of things to come... Wink)
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« Reply #129 on: May 08, 2013, 03:46:44 PM »

On reflection, it makes sense,particularly in a church with a lot of converts. Liturgy is complex and service books can be hard to follow. I guess it's just the modern equivalent of the ancient cantor.
There is some truth to this. I've asked for help finding my place in an Armenian liturgy book before, but the Coptic ones have the place on the screen. You just can't take it home with you afterwards to read and learn prayers from.
You can buy a book at the church bookstore or order one online. I'm sure your priest would even let you borrow one to take home if you asked.

Many Armenian parishes have indicator light systems that will tell you what page to turn to. But, really, modern Armenian Divine Liturgy books are really not all that hard to follow if you are at least basically familiar with the service. I've even seen them used with little difficulty by visitors who have never been to an Armenian liturgy nor have any knowledge of Armenian. It shouldn't take that long to get the hang of it.
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