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Author Topic: Hands up in the air during the Our Father?  (Read 10252 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: November 06, 2004, 10:57:01 PM »

I sometimes attend an Orthodox (Antiochian) church for vespers.  Several weeks ago, I noticed that they now raise their arms up (like those charismatic people) during the Our Father.  I have never seen that in an Orthodox church before so I was a bit surprised.  If I witnessed it in an RC church, I'd automatically think it was a charismatic 'whacko' church but I usually give Orthodox churches the benefit of the doubt since I've never observed anything 'whacko' at an Orthodox church.  

So why were they doing that?  

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« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2004, 12:26:15 AM »

I attend an AOC and know exactly what you're talking about. I don't think it's a new "charismatic" trend. I went to our parish life conference in Austin where 1,000+ people were there for Liturgy (most of whom were arab). I saw alot of them do the same thing. It's not an innovation, it looks like it may be an arab tradition.
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« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2004, 03:31:57 AM »

An 'orans' posture is common in the Antiochian parishes, not charismatic 'arms up in the air' nonsense.

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« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2004, 09:33:18 AM »

Right.  That 'orans' position that SamB mentioned is seen in icons of the first- and second-century Church in the Roman catacombs.
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« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2004, 09:55:49 AM »

im curious...when i was an RC interested in Orthodoxy but still attending RC churches, I was informed by many traditional Catholics that the orans position was prohibited among laypeople by the canons (or something to that effect), basically because it is a pose reserved for the priest, and we are not priests. as such, i stopped doing it at the Our Father...my question is, if this is so, does no such restriction exist in the Orthodox Church? For instance, if I chose to start doing it again (I don't plan to, just making a point) at my OCA parish, would my priest pull me aside and tell me that isn't appropriate? (as a catechumen he would have every right to correct me on any behaviorial "mistakes" i make)...why is it common and acceptable in the lay people in some juristictions and not others?
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« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2004, 10:13:06 AM »

What is the "orans" posture specifically?
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« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2004, 11:28:50 AM »

See here: http://www.udayton.edu/mary/meditations/kimball.html

about 2/3's down the page is a picture titled "Contemplating Mary in Heaven"
with the second not-bold type paragraphs below it talking of the "Orans Postion".  

The pictures are from "15th century Greek Orthodox icon painted by iconographer Andreas Ritzos and now located in the Galleria Sabaudo of Turin. The icon originated in Heraklion, Crete."

For Donna: about 3/4's down the page a Q&A titled "Orans Down"
http://www.osv.com/periodicals/show-article.asp?pid=875

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« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2004, 02:04:12 PM »

Quote
im curious...when i was an RC interested in Orthodoxy but still attending RC churches, I was informed by many traditional Catholics that the orans position was prohibited among laypeople by the canons (or something to that effect), basically because it is a pose reserved for the priest, and we are not priests. as such, i stopped doing it at the Our Father...my question is, if this is so, does no such restriction exist in the Orthodox Church? For instance, if I chose to start doing it again (I don't plan to, just making a point) at my OCA parish, would my priest pull me aside and tell me that isn't appropriate? (as a catechumen he would have every right to correct me on any behaviorial "mistakes" i make)...why is it common and acceptable in the lay people in some juristictions and not others?

As has been mentioned earlier, it's an Arab custom, not a Russian one, so as the OCA are of Russian heritage it might not be something to try out there.

At the Melkite church in Vienna, VA I've done it. I don't do it in Russian churches.
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« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2004, 02:18:42 PM »

I suspect it's a "middle eastern thing", as a fellow I know of Syrian descent assumed the same posture when he prayed.

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« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2004, 03:36:50 PM »

Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place. (Psalm 28)

I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. (Psalm 63)

Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the LORD. (Psalm 134)

May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. (Psalm 141)


You know Witches also offer incense, albeit to demons, that does not make us demon-worshipers now, does it? It is the purpose and inner disposition that matter.
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« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2004, 07:04:30 PM »

At my parish (OCA), some parishionars also inquired about this practice and our priest said that this is something that we are never to do at any time during the liturgy.

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« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2004, 10:52:37 PM »

The use of the Orans is an Antiochian tradition from the old country and is used even in the US by many Antiochian churches. It is one of the most ancient method of prayer and is a visual form of pleading, and opening one to the blessings of God raining down from heaven. It may also be used as a form of praise to God (the most frequent use by the "charismatic" movement). Likewise an equally ancient form of prayer is the full metania or prostration (Falling upon one's' face a sign of subjection to the Lord).  Both of these are noted in scripture as noted in one of the prior responses.

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« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2004, 02:10:33 PM »

It is also done in the Orthodox (Oriental) Churches.  I do it.  Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2004, 03:26:37 PM »

I commune in an OCA parish in Ft. Worth, and no one does it, except my wife and I sometimes...we were chrismated in an AOAA parish and picked it up there...it wasn't a hard thing for us to grasp, though, coming from the charismatic movement like we did...we were just surprised to see something similar in the Orthodox Church!
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« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2004, 10:31:24 PM »

At St.Raphaels those of Arabic descent did the same as well, however it has 'died out' so to speak. Most of our ethnic Orthodox are of Slav and Romanian descent and they definitely don't do that! I follow the practice outlined in the Jordanville prayerbook in which you make the sign of the cross and bow when beginning the Our Father and usually keep my head bowed slightly during the prayer.
We had a monk from Mt.Athos visit us and he stayed bowed down close enough to touch the ground throughout the Our Father and several other parts of the liturgy, and he is in his seventies! To me that looked like the type of piety some of you may see in the Orans. In our sinful age taking the penitent position of the bow just seems more appropriate. What do you think?
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« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2004, 10:42:29 PM »

//At my parish (OCA), some parishionars also inquired about this practice and our priest said that this is something that we are never to do at any time during the liturgy.

In Christ,
Aaron//

Personally, I dont think anything is wrong with it.  I do it at the Pascha season ""Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place. (Psalm 28)

I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. (Psalm 63)

Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the LORD. (Psalm 134)

May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. (Psalm 141)""

I do it just before we do the prostrations.  I love it.

JoeS

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« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2004, 09:26:12 PM »

At our OCA mission, which is made up of "converts" from the AAA and GOA, you'll see some from a cradle Antiochian background doing this. However, it is with hands horizonatal and palms up. I understand the Orans to be hands vertical and palms forward. So it's not a true Orans. It doesn't bother me, and the priest hasn't counseled against it. I also understand the Russian practice to include kneeling at the Our Father, at least on weekdays.

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« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2004, 11:23:50 PM »

A quick answer could be given concerning the description of Christ when He said the first Our Father, which I'm pretty sure mentions him lifting his hands to the sky.  The trick here, though, is that the priest is supposed to be the representative of the bishop, who in turn is the icon of Christ in the midst of The Church, so maybe it is a priestly thing.  I could understand why it'd be more widespread and acceptable in Middle Eastern culture, as gestures with the hands and body are more important than in other cultures.  Of course, when in doubt, seek advice from a spiritual father or someone like that...
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« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2005, 08:42:39 PM »

It is also done in the Orthodox (Oriental) Churches. I do it. Smiley

So do we Armenians.
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« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2005, 12:00:25 AM »

Its done by me as well, and I am a part of an Antiochian Parish.  We see it in the great Icon of the virgin "More Spacious Than the Heavens", and its also seen as a way to "Lift up our hearts" in the Our Father. I've seen the bowing and the crossing too.  Vive la diference! Roll Eyes

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« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2005, 05:49:34 PM »

Fr. Patrick Reardon (for those that have heard of him) Spoke about this at his church one time after the service during the Adult Religious Education Class. He said that the raising of hands towards heaven during the service is analogus to a young child who stretches his/her arms towards the sky when he/she wants to be raised by a parent or other adult. Likewise, we raise our hands and ask God to lift us up towards him and hold and comfort us while we pray.  Hope this helps a tiny bit.

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P.S. Carpatho-Russians don't do it either.
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« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2005, 06:38:27 PM »

I'd agree that it is a Middle Eastern (actually, probably Oriental) thing.

It is done in both the Melkite and Antiochian churches hereabouts and elsewhere (and, historically, their praxis began as Antiochene - not Byzantine, which came later. That thought suggests to me the possibility that its origin is in the Oriental Churches). I have also seen it done in both the Orthodox and Catholic churches of the Armenians and Syriacs.

I am very sure that I haven't seen it done by Russians, Ruthenians, or Ukrainians, nor by Albanians or Serbs, as far as I can remember, nor by the Maronites. As to the Greeks, I'm blanking - but I don't think so.

Many years,

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« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2008, 02:35:03 PM »

I'm glade I found this thread.  I was just wondering why Orthodox don't utilize the orans posture during worship.

My Serbian parish does not do this, but it seems like such a beautiful and ancient expression, one in keeping with the early church.  It seems like a shame that it would be neglected, much in the same way that we Eastern Orthodox do not utilize full prostrations other than at Lent.
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« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2008, 03:03:53 PM »

I sometimes attend an Orthodox (Antiochian) church for vespers.  Several weeks ago, I noticed that they now raise their arms up (like those charismatic people) during the Our Father.  I have never seen that in an Orthodox church before so I was a bit surprised.  
So why were they doing that?  

Have you ever seen platytera icons?  The Virgin Mary's hands are extended in the same manner indicating her prayer.  Good for the Virgin Mary, good for us.

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« Reply #24 on: December 17, 2008, 03:15:05 PM »

Well, in my parish there's a practise that during the Creed and Lord's Prayer a deacon is accompanied by ponomars while staying in front of the parishioners backwards to the iconostasis and conducting.

IMO the fact that they are prevented from horsing about is much more important that the symbolical meaning Smiley
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« Reply #25 on: December 17, 2008, 10:50:28 PM »

This is a middle eastern custom and is copied by Muslims who pray in the same way. The prostrations that we do have also been copied by the Muslums, who seem to do it better!!!!!!

An old Russian priest told me once that, he prayed like this in his cell, but not in church. Not because it was wrong, but because "we don't do that in church." When, as a westerner I asked why, he said "probably in packed churches, when people stand as they should, they would end up knocking each others' eyes out!"

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« Reply #26 on: December 17, 2008, 11:39:47 PM »

I'm glade I found this thread.  I was just wondering why Orthodox don't utilize the orans posture during worship.

My Serbian parish does not do this, but it seems like such a beautiful and ancient expression, one in keeping with the early church.  It seems like a shame that it would be neglected, much in the same way that we Eastern Orthodox do not utilize full prostrations other than at Lent.

I don't know what Church's prayers you are saying, but I prostrate quite a lot.  Just never on Sunday.  Then again, I'm Middle Eastern (I picked up orans going to the Coptic Church for a while).
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« Reply #27 on: December 18, 2008, 12:36:08 AM »

Well I had another thread about prostrations.  I just do not know the proper time to do full prostrations.  I know about the "little prostrations" during the "Holy God, Holy Mighty...", but when are the proper times for full prostrations?
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« Reply #28 on: December 18, 2008, 04:47:24 PM »

Well I had another thread about prostrations.  I just do not know the proper time to do full prostrations.  I know about the "little prostrations" during the "Holy God, Holy Mighty...", but when are the proper times for full prostrations?

We are not to do them on Sundays and from Pascha to Pentecost since we are standing in the light of the Resurrection during those periods. In the Orthodox Church nowadays you only see prostrations during Lent during the Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian but I don't see it that much outside of that period which is unfortunate. The Old Believers have kept the tradition and when to do prostrations is outlined in their Prayer Book (printed by Church of the Nativity in Erie). They do them after the "More honorable" prayer and the dissmissal prayers and some others.


On the raising of hands during the Our Father, it's done by maybe half of the people at my parish. When I first started going there, nobody did it but a few years ago many just picked it up.
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« Reply #29 on: December 18, 2008, 04:54:56 PM »

I noticed that rules of making half-prostrations or full prostrations are different in every parish. In some people do half-prostrations during the Epiclesis, in other ones parishioners knee even on the whole Cherubin's Hymn an Major Entrance. I wanted to find strict rules when do do full, when half- but it's impossible.

IMO when You come to parish You're not accustomed to, follow the others, so that You won't do disturbance in the Church.
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« Reply #30 on: December 19, 2008, 04:53:38 PM »

I commune in an OCA parish in Ft. Worth, and no one does it, except my wife and I sometimes...we were chrismated in an AOAA parish and picked it up there...it wasn't a hard thing for us to grasp, though, coming from the charismatic movement like we did...we were just surprised to see something similar in the Orthodox Church!
I have a similar experience. In fact, it was one of our members who was a former Muslim who introduced me to the idea, having seen it in an Antiochian parish. Now several of us who are former Muslims and Pentecostals raise our hands during the Our Father. I think of it as a connexion to my past, a way of fulfilling what I knew partially as a Protestant.
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« Reply #31 on: May 03, 2012, 05:09:30 PM »

Christ is risen.

An interesting thread. I did, actually, the first time I saw this practice, think that it had been imported from the satanic "Charismatic" movement. But it does, as we know, have an ancient history, and a modern history which is not limited to the Oriental churches. In Munich, in the early 20th century, the orans was common among the people attending Roman Catholic Mass.

It's similar to the old Western Rite practice of praying "in the cross," that is, with one's arms stretched out wide like Christ crucified. Which is done by the priest at the old Roman rite Mass, but not by the people, who, however, do use this posture in their private prayers. Or used to.
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« Reply #32 on: May 03, 2012, 05:34:22 PM »

This is an ancient prayer posture imported that is still kept by the Middle Eastern Christians of all denominations (Antiochian Orthodox, Jerusalem Orthodox, Arab Melkite and Roman Catholics, and every Oriental Orthodox [Copts, Armenians, Syriac, Ethiopian, etc]).

Like this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL9608943AC99A2E03&feature=player_detailpage&v=SpBdsqyKNEA
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« Reply #33 on: May 03, 2012, 06:13:17 PM »

This is an ancient prayer posture imported that is still kept by the Middle Eastern Christians of all denominations (Antiochian Orthodox, Jerusalem Orthodox, Arab Melkite and Roman Catholics, and every Oriental Orthodox [Copts, Armenians, Syriac, Ethiopian, etc]).

Like this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL9608943AC99A2E03&feature=player_detailpage&v=SpBdsqyKNEA

wonderful link thank you! Smiley
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« Reply #34 on: May 03, 2012, 07:10:11 PM »

As it has been explained to me, prayer is taking from God, and it is hard to take/grasp anything with your hands closed. It may not be the most spiritual or historical explanation ever, but it works for me. Smiley
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« Reply #35 on: May 03, 2012, 07:11:36 PM »

This is an ancient prayer posture imported that is still kept by the Middle Eastern Christians of all denominations (Antiochian Orthodox, Jerusalem Orthodox, Arab Melkite and Roman Catholics, and every Oriental Orthodox [Copts, Armenians, Syriac, Ethiopian, etc]).

Like this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL9608943AC99A2E03&feature=player_detailpage&v=SpBdsqyKNEA

wonderful link thank you! Smiley


Youre welcome!  Smiley The Ethiopians also have distinct ancient postures/practices in prayer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL9608943AC99A2E03&feature=player_detailpage&v=d2m2FhYsU0o
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« Reply #36 on: May 03, 2012, 07:41:42 PM »

This is an ancient prayer posture imported that is still kept by the Middle Eastern Christians of all denominations (Antiochian Orthodox, Jerusalem Orthodox, Arab Melkite and Roman Catholics, and every Oriental Orthodox [Copts, Armenians, Syriac, Ethiopian, etc]).

Like this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL9608943AC99A2E03&feature=player_detailpage&v=SpBdsqyKNEA

wonderful link thank you! Smiley


Youre welcome!  Smiley The Ethiopians also have distinct ancient postures/practices in prayer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL9608943AC99A2E03&feature=player_detailpage&v=d2m2FhYsU0o

yes  Smiley that constant movement from right to left, then from left to right, with open stretch arms, in a joyous and prayerful thanks giving of Christ's victory over death and Satan and the libration of Adam and his children who had went from paradise to hell then back to Paradise. the message of our salvation  the reason of all joyous hymns thus it always accompanies them. when the hymn is a hymn of repentance the arms will be stretched out in prayer or crossed on the chest with the tips of the fingers touching the shoulders so in both postures one is mindful of the Cross. Smiley
 
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« Reply #37 on: May 04, 2012, 04:13:03 PM »

I sometimes attend an Orthodox (Antiochian) church for vespers.  Several weeks ago, I noticed that they now raise their arms up (like those charismatic people) during the Our Father.  I have never seen that in an Orthodox church before so I was a bit surprised.  If I witnessed it in an RC church, I'd automatically think it was a charismatic 'whacko' church but I usually give Orthodox churches the benefit of the doubt since I've never observed anything 'whacko' at an Orthodox church.  

So why were they doing that?  



Lay people who raise their arms like priests during church services deserve the all-holy smack down. They do it because they are ignorant or misguided.

--Wait. Maybe, after reading the other replies, perhaps my Inner Russian was acting up. Must put down pirozhki...
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« Reply #38 on: May 04, 2012, 04:24:02 PM »

I sometimes attend an Orthodox (Antiochian) church for vespers.  Several weeks ago, I noticed that they now raise their arms up (like those charismatic people) during the Our Father.  I have never seen that in an Orthodox church before so I was a bit surprised.  If I witnessed it in an RC church, I'd automatically think it was a charismatic 'whacko' church but I usually give Orthodox churches the benefit of the doubt since I've never observed anything 'whacko' at an Orthodox church.  

So why were they doing that?  



several people at our parish hold their hands up (navel level) during the our father similar to how the priest does when he says "let us lift up our hearts" this is a traditional posture of prayer that has been done for millenia. Certainly nothing new.

Personally, I hold my hands in a cup form like I am receiving a blessing from a priest.
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« Reply #39 on: May 04, 2012, 06:27:21 PM »

It's odd. End of story.

For this one prayer, hold your arms up. Forget when we actually say we hold our arms up . . .

What would Herman do?

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« Reply #40 on: May 04, 2012, 07:21:33 PM »

Not odd at all.  For those paying attention, it's a Middle Eastern/Oriental thing.  Unless, of course, they're considered odd.
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« Reply #41 on: May 04, 2012, 08:04:54 PM »

Not odd at all.  For those paying attention, it's a Middle Eastern/Oriental thing.  Unless, of course, they're considered odd.

Umm, when you are one or three in a parish doing it. It's odd.

When in Rome or in this case the Third Moscow.

Ain't it just a Middle Eastern / Oriental thing.
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« Reply #42 on: May 04, 2012, 08:26:12 PM »

Some people just have to be different, so they pray in strange ways.  Interestingly, I don't see it among the local Arabs here, just the Converts.  So, I also thought it was some strange innovation brought over from their Protestant mega-Church pasts.  Glad to see that I may be wrong.  But still, I am not going to do it.
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« Reply #43 on: May 04, 2012, 08:46:31 PM »

We do this:



Not this:

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« Reply #44 on: May 04, 2012, 08:49:38 PM »

Yes. We are praying to God, not hailing a cab. Smiley
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