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Offline Tikhon29605

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Nativity Fast or Advent?
« on: November 16, 2004, 05:09:05 PM »
Does our Orthodox Nativity Fast acutally correspond to the Advent Season of the Western Church?  I used to think that it did, until I had an OCA priest I met at St. Tikhon's monastery challenge my thinking on that.  This priest, whom I'll call Father X, who had also been raised in a liturgical Western Church like I was, certainly did NOT condemn or demonize the Western liturgical season of Advent. I want to make that point very clear. This was NOT a case of  "the West is bad, the East is good here."  However, he did point out to me that attempts to match up the Orthodox Nativity Fast to the Advent Season of the Western Church are somewhat contrived at best.  When I consult the liturgical readings for the Sunday Liturgy after Nov. 15, I don't note any changes.  The Gospel readings continue out of St. Luke and the Epistle readings continue out of Ephesians. I don't see any "Advent" theme there.  Even the names of the Sundays don't have any "Advent" theme.  For example, Sunday Dec. 7th this year is called "23rd Sunday after Pentecost, and Dec. 14th is the "24th Sunday after Pentecost.  That's what is referred to in the RCC as "Ordinary Time."   I only see TWO Sundays of real preparation in the "Orthodox Advent": namely, the two Sundays before Christmas: the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers, and the Sunday of the Holy Ancestors of Christ.  I am starting to wonder if we Orthodox should call the Nativity Fast "Advent" at all. It seems to me that in the Western Church, the emphasis in Advent historically has been on Christ's Second Coming, not His Incarnation.  If you read the Collects for the Four Sundays in Advent this becomes especially clear. In the Lutheran Church of my youth we prayed on the First Sunday in Advent:
     "Stir up Thy power of Lord, and come, that we may be saved from the threatening peril of our sins and saved by Thy mighty deliverance ..."
  Our Advent hymnody was full of language about the Bridegroom coming for His bride:
     "Come forth, ye virgins, night is past!
       The Bridegroom comes, awake!
       Your lamps with gladness take!
       And for His marriage feast prepare,
       For ye must go to meet Him there."
It seems to me that our Orthodox tradition places this emphasis on the Second Coming and on Christ the Bridegroom in the Services of Holy Week, not in the weeks preceding our Lord's Nativity. At Bridegroom Matins of Holy Week we sing:
     "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh in the middle of the night, and blessed is that servant whom He findeth watching ...."

     Perhaps this is too nuanced an argument, but on the whole I don't see that the Western season of Advent with its four Sundays and very thematic emphasis on the Second Coming corresponds to anything we have in the Orthodox East with our 6 week Nativity Fast that is hardly thematic at all (except for the last two weeks) and gradually introduces the theme of the Incarnation and God being born in the flesh, not so much through Scripture readings, but through hymns.  
     Thoughts, anyone?


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Re:Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2004, 05:26:15 PM »
Perhaps this is too nuanced an argument, but on the whole I don't see that the Western season of Advent with its four Sundays and very thematic emphasis on the Second Coming corresponds to anything we have in the Orthodox East with our 6 week Nativity Fast that is hardly thematic at all (except for the last two weeks) and gradually introduces the theme of the Incarnation and God being born in the flesh, not so much through Scripture readings, but through hymns.  
     Thoughts, anyone?

Well, only the first half of Western Advent really corresponds to the Second Coming: 17-24 December are focused on the first coming.  For RC and EO alike, the first week or two before Christmas is the real "pre-Christmas" Advent.  There doesn't seem to be an equivalent in the EO tradition to the first two or three weeks of Western Advent, at least in the same period.  

While flipping through a book in the SVS bookstore (I help assemble orders, and like to see what different books are about when I'm bored), I think I remember reading something to the effect that "pre-Christmas" hymns are sung starting around St. Andrew's day, which I thought was interesting since it is around the same time that our (Syrian) Nativity fasting begins (Advent is another story, since we have something like an eight week period, and the readings DO change...).  Whenever pre-Christmas hymns start to be sung would probably mark the beginning of any EO "Advent", I'd think, even if the Sunday texts do not change.  

Another aspect is the penance.  Advent in the West may be largely focused on the Second Coming for the first few weeks, with focus on the Incarnation only a week before Christmas, but for the whole period violet vestments are worn, and violet is a penitential colour.  Attempts to substitute blue for violet, given the different nature of Advent compared to Lent, have officially been fruitless.  Even if there is no formal fasting/abstinence guidelines in the RCC regarding Advent, it seems that at one point there might have been.  It may be that in this one aspect--penance, and specifically fasting--there may be some relation between the EO "Advent" and the Western Advent.    

I think the absence of a longer Advent period in the West (Latin and Greek) focused on the Incarnation is regrettable.  I cannot speak for the rest of the Eastern (Oriental) traditions, but the Syrian emphasis on the Incarnation, which is especially pronounced in the choice of Gospels for the Sundays before Christmas, helps me get into the real spirit of the season.
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Offline Thomas

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Re:Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2004, 03:39:37 PM »
The period is frequemtly called Nativity Lent or St. Phillip's Fast and in many orthodox publications circa 1950-1985 "Orthodox Advent" The readings of the Sunda Gospels do indeed have a Lenten focus. The following is an excerpt from a handout I am using in my Nativity Lent workshop:

The Sundays of the Nativity Fast are specifically chosen by the Church to prepare us for the Nativity of our Lord.  Below you will find the  Sundays with their attending Gospel readings and a brief explanation of the Gospel in relationship to the Nativity Lent focus.

This year the 6th Sunday before Christmas (Eighth Sunday of St Luke) happens to be the day prior to the beginning of the fast which starts the day following on the Feast of the Apostle Phillip. The Reading is from Luke 10:25-37. Here we recount the parable of the Good Samaritan and are focused on the fact that if we are a true neighbor, we will care for those around us in all circumstances.

The 9th Sunday of Luke (the fifth Sunday before Christmas) likewise is a special feast day for the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple (November 21) Luke 10:38-42, 11:27-28 tells us of the visit of the Lord to the home of Mary and Martha. The lesson focuses on the importance of our hearing the word of God and keeping it.

 The Fourth Sunday before Nativity (the 13th Sunday of Luke) Luke 18:18-27  tells us of the young ruler who came to ask Jesus what he needed to do to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The Lord told him to “GǪ Sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."  Here the Lord teaches us about the  true calling to giving of alms, even if it means selling  possessions in order to help those in need. The reading inspires us in our calling to serve God and our fellow man during this special fast.

The Tenth Sunday of Luke (3rd before Christmas): Luke 13:10-17 recounts the healing of the woman who had been bent over by illness for 18 years. When the Lord cures her, He is rebuked by the Temple officials for "working" on the Sabbath. Again He scolds them by forcing them to look at Divine values and goals, which involve care for the suffering, rather than human regulations.

THE SUNDAY OF THE FOREFATHERS is the Eleventh Sunday of Luke (2nd before Christmas): Luke 14:16-24; Matthew 22:14 Luke 14:16-24 is the Great Banquet to which many well-to-do neighbors are invited, but they decline, being just too busy! The Master, furious at this indignity, brings in all the wayfarers, vagabonds, street people, disabled and downtrodden of the area, making them the inheritors of the great feast, in place of the vain and foolish rich. On this Sunday we celebrate all those who are the Forefathers of Christ in Faith

SUNDAY OF THE ANCESTORS (Sunday before Christmas) is the celebration of the Genealogy of Christ (Matthew 1:1-25). In this listing of the Ancestors of Christ according to the Flesh, we see that God really has entered into human history, with all its ups and downs. Not all of Christ's ancestors were heroes! But the Lord takes all of this upon Himself, in His becoming Man so that we might become God (Theosis).

 End of quote form the handout

As you can see, the "Lenten" focus in Orthodoxy is upon  fasting, the giving of alms, and spiritual focus of one's life. Through the Nativity Lent or Orthodox Advent,  we are carefully led by the church fathers into the joy of the Nativity after looking at ourselves, our "missing the mark" and encouraged to redouble our efforts to be worthy to recieve the "King of Glory" on the day of His Nativity.

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Offline peeter

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Re:Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2004, 10:48:39 AM »
As far as the services go, why te emphasis on Sunday Liturgy only - Mattins DO have reference to the Incarnation!
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Offline The young fogey

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Re:Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2004, 02:02:05 PM »
The Ambrosian (Milanese) Rite's Advent is six weeks long, not four like the Roman Rite.
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Offline Tikhon29605

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Re:Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2004, 03:35:02 PM »
The Ambrosian (Milanese) Rite's Advent is six weeks long, not four like the Roman Rite.

Very interesting indeed. Would you happen to have a copy of the Ambrosian(Milanese) lectionary readings for their six week Advent?  It would be interesting to compare and contrast it to the Byzantine Nativity Fast lectionary.

Offline timotheou

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2004, 02:07:32 PM »
When I first became Orthodox, my GOA parish actually did an Advent wreath! The Antiochians did an Advent wreath too, only they tried to make it Eastern by using six candles, for six weeks! At some point in the late 80s, this silliness stopped --- perhaps a decree came down from SCOBA, but the Advent wreath just doesn't "fit" our Nativity Fast! I'd love to hear more about the Syrian tradition --- I understand it's more focused on the Incarnation than the Byzantine. I hate to say this, but... sometimes converts feel as if they give up Christmas when they become Orthodox!

Offline Elisha

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2004, 03:20:49 PM »
When I first became Orthodox, my GOA parish actually did an Advent wreath! The Antiochians did an Advent wreath too, only they tried to make it Eastern by using six candles, for six weeks! At some point in the late 80s, this silliness stopped --- perhaps a decree came down from SCOBA, but the Advent wreath just doesn't "fit" our Nativity Fast! I'd love to hear more about the Syrian tradition --- I understand it's more focused on the Incarnation than the Byzantine. I hate to say this, but... sometimes converts feel as if they give up Christmas when they become Orthodox!

Over Thanksgiving weekend, I hung out w/ friends where the husband is the son of a prominent former AEOM priest.  They had one of those wreaths w/ different colored candles in it (white, purple and pink) on the kitchen table.  Is this a Protestant thing?  It is funny to see people cling to these Protestant traditions.

Offline Anastasios

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2004, 03:35:42 PM »


Over Thanksgiving weekend, I hung out w/ friends where the husband is the son of a prominent former AEOM priest. They had one of those wreaths w/ different colored candles in it (white, purple and pink) on the kitchen table. Is this a Protestant thing? It is funny to see people cling to these Protestant traditions.

I don't think so.  Even if I were the most uber traditionalist Orthodox, in my home I will always sing Western Christmas Hymns and have a Christmas tree because I am a Westerner!! :)  (I don't agree with putting stuff like Advent wreathes in Orthodox Churches though).

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Offline Jennifer

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2004, 03:41:41 PM »


Over Thanksgiving weekend, I hung out w/ friends where the husband is the son of a prominent former AEOM priest. They had one of those wreaths w/ different colored candles in it (white, purple and pink) on the kitchen table. Is this a Protestant thing? It is funny to see people cling to these Protestant traditions.

That's an advent wreath which is not "protestant."  However it is "western."

Offline Robert

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2004, 03:44:56 PM »
« Last Edit: December 14, 2004, 03:45:35 PM by r0bb0c0p »

Offline TomS

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2004, 03:50:10 PM »
It is funny to see people cling to these Protestant traditions.

I agree. First thing I did when I became Orthodox was to stop that silly rule of tithing 10% of my income to the Church. Now I just put a dollar in the plate like all the other Orthodox  ;D

Offline Tikhon29605

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2004, 04:14:33 PM »
Well, last time I checked, tithing was not a Sacrament.

Offline Anastasios

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2004, 04:38:21 PM »
Well, last time I checked, tithing was not a Sacrament.

I don't understand what you mean?  We are talking about customs not sacraments I thought?

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Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2004, 04:43:25 PM »


I agree. First thing I did when I became Orthodox was to stop that silly rule of tithing 10% of my income to the Church. Now I just put a dollar in the plate likeall the other Orthodox ;D

Speak for yourself  :P
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Offline Tikhon29605

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2004, 05:40:43 PM »
Anasatasios:  As one who was raised within the Southern Baptist tradition before I left it and entered into Holy Orthodoxy, let me say this:

I've never met a Baptist yet who did not elevate tithing (and Sunday School as well) to quasi-sacramental status.  When I was a Baptist, I noticed all the "tithing braggarts" there were in our churches. Some Baptists, I suppose do tithe quietly and humbly.  But it is also quite fashionable in Baptist circles to toot one's horn about it, to constantly be blowing that tithing trumpet.  It can wear quite thin after a while.  Most of the people I knew in my Baptist congregation that tithed were always pepppered their conversations with references to it, usually with a smug air of condescention towards those that didn't tithe, for whatever reason.  It was also quite the fashion for the tithers to give "tithing testimonies" to the church, with the theme that if one tithed, God would bless that person with tremendous worldly wealth, financial security, career success, a beautiful spouse, wonderful children, et. al.  I found that a rather manipulative way to get people to give and somewhat dishonest as well.  God has not promised any of us financial success or blessings in this world.  Just my two cents (no pun intended about tithing).

 We Orthodox might RECOMMEND tithing, but I, for one, am glad we have not elevated it to a means of grace like the Baptists.

Offline Anastasios

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2004, 05:47:42 PM »
Tikhon,

Thanks for explaining what you meant :)

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Offline Keble

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2004, 05:48:57 PM »
Yeah, but do you do it anyway? From the stories I hear about compensationpay for Orthodox clergy, it sounds as though they need to do some more tithing sermons.

Offline Arystarcus

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #18 on: December 14, 2004, 10:28:41 PM »
Quote
I agree. First thing I did when I became Orthodox was to stop that silly rule of tithing 10% of my income to the Church. Now I just put a dollar in the plate like all the other Orthodox   ;D

LOLOLOL   :D

Offline Arystarcus

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2004, 10:33:42 PM »
Quote
It was also quite the fashion for the tithers to give "tithing testimonies" to the church, with the theme that if one tithed, God would bless that person with tremendous worldly wealth, financial security, career success, a beautiful spouse, wonderful children, et. al.  I found that a rather manipulative way to get people to give and somewhat dishonest as well.  God has not promised any of us financial success or blessings in this world.

One needed even leave their home to see/hear these "tithing testimonies" that you're talking about. Just flip the channel to one of the many televangelists, or to TBN and they will also preach the idea that you can pay God off and He will bless you with material goods.

And these are the people who raised a stink about selling indulgences!

Good grief....  ::)

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #20 on: December 14, 2004, 11:39:13 PM »


Over Thanksgiving weekend, I hung out w/ friends where the husband is the son of a prominent former AEOM priest. They had one of those wreaths w/ different colored candles in it (white, purple and pink) on the kitchen table. Is this a Protestant thing? It is funny to see people cling to these Protestant traditions.
The advent wreath is constantly debated by Catholics if they should use since it seems more like a protestant tradition than a Catholic one.

Offline Tikhon29605

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2004, 06:42:35 AM »
Yeah, but do you do it anyway? From the stories I hear about compensationpay for Orthodox clergy, it sounds as though they need to do some more tithing sermons.

It think clergy pay varies a lot from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. While the OCA generally pays its priests pretty low, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (from what I've hear) usually pays its priests rather well. 

Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #22 on: December 15, 2004, 09:46:55 AM »
It think clergy pay varies a lot from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. While the OCA generally pays its priests pretty low, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (from what I've hear) usually pays its priests rather well.

I understand this situation is true, BUT the archdiocese does not pay any parish priests; the parish does. Hence, there must be someone funding these larger pay packages than TomS & Company's one dollar in the tray. And a pay disparity exists in the GOAA as well dependent on parish size.

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Offline Jennifer

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #23 on: December 16, 2004, 12:33:12 AM »
I've noticed a Mercedes with a "Fr. Nick" license plate outside a GOA parish. 

I've been told by an OCA priest with a family that he had to get his own health insurance.  Another OCA priest has to have a full time job in addition to being a priest.       

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #24 on: December 16, 2004, 02:15:41 PM »
I'd love to hear more about the Syrian tradition --- I understand it's more focused on the Incarnation than the Byzantine.

Since I am at school, I was just going to copy one of my posts from another forum where I wrote briefly on this, but since that site's not loading for some reason, I'll just post this link:

http://sor.cua.edu/Feast/Advent.html

The arrangement of the Sunday Gospels and liturgical texts over the weeks of Advent (technically, Annunciation) is such that, in my experience, anticipation is built up as the events leading up to the Nativity are recalled as a preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas. 
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Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #25 on: December 16, 2004, 02:34:40 PM »
I've noticed a Mercedes with a "Fr. Nick" license plate outside a GOA parish.

So what?
Comments such as this just steam me to no end.
Why do you assume that all clerics are destitute to begin with? Or
That they do not inherit any assets? Or
That maybe, as in my small parish, the parish provides?

Our GOA archimandrite priest is paid even less than the ACROD minimum standards for a same sized parish (this I know first hand). He declines living in the large rectory prefering to live in a most modest studio apartment 2 miles away. He is over 65 and on Medicare and so we only pay his MedSup premiums and, of course, he has no dependents. We had to beg him to let us provide a car!

Rant over- back to Nativity...

Demetri
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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #26 on: December 16, 2004, 03:19:51 PM »


So what?
Comments such as this just steam me to no end.
Why do you assume that all clerics are destitute to begin with? Or
That they do not inherit any assets? Or
That maybe, as in my small parish, the parish provides?

Our GOA archimandrite priest is paid even less than the ACROD minimum standards for a same sized parish (this I know first hand). He declines living in the large rectory prefering to live in a most modest studio apartment 2 miles away. He is over 65 and on Medicare and so we only pay his MedSup premiums and, of course, he has no dependents. We had to beg him to let us provide a car!

Rant over- back to Nativity...

Demetri


I think you've taken JEnnifer's comment out of context.  She was just pointing out the difference between "Fr. Nick's" Mercedes on one point and the OCA's priest's need to have a full time job in addition to his sacramental duties.

It's quite an interesting dichotomy.
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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #27 on: December 16, 2004, 05:37:55 PM »
I think that one of the most interesting developments in American Orthodoxy will be the incorporation of "western" aspects of festal worship and living that are, in reallity, Protestant.  But that's where most American converts come from-a Protestant culture, or at least a Western one (in Christian terms).  I don't know that there's ever been any kind of turnover like this.  In the past, it was just cultures adapting certain aspects of their way of life to the life of The Church, but now, it's a balance between what's acceptable to retain from Protestant culture and what isn't.  It's not the assimilation of culture, it's the incorporation of canon-filtered heterodoxy.  Okay, I'm going to stop carrying on before I make anyone's head hurt as much as mine does because of this post.

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #28 on: December 16, 2004, 05:39:10 PM »
Oh, and Merry Christmas, Schultz.  Happy, happy, Oi! Oi! hahaha ;)

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #29 on: December 16, 2004, 06:15:53 PM »

I think you've taken JEnnifer's comment out of context. She was just pointing out the difference between "Fr. Nick's" Mercedes on one point and the OCA's priest's need to have a full time job in addition to his sacramental duties.

It's quite an interesting dichotomy.

My intention was contrast the two situations not to judge the priest with the Mercedes. 

Similarly I just read something about how seminarians at the OCA seminaries have to find a way to support their families. Apparently they also have to buy their own health insurance. 

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #30 on: December 16, 2004, 06:26:50 PM »


My intention was contrast the two situations not to judge the priest with the Mercedes.

Similarly I just read something about how seminarians at the OCA seminaries have to find a way to support their families. Apparently they also have to buy their own health insurance.

At SVS we get generous tuition assistence in many cases, but we have to take out loans from the government.  And yes, we do have to buy our own insurance.

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Offline Elisha

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #31 on: December 16, 2004, 06:56:14 PM »


So what?
Comments such as this just steam me to no end.
Why do you assume that all clerics are destitute to begin with? Or
That they do not inherit any assets? Or
That maybe, as in my small parish, the parish provides?

Our GOA archimandrite priest is paid even less than the ACROD minimum standards for a same sized parish (this I know first hand). He declines living in the large rectory prefering to live in a most modest studio apartment 2 miles away. He is over 65 and on Medicare and so we only pay his MedSup premiums and, of course, he has no dependents. We had to beg him to let us provide a car!

Rant over- back to Nativity...

Demetri

I think it is also a question of ability to pay.  I don't know if this is really that accurate, but at the food festival my parish puts on every year, during a lecture on Orthodox music in reference to the many immigrant groups comprising Orthodoxy in America, the speaker (someone I know) made the remark that the Greeks are the most financially successful immigrant group (probably per capita) in America (maybe he mean Orthodox only).  I hate to try to trump one diocese over another, but...a (former) GOA parish I know had a falling out with the priest and the parish split.  Many parishoners appealed to the Bishop but said they must be able to him >=$60K per year.  The parishoners said impossible (not that big of a parish).  The parishoners than called the OCA Bishop and told them they put priests in the relative vicinity on a rotation to minister to them.  I know that my priest is paid <2/3 of that $60K, but there is a rectory around 1500+ sqft w/ 4 bd to use.  What I find most interesting (probably the saddest part actually) is that on average, your cost per "ministering" in the GOA is much higher since they get paid much more but have a lot less services to do.  Basically, the OCA provides much more bang for the buck.  I realize this has a lot do with the attendance of the faithful - that the priest would most likely be willing to do more services if people would actually attend them, but from what I've seen, my better "efficiency"/bang for the buck adheres to reality.  Not the best way to think of these things but food for thought at any rate.

Now, wasn't this topic supposed to have to do with Christmas/Advent/Nativity?

Offline Elisha

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #32 on: November 14, 2008, 05:33:55 PM »


Over Thanksgiving weekend, I hung out w/ friends where the husband is the son of a prominent former AEOM priest. They had one of those wreaths w/ different colored candles in it (white, purple and pink) on the kitchen table. Is this a Protestant thing? It is funny to see people cling to these Protestant traditions.

I don't think so.  Even if I were the most uber traditionalist Orthodox, in my home I will always sing Western Christmas Hymns and have a Christmas tree because I am a Westerner!! :)  (I don't agree with putting stuff like Advent wreathes in Orthodox Churches though).

Anastasios

Fr. A,

Do you still feel this way?

Offline zoarthegleaner

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #33 on: November 14, 2008, 11:13:06 PM »
St. Jochiam and Anna gave 1/3 to the temple, 1/3 to the poor and lived off the last 1/3rd (as did many of the Saints)  1/3rd is the whole Old Testament tithe of which the Lord Himself said, "Bring the full tithe into the storehouse."  The ten-percent tithe which is the more commonly known portion of the whole tithe was upon the INCREASE

For the most part, few people tithe...its just to darn expensive. ;)
Courteous is my name,
and I have always aimed to live up to it.
Grace is also my name,
but when things go wrong
its Courteous whom I blame;
but its Grace who sees me through it.

Offline NorthernPines

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #34 on: November 18, 2008, 12:24:36 PM »


Over Thanksgiving weekend, I hung out w/ friends where the husband is the son of a prominent former AEOM priest. They had one of those wreaths w/ different colored candles in it (white, purple and pink) on the kitchen table. Is this a Protestant thing? It is funny to see people cling to these Protestant traditions.

I don't think so.  Even if I were the most uber traditionalist Orthodox, in my home I will always sing Western Christmas Hymns and have a Christmas tree because I am a Westerner!! :)  (I don't agree with putting stuff like Advent wreathes in Orthodox Churches though).

Anastasios

Fr. A,

Do you still feel this way?

I'm glad you asked because I'm wondering something along those lines....not so much advent wreaths in Church, because that isn't really part of our Liturgical Tradition. (though I love the Advent wreath tradition for private/home use as a nice way of "counting down" to the feast, not sure I'd be totally comfortable with one in Church though).

But I'm actually wondering about Christmas trees in Church! A lot of Orthodox Churches will use poinsetas (sp?) to decorate the Church, but I've never been to one that uses a Christmas tree. (though a friend of mine has been to an OCA parish that had one). And I admit, I'd like to see a Christmas tree in my parish. Not anything gaudy, but the way some Lutheran Churches decorate with simple gold and  silver decorations and white lights...(though for home use I prefer colored...:))

Considering how a Christmas tree is just a decoration and would not be incorporated into the Liturgical cycle/practice like an Advent wreath would be, I wonder why there aren't more Churches with Christmas trees? In my town there is a little Lutheran country church and they have 2 trees on each side of their altar and it is really quite beautiful. (well not yet they don't, but they will by mid Dec.)  I of course wouldn't want one up by the Iconostasis or anything, but there are plenty of spaces in many Orthodox Churches were a tree could be put. Oh yeah, I'm in the GOA, so perhaps that's why i've never experienced any trees in Church. But was just wondering what Fr. A's, (and others) thoughts are on this.


Offline Thomas

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Re: Nativity Fast or Advent?
« Reply #35 on: November 18, 2008, 03:05:46 PM »
Northern Pines,

... "I love the Advent wreath tradition for private/home use as a nice way of "counting down" to the feast, not sure I'd be totally comfortable with one in Church though" ...[/quote]

If you would like a copy of an Orthodox "advent" wreath please PM me, I would be happy to send you the one we developed from Father Conaris' book  Making God Real in the Orthodox Church for our catechumen Class group to use in their homes. To many of them the  Advent wreath was a long and  beloved tradition in their observance of Advent.

Thomas
« Last Edit: November 18, 2008, 03:08:30 PM by Thomas »
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