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Author Topic: Eastern Orthodox Deacons  (Read 8534 times) Average Rating: 0
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SaintShenouti
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« on: December 01, 2004, 11:40:42 AM »

I recently saw a Russian Orthodox liturgy, and it was wonderful.  One thing that caught my eye was how the deacon holds his stole out to the side as he chants the litany.  I believe it was wrapped around the two first fingers, and uses it to cross himself.  I read also that the "Old-Believers" use special cloths to do the same during service, so as to say the two natures of Christ are united.  Is that the same idea for why the deacon does such?  Our deacons/archdeacons (not subdeacons of course) never hold their stoles in such manner, so I was just curious where the tradition began.
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« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2004, 11:44:07 AM »

I recently saw a Russian Orthodox liturgy, and it was wonderful.  One thing that caught my eye was how the deacon holds his stole out to the side as he chants the litany.

I don't know - I just know that I find that the most irritating aspect of the Russian style.
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« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2004, 12:09:46 PM »

Irritating?  How so?

When I go to the OCA Cathedral in DC, I find the Russian women who float around the nave talking to one another far more irritating.
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« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2004, 12:19:48 PM »

Irritating?  How so?

When I go to the OCA Cathedral in DC, I find the Russian women who float around the nave talking to one another far more irritating.

I really can't say why. I guess it is just too much of a "royal decree" style of thing. Always reminds me of Yul Brenner in "The Ten Commandments" saying "So it is written, so let it be done!"


Yeah. That happens at my GOA Chruch in DC. And it is not just the women out there yappin!

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« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2004, 12:31:41 PM »

In deference to SaintShenouti's original question, I prefer to await an answer directly from an Orthodox deacon. I recently read about this practise but only recall that it made sense when explained (but not the explanation itself- getting old, failing memory, I'm afraid).
Most of the rest of these comments are, however, certainly 'irritating' in their irrelevence.

Demetri
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« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2004, 12:53:49 PM »

Quote
Most of the rest of these comments are, however, certainly 'irritating' in their irrelevence.

Irrelevance?  The original poster asked about a particular Russian usage practice.  Tom said he found it irritating.  I asked him why.  He answered.  

Seems relevant to me.  Your complaining is what's irrelevant, me laddo.
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« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2004, 12:58:34 PM »

Well, friend, I guess you included yourself in the "most" part...Huh
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« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2004, 01:03:31 PM »

The deacon is making half an orans position. Some infer that the deacon may only raise one hand, just as he bows one knee for ordination and wears his stole on only one shoulder.  I think, rather, it was simply practicality, the deacon having to hold his liturgikon in one hand.  In any case, the deacon is raising up the people to prayer so he raises his orarion, just as the priest raises both his hands in the orans position at certain prayers.

Fr. Deacon Lance

edited for typos
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« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2004, 01:05:27 PM »

Thanks, Deacon Lance. THAT'S what I read!
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« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2004, 01:05:30 PM »

Tom,

Greek deacons don't raise their orarions?  The only one I've seen (he is Metropolitan Maximos' protodeacon I believe) does.

Fr. Deacon Lance
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« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2004, 01:12:27 PM »

Dear topic starter,

When you see a Deacon put forth his stole while praying the litany it is a venerable ancient liturgical tradition that shouldn't ever be a source of irritation, particularly as we continue the Nativity fast. Nothing that is part of the Holy liturgy is there to be irritating. There are several other times during the Holy liturgy that his stole is put forth.

If you look at the icon of the Annunciation to the Holy Virgin Mary (Theotokas) you will see the Archangel (messenger) Gabriel's arm and hand extended forward to the most Holy Theotokas as he brings joyful tidings and says to Her, "Fear not, Mary; for Thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, Thou shalt conceive in Thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest, and He shall reign for ever."

(Luke 1:28)  The angel Gabriel was sent by God to announce to the Virgin the birth of the Saviour:  "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.  Blessed art thou among women."   This angelic salutation forms a part of the hymn of the Church most frequently sung in her honor.  

When you see a Deacon put forth his stole while praying the litany keep in mind that Priests and Deacons occupy a unique place in space and time during the Holy Liturgy on earth and in heaven above. Our response to the Deacons actions and prayers are often appropriately, Lord have mercy.  

Here are some words from Saint John Chrysostom who is certainly known as the golden mouth for good reasons.

4. For the priestly office is indeed discharged on earth, but it ranks amongst heavenly ordinances; and very naturally so: for neither man, nor angel, nor archangel, nor any other created power, but the Paraclete Himself, instituted this vocation, and persuaded men while still abiding in the flesh to represent the ministry of angels. Wherefore the consecrated priest ought to be as pure as if he were standing in the heavens themselves in the midst of those powers. Fearful, indeed, and of most awful import, were the things which were used before the dispensation of grace, as the bells, the pomegranates, the stones on the breastplate and on the ephod, the girdle, the mitre, the long robe, the plate of gold, the holy of holies, the deep silence within.1 But if any one should examine the things which belong to the dispensation of grace, he will find that, small as they are, yet are they fearful and full of awe, and that what was spoken concerning the law is true in this case also, that "what has been made glorious hath no glory in this respect by reason of the glory which excelleth."2 For when thou seest the Lord sacrificed, and laid upon the altar,3 and the priest standing and praying over the victim, and all the worshippers empurpled with that precious blood,4 canst thou then think that thou art still amongst men, and standing upon the earth? Art thou not, on the contrary, straightway translated to Heaven, and casting out every carnal thought from the soul, dost thou not with disembodied spirit and pure reason contemplate the things which are in Heaven? Oh! what a marvel! what love of God to man! He who sitteth on high with the Father is at that hour held in the hands of all,5 and gives Himself to those who are willing to embrace and grasp Him. And this all do through the eyes of faith!6 Do these things seem to you fit to be despised, or such as to make it possible for any one to be uplifted against them?

Would you also learn from another miracle the exceeding sanctity of this office? Picture Elijah and the vast multitude standing around him, and the sacrifice laid upon the altar of stones, and all the rest of the people hushed into a deep silence while the prophet alone offers up prayer: then the sudden rush of fire from Heaven upon the sacrifice:-these are marvellous things, charged with terror. Now then pass from this scene to the rites which are celebrated in the present day; they are not only marvellous to behold, but transcendent in terror. There stands the priest, not bringing down fire from Heaven, but the Holy Spirit: and he makes prolonged supplication,7 not that some flame sent down from on high may consume the offerings, but that grace descending on the sacrifice may thereby enlighten the souls of all, and render them more refulgent than silver purified by fire. Who can despise this most awful mystery, unless he is stark mad and senseless? Or do you not know that no human soul could have endured that fire in the sacrifice, but all would have been utterly consumed, had not the assistance of God's grace been great.

5. For if any one will consider how great a thing it is for one, being a man, and compassed with flesh and blood, to be enabled to draw nigh to that blessed and pure nature, he will then clearly see what great honor the grace of the Spirit has vouchsafed to priests; since by their agency these rites are celebrated, and others nowise inferior to these both in respect of our dignity and our salvation. For they who inhabit the earth and make their abode there are entrusted with the administration of things which are in Heaven, and have received an authority which God has not given to angels or archangels. For it has not been said to them, "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven."8 They who rule on earth have indeed authority to bind, but only the body: whereas this binding lays hold of the soul and penetrates the heavens; and what priests do here below God ratifies above, and the Master confirms the sentence of his servants. For indeed what is it but all manner of heavenly authority which He has given them when He says, "Whose sins ye remit they are remitted, and whose sins ye retain they are retained?"9 What authority could be greater than this? "The Father hath committed all judgment to the Son?"10 But I see it all put into the hands of these men by the Son. For they have been conducted to this dignity as if they were already translated to Heaven, and had transcended human nature, and were released from the passions to which we are liable. Moreover, if a king should bestow this honor upon any of his subjects, authorizing him to cast into prison whom he pleased and to release them again, he becomes an object of envy and respect to all men; but he who has received from God an authority as much greater as heaven is more precious than earth, and souls more precious than bodies, seems to some to have received so small an honor that they are actually able to imagine that one of those who have been entrusted with these things will despise the gift. Away with such madness! For transparent madness it is to despise so great a dignity, without which it is not possible to obtain either our own salvation, or the good things which have been promised to us. For if no one can enter into the kingdom of Heaven except he be regenerate through water and the Spirit, and he who does not eat the flesh of the Lord and drink His blood is excluded from eternal life, and if all these things are accomplished only by means of those holy hands, I mean the hands of the priest, how will any one, without these, be able to escape the fire of hell, or to win those crowns which are reserved for the victorious?


Here is the complete link anyone would like to continue on from the beginning. http://stmaryofegypt.org/fathers2/NPNF1-09/npnf1-09-05.htm#P266_79483

In Christ,
Matthew Panchisin  
 
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« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2004, 01:16:41 PM »

Most of the rest of these comments are, however, certainly 'irritating' in their irrelevence.

Don't worry, my friend. I don't hold your posts against you! I support the free exchange of ideas and questions. Oops! I Guess that just makes me too "western" to truly be Orthodox (tm).

Tom,

Greek deacons don't raise their orarions?  The only one I've seen (he is Metropolitan Maximos' protodeacon I believe) does.

Fr. Deacon Lance

Well, I can't recall a GOA Church that I have been in that actually uses deacons. The Priest just says these at the alter with their backs toward the parishoners.

However, when I was in Greece - they did seem to have deacons and they did do this. The one church that I was in when they did not have a deacon - the Priest still came out and did it.

I just find the in and out, in and out, of the doors distracting. It's like watching one of those german clocks!  Grin

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« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2004, 01:44:12 PM »

Don't worry, my friend. I don't hold your posts against you! I support the free exchange of ideas and questions. Oops! I Guess that just makes me too "western" to truly be Orthodox (tm).Well, I can't recall a GOA Church that I have been in that actually uses deacons. The Priest just says these at the alter with their backs toward the parishoners.

No prob...party on Garth!

Quote
However, when I was in Greece - they did seem to have deacons and they did do this. The one church that I was in when they did not have a deacon - the Priest still came out and did it.

I just find the in and out, in and out, of the doors distracting. It's like watching one of those german clocks!  Grin

I suspected this. There seems to be a dearth of deacons in the GOAA. It's a shame really as when the Divine Liturgy is celebrated with a deacon the priest seems less stressed and one can assume ALL the silent prayers are properly made. Perhaps TomS might consider the deaconate? (And before you go there, I've already been asked and had to decline on canonical grounds  Sad )

Clocks and watches should be 'checked' in the nave before entering the naos.  Smiley

D
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« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2004, 02:41:05 PM »

No prob...party on Garth!I suspected this. There seems to be a dearth of deacons in the GOAA. It's a shame really as when the Divine Liturgy is celebrated with a deacon the priest seems less stressed and one can assume ALL the silent prayers are properly made. Perhaps TomS might consider the deaconate? (And before you go there, I've already been asked and had to decline on canonical grounds  Sad )

Clocks and watches should be 'checked' in the nave before entering the naos.  Smiley

D

Maybe Fr. Dn. John Chrysyvgis (however you spell it) is the only one!  Or is he not in the GOAA?
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« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2004, 04:58:18 PM »

Wow.

Much obliged, gentlemen.
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« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2004, 09:08:43 PM »

Thank you for the link Matthew and thank you too Father Deacon for your explanation. I found this practice rather spiffy, but I'd always wondered why it was done. Reading all of this makes me wish that my church had a deacon on staff!

Quote
It's a shame really as when the Divine Liturgy is celebrated with a deacon the priest seems less stressed and one can assume ALL the silent prayers are properly made.

I agree with you +æ-ü+¦-â-ä+++¦+++«-é.

In Christ,
Aaron
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« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2004, 09:23:09 PM »

Maybe Fr. Dn. John Chrysyvgis (however you spell it) is the only one!  Or is he not in the GOAA?

I have never heard of him, although I think there is a Fr. John Chryssavgis running around Holy Cross, but he's a priest.
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« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2004, 01:21:40 AM »

I recently saw a Russian Orthodox liturgy, and it was wonderful.  One thing that caught my eye was how the deacon holds his stole out to the side as he chants the litany.  I believe it was wrapped around the two first fingers, and uses it to cross himself.  I read also that the "Old-Believers" use special cloths to do the same during service, so as to say the two natures of Christ are united.  Is that the same idea for why the deacon does such?  Our deacons/archdeacons (not subdeacons of course) never hold their stoles in such manner, so I was just curious where the tradition began.

Sorry to be so mundane compared to the other posts, but I had always heard that this is done as a kind of "leftover" from the time period when the deacon had all of his prayers stuck on his stole to be read, or from before the time that deacons had stoles and it was just a huge long list of petitions that he had to hold aloft to read.  Of course, this doesn't explain the parts of the liturgy where the deacon is raising his stole to point to the priest while he is blessing the people.  Mathhew's explanation seems to fit well in this instance.
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« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2004, 01:32:48 AM »

Sorry to be so mundane compared to the other posts, but I had always heard that this is done as a kind of "leftover" from the time period when the deacon had all of his prayers stuck on his stole to be read, or from before the time that deacons had stoles and it was just a huge long list of petitions that he had to hold aloft to read.  Of course, this doesn't explain the parts of the liturgy where the deacon is raising his stole to point to the priest while he is blessing the people.  Mathhew's explanation seems to fit well in this instance.

The stole is a symbol that is used to call attention.  In Roman times the stole was held up to take the floor, to call attention that one was going to speak.  The deacon does the same thing until today with his stole.  Further he uses it to point, again to call attention.

I don't recall hearing that the deacon ever had petitions written on his stole, do you have any cite for that?
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« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2004, 01:57:13 AM »

Dear Tony,

It would not surprise me if the stole had been also used to have petitions written on a piece of paper on it particularly when a newly ordained Orthodox Deacon who might have a tendency to forget a petition here or there. I have seen it done in recent times.

I wouldn't say that the stole is used to call attention or point so to speak, I think it is used more as a gesture or expression of reverence. During the Holy Anaphora the Orthodox Deacon puts forth his stole on several occassions like before the Chalice and diskos when the Priest or Bishop blessing the Lamb on the diskos, says, "And make this bread the precious Body of Thy Christ." Blessing the wine in the chalice, he says, "And that which is in this cup, the precious Blood of Thy Christ." After each blessing the deacon says, "Amen." Finally, blessing the bread and wine together the priest says, "Changing them by Thy Holy Spirit." And the deacon says, "Amen. Amen. Amen."


In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin
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« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2004, 07:19:32 AM »

Since we are talking about things that irritate us, and we all seem to agree that people chatting during Liturgy is highly irritating, why not employ some altar boys armed with tasers and stun guns to patrol the nave during Liturgy and simple shoot the people that are chatting? Most altar boys would LOVE it, especially the younger high-spirited ones that tend to get a bit bored in the altar sometimes. It would delight those of us who are quiet and reverent in Church, and it could serve as a rather apocalyptic example to other chatters and church blabbermouths that we really do not need a running commentary on the Liturgy during the Liturgy.  Smiley
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« Reply #21 on: December 02, 2004, 07:57:58 AM »

I have often wanted to take a standard telephone into church (attached to a loooong cable), have it ring, and then audibly answer that I can't speak now as we are in the middle of Divine Liturgy. Do you think the people carrying mobile phones would get the message?
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« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2004, 12:25:49 PM »

Although its a negative, its another point that the Eastern & Western Churches have in common, somethings have no boundries.

james

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« Reply #23 on: December 02, 2004, 12:29:34 PM »

teehee, thats some funny "stuff"...

Since we are talking about things that irritate us, and we all seem to agree that people chatting during Liturgy is highly irritating, why not employ some altar boys armed with tasers and stun guns to patrol the nave during Liturgy and simple shoot the people that are chatting? Most altar boys would LOVE it, especially the younger high-spirited ones that tend to get a bit bored in the altar sometimes. It would delight those of us who are quiet and reverent in Church, and it could serve as a rather apocalyptic example to other chatters and church blabbermouths that we really do not need a running commentary on the Liturgy during the Liturgy.  Smiley
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« Reply #24 on: December 02, 2004, 01:59:03 PM »

The stole is a symbol that is used to call attention.  In Roman times the stole was held up to take the floor, to call attention that one was going to speak.  The deacon does the same thing until today with his stole.  Further he uses it to point, again to call attention.

I don't recall hearing that the deacon ever had petitions written on his stole, do you have any cite for that?

Your explanation sounds interesting, particularly in light of the fact that clerical garb did seem to evolve from imperial/official clothing of the Roman and Byzantine worlds.   Maybe a combination of factors came into play regarding the evolution of the diaconal stole.

Sorry, I don't have any citations for you regarding my hypothesis right now.  It's just something that I was told quite a while ago.
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« Reply #25 on: December 02, 2004, 02:05:15 PM »

I have often wanted to take a standard telephone into church (attached to a loooong cable), have it ring, and then audibly answer that I can't speak now as we are in the middle of Divine Liturgy. Do you think the people carrying mobile phones would get the message?

Does this kind of thing happen all the time in Thessaloniki, John?

Bob
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« Reply #26 on: December 02, 2004, 05:00:30 PM »

Another option would be to give altar boys remote controls with mute buttons. They could simple "mute" any and all church blabbermouths who seem to think that their idle chatter is of equal important to to the Divine Conversation with the Most Holy Trinity that we enjoy during the  Holy Liturgy. Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: December 02, 2004, 05:16:21 PM »

Although its a negative, its another point that the Eastern & Western Churches have in common, somethings have no boundries.

james


I know, such as what happened last Sunday. The Canon started, and then right during the Consecration,when the priest elevated the Body of CHrist a loud,very loud phone rang!!! Then the man promptly tried to turn it off but he ended upmaking it louder and then started to look angrily at it. Satan must be calling I think.
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« Reply #28 on: December 02, 2004, 05:28:57 PM »

I have never heard of him, although I think there is a Fr. John Chryssavgis running around Holy Cross, but he's a priest.  

That's him, I think.  Are you sure he's a priest?  I've seen Dn. listed in his credentials in every type of announcenment/press release/etc. recently.  Was he ordained a priest recently?
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« Reply #29 on: December 02, 2004, 06:00:17 PM »

That's him, I think.  Are you sure he's a priest?  I've seen Dn. listed in his credentials in every type of announcenment/press release/etc. recently.  Was he ordained a priest recently?

Well, doing a quick Yahoo search, it looks like the Dn. is a Dr. (PhD or Doctorate of whatever, probably Theology).  I'm still rather certain that I've seen Dn listed in fliers, etc.  Maybe they were typos.
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« Reply #30 on: December 02, 2004, 06:16:09 PM »

Dear Tony,

It would not surprise me if the stole had been also used to have petitions written on a piece of paper on it particularly when a newly ordained Orthodox Deacon who might have a tendency to forget a petition here or there. I have seen it done in recent times.

I wouldn't say that the stole is used to call attention or point so to speak, I think it is used more as a gesture or expression of reverence. During the Holy Anaphora the Orthodox Deacon puts forth his stole on several occassions like before the Chalice and diskos when the Priest or Bishop blessing the Lamb on the diskos, says, "And make this bread the precious Body of Thy Christ." Blessing the wine in the chalice, he says, "And that which is in this cup, the precious Blood of Thy Christ." After each blessing the deacon says, "Amen." Finally, blessing the bread and wine together the priest says, "Changing them by Thy Holy Spirit." And the deacon says, "Amen. Amen. Amen."


In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin

Dear-in-Christ Mathew,

There are a few things to consider, perhaps you are aware of them, perhaps it will be useful to mention them here for others' sake.  

The Slavonic service books use the work pokazat for the action that the deacon makes at the epiklesis (the sequence you cite above).  The Slavic root *kaz* means generally show, point, order, command.  I can't find an instance of it meaning reverence or veneration, if you can please share that.  There are plenty of cognates in modern Slav (and ancient) languages with the *kaz* root that means information, attention, etc., remember the "ukaz."

I spoke with Prof. P. Meyendorff today very briefly.  I asked him if the pointing is an expression of veneration or reverence, he winced and said "I don't think so."  I asked him about it further, the relation of the orarion to the epitrachelion, etc.,  he said there is nothing in the literature about this.  But, he suggested some places to look, I will do that later today if time permits.  I asked a rather well-read deacon on staff the same and he said he thinks that the notion of the orarion and its liftin up being a cribsheet for petitions has been "debunked."  

One place I looked on my own was Nikol'skyi's "Posobie k izucheniiu...."  On page 53 of the reprint of the 1900 edition he says "v drevnosti Diakon orarem otiral usta prichashchaiushchikhsia."  "In antiquity the deacon wiped the mouth of the communicant with the orarion."!!!  He offers a footnote with his proposed etymology of the word orarion back to Latin os, mouth.

As for the orarion being a place to write petitions, other have told me they have seen that.   I have seen the commemorations at the great entrance attached to a flap on the chalice veil and from my BC times I remember at least one bishop who used to keep his sermon notes in a pocket on the back of the epigonation.  None of those uses indicate origin however.

Tony
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« Reply #31 on: December 02, 2004, 08:35:06 PM »

Matthew,

First off sorry to misspell your name in the previous post, I corrected some typoes but missed your name.

Meyendorff suggested I try two sources which I did.  #1 The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, and; #2 the Dictionnaire d'Archeologie Chretienne et de Liturgie.  #1 has an interesting entry under orarion.  It gives the usage as something to wipe with, mainly the brow, and the symbolism of wings, angel wings.  #1 cites the Chrysostom for the latter and cites some canons as well.  #2 offer a longer, apparently more complete entry under orarium.  The first usage mentioned is the ancient shaking of the orarium as a sign of approval.  Then it mentions the usage as a napkin or handkerchief.  Other usages are mentioned as well.  It appears the stole was a normal part of dress during the early Christian period.

Tony
If you google on orarion or orarium you will find some entries there that may be useful as well.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=orarion

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=orarium

Tony
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« Reply #32 on: December 02, 2004, 08:44:48 PM »

Quote
I have often wanted to take a standard telephone into church (attached to a loooong cable), have it ring, and then audibly answer that I can't speak now as we are in the middle of Divine Liturgy. Do you think the people carrying mobile phones would get the message?

 :smiley1: LOL! I think that sounds like a smashing idea!  Wink

Quote
Since we are talking about things that irritate us, and we all seem to agree that people chatting during Liturgy is highly irritating, why not employ some altar boys armed with tasers and stun guns to patrol the nave during Liturgy and simple shoot the people that are chatting? Most altar boys would LOVE it, especially the younger high-spirited ones that tend to get a bit bored in the altar sometimes. It would delight those of us who are quiet and reverent in Church, and it could serve as a rather apocalyptic example to other chatters and church blabbermouths that we really do not need a running commentary on the Liturgy during the Liturgy.


We have the same problem in my church, but no so much in the church itself (althouhg it does happen sometimes) but out in the vestibule there are a bunch of people who like to just "hang out" back there and chat and socialize instead of being inside actually participating in the liturgy. I always wonder why they bother to come to church at all. Might as well just show up after church and hang out during coffe hour!

On a side note, I visited a church of the GOC (Chrysostomos Synod) and I can tell you that such a thing would never happen there because the people would come up in your face and tell you to be silent - no doubt! I had one guy come up to me after he had received the Eucharist to inform me that I was not to have my hands in my pockets!

In Christ,
Aaron
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« Reply #33 on: December 02, 2004, 09:16:32 PM »

Dear in Christ Tony,

Thanks for the links I'll check them out latter. I'll share an instance with you of it meaning reverence or veneration, every time our Deacon serves the Liturgy.

Please advise Prof P. Meyendorff that his wince and comment seems rather silly to me and obviously wrong for when a Deacon puts forth his hand in front of the Chalice it sure is supposed to be an expression of veneration or reverence. Nay? After all, he is using his orarion part of his vestments and not a common everyday garment like a cloth bookmarker, which is used when reading Mark Twain’s adventures or even Dostoyevsky's, the Brothers Karamazov. That is how I see it, if I'm seeing it in an unorthodox way then hopefully God will forgive me for that as well.  A person can read all the literature in the world or stick his head in the Rudder and learn a lot, a person can even translate it and write many books like Makrakis and end up being called a heretic it seems from what I've heard and read anyway. When the Deacon is serving with a Bishop it is not his place to "command" or order anything, so I suppose "show" would be a good translation or even "call attention".  It seems to me that to "point" nowadays conveys less reverence, perhaps that's just how I see it.

When the Deacon stands in front of an Icon Christ or the Theotokas or the Saints and puts forth his orarion and offers a prayer or petition this would fall in the realm of an act of reverence Nay? Pointing doesn't register well in my mind in that regard.

As far as the origin of such things I would suppose that the good Prof P. Meyendorff would agree that the heart is a better place to look I'm sure he knows that in Orthodox theology the mind is considered lower and the heart is expressed by the Orthodox fathers as the seat of the soul and divine knowledge. These things that we are speaking of are not itemized or categorized or sought out in some mechanical or merely historical origination sort of way. As far as the origins go, those things change as well from time to time and place-to-place, tradition does change somewhat and with God's Grace so can I, I hope.

Thanks for sharing the below, I never knew that, however it seems to convey reverence since it is liturgical and those things that are done during the liturgy are to be in that sort of a realm, I think.
 
"In antiquity the deacon wiped the mouth of the communicant with the orarion."!!!  

Pardon my rant, I tend to do that.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin
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« Reply #34 on: December 02, 2004, 09:33:31 PM »

Please advise Prof P. Meyendorff that his wince and comment seems rather silly to me and obviously wrong for when a Deacon puts forth his hand in front of the Chalice it sure is supposed to be an expression of veneration or reverence. Nay?

Dear-in-Christ Matthew,

The use of the rubrical indication pokazuia "pointing" seems clear to me.  

No doubt you and I approach these things from a different perspective.

Quote
As far as the origins go, those things change as well from time to time and place-to-place, tradition does change somewhat and with God's Grace so can I, I hope.

Of course, usage (tradition) changes and so can we but origin itself, if known, can't.  

We know the origin of the great entrance.  It was merely the bringing of the gifts from the skeuophylakion in Agia Sophia.  From that it developed into what it is now and was adopted in other places.  It was something utilitarian that is now symbolic.   The symbolic has become rather elaborate as well.  The tradition changed, the origin did not.

T
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« Reply #35 on: December 02, 2004, 09:41:59 PM »

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when a Deacon puts forth his hand in front of the Chalice it sure is supposed to be an expression of veneration or reverence. Nay?

In the Great Russian usage the priest and deacon make a prostration after the epiclesis.  That seems to be veneration to me.
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« Reply #36 on: December 02, 2004, 11:35:30 PM »

Gentlemen:

I found an Orthodox book today that deals with the question:

Orthodox Liturgical Dress: An Historical Treatment

by Archimandrite Chrysostomus

Published by Holy Cross Orthodox Press, Brookline, Mass. , 1981.
I don't know if it's still in print.


The good Archimandrite seems to think that the entire question of the wheres and whys of clerical dress is mainly lost to antiquity: things are very shady.  However, he thinks it most likely that both the priestly and diaconal stole are  the children of the "oraria"  (the same word for the deacon's stole!) given (by a Roman Emperor or official, whose name I don't recall) "as a favour."  This oraria was used to show approval by waving it about in the air at the theatre or the circus!  He does mention the possiblity of it having become a kind of handkercheif for a time.

I also checked out pictures of mosaics showing Justinian and his court in the church of San Vitale, Ravenna.    These are 6th century works.  It's very interesting to see that neither the priest nor the deacon in the entourage of the emperor has a stole.  The deacon carries a censer.  The bishop has a flimsy version of today's omophor.

According to Fr.  Chrysostomus, the vestments seem to have acquired mystical significance as early as the seventh (sixth?) century in the Christian East, and this happened for the first time a couple of hundred years later in the West.

Personally, I think it is a good thing to ascribe meanings like this to vestments and liturgical gestures.  I think it's also a good idea to remember that these interpretations may sometimes be open to question.  

Bob
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« Reply #37 on: December 03, 2004, 12:28:08 AM »

Dear Tony,

When Priest moves away from the altar with the Holy Gifts he invites the faithful  to draw near with reverence of God with faith, and with love.

As such when the Deacon draws near to the alter he is not drawing near as a pointer irrespective of any interpretaion conveyed from the rubrics at this time. Perhaps we come to an agreement and call him one who brings attention with reverence?

You know those Russian words change in meaning from time to time often rather quickly and even within ones own lifetime I might add.

There is a Saint named Siloun who wept much during the liturgy you won't find his tears in the rubrics as part of the Liturgy or a definition rendering them as  an act of "veneration" "reverence" or a prostration from his heart or mind or soul before or after the epiclesis.

Here is a good link about him.

http://www.philthompson.net/pages/about/silouan/

Orthodoxy does not define things or look at things in the same way that is often done in the west.  The Holy Liturgy is along the lines of mysteria which is not defined or limited to seven sacraments sort of mode of thinking and understood in a rigid sort of way. The Orthodox Church is the Church of many mysteries beginning with the Holy Trinity. The act of venerating an icon is a mysteria or lighting a candle and saying a prayer, or drinking Holy water. All of these things and much more are within the Orthodox Church as is the Deacons orarion.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin





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« Reply #38 on: December 03, 2004, 12:44:44 AM »

You know those Russian words change in meaning from time to time often rather quickly and even within ones own lifetime I might add.

Dear Matthew,

I am not sure to which "Russian words" you refer.  The rubrics in the Sluzhebnik are in Slavonic, at least in the ones I consulted.  One of the advantages of having rubrics not in the spoken language is that they must be examined more carefully.

T
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« Reply #39 on: December 03, 2004, 02:48:21 AM »

Dear Tony,

Well, you know that Slavonic is close to modern Russian but it is different in many ways and then there are modified forms of Slavonic that are used. I don't think we can deny the Russian wordness of Slavonic. What the meaning of the word was when in was rendered can still be misinterpreted or it's essence misunderstood. I'll give you an example that I often encountered with the growing popularity of Orthodox iconography as the word "writing" pertaining to icons is greatly emphasized nowadays. Most older iconographers will refer to the action of rendering an icon as painting an icon. People have been taught in recent times that iconographers write icons and that it is incorrect to refer to it as painting.  When in reality the Russian word pisat, means both painting and writing. Actually in very ancient times a sharp tool was used to scratch the lines for icons so that the painter would know where to apply the paint, for icons are painted differently than in secular art as the lines are used for perspective purposes. There really is not an word in English that conveys the same notion at this time. A friend of mine had once mentioned during a discussion the following.

"Even in Liddell-Scott (which is not Old Greek), istorikos is a scientific term, focusing on that which is exact and precise. Then, istorioyrafia is embedded in this scientific meaning when it refers, not just to history, but history writing. For based upon the Old Greek word, istor (ISTOR), the emphasis primarily, "denotes an action, and only secondarily a state." [Kittel; III:391

The Deacons state is up to the Deacon when he puts forth his orarion. Our perception and state is up to us as well when we participate in prayer and in the services by looking at an icon or make the sign of the cross or when we are incensed after the Saints are etc.  

I'll see what or if I can find out any additional information about the word pokazuia or the much bigger statement or now rather question if origin itself, if known, can't change?

Well,  I'm getting tired and going to rest for a bit.  

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin
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« Reply #40 on: December 03, 2004, 03:05:27 PM »

Dear Matthew,

Please allow me a small excursus on what I mean by origin.  The two entrances of the Divine Liturgy:  Both St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil have the little and great entrances, two entrances.  We know that the little entrace is the vestige of the movement of the bishop from the outside into the church from the procession to the church, this is still practiced at the full hierarchical divine liturgy, at least in the Great Russian usage and others I have witnessed.  The great entrace is the vestige of the bringing of the Gifts from the skeuophylakion to the altar.  These two entrances are traced back to those movments historically and AFAIK no one disputes this.  Both of these movements (both still called entrances in the rubrics and the prayers associated with them) while no longer necessary became at one time fixed elements of the liturgy as we have received it.  Symbolic understandings have become attached to these movements and other gestures as well, some on the part of the clergy some on the part of the people.  No matter what symbolic understanding is attached to either of these movements we know their origin.  The symbolic understanding of what they represent for us today can change, but the origin cannot change, unless you propose to re-write history.

Some usages and practices enter and their origins are unclear.  We sometimes think we have discovered their origin only to learn later that there was another origin.  The origin did not change, our knowledge did.  My wording "if known" was probably misleading in that regard.  

TonyS
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« Reply #41 on: December 03, 2004, 03:22:06 PM »

Dear Matthew,

As an Orthodox Christian it is my duty to be obedient in all things.  It is not usually easy but that is our calling as Orthodox Christians.  It might help to recall that the sin of Adam was disobedience.

When examining any of the practices or teachings of the Church we must look at what the Church herself tells us about these things.  The service books and the various patristic sources provide a very rich heritage.  We are called to be faithful to them and to not innovate.  If we apply academic knowledge to broaden our understanding that is a good thing and has a rich history also hallowed in the Orthodox Church.  

It is not up to me to come up with an understanding that is not what the Church's is.  I may expand on the Church's understanding if that is helpful.  Many of the actions of the liturgies of the Church are no longer clearly and easily understood.  By assigning symbolic interpretations we can make these actions more accessible.  It is always our task to use the symbolic interpretations hallowed by time and use within the Orthodox Church.  To do otherwise seems like risky business at best.

In "Late Byzantine Liturgical Vestments and the Iconography of Sacerdotal Power" by Woodfin (an unpublished PhD thesis) the author cites Philotheos' Ordo Sacri Ministerii (found in PG 154, cols. 753A, 756B-D) (he also cites Trempelas' Treis Leitourgiai, 6, 83) as saying "[t]he orarion, besides being the primary insigne of his order, is integral to the deacon's role in the liturgy.  The free end hanging in front of the chest is grasped with three fingers of the right hand and used to make gestures that draw attention to important liturgical actions."

Most souces I have consulted for this also cite the historical provenance being the stole of antiquity and the symbolism of angels' wings.  

For me as an Orthodx Christian since the patristic source cited above agrees with the liturgical books of the Church, I accept that position.  While other positions may be at times useful they can also become problematic.  If people are only provided with modern symbolic interpretations (perhaps differing from place to place) they can easily become confused about what is really going on.

Tony
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« Reply #42 on: December 03, 2004, 05:17:23 PM »

Quote
Orthodoxy does not define things or look at things in the same way that is often done in the west.  The Holy Liturgy is along the lines of mysteria which is not defined or limited to seven sacraments sort of mode of thinking and understood in a rigid sort of way. The Orthodox Church is the Church of many mysteries beginning with the Holy Trinity. The act of venerating an icon is a mysteria or lighting a candle and saying a prayer, or drinking Holy water. All of these things and much more are within the Orthodox Church as is the Deacons orarion.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin

Amen.

The Divine Liturgy (as well as all of the Divine Services) is for our purification, healing and theosis. We can all too quickly get lost in the symbolism search. If we end up on this path, we soon find that we become detached from the Liturgy and view it in an "archeological" manner.

The use of the deacon's stole during Liturgy is not primarily the result of historical progression (Fr Alexander Schmemann), but rather the result of God's Providence for our health and salvation.

Gregory
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« Reply #43 on: December 03, 2004, 05:48:44 PM »

Dear Tony,

I'm not purposing a re-write of history according to Matthew Panchisin's brain, that would be subject to many errors.

Would you agree with me that since there are many Sainted Deacons we can assume that "The free end hanging in front of the chest is grasped with three fingers of the right hand and used to make gestures that draw attention to important liturgical actions" was and should be done with "reverence" for you cannot seperate the reverence within the Deacons soul when he puts forth his orarion? An implicit part of any Orthodox important liturgical action is supposed to be in the reverence realm of things.

This seems to be a rather odd conversation to me, and I mean no offence whatsoever. If I have offended you in any way forgive me and thank you for sharing the information about the Deacons stole. I learned a lot and I hope others here have as well.

"Most sources I have consulted for this also cite the historical provenance being the stole of antiquity and the symbolism of angels' wings."

Good work Tony.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin

 

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« Reply #44 on: December 03, 2004, 08:19:44 PM »

Would you agree with me that since there are many Sainted Deacons we can assume that "The free end hanging in front of the chest is grasped with three fingers of the right hand and used to make gestures that draw attention to important liturgical actions" was and should be done with "reverence" for you cannot seperate the reverence within the Deacons soul when he puts forth his orarion? An implicit part of any Orthodox important liturgical action is supposed to be in the reverence realm of things.

Dear Matthew,

It is perhaps because I have heard way too much bad "baba theology" that really misrepresents many things that I am (overly)cautious about freely applying symbolic or pietistic understandings to things, especially liturgical movements and actions.  I maintain that we have to look to what the Church tells us primarily.  Those symbolic and pietistic understandings that the local or universal Church has hallowed over time must be considered before the others.  For me it remains a matter of obedience.

I would agree to what you state above but changing the word reverence to love.  Scripture tells us that "the greatest of these is love."  As you mentioned in a previous post it is "with fear of God, with faith and with love" that we are bid to approach the chalice.  Perhaps that means reverence to you, if that is so that is fine.  Love should beget the appropriate behaviour which would include reverence, no doubt.

I fear that so much of what we do in church has been so misexplained and misunderstood for so long because of not respecting what the Church has to say about such things that the liturgy has become incomprehensible in its actions to many.  It is a shame.  

Tony

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« Reply #45 on: December 04, 2004, 12:21:33 PM »

"Baba theology".  That's a good one.  lol!
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« Reply #46 on: December 04, 2004, 01:08:11 PM »

"Baba theology".  That's a good one.  lol!

I didn't make it up I just repeat it.  I am usually afraid of repeating it as it seems to demean the great faith of many baby (babas if you prefer).  I remember talking to a Greek-American woman about the bread eaten right after communion.  She was never told why that was done but the old women in the parish said it was to clear the mouth of Communion.  The baby were right!

Probably the baby as not the ones promoting "baba theology."

In some cases "baba theology" is the way to go.

TS
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« Reply #47 on: December 04, 2004, 01:30:23 PM »

Dear-in-Christ Matthew and others,

I ran across something germane to this thread while looking for something else.  Fr. Thomas Hopko says "Deacon and sub-deacons also wear a stole called the orarion, probably originally a piece of material upon which were inscribed the liturgical litanies and prayers (orare means to pray). The deacon still holds up the orarion in a position of prayer when he intones his parts of the divine services."

http://www.oca.org/pages/orth_chri/Orthodox-Faith/Worship/Vestments.html


Sadly he does not provide any footnote.  

In the reading I did earlier this week two things were mentioned as being written or potentially written on the oraria: 1) the angelic hymn "Holy, Holy, Holy" this is very much in sync with the symbolism of angel wings and this can still be seen on oraria today; 2) the donor's name.  

As potentially strange as the latter may seem if anyone saw the exhibit at the Met earlier this year among the vestments and embroidered liturgical linens there were such things as donors' names embroidered.  That is still common for many other things in church today except vestments AFAIK.

Since the above supports the original claim of petitions written on the orarion I think it is fair that it be mentioned.  

One thing further can be mentioned.  Slobodskoy says that the orarion is the same as the epitrachelion just in a slightly diferent form.  All agree about this AFAIK.  Slobodksoy says it represents the mercy of God flowing.  I have only seen that symbolism attributed by him to the orarion.  At the vesting of the priest when he puts on the epitrachelion the formula that accompanies it makes such a reference so ISTM that such a symbolism is useful and indeed may come from the formula/prayer or the formula/prayer from the symbolism.  When the deacon vests the orarion there is no formula.  When the deacon vests the sticharion and the cuffs the formula used is the same as for the priest's vesting.  

FWIW I thought it deserved mentioning.

TonyS
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« Reply #48 on: December 04, 2004, 01:51:38 PM »

Dear-in-Christ Matthew,

I decided to give another look in the service books of the Church about the gesturing of the deacon with his orarion.  I remain convinced that a better grasp of what is going on may be helpful.

I decided to look in the "Service Book" for "The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom" which is "Published with the Blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Laurus of Syracuse & Holy Trinity, 1999."  LAURUS is now the First Hierarch of the ROCOR.  The ROCOR has, IMHO, been very zealous in preserving pre-revolutionary Russian usage and piety and they have provided very accurate (and complete) translations into English of service books.

In the above text the gesture the deacon makes called in Slavonic pokazuia, they render into English as pointing.  They use reverence or make reverence when the Slavonic says bow or make a bow.

TonyS
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« Reply #49 on: December 04, 2004, 02:03:28 PM »

I like the regular phone in church idea.  At least you'd know who would be so shameless, heheh.
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« Reply #50 on: December 04, 2004, 02:08:53 PM »

I like the regular phone in church idea.  At least you'd know who would be so shameless, heheh.

It should really only take one time for someone's phone to ring at the wrong time and place, they should be scarred for life after that.  Having said that I think it is a matter of people not really remembering that they even have their phone with them.  Phone ringing at the wrong time or in the wrong place are way too common.   :-";"xx
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« Reply #51 on: December 04, 2004, 06:04:22 PM »

Dear Tony,

I would go with "indicate with reverence"  or  "call attention to with reverence" you may notice that often times the Deacons head is a bit "bowed", and I think that would be very accurate. If you would like to send me your email address I be happy to send you a book on Slavonic that I'm sure you will find helpful.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin

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« Reply #52 on: December 04, 2004, 07:03:47 PM »

If you would like to send me your email address I be happy to send you a book on Slavonic that I'm sure you will find helpful.

Dear-in-Christ Matthew,

I sent you a private message with my mailing address and my email address.  I mentioned the PU, that should be PO, Post Office but it seems I can't correct that typo now.

I appreciate your thoughtfulness and thank you in advance for your kindness.  On the practical side, I have bunches of books on Slavonic from my first graduate class in OCS up to now, in English and Russian.  If you let me know which one it is by email I would appreciate it.

TonyS
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« Reply #53 on: December 04, 2004, 07:19:36 PM »

I would go with "indicate with reverence"  or  "call attention to with reverence" you may notice that often times the Deacons head is a bit "bowed", and I think that would be very accurate.

Dear Matthew,

Sure.  Everything done by the clergy should be done with reverence.  I won't dispute that.  That should be a given.  

I think that giving an accurate translation of the rubrics helps eliminate inappropriate introductions.  The full rubric at the beginning of the epiklesis sequence has this "tazhe glavu prikloniv diakon i pokazuia orarem styi (my note: sviatyi) khleb, glagolet tikhim glasom" from LAURUS' edition of the service book "then bowing his head and pointing with his orarion to the Holy Bread, the deacon saith secretly."  The rubric for bowing the head is there using those words.

Perhaps this will make it clear, I hope it doesn't muddle it more.  I recently saw some sheet music from the ACROD that gave a "Censing Hymn."  The hymn in question is the well-known "O kto, kto."  That is not called a censing hymn, there is no such thing AFAIK.  The fact that Carpatho-Russians and Ukrainians often do not have a morning service preceeding the Divine Liturgy means that the censing done at the end of the proskomedia ends up being the first public action 'of the liturgy' and is usually a clue for people to stand, etc.  That is a folk hymn, a para-liturgical hymn that is now sung in church.  But it is not a "censing hymn."  Such attributions scare me.

Similarly in the Slavonic publications oftentimes dual dates are listed civil/church.  That means when it says January 7 on the civil calendar it is December 25 on the church calendar.  Christmas is always December 25th, it is how we reckon that date that is different.  Well I have seen one Orthodox publication that only lists the civil dates.  To me that seems wrong and in fact harmful.  In 2100, December 25th on the Julian calendar will fall on January 8th.  How many of the people who have not been taught adequately will misunderstand?  I bet tons.  Those publications, if on acid-free paper, will serve as fuel for their fire.  That is why accuracy is so helpful.

End of rant.

Tony
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« Reply #54 on: December 05, 2004, 02:48:12 AM »

In some cases "baba theology" is the way to go.

Sure. Smiley  No disagreement here.

Bob
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« Reply #55 on: December 05, 2004, 03:10:52 AM »

The Divine Liturgy (as well as all of the Divine Services) is for our purification, healing and theosis. We can all too quickly get lost in the symbolism search. If we end up on this path, we soon find that we become detached from the Liturgy and view it in an "archeological" manner.

The use of the deacon's stole during Liturgy is not primarily the result of historical progression (Fr Alexander Schmemann), but rather the result of God's Providence for our health and salvation.

Okay.  It is, however, important to remember that the Divine Liturgy did not fall out of the sky one day.  It is a human creation as much as it is a divine one, because of synergy.  

The Christians in early 5th century Constantinople had a liturgy with no trisagion, no symbol of faith, no cherubic hymn.  These things were added later because of human initiative as well as divine.  I don't think the Christians of this time were lacking in grace because of this, or because their deacons quite possibly had no stoles at the time.

I think it's necesary to study liturgy from an academic perspective, just so long as one keeps it in its proper place.  Otherwise, we risk confusing merely human "traditions" with the genuine Holy Tradition of the Church.

Bob
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« Reply #56 on: December 05, 2004, 05:17:13 PM »

The use of the deacon's stole during Liturgy is not primarily the result of historical progression (Fr Alexander Schmemann), but rather the result of God's Providence for our health and salvation.

Gregory

Dear-in-Christ Gregory,

Very interesting.  It seems that you are putting historical progression and divine providence in opposition to each other.  So for you God does not act through history?

It is my understanding that God is the owner of all things, among them history.  He is the owner of our destinies.  What we are able to study is the historical progression, God is all those alpha-privative things the liturgy says, inexpressible, incomprehensible, invisible, unattainable.  It is arrogance to say I know what God is thinking, I study God in his works.  I can't read God's mind.  What happened in the development of the liturgy is God's work through history through man.  As another poster commented it is not as if the leitourgikon fell from the sky with black and red lettering.  God inspired the development.  God inspires history.  

To take history away from God seems to diminish Him.  What a scary thought!

Tony
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« Reply #57 on: December 05, 2004, 05:59:09 PM »

Dear Tony,

I didn't come to the conclusion that Gregory was "putting historical progression and divine providence in opposition to each other" it seems to me he was suggesting an accurate balanced view. Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with looking at the historical development of things as well as what they mean and how the tradition moved along. One of the sad things for me is how the Latin's removed much in that regard relative to the liturgy. Personally, I have found that the more one studies and learns these things that more appreciation of these things is often the result. God bless all of you who care about such things. By the way I spoke with Bishop Peter (ROCOR) yesterday and mentioned the Slavonic word pokazuia he said to the best of his knowledge of Slavonic it means to indicate with reverence. I also spoke with ArchBishop Alypy (ROCOR) he wrote a great book on Slavonic I'll send you a copy he said it means "to show".  I served with our Deacon today and notice that the stole is used very often in our tradition.

Those typos can be funny sometimes like the PU you mentioned. I recently wrote a Priest and had mentioned in short form a friend who is away "studding" at college. I meant studying. I caught it in time be before I sent it.

Matthew Panchisin
 

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« Reply #58 on: December 05, 2004, 10:49:38 PM »

I also spoke with ArchBishop Alypy (ROCOR) he wrote a great book on Slavonic I'll send you a copy he said it means "to show".

Dear Matthew,

I have that book by archbishop ALYPY "Grammar of the Church Slavonic Language" translated into English by Fr. John Shaw.

Tony
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« Reply #59 on: December 05, 2004, 10:55:39 PM »

I also spoke with ArchBishop Alypy (ROCOR) he wrote a great book on Slavonic I'll send you a copy he said it means "to show".

Dear Matthew,

Just to mention, in my second post on this where I take up the issue of the word pokazat I say
Quote
The Slavic root *kaz* means generally show

Tony
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« Reply #60 on: December 06, 2004, 12:10:12 AM »

Dear Tony,

The "to show" is correct.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin
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« Reply #61 on: December 06, 2004, 09:25:19 AM »

Quote
To take history away from God seems to diminish Him.  What a scary thought! Tony

Dear Tony --

Sorry for the confusion. I am not implying this at all.

The problem with this is when we look at the development of the Liturgy within an historical framework and separate it from the work of God. In other words, when we pick apart the Liturgy and "re-evaluate" it based upon our comtemporary understanding or current situation, we risk taking God out of the "equation".

Gregory
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« Reply #62 on: December 22, 2004, 10:10:15 AM »

in my church the deacon always holds his in his hands and crosses himself with it and (ignorantly) i assumed all deacons of all churches do the same.

as for the old believers - we do have cloths but they are only for prostrations to the floor. one never uses one in making the sign of the cross. perhaps some priestless old believers brought this practise about, but certainly noty mainstream ones.

interesting responses. some people really know their stuff Smiley

michael

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« Reply #63 on: December 23, 2004, 08:46:36 PM »

I am still struggling to come to terms with someone openly expressing irritation about how deacons gesture when serving at a particular point in the Divine Service,  deacons who stand in like angels and who are there to serve before the Holy Table?

The way we worship consists not just of words, readings or chants but even our bodily postures and gestures. Words, phrases or portions of readings which appear repetitive are there for a reason and the services are replete with teaching for our edification, if only we have the humility, attention or care to find them out.

When I am irritated with others reflection often leads to me finding the problem lays within me, rather than with others. Irritation is sometimes a way of focusing attention on the 'perceived' shortcomings of a neighbour rather than my own.
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