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Author Topic: Crossing Arms For Communion  (Read 6626 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: August 23, 2012, 02:35:44 PM »

Can anyone share some information about the practice of crossing your arms as you walk up for communion? Origins, purpose, history, etc.?
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« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2012, 02:45:45 PM »

Purpose: prevent people from making sign of the cross before taking Communion to prevent spilling Eucharist from the chalice. That's all I know.
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« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2012, 02:47:01 PM »

You cross your arms, right over left.

Right over left, for the same reason you make the sign of the Cross with your right arm.

By crossing your arms to your shoulders, you make a cross upon yourself....but, it serves a more practical reason....the fact that your arms are stuck to your shoulders, you are less likely to knock over the chalice.

For the same reason, we do NOT cross ourselves upon approaching....in case we inadvertently bump the priest or his arms or the chalice, causing it to spill.

Side note:  The pretzel is often considered "lenten" because the bread uses no dairy and it is shaped like a person approaching Holy Communion,  with arms crossed.
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« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2012, 07:55:46 PM »

Any idea when the practice started? Is it a universally accepted practice among Orthodox?
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« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2012, 08:08:21 PM »

Any idea when the practice started? Is it a universally accepted practice among Orthodox?

Accepted? I doubt anyone would have a problem with it. It's mainly a Slavic thing, though, with Antiochians getting it through the Russians.

As for the history: Never seen anything written on it. Can't be an ancient custom, as communion in hand is the ancient practice.
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« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2012, 08:20:31 PM »

Ahh, thank you.
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« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2012, 09:31:59 PM »

Yeah, I only see it done in Russian Churches. The Greeks all cross themselves and do not fold the arms. One of the cultural changes I have come to notice in becoming a regular communicant in the Greek Orthodox Church.

Interesting that Roman Catholics have made this a signal that the person approaching the chalice is not going to receive, but just wants a blessing.
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« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2012, 11:41:37 PM »

Crossing the arms in an X shape over the breast to receive, was a custom universal or fairly universal throughout Christianity both in the East and in the West. In my experience, traditional Greeks still do this. I don't know the current "mileage" but surely the vast majority of Orthodox Christians in the world still do this as they commune the Gifts.
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« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2012, 01:30:57 AM »

In my experience, a substantial minority of Antiochians do it (converts and cradles alike).

I don't know if they do it in the Middle East; if not it's probably a Russian influence from the 50s and earlier when US Antiochians shared a lot of Russian liturgical practices. (Including kissing the chalice, which unnerves priests but some older folks do it.)
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« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2012, 03:17:34 AM »

I never saw this practice amongst the Lebanese EO community in Egypt. Also, not in Bulgaria. It seems to be a tradition of Holy Rus'. It is practised in all Ukrainian jurisdictions, including the uncanonical ones and those in communion with Rome.

And actually, Greeks often do make the sign of the cross before approaching the chalice - from a reasonable distance, though.
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« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2012, 06:32:59 AM »

I've noticed that some people in Serbia cross their arms and some not. Some days I've found something about this practice: "In 961, the 6th Ecumenical Council established this Canon: "Whosoever wishes to partake....let him form his hands into the shape of a cross, and thus approaching, let him receive the communion of grace.... (Canon 101)" (source: orthodoxinfo.com). So it seems that crossing arms is more proper. For me it's not only for practical reason (to not hit the chalice), but also it's a sing of humility.

Interesting that Roman Catholics have made this a signal that the person approaching the chalice is not going to receive, but just wants a blessing.

Yeah, one of my Roman Catholic friends was a little shocked when she came to my parish for Pascha and has seen that we cross our arms when we approach to receive the Holy Eucharist.

I never saw this practice amongst the Lebanese EO community in Egypt. Also, not in Bulgaria. It seems to be a tradition of Holy Rus'. It is practised in all Ukrainian jurisdictions, including the uncanonical ones and those in communion with Rome.

In Ukrainian Greek Catholic parish in Warsaw very few people cross they arms. But practically everybody makes the sign of cross just before receiving the Communion.
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« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2012, 07:33:13 AM »

I've noticed that some people in Serbia cross their arms and some not. Some days I've found something about this practice: "In 961, the 6th Ecumenical Council established this Canon: "Whosoever wishes to partake....let him form his hands into the shape of a cross, and thus approaching, let him receive the communion of grace.... (Canon 101)" (source: orthodoxinfo.com). So it seems that crossing arms is more proper. For me it's not only for practical reason (to not hit the chalice), but also it's a sing of humility.

Interesting that Roman Catholics have made this a signal that the person approaching the chalice is not going to receive, but just wants a blessing.

Yeah, one of my Roman Catholic friends was a little shocked when she came to my parish for Pascha and has seen that we cross our arms when we approach to receive the Holy Eucharist.

I never saw this practice amongst the Lebanese EO community in Egypt. Also, not in Bulgaria. It seems to be a tradition of Holy Rus'. It is practised in all Ukrainian jurisdictions, including the uncanonical ones and those in communion with Rome.

In Ukrainian Greek Catholic parish in Warsaw very few people cross they arms. But practically everybody makes the sign of cross just before receiving the Communion.

The Sixth Ecumenical Council (Trullo) is talking about crossing *hands*, not arms on the chest. The earliest practice was to place one's right hand on top of one's left in the shape of the cross and to receive the Body in the hand. Hence why Fr Aidan's post above is simply false. Many sources, East and West, from the first millenium talk about communion in the hand. Even in the East as late as the 12th century, one finds references, although receiving both species with a spoon had become common enough in Constantinople by the 11th century that Cardinal Humbert was able to accuse the Constantinopolitans of innovation. At that time, both Rome and Jerusalem still gave communion in the old way, without spoons.

Anyway, receiving required one to actively use one's hands, so placing them passively on the chest would not be typical. In fact, there were some places in the West that used straws (glided in silver or gold, of course) to receive the Blood from the Chalice. This too would require use of hands.
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« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2012, 07:41:45 AM »

In Ukrainian Greek Catholic parish in Warsaw very few people cross they arms. But practically everybody makes the sign of cross just before receiving the Communion.
I saw people with crossed arms in the Basilian monastery in Kyiv. But it is possible that this practice was adopted during USSR times? I have no idea.

What I have noticed though is that the Greek Catholics crossed themselves like Greeks, not like Russians.
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« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2012, 08:51:28 AM »

The Sixth Ecumenical Council (Trullo) is talking about crossing *hands*, not arms on the chest. The earliest practice was to place one's right hand on top of one's left in the shape of the cross and to receive the Body in the hand. Hence why Fr Aidan's post above is simply false. Many sources, East and West, from the first millenium talk about communion in the hand. Even in the East as late as the 12th century, one finds references, although receiving both species with a spoon had become common enough in Constantinople by the 11th century that Cardinal Humbert was able to accuse the Constantinopolitans of innovation. At that time, both Rome and Jerusalem still gave communion in the old way, without spoons.

Anyway, receiving required one to actively use one's hands, so placing them passively on the chest would not be typical. In fact, there were some places in the West that used straws (glided in silver or gold, of course) to receive the Blood from the Chalice. This too would require use of hands.

There is a illustration of what you've written. Frescoes from Serbian monastery Studenica, 1315.



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« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2012, 08:57:39 AM »

The outstretched hand of a saint in iconography has nothing to do with receiving the Body at Holy Communion. It is a gesture of supplication and humility, and can be seen in countless icons not connected with the Communion of the Apostles.
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« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2012, 09:18:52 AM »

The outstretched hand of a saint in iconography has nothing to do with receiving the Body at Holy Communion. It is a gesture of supplication and humility, and can be seen in countless icons not connected with the Communion of the Apostles.

I agree that this gesture is presented also in other icons and frescoes, but I thought the frescoes from Studenica (there are also similar from other monasteries from this period) can give us an image how faithfuls were receiving the Eucharist. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think that for the iconographers were more proper to place apostles or other saints in symbol of the faithfuls and it was an instruction for them how approach to the Chalice and an emphasis that we're all participants in the Mystical Body of Christ. They painted receiving the Holy Communion by apostles in the way they're used to. That's just my thinking, maybe over interpreted by me.
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« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2012, 09:42:04 AM »

Dominika, all icons of the Communion of the Apostles, not just those in the Serbian monasteries, show the apostles gesturing in supplication to Christ. Similarly, many churches have, on the eastern wall behind the altar table, a mural icon known as the Hierarch's Row. This shows Christ in frontal view in the center, His right hand raised in blessing, with an assortment of bishop-saints to the right and left of Him. These saints are turned in three-quarter pose, bowed, looking at Christ, with a hand raised in supplication towards Him.
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« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2012, 09:59:24 AM »

Interestingly, the Russians cross their arms when approaching and refrain from crossing themselves lest they bump the chalice and spill the mysteries, then they kiss the chalice after receiving.

The Greeks do not cross thir arms when approaching and do cross themselves before receiving, but never kiss the chalice afterwards, lest they bump the chalice and spill the mysteries.  Wink
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« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2012, 10:19:52 AM »

There is a illustration of what you've written. Frescoes from Serbian monastery Studenica, 1315.

Thank you for posting these images. I will ask my Serbian friend, who is completing his PhD on Byzantine art, what he thinks. It seems to me, pace LBK, that these frescoes are indeed trying to evoke a communion line of the Apostles, not merely display supplication, although that is there too.

It is particularly interesting coming from Studenica, since Studenica borrowed its Typikon and liturgical books from the famous Constantinopolitan monastery of Evergetis, where St Savas of Serbia would stay when he visited the City. Evergetis represents a tradition just before and right after 1054, so there may be some room for communion in hand. It's not mentioned in the Typikon, though -- only that the monks should receive three times a week, at the direction of the superior. But it's a stretch to see Evergetis as a bastion of older practices, as it was the chief representative of the monastic reform movement, which introduced major changes to liturgy and iconography. That said, Studenica was the most literate place in Serbia in the 14th century, so perhaps the monks had read about older practices. Or, who knows, maybe they actually kept an older practice until the total domination of the Athonite liturgical books.
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« Reply #19 on: August 24, 2012, 10:56:49 AM »


If so, remember the Apostles were the first bishops.

Even today our clergy does not commune from a spoon.

To me the icon looks like a busy Sunday with the Bishop at the Altar table, and the priests who are concelebrating lining up for Holy Communion.

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« Reply #20 on: August 24, 2012, 11:06:10 AM »

Even today our clergy does not commune from a spoon.

And neither do lay people in those places that occasionally celebrate the Divine Liturgy of St James.

To me the icon looks like a busy Sunday with the Bishop at the Altar table, and the priests who are concelebrating lining up for Holy Communion.

Yes.
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« Reply #21 on: August 24, 2012, 01:12:32 PM »

Yeah, I only see it done in Russian Churches. The Greeks all cross themselves and do not fold the arms. One of the cultural changes I have come to notice in becoming a regular communicant in the Greek Orthodox Church.

Interesting that Roman Catholics have made this a signal that the person approaching the chalice is not going to receive, but just wants a blessing.

yes, this is true, except in ireland. i went up to the RC altar with arms crossed (in order not to receive) and then had to work out how to say 'i don't wish to take Holy Communion' without opening my mouth! (the Holy bread was coming towards my mouth very quickly!)
 Wink
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« Reply #22 on: August 24, 2012, 01:17:56 PM »

i went up to the RC altar with arms crossed (in order not to receive) and then had to work out how to say 'i don't wish to take Holy Communion' without opening my mouth! (the Holy bread was coming towards my mouth very quickly!)
 Wink
Ummm, what about remaining seated?
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« Reply #23 on: August 24, 2012, 01:35:08 PM »

Yeah, I only see it done in Russian Churches. The Greeks all cross themselves and do not fold the arms. One of the cultural changes I have come to notice in becoming a regular communicant in the Greek Orthodox Church.

Interesting that Roman Catholics have made this a signal that the person approaching the chalice is not going to receive, but just wants a blessing.

yes, this is true, except in ireland. i went up to the RC altar with arms crossed (in order not to receive) and then had to work out how to say 'i don't wish to take Holy Communion' without opening my mouth! (the Holy bread was coming towards my mouth very quickly!)
 Wink

I went to an RC church once, for a funeral of the father of a friend.  When everyone moved up for Communion, I simply remained standing where I was.

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« Reply #24 on: August 24, 2012, 01:57:51 PM »

Interestingly, the Russians cross their arms when approaching and refrain from crossing themselves lest they bump the chalice and spill the mysteries, then they kiss the chalice after receiving.

The Greeks do not cross thir arms when approaching and do cross themselves before receiving, but never kiss the chalice afterwards, lest they bump the chalice and spill the mysteries.  Wink

Egad - the Carpatho-Russians must have been particularly clumsy it seems. As I was growing up, we crossed our arms but never kissed the chalice afterwards. Perhaps we were covering our bets?  Wink
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« Reply #25 on: August 24, 2012, 02:38:04 PM »

Yeah, I only see it done in Russian Churches. The Greeks all cross themselves and do not fold the arms. One of the cultural changes I have come to notice in becoming a regular communicant in the Greek Orthodox Church.

Interesting that Roman Catholics have made this a signal that the person approaching the chalice is not going to receive, but just wants a blessing.

yes, this is true, except in ireland. i went up to the RC altar with arms crossed (in order not to receive) and then had to work out how to say 'i don't wish to take Holy Communion' without opening my mouth! (the Holy bread was coming towards my mouth very quickly!)
 Wink

I had the opposite happen when I was in Canada.  It became my custom to cross my arms when receiving from attending a Ruthenian parish for a number of years before my wedding.  I rarely attended an RC mass and while we were on our honeymoon in Nova Scotia, there were, of course, not GC parishes nearby so we went to the local RC one.  I crossed my arms without thinking and got a blessing.  I was a bit shocked and, because there was a line and I hate it when people hold a line up, I just moved on my way.

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« Reply #26 on: August 24, 2012, 02:43:44 PM »


Sheesh!  You guys are all wrong!

Us, Ukrainians, do both!  We cross our arms AND we kiss the chalice (the pedestal) which represents Christ's "feet".

BONUS!

We come back to get our head tapped, too!

We've got all bases covered!!!    angel

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« Reply #27 on: August 24, 2012, 03:30:43 PM »


Sheesh!  You guys are all wrong!

Us, Ukrainians, do both!  We cross our arms AND we kiss the chalice (the pedestal) which represents Christ's "feet".

BONUS!

We come back to get our head tapped, too!

We've got all bases covered!!!    angel



We do both in our OCA parish, but not the bonus, although I did have that done to me in an Ukrainian Catholic church once.
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« Reply #28 on: August 24, 2012, 03:47:12 PM »

Us, Ukrainians, do both!  We cross our arms AND we kiss the chalice (the pedestal) which represents Christ's "feet".

Interesting explanation - Polish/Russian tradition explains it a bit different, telling that we kiss the base of the chalice, which represents Christ's side wound, and the kiss itself being fulfillement of the prayer before the Eucharist ("I will not kiss you, like Judas"). I thought the Ukrainian tradition was the same, then again Ukrainian Orthodox are more Greek than Rus(sian) in their traditions, as I've been told. Then again, I've heard that Greeks per se don't kiss the chalice, so I guess it's more like Rus-Greek?
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« Reply #29 on: August 24, 2012, 04:06:17 PM »


It's neither Greek, nor Russian.  It's just Ukrainian.

Since Kyivan Rus is today's Ukraine, I would have to say that the "Russian" tradition stems from the original Ukrainian.
The daughter learns from her mother.

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« Reply #30 on: August 24, 2012, 04:12:29 PM »


It's neither Greek, nor Russian.  It's just Ukrainian.

Since Kyivan Rus is today's Ukraine, I would have to say that the "Russian" tradition stems from the original Ukrainian.
The daughter learns from her mother.

Smiley


Tried to say something like that and failed Wink
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« Reply #31 on: August 24, 2012, 04:33:36 PM »

Then again, I've heard that Greeks per se don't kiss the chalice

Correct. In the Greek traditions, laymen do not touch the chalice at any time, since it's one of the holy objects used for communion that only clergy may touch. (And, depending on how the priest serves the communion, laymen don't end up touching the spoon either. Cheesy )

When I've been to Russian parishes, I've been instructed to kiss the "cup" portion of the chalice. I don't remember ever seeing people kiss the "foot". I guess it's awkward to bend down under the communion cloth? Not sure.
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« Reply #32 on: August 24, 2012, 04:45:12 PM »

Then again, I've heard that Greeks per se don't kiss the chalice

Correct. In the Greek traditions, laymen do not touch the chalice at any time, since it's one of the holy objects used for communion that only clergy may touch. (And, depending on how the priest serves the communion, laymen don't end up touching the spoon either. Cheesy )

We are encouraged to touch the spoon, because if not priest is forced to twist her, which makes it harder for him - and it has also second explanation, cause the spoon touches tongue, like Seraph touched Isaiah with hot coal Smiley.


When I've been to Russian parishes, I've been instructed to kiss the "cup" portion of the chalice. I don't remember ever seeing people kiss the "foot". I guess it's awkward to bend down under the communion cloth? Not sure.

In terms of base kissing in Poland, at most times priest raises the chalice so that a person may kiss a base without any problems.
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« Reply #33 on: August 24, 2012, 04:50:52 PM »

We are encouraged to touch the spoon, because if not priest is forced to twist her, which makes it harder for him - and it has also second explanation, cause the spoon touches tongue, like Seraph touched Isaiah with hot coal Smiley.

They don't necessarily have to twist the spoon. Antiochian priests tend to flick the holy gifts into people's mouths. It's quite efficient...although I don't like to think they practice on the job.  police

In terms of base kissing in Poland, at most times priest raises the chalice so that a person may kiss a base without any problems.

Oh I see. Well, after seeing one or two close calls with the chalice, it's ALWAYS best to follow the priest's lead and do what he intends for you to do.  Cheesy
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« Reply #34 on: August 24, 2012, 04:54:04 PM »


Yes, our priest lifts the chalice to your lips to be kissed.

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« Reply #35 on: August 24, 2012, 04:56:44 PM »

They don't necessarily have to twist the spoon. Antiochian priests tend to flick the holy gifts into people's mouths. It's quite efficient...although I don't like to think they practice on the job.  police

Ah, yes, I've heard about it Smiley

Oh I see. Well, after seeing one or two close calls with the chalice, it's ALWAYS best to follow the priest's lead and do what he intends for you to do.  Cheesy

In fact, some of them don't do anything, cause they often confront themselves with people from different traditions - ya never know, if the guy before you is Greek, Bulgar, or just Russian with a solarium coupon Smiley
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« Reply #36 on: August 24, 2012, 04:59:07 PM »


Yes, our priest lifts the chalice to your lips to be kissed.



I must say that this is good, for one could simply forget about it, and while it's no sin not to kiss a chalice, it feels right.
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« Reply #37 on: August 24, 2012, 04:59:42 PM »


It really does.

...a kiss of gratitude.
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« Reply #38 on: August 24, 2012, 06:14:46 PM »

We cross our arms AND we kiss the chalice
I think the Russians do the same.
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« Reply #39 on: August 24, 2012, 08:36:18 PM »


It really does.

...a kiss of gratitude.


I always found it interesting that we do this after saying, "...I will not give you a kiss as did Judas but..." in the pre-Communion prayers.
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« Reply #40 on: August 24, 2012, 09:42:45 PM »

But is it necessary to cross your arms in the same manner when you bow to the congregation after venerating the central icon or similar? I say no. The arm crossing is only for taking communion to prevent spilling. But many people cross their arms at other times as as well. 
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« Reply #41 on: August 24, 2012, 10:04:54 PM »

Hows about you just not flail your arms about whilst communing?  police
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« Reply #42 on: August 24, 2012, 11:11:22 PM »

In RM they don't cross arms but hold lit candles in the left hand.  No chalice kissing either. The prayers bf communion "To your mystical supper... " et alia as well  as the short one after the communicants have received the communion ("Your holy body and your precious blood, Lord Jesus Christ...") are said by the communicants kneeling, or rather they kneel while the priest says them.
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« Reply #43 on: August 25, 2012, 04:25:53 AM »

Kneeling on Sundays is forbidden by the Council of Nicea. This has a theological reason - the day that Christ is risen, we should be standing as well, because we rise with him into life.

I hope the Pan-Orthodox Council will address this issue, which I have seen in several jurisdicitons. But the place where it is the biggest problem is Romania.

In our times, where the attacks on the resurrection of Christ are countless, we must affirm our faith in it.
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« Reply #44 on: August 25, 2012, 04:45:55 AM »

Kneeling on Sundays is forbidden by the Council of Nicea. This has a theological reason - the day that Christ is risen, we should be standing as well, because we rise with him into life.

That's true, but let's look at the case of a person, who goes to church only in Sundays. When he will kneel, then? If he'll obey this paragraph by every letter, then never. So it's not wrong, if he'll kneel before the Eucharist, cause those laws are supposed to help people, not to be taken out without thinking. Same goes with standing for three hours. As some saint said, "it's better to sit and think about God, than to stand and think about legs".
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« Reply #45 on: August 25, 2012, 05:02:05 AM »

So we should allow kneeling on sundays, so that people who don't come to church during the week can kneel, even though it is against the canons?

If it is important for them to kneel, they should do it at the appropriate times, either by making an effort to come to church on another day, too, or simply by kneeling at home.

I don't believe that kneeling is a virtue in itself. It is a sign of humbling yourself in front of God. And I don't consider it humble to insist on kneeling on a day the Ecumenical Council has forbidden to do so.

This cannot be compared to sitting during liturgy, since sitting is more comfortable than standing, kneeling is not. We can allow people to sit in order not to stress their bodies. But I do not think we should allow them to take a position that is considered a denial of the Resurrection.
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« Reply #46 on: August 25, 2012, 05:23:06 AM »

So we should allow kneeling on sundays, so that people who don't come to church during the week can kneel, even though it is against the canons?

I'm only saying that we should not be so harsh on them. Did pre-canon Christians knew about canons, knew liturgy and so forth? It's our way to venerate, canons say that it's the best way for everyone. But it's not the only way.

If it is important for them to kneel, they should do it at the appropriate times, either by making an effort to come to church on another day, too, or simply by kneeling at home.

I don't believe that kneeling is a virtue in itself. It is a sign of humbling yourself in front of God. And I don't consider it humble to insist on kneeling on a day the Ecumenical Council has forbidden to do so.

I fear of Orthodoxy becoming an army unit. It is all about venerating God, not about paying attention to rituals. The liturgy is supposed to help us get closer to God. If someone feels he should kneel, because in this one moment he realizes how small he is compared to God, why forbid him doing that, if it's no sin. I highly doubt that when Christ would come to you, or me, or anyone else, on Sunday, we would not kneel, or prostrate because it's the day of Resurrection. Canons are to help us and teach us, and should be followed, but not absolutely and without thinking. Someone broke the tradition to allow us cross ourselves the way we do it together. Orthodoxy lives, it does not change, it breathes. Making people absolutely obedient to the canons is like putting an oxygen mask in the middle of the forest.

This cannot be compared to sitting during liturgy, since sitting is more comfortable than standing, kneeling is not. We can allow people to sit in order not to stress their bodies. But I do not think we should allow them to take a position that is considered a denial of the Resurrection.

If a person feels weak and needs to sit down, and there's moment of Epiclesis - and the canons forbid you to sit during Epiclesis - should you allow her to sit down? Let's not be so harsh on it.
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« Reply #47 on: August 25, 2012, 07:45:08 AM »

Interesting that Roman Catholics have made this a signal that the person approaching the chalice is not going to receive, but just wants a blessing.

This is also the custom with Anglicans/Episcopalians.  It is because we recieve the Body in the hand I should think.
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« Reply #48 on: August 25, 2012, 09:08:29 AM »

i went up to the RC altar with arms crossed (in order not to receive) and then had to work out how to say 'i don't wish to take Holy Communion' without opening my mouth! (the Holy bread was coming towards my mouth very quickly!)
 Wink
Ummm, what about remaining seated?

in many catholic and protestant churches, people worship God sincerely. if this is the case in any church i am visiting, and especially if they are following tradition (or trying to return to it), for example by believing in Holy Communion as a sacrament, not just a symbol, then i like to worship together with them as much as is appropriate (depending on the theology there).
i have occasionally visited churches where i feel very uncomfortable, due to various theological errors or lack of love for God; then i sit politely and do not take part.
the catholic tradition of people going up to seek a blessing at the time of Holy Communion is a beautiful and humble tradition and i think it is good to follow it when visiting the church.

in the example i gave; i found a catholic church near where i was staying when i had to be in ireland to take an exam.
the day before my exam, i went to the catholic church and there was a beautiful liturgy and the priest talked to us about trusting in God and seeking His will.
it was a weekday, and there was no orthodox service anywhere near that area, so i went to the catholic church.
i was greatly encouraged and went on to pass the exam.
 Smiley
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« Reply #49 on: August 25, 2012, 09:17:24 AM »

I prefer remaining seated. Thereby I express not being in full communion with the religious group I am visiting.
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« Reply #50 on: August 25, 2012, 10:54:53 AM »

Hows about you just not flail your arms about whilst communing?  police

Good luck with that. As someone who regularly  helps to hold the red napkin under the chin of the communicants, I can tell you that there are plenty of near accidents as is. This is especially true of the elderly and kids.. Then there is the difficulty holding the head of an infant still. I've learned that is a skill all unto itself... It  may look easy to do but crossed arms are really necessary.
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« Reply #51 on: August 25, 2012, 12:30:46 PM »

So we should allow kneeling on sundays, so that people who don't come to church during the week can kneel, even though it is against the canons?

If it is important for them to kneel, they should do it at the appropriate times, either by making an effort to come to church on another day, too, or simply by kneeling at home.

I don't believe that kneeling is a virtue in itself. It is a sign of humbling yourself in front of God. And I don't consider it humble to insist on kneeling on a day the Ecumenical Council has forbidden to do so.

This cannot be compared to sitting during liturgy, since sitting is more comfortable than standing, kneeling is not. We can allow people to sit in order not to stress their bodies. But I do not think we should allow them to take a position that is considered a denial of the Resurrection.
Perhaps kneeling in church, among Romanians is so widespread since it could be a reflex inherited from the times they most certainly used a Latin rite; the Slavonic rite was imposed on them by the Bulgarians.
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« Reply #52 on: August 25, 2012, 01:14:03 PM »

Kneeling on Sundays is forbidden by the Council of Nicea.
Don't you mean Trullo?
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« Reply #53 on: August 25, 2012, 01:17:49 PM »

Kneeling on Sundays is forbidden by the Council of Nicea.
Don't you mean Trullo?

Both, actually. But Nicea, of course, came first historically.
More here: http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/kneeling.aspx
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« Reply #54 on: August 25, 2012, 01:18:39 PM »

Perhaps kneeling in church, among Romanians is so widespread since it could be a reflex inherited from the times they most certainly used a Latin rite; the Slavonic rite was imposed on them by the Bulgarians.
Maybe so. But the Council of Nicea also applies to the Latin rite.
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« Reply #55 on: August 25, 2012, 01:37:55 PM »

I fear of Orthodoxy becoming an army unit. It is all about venerating God, not about paying attention to rituals. The liturgy is supposed to help us get closer to God. If someone feels he should kneel, because in this one moment he realizes how small he is compared to God, why forbid him doing that, if it's no sin. I highly doubt that when Christ would come to you, or me, or anyone else, on Sunday, we would not kneel, or prostrate because it's the day of Resurrection. Canons are to help us and teach us, and should be followed, but not absolutely and without thinking. Someone broke the tradition to allow us cross ourselves the way we do it together. Orthodoxy lives, it does not change, it breathes. Making people absolutely obedient to the canons is like putting an oxygen mask in the middle of the forest.
I understand your concerns. But Orthodoxy is not just about praising God, but about praising God in the right way. Surely Orthodoxy does live, but what is life, if not the resurrection? Adopting a practice that is considered by the Church to be a denial of Christ's resurrection, is not a sign of life, but of death. And we are one body, the Body of Christ. Therefore, our worship should not fall into individualistic pietism, but we should join the practice of the Church and even the worship in heaven.
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« Reply #56 on: August 25, 2012, 02:13:55 PM »

Calling it a denial of the resurrection is absurd. I kneel absolutely every single Sunday and believe wholeheartedly in the resurrection. There is no dichotomy.

Truly, is it more important to show reverence for God or preserve a custom?
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« Reply #57 on: August 25, 2012, 03:57:19 PM »

Calling it a denial of the resurrection is absurd. I kneel absolutely every single Sunday and believe wholeheartedly in the resurrection. There is no dichotomy.

Truly, is it more important to show reverence for God or preserve a custom?

To stand is not a lack of reverence. To kneel is not a denial of the resurrection.

Each of us should be humble and follow the customs that have been given to us, wherever we are and whatever they are. If it's so important to do it one way or the other, our bishops will enforce the canons.

Let's not be canon vigilantes. Most of all, let's not argue so passionately about such things when there are much more pressing matters, both in the church and in our own lives.
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« Reply #58 on: August 25, 2012, 04:13:01 PM »

Calling it a denial of the resurrection is absurd.
It is not absurd, but the understanding of the Church.

Truly, is it more important to show reverence for God or preserve a custom?
We should show reverence for God the way the Church shows reference to God - for example honouring his resurrection by standing on Sunday and from Easter to Pentecost.
There are other opportunities where kneeling is the appropriate way of showing reference to God.
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« Reply #59 on: August 25, 2012, 04:57:06 PM »

It is absolutely not the understanding of the Church that to kneel on a Sunday denies the resurrection. I'm not arguing that it can't be a useful reminder, but it doesn't work the other way and negate it. Actions are neutral and have no inherent meaning. The people provide the meaning.

It's quite simple; I do not deny the resurrection, especially when I drop to my knees in awe at its reality during liturgy.
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« Reply #60 on: August 25, 2012, 05:16:47 PM »

It is absolutely not the understanding of the Church that to kneel on a Sunday denies the resurrection.

Read the canons on the link I have posted. The position of the Church can be found in them.

Btw, what kind of "awe" is that when you claim to know better than the Church what is the right way to worship God?

We must be careful not only to worship God, but to worship God the way God wants us to worship him. May God preserve us all from the sin of Korah.
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« Reply #61 on: August 25, 2012, 05:31:23 PM »

It is absolutely not the understanding of the Church that to kneel on a Sunday denies the resurrection.

Read the canons on the link I have posted. The position of the Church can be found in them.

Btw, what kind of "awe" is that when you claim to know better than the Church what is the right way to worship God?

We must be careful not only to worship God, but to worship God the way God wants us to worship him. May God preserve us all from the sin of Korah.
Why do you keep pressing this to, what seems to me absurd lengths. It's obvious that for some reasons we are talking about a rule that was never enforced universally and strictly for a long time, no matter what the books say.
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« Reply #62 on: August 25, 2012, 05:39:02 PM »

Why do you keep pressing this to, what seems to me absurd lengths.
Because this is about the very essence of Orthodoxy. Is it just another kind of individualistic "I praise God as I feel good" religion? Or do we, when we worship, humbly join ourselves to the Body of Christ and participate in its universal worship?

And what is more important for us? To follow the Church's call to stand for our faith in the ressurection of Christ, or our own selfish "I feel better when I kneel on Sundays?

Whether it was universally enforced or not is not the question. (Though some argue that Latin practises in the Romanian Church developed on in Habsburg times, as well as independent Romania with its Roman Catholic monarch.) The point is not what was done, but what we should do. And on Sundays, the canons tell us that we should stand, because Christ is risen.
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« Reply #63 on: August 25, 2012, 08:08:52 PM »

legalism |ˈlēgəˌlizəm| noun: excessive adherence to law or formula.

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« Reply #64 on: August 27, 2012, 05:16:10 PM »


Guilty as charged.

I kneel on Sundays.

I doubt God will strike me down for it...as I have offended Him with greater sins than kneeling before Him.

There are many canons that I am certain all of us do not adhere to.

I once took a good look at the Rudder and was amazed what I found written there.

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« Reply #65 on: August 27, 2012, 05:27:42 PM »


Guilty as charged.

I kneel on Sundays.

I doubt God will strike me down for it...as I have offended Him with greater sins than kneeling before Him.

There are many canons that I am certain all of us do not adhere to.

I once took a good look at the Rudder and was amazed what I found written there.

The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath, etc.  But I suppose I'm doomed to the path of Protestantism for quoting Christ over the Rudder. 
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« Reply #66 on: August 27, 2012, 05:30:15 PM »

To be strict - canons forbid kissing icons/cross after taking the Eucharist. Guess we're pretty much all damned now, eh?
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« Reply #67 on: August 27, 2012, 05:35:11 PM »


Ah huh!  I'm not guilty of that!

I stick to that canon!!!  Wink
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« Reply #68 on: August 27, 2012, 05:41:13 PM »


Ah huh!  I'm not guilty of that!

I stick to that canon!!!  Wink


Am I the only one damned, then...? Sad
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« Reply #69 on: August 27, 2012, 05:44:46 PM »


LOL!

....and I also do NOT kneel after taking the Eucharist.

I guess I am all over the board.
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« Reply #70 on: August 27, 2012, 05:46:06 PM »


LOL!

....and I also do NOT kneel after taking the Eucharist.

I guess I am all over the board.

Ah uh! I do not kneel after, either! Guess that Hell will not go full Dante on me, after all Smiley
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« Reply #71 on: August 27, 2012, 05:56:05 PM »

I would need to see these canons before deciding whether I am condemned or not...
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« Reply #72 on: August 27, 2012, 06:06:28 PM »

This is not legalism, because I am not arguing the law for the law's sake, but because of its meaning, both material and functional.
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« Reply #73 on: August 27, 2012, 06:09:32 PM »


I do understand Gorazd's point.

After all, we do not kneel after Pascha.
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« Reply #74 on: August 27, 2012, 06:10:43 PM »

This is not legalism, because I am not arguing the law for the law's sake, but because of its meaning, both material and functional.
"What does Easter/Pascha mean?"
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« Reply #75 on: August 27, 2012, 06:10:54 PM »

I would need to see these canons before deciding whether I am condemned or not...





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« Reply #76 on: August 27, 2012, 06:14:36 PM »

This is not legalism, because I am not arguing the law for the law's sake, but because of its meaning, both material and functional.
"What does Easter/Pascha mean?"

Christ is risen, and he gives life to those in the tombs.
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« Reply #77 on: August 27, 2012, 06:27:30 PM »

I would need to see these canons before deciding whether I am condemned or not...







I have none of these canons...
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« Reply #78 on: August 27, 2012, 06:29:18 PM »


I have the middle one.  It has a swivel window! 
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« Reply #79 on: August 27, 2012, 06:34:57 PM »

This is not legalism, because I am not arguing the law for the law's sake, but because of its meaning, both material and functional.
"What does Easter/Pascha mean?"

Christ is risen, and he gives life to those in the tombs.
From the answers: "What happened on Easter?"
"Nothing happened"
"I kill a lamb or a rooster..."
"We eat eggs and sweetbread."
"Who has eats, who doesn't watches."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQjuN98lnjs
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« Reply #80 on: August 27, 2012, 06:42:26 PM »


You trivialize the greatest day of all.

That is worse than kneeling on a Sunday.
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« Reply #81 on: August 27, 2012, 07:05:58 PM »

Why do you keep pressing this to, what seems to me absurd lengths.
Because this is about the very essence of Orthodoxy. Is it just another kind of individualistic "I praise God as I feel good" religion? Or do we, when we worship, humbly join ourselves to the Body of Christ and participate in its universal worship?

And what is more important for us? To follow the Church's call to stand for our faith in the ressurection of Christ, or our own selfish "I feel better when I kneel on Sundays?

Whether it was universally enforced or not is not the question. (Though some argue that Latin practises in the Romanian Church developed on in Habsburg times, as well as independent Romania with its Roman Catholic monarch.) The point is not what was done, but what we should do. And on Sundays, the canons tell us that we should stand, because Christ is risen.

Tradition is a deposit and an act: it is what is handed down and the act of handing it down. The reality is, for many Orthodox, the traditional thing is to kneel. That's what their Fathers handed down to them. Romanians kneel multiple times per Liturgy even on a Sunday.

Personally, I don't kneel, being in a Greek church, but I recognize that it's the most Orthodox thing for many people to do.
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« Reply #82 on: August 27, 2012, 07:08:10 PM »

Just because something is handed down, that doesn't make it right. We should adjust ourselves to the Tradition of the Holy Fathers, not the tradition of the Romanian custom.
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« Reply #83 on: August 27, 2012, 07:21:17 PM »


It's not just the Romanians.  We, Ukrainians, kneel too...at least in the States.  Don't know what they do back in Ukraine.

I've never really understood this "rule".  I was aware of it....and realized that when I visited a Greek or OCA church on a Sunday, I would not be kneeling.

If the King were before you....would you not automatically fall to your knees?

At the Transfiguration, did not the Apostles fall to their knees in awe?

What about the shepherds who were first to see the newly born Christ....did they not fall to their knees before Him?

I'm just curious.

I can kind of wrap my head around not kneeling post Communion, because now Christ is not before you, but, within you....but, the whole not kneeling on Sundays I'm not sure I understand.

However, IF my bishop told me that I was forbidden from kneeling on Sundays, you better believe you would NOT see me kneeling on a Sunday, unless I were cleaning the dust bunnies from under my bed.

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« Reply #84 on: August 27, 2012, 07:37:27 PM »

If the King forbids you to fall on your knees and you insist on doing it anyway, wouldnt that be considered rebellion?

There occasionally are people kneeling on Sunday in Ukraine, though not many, and there is increasing awareness that it is forbidden, so the clergy and theologians actively discourage this practice.

And I dont see whats so hard to get about the rule? Christ is risen, so we must be standing with him, because we rise with him into true life.

PS: Transfiguration was before the ressurection. And I dont see why your bishop explicitely needs to tell you. Are the councils of Nicea and in Trullo not enough for you?

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« Reply #85 on: August 27, 2012, 07:39:56 PM »

I was just asking.

It seems that not everyone is fluent in all the canons, as you are.  I think that's great that you have broadened your theological knowledge.

I don't know how it is in your home church....but, we, as cradle Orthodox, did not get a formal "education".  

Therefore, what we know is exactly what was passed down to us from our elders.

Unless someone told us we were wrong, how would we know?
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« Reply #86 on: August 27, 2012, 07:47:39 PM »

Just because something is handed down, that doesn't make it right. We should adjust ourselves to the Tradition of the Holy Fathers, not the tradition of the Romanian custom.

It *is* a Tradition of the Holy Fathers: thousands of them for centuries have done exactly this throughout Eastern Europe.

Canons far more important than these have been informally abrogated through the weight of Tradition. It's especially common with canons on liturgical matters. That's the nature of liturgy: it evolves.
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« Reply #87 on: August 27, 2012, 07:49:02 PM »

My main parish is maybe 90% cradle, mostly ethnic Greeks, and has an adult theological education every Wednesday. Much of my knowledge comes from that. There are classes for children, too. I humbly suggest all Orthodox parishes in the world to offer a regular Orthodox teaching for all of its members, whether they are minors or adults.

Of course, if someone has no idea, he or she is excused. But what really shocks me is how many people in this thread have seen the Canons and still rebel against them. And the usual argument is some variation of "I feel better that way". That is Protestantism, everyone his own Pope! Orthooxy is to confirm ourselves to the mind of the Church.
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« Reply #88 on: August 27, 2012, 07:52:53 PM »

My main parish is maybe 90% cradle, mostly ethnic Greeks, and has an adult theological education every Wednesday. Much of my knowledge comes from that. There are classes for children, too. I humbly suggest all Orthodox parishes in the world to offer a regular Orthodox teaching for all of its members, whether they are minors or adults.

Of course, if someone has no idea, he or she is excused. But what really shocks me is how many people in this thread have seen the Canons and still rebel against them. And the usual argument is some variation of "I feel better that way". That is Protestantism, everyone his own Pope! Orthooxy is to confirm ourselves to the mind of the Church.

You have a lot to learn about canon law, especially in the Slavic churches.
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« Reply #89 on: August 27, 2012, 07:53:37 PM »


You are lucky that you have regular classes at your church.

We have classes for kids, ...and one hardly goes over the canons with 5 year-olds....but, we've never had anything for adults.
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« Reply #90 on: August 27, 2012, 08:14:19 PM »

Oh, I know the Slavic churches. ROCOR in Germany is actually fighting about kneeling on Sunday. In the UOC-MP, there is no fight, it is very clear that it is wrong.

Liza,
You have a lot of parishes in your area, right? Maybe some parishes could cooperate in holding adult classes.
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« Reply #91 on: August 27, 2012, 09:08:42 PM »

The issue is wanting to rob the faithful of a beautiful custom simply out of adherence to law. It's fundamentalism, pure and simple.
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« Reply #92 on: August 27, 2012, 09:55:52 PM »

Oh, I know the Slavic churches. ROCOR in Germany is actually fighting about kneeling on Sunday. In the UOC-MP, there is no fight, it is very clear that it is wrong.

Liza,
You have a lot of parishes in your area, right? Maybe some parishes could cooperate in holding adult classes.

In a Russian context, it seems no kneeling would be better, as that comports with the Russian tradition. Ultimately, though, it's up to the bishops. In lands where kneeling has been the tradition for centuries and the Saints, Bishops, and Synods approve, there is no need to beat people over the head with liturgical canons. The Trullan Fathers also tell us to receive the Eucharistic Body in the hand, but I don't see anyone blasting entire Local Churches for ignoring Holy Tradition on that one. I do agree, though, that each Synod and Bishop should be consistent, in accord with their own tradition.
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« Reply #93 on: August 28, 2012, 03:40:10 AM »

The issue is wanting to rob the faithful of a beautiful custom simply out of adherence to law. It's fundamentalism, pure and simple.

It is not about law, but about the Resurrection of Christ, loyalty to the Councils, unity of Orthodox worship accross place and time.
And there is nothing "beautiful" about a custom that is considered by the Church to be a denial of the Ressurection.

In fact, when the Council of Nicea decided to end kneeling on Sundays, there were local churches who had done so for a long time. But the Council decided to standardise on that issue.
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« Reply #94 on: August 28, 2012, 03:42:25 AM »

First law of forumdynamics: opinions can be neither modified nor completely changed during a discussion

Second law of forumdynamics: threads naturally tend to go from order (on topic) to disorder (off topic)

Third law of forumdynamics: as a thread progresses the substance of posts will decrease at the same rate that the number of posts increase

Fourth law of forumdynamics: when cornered in an argument, a person will invariably say that their opponent simply doesn't understand, and then they will vow to leave the discussion
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« Reply #95 on: August 28, 2012, 04:22:10 PM »

From a "http://www.denver.goarch.org/teleturgical_encyclicals/" of Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver of 29 Oct 2003.

"is the policy of the Archdiocese from 1950 when Archbishop Michael was Archbishop, to have everyone kneel, even on Sunday. In his encyclical, Archbishop Michael stated that the kneeling on Sundays, which takes less than two minutes, is not the kneeling of repentance, but the anticipation of the descent of the Holy Spirit Ñ as we do on the day of Pentecost and at every ordination (including those on Sundays!). Who of us has the right to stand, even on Sunday, when the Holy Spirit in a special way comes into our midst to change the bread and the wine into the Very Body and Blood of our Lord? We must not act like the "I am more Orthodox than you are" people who see externals, outer trappings, as more essential than the fervent heart."
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« Reply #96 on: August 28, 2012, 04:27:54 PM »

From a "http://www.denver.goarch.org/teleturgical_encyclicals/" of Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver of 29 Oct 2003.

"is the policy of the Archdiocese from 1950 when Archbishop Michael was Archbishop, to have everyone kneel, even on Sunday. In his encyclical, Archbishop Michael stated that the kneeling on Sundays, which takes less than two minutes, is not the kneeling of repentance, but the anticipation of the descent of the Holy Spirit Ñ as we do on the day of Pentecost and at every ordination (including those on Sundays!). Who of us has the right to stand, even on Sunday, when the Holy Spirit in a special way comes into our midst to change the bread and the wine into the Very Body and Blood of our Lord? We must not act like the "I am more Orthodox than you are" people who see externals, outer trappings, as more essential than the fervent heart."

At last, some sanity. Smiley
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« Reply #97 on: August 28, 2012, 04:32:53 PM »

It's not a question of being more or less Orthodox, but of being in line with the mind of the Church or following your own comfort, feeling etc.
If we kneel on every Sunday as on Pentecost, Pentecost loses its special character compared to other Sundays, and Sundays lose their special character compared to weekdays.
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« Reply #98 on: August 28, 2012, 04:37:20 PM »

From a "http://www.denver.goarch.org/teleturgical_encyclicals/" of Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver of 29 Oct 2003.

"is the policy of the Archdiocese from 1950 when Archbishop Michael was Archbishop, to have everyone kneel, even on Sunday. In his encyclical, Archbishop Michael stated that the kneeling on Sundays, which takes less than two minutes, is not the kneeling of repentance, but the anticipation of the descent of the Holy Spirit Ñ as we do on the day of Pentecost and at every ordination (including those on Sundays!). Who of us has the right to stand, even on Sunday, when the Holy Spirit in a special way comes into our midst to change the bread and the wine into the Very Body and Blood of our Lord? We must not act like the "I am more Orthodox than you are" people who see externals, outer trappings, as more essential than the fervent heart."

At last, some sanity. Smiley

However we have both attending, those that stand and those that kneel, according our Priest it is up to the individual how to demonstrate their fervent heart, it is not Dogma.
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« Reply #99 on: August 28, 2012, 04:47:16 PM »

the individual how to demonstrate their fervent heart
Exactly that is the heart of the problem. In Orthodoxy, we are not supposed to be individuals expressing ourselves, but persons, with Christ living in us, joining us to the mind of the Church.
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« Reply #100 on: August 28, 2012, 08:59:52 PM »

The kneeling at Pentecost is done during the Vespers service which follows the Liturgy at Pentecost. Strictly speaking, this Kneeling Vespers service should be held in the evening, after sunset, but is, for practical purposes, conducted immediately after the Pentecost DL. It is not part of the DL, so the "no kneeling on Sundays during the Liturgy" rule is maintained.

I suspect Abp Michael was influenced by the widespread and entrenched western influence on popular piety over several centuries in Greece, particularly evident in the mainland areas and the islands like Zakynthos and Rhodes which had come under Venetian rule during the Ottoman period.
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« Reply #101 on: August 29, 2012, 03:15:51 PM »

I suspect Abp Michael was influenced by the widespread and entrenched western influence on popular piety over several centuries in Greece, particularly evident in the mainland areas and the islands like Zakynthos and Rhodes which had come under Venetian rule during the Ottoman period.

Archbishop Michael was a very well trained and respected theologian, extremely good friends with Fr Florovsky, versed in the Fathers, with broad exposure to Orthodoxy throughout Greece, Turkey, and Russia, having lived and studied in all three lands. So one need not imagine some supposed Western boogeyman. In fact, Archbishop Michael played no small role in Orthodox theology's return to the Fathers in the 20th century.

While I wouldn't have made the same ruling as he, this particular pastoral decision did a lot of good at the time and contains a meaningful theological rationale, as all liturgical changes always have throughout history.

Some people fixate on two canons about standing, and yet the very same Ecumenical Councils, Nicaea and Trullo, offer several other very clear liturgical instructions that are either universally violated or often so. Why no uproar about the "mind of the Fathers" being violated on these other matters? Perhaps because it seems easy to beat up people on the question of standing, whereas addressing the full scope of these Ecumenical Councils' canons might show that such liturgical canons and practices do, in fact, change. Rubrics are ephemeral, not a medium to grant us access to the mind of the Fathers.
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« Reply #102 on: August 29, 2012, 03:41:58 PM »

"Rubrics are ephemeral, not a medium to grant us access to the mind of the Fathers." Pensateomnia

Thank you!

I am of the same mind with Podkarpatska; that diversity is a good thing. It is one thing to try to do the right thing, it is another to be so sure about "ephemeral" things that one loses objectivity and most importantly, tolerance and love of our brothers and sisters.
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« Reply #103 on: August 29, 2012, 04:36:12 PM »

The matter of kneeling on Sunday WAS diverse and controversial, until Nicaea decided in one way for all. Why should we return to diversity then, if the objective clearly was unification? Let's stand up for our faith in the Resurrection of Christ!

PS: That doesn't mean we shouldn't follow other canons. I'd be glad about a thread on other liturgical canons. But in this case, it is more than a liturgical observance: It is about confessing the Resurrection.

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« Reply #104 on: August 29, 2012, 04:40:36 PM »

i understand councils are important, but i agree with carl kraeff.
although i no longer kneel on sundays after hearing about the canons, i am fairly sure i would kneel / faint / die (so i would not remain standing) if i had a vision of the Lord on a sunday.
this is not likely (need to work a little on my character first!) so i can safely say i won't kneel, but i don't mind anyone who does.

but we shouldn't kneel after taking Holy Communion.
(unless having vision of God)
 Smiley
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« Reply #105 on: August 31, 2012, 09:45:28 AM »

This is another quote from Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver, on Oct 1998.

"Whether we stand or kneel at the Epiklesis on Sundays, we should do so with sincerity of heart and humility. It should never be as an outward show of piety (kneeling) or of our Orthodoxy (standing). This is audacity.

In comparing the act of kneeling with the consumption of food during periods of fasting and abstinence because both have to do with self-discipline, Saint Paul tells us, "But food does not commend us to God, for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse. (1 Corinthians 8:Cool Elsewhere Saint Paul is even more emphatic. He says, "Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. (Romans 14:1-3)

Parallel to the discipline regarding food consumption, we can correctly say that the kneeling or the not kneeling by the faithful in the Sunday Divine Liturgy must never become contentious among the faithful. If one kneels at the Epiklesis it must not be out of repentance, but out of awesome joyfulness and fervent love that the Holy Spirit comes upon us. If another stands during the same time, he should not do so like an Orthodox spectator in judgment of the kneeling sinners, but must always stand with bowed neck and head and eyes closed or lowered, rejoicing in God's love through the descent of the Holy Spirit Who comes to sanctify all who are in a prayerful stance in the house of God and especially to change the bread and the wine into the sanctifying Body and Blood of the Lord.

Orthodoxy is not legalistic; it is pastoral."

By the way I stand and my wife kneels.
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« Reply #106 on: August 31, 2012, 12:31:57 PM »

Sincerity and humility is not all. I recently visited Poland and Lviv. There, I met a lot of people who prayed the filioque with sincerity and humility.

Doing the right thing also counts.
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« Reply #107 on: August 31, 2012, 01:05:55 PM »

In my parish sometimes on Sundays when the Anaphora begins and our parson goes out the altar to say "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you" he ask people to kneel as it is the most important moment of the Liturgy. Only in the Paschal and Nativity/Epiphany period he doesn't do it. During fasts, especially Great Lent, kneeling even on Sundays seems to me not so wrong. On feasts from the 12 group I never kneel, on Sundays many times I do. The reason is not only the parson and the fact that in this position I can better focus on the prayer, but also there is the issue that I have to change position to withstand the Liturgy without going out the church - on Sundays usually in my church it's too close.
I know that in Poland it's latin influence, but it's difficult to throw it away from the consciousness of the old clergy and faithfuls in short time.
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« Reply #108 on: August 31, 2012, 01:16:01 PM »

Sincerity and humility is not all. I recently visited Poland and Lviv. There, I met a lot of people who prayed the filioque with sincerity and humility.

Doing the right thing also counts.

 Not quite the same, the filioque is a heresy.
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« Reply #109 on: September 01, 2012, 06:00:03 PM »

Not quite the same, the filioque is a heresy.
I agree that it is a heresy. But none of the Ecumenical Councils explicitely state that. The ban on kneeling, on the other hand, is explicitely mentioned in the Council of Nicea and in Trullo. And it is being linked to the faith of the resurrection.
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« Reply #110 on: September 02, 2012, 04:55:19 PM »

ok, could not resist it - now see the hyperdox herman thread...

edited to add the link:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,43223.new.html#new
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« Reply #111 on: September 05, 2012, 04:41:36 AM »

Interesting that Roman Catholics have made this a signal that the person approaching the chalice is not going to receive, but just wants a blessing.

Well, they have and they haven't.

This is a thing that has developed in Roman Catholic culture in some parts of the world but it is in direct opposition to actual Roman Catholic understanding and official Roman Catholic guidance.  It is what, I believe, is referred to in RC circles as a "liturgical abuse".  The whole idea of "going up for a blessing" instead of receive the sacraments is alien to Roman Catholic thought and guidance has been issued to discourage the practice, (it also makes no sense from an Orthodox perspective and the practice would seem to encourage an unhealthy view of the sacraments).  There is a blessing at the end of the mass for everybody and anybody can ask a priest for a blessing at any time outside of services, but the time for communion is the time for communion and should be treated as such.
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« Reply #112 on: September 05, 2012, 04:53:13 AM »

When I've been to Russian parishes, I've been instructed to kiss the "cup" portion of the chalice. I don't remember ever seeing people kiss the "foot". I guess it's awkward to bend down under the communion cloth? Not sure.

In the Russian tradition, only the higher clergy kiss the bowl of the chalice.  The minor clergy (subdeacons and readers) and laity kiss the base of the chalice.  There is no difficulty: the deacon/subdeacons lower the houseling cloth for each communicant to be able to kiss the chalice.
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« Reply #113 on: September 05, 2012, 05:07:29 AM »

In my parish sometimes on Sundays when the Anaphora begins and our parson goes out the altar to say "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you" he ask people to kneel as it is the most important moment of the Liturgy.

Does nobody think it strange that he does this a matter of seconds after the deacon has said, 'Let us stand well; let us stand in awe...'?
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« Reply #114 on: September 05, 2012, 05:19:04 AM »

Does nobody think it strange that he does this a matter of seconds after the deacon has said, 'Let us stand well; let us stand in awe...'?

No. The DL is in Church Slavonic.
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« Reply #115 on: September 05, 2012, 06:04:16 PM »

In my parish sometimes on Sundays when the Anaphora begins and our parson goes out the altar to say "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you" he ask people to kneel as it is the most important moment of the Liturgy.

Does nobody think it strange that he does this a matter of seconds after the deacon has said, 'Let us stand well; let us stand in awe...'?

Polish Orthodox always say instead "kneeling", "staying on kneels" (for non-Orthodox Polish it sounds strange and not so correctly), so it can be treated as the fulfillment of the deacon's words.
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« Reply #116 on: September 05, 2012, 06:23:59 PM »

Does nobody think it strange that he does this a matter of seconds after the deacon has said, 'Let us stand well; let us stand in awe...'?

No. The DL is in Church Slavonic.
What about Polish-language liturgies?
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« Reply #117 on: September 05, 2012, 06:36:02 PM »

Nowhere I've been to there were people going outside the altar and telling the people what to do.
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« Reply #118 on: September 05, 2012, 07:06:45 PM »

Nowhere I've been to there were people going outside the altar and telling the people what to do.
Ok, but if "let us stand" is said in Polish, do people kneel a few seconds later?

Polish Orthodox always say instead "kneeling", "staying on kneels" (for non-Orthodox Polish it sounds strange and not so correctly), so it can be treated as the fulfillment of the deacon's words.
I do not feel comfortable with such word-twisting. Let us stay on our feet.
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« Reply #119 on: September 06, 2012, 12:00:38 PM »

Nowhere I've been to there were people going outside the altar and telling the people what to do.
Ok, but if "let us stand" is said in Polish, do people kneel a few seconds later?

In the 3 (out of 4) Churches with Polish DL I've attended no one kneels.
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« Reply #120 on: September 06, 2012, 12:12:33 PM »

Nowhere I've been to there were people going outside the altar and telling the people what to do.
Ok, but if "let us stand" is said in Polish, do people kneel a few seconds later?

In the 3 (out of 4) Churches with Polish DL I've attended no one kneels.
Tht's a strong argument for DL (or at least saying "Let us stand") in Polish. Actually, I strongly favour using languages fluently understood by the congregation. Of course, one could also use Podlachian in Eastern Poland etc.
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« Reply #121 on: September 06, 2012, 01:52:16 PM »

Of course, one could also use Podlachian in Eastern Poland etc.

The problem with Podlachian is that it's not standardised yet. Every several villages speak differently.
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« Reply #122 on: September 06, 2012, 04:41:13 PM »

The problem with Podlachian is that it's not standardised yet. Every several villages speak differently.
That's not really a problem. A sermon does not need to be standardised, but understood. If the Priest can speak in a way that is fluently understable to the congregation he is preaching to, then the dialect can be used.

In Switzerland, for example, all kinds of religious communities use dialect for sermons. Standard German would be used only if the preacher is a foreigner.
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