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Author Topic: OO Eucharistic Practices and EO-OO Reunion  (Read 5734 times) Average Rating: 0
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Severian
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« on: August 24, 2012, 11:17:38 AM »

I am putting this here under the assumption it will not turn polemical. Would various OO Eucharistic practices hinder reunion? For example, Copts separating the body and blood (which is the older practice, btw), we also adore the body and blood in the Liturgy. Also, the Armenian use of unleavened bread, which AFAIK defies certain EO canons.

Discuss!
« Last Edit: August 24, 2012, 11:18:00 AM by Severian » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2012, 12:31:47 PM »

IMO use of unleavened bread is an issue but other than that I don't think non-Byzantine practices will cause any problem once people get used to the idea that there's more to Orthodoxy than Constantinopole and Moscow.
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2012, 12:32:44 PM »

The only issue I'd have is the adoration. I just feel that the Eucharist is for eating.

PP
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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2012, 12:43:11 PM »

The only issue I'd have is the adoration. I just feel that the Eucharist is for eating.

PP

Byzantine churches adore Eucharist too. It's done during pre-sanctified liturgies.
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« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2012, 01:04:52 PM »

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

I would think, that aside from the Byzantine mixing, that the Eucharist practices are what can unite us most, however, at the same time, it is precisely over mutual reception of the Eucharist in which we are currently divided, and so perhaps it is equally the crux of reunion.  The Holy Communion is what makes us One Body, and so it is not surprising that the tangible symbol of our divisions is Excommunication Sad

Whenever I am blessed to receive the Holy Communion, I pray earnestly for reunion and for the sanctity of the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church in the Lord, even if the hands and feet are not getting along so well.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2012, 01:25:30 PM »

The only issue I'd have is the adoration. I just feel that the Eucharist is for eating.

PP

Byzantine churches adore Eucharist too. It's done during pre-sanctified liturgies.
Do you mind posting the text of this adoration?
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« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2012, 02:31:16 PM »

The only issue I'd have is the adoration. I just feel that the Eucharist is for eating.

PP

So do we. Severian should have qualified that statement, as it is not Roman Catholic style adoration with separating the Eucharist from the service and putting it into a monstrance or whatever (that wouldn't even work, as we use leavened bread, same as the EO). I would post a picture to demonstrate our proper adoration in a liturgical context, but last time I did Habte became upset. Let's just say it involves prostration before and affirmation of the reality of the gifts (that they are truly the Body and Blood of Christ) as part of preparation to receive during the same liturgy. 

Unless, of course, Severian had some other activity in mind, in which case I don't know about it.
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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2012, 02:47:16 PM »

Severian should have qualified that statement, as it is not Roman Catholic style adoration with separating the Eucharist from the service and putting it into a monstrance
Which is exactly why I said: "we also adore the body and blood in the Liturgy." I never said or implied that we separate the Eucharist from the Liturgy/service.

"We worship Your holy body[...] and your precious blood." -Intro to the Fraction

http://tasbeha.org/hymn_library/index.php?a=view&id=2051

Here's to give you all an idea as to what it looks like:

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« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2012, 04:06:55 PM »

Hahaha. That's the exact picture I posted before that upset Habte. Oh well.

Sorry, Severian, for not catching the "in the liturgy" part. Now that you point that out, I don't understand PP's objection at all. Also, I didn't mean to imply that you had written that the adoration is outside of the liturgy. That bit of explanation was for PP's benefit, as I think there is a knee-jerk reaction to the idea of Eucharistic adoration that associates it with only the Roman Catholics, so it bears explaining that when we talk about it as Orthodox people, we don't mean at all what the Latins mean.
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Severian
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« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2012, 04:10:01 PM »

Hahaha. That's the exact picture I posted before that upset Habte. Oh well.

Sorry, Severian, for not catching the "in the liturgy" part. Now that you point that out, I don't understand PP's objection at all.
No problem.
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« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2012, 04:27:44 PM »

Hahaha. That's the exact picture I posted before that upset Habte. Oh well.

Sorry, Severian, for not catching the "in the liturgy" part. Now that you point that out, I don't understand PP's objection at all.

I presume pp also missed the 'in the liturgy part' and made the assumption Severian was talking about something like RC adoration services. What you and Severian describe is no different from what EO's do so obviously wouldn't be a problem for reunion.
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« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2012, 04:30:01 PM »

^Thanks. What about the Armenian use of unleavened bread?

PS- @Witega Who is the Saint in your avatar?
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« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2012, 05:50:05 PM »

IMO use of unleavened bread is an issue but other than that I don't think non-Byzantine practices will cause any problem once people get used to the idea that there's more to Orthodoxy than Constantinopole and Moscow.

Especially if one reads the canons.
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« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2012, 09:26:42 PM »


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

Hahaha. That's the exact picture I posted before that upset Habte. Oh well.


I didn't upset me, it just makes me uncomfortable.  However, I post images that equally make some folks uncomfortable, so its all fair game so long as our intentions are not just to offend. In the Ethiopian tradition we have many icons which  are not accepted in the Byzantine Church, and so I admit I've also posted these and others which are offensive to some folks here, and for that I do humbly apologize.

In Ethiopian tradition, that photograph would be sacrilege, but I can respect our sister jurisdictions Traditions Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2012, 09:51:15 PM »


In Ethiopian tradition, that photograph would be sacrilege, but I can respect our sister jurisdictions Traditions Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Just out of curiosity, why? Is there a link to a previous thread where this was discussed?
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« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2012, 09:59:10 PM »

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


In Ethiopian tradition, that photograph would be sacrilege, but I can respect our sister jurisdictions Traditions Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Just out of curiosity, why? Is there a link to a previous thread where this was discussed?

Well, technically if a priest or deacon took the picture it would be good and legal (that picture is from inside the altar and only ordained clergy can do inside), however culturally it would be considered in terribly poor taste.  It is impolite even just to talk about the details of Holy Communion, let alone to have that photograph of the priests' celebration.  Some people take photographs of their babies first Communion, but I understand that photograph was of when the priests were about to take Holy Communion. In the Ethiopia Church this is when the curtain is closed and the view to Altar blocked.  It isn't opened again until the Communion is brought out for the people.  If we close the curtain, it is for a reason, and to take a picture of what is happening behind the closed curtain would be the same error as peaking inside, which of course would be so sacrilegious that I'm not quite sure anyone would even try it Wink



stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2012, 10:30:28 PM »

In the Ethiopia Church this is when the curtain is closed and the view to Altar blocked.  It isn't opened again until the Communion is brought out for the people.  If we close the curtain, it is for a reason, and to take a picture of what is happening behind the closed curtain would be the same error as peaking inside, which of course would be so sacrilegious that I'm not quite sure anyone would even try it Wink

Just curious. Do all OO churches close off the altar for parts of the Liturgy, or does this vary?
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« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2012, 10:40:17 PM »

I am putting this here under the assumption it will not turn polemical. Would various OO Eucharistic practices hinder reunion? For example, Copts separating the body and blood (which is the older practice, btw), we also adore the body and blood in the Liturgy. Also, the Armenian use of unleavened bread, which AFAIK defies certain EO canons.

Discuss!

1.  "EO" offer distinct body and blood when celebrating Liturgy of St. James
2.  "EO" adore the Body and Blood in Liturgy
3.  Azymes a bit more sticky, but possible to work through imo
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« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2012, 04:17:40 AM »

The only issue I'd have is the adoration. I just feel that the Eucharist is for eating.

PP

Byzantine churches adore Eucharist too. It's done during pre-sanctified liturgies.
Do you mind posting the text of this adoration?

There is no text except "The Light of Christ shines for all". A priest walks walks around the nave with with a Chalice in his hands and IIRC with his head covered while people prostrate to the ground until the priests returns to the altar. Technically speaking people won't even look at the priest nor the chalice since they are to prostrate the whole time.
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« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2012, 05:44:46 AM »

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


In Ethiopian tradition, that photograph would be sacrilege, but I can respect our sister jurisdictions Traditions Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Just out of curiosity, why? Is there a link to a previous thread where this was discussed?

Well, technically if a priest or deacon took the picture it would be good and legal (that picture is from inside the altar and only ordained clergy can do inside), however culturally it would be considered in terribly poor taste.  It is impolite even just to talk about the details of Holy Communion, let alone to have that photograph of the priests' celebration.  Some people take photographs of their babies first Communion, but I understand that photograph was of when the priests were about to take Holy Communion. In the Ethiopia Church this is when the curtain is closed and the view to Altar blocked.  It isn't opened again until the Communion is brought out for the people.  If we close the curtain, it is for a reason, and to take a picture of what is happening behind the closed curtain would be the same error as peaking inside, which of course would be so sacrilegious that I'm not quite sure anyone would even try it Wink



stay blessed,
habte selassie

Ah, sorry, I misunderstood you. I thought you meant kneeling was sacrilege, so I was confused. I agree that photos of the anaphora and people communing are not the norm.
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« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2012, 07:13:24 PM »

I am putting this here under the assumption it will not turn polemical. Would various OO Eucharistic practices hinder reunion? For example, Copts separating the body and blood (which is the older practice, btw), we also adore the body and blood in the Liturgy. Also, the Armenian use of unleavened bread, which AFAIK defies certain EO canons.

Discuss!

1.  "EO" offer distinct body and blood when celebrating Liturgy of St. James
The Antiochian parish I attended years ago also separated the two, oddly enough.
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« Reply #21 on: August 25, 2012, 07:56:13 PM »

For example, Copts separating the body and blood (which is the older practice, btw), we also adore the body and blood in the Liturgy.
Those would not be a problem.

The Armenian unleavened bread would cause a ruckus.
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« Reply #22 on: August 25, 2012, 08:13:35 PM »

The Armenian unleavened bread would cause a ruckus.

It probably would be a problem for the EO's, which I think is too bad.  Again, this is something that underscores the greater tolerance for diversity in practice among the OO's.

The use of unleavened bread in the Armenian Church is ancient and predates Chalcedon, and it was not a problem for anyone before the schism. 

http://www.svots.edu/content/beyond-dialogue-quest-eastern-and-oriental-orthodox-unity-today

1700 years ago, this sort of diversity was the norm throughout the Christian world.  Perhaps someday it will be again.   Smiley
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« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2012, 09:33:39 PM »

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

The Armenian unleavened bread would cause a ruckus.

It probably would be a problem for the EO's, which I think is too bad.  Again, this is something that underscores the greater tolerance for diversity in practice among the OO's.

The use of unleavened bread in the Armenian Church is ancient and predates Chalcedon, and it was not a problem for anyone before the schism. 

http://www.svots.edu/content/beyond-dialogue-quest-eastern-and-oriental-orthodox-unity-today

1700 years ago, this sort of diversity was the norm throughout the Christian world.  Perhaps someday it will be again.   Smiley

True, very interesting point. Eucharistic diversity was more tolerated back in the day, it seems that the first schisms began a downward spiral of anathemas and canons seeming to mutually target each other so.  In the Oriental Orthodox communion, the sister churches seem to maintain this more flexible theology as was more the norm in the earlier days of Christianity.  If we held it together with such minor distinctions before, by Grace we can surely come together again inevitably.  Indeed, the current union between the sister jurisdiction of Oriental Orthodox is a good example of how in practice this can happen, and our inter-faith fellowship both through the Mysteries and through clergy organization is a model for Reunion between Oriental and Byzantine, indeed even perhaps bringing back in the Latins too  angel

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2012, 10:34:38 PM »

Just curious. Do all OO churches close off the altar for parts of the Liturgy, or does this vary?

We do likewise during the offering of the gifts by the deacon (which occurs quite early in the Divine Liturgy) as well as when the priest communes.

All this talk of unleavened bread and no one has brought up the fact that we use wine that is not mixed with water.  Shocked
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« Reply #25 on: August 28, 2012, 05:40:33 PM »

Just curious. Do all OO churches close off the altar for parts of the Liturgy, or does this vary?

We do likewise during the offering of the gifts by the deacon (which occurs quite early in the Divine Liturgy) as well as when the priest communes.

All this talk of unleavened bread and no one has brought up the fact that we use wine that is not mixed with water.  Shocked
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« Reply #26 on: September 07, 2012, 09:01:32 PM »

Just curious. Do all OO churches close off the altar for parts of the Liturgy, or does this vary?

We do likewise during the offering of the gifts by the deacon (which occurs quite early in the Divine Liturgy) as well as when the priest communes.

All this talk of unleavened bread and no one has brought up the fact that we use wine that is not mixed with water.  Shocked

The water (called the fervor of the saints) is added to the Cup after the consecration (Institution Narrative and Epiclesis) in the Byzantine Liturgy. Perhaps EOs would find it Theologically wrong not to add the water? I imagine that, even without the water added, that which is in the Cup would still be revered as Christ's Blood. Smiley

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« Reply #27 on: September 07, 2012, 09:08:08 PM »

Just curious. Do all OO churches close off the altar for parts of the Liturgy, or does this vary?
In West Syrian tradition, the altar curtain is closed during the fraction and comixture. This takes place after the Diptychs and before the Elevation of the Holy Mysteries.
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« Reply #28 on: September 07, 2012, 10:39:46 PM »

Thanks for the responses. My EO church does not close the altar off during a normal Liturgy, but I have been to an EO church that does so maybe it's my church that's out of the norm. Huh
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« Reply #29 on: September 13, 2012, 08:56:23 PM »

I don't know what the historic practice of the Byzantine Orthodox churches in Anatolia/Syria was, but in older Russian Orthodox practice the curtain's closed almost as much as it's open. It's more moderated in many parishes though, with symbolic tie-ins to the life of Christ.

Thanks for the responses. My EO church does not close the altar off during a normal Liturgy, but I have been to an EO church that does so maybe it's my church that's out of the norm. Huh
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« Reply #30 on: September 07, 2013, 01:09:58 PM »

I'm bumping this thread because a question came up elsewhere about OO Eucharistic practices:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,47145.msg984622.html#msg984622
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« Reply #31 on: September 09, 2013, 08:38:48 PM »

The only issue I'd have is the adoration. I just feel that the Eucharist is for eating.

PP

Byzantine churches adore Eucharist too. It's done during pre-sanctified liturgies.
Do you mind posting the text of this adoration?

There is no text except "The Light of Christ shines for all". A priest walks walks around the nave with with a Chalice in his hands and IIRC with his head covered while people prostrate to the ground until the priests returns to the altar. Technically speaking people won't even look at the priest nor the chalice since they are to prostrate the whole time.

And in many Byzantine Orthodox churches people kneel or prostrate at the consecration and again when the chalice is presented immediately before communion, though the former is perhaps more a Greek custom and the latter more Romanian (?) from what little I've seen.
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« Reply #32 on: September 14, 2013, 10:58:09 AM »

Apart from the use of unleavened bread by the Armenians, I can't think of anything relating to the Eucharist that would be problematic.

Other liturgical practices would probably be problematic though, such as allowing readers and chanters to serve as deacons, the use of drums and cymbals (I realise organs are common in the GOARCH in America, but this is a local aberration discouraged by the Patriarchate, while in Coptic/Tewahedo practice the use of percussion is universal), 'dance' and clapping, etc.

I don't necessarily think these should be obstacles to reunion, but they might be.
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« Reply #33 on: September 14, 2013, 12:50:49 PM »

Apart from the use of unleavened bread by the Armenians, I can't think of anything relating to the Eucharist that would be problematic.

Other liturgical practices would probably be problematic though, such as allowing readers and chanters to serve as deacons, the use of drums and cymbals (I realise organs are common in the GOARCH in America, but this is a local aberration discouraged by the Patriarchate, while in Coptic/Tewahedo practice the use of percussion is universal), 'dance' and clapping, etc.

I don't necessarily think these should be obstacles to reunion, but they might be.

Allowing readers and chanters to serve as deacons is problematic, so it's good if you force us into realizing that Smiley

The cymbals and triangles are not supposed to be played as enthusiastically as they usually are. It should be very quiet and subdued, as a timekeeping mechanism, not the way it is where it is often quite complex and at the forefront. I would have absolutely no objection to losing them, I like it better without. But I think it would be awfully nit-picky to refuse to be in Communion over that.

The liturgical dance and drums of the Ethiopians takes place before or after the Liturgy, not during. There's really nothing wrong with it. I would think a bigger obstacle would be EO belly dance and yoga classes after the Liturgy in the church hall.
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« Reply #34 on: September 14, 2013, 01:58:53 PM »

Allowing readers and chanters to serve as deacons is problematic, so it's good if you force us into realizing that Smiley

Eh.  That presupposes that there is a distinct function that deacons exercise that the lower clergy are not supposed to exercise but they do so anyway.  Is that really happening?  And is there a common agreement on what belongs to the deacon and what does not?  There are certain things on which we all seem to agree, but others that vary depending on the tradition.

In the Syriac tradition, the distinct ministry of the deacon in the Liturgy is the reading of the Gospel and the distribution of Holy Communion (if needed and with the blessing of the celebrant).  No subdeacons, readers, or chanters do that, and typically deacons don't do these things either (even the Gospel).  But if there is no deacon (or even if there is, again, as the celebrant directs), a minor cleric(s) will read the diptychs/litanies, use the liturgical fans, and one among these ranks will cense during the Liturgy (incense is always and only offered by the priest because it is his duty to offer sacrifices, but he will bless the minor cleric to do the actual censing except during those moments the rubrics specifically direct the priest to do so).  Outside of the Liturgy, the deacons have other duties proper to their order which the lower clerics do not do. 

Now, this is different from Byzantine tradition.  Deacons will read the Gospel and assist with Communion as needed, but typically censing and litanies are also reserved for them.  Since the fans are given to them at their ordinations, this is also their duty.  Slavs seem to be better about this than the Greeks, but not by too much: I've seen Greek subdeacons/acolytes censing during the Great Entrance, and I've seen Antiochian subdeacons leading litanies and censing.  And the fans are almost always delegated to little kids unless you've got like ten deacons.  And it seems almost anyone can put incense in the censer (which, from our perspective, is absolutely disordered, even if you bring it to the priest to bless after the fact). 

So the Byzantine tradition seems "stricter" in one sense than the Syriac tradition, but not really.  And in the one thing both traditions agree are proper to deacons, no minor clerics perform those functions.  If we extend the comparison to encompass the other liturgical traditions (Coptic, Ethiopian, Armenian), I think we'll see this trend confirmed in rubrics, in their interpretations, in canonical literature, and so on.  Unless you can demonstrate that these are matters of faith on which there can be no disagreement, I think it's foolish not to admit that there is a diversity of practice with an underlying unity, and let it be.  As long as we maintain each tradition as is, without incorporating "foreign" elements that would not make sense in a new context, there really shouldn't be a serious issue.       
         
Quote
I would think a bigger obstacle would be EO belly dance and yoga classes after the Liturgy in the church hall.

That's a new one for me.  EO church halls seem to be problematic, though.  The OCA parish I attended while in college had a full service bar in an antechamber of the hall.  I'm not a prohibitionist by any means, but that's too much even for me.  Tongue
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« Reply #35 on: September 14, 2013, 02:19:40 PM »

And it seems almost anyone can put incense in the censer (which, from our perspective, is absolutely disordered, even if you bring it to the priest to bless after the fact). 

Off topic, but is there a custom among Syriac Christians of laypeople using incense in the home?
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« Reply #36 on: September 14, 2013, 02:56:36 PM »

Apart from the use of unleavened bread by the Armenians, I can't think of anything relating to the Eucharist that would be problematic.

Other liturgical practices would probably be problematic though, such as allowing readers and chanters to serve as deacons, the use of drums and cymbals (I realise organs are common in the GOARCH in America, but this is a local aberration discouraged by the Patriarchate, while in Coptic/Tewahedo practice the use of percussion is universal), 'dance' and clapping, etc.

I don't necessarily think these should be obstacles to reunion, but they might be.

Allowing readers and chanters to serve as deacons is problematic, so it's good if you force us into realizing that Smiley

The cymbals and triangles are not supposed to be played as enthusiastically as they usually are. It should be very quiet and subdued, as a timekeeping mechanism, not the way it is where it is often quite complex and at the forefront. I would have absolutely no objection to losing them, I like it better without. But I think it would be awfully nit-picky to refuse to be in Communion over that.

The liturgical dance and drums of the Ethiopians takes place before or after the Liturgy, not during. There's really nothing wrong with it. I would think a bigger obstacle would be EO belly dance and yoga classes after the Liturgy in the church hall.

Exuberant drumming and dancing takes place outside of the services in things like the processions of the church arks during churches' patronal feast days or on Theophany/T'imqet, but more measured drumming and dancing is built into the services on feast days. (And Sundays too? Perhaps an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian can speak to this - when I attended Ethiopian Orthodox churches as a teenager I was usually out in the church courtyard, not in the church, since you had to wake up very early to make it for the start of Sunday Liturgy.)

In any case, not at all like the drumming and Protestant-style singing that takes place in many of the Alexandrian Orthodox churches in Kenya immediately following Sunday Liturgy. THAT was a bit of an eye opener for me, and I was used to drums, dancing, and cymbals in church...
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« Reply #37 on: September 14, 2013, 04:55:07 PM »

Apart from the use of unleavened bread by the Armenians, I can't think of anything relating to the Eucharist that would be problematic.

Other liturgical practices would probably be problematic though, such as allowing readers and chanters to serve as deacons, the use of drums and cymbals (I realise organs are common in the GOARCH in America, but this is a local aberration discouraged by the Patriarchate, while in Coptic/Tewahedo practice the use of percussion is universal), 'dance' and clapping, etc.

I don't necessarily think these should be obstacles to reunion, but they might be.

I don't think that the latter would be a problem, in that it is already done in the Patriarchate of Alexandria in various dioceses (dance, clapping, tambourines).  Local and hierarchically approve practice.   

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« Reply #38 on: September 14, 2013, 04:56:29 PM »

I don't think that the latter would be a problem, in that it is already done in the Patriarchate of Alexandria in various dioceses (dance, clapping, tambourines).  Local and hierarchically approve practice.   

In what countries?
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« Reply #39 on: September 14, 2013, 05:23:40 PM »

In what countries?

I saw it in Kenya. It was only done during the Communion of the Clergy (whatever one thinks of drums and clapping, it's unfortunate that the Communion Hymn is seen as a free-for-all time-filler), when the congregation sang local Christian songs. No instrumentation was used for any other part of the services, however. It was all unaccompanied, congregational, and somewhat africanised Byzantine chant.
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« Reply #40 on: September 14, 2013, 05:31:40 PM »

local Christian songs

What are those? Amazing Grace in Swahili?
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« Reply #41 on: September 14, 2013, 05:39:31 PM »

What are those? Amazing Grace in Swahili?

Bit more catchy than that. The Coptic church down the road used the same songs during Communion. I'm not sure if they have a selection of local songs that have been approved as theologically sound or if they sing anything people are likely to know.
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« Reply #42 on: September 14, 2013, 06:04:20 PM »

Quote
  The OCA parish I attended while in college had a full service bar in an antechamber of the hall.  I'm not a prohibitionist by any means, but that's too much even for me. 
all romanian and serbian churches in Chicago have bars attached to them in a way or another. their best feature, imho.
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« Reply #43 on: September 14, 2013, 08:17:48 PM »

What are those? Amazing Grace in Swahili?

Bit more catchy than that. The Coptic church down the road used the same songs during Communion. I'm not sure if they have a selection of local songs that have been approved as theologically sound or if they sing anything people are likely to know.

Is this the sort of thing you are talking about?

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,9840.msg279188.html#msg279188
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« Reply #44 on: September 14, 2013, 09:40:08 PM »

Off topic, but is there a custom among Syriac Christians of laypeople using incense in the home?

I don't know for sure.  It might be used as an "air freshener" (similar to how incense sticks are used for the same purpose in Indian homes), but there's no allowance for the burning of incense during prayer, incensing rooms in the home, icons in the icon corner, etc.   
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« Reply #45 on: September 15, 2013, 04:08:00 AM »

I wonder why Africa seems to be the only place on Earth where various liturgical rules do not apply. Traditionally in various non-African countries there has been no room for clapping, dancing and indigenous instruments but every denomination seem to make an exception in case of Africans.
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« Reply #46 on: September 15, 2013, 01:07:46 PM »


Exactly. I visited that church too Smiley
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« Reply #47 on: September 15, 2013, 02:06:33 PM »

I wonder why Africa seems to be the only place on Earth where various liturgical rules do not apply. Traditionally in various non-African countries there has been no room for clapping, dancing and indigenous instruments but every denomination seem to make an exception in case of Africans.

I suppose it depends on what you regard as a "liturgical rule".  In the Liturgy itself, these things are rather restricted even in the African Churches.  But if you mean at any sort of prayer, I would say it's not limited to Africa.  I've seen the argument made that, throughout its history, indigenous instruments and forms of dance have been used in non-liturgical-but-still-worship situations in the Church in India. 

Maybe it's because "white men can't jump".  Tongue
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« Reply #48 on: September 15, 2013, 05:03:22 PM »

I wonder why Africa seems to be the only place on Earth where various liturgical rules do not apply. Traditionally in various non-African countries there has been no room for clapping, dancing and indigenous instruments but every denomination seem to make an exception in case of Africans.

maybe the church got to africa before the liturgical rules did...
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on a different point - orthodox11 - you have been to ALL the cool places!
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« Reply #49 on: September 16, 2013, 12:17:23 AM »

I wonder why Africa seems to be the only place on Earth where various liturgical rules do not apply. Traditionally in various non-African countries there has been no room for clapping, dancing and indigenous instruments but every denomination seem to make an exception in case of Africans.

maybe the church got to africa before the liturgical rules did...
 Wink

Nope. I have no problem with Copts and Ethiopians. I know very little about African Christianity but from the little I know it seems that present contextual theology is a lot more lenient than early churchs's variation. Different rules rules are applied to ancient Africans and present Africans.
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« Reply #50 on: September 16, 2013, 08:17:03 PM »

In what countries?

I saw it in Kenya. It was only done during the Communion of the Clergy (whatever one thinks of drums and clapping, it's unfortunate that the Communion Hymn is seen as a free-for-all time-filler), when the congregation sang local Christian songs. No instrumentation was used for any other part of the services, however. It was all unaccompanied, congregational, and somewhat africanised Byzantine chant.

I agree that it is unfortunate that the period just before Communion is seen (virtually everywhere) as a free-for-all time filler.  It should not be this way, especially since that is the purpose of having the Metalepsis prayers (including canon in preparation for communion) in the Horologion which has beautiful and meaningful prayers, including my favorite:  "may I become Your dwelling place, by the Communion of Your Most Sacred Mysteries, having You, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, living and dwelling within me."   
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« Reply #51 on: September 16, 2013, 08:18:34 PM »

In what countries?

I saw it in Kenya. It was only done during the Communion of the Clergy (whatever one thinks of drums and clapping, it's unfortunate that the Communion Hymn is seen as a free-for-all time-filler), when the congregation sang local Christian songs. No instrumentation was used for any other part of the services, however. It was all unaccompanied, congregational, and somewhat africanised Byzantine chant.

I agree that it is unfortunate that the period just before Communion is seen (virtually everywhere) as a free-for-all time filler.  It should not be this way, especially since that is the purpose of having the Metalepsis prayers (including canon in preparation for communion) in the Horologion which has beautiful and meaningful prayers, including my favorite:  "may I become Your dwelling place, by the Communion of Your Most Sacred Mysteries, having You, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, living and dwelling within me."   

Not at my church. One priest, when he serves alone, makes it only about 40 s.
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« Reply #52 on: September 16, 2013, 08:26:39 PM »

In what countries?

I saw it in Kenya. It was only done during the Communion of the Clergy (whatever one thinks of drums and clapping, it's unfortunate that the Communion Hymn is seen as a free-for-all time-filler), when the congregation sang local Christian songs. No instrumentation was used for any other part of the services, however. It was all unaccompanied, congregational, and somewhat africanised Byzantine chant.

I agree that it is unfortunate that the period just before Communion is seen (virtually everywhere) as a free-for-all time filler.  It should not be this way, especially since that is the purpose of having the Metalepsis prayers (including canon in preparation for communion) in the Horologion which has beautiful and meaningful prayers, including my favorite:  "may I become Your dwelling place, by the Communion of Your Most Sacred Mysteries, having You, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, living and dwelling within me."   

Many Coptic parishes sing Evangelical "hymns" right down to "Our God is an Awesome God" during Communion. This is a sad development. Singing hymns during distribution is normal for Copts, but not evangelical songs! At our church we sing many english hymns at this time, including centuries old western ones, but only songs that are somber, meditative, and lead to repentance, not pop music with vaguely Christian words. It is very sad to go to neighbouring churches and see them singing "Refiner's Fire" at this time, with the Body and Blood on the Altar.
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« Reply #53 on: September 16, 2013, 08:46:38 PM »

In what countries?

I saw it in Kenya. It was only done during the Communion of the Clergy (whatever one thinks of drums and clapping, it's unfortunate that the Communion Hymn is seen as a free-for-all time-filler), when the congregation sang local Christian songs. No instrumentation was used for any other part of the services, however. It was all unaccompanied, congregational, and somewhat africanised Byzantine chant.

I agree that it is unfortunate that the period just before Communion is seen (virtually everywhere) as a free-for-all time filler.  It should not be this way, especially since that is the purpose of having the Metalepsis prayers (including canon in preparation for communion) in the Horologion which has beautiful and meaningful prayers, including my favorite:  "may I become Your dwelling place, by the Communion of Your Most Sacred Mysteries, having You, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, living and dwelling within me."   

Many Coptic parishes sing Evangelical "hymns" right down to "Our God is an Awesome God" during Communion. This is a sad development. Singing hymns during distribution is normal for Copts, but not evangelical songs! At our church we sing many english hymns at this time, including centuries old western ones, but only songs that are somber, meditative, and lead to repentance, not pop music with vaguely Christian words. It is very sad to go to neighbouring churches and see them singing "Refiner's Fire" at this time, with the Body and Blood on the Altar.

Which churches are those?

I know they should be singing Psalm 150 like most Copts. Have you talked to your bishop about it?
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« Reply #54 on: September 16, 2013, 09:31:03 PM »

In what countries?

I saw it in Kenya. It was only done during the Communion of the Clergy (whatever one thinks of drums and clapping, it's unfortunate that the Communion Hymn is seen as a free-for-all time-filler), when the congregation sang local Christian songs. No instrumentation was used for any other part of the services, however. It was all unaccompanied, congregational, and somewhat africanised Byzantine chant.

I agree that it is unfortunate that the period just before Communion is seen (virtually everywhere) as a free-for-all time filler.  It should not be this way, especially since that is the purpose of having the Metalepsis prayers (including canon in preparation for communion) in the Horologion which has beautiful and meaningful prayers, including my favorite:  "may I become Your dwelling place, by the Communion of Your Most Sacred Mysteries, having You, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, living and dwelling within me."   

Many Coptic parishes sing Evangelical "hymns" right down to "Our God is an Awesome God" during Communion. This is a sad development. Singing hymns during distribution is normal for Copts, but not evangelical songs! At our church we sing many english hymns at this time, including centuries old western ones, but only songs that are somber, meditative, and lead to repentance, not pop music with vaguely Christian words. It is very sad to go to neighbouring churches and see them singing "Refiner's Fire" at this time, with the Body and Blood on the Altar.

Which churches are those?

I know they should be singing Psalm 150 like most Copts. Have you talked to your bishop about it?

I've personally seen it in at least 3. Yes, everyone starts with Ps 150, but after that it's perfectly proper to sing hymns, as long as they are appropriate. SUS has a distribution melodies book. At some seasons there are hymns sung on the theme of the Gospel (they are contemporary hymns, not ancient by any means), but most of the time just general hymns are sung between Ps 150 and the Veneration. Communion can easily take 30 min, so there's time for quite a variety. I wish we would sing "the Bread" and other semi-liturgical hymns, basically just extend the veneration to fill the time... but most people like the hymns, and there's nothing wrong with them as long as they're appropriate. The evangelical ones are not appropriate, but I don't believe our bishop agrees with that particular opinion...
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« Reply #55 on: September 16, 2013, 10:41:08 PM »

What are those? Amazing Grace in Swahili?

Bit more catchy than that. The Coptic church down the road used the same songs during Communion. I'm not sure if they have a selection of local songs that have been approved as theologically sound or if they sing anything people are likely to know.

Is this the sort of thing you are talking about?

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,9840.msg279188.html#msg279188

I once took an Evangelical Protestant friend to St. Mark's and he got so excited because they were singing all the local Swahili-language favorites there during communion. (And after Sunday Liturgy too? Can't remember now :-/.)
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« Reply #56 on: September 17, 2013, 03:45:38 AM »

interesting, we are discussing this on another forum too:

http://tasbeha.org/content/community/index.php/topic,14620.0.html

i think we need 2 things for the songs during Holy Communion;
1. (most important) to be theologically correct, orthodox Christian songs, approved by the synod for use in the liturgy.
2. for most of them to be in language of the people attending and with tunes that can be sung by people without choir training.
this keeps people paying attention and gives them an opportunity to express their love and thanks to God.

jonathan, could you possibly send me a p.m. with the names of the songs allowed in the coptic church during distribution?
(i assume it is not a long list)
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« Reply #57 on: September 17, 2013, 01:45:39 PM »

In what countries?

I saw it in Kenya. It was only done during the Communion of the Clergy (whatever one thinks of drums and clapping, it's unfortunate that the Communion Hymn is seen as a free-for-all time-filler), when the congregation sang local Christian songs. No instrumentation was used for any other part of the services, however. It was all unaccompanied, congregational, and somewhat africanised Byzantine chant.

I agree that it is unfortunate that the period just before Communion is seen (virtually everywhere) as a free-for-all time filler.  It should not be this way, especially since that is the purpose of having the Metalepsis prayers (including canon in preparation for communion) in the Horologion which has beautiful and meaningful prayers, including my favorite:  "may I become Your dwelling place, by the Communion of Your Most Sacred Mysteries, having You, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, living and dwelling within me."   

Many Coptic parishes sing Evangelical "hymns" right down to "Our God is an Awesome God" during Communion. This is a sad development. Singing hymns during distribution is normal for Copts, but not evangelical songs! At our church we sing many english hymns at this time, including centuries old western ones, but only songs that are somber, meditative, and lead to repentance, not pop music with vaguely Christian words. It is very sad to go to neighbouring churches and see them singing "Refiner's Fire" at this time, with the Body and Blood on the Altar.
Say whaaa?!?!?!?  Shocked Shocked Shocked
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« Reply #58 on: September 17, 2013, 01:59:52 PM »

Many Coptic parishes sing Evangelical "hymns" right down to "Our God is an Awesome God" during Communion. This is a sad development. Singing hymns during distribution is normal for Copts, but not evangelical songs! At our church we sing many english hymns at this time, including centuries old western ones, but only songs that are somber, meditative, and lead to repentance, not pop music with vaguely Christian words. It is very sad to go to neighbouring churches and see them singing "Refiner's Fire" at this time, with the Body and Blood on the Altar.

I never understood this.  Why incorporate modern/Western hymns and songs at Communion time after you've sung Ps 150 in at least two languages when you can sing other psalms or proper liturgical hymnography?  Even silence would be preferable, blessed silence that only the Western liturgies seem to have incorporated to good effect in their services.

In our church, no matter how long Communion takes, we don't sing non-liturgical hymns during the Liturgy.  We may repeat all verses of the same hymn nine times in a row, but we will not sing Protestant stuff.  We save that for prayer meetings.  Tongue 
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« Reply #59 on: September 17, 2013, 02:26:35 PM »

Quote
Even silence would be preferable, blessed silence that only the Western liturgies seem to have incorporated to good effect in their services.


It takes a while for the mind to comprehend silence.  It's easier to fill you head with noise and non-stop thoughts; why not fill it with an evangelical song? 
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« Reply #60 on: September 17, 2013, 02:26:42 PM »

This is happening to the EO's too. There is the koinonikon - a chant prescribed by the liturgical books for each Liturgy during Communion - which used to be sung extensively as a refrain interspersed with Psalm verses. Also, IIRC in the Liturgy of St. James, Ps. 33 was the Eucharistic Psalm par excellence, so much so that our books still retain it at the end of each Liturgy. Yet, since the advent of infrequent communion, the koinonikon shrunk: it was no longer chanted extensively, but merely intoned like an ordinary Psalm verse (same thing happened with the prokeimena). Now that - thank God! - communion cues are back, a dubious hymnography (we call them "pricesne" in Romanian) developed to fill in...  Sad

This is the Sunday koinonikon chanted in English.
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« Reply #61 on: September 17, 2013, 03:40:50 PM »

Say whaaa?!?!?!?  Shocked Shocked Shocked

Yeah, I know.  It's a tragic and shameful development.  But it is being addressed by our hierarchy, slowly but surely.

http://returntoorthodoxy.com/pope-tawadros-takes-stand-for-orthodoxy/
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« Reply #62 on: September 17, 2013, 06:37:13 PM »

Many Coptic parishes sing Evangelical "hymns" right down to "Our God is an Awesome God" during Communion. This is a sad development. Singing hymns during distribution is normal for Copts, but not evangelical songs! At our church we sing many english hymns at this time, including centuries old western ones, but only songs that are somber, meditative, and lead to repentance, not pop music with vaguely Christian words. It is very sad to go to neighbouring churches and see them singing "Refiner's Fire" at this time, with the Body and Blood on the Altar.

I never understood this.  Why incorporate modern/Western hymns and songs at Communion time after you've sung Ps 150 in at least two languages when you can sing other psalms or proper liturgical hymnography?  Even silence would be preferable, blessed silence that only the Western liturgies seem to have incorporated to good effect in their services.

In our church, no matter how long Communion takes, we don't sing non-liturgical hymns during the Liturgy.  We may repeat all verses of the same hymn nine times in a row, but we will not sing Protestant stuff.  We save that for prayer meetings.  Tongue 

I'm with you. But my priest, who is about as conservative as they come (he refuses to even add "those who travel by air" to the litany of the travellers), and as knowledgable as they come, says that Communion hymns have always been part of the Alexandrian rite... If they are Orthodox in content and style, it isn't wrong. Just picking hymns to sing indiscriminately, is. Now, as for the "liturgical" hymns being better... Some of them just aren't. Some of them are so corrupted that if they show an English translation beside the Coptic, it's nonsense being sung... Might as well be speaking in toungues like Penticostals. Better to sing with understanding, but sing beneficial things.
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« Reply #63 on: September 17, 2013, 06:40:21 PM »

interesting, we are discussing this on another forum too:

http://tasbeha.org/content/community/index.php/topic,14620.0.html

i think we need 2 things for the songs during Holy Communion;
1. (most important) to be theologically correct, orthodox Christian songs, approved by the synod for use in the liturgy.
2. for most of them to be in language of the people attending and with tunes that can be sung by people without choir training.
this keeps people paying attention and gives them an opportunity to express their love and thanks to God.

jonathan, could you possibly send me a p.m. with the names of the songs allowed in the coptic church during distribution?
(i assume it is not a long list)

There is no set of songs allowed during distribution. Here is the hymnal used at my church: http://www.stmaryscopticorthodox.ca/content/servicebooks/HYMNALP.PDF . There are some songs in there I do see problems with, but it's certainly much better than the latest vineyard album others use. Checking the last two pages where it lists sources is interesting.

Here is the "Distribution Melodies" book from the SUS: http://www.stmosesbookstore.org/index.php/books/church-books/melodies-book-detail
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« Reply #64 on: September 18, 2013, 11:32:24 PM »

Now, as for the "liturgical" hymns being better... Some of them just aren't. Some of them are so corrupted that if they show an English translation beside the Coptic, it's nonsense being sung... Might as well be speaking in toungues like Penticostals. Better to sing with understanding, but sing beneficial things.

Can you explain this a bit more?  I'm not sure what you mean. 

And happy birthday! 

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« Reply #65 on: September 19, 2013, 06:54:41 PM »

It is heinous, shameful and disgusting that anyone would sing Evangelical or Charismatic pop songs during any part of the Liturgy, especially during the Eucharist.  Has our Church really fallen this far?

As embarrassing as it is for our Church that the world at large (particularly the EO) are beginning to find out just how much the Orthodox Faith and Orthodox practice have been compromised in some quarters of our Communion, part of me is glad that this kind of stuff is finally being addressed publicly.  I truly wish we could have taken care of this quietly "in house" without the world finding out or anyone's feelings being hurt, but if our only alternatives are allowing it to continue unabated and speaking about it publically, I suppose I reluctantly prefer the latter.  This is especially the case when the perpetrators refuse to acknowledge that they're at all influenced by Protestantism while simultaneously defending their adoption of Protestant books and practice as "acculturation".

Hey, I guess you can only go around singing Peter Scholtes' theme to the Charismatic Movement in public like it's some kind of Oriental Orthodox anthem for so long before people begin to catch on.

The shocked reaction of EOs to the incongruity of this dreck grafted onto the life of our Church - the auditory equivalent of the Buddy Christ from Dogma standing on top of an Orthodox altar - is always at once wince-inducing and gratifying.



Prolonged contact with the EO can only help us in this situation by holding a mirror up for us to see ourselves in, like the EO youth servant who refused to combine his campus fellowship with the local Coptic fellowship when he found out they were singing these songs.

Frankly, relative to the OP's questions, if this stuff is allowed to fester in our Oriental Orthodox Communion, it should be an impediment to any reunion with the EO.
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« Reply #66 on: September 19, 2013, 07:20:10 PM »

Amen, Antonious! I agree completely. There should never be any non-Orthodox song sung in any of our churches. I am thankful that I have not witnessed any such thing at our little church here in Albuquerque. We are only about 40 people, so communion does not generally require more than Psalm 150 to be sung, and on those rare occasions when it does, it is always an Orthodox hymn, never anything else. It saddens me greatly to know that this is not the case for all of our churches. Sad May God cleanse us of this spiritually-harmful condition, and send true Orthodox shepherds to restore right worship in His house.
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« Reply #67 on: September 19, 2013, 07:34:03 PM »

I'm sure there are plenty EO churches where weird non-Orthodox stuff is sung.

I must say that at least the recordings of Coptic liturgy I've listened to in English have been very good. The Coptic Liturgy of St. Basil is sublime.
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« Reply #68 on: September 19, 2013, 09:40:36 PM »

Now, as for the "liturgical" hymns being better... Some of them just aren't. Some of them are so corrupted that if they show an English translation beside the Coptic, it's nonsense being sung... Might as well be speaking in toungues like Penticostals. Better to sing with understanding, but sing beneficial things.

Can you explain this a bit more?  I'm not sure what you mean.  

And happy birthday!  

Thanks!

An ancient Coptic hymn, very much beloved, sung frequently during distribution:
Quote
The Lord is with you.
Holy is, the Father, the King Who observes our humility, the essence of glory, with the Holy Spirit.

Just is, the Father, our supporter in our weaknesses, for the sake of the Heavenly life, with the Holy Spirit.

Praise belongs to the Father, the treasure of our humility, and Jesus Who is from Heaven, with the Holy Spirit.

The Lord, the Father, Who speaks in Heavenly truth, Who took the form of our humility, with the Holy Spirit.

Honored is the Father, Who rejoices because of our Humility, the Heavenly Truth, with the Holy Spirit.

The Father is the Shepherd, Who speaks for the sake of our tribulations, the heavenly cross, with the Holy Spirit.

Honored is the Father, Who shines over our tribulations, with the heavenly light, with the Holy Spirit.

Hail to the ever-existent, with the Father who rejoices in our humility, and the heavenly truth, with the Holy Spirit.

This is one example.

There are extranumerary Psalis in the Midnight Praise that are latter additions of inferior quality.

The introduction to the Fraction was introduced recently, within the past 200 years or so, and does not fit in the spirit of the Liturgy.

The Koiahk (december) Midnight Praise has many later and inferior additions, and does not authentically represent the ancient service.

The introduction of Communion Rooms has weakened the Great Day of Atonement symbolism in the Liturgy, and date back only 50-100 years.

There are many practises that are assumed to be ancient, when they are in fact quite recent deviations. Everyone just assumes that the Church looks the same as in St. Athanasius' time, which in fact many different things arise and pass away. The core of the Liturgy is glorious, but we don't take care in differentiating what was chanted when, and we never consider why to see if it is still applicable today, or was even a good reason in the first place.


My point was, while I prefer just using semi-liturgical hymns and not having spiritual songs during Communion, if I'm honest, a congregation singing appropriate modern hymns in a language that is understood, is much better than a congregation that is singing nonsense in Coptic without understanding it. We are supposed to praise with understanding, not have a cultural show where we reenact the way it was done centuries ago when it was culturally relevant and understood, without understanding what we are doing, where it came from, or what it means... I do not mean singing evangelical songs.
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« Reply #69 on: September 20, 2013, 11:47:52 AM »

wow!
we can sing this during distribution?!
 Smiley
i am soooooooo happy i thought we can only sing it for vespers praise and i love it soooooooo much!
do we use the same tune? is it that one that is 'agios estin o pateer?' in coptic?
actually it's probably one of those 'coptic' hymns that turns out to be greek - our church fathers often did not bother making a distinction!
i agree the english translation could be improved on. but i love it a lot in it's original form.
maybe someone can do a better translation.

i will also look for that distribution melodies hymn as well, maybe can order it from church.
(it's not practical in my current situation to order stuff off the internet.)

also happy birthday! may God give u a beautiful year.
('shay en rompi nem isos' as we say in my favourite church at every birthday party)
 Smiley
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« Reply #70 on: September 20, 2013, 06:42:49 PM »

wow!
we can sing this during distribution?!
 Smiley
i am soooooooo happy i thought we can only sing it for vespers praise and i love it soooooooo much!
do we use the same tune? is it that one that is 'agios estin o pateer?' in coptic?
actually it's probably one of those 'coptic' hymns that turns out to be greek - our church fathers often did not bother making a distinction!
i agree the english translation could be improved on. but i love it a lot in it's original form.
maybe someone can do a better translation.

i will also look for that distribution melodies hymn as well, maybe can order it from church.
(it's not practical in my current situation to order stuff off the internet.)

also happy birthday! may God give u a beautiful year.
('shay en rompi nem isos' as we say in my favourite church at every birthday party)
 Smiley

Thanks!

Ah, but it's not the English translation that needs work. It's that the hymn itself does not make very much sense at all. (Maybe it once made sense, maybe it used to be worded differently, maybe it is a dialect that used to be understood, I don't know, but we don't understand it today, which to me means it's effectively lost to us, and to continue singing it without meaning or understanding is silly). But, everyone loves it because it has a catchy tune. The solution we took at my church... my priest's son composed a new hymn, set to the same tune, in English, inspired by what may be the drift of the original. See below.

My point is, we like to say "no, you can't sing this, it's Protestant to sing hymns, we have to sing what we have always sung from generation to generation", not realizing that what we think we've sung for ages may only be 20-200 years old! I'm not saying introduce evangelical hymns, but composing new Orthodox hymns is ok, as long as it is done very carefully. I don't want us to go to either extreme, either rejecting what is good and becoming museums, reenacting a rite as it was done 50 years ago in Egypt as if it were ever unchanging, or the other extreme of accepting things indiscriminately.

My preference for Communion is when we do it this way at my church:
-Ps 150
-Appropriate contemporary seasonal hymn in doxology tune
-Veneration
 -Ek-esmaroot
 -Ode to the Holy Trinity based on O Kyrios meta-soo (even though contemporary composition)
 -Ep-ooro
 -Veneration (tamageed) for appropriate saint(s) (may be contemporary composition)
 -Khen ef Ran
 -My the peace
 -Conclusion

But, I acknowledge that if we did that every week (while I would prefer it that way), it would be a lot that is not in English, which would be a barrier, and it would be very repetitive. So I understand why we only do this on feast days of important saints, and otherwise have a much shorter veneration and sing general communion hymns (often contemporary) first.

Quote
AN ODE TO THE HOLY TRINITY
(Adapted from the Greek “O Kyrios meta soo”)

O All-Holy Trinity,
Holy art Thou, O Father in the heavens,
With Thy Beloved Son, Who for our salvation came,
And the Holy Spirit.

Righteous art Thou, O Father Almighty,
With Thy Beloved Son, Who was incarnate of the Virgin
And the Holy Spirit.

Lord of all art Thou, O Father, the Eternal,
With Thy Beloved Son, in Whom Thy soul is well pleased,
And the Holy Spirit.

Creator art Thou, O Father, the King of Kings,
With Thy Beloved Son, Who suffered and was buried,
And the Holy Spirit.

Victorious art Thou, O Father, the Lord of Lords,
With Thy Beloved Son, Who conquered death on the third day,
And the Holy Spirit.

Blessed art Thou, O Father, the Strong Refuge,
With Thy Beloved Son, Who ascended to heaven,
And the Holy Spirit.

Sovereign art Thou, O Father, our Master,
With Thy Beloved Son, Who always sits at Thy right hand,
And the Holy Spirit.

Provider art Thou, O Father of Israel,
With Thy Beloved Son, Who sent us the Paraclete,
Which is the Holy Spirit.

Merciful art Thou, O Father of all nations,
With Thy Beloved Son, Who comes again to judge the world,
And the Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #71 on: September 21, 2013, 02:20:04 PM »

Ah, but it's not the English translation that needs work. It's that the hymn itself does not make very much sense at all. (Maybe it once made sense, maybe it used to be worded differently, maybe it is a dialect that used to be understood, I don't know, but we don't understand it today, which to me means it's effectively lost to us, and to continue singing it without meaning or understanding is silly). But, everyone loves it because it has a catchy tune. The solution we took at my church... my priest's son composed a new hymn, set to the same tune, in English, inspired by what may be the drift of the original. See below.

My point is, we like to say "no, you can't sing this, it's Protestant to sing hymns, we have to sing what we have always sung from generation to generation", not realizing that what we think we've sung for ages may only be 20-200 years old! I'm not saying introduce evangelical hymns, but composing new Orthodox hymns is ok, as long as it is done very carefully. I don't want us to go to either extreme, either rejecting what is good and becoming museums, reenacting a rite as it was done 50 years ago in Egypt as if it were ever unchanging, or the other extreme of accepting things indiscriminately.

Thanks for the sample of the type of hymn you had in mind.  My limited experience with Coptic hymnography is that, while the theology is profound, the literary expressions are rather simple, almost popular.  It's not poetic in the way that Greek and Syriac hymnography is.  That's not a criticism, just the sense I get.  I figured that the English translations I was hearing at local parishes were simply a best attempt at fitting together words and music, I didn't know that in Coptic itself the meanings of such hymns are also uncertain now. 

My recommendation to sing other liturgical hymns was made on the basis that maybe there were other things that could be sung, not that it's better to stick with Orthodox gibberish.  Smiley

Developing new hymnography is not only possible, but a praiseworthy endeavour.  But I will admit a certain hesitation about such things.   
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