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Author Topic: "reading along" with Liturgy ?  (Read 1296 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 09, 2013, 10:36:48 PM »

I'd like to read along with the Liturgy and especially Vigil because I can't make out much of what's said and especially what's sung but my priest said "no".   Is "reading along" universally prohibited or is this a "priest specific" thing ?  Don't worry, I'm not going to rock the boat in my church or start a revolution ... I'm just curious.
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2013, 10:48:53 PM »

Reading aloud along with the priest's parts? No.

Looking at the service book to see what is being said? I don't know why he would be against it.
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2013, 10:55:40 PM »

Must be a "priest-specific" thing.

If the service is in a liturgical language you don't fully understand, and the printed version is in English, then I fail to see how a priest could object. Better to be able to follow the service and, most importantly, learn and understand what the hymns teach and express (and, with time, increase your understanding of the "foreign" liturgical language through repetition), than to stand in church listening to gibberish. Where is the spiritual value in that?

With time, the "fixed" parts of the services will become second-nature to you (as they did with me), so that you need only read the variable portions. Worked for me.  Smiley

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Reading aloud along with the priest's parts? No.

Seconded.
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2013, 10:59:04 PM »

I'd like to read along with the Liturgy and especially Vigil because I can't make out much of what's said and especially what's sung but my priest said "no".   Is "reading along" universally prohibited or is this a "priest specific" thing ?  Don't worry, I'm not going to rock the boat in my church or start a revolution ... I'm just curious.

At Vigil, the only part that according to tradition it would be wrong to follow along with are the six morning psalms. The only reason that makes any sense for you not to follow along with the rest of vigil is so you do not realize how much is being cut or how many mistakes they are making.

Again this is assuming we are talking about you reading along as to mean following along, and not reading along out loud.
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« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2013, 11:08:30 PM »

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At Vigil, the only part that according to tradition it would be wrong to follow along with are the six morning psalms.

Not so.

Tradition holds that one should stay where one is, still and attentive; no lighting of candles, not even crossing oneself or prostrating during the readings, or during the Glory ... between the first three and the last three psalms. Holding a printed copy of these psalms and reading them silently in a language you understand is quite OK.

Not everyone can memorize the Six Psalms.
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« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2013, 11:11:00 PM »

Certainly not reading aloud, just silently to myself.  The service is in English, that's not the problem.  It's just that I can't hear that well ... the volume is fine but I often can't make out words even in normal conversation and it's worse when people are singing.  I told my priest that but he seemed to think listening shouldn't be interrupted with reading or something... I didn't really get it past the important part which was "no".
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« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2013, 11:30:15 PM »

Certainly not reading aloud, just silently to myself.

Why did you ask him?

The only reasons I could think for him to say no would be that sometimes the liturgy doesn't always strictly follow the service book, trying to read along with any prayers read silently by the priest could throw you off, and you still want to maintain awareness of what is physically going on in the liturgy (which can be more difficult with your eyes glued to a book trying to figure out what page you're on). Anyway, i'm not against following along in the service book (that's what it's there for), but these are things to keep in mind.
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« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2013, 11:42:04 PM »

Why did you ask him?
... because I wanted to follow along in a book, of course. If you meant to say "why don't you ask him?" well... I already did and was told "no".  His answer seemed arbitrary and wrong but I didn't say anything or ask for an explanation because I knew I'd come across as arguing.  Now I feel I can't bring it up without sounding like I'm arguing or complaining but I'm certain I'd get more out of the service if I could read along silently.  Do you think that would be bothersome to other people maybe?  I'm not sure how that would be an issue because some of them are actually carrying on conversations with each other and no one seems to mind , except me!  Angry
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« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2013, 11:42:58 PM »

Quote
At Vigil, the only part that according to tradition it would be wrong to follow along with are the six morning psalms.

Not so.

Tradition holds that one should stay where one is, still and attentive; no lighting of candles, not even crossing oneself or prostrating during the readings, or during the Glory ... between the first three and the last three psalms. Holding a printed copy of these psalms and reading them silently in a language you understand is quite OK.

Not everyone can memorize the Six Psalms.

I still would say that holding a copy and reading along goes against the tradition of stillness during these psalms.
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« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2013, 11:51:35 PM »

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At Vigil, the only part that according to tradition it would be wrong to follow along with are the six morning psalms.

Not so.

Tradition holds that one should stay where one is, still and attentive; no lighting of candles, not even crossing oneself or prostrating during the readings, or during the Glory ... between the first three and the last three psalms. Holding a printed copy of these psalms and reading them silently in a language you understand is quite OK.

Not everyone can memorize the Six Psalms.

I still would say that holding a copy and reading along goes against the tradition of stillness during these psalms.

Then the reader who reads these psalms out of a book during Matins while holding a candle is violating that stillness. Riiiiiiight.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2013, 11:53:46 PM »

I'd like to read along with the Liturgy and especially Vigil because I can't make out much of what's said and especially what's sung but my priest said "no".   Is "reading along" universally prohibited or is this a "priest specific" thing ?  Don't worry, I'm not going to rock the boat in my church or start a revolution ... I'm just curious.

You mean read the presumably English translation of the presumably non-English chanted prayers? There's no universal prohibition. However, it's good, I think, to get "beyond the book," so to speak. In your case where the priest actually says no to reading the prayers during the service, maybe you could read them at home. If it's in a language you do understand, it's nice to be able to "let it soak in." I find using a book all the time when I'm in church a bit distracting--although i'm a reader and chanter, so I've often got my nose in a book. However, if the services are in a language you don't understand, if you can't use a book, it's an opportunity at least to pray and enter into the spirit of the prayers.
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« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2013, 11:56:56 PM »

Quote
At Vigil, the only part that according to tradition it would be wrong to follow along with are the six morning psalms.

Not so.

Tradition holds that one should stay where one is, still and attentive; no lighting of candles, not even crossing oneself or prostrating during the readings, or during the Glory ... between the first three and the last three psalms. Holding a printed copy of these psalms and reading them silently in a language you understand is quite OK.

Not everyone can memorize the Six Psalms.

I cross myself at the Glory. I've read conflicting rubrics on this.
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« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2013, 11:59:21 PM »

In some instances, it's better to ask for forgiveness than for permission.
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« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2013, 12:01:03 AM »

Shanghaiski, have a look at post #5.  Smiley

Quote
I cross myself at the Glory. I've read conflicting rubrics on this.

Both the Greek orologhion and Slavonic chasoslov I have state no crossing or prostrations during the Glory between the two sets of psalms. Crossing and prostration is OK for the final Glory, after all the psalms have been read.
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« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2013, 12:04:28 AM »

Why did you ask him?
... because I wanted to follow along in a book, of course. If you meant to say "why don't you ask him?"

My question was why you asked for permission to use a service book for its intended purpose.

I never asked when I started attending an Orthodox church, I just picked up the service book up and tried to follow along with what was going on. That's what it's there for. I still use one on occasion if I don't have something memorized or need a reference for some reason.

Did he understand what you were asking? Did he give any reasons against following along in the book?

I know people (including me) always say "ask your priest" or something along those lines, but in this case, you should have just read along in the book and payed attention to what was going on and not asked the question.

The only other reason I can think is if you want to read along in a service book other than the one that your parish uses. This would be a very bad idea with all the different english translations of the liturgy.
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« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2013, 12:04:43 AM »

If I were you, I would just follow along with a service book, anyway.  Maybe he misunderstood you.  It's difficult, with the chimes of the censer and the merry-making of the toddlers (who always have to be at the part of he Church nearest the iconostas!)  You say that the liturgy is in English, which is fantastic (and as it should be.)  Just pick up a ROCOR service book and follow along, no one will mind.

However, I advise you to only do this as long as you need to.  Following along and understanding the ancient words of the services of the Church is fantastic, but when you'll be able to know what's being said without following along and can participate in the service, it'll be wonderful. 
 
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« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2013, 12:22:09 AM »

My question was why you asked for permission to use a service book for its intended purpose.

Did he understand what you were asking? Did he give any reasons against following along in the book?
Nobody in my church uses a "service book". I don't see any kind of book lying around at church but I found one elsewhere and bought it - now I just can't use it.  My godmother is "allowed" to follow along on her iPad because she's very close to completely deaf and it seemed I'm not allowed to because I'm not as deaf?  I don't really know what my priest is thinking apart from nobody should be reading during the service.   Undecided
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« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2013, 12:32:26 AM »

Nobody in my church uses a "service book". I don't see any kind of book lying around at church but I found one elsewhere and bought it

That's probably why he doesn't want you to use it, and it's a good reason. Try asking him if there is a resource available that is the same as what your parish uses that you can follow along in.
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« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2013, 12:48:04 AM »

Shanghaiski, have a look at post #5.  Smiley

Quote
I cross myself at the Glory. I've read conflicting rubrics on this.

Both the Greek orologhion and Slavonic chasoslov I have state no crossing or prostrations during the Glory between the two sets of psalms. Crossing and prostration is OK for the final Glory, after all the psalms have been read.

I seem to remember the Holy Transfiguration Monastery (Greek) prayerbook conflicting with the Jordanville (Russian) prayerbook. I'll have to see what the Old Orthodox (pre-Nikonian Russian) prayerbook says. Alas, the Antiochian Typikon has not yet been fully translated into English--and then, what would they have done before the imposition of the Constatinopolitan Rite? Questions, questions...
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« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2013, 01:23:20 AM »

Nobody in my church uses a "service book". I don't see any kind of book lying around at church but I found one elsewhere and bought it

That's probably why he doesn't want you to use it, and it's a good reason. Try asking him if there is a resource available that is the same as what your parish uses that you can follow along in.
I agree with Melodist.

You mean there aren't any service books, anywhere in the congregation?  Shocked  Where do the old Russian ladies keep the paper icons that, without fail, fall allover the floor of the Church?  How are the freshly chrismated converts to belt it out in with the choir?  It's madness, I tell you! 
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« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2013, 02:08:22 AM »

Nobody in my church uses a "service book". I don't see any kind of book lying around at church but I found one elsewhere and bought it

That's probably why he doesn't want you to use it, and it's a good reason. Try asking him if there is a resource available that is the same as what your parish uses that you can follow along in.
I'm almost certain you're wrong about his reasons but you'd have to have heard our conversation to know that. I will check out my service book with my godfather who is a reader at our church and a bit of a "typicon chewer" so he'll know every word.  That way I don't have to "confront" my priest after he's already given me his answer.  If my book is as close as I suspect it is to our service then I'll consider talking to the priest again about it.  If he says "no reading" regardless of how closely the book resembles our service what do you suggest then?
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« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2013, 08:58:38 AM »

Personally I don't like attending Church services with the liturgical book, because,  paradoxically, it's more difficult to focus on the liturgical action. And it goes especially for the Liturgy. I think it's better to observe the liturgical action which is full of symbolism, icons and of course listen to the choir/chanters as their mission is to help you to pray.
Maybe that's what you priest was referring to.

And I think it's not always necessary to understand every word during the service. The best way to prepare yourself for the service (especially for feasts and in Great Lent) is to read the hymns before it, because during the service you'll understand more and also it will be easier for you to get into the particular prayerful atmosphere (and into the atmosphere of the particular feast).

I take a liturgical book only for some of Holy Week services, especially for Holy Friday Matins. One separate book for Gospels and another one for the hymnography of the Good Friday. But it's too much to keep also a candle and my glasses. For this year maybe I'll have to change it Wink
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« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2013, 12:27:23 PM »

I'm almost certain you're wrong about his reasons but you'd have to have heard our conversation to know that.

You're right, I don't know exactly how the conversation went.

Quote
I will check out my service book with my godfather who is a reader at our church and a bit of a "typicon chewer" so he'll know every word.  That way I don't have to "confront" my priest after he's already given me his answer.  If my book is as close as I suspect it is to our service then I'll consider talking to the priest again about it.  If he says "no reading" regardless of how closely the book resembles our service what do you suggest then?

Ask your Godfather.
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« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2013, 12:57:47 PM »

I'd like to read along with the Liturgy and especially Vigil because I can't make out much of what's said and especially what's sung but my priest said "no".   Is "reading along" universally prohibited or is this a "priest specific" thing ?  Don't worry, I'm not going to rock the boat in my church or start a revolution ... I'm just curious.

Here is my advice: Reading for comprehension during Divine Liturgy is not a good idea. It is straightforward and simple service, with few variables. The daily troparia are usually published either in the church bulletin or by the national, diocesan or deanery Internet sites. You can easily read the service in the comfort and privacy of your home. If you are really into understanding it, I recommend these books: Divine Liturgy: A Student Study Text by Father John Peck, and For the Life of the World and The Eucharist: Sacrament of the Kingdom by Father Alexander Schmemann. In any case, if your parish encourages congregational singing (along the choir), try to do so. It is most important to be a participant and not a recipient, observer or student, particularly during the Divine Liturgy.

Vigil is a different story. First, it is much more complex service and has many more variable parts. Second, most folks attend Liturgy more often than a vigil. Again, if possible, sing along the choir (never chant with the chanters as it may have disastrous results). There are constant parts, but the variables are so many that it would be simply impossible to have the resources available to you in one neat little package. I think it would be best to read the service beforehand rather than during.

Another problem may be that your priest, readers, chanters, choir are difficult to understand. Not all of the servants of the Lord are equally gifted with good diction and voices. In that case, thank the Lord that he has gifted you with the challenge of coping with their shortcomings.
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« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2013, 03:20:22 PM »

Another problem may be that your priest, readers, chanters, choir are difficult to understand. Not all of the servants of the Lord are equally gifted with good diction and voices. In that case, thank the Lord that he has gifted you with the challenge of coping with their shortcomings.
yup... this too!   Wink

I'll take your advice - do my study at home and "fill-in-the-blanks" as best I can at church with love ... 
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« Reply #25 on: January 10, 2013, 03:32:38 PM »

Personally I don't like attending Church services with the liturgical book, because,  paradoxically, it's more difficult to focus on the liturgical action. And it goes especially for the Liturgy. I think it's better to observe the liturgical action which is full of symbolism, icons and of course listen to the choir/chanters as their mission is to help you to pray.
Maybe that's what you priest was referring to.

And I think it's not always necessary to understand every word during the service. The best way to prepare yourself for the service (especially for feasts and in Great Lent) is to read the hymns before it, because during the service you'll understand more and also it will be easier for you to get into the particular prayerful atmosphere (and into the atmosphere of the particular feast).

I take a liturgical book only for some of Holy Week services, especially for Holy Friday Matins. One separate book for Gospels and another one for the hymnography of the Good Friday. But it's too much to keep also a candle and my glasses. For this year maybe I'll have to change it Wink

I abandoned the liturgical book early on - I couldn't seem to get the hang of reading and watching what was going on at the same time. What I would do is either read the text of the service before or afterwards - "ah, so that's what they were singing!"
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« Reply #26 on: January 10, 2013, 05:38:40 PM »

I read the Daily Reading app on my tablet.
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« Reply #27 on: January 10, 2013, 07:40:22 PM »

I read the Daily Reading app on my tablet.
Does the Greek Orthodox Church have the same daily readings as the Russian Orthodox Church?  Second question: does the app you mention have an adjustment to display the "old calendar" date for the current day or would I have to scroll around for it?
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« Reply #28 on: January 10, 2013, 10:51:00 PM »

I read the Daily Reading app on my tablet.
Does the Greek Orthodox Church have the same daily readings as the Russian Orthodox Church?
I have no idea.
Quote
Second question: does the app you mention have an adjustment to display the "old calendar" date for the current day....
Nope, but this app has both old and new calendar dates.
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« Reply #29 on: January 11, 2013, 12:12:29 AM »

Nope, but this app has both old and new calendar dates.
is that Android only?  don't have one of those... thanks anyway
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« Reply #30 on: January 12, 2013, 05:01:32 PM »

Nope, but this app has both old and new calendar dates.
is that Android only?  don't have one of those... thanks anyway

Here you go,
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/orthodox-calendar/id381641703?mt=8 , a link to it in the apple store. And yes, you can download and use iPhone apps on your iPad, if that is what you have.

Unless of course, you have a crackberry, in which case, just search the store, I'm sure it exists on crackberry too
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« Reply #31 on: January 12, 2013, 06:05:45 PM »

Here you go,
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/orthodox-calendar/id381641703?mt=8 , a link to it in the apple store. And yes, you can download and use iPhone apps on your iPad, if that is what you have.
yes it works OK in a simulated iPhone window and seems to be the same (or similar) script that runs the calendar at www.orthodoxinfo.com ... thanks
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