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Author Topic: Matins and Vespers  (Read 1051 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: October 05, 2013, 09:47:00 PM »

I can't seem to get an answer to this question from my local parish.  It has Vespers, but does not appear to have Matins.  Apparently, they're two different things, and not two words for the same thing.  (Yes, some of my questions might be south of stupid, but I'm all new and whatnot.)

When I first decided to switch to Orthodoxy from Catholicism, I attended a Greek church.  I'm actually quite fortunate, in that my local area has several Orthodox churches--5, I believe.  Possibly more, but no less. 

I love this Greek church that I first attended, but half the services are in Greek, and me being new and not knowing anything about Orthodoxy or the Orthodox Liturgy, it made it very confusing for me.  My plan was to change to an OCA parish that had services all in English, just to learn the ropes, and then go back to that Greek parish that is just amazing to me. 

As I've said elsewhere, this particular parish--the OCA one--has communication and organizational issues: unanswered emails, emails answered a week+ later, me showing up for events that were moved or canceled because that information wasn't announced or updated on the website, etc.  I can't deal with that.  For one, I'm unemployed and can scarcely afford to run gas out of my car for no reason.  Anyway, I found another OCA parish local, and will try them tomorrow morning. 

I had asked that first OCA church, however, if they hold Matins.  For over a month, their website was down.  It finally came back up (I was grousing about it, not that they got it up because of that, but it's 2013 and I just found it very annoying--no parish info, calendar, schedule of services, etc.  Any 12-year-old can get a basic site up in a day, and I'm 50 and have done it a few times myself.)  The only question that was answered for me is that yes, Matins and Vespers are two different services.  I thought all Orthodox churches held the same services, so it was odd to me to find one not offering Matins.  I figured I was missing something somewhere.  So I check out the site on this other OCA parish, and again, Vespers but no Matins.


Are Matins only offered at Orthodox churches of a particular jurisdiction?  Do OCA churches not hold Matins?

   

I would attend Matins at the Greek church, but then I'd never make it to the OCA church in time for Liturgy.  Or I could just stick with the Greek church until it starts making sense to me.  I miss Matins, though I only attended a few times.     
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« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2013, 09:56:48 PM »

My OCA parish has both Vespers (Wednesday nights) and Matins is right before Divine Liturgy.  I've been to the local GOA church on some Wednesday morning Divine Liturgies and they had Matins, too.  During Lent, the Greek parish had Presanctified Liturgy on those Wednesday mornings, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense, since it's a vesperal liturgy.  Every parish may do things differently, even within jurisdictions.
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« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2013, 10:03:45 PM »

It has Vespers, but does not appear to have Matins.  Apparently, they're two different things, and not two words for the same thing.  (Yes, some of my questions might be south of stupid, but I'm all new and whatnot.)

Vespers = Evening Prayer
Matins = Morning Prayer

Quote
I thought all Orthodox churches held the same services, so it was odd to me to find one not offering Matins.  I figured I was missing something somewhere.  So I check out the site on this other OCA parish, and again, Vespers but no Matins.

Every Orthodox Church has the same cycle of services, which include Vespers and Matins.  But for various reasons, different parishes will choose which services they will conduct in their church and which they'll skip, if they can't do them all.  In certain jurisdictions, in larger churches/cathedrals, monasteries, etc., they will do everything, but in many, if not most, parishes, there is a bit of selection that goes on.

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Are Matins only offered at Orthodox churches of a particular jurisdiction?  Do OCA churches not hold Matins?

Vespers and Matins need not be restricted to a particular jurisdiction, because it's part of the entire Church's worship.  But in the US, generally speaking, the OCA parishes will hold Vespers more often than Matins, and the GOA parishes will hold Matins more often than Vespers.  

Quote
I would attend Matins at the Greek church, but then I'd never make it to the OCA church in time for Liturgy.  Or I could just stick with the Greek church until it starts making sense to me.  I miss Matins, though I only attended a few times. 

Pick the parish where you feel most comfortable and "at home", and focus on participating as much as possible in its liturgical life, especially while you're still learning: burn out is bad.  Don't sweat the stuff you're missing by not being in the other parish, make the most out of what you've got.  

I will say that Vespers is easier to figure out than Matins.  I went to seminary and still couldn't make much sense out of Matins until a few years later when I spent a lot more time with Greeks and saw Matins done reasonably fully.    
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« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2013, 10:34:48 PM »

Thank you, both.  That cleared a lot of it up for me. 
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« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2013, 04:16:04 AM »

Some parishes may serve vespers and matins combined into one service Saturday evening.
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« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2013, 08:42:53 AM »

I've been to several OCA churches that celebrate Vespers but not Orthros.  In place of Orthros, they do 1 and 3 hours.  A lot of that may be due to not having a choir available that early in the morning and also not having priests accustomed to celebrate it since the Russian churches, generally, celebrate a vigil on Saturday evening in place of the separated Vespers/Orthros.
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« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2013, 09:22:47 AM »

I've been to several OCA churches that celebrate Vespers but not Orthros.  In place of Orthros, they do 1 and 3 hours.  A lot of that may be due to not having a choir available that early in the morning and also not having priests accustomed to celebrate it since the Russian churches, generally, celebrate a vigil on Saturday evening in place of the separated Vespers/Orthros.

Outstanding!  This church lists something called Third and Sixth Hours on their schedule, and I had no idea what that was.  So what is that?  What is the difference between First and Third Hours and Third and Sixth Hours?

That was another question I asked and never got answered.  Another was that their Third and Sixth Hours overlaps their Liturgy by a half hour.  How do they pull that off??  If I attended Third and Sixth Hours, does that mean I have to miss a half hour of the Liturgy?    

It's a pet peeve of mine--sending an email and not getting a response at all.  It's not like I was sending three or four emails a week.  I'm inquiring about Orthodoxy, so wouldn't this kinda be expected, and be part of the evangelizing function of the church?  Should they be blowing off these kinds of inquiries or was it right of me to expect a reply?  I swear, that makes me want to slap a cat.  I'm getting more answers in this forum.  Imo, no matter how numbskull-ish the questions, they should endeavor to answer them.  Or am I wrong there?  

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« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2013, 09:28:25 AM »

Some parishes may serve vespers and matins combined into one service Saturday evening.

I never considered the possibility of that--thank you.  In an instance where a church is doing that, would they call it just Vespers or would they call it something else so that you know that that service functions as both Vespers and Matins/Orthros?  I'm asking, because this church just calls their Saturday evening service 'Vespers' so I figured it was Vespers only. 
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« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2013, 09:37:25 AM »

Some parishes may serve vespers and matins combined into one service Saturday evening.

I never considered the possibility of that--thank you.  In an instance where a church is doing that, would they call it just Vespers or would they call it something else so that you know that that service functions as both Vespers and Matins/Orthros?  I'm asking, because this church just calls their Saturday evening service 'Vespers' so I figured it was Vespers only. 

It's called all-night-vigil but it may be referred as vespers too.
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« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2013, 12:00:17 PM »


It's called all-night-vigil but it may be referred as vespers too.


I've seen 'all night vigil' before--didn't know what that was either.  This church and the other one I'm going to check out both list just 'vespers,' and now I know what that is when a church lists vespers but not matins.  Thank you very much for all the info, and thank you for your patience and consideration when responding to my boneheaded inquiries.  I know a lot more now than I did three months ago, but I'm still in occasional need of what most on this site would consider basic information.  In some denominations, you're a member of the church just by sitting down in a pew and bringing potato salad to the potluck.  Orthodoxy is...a little more complicated than that.  lol.  It seems it takes literal years just to get a working knowledge of doctrine and the liturgy.
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« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2013, 12:31:10 PM »

The all-night vigil includes Vespers, Matins and 1st Hour. Outside monasteries, it doesn't really last all night (more like 2-3 hours), but it's quite stretchable. laugh
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« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2013, 01:30:41 PM »

Outstanding!  This church lists something called Third and Sixth Hours on their schedule, and I had no idea what that was.  So what is that?  What is the difference between First and Third Hours and Third and Sixth Hours?

First, Third, Sixth, and Ninth Hours are short prayer services punctuating the day between Matins and Vespers.  They roughly correspond to 7am, 9am, noon, and 3pm.  Along with these six prayer services, there are another two in the day: Compline (said before sleeping) and Midnight Office (said either at midnight or, more commonly, early in the morning before Matins).

Quote
That was another question I asked and never got answered.  Another was that their Third and Sixth Hours overlaps their Liturgy by a half hour.  How do they pull that off??  If I attended Third and Sixth Hours, does that mean I have to miss a half hour of the Liturgy?    

I'm not sure how the Hours can overlap the Liturgy unless the times given are a typo.  Usually, they are done before the start of the Liturgy, so you don't miss any of the Liturgy.  In some parishes, they will finish the Hours and then start the Liturgy, but I've seen other parishes where they'll stop reading the Hours if the priest is ready to start the Liturgy, even if the Hours are not finished. 

Quote
It's a pet peeve of mine--sending an email and not getting a response at all.  It's not like I was sending three or four emails a week.  I'm inquiring about Orthodoxy, so wouldn't this kinda be expected, and be part of the evangelizing function of the church?  Should they be blowing off these kinds of inquiries or was it right of me to expect a reply?  I swear, that makes me want to slap a cat.  I'm getting more answers in this forum.  Imo, no matter how numbskull-ish the questions, they should endeavor to answer them.  Or am I wrong there?  

Some parishes are better at this than others.  For instance, in my jurisdiction we have parishes with a parish office and an office phone number, they have a mailbox and receive letters, etc., but the office is not staffed during the week and the priest doesn't live at the church or regularly work in its office.  It can be hard to reach someone in a timely fashion unless you already know how to reach them where they can be found. 

When I was in college, some friends lived two doors down from a Coptic parish, but no matter how many emails I sent and telephone calls I made, I never got a response, so I never knew when they had Liturgy: the only thing I knew for sure was that they definitely didn't have Liturgy on Sunday.  Well, across the street from the church and my friends' apartment was a bar where happy hour started at 4pm on Friday (great garlic parmesan wings for only a dime apiece!).  After joining them one day, we walked out and back to the apartment, and I saw a Copt in the church parking lot.  So I ran over to catch him before he drove off and asked him about the church schedule.  That's how I finally figured out what their situation was and when to show up for church.  I don't recommend stalking parishioners, but...  Wink
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« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2013, 02:00:29 PM »



I'm not sure how the Hours can overlap the Liturgy unless the times given are a typo.  Usually, they are done before the start of the Liturgy, so you don't miss any of the Liturgy.  In some parishes, they will finish the Hours and then start the Liturgy, but I've seen other parishes where they'll stop reading the Hours if the priest is ready to start the Liturgy, even if the Hours are not finished.  



And yet, I kid you not.  Check out their calendar on the right: http://stgeorgebuffalo.com/  If you click on today or any Sunday, it will open up and you'll see that Third and Sixth Hours is scheduled for 9:30-10:30a, and Divine Liturgy right under it claims to start at 10a.  I'm sorry, but when I was in the army 24 years ago, we called this sort of thing 'ate up.'  lol.  

As to stalking parishioners, hey, I'll try anything once.  Well, almost anything.  Okay, I lied.  I wouldn't even try almost anything--I'm actually a bit of a pucker-butt, but this, I'd try.  lol. Emails don't work.  The phone only gets answered one day a week if I'm lucky.  And they don't update the website, causing me to drive out to this church twice now, only to discover I was the only one there.  That kind of thing will chase me off fairly quickly.  At least I have options in this area--Orthodox has a very nice presence in Buffalo.  

Edited, because, being the consummate dingbat that I am, I forgot to put in the link to the website.
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« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2013, 02:13:28 PM »

And yet, I kid you not.  Check out their calendar on the right: http://stgeorgebuffalo.com/  If you click on today or any Sunday, it will open up and you'll see that Third and Sixth Hours is scheduled for 9:30-10:30a, and Divine Liturgy right under it claims to start at 10a.  I'm sorry, but when I was in the army 24 years ago, we called this sort of thing 'ate up.'  lol.  

Well, the calendar reads like this on my end:

9:30am - Third and Sixth Hours
10:00am - Divine Liturgy

That's normal. 

When I click on the link for the Hours, it says 9:30am to 10:30am.  Since those two Hours together will never take longer than half an hour, I suspect this has to do with Google Calendar's settings.
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« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2013, 02:24:14 PM »

And yet, I kid you not.  Check out their calendar on the right: http://stgeorgebuffalo.com/  If you click on today or any Sunday, it will open up and you'll see that Third and Sixth Hours is scheduled for 9:30-10:30a, and Divine Liturgy right under it claims to start at 10a.  I'm sorry, but when I was in the army 24 years ago, we called this sort of thing 'ate up.'  lol.  

Well, the calendar reads like this on my end:

9:30am - Third and Sixth Hours
10:00am - Divine Liturgy

That's normal. 

When I click on the link for the Hours, it says 9:30am to 10:30am.  Since those two Hours together will never take longer than half an hour, I suspect this has to do with Google Calendar's settings.

Okay, thanx for the info--I didn't know how long the Hours would take, so I was taking the information presented on the calendar at face value.  I don't know about Google Calendar or the settings, but your explanation makes sense.  Are you saying that maybe GC doesn't allow you to set the length of any event at less than one hour long?  Or maybe they do, and whomever at the church set this calendar up didn't know how to change default settings.  All I know is I was just scratching my head over this one.  lol.  Again, you cleared it up for me nicely.  Thanx.
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« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2013, 02:35:29 PM »

And yet, I kid you not.  Check out their calendar on the right: http://stgeorgebuffalo.com/  If you click on today or any Sunday, it will open up and you'll see that Third and Sixth Hours is scheduled for 9:30-10:30a, and Divine Liturgy right under it claims to start at 10a.  I'm sorry, but when I was in the army 24 years ago, we called this sort of thing 'ate up.'  lol.  

Well, the calendar reads like this on my end:

9:30am - Third and Sixth Hours
10:00am - Divine Liturgy

That's normal. 

When I click on the link for the Hours, it says 9:30am to 10:30am.  Since those two Hours together will never take longer than half an hour, I suspect this has to do with Google Calendar's settings.

Okay, thanx for the info--I didn't know how long the Hours would take, so I was taking the information presented on the calendar at face value.  I don't know about Google Calendar or the settings, but your explanation makes sense.  Are you saying that maybe GC doesn't allow you to set the length of any event at less than one hour long?  Or maybe they do, and whomever at the church set this calendar up didn't know how to change default settings.  All I know is I was just scratching my head over this one.  lol.  Again, you cleared it up for me nicely.  Thanx.

As far as I know, GC as well as Sunbird, which I use, only have hour-long slots. If further customisation is possible, it has escaped me so far.
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« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2013, 03:00:10 PM »

Okay, thanx for the info--I didn't know how long the Hours would take, so I was taking the information presented on the calendar at face value.  I don't know about Google Calendar or the settings, but your explanation makes sense.  Are you saying that maybe GC doesn't allow you to set the length of any event at less than one hour long?  Or maybe they do, and whomever at the church set this calendar up didn't know how to change default settings.  All I know is I was just scratching my head over this one.  lol.  Again, you cleared it up for me nicely.  Thanx.

As far as I know, GC as well as Sunbird, which I use, only have hour-long slots. If further customisation is possible, it has escaped me so far.

I haven't used Google Calendar in a long time, but my recollection is that the default slot is an hour, and you can adjust the times as necessary.  If I want to schedule three short meetings in an hour, I can play with the times when entering them so that I have three fifteen minute meetings with five minute intervals.  But if I just want to remind myself that something is at 10am, I can enter it under 10am and it will say it lasts from 10am to 11am, whether it takes two minutes or all day. 

As long as the starting times are correct in the place most people will check, I don't think the average parish webmaster is concerned to edit all the times to reflect actual service length.
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« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2013, 04:17:05 AM »

As long as the starting times are correct in the place most people will check, I don't think the average parish webmaster is concerned to edit all the times to reflect actual service length.

In Greek churches, people generally ask when the service finishes and work backwards (though this has a lot to do with the fact that they only ever give the start time for Orthros and the end time for the Liturgy), so Google calendar adding an extra 30mins to the service times would be a bit of a disaster.
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« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2013, 07:24:30 AM »

Dear newtoorthodoxy,

This wonderful resource provides you with side-by-side Greek/English translations for Matins.   If you follow along you will begin to learn some of the Greek much sooner!   

http://ematins.org/matins.htm

Love, elephant


 
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« Reply #19 on: October 07, 2013, 08:02:56 AM »

My parish does matins every Sunday and the priest has to be in the church around 6 AM to prepare to do it properly, or so I'm told... so I can understand why some priests opt not to do it.
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« Reply #20 on: October 07, 2013, 08:19:42 AM »

My parish does matins every Sunday and the priest has to be in the church around 6 AM to prepare to do it properly, or so I'm told... so I can understand why some priests opt not to do it.

As a rule, no priest can skip Matins altogether and go on to serve Liturgy. IMO the Slavic practice of having a Vigil (Vespers + Matins) on Saturday evening/the eve of a feast day is a much better idea.
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« Reply #21 on: October 07, 2013, 08:27:13 AM »

My parish does matins every Sunday and the priest has to be in the church around 6 AM to prepare to do it properly, or so I'm told... so I can understand why some priests opt not to do it.

Why so early? When does your Liturgy start?
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« Reply #22 on: October 07, 2013, 11:53:06 PM »

Dear newtoorthodoxy,

This wonderful resource provides you with side-by-side Greek/English translations for Matins.   If you follow along you will begin to learn some of the Greek much sooner!   

http://ematins.org/matins.htm

Love, elephant


Thank you very much for that link!
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« Reply #23 on: October 08, 2013, 02:37:59 AM »

Outside monasteries, it doesn't really last all night (more like 2-3 hours)

More like 1:40 here.
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« Reply #24 on: December 10, 2013, 05:10:49 PM »

I've been to several OCA churches that celebrate Vespers but not Orthros.  In place of Orthros, they do 1 and 3 hours.  A lot of that may be due to not having a choir available that early in the morning and also not having priests accustomed to celebrate it since the Russian churches, generally, celebrate a vigil on Saturday evening in place of the separated Vespers/Orthros.

I suspect that the OCA parish is doing a vigil on Saturday evening, which is Vespers and Matins combined into one service and served on Saturday evening. That is the traditional Russian practice which comes from the monastic All Night Vigil. Those parishes like mine which is Antiochian that follow Greek practice serve Vespers on Saturday evening and Matins before the Divine Liturgy on Sunday.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #25 on: December 10, 2013, 05:22:25 PM »

My OCA parish has both Vespers (Wednesday nights) and Matins is right before Divine Liturgy.  I've been to the local GOA church on some Wednesday morning Divine Liturgies and they had Matins, too.  During Lent, the Greek parish had Presanctified Liturgy on those Wednesday mornings, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense, since it's a vesperal liturgy.  Every parish may do things differently, even within jurisdictions.

At some point in time, probably during the Middle Ages, it was decided that the Divine Liturgy could only be served in the morning. For that reason, most Orthodox moved the Presanctified Divine Liturgy to Wed. and Fri. morning. More recently, most Eastern Orthodox reverted back to the ancient practice and serve the Presactified Liturgy in the evening. However, we still serve the Vesperal Divine Liturgy for Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday in the morning. However the actual texts for these services indicate that these were originally evening services. At sometime in the past the services for Holy Week were moved forward from evening services to morning services. The Bridegroom Service is obviously Matins as are the Service of the 12 Passion Gospels and the Lamentations Service. When looking at these things, it is important to remember that according to Eastern Orthodox time, the day begins at sunset not midnight. For example, Vespers on Saturday evening is actually a service for Sunday.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #26 on: December 10, 2013, 06:08:53 PM »

My parish does matins every Sunday and the priest has to be in the church around 6 AM to prepare to do it properly, or so I'm told... so I can understand why some priests opt not to do it.

Why so early? When does your Liturgy start?

9:30. Why so early? I don't know.
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« Reply #27 on: December 10, 2013, 08:54:02 PM »

My parish does matins every Sunday and the priest has to be in the church around 6 AM to prepare to do it properly, or so I'm told... so I can understand why some priests opt not to do it.

Why so early? When does your Liturgy start?

9:30. Why so early? I don't know.

The priest probably takes Kairon, vests and does the Proskomedia before Matins.

 Fr. John W. Morris

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