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Author Topic: Dismissing Catechumens in Liturgy  (Read 2389 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: October 21, 2013, 12:31:06 AM »

I had attended a few services at the OCA parish near me, and there was a portion of the Liturgy where they dismissed catechumens.  "All catechumens, depart. Let no catechumen remain." 

Well, that parish was not holding Liturgy today because they were ordaining a priest in Rochester, so I went back to the Greek church that I love, but don't understand, and I had forgotten about this--they don't say that in their Liturgy.  Is it a difference in Liturgical processes between the jurisdictions?  Do they not do that if the parish doesn't have any catechumens at the time?  That would be less likely--this is a much larger parish. 

One misconception I had going in was, I assumed all Orthodox churches observed the same Liturgy, but that could be my RC "Where's my missal?" syndrome, because there are small differences between the services at the Greek church and the OCA, but I was curious about this one difference.  I think it's mostly because I don't understand why catechumens would be dismissed for part of a Liturgy, whereas I'm a bumpkin off the street and can stay for the whole thing, but when the Greek church didn't do that at all, that had me wondering.

So I have two questions:  1) Why would one Orthodox church dismiss catechumens and another one not dismiss, and 2) Why dismiss them at all? 

 
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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2013, 12:55:11 AM »

As I understand it, partaking of the Eucharist was a capitol offense so they would not allow anyone not partaking to remain, the catechumen were dismissed to go to catechumen class.
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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2013, 12:58:03 AM »

So I have two questions:  1) Why would one Orthodox church dismiss catechumens and another one not dismiss, and 2) Why dismiss them at all? 

As you are probably aware, the Orthodox liturgy is almost entirely the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom from the 4th century.

The part where 'Catechumens depart' is a part of the liturgical practice of the 4th century where catechumens were required to leave.

It's not a practice in the liturgy today, it's just a carryover from the 4th century liturgy.

So, since the practice of 'removal of the Catechumens' isn't retained today, some people remove it from the services altogether in the liturgy.

In other words, the removal of the Catechumens was done in the past, it's not done now; but the liturgy still has a reference to the removal of the Catechumens, so some Churches retain it's reading in Church, some don't.

This is my intuition though, not 100% sure.
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« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2013, 01:19:46 AM »

So I have two questions:  1) Why would one Orthodox church dismiss catechumens and another one not dismiss, and 2) Why dismiss them at all? 

As you are probably aware, the Orthodox liturgy is almost entirely the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom from the 4th century.

The part where 'Catechumens depart' is a part of the liturgical practice of the 4th century where catechumens were required to leave.

It's not a practice in the liturgy today, it's just a carryover from the 4th century liturgy.

So, since the practice of 'removal of the Catechumens' isn't retained today, some people remove it from the services altogether in the liturgy.

In other words, the removal of the Catechumens was done in the past, it's not done now; but the liturgy still has a reference to the removal of the Catechumens, so some Churches retain it's reading in Church, some don't.

This is my intuition though, not 100% sure.

Your intuition is correct. Interestingly, some churches which had dropped the litany and dismissal for the catechumens for decades, have, in recent years, reinstated them.
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« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2013, 02:10:07 AM »

Except that in that OCA parish, the catechumens did, in fact, get up and leave.  The rest of this makes complete sense.  I would accept that the catechumens went to catechumen class in that church--just going by the fact that they exited through a door to the left, into a room that I believe this parish uses for coffee hour, Bible study, and the like.  Okay, I think this cleared it up for me.  Thanks. 
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« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2013, 06:51:39 AM »

Except that in that OCA parish, the catechumens did, in fact, get up and leave.  The rest of this makes complete sense.  I would accept that the catechumens went to catechumen class in that church--just going by the fact that they exited through a door to the left, into a room that I believe this parish uses for coffee hour, Bible study, and the like.  Okay, I think this cleared it up for me.  Thanks. 

That's interesting.  My parish keeps the part "Let no catechumens remain," but no one leaves.  Then again, Inquirer/catechumen classes are on Tuesdays.
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« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2013, 07:42:46 AM »

Actually having people leave - that's the reintroduction of something that generally faded away over time inhistory, hence an "innovation." I suspect it is not a diocesan wide sanctioned act.

Orthodoxy is conservative and preserves much of its history, but it's not static. Everything old is NOT new again necessarily.
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« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2013, 07:48:01 AM »

If it's an age-old practice that's being reintroduced, that appeals to me.  One reason I turned to the Orthodox faith is because the general consensus is that it is the unchanging Church.  I definitely don't want yet another denomination that makes changes or 'develops' doctrine.  Churches move away from their roots when they do that.  Only to correct things they know without a doubt are errors.  That's the only reason I want to see that. Otherwise, I want them to remain unchanged. 
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« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2013, 07:50:58 AM »

Where do you see anything about doctrine here?
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« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2013, 07:56:53 AM »

If it's an age-old practice that's being reintroduced, that appeals to me.  One reason I turned to the Orthodox faith is because the general consensus is that it is the unchanging Church.  I definitely don't want yet another denomination that makes changes or 'develops' doctrine.  Churches move away from their roots when they do that.  Only to correct things they know without a doubt are errors.  That's the only reason I want to see that. Otherwise, I want them to remain unchanged. 

Like it was written in the thread:  partaking of the Eucharist was illegal.  You would be executed if you were a Christian.  Having a long catechumenate and making catechumens leave before communion (The Liturgy of the Faithful) protected the Christian communities from traitors.  Nowadays, in the US anyway, it's not illegal to be an Orthodox Christian.  It's still the priest's job to protect the chalice from non-Christians.
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« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2013, 08:10:11 AM »

Where do you see anything about doctrine here?

Quite right. "Unchanging" is an oft misunderstood concept, especially among converts.
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« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2013, 08:55:33 AM »

Where do you see anything about doctrine here?

This question didn't pertain to doctrine, but I used Catholics' (my old alma mater) explanation of 'development of doctrine' as being the reason and excuse for making changes to Church.  I didn't make it clear, but that's what I was doing.  In short, I wouldn't like to see changes in the Liturgy.  The last time I attended Mass, they had stopped using traditional music in the Liturgy (at this particular church I was going to--I can't/won't say they're all doing this), and they had a live band there.  Christian band, obviously, but I'm sorry, I don't want to see guitars in my parish.  
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« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2013, 09:00:13 AM »


Like it was written in the thread:  partaking of the Eucharist was illegal.  You would be executed if you were a Christian.  Having a long catechumenate and making catechumens leave before communion (The Liturgy of the Faithful) protected the Christian communities from traitors.  Nowadays, in the US anyway, it's not illegal to be an Orthodox Christian.  It's still the priest's job to protect the chalice from non-Christians.


Yes, I saw that, and that's what I meant before when I said everything else I had read made perfect sense to me.  The only thing I took to be not something done at every church was the part about some having restored that verbiage to the Liturgy but not expecting the catechumens to get up and leave.  That's because at our local OCA, the catechumens did get up and leave. 

I have not taken Eucharist since starting to attend Orthodox Liturgies.  Not sure if I have to wait until I'm a catechumen or receive some other permission first, but your statement about it being the priest's job to protect the chalice is completely correct.  I think that also applies to Catholic priests, too.  
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« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2013, 09:03:43 AM »

Where do you see anything about doctrine here?

This question didn't pertain to doctrine, but I used Catholics' (my old alma mater) explanation of 'development of doctrine' as being the reason and excuse for making changes to Church.  I didn't make it clear, but that's what I was doing.  In short, I wouldn't like to see changes in the Liturgy.  The last time I attended Mass, they had stopped using traditional music in the Liturgy (at this particular church I was going to--I can't/won't say they're all doing this), and they had a live band there.  Christian band, obviously, but I'm sorry, I don't want to see guitars in my parish.  
I'm sure you know this already, but there doesn't seem to be much correlation between not dismissing catechumens and praise bands in worship.  I don't expect guitar riffs in DL anytime in the near future.  Wink
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« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2013, 09:06:06 AM »


I'm sure you know this already, but there doesn't seem to be much correlation between not dismissing catechumens and praise bands in worship.  I don't expect guitar riffs in DL anytime in the near future.  Wink


Only insofar as they're both changes of some kind.  Maybe it was a poor example.  I just don't like changes in Liturgical worship.
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« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2013, 09:07:01 AM »

I would think so, but the last time I went to a Catholic church (years ago) they gave communion to everyone, even people I knew were not Catholic.  At my parish and other Orthodox parishes, I have seen priests ask people who they were/who they're bishop is (if Orthodox) and/or reject people from the chalice.  In my non-denominational megachurch days, everyone gets a little all-in-one grape juice cup/tastless wafer combo.

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« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2013, 09:15:17 AM »



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« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2013, 09:39:52 AM »


I'm sure you know this already, but there doesn't seem to be much correlation between not dismissing catechumens and praise bands in worship.  I don't expect guitar riffs in DL anytime in the near future.  Wink


Only insofar as they're both changes of some kind.  Maybe it was a poor example.  I just don't like changes in Liturgical worship.

Electricity bad.
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« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2013, 09:44:23 AM »


I'm sure you know this already, but there doesn't seem to be much correlation between not dismissing catechumens and praise bands in worship.  I don't expect guitar riffs in DL anytime in the near future.  Wink


Only insofar as they're both changes of some kind.  Maybe it was a poor example.  I just don't like changes in Liturgical worship.

Electricity bad.
I would like it if we just used candles for lighting.  The overhead modern lighting is kinda harsh on my eyes and detracts from the experience, IMHO.   I am glad we have a heating system in the winter, though.
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« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2013, 09:56:35 AM »


I'm sure you know this already, but there doesn't seem to be much correlation between not dismissing catechumens and praise bands in worship.  I don't expect guitar riffs in DL anytime in the near future.  Wink


Only insofar as they're both changes of some kind.  Maybe it was a poor example.  I just don't like changes in Liturgical worship.

In most Orthodox parishes across the planet, if the priest were to turn after the Litany of the Catechumens and direct the parish council to remove the catechumens it would be regarded as an innovation as odd to the sensibilities as a guitar riff to a pious old school Roman Catholic.

You can't receive communion until you are received into the Church, I assume since you are a Roman Catholic and likely baptized, that would be by chrismation, but you never know. Talk to your priest about it. Some are less rigorous with Catholics who are knowledgeable about their faith and the differences between theirs and Orthodoxy. It depends.
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« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2013, 09:57:17 AM »





Where's a Mr. Yuk sticker when you need one.
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« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2013, 10:02:06 AM »

It is crazy that I just thought that was normal growing up.  Now that I understand what communion actual is, I look at it with horror. At least at the Methodist church where my wife goes, they do intinction, so that is much more respectful.  I've stopped communing all together there now, much to the chagrin of my wife, now I just need to convince her to let me be chrismated.
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« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2013, 10:08:56 AM »

It is crazy that I just thought that was normal growing up.  Now that I understand what communion actual is, I look at it with horror. At least at the Methodist church where my wife goes, they do intinction, so that is much more respectful.  I've stopped communing all together there now, much to the chagrin of my wife, now I just need to convince her to let me be chrismated.

All kidding and foolishness aside, I will remember you and others struggling with such family issues in my prayers.
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« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2013, 10:18:02 AM »

It is crazy that I just thought that was normal growing up.  Now that I understand what communion actual is, I look at it with horror. At least at the Methodist church where my wife goes, they do intinction, so that is much more respectful.  I've stopped communing all together there now, much to the chagrin of my wife, now I just need to convince her to let me be chrismated.

All kidding and foolishness aside, I will remember you and others struggling with such family issues in my prayers.
I would greatly appreciate that.  We are very much in flux as some days, she is ok with me being Orthodox and other days (usually Sundays) she is very resentful that I have broken up our family, as she sees it.  Cry
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« Reply #24 on: October 21, 2013, 10:25:09 AM »


Only insofar as they're both changes of some kind.  Maybe it was a poor example.  I just don't like changes in Liturgical worship.

Electricity bad.


Okay, yeah, I do appreciate the addition of electricity and heat.  I stand corrected.  rofl
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« Reply #25 on: October 21, 2013, 10:26:37 AM »


I would greatly appreciate that.  We are very much in flux as some days, she is ok with me being Orthodox and other days (usually Sundays) she is very resentful that I have broken up our family, as she sees it.  Cry


That's gotta be a hell of a thing to deal with.  You're in my prayers as well. 
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« Reply #26 on: October 21, 2013, 10:27:57 AM »






Ick.  Wow, that takes all the spiritual creaminess out of the experience, don't it?  Ew.

When they start loading them into vending machines, I'm going to take my ball and go home.
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« Reply #27 on: October 21, 2013, 10:30:28 AM »


Only insofar as they're both changes of some kind.  Maybe it was a poor example.  I just don't like changes in Liturgical worship.

Electricity bad.


Okay, yeah, I do appreciate the addition of electricity and heat.  I stand corrected.  rofl
[/quote]

Back during the war, my dad was pastor of a struggling Orthodox parish in south Buffalo, NY. They purchased an old Methodist property with a coal furnace and no vents, just a 'hole' in the middle of the nave covered with a grate, located above the furnace. Coal was at a premium and in the dead of winter, the few who could get there (gas was rationed, mass transit shut down often on weekends) would huddle around the vent. There was no relief behind the icon screen!

As a result, he always said having no heat like in the 'old country' was an overrated virtue.
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« Reply #28 on: October 21, 2013, 10:32:55 AM »

I was actually discussing communion with some of my family this weekend as we had a big get together and several were interested finding out more about in my "faith choices" as they put it.  laugh

I was explaining to them the reverence that we direct towards the Eucharist.  They didn't get it at all, but if you look at it as just a formality you do ever so often to "remember" Jesus, then it really isn't that big of a deal, I guess.  Still, it was a good opportunity to give them exposure to Orthodoxy, so I was thankful for that.
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« Reply #29 on: October 21, 2013, 10:38:58 AM »



Back during the war, my dad was pastor of a struggling Orthodox parish in south Buffalo, NY. They purchased an old Methodist property with a coal furnace and no vents, just a 'hole' in the middle of the nave covered with a grate, located above the furnace. Coal was at a premium and in the dead of winter, the few who could get there (gas was rationed, mass transit shut down often on weekends) would huddle around the vent. There was no relief behind the icon screen!

As a result, he always said having no heat like in the 'old country' was an overrated virtue.

I'm in Buffalo so I'd be curious to know which parish that was. 
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« Reply #30 on: October 21, 2013, 10:40:18 AM »





The site even offers free samples. Ugh  Angry
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« Reply #31 on: October 21, 2013, 10:40:25 AM »

Quote
The site even offers free samples. Ugh 


'Ick' squared.  Excuse the pun, but that's in bad taste.
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« Reply #32 on: October 21, 2013, 01:11:39 PM »



Back during the war, my dad was pastor of a struggling Orthodox parish in south Buffalo, NY. They purchased an old Methodist property with a coal furnace and no vents, just a 'hole' in the middle of the nave covered with a grate, located above the furnace. Coal was at a premium and in the dead of winter, the few who could get there (gas was rationed, mass transit shut down often on weekends) would huddle around the vent. There was no relief behind the icon screen!

As a result, he always said having no heat like in the 'old country' was an overrated virtue.

I'm in Buffalo so I'd be curious to know which parish that was. 

St. Mary's, formerly on South Park Avenue, now located in Cheektowaga, Losson Road since a 1982 fire. My wife's home parish and the priest is an old childhood pal. Visit them some Sunday, it's all English.
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« Reply #33 on: October 21, 2013, 01:14:01 PM »


Like it was written in the thread:  partaking of the Eucharist was illegal.  You would be executed if you were a Christian.  Having a long catechumenate and making catechumens leave before communion (The Liturgy of the Faithful) protected the Christian communities from traitors.  Nowadays, in the US anyway, it's not illegal to be an Orthodox Christian.  It's still the priest's job to protect the chalice from non-Christians.


Yes, I saw that, and that's what I meant before when I said everything else I had read made perfect sense to me.  The only thing I took to be not something done at every church was the part about some having restored that verbiage to the Liturgy but not expecting the catechumens to get up and leave.  That's because at our local OCA, the catechumens did get up and leave. 

I have not taken Eucharist since starting to attend Orthodox Liturgies.  Not sure if I have to wait until I'm a catechumen or receive some other permission first, but your statement about it being the priest's job to protect the chalice is completely correct.  I think that also applies to Catholic priests, too. 

When you receive the Holy Mystery of Chrismation and maybe Baptism you'll be able to partake of the Eucharist. Infants are given the same privilege.  Grin

Couple things you might not know:

1. Baptism, 'Confirmation' (Chrismation) and Communion happen at the same time. In other words, Infants are Confirmed after birth and receive Communion. There isn't an 'age gap' like in Western expressions. It's all at once.

2. The entire host is mixed together, and it is both the bread and wine. The bread is leavened.

This is my understanding anyway. If anybody wants to correct my enormous errors, they are more than welcome to do so.  Wink
« Last Edit: October 21, 2013, 01:20:30 PM by xOrthodox4Christx » Logged

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« Reply #34 on: October 21, 2013, 01:21:04 PM »

It is crazy that I just thought that was normal growing up.  Now that I understand what communion actual is, I look at it with horror. At least at the Methodist church where my wife goes, they do intinction, so that is much more respectful.  I've stopped communing all together there now, much to the chagrin of my wife, now I just need to convince her to let me be chrismated.

The last time I went to a megachurch with my wife was Christmas time last year.  They had a concert and, if you synced your phone, a light show that went with the music from your phone's screen.  When communion rolled around ( i think it was done there 4-6 times a year), I passed the dish on and did not take a communion combo.  My wife was perplexed and asked me why I didn't take one.  I just said I didn't feel right about it and left it at that.  She didn't pursue the topic, which was for the best.

As an aside, based on flavor, I will take the saltine crackers of my youth over those wafers that are in those cups any day.  They seriously taste like styrofoam.
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« Reply #35 on: October 21, 2013, 01:30:37 PM »

It is crazy that I just thought that was normal growing up.  Now that I understand what communion actual is, I look at it with horror. At least at the Methodist church where my wife goes, they do intinction, so that is much more respectful.  I've stopped communing all together there now, much to the chagrin of my wife, now I just need to convince her to let me be chrismated.

The last time I went to a megachurch with my wife was Christmas time last year.  They had a concert and, if you synced your phone, a light show that went with the music from your phone's screen.  When communion rolled around ( i think it was done there 4-6 times a year), I passed the dish on and did not take a communion combo.  My wife was perplexed and asked me why I didn't take one.  I just said I didn't feel right about it and left it at that.  She didn't pursue the topic, which was for the best.

As an aside, based on flavor, I will take the saltine crackers of my youth over those wafers that are in those cups any day.  They seriously taste like styrofoam.
My wife felt as if I had embarassed her by not partaking.  I tried to explain that I wasn't judging her or her church, just that communion means something different for me than it does to her denomination and it would not be respectful to them or to my beliefs if I were to take it to avoid embarassment on her behalf.  I don't think my words came out right because that went over like a block of concrete floating in the ocean.
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« Reply #36 on: October 21, 2013, 01:35:40 PM »

Quote
My wife felt as if I had embarassed her by not partaking.  I tried to explain that I wasn't judging her or her church, just that communion means something different for me than it does to her denomination and it would not be respectful to them or to my beliefs if I were to take it to avoid embarassment on her behalf.  I don't think my words came out right because that went over like a block of concrete floating in the ocean.

I don't know how big your wife's church is, but it is hard to create a scene in a megachurch. Undecided  We went there a lot for the anonymity.
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« Reply #37 on: October 21, 2013, 01:43:07 PM »

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My wife felt as if I had embarassed her by not partaking.  I tried to explain that I wasn't judging her or her church, just that communion means something different for me than it does to her denomination and it would not be respectful to them or to my beliefs if I were to take it to avoid embarassment on her behalf.  I don't think my words came out right because that went over like a block of concrete floating in the ocean.

I don't know how big your wife's church is, but it is hard to create a scene in a megachurch. Undecided  We went there a lot for the anonymity.
It is about 200 people.  She doesn't like huge churches.  Honestly, I don't even think anyone noticed at all, but for her it was still embarassing.
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« Reply #38 on: October 21, 2013, 01:46:08 PM »

Brother, we can relate.  You and yours are in my prayers.
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« Reply #39 on: October 21, 2013, 02:59:46 PM »

The Antiochian parish in Salt Lake dismisses catechumens.
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« Reply #40 on: October 21, 2013, 03:13:52 PM »





Is there nothing that can't be kitschified? 
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« Reply #41 on: October 21, 2013, 03:14:35 PM »





Is there nothing that can't be kitschified? 

Unfortunately, no.
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« Reply #42 on: October 21, 2013, 03:15:01 PM »

The Antiochian parish in Salt Lake dismisses catechumens.

Have they always done that, though?
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« Reply #43 on: October 21, 2013, 03:17:25 PM »

Except that in that OCA parish, the catechumens did, in fact, get up and leave.  The rest of this makes complete sense.  I would accept that the catechumens went to catechumen class in that church--just going by the fact that they exited through a door to the left, into a room that I believe this parish uses for coffee hour, Bible study, and the like.  Okay, I think this cleared it up for me.  Thanks. 

That's interesting.  My parish keeps the part "Let no catechumens remain," but no one leaves.  Then again, Inquirer/catechumen classes are on Tuesdays.

Our catechumens leave, but we don't "make" them per se.  It started about 15 years ago.  Some catechumens voluntarily left one day when they heard it and all others have followed suit since.  There is some instruction/teaching that goes on in another building, so they aren't just doing nothing or going home.
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« Reply #44 on: October 21, 2013, 03:26:41 PM »

I just don't like changes in Liturgical worship.
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