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Author Topic: Dismissing Catechumens in Liturgy  (Read 2412 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
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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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« Reply #45 on: October 21, 2013, 03:42:31 PM »

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.

Agreed. While it is be a good thing to stick to the rubrics, it must be done with an understanding of the principle involved. The prayers for the catechumens actually serve several purposes: they are obviously needed if there are catechumens; they are an occasion for the members to reflect on their conversion (just as it is good to attend baptisms, Chrismations, and marriages to "relive" owns own); and also as a reminder to get busy and get some if there are no catechumens. Dismissing the catechumens serves no purpose IMHO and may even be not in the spirit of the Divine Liturgy as the work of the laos as the members who hold the presumed classes are denied the opportunity to participate in the Liturgy of the faithful.
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« Reply #46 on: October 21, 2013, 03:44:25 PM »

The Antiochian parish in Salt Lake dismisses catechumens.

Have they always done that, though?
No idea. I have only known about Orthodoxy for a few years.
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« Reply #47 on: October 21, 2013, 03:48:24 PM »


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.

I went to a Baptist church, and they did what they called 'communion' once a year.  First, they explained that it meant nothing at all, that they only do it because God told them to.  Okay, if you say so.  Then they passed around a bowl with crackers.  I also passed on it.  If it means nothing, why bother?  I also felt that if it really meant nothing to begin with, then they have a hell of a nerve serving crackers without dip.  I was like, "By me."

And growing up Catholic, we got those wafers.  Yeah, they do taste like styrofoam.  rofl.  But I'd take the wafers over the crackers--at least it means something in a Catholic church.
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« Reply #48 on: October 21, 2013, 03:56:18 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.

Okay, I haven't tried that one yet.  My last two jobs were in Cheektowaga, and I was busing then, so it was nothing short of a nightmare.  My last job, a four-hour shift was a ten-hour day due to commuting 13 short miles.  I had to walk 5 miles every day, and ride 5 buses.  Nightmare.  Horrible.  This area is brutal if you have no car, unless you live right in downtown Buffalo. 
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« Reply #49 on: October 21, 2013, 03:58:57 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.

While in my old country, the heat from the candle stands is enough to make it toasty in there for most of the year (and stifling for the rest! Wink).

I don't remember hearing the dismissal back there, either. Until the '90s, Greece was 97% Orthodox, so there were no catechumens. Things have been changing, of course.
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« Reply #50 on: October 21, 2013, 04:13:03 PM »

Sometimes I think the Americans are going too far in their attempt to reconstruct the catechumenate. If reconstruction is what they aim for they fail horribly since the catechumenate in the early Church would start a week or so before baptism.
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« Reply #51 on: October 21, 2013, 04:13:44 PM »

Agreed. While it is be a good thing to stick to the rubrics, it must be done with an understanding of the principle involved. The prayers for the catechumens actually serve several purposes: they are obviously needed if there are catechumens; they are an occasion for the members to reflect on their conversion (just as it is good to attend baptisms, Chrismations, and marriages to "relive" owns own); and also as a reminder to get busy and get some if there are no catechumens. Dismissing the catechumens serves no purpose IMHO and may even be not in the spirit of the Divine Liturgy as the work of the laos as the members who hold the presumed classes are denied the opportunity to participate in the Liturgy of the faithful.

But understanding the principle involved with regard to this part of the Liturgy leads to questions.  The only way it works as it appears in the books is if there are actual catechumens attending the service in which this litany and dismissal is taken.  Its value as a point for self-reflection among the fully initiated or as an evangelical impulse to make new converts is, IMO, more of a secondary interpretation of this rite.  

You suggest, for example, that dismissing the catechumens serves no purpose and deprives at least some of the faithful of participation in the Liturgy, but why stop there?  In churches without catechumens, the response to "Bow your heads to the Lord, ye Catechumens" is made by a cantor or a choir who are not catechumens in the name of the non-existent catechumens.  In churches with catechumens, even if they sing the response, it's not them alone, but the choir also.  Is it necessary to have a "catechumen class" in the middle of the Liturgy after dismissing them?  Is there any other way of dealing with this?  How was it dealt with in the past?

IMO, keeping the litany is a good thing, but if you're not going to dismiss them, or if they're not there to begin with, it should be concluded differently.    
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« Reply #52 on: October 21, 2013, 04:19:40 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.
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.

This kind of stuff breaks my heart and boggles my mind.  It's not as though you went to a huge party and scrunched your nose at the hors d'oeuvres.  Once you explained it's not just a symbol to you, that should have been the end of it.

The best explanation I've seen to date, bar none, is in Fr Damick's book, Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy, and I've asked his question worded his way a couple times.  So far, it has 'stumped the band' with those I've asked.  From his book, Fr Damick says:

After all, if God became a man and invites us to eat and drink His Body and Blood--an invitation that scandalized many of Jesus' disciples in John 6, such that some left Him--then the sacraments as a physical experience make perfect sense.  This is why receiving Communion in an unworthy manner can be damning (1 Cor. 11:29).  If the bread and wine do not truly become Christ's Body and Blood, then how could receiving mere symbols ever be so dangerous?

It's that last question--I have only asked a couple people, as I said, but so far, none of them have been able to answer it.  No on-the-spot proof-texting or the "That's just metaphor" pat response, nor the old standby, "That's mystery, not to be taken literally."  They just squinted and cocked their head.
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« Reply #53 on: October 21, 2013, 04:26:21 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.
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.

This kind of stuff breaks my heart and boggles my mind.  It's not as though you went to a huge party and scrunched your nose at the hors d'oeuvres.  Once you explained it's not just a symbol to you, that should have been the end of it.

The best explanation I've seen to date, bar none, is in Fr Damick's book, Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy, and I've asked his question worded his way a couple times.  So far, it has 'stumped the band' with those I've asked.  From his book, Fr Damick says:

After all, if God became a man and invites us to eat and drink His Body and Blood--an invitation that scandalized many of Jesus' disciples in John 6, such that some left Him--then the sacraments as a physical experience make perfect sense.  This is why receiving Communion in an unworthy manner can be damning (1 Cor. 11:29).  If the bread and wine do not truly become Christ's Body and Blood, then how could receiving mere symbols ever be so dangerous?

It's that last question--I have only asked a couple people, as I said, but so far, none of them have been able to answer it.  No on-the-spot proof-texting or the "That's just metaphor" pat response, nor the old standby, "That's mystery, not to be taken literally."  They just squinted and cocked their head.

And we come cross thread, once you get serious, the metaphoric / literal disappears.

You do realize that Orthodoxy calls the Eucharist a mystery.

It is symbolic.
It is literal.
It is metaphoric.

Really, I don't understand how anyone can take these discussions or arguments too seriously or even begin to understand their structure.

Those who understand the best don't either and likely don't even know to engage in them.
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« Reply #54 on: October 21, 2013, 04:26:43 PM »

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.

Agreed. While it is be a good thing to stick to the rubrics, it must be done with an understanding of the principle involved. The prayers for the catechumens actually serve several purposes: they are obviously needed if there are catechumens; they are an occasion for the members to reflect on their conversion (just as it is good to attend baptisms, Chrismations, and marriages to "relive" owns own); and also as a reminder to get busy and get some if there are no catechumens. Dismissing the catechumens serves no purpose IMHO and may even be not in the spirit of the Divine Liturgy as the work of the laos as the members who hold the presumed classes are denied the opportunity to participate in the Liturgy of the faithful.

I disagree.  If we take that litany for non-existant catechumens, why not take that for those about to be baptised, or those to be ordained, or the deceased?  All have didactic value.  I think a better option would be to include a petition for them in the Insistent Litany after the Gospel.
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« Reply #55 on: October 21, 2013, 04:32:47 PM »


And we come cross thread, once you get serious, the metaphoric / literal disappears.

You do realize that Orthodoxy calls the Eucharist a mystery.

It is symbolic.
It is literal.
It is metaphoric.

Really, I don't understand how anyone can take these discussions or arguments too seriously or even begin to understand their structure.

Those who understand the best don't either and likely don't even know to engage in them.

When Protestants dismiss certain scripture as being 'mystery,' they're not looking at it in the same way. 
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« Reply #56 on: October 21, 2013, 04:34:38 PM »


And we come cross thread, once you get serious, the metaphoric / literal disappears.

You do realize that Orthodoxy calls the Eucharist a mystery.

It is symbolic.
It is literal.
It is metaphoric.

Really, I don't understand how anyone can take these discussions or arguments too seriously or even begin to understand their structure.

Those who understand the best don't either and likely don't even know to engage in them.

When Protestants dismiss certain scripture as being 'mystery,' they're not looking at it in the same way. 

You sure?
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« Reply #57 on: October 21, 2013, 04:36:09 PM »


And we come cross thread, once you get serious, the metaphoric / literal disappears.

You do realize that Orthodoxy calls the Eucharist a mystery.

It is symbolic.
It is literal.
It is metaphoric.

Really, I don't understand how anyone can take these discussions or arguments too seriously or even begin to understand their structure.

Those who understand the best don't either and likely don't even know to engage in them.

When Protestants dismiss certain scripture as being 'mystery,' they're not looking at it in the same way. 

You sure?

Yes. 
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« Reply #58 on: October 21, 2013, 04:38:05 PM »


And we come cross thread, once you get serious, the metaphoric / literal disappears.

You do realize that Orthodoxy calls the Eucharist a mystery.

It is symbolic.
It is literal.
It is metaphoric.

Really, I don't understand how anyone can take these discussions or arguments too seriously or even begin to understand their structure.

Those who understand the best don't either and likely don't even know to engage in them.

When Protestants dismiss certain scripture as being 'mystery,' they're not looking at it in the same way. 

You sure?

Yes. 

OK. This is likely to be tangential. I am not sure sure about your ability to speak for the understanding of people you have never met. So we'll agree to disagree that you can.
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« Reply #59 on: October 21, 2013, 04:41:29 PM »

Dismissing the catechumens serves no purpose IMHO and may even be not in the spirit of the Divine Liturgy as the work of the laos as the members who hold the presumed classes are denied the opportunity to participate in the Liturgy of the faithful.
You suggest, for example, that dismissing the catechumens serves no purpose and deprives at least some of the faithful of participation in the Liturgy, but why stop there?

This exchange seems to rely on a relative minimalist understanding of liturgy.
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« Reply #60 on: October 21, 2013, 04:47:16 PM »

Si quis catechumenus est, procedat!
Si quis haereticus est, procedat!
Si quis Iudaeus est, procedat!
Si quis paganus est, procedat!
Si quis Arianus est, procedat!
Cuius cura non est, procedat!


*"If somebody is a catechumen/heretic/Jew/pagan/Arian or has not prepared [for Communion], let him/her depart!" (4th century)

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« Reply #61 on: October 21, 2013, 04:52:58 PM »


And we come cross thread, once you get serious, the metaphoric / literal disappears.

You do realize that Orthodoxy calls the Eucharist a mystery.

It is symbolic.
It is literal.
It is metaphoric.

Really, I don't understand how anyone can take these discussions or arguments too seriously or even begin to understand their structure.

Those who understand the best don't either and likely don't even know to engage in them.

When Protestants dismiss certain scripture as being 'mystery,' they're not looking at it in the same way. 

You sure?

Yes. 

OK. This is likely to be tangential. I am not sure sure about your ability to speak for the understanding of people you have never met. So we'll agree to disagree that you can.

I'm always surprised at people's ability to be snide and condescending.

When Protestants say 'mystery' and Orthodox or Catholic say 'mystery,' they use it entirely different contexts.  This is apparent.  If Protestants don't believe the host actually becomes the body and the blood of Christ, can they possibly be using 'mystery' in the same way?  Obviously not.

Protestants--every one I've ever met--when confronted with some apparent contradiction in scripture, will call the one they don't like 'mystery,' with the meaning that that verse is not to be taken literally.  You must associate with Protestants wholly unlike any I've ever met or known.  I don't understand your comment about me speaking for the understanding of people I have never met.  I had just said that I was speaking about the ones I have met--one, I knew for four years, whose relentless attempts to convert me resulted in an end to the friendship.  That's the church I went to that was serving crackers.

So yes, when an Orthodox or Catholic says 'mystery,' it means something substantially different than when a Protestant says 'mystery.'  
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« Reply #62 on: October 21, 2013, 05:00:31 PM »

This exchange seems to rely on a relative minimalist understanding of liturgy.

How do you mean? 
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« Reply #63 on: October 21, 2013, 05:02:34 PM »

*"If somebody is a catechumen/heretic/Jew/pagan/Arian or has not prepared [for Communion], let him/her depart!" (4th century)

Too bad it didn't include demoniacs.  The dismissal in our Liturgy (retained now only in rare ceremonies) includes all of these, I think, plus demoniacs and some others. 
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« Reply #64 on: October 21, 2013, 05:04:28 PM »

*"If somebody is a catechumen/heretic/Jew/pagan/Arian or has not prepared [for Communion], let him/her depart!" (4th century)

Too bad it didn't include demoniacs.  The dismissal in our Liturgy (retained now only in rare ceremonies) includes all of these, I think, plus demoniacs and some others. 

Would demons mind the deacons' call?
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« Reply #65 on: October 21, 2013, 05:06:47 PM »

The idea of a demoniac sitting through DL until dismissed after the prayers for catechumens somehow strikes me as a hilarious scenario.  laugh
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« Reply #66 on: October 21, 2013, 05:08:45 PM »

The idea of a demoniac sitting through DL until dismissed after the prayers for catechumens somehow strikes me as a hilarious scenario.  laugh

If they don't throw a fit and are prepared, there's no reason why they shouldn't commune.
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« Reply #67 on: October 21, 2013, 05:09:36 PM »

The idea of a demoniac sitting through DL until dismissed after the prayers for catechumens somehow strikes me as a hilarious scenario.  laugh

I know of one deacon whose voice will manage. Passerbies often wonder why is someone being murdered in church.
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« Reply #68 on: October 21, 2013, 05:20:05 PM »

This exchange seems to rely on a relative minimalist understanding of liturgy.

How do you mean? 

That somehow a member of the Church is not involved in the liturgy if they are not in a specific place and doing specific things. Carl's post would suggest that a person doing catechetical work is somehow absent from the liturgy.

Maybe for pastoral reasons the same person shouldn't be teaching every Sunday until eternity, but it doesn't mean someone preparing persons to be received into the Church are absent from the liturgy. Even death or sickness doesn't bar a person from that work.
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« Reply #69 on: October 21, 2013, 06:04:37 PM »

That somehow a member of the Church is not involved in the liturgy if they are not in a specific place and doing specific things. Carl's post would suggest that a person doing catechetical work is somehow absent from the liturgy.

Maybe for pastoral reasons the same person shouldn't be teaching every Sunday until eternity, but it doesn't mean someone preparing persons to be received into the Church are absent from the liturgy. Even death or sickness doesn't bar a person from that work.

I think you're right to affirm that people doing catechetical work are, in a sense, participating in the Liturgy even if they are not in the nave for the service.  People who are absent for reasons worthy of a blessing are still present in a sense, while it is by no means guaranteed that those who are in the nave from beginning to end are "present". 

But I think we'd all agree that this is hardly a suitable long-term strategy without providing for the pastoral needs of those who will be serving in this way.  I don't know if a class will benefit from having rotating teachers, for example, so the same person may need to do this for a considerable amount of time.  Do they commune less and "offer it up", or do they get to walk back in when communion has begun or after the Liturgy is finished?  Does the parish have weekday Liturgies that these people may attend? 

Speaking for myself, I think volunteering my time for a class like this during the Liturgy would be a big sacrifice: I'd be fine doing it afterwards or even getting there early and doing it before Liturgy, but to miss half the Liturgy?  I don't know if I'm man enough for that.  So I ask myself these pastoral questions whenever I attend a parish where Sunday School and/or other activities require people to miss a significant portion of the Liturgy...I admire the volunteers for being able to do what I have a hard time accepting, and I pray for them. 

Then again, I do know a few who took such "jobs" precisely because it kept them out of the Liturgy without loss of brownie points.  Smiley
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« Reply #70 on: October 21, 2013, 06:24:30 PM »

*"If somebody is a catechumen/heretic/Jew/pagan/Arian or has not prepared [for Communion], let him/her depart!" (4th century)

Too bad it didn't include demoniacs.  The dismissal in our Liturgy (retained now only in rare ceremonies) includes all of these, I think, plus demoniacs and some others. 

What ceremonies do we still have the dismissal of catechumens?
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« Reply #71 on: October 21, 2013, 06:42:48 PM »

At the Consecration of Chrism, the formula of dismissal is read by the Archdeacon.  It was done in 2009.   
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« Reply #72 on: October 22, 2013, 07:42:48 AM »


And we come cross thread, once you get serious, the metaphoric / literal disappears.

You do realize that Orthodoxy calls the Eucharist a mystery.

It is symbolic.
It is literal.
It is metaphoric.

Really, I don't understand how anyone can take these discussions or arguments too seriously or even begin to understand their structure.

Those who understand the best don't either and likely don't even know to engage in them.

When Protestants dismiss certain scripture as being 'mystery,' they're not looking at it in the same way. 
I do not remember any Protestant I knew use the word "mystery" in a church-type setting/discussion/study.  Ever.
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« Reply #73 on: October 22, 2013, 08:12:18 AM »


And we come cross thread, once you get serious, the metaphoric / literal disappears.

You do realize that Orthodoxy calls the Eucharist a mystery.

It is symbolic.
It is literal.
It is metaphoric.

Really, I don't understand how anyone can take these discussions or arguments too seriously or even begin to understand their structure.

Those who understand the best don't either and likely don't even know to engage in them.

When Protestants dismiss certain scripture as being 'mystery,' they're not looking at it in the same way. 
I do not remember any Protestant I knew use the word "mystery" in a church-type setting/discussion/study.  Ever.
There are no mysteries in Protestantism.  That is because the Bible tells them everything and there is nothing left that is unknown.  Just ask them,  they know the answer.  Wink
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« Reply #74 on: October 22, 2013, 08:16:38 AM »

And if they don't know, I'm sure they have several cross-referenced concordances.  It has only been in the Orhthodox Church where it is ok to not know something.  It's brought a lot of peace to me.
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« Reply #75 on: October 22, 2013, 11:05:09 AM »

And if they don't know, I'm sure they have several cross-referenced concordances.  It has only been in the Orhthodox Church where it is ok to not know something.  It's brought a lot of peace to me.

"It's a mystery." is a better answer to explain matters of faith rather than attempting to do so empirically or by philosophical proof. You can't lose the argument to a non-believer for one with our approach. Either they accept our premise or they reject it, they can not disprove it.
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« Reply #76 on: October 22, 2013, 12:26:40 PM »

Amen!
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« Reply #77 on: October 22, 2013, 11:05:59 PM »

In my parish, it is said referring to Sunday school children, who come back for Communion. My girl friend and I (both catechumens) do not leave.
I did leave one Sunday, and the priest laughed, loved my enthusiasm, and told me that I could stay.
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« Reply #78 on: October 22, 2013, 11:14:24 PM »

In my parish, it is said referring to Sunday school children, who come back for Communion.

All kiddiecumens depart!  Depart kiddiecumens!  Let no kiddiecumen remain! 
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« Reply #79 on: October 23, 2013, 12:55:30 AM »

In the Armenian liturgy, at the beginning of the Eucharistic part of the liturgy, we have this:

Quote
DEACON: Let none of the catechumens, none of little faith and none of the penitents nor of the unclean draw near unto the divine mystery.

http://www.armeniapedia.org/index.php?title=Armenian_Church_Divine_Liturgy

I have a friend whose dad was very involved in the church.  He really loved God, but he had a temper and was quick to argue with people.  My friend said there were Sundays when he would leave the nave and go into the narthex when the deacon called out the above.  Smiley  I thought that was kind of nice.  I mean, it's better to leave and go into the narthex than to eat and drink condemnation to oneself.  

I heard that this all originated in the very early Christian days when only the baptized were able to be present during Communion.  The custom of having the catechumens leave fell out of use after the fourth century, although the language still remains in the liturgy.  

I guess the custom still existed in some places after the fourth century, though, because someone I know said he once saw an ancient church building in Armenia where the narthex was larger than the nave.  I think this was to accommodate not only catechumens, but also people doing penance.
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« Reply #80 on: October 23, 2013, 02:12:31 AM »

In the Armenian liturgy, at the beginning of the Eucharistic part of the liturgy, we have this:

Quote
DEACON: Let none of the catechumens, none of little faith and none of the penitents nor of the unclean draw near unto the divine mystery.

http://www.armeniapedia.org/index.php?title=Armenian_Church_Divine_Liturgy

I have a friend whose dad was very involved in the church.  He really loved God, but he had a temper and was quick to argue with people.  My friend said there were Sundays when he would leave the nave and go into the narthex when the deacon called out the above.  Smiley  I thought that was kind of nice.  I mean, it's better to leave and go into the narthex than to eat and drink condemnation to oneself.  

I love that the Armenian Liturgy preserves this tradition.  I thought about walking out once myself when visiting the local parish, but then I realised that the general confession happens right before Communion, so I'd have to come back in anyway if I wanted to not be a penitent or an unclean fellow.  Seemed kinda backwards, but putting the confession before Liturgy when maybe six people were in the congregation would've also been weird.  Tongue
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« Reply #81 on: October 23, 2013, 02:19:49 AM »

In my parish, it is said referring to Sunday school children, who come back for Communion. My girl friend and I (both catechumens) do not leave.
I did leave one Sunday, and the priest laughed, loved my enthusiasm, and told me that I could stay.

OK, and this is really bad.
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« Reply #82 on: October 23, 2013, 09:16:21 AM »

I heard that this all originated in the very early Christian days when only the baptized were able to be present during Communion.  The custom of having the catechumens leave fell out of use after the fourth century, although the language still remains in the liturgy.  

This is the point about 'restoring' this practice. It disappeared over time.

Where does an individual priest draw the line on such 'restorations' before his own vanity becomes superior to the discipline of his Diocese, his responsibilities to his Bishop and his obligations to preserve the deposit of Faith as it has been transmitted to us over the centuries?

Rubrics are not static.

A great example of 'buffet bar' Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #83 on: October 23, 2013, 11:53:52 AM »

At the Consecration of Chrism, the formula of dismissal is read by the Archdeacon.  It was done in 2009.   

Thanks. Also, do we have an Archdeacon? I mean, I know the position exists but does anyone actually hold it right now?
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« Reply #84 on: October 23, 2013, 12:16:22 PM »

Although the canons allow (require?) each bishop to have an archdeacon in his diocese, it isn't done in India.  Historically, the Archdeacons of India had real authority, and were not just the top deacon in the local Church; I think there is a hesitance to ordain archdeacons lest bishops appear to be resurrecting an older administrative tradition.  Nevertheless, certain services require an archdeacon, and usually a priest will be designated as a stand-in for those rites. 

At the last Chrism consecration, the priest-trustee of the Church functioned as archdeacon, which actually is appropriate.  My only complaint was that he wasn't vested as one, which would've been quite easy to pull off.   
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« Reply #85 on: October 23, 2013, 12:33:41 PM »

Although the canons allow (require?) each bishop to have an archdeacon in his diocese, it isn't done in India.  Historically, the Archdeacons of India had real authority, and were not just the top deacon in the local Church; I think there is a hesitance to ordain archdeacons lest bishops appear to be resurrecting an older administrative tradition.  Nevertheless, certain services require an archdeacon, and usually a priest will be designated as a stand-in for those rites. 

At the last Chrism consecration, the priest-trustee of the Church functioned as archdeacon, which actually is appropriate. 

Yeah that's what I thought, I just wanted to make sure.

My only complaint was that he wasn't vested as one, which would've been quite easy to pull off.   

I've seen YouTube videos of some priests in the MSOC vested as archdeacons when serving the liturgy with bishops, which I thought was weird at the time. IIRC, some of our bishops require all clergy to wear their full vestments when serving in the altar, instead of just the stole and sandals. Could that be the reason why the priest didn't vest as an archdeacon?
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« Reply #86 on: October 23, 2013, 12:55:06 PM »

I heard that this all originated in the very early Christian days when only the baptized were able to be present during Communion.  The custom of having the catechumens leave fell out of use after the fourth century, although the language still remains in the liturgy.  

This is the point about 'restoring' this practice. It disappeared over time.

Where does an individual priest draw the line on such 'restorations' before his own vanity becomes superior to the discipline of his Diocese, his responsibilities to his Bishop and his obligations to preserve the deposit of Faith as it has been transmitted to us over the centuries?

Salpy brought up a situation where the dismissal of catechumens was retained as a diaconal proclamation, but no catechumens were actually dismissed.  I don't think it's wrong to ask why the formulaic dismissal was retained in all Liturgies long after the custom disappeared.  Is it not nonsense to dismiss people who are not present?  Why does "Bow your heads to the Lord" get taken seriously, but not "Let none of the catechumens remain"?  

We respect the Liturgy as we have received it, and we learn it and love it before we dare to even think about tinkering with it.  Even so, I think there is some leeway.  If a priest and/or individual catechumens decide to "take advantage" of the dismissal in order to reinstate the practice in that particular parish and supplement their formation, why is it vanity?  Sure, it may not be the current and universal practice in the diocese or the wider Church, but this is a local matter.  Not every parish has catechumens, and where they exist, it's not wrong to accommodate.  Local circumstances often require adjustments to the parish Liturgy that may not be necessary at the parish down the street, but it's not vanity.  If Fr X enforces an actual dismissal in his parish, it need not be a problem; it definitely becomes a problem when Fr X or his parishioners try to impose that discipline in someone else's parish.    

Our Liturgies all retain certain customs from an earlier time, some of which we no longer follow.  It doesn't bother anyone if the catechumens are not dismissed, but it bothers plenty of people if their formulaic dismissal is omitted.  IMO, this is an unhealthy way of looking at liturgy.  What we do in church is not a cleverly arranged set of incantations and rituals meant to conjure up the proper "vibes".  What we do has meaning, and we need to understand it.  In doing so, we might "resurrect" certain things which "fell out of use" for long periods of time, but that need not be a bad thing: for example, frequent Communion.      
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« Reply #87 on: October 23, 2013, 01:01:31 PM »

I've seen YouTube videos of some priests in the MSOC vested as archdeacons when serving the liturgy with bishops, which I thought was weird at the time. IIRC, some of our bishops require all clergy to wear their full vestments when serving in the altar, instead of just the stole and sandals. Could that be the reason why the priest didn't vest as an archdeacon?

The only difference in how a priest vests as opposed to an archdeacon is that the priest wears the phayno and phiro.  If a priest serving as archdeacon (which is possible: the rite of ordination for an archdeacon has certain differences depending on whether the ordinand is a deacon or a priest at the time of ordination) simply omits using the phayno, there's nothing wrong with it. 

My impression is that there is a mimicking of "concelebration" going on, and so priests feel like they should fully vest, even if serving as archdeacons.  The two problems with that is a) our "concelebrations" are not actually concelebrations, and b) priests serving as archdeacons are functioning as deacons and not as priests, so donning the distinctive priestly garment causes a sort of confusion in the rite.  And since the Liturgy has an ecclesiological dimension, we ought to avoid such confusion whenever possible.   
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« Reply #88 on: October 23, 2013, 01:49:54 PM »

In my parish, it is said referring to Sunday school children, who come back for Communion. My girl friend and I (both catechumens) do not leave.
I did leave one Sunday, and the priest laughed, loved my enthusiasm, and told me that I could stay.

I have always opposed this practice. The Divine Liturgy is supposed to be the work of the people--all of them. The participants, priests on down, are supposed to be there from the beginning to the end (post-communion prayers). This is not merely tinkering with format; it is contrary to the Orthodox understanding the ecclesi--the Church.
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« Reply #89 on: October 23, 2013, 01:53:49 PM »

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.

Agreed. While it is be a good thing to stick to the rubrics, it must be done with an understanding of the principle involved. The prayers for the catechumens actually serve several purposes: they are obviously needed if there are catechumens; they are an occasion for the members to reflect on their conversion (just as it is good to attend baptisms, Chrismations, and marriages to "relive" owns own); and also as a reminder to get busy and get some if there are no catechumens. Dismissing the catechumens serves no purpose IMHO and may even be not in the spirit of the Divine Liturgy as the work of the laos as the members who hold the presumed classes are denied the opportunity to participate in the Liturgy of the faithful.

I disagree.  If we take that litany for non-existant catechumens, why not take that for those about to be baptised, or those to be ordained, or the deceased?  All have didactic value.  I think a better option would be to include a petition for them in the Insistent Litany after the Gospel.

I am coming from the perspective that baptisms, ordinations and funerals (as well as marriages) are not being private services but services for the entire congregation.
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« Reply #90 on: October 23, 2013, 02:05:29 PM »

That somehow a member of the Church is not involved in the liturgy if they are not in a specific place and doing specific things. Carl's post would suggest that a person doing catechetical work is somehow absent from the liturgy.

Maybe for pastoral reasons the same person shouldn't be teaching every Sunday until eternity, but it doesn't mean someone preparing persons to be received into the Church are absent from the liturgy. Even death or sickness doesn't bar a person from that work.

I think you're right to affirm that people doing catechetical work are, in a sense, participating in the Liturgy even if they are not in the nave for the service.  People who are absent for reasons worthy of a blessing are still present in a sense, while it is by no means guaranteed that those who are in the nave from beginning to end are "present". 

But I think we'd all agree that this is hardly a suitable long-term strategy without providing for the pastoral needs of those who will be serving in this way.  I don't know if a class will benefit from having rotating teachers, for example, so the same person may need to do this for a considerable amount of time.  Do they commune less and "offer it up", or do they get to walk back in when communion has begun or after the Liturgy is finished?  Does the parish have weekday Liturgies that these people may attend? 

Speaking for myself, I think volunteering my time for a class like this during the Liturgy would be a big sacrifice: I'd be fine doing it afterwards or even getting there early and doing it before Liturgy, but to miss half the Liturgy?  I don't know if I'm man enough for that.  So I ask myself these pastoral questions whenever I attend a parish where Sunday School and/or other activities require people to miss a significant portion of the Liturgy...I admire the volunteers for being able to do what I have a hard time accepting, and I pray for them. 

Then again, I do know a few who took such "jobs" precisely because it kept them out of the Liturgy without loss of brownie points.  Smiley

Great pastoral answer. My answer is somewhat more blunt. While our Divine Liturgy is a Holy Mystery, there is nothing mysterious or unexplainable with the idea that it is liturgy--that is, common work. It is not "common" work, at least to simple-minded yours truly, if some folks are assigned to do different things, like teach or participate in classes for catechumens or Sunday School students. You end up with some folks, but not all, doing the common work of all.
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« Reply #91 on: October 23, 2013, 02:12:46 PM »

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.

Agreed. While it is be a good thing to stick to the rubrics, it must be done with an understanding of the principle involved. The prayers for the catechumens actually serve several purposes: they are obviously needed if there are catechumens; they are an occasion for the members to reflect on their conversion (just as it is good to attend baptisms, Chrismations, and marriages to "relive" owns own); and also as a reminder to get busy and get some if there are no catechumens. Dismissing the catechumens serves no purpose IMHO and may even be not in the spirit of the Divine Liturgy as the work of the laos as the members who hold the presumed classes are denied the opportunity to participate in the Liturgy of the faithful.

I disagree.  If we take that litany for non-existant catechumens, why not take that for those about to be baptised, or those to be ordained, or the deceased?  All have didactic value.  I think a better option would be to include a petition for them in the Insistent Litany after the Gospel.

I am coming from the perspective that baptisms, ordinations and funerals (as well as marriages) are not being private services but services for the entire congregation.

A local Byzantine Catholic priest shares this view. A graduate of the Russicum in Rome at the Orientale, his external practices are quite similar to the local OCA parish.  Can't say the parishioners, used to
'eastern-lite' share his pov. But they are starting to get onboard.
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« Reply #92 on: October 23, 2013, 11:48:12 PM »

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.

Agreed. While it is be a good thing to stick to the rubrics, it must be done with an understanding of the principle involved. The prayers for the catechumens actually serve several purposes: they are obviously needed if there are catechumens; they are an occasion for the members to reflect on their conversion (just as it is good to attend baptisms, Chrismations, and marriages to "relive" owns own); and also as a reminder to get busy and get some if there are no catechumens. Dismissing the catechumens serves no purpose IMHO and may even be not in the spirit of the Divine Liturgy as the work of the laos as the members who hold the presumed classes are denied the opportunity to participate in the Liturgy of the faithful.

I disagree.  If we take that litany for non-existant catechumens, why not take that for those about to be baptised, or those to be ordained, or the deceased?  All have didactic value.  I think a better option would be to include a petition for them in the Insistent Litany after the Gospel.

I am coming from the perspective that baptisms, ordinations and funerals (as well as marriages) are not being private services but services for the entire congregation.

A local Byzantine Catholic priest shares this view. A graduate of the Russicum in Rome at the Orientale, his external practices are quite similar to the local OCA parish.  Can't say the parishioners, used to
'eastern-lite' share his pov. But they are starting to get onboard.

This is done at least in my parish.  Anyone is welcome to a liturgy of any sort (wedding, funeral), though obviously not everyone can go to the wedding reception!!

Baptisms replace Orthros in the morning.  We still have the usual attendance problem, but that's a separate issue......
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« Reply #93 on: November 01, 2013, 05:50:48 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.

If an innovation is innovated was the original innovation still an innovation?

If an innovation is left alone, is it no longer an innovation? How many years does it take for an innovation to no longer be an innovation? You have to answer this that question if you want to keep that argument. What decides the time frame for something to no longer be an innovation?

Arguing that anything that is different is an innovation does not make much sense if it is about an innovation in the first place. Are monasteries innovating when they dismiss catechumen? you have just argued that dismissing catechumen is an innovation

When something is lost, that does not mean you cannot got back because of fear of imaginary innovation? When the renovationist bishops in Russia were around, people did not stick with the wonderful innovations after they were gone because of saying it is "innovation" to go back after this "no longer an innovation innovation" crept in.

I do not believe that stopping innovation is innovation

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« Reply #94 on: November 02, 2013, 08:06:41 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.

If an innovation is innovated was the original innovation still an innovation?

If an innovation is left alone, is it no longer an innovation? How many years does it take for an innovation to no longer be an innovation? You have to answer this that question if you want to keep that argument. What decides the time frame for something to no longer be an innovation?

Arguing that anything that is different is an innovation does not make much sense if it is about an innovation in the first place. Are monasteries innovating when they dismiss catechumen? you have just argued that dismissing catechumen is an innovation

When something is lost, that does not mean you cannot got back because of fear of imaginary innovation? When the renovationist bishops in Russia were around, people did not stick with the wonderful innovations after they were gone because of saying it is "innovation" to go back after this "no longer an innovation innovation" crept in.

I do not believe that stopping innovation is innovation



It begs the question though, as to when is an innovation no longer an innovation, but rather is accepted as a venerable tradition or an accepted practice?

Church history, when looked at honestly, is full of such instances.
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« Reply #95 on: December 11, 2013, 01:41:44 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?  

  
We all do use the same Liturgy, but some traditions leave out the Ektenia and Litany of the Catechumens between the Gospel and the Great Entrance. The Priest may not use the Litany and Dismissal of the Catechumens, but it is in the service book, or at least it is in the Liturgikon used by Antiocians. We usually skip it, except during the Presanctified Divine Liturgy during Great Lent.

Fr.  John W. Morris
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