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Author Topic: Basic Components of Liturgy  (Read 718 times) Average Rating: 0
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newtoorthodoxy
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« on: November 02, 2013, 01:39:34 PM »

One thing that I struggle to understand is the basic components of Liturgy--the different 'Tones' and their significance, the Troparia and Kontakia, and the Antiphons.  Does anyone in here have a link where I can find basic information, like an "Orthodox Liturgy for Dummies" kind of a thing?  I don't want to end up on site that has a bunch of confusing or inaccurate information.  I thought I'd figure out Orthodox Liturgy a lot easier and sooner, coming from a Catholic background, but the RC Liturgy isn't nearly as complicated. 

Even a site intended for children--anything with accurate but basic information for noobs like me.  Anyone?
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Some of my questions might appear patently stupid to those well-versed in Orthodoxy, but I'm brand new, having no background in the faith.  Please grant me a great deal of patience and consideration as I learn the basics.
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« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2013, 03:52:07 PM »

You may find this page somewhat helpful. Scroll down a bit and you'll find an outline of the Divine Liturgy with a simple explanation of what each part is about.

You may also want to browse through what is presented here. You'll find more involved articles here, but still helpful to those new to Orthodoxy, and even to those who might need a refresher.

Don't lose sleep over the Tones. They provide an eight-week cycle of different melodies and hymns (especially in Orthros and Vespers). In fact, don't worry too much about the mechanics of the services until you get involved in preparing services. The hardest part for a newcomer is to simply learn to listen and allow what you hear to lead you in worship.
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« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2013, 04:06:22 PM »

You may find this page somewhat helpful. Scroll down a bit and you'll find an outline of the Divine Liturgy with a simple explanation of what each part is about.

You may also want to browse through what is presented here. You'll find more involved articles here, but still helpful to those new to Orthodoxy, and even to those who might need a refresher.

Don't lose sleep over the Tones. They provide an eight-week cycle of different melodies and hymns (especially in Orthros and Vespers). In fact, don't worry too much about the mechanics of the services until you get involved in preparing services. The hardest part for a newcomer is to simply learn to listen and allow what you hear to lead you in worship.

Thank you!  Those are fantastic! 
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Some of my questions might appear patently stupid to those well-versed in Orthodoxy, but I'm brand new, having no background in the faith.  Please grant me a great deal of patience and consideration as I learn the basics.
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« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2013, 04:08:20 PM »

Isn't Oktoikh pretty much unused on Sunday DL?
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« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2013, 04:10:26 PM »

Cycles of the liturgy have a symbolic meaning, like most things in the Church. They symbolize the entire week leading up to Christ's passion. The 8th Tone symbolizes the Resurrection, and thus, the 'new creation' and 'new day', the 8th day. Tones reflect the feelings of the believers through Christ's life, death, and resurrection.

Indian Orthodox Kukilion Morning Prayer Tone 1

Indian Orthodox Kukilion Morning Prayer Tone 2

Indian Orthodox Kukilion Morning Prayer Tone 3

Indian Orthodox Kukilion Morning Prayer Tone 7

The Orthodox Church: Volume II Worship, by Fr. Thomas Hopko

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Chant Resources
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2013, 05:43:40 PM »

Isn't Oktoikh pretty much unused on Sunday DL?

It is indeed used, for the Resurrectional troparia and kontakia on Sundays of feasts of lesser rank, which means the majority of Sundays in the year.
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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2013, 05:59:53 PM »

Isn't Oktoikh pretty much unused on Sunday DL?

It is indeed used, for the Resurrectional troparia and kontakia on Sundays of feasts of lesser rank, which means the majority of Sundays in the year.
The Greeks and Romanians at least in my experience never bother with those. in the liturgy i mean.
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« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2013, 06:05:41 PM »

Isn't Oktoikh pretty much unused on Sunday DL?

It is indeed used, for the Resurrectional troparia and kontakia on Sundays of feasts of lesser rank, which means the majority of Sundays in the year.
The Greeks and Romanians at least in my experience never bother with those. in the liturgy i mean.

Actually, they do. Even lazy ones - that's why the "Small Oktoechos" or "Catavasier" (containing only the Saturday evening/Sunday parts and the katavasiai) was invented. The Oktoechos always trumps the Menaion on Sundays.
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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2013, 06:11:56 PM »

practice trumps theory. the only places i've heard those things sung consistently were in the OCA. not saying they don't do it elsewhere, just that it's not prevalent. And i'm thinking about cathedrals which set the tone.  Some Romanians -at least those in our diocese- would sing a troparion to the Theotokos at the little entrance but not more.
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« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2013, 06:19:35 PM »

practice trumps theory. the only places i've heard those things sung consistently were in the OCA. not saying they don't do it elsewhere, just that it's not prevalent. And i'm thinking about cathedrals which set the tone.  Some Romanians -at least those in our diocese- would sing a troparion to the Theotokos at the little entrance but not more.

Even if the other troparia (from the canons of Matins) which are supposed to be sung with the Beatitudes are omitted, the Resurrectional troparion and kontakion are the proper parts for each Sunday. If those were to be omitted, except for the readings, perhaps, there would be nothing to tell you that you are attending a Sunday liturgy.   
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« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2013, 06:24:35 PM »

practice trumps theory. the only places i've heard those things sung consistently were in the OCA. not saying they don't do it elsewhere, just that it's not prevalent. And i'm thinking about cathedrals which set the tone.  Some Romanians -at least those in our diocese- would sing a troparion to the Theotokos at the little entrance but not more.

Every Greek parish, and every Russian parish (and a couple of monasteries) I have attended in my 50 years in the Church, in three countries, has used the ochtoikh troparia and kontakia where appointed on Sunday liturgies, and used the tone appointed for the day.
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« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2013, 06:26:39 PM »

Tones...

Another one thing pretty absent here.
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« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2013, 06:41:07 PM »

practice trumps theory. the only places i've heard those things sung consistently were in the OCA. not saying they don't do it elsewhere, just that it's not prevalent. And i'm thinking about cathedrals which set the tone.  Some Romanians -at least those in our diocese- would sing a troparion to the Theotokos at the little entrance but not more.

Every Greek parish, and every Russian parish (and a couple of monasteries) I have attended in my 50 years in the Church, in three countries, has used the ochtoikh troparia and kontakia where appointed on Sunday liturgies, and used the tone appointed for the day.
we attended different churches obviously; the point is in plenty of locations they skip the resurrectional troparia and kontakia at liturgy;and it kinda makes sense if matins were chanted before, as it is the case with Romanians or Greeks.
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« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2013, 05:53:45 AM »


What language is this?
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« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2013, 11:11:08 AM »

Your priest's office, the church library, .. or www.orthodoxinfo.com
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« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2013, 11:43:15 AM »

One thing that I struggle to understand is the basic components of Liturgy--the different 'Tones' and their significance, the Troparia and Kontakia, and the Antiphons.  Does anyone in here have a link where I can find basic information, like an "Orthodox Liturgy for Dummies" kind of a thing?  I don't want to end up on site that has a bunch of confusing or inaccurate information.  I thought I'd figure out Orthodox Liturgy a lot easier and sooner, coming from a Catholic background, but the RC Liturgy isn't nearly as complicated.  

Even a site intended for children--anything with accurate but basic information for noobs like me.  Anyone?

Dear Newtoorthodoxy:

The best advice I can give you is to get a Divine Liturgy book (get whatever version your parish uses whether Greek, Antiochian, OCA, Carpatho Russian, Serbian, Romanian or ROCOR) and read, read, and re-read it.  Read through it so many times that you begin to memorize portions of it. As you do this, attend services.  After a year or so of doing this, you will begin to clearly see what elements of the Divine Liturgy remain the same at every service and those which change at every service.  You mentioned you have a Roman Catholic background.  Use that to help you.  In the Roman Catholic Church you have the Ordinary of the Mass , that is, the parts that never change and are present at all Masses (Kyrie, Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei) and the Propers, that is, those parts that change at every Mass (the Collect of the Day, the First Lesson, the Responsorial Psalm, the Second Lesson, the Gospel Lesson and the Post-Communion Prayer).  The Orthodoxy Liturgy has similar elements.  Some items remain the same in all Liturgies.  Others change from Sunday to Sunday. Others change depending on the Feast being celebrated.  At first it may seem confusing and unorganized, but there really is a logic and a pattern to it, but it takes about a year of attending the Divine Liturgy to see that.

Don't worry about the Troparia and the Kontakia and the hymns of the Octoechos. You might compare the Troparia and Kontakia to the old Introit for the Day and the Collect (Prayer) for the Day in the Tridentine Mass, if you want a rough parallel.  They are proper to each individual Divine Liturgy.  The Hymns of the Octoechos are in Eight Tones, written by St. John of Damascus, and occur and are repeated in an 8 week cycle, and they are hymns speaking about the Resurrection of Christ.

Although the Divine Liturgy may seem complicated, I am not sure it is any more complicated than the old Tridentine Latin Mass, although it is certainly more complicated than the Novus Ordo Mass that most Roman Catholic parishes use these days.  Don't worry about understanding everything.  The Divine Liturgy really has two peaks: the Reading of the Gospel, and the priest's commentary on how to apply it to our lives today and the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.  Focus on those two main things and everything else will follow in good time.
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« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2013, 12:00:15 PM »

DL is like 90% the same every Sunday. Troparions and readings, that's roughly all what varies.

And why one can't try to focus ON the service, not on the book? Isn't your Liturgy in English?
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« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2013, 01:09:46 PM »


The singing is beautiful. But is the keyboard really necessary? Is there something in Indian culture that demands that a Casio be inserted into everything?
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« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2013, 02:01:42 PM »


The most spectacular Bollywood masses to be seen on youtube are in the Syro-Malabar rite. But Latin rite Indian masses would also have keybord music to accompany even the recitative of the priest.

It seems to be endemic to all Indian Christians... 
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« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2013, 02:38:21 PM »


Malayalam, most likely.
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« Reply #20 on: November 03, 2013, 02:47:05 PM »

The singing is beautiful. But is the keyboard really necessary?

No.

Quote
Is there something in Indian culture that demands that a Casio be inserted into everything?

Yamaha is also acceptable.  Tongue

In all seriousness, it need not be so, and in many parishes it is not so.  Before electricity, there was a tradition of singing chant with instrumental accompaniment.  If you hear Syriac chant with traditional Indian instruments played well, it's lovely, even during the Liturgy.  Obviously, the tradition is a capella singing, but such musical accompaniment was considered an adornment, something that made the sacrifice of praise that much more a sacrifice of praise.  But it's not like every parish had trained musicians, so it was limited.  

With the advent of the electric keyboard, you had the ability to have "music" in more parishes, which was considered better than "no music" (simple chant).  Those who play may be musically trained, or may have just picked it up by playing badly enough that, over time, it became less bad.  You can have everything from electric guitar to pipe organ just by switching the setting.  You can even add beats, special effects, etc., and have a very entertaining service.  Sadly, that's what it becomes: entertaining, if it is good, and if it is bad, a penance endured for our sins and those of our fathers, upon whom God has justly poured forth his hot displeasure.  

There are other reasons for its use: "involving more people" in the service, which can be a good thing or can be merely allowing X to occupy the niche he has dug out for himself, it can be a poor emulation of Western church services in order to look less "odd", it can help keep people singing the right notes (our congregational singing can derail with just one or two loud but way off voices), etc.  Frequently, though, it and the choir usurp, however unwittingly, the role of the people and Liturgy becomes something less than what it should be.  

I don't have much of a problem with it in recordings, Youtube videos, etc., because it is not church.  I have a problem with it if it is bad--always.  But if it's played well, it can be anything from "eh" to "very good" (the latter is great in the car).  My main problem with its use in recordings is that it encourages people to try and copy it in church, even when you tell them it was done solely for the recording and ought not be done in church.  

Usually their hearts are in the right place, but even sincere, godly people are not immune to horrible taste.          
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« Reply #21 on: November 03, 2013, 02:47:35 PM »


You are correct. 
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