Author Topic: Liturgical Traditions Pertaining to Judas  (Read 475 times)

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Offline minasoliman

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Liturgical Traditions Pertaining to Judas
« on: April 12, 2014, 10:52:55 AM »
In the Coptic Church we have a peculiar tradition.  On Paschal Eve of Wednesday all the way to the end of Good Friday service, we are "not allowed" to greet one another, to remember not to greet one another in treason like Judas.

On Covenant Thursday, we do a "Judas procession", where we start from the nave of the Church, and walk backwards around the Church, with our cymbals backwards, and clockwise.  I've heard other Coptic Churches do other interesting things like place a chair at the nave upside down.  In this "defamatory procession", we chant a hymn that condemns the actions of Judas, calling him "breaker of the law".

It seems upon further discussion with some rites experts that this was a very late addition to the Coptic Church, post-14th Century, since manuscripts before that did not have this rite.  But I was interested if other Orthodox churches, Eastern or Oriental, seemed to have anything in their tradition pertaining to Judas.
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Liturgical Traditions Pertaining to Judas
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2014, 11:38:49 AM »
We don't have anything quite that dramatic, as far as I can recall.  There is a custom of not greeting one another with a kiss (widely ignored in India because we don't really kiss people to greet them), but that is for all of Holy Week, along with no exchange of the kiss of peace or even the priest's greeting "Peace be with you" in the (only two) Liturgies and services of the week.  IIRC, the Gospels of Wednesday refer to Judas' conspiracy, and the reading from Acts at the Holy Thursday Liturgy is St Peter's speech in Acts 1 where he discusses the fate of Judas and they go on to elect St Matthias.  Obviously Judas features a bit in some of the hymnography, but not in any direct way such as you described. 

There are other Holy Week variations in the rites and services, but they have nothing to do with Judas, so I will not get into those here. 
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Offline Alpo

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Re: Liturgical Traditions Pertaining to Judas
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2014, 12:29:50 PM »
It seems upon further discussion with some rites experts that this was a very late addition to the Coptic Church, post-14th Century, since manuscripts before that did not have this rite.

Over 500 years old is "very late addition". Only in Orthodoxy. :D

I'm not familiar with any EO traditions with regarding to Judas other than few Holy Week chants condemning him to Hell. I'm sure other posters more familiar with our liturgical traditions can post them here.

EDIT: Now that I think of it, our pre-communion prayer has a reference to Judas.

Quote
Of Thy Mystical Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant; for I will not speak of Thy Mystery to Thine enemies, neither like Judas will I give Thee a kiss; but like the thief will I confess Thee: Remember me, O Lord, in Thy kingdom.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2014, 12:33:09 PM by Alpo »
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Offline Salpy

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Re: Liturgical Traditions Pertaining to Judas
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2014, 12:51:44 PM »
On Holy Thursday night, twelve candles are placed on the bema.  Eleven are white and one is black. 

Offline scamandrius

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Re: Liturgical Traditions Pertaining to Judas
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2014, 03:19:08 PM »
I think just ignoring Judas is the way to go.
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Offline Alpo

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Re: Liturgical Traditions Pertaining to Judas
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2014, 03:26:31 PM »
I think just ignoring Judas is the way to go.

Me too but apparently the Church disagrees with both of us since he's mentioned in the Bible and in the various liturgical texts.
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Liturgical Traditions Pertaining to Judas
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2014, 03:37:45 PM »
I think just ignoring Judas is the way to go.

Me too but apparently the Church disagrees with both of us since he's mentioned in the Bible and in the various liturgical texts.

I was being sarcastic.
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Offline frjohnmorris

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Re: Liturgical Traditions Pertaining to Judas
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2014, 05:47:40 PM »
On Holy Thursday night, twelve candles are placed on the bema.  Eleven are white and one is black. 

Eastern Orthodox also light 12 candles on Holy Thursday night, one after each of the 12 Passion Gospels. I suspect that the custom began to make sure that the Priest did not lose count and read the wrong Gospel. They are all white, however.

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Re: Liturgical Traditions Pertaining to Judas
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2014, 05:59:27 PM »
Being the "Chief Sinner" according to what we are taught by St.John Chrysostom, also by the Gospels Luke 18

14“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

I feel it is wrong to judge even Judas, I think I could also be led down that path.
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Offline Salpy

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Re: Liturgical Traditions Pertaining to Judas
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2014, 08:30:43 PM »
On Holy Thursday night, twelve candles are placed on the bema.  Eleven are white and one is black.  

Eastern Orthodox also light 12 candles on Holy Thursday night, one after each of the 12 Passion Gospels. I suspect that the custom began to make sure that the Priest did not lose count and read the wrong Gospel. They are all white, however.

Fr. John W. Morris

In our tradition, the white candles are lit and the black one is not.  That's is why I think it is supposed to represent Judas.  They are usually arranged around an icon (in Armenian, "holy picture") of Christ on the Cross.  As the evening goes on, and the Gospels are read, the candles are put out until there is darkness.  Then hymns are sung and the priest gives a sermon in the dark.  It's very powerful.  There are six Gospel readings before the sermon, and one final reading after the lights come back on.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2014, 08:32:23 PM by Salpy »