Author Topic: Lead-up to Pentecost  (Read 4332 times)

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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Lead-up to Pentecost
« on: May 15, 2015, 06:31:42 PM »
Do any Orthodox traditions have special customs, prayers, etc. regarding the days between the feast of the Ascension and Pentecost as RC's do?  I'm aware of post-festal periods after each of these feasts, but is there anything which intentionally prepares the Church for the feast of Pentecost? 

Offline Dominika

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Re: Lead-up to Pentecost
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2015, 07:25:18 PM »
That's what I'm wondering too, even I've posted a long time ago the same question but nobody has responded.
I'm only aware of some Roman Catholic prayers for this time.
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Lead-up to Pentecost
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2015, 07:29:20 PM »
That's what I'm wondering too, even I've posted a long time ago the same question but nobody has responded.
I'm only aware of some Roman Catholic prayers for this time.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed this "blank space". 

Offline Bob2

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Re: Lead-up to Pentecost
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2015, 07:30:22 PM »
Do any Orthodox traditions have special customs, prayers, etc. regarding the days between the feast of the Ascension and Pentecost as RC's do?  I'm aware of post-festal periods after each of these feasts, but is there anything which intentionally prepares the Church for the feast of Pentecost?

Does the Soul Saturday before Pentecost count?

Offline minasoliman

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Re: Lead-up to Pentecost
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2015, 07:37:14 PM »
In the Coptic Church, I think we treat the inbetween period as almost as no different than before, as celebrating the resurrection of Christ, with the exception of adding to our hymns "and ascended into the heaven", which was absent beforehand.  Once the Apostles Fast begins, the hymns completely change, and we focus on the sending of the Holy Spirit as the continuation of our salvation and our unity with God, and the celebration of Apostleship.
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Lead-up to Pentecost
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2015, 07:38:35 PM »
Do any Orthodox traditions have special customs, prayers, etc. regarding the days between the feast of the Ascension and Pentecost as RC's do?  I'm aware of post-festal periods after each of these feasts, but is there anything which intentionally prepares the Church for the feast of Pentecost?

Does the Soul Saturday before Pentecost count?

Its role seems to be different from preparation for Pentecost, but that's just my opinion.

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Lead-up to Pentecost
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2015, 07:40:15 PM »
In the Coptic Church, I think we treat the inbetween period as almost as no different than before, as celebrating the resurrection of Christ, with the exception of adding to our hymns "and ascended into the heaven", which was absent beforehand.  Once the Apostles Fast begins, the hymns completely change, and we focus on the sending of the Holy Spirit as the continuation of our salvation and our unity with God, and the celebration of Apostleship.

Yes, I get the sense that most Orthodox traditions operate in this way regarding the feasts after Easter: celebrate after rather than prepare before.  I just think it's curious. 

Offline Bob2

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Re: Lead-up to Pentecost
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2015, 07:43:28 PM »
I think that there is anticipation created by the absence of "O Heavenly King" without it being replaced by "Christ is Risen" is a form of preparation, though admittedly subtle.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2015, 07:43:55 PM by Bob2 »

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Lead-up to Pentecost
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2015, 07:49:19 PM »
I think that there is anticipation created by the absence of "O Heavenly King" without it being replaced by "Christ is Risen" is a form of preparation, though admittedly subtle.

Well, there's a good example to illustrate what I'm getting at.  "O Heavenly King" is omitted during this period (in your rite), even though it is a prayer asking for the coming of the Spirit.  Why not include such a prayer as a way to prepare for the feast?

ISTM the Roman Catholics have struck the balance between celebrating the Ascension and preparing for Pentecost, whereas in the East we're mostly celebrating after a feast but not necessarily preparing for it in this particular season. 

Offline Bob2

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Re: Lead-up to Pentecost
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2015, 08:11:32 PM »
Well, there's a good example to illustrate what I'm getting at.  "O Heavenly King" is omitted during this period (in your rite), even though it is a prayer asking for the coming of the Spirit.  Why not include such a prayer as a way to prepare for the feast?

Why? I don't know they didn't consult me. My guess would be its absence is more conspicuous when the prayer is said 315 days the year.

Offline ergro

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Re: Lead-up to Pentecost
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2015, 12:37:26 AM »
I think that there is anticipation created by the absence of "O Heavenly King" without it being replaced by "Christ is Risen" is a form of preparation, though admittedly subtle.

Well, there's a good example to illustrate what I'm getting at.  "O Heavenly King" is omitted during this period (in your rite), even though it is a prayer asking for the coming of the Spirit.  Why not include such a prayer as a way to prepare for the feast?

ISTM the Roman Catholics have struck the balance between celebrating the Ascension and preparing for Pentecost, whereas in the East we're mostly celebrating after a feast but not necessarily preparing for it in this particular season.

It might be exactly because that it's a prayer asking for the Holy Spirit to come and dwell in us. Perhaps it was left out specifically so that we notice the absence of the guidance of the Holy Spirit during this period.

Offline Dominika

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Re: Lead-up to Pentecost
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2015, 07:10:46 AM »
In the Coptic Church, I think we treat the inbetween period as almost as no different than before, as celebrating the resurrection of Christ, with the exception of adding to our hymns "and ascended into the heaven", which was absent beforehand.  Once the Apostles Fast begins, the hymns completely change, and we focus on the sending of the Holy Spirit as the continuation of our salvation and our unity with God, and the celebration of Apostleship.

Actually everywhere the Holy 50 Days are treated as one, great and most joyous period and there are a lot of liturgical indications for it. In Byzantine rite(s) the period after Ascension has much more less features of Resurrection, though. So, in some way, we may treat Great Lent as a preparatory season for the Holy Week and for the whole 50 days (that's interesting e.g some motives of the Holy Spirit in Palm Sunday hymns). Anyway, I feel there is a kind of "hole" between Ascension and Pentecost (until its vigil), and as Mor Ephrem wrote, we just celebrate "after" feast.

I think that there is anticipation created by the absence of "O Heavenly King" without it being replaced by "Christ is Risen" is a form of preparation, though admittedly subtle.
That's what I thought too. And it's a really great spiritual experience when it's chanted powerfully first time in on she Saturday evening before Pentecost Sunday.
I remember when I was attending RC church, on the one hand I appreciated their special prayers for 10 days between Ascension and Pentecost (and also a kind of hymn in Polish, that's melody the same for Resurrection, Ascension and Pentecost feast, but of course with different words, and there are two additional stanzas for this period of 10 days something like "He [Christ] promised to us the Holy Spirit"..."), but on the other hand I didn't like the fact they sing one of the hymns to the Holy Spirit although it hadn't happened yet. Anyway, now in Poland RC have a problem with this prayers, as a few years ago their bishops have translated the Ascension feast from Thursday to Sunday. So they say these prayers, altough Ascension hasn't happened yet. ::)


I know that there is something (from XVI century, so we may treat as an innovation ;)) called "Royal Hours of Pentecost", but I've never seen its content. So, definitely, it's a preparatory service.
It's also interesting for Tridentine rite, that is has a kind of Vigil Mass for Pentecost that's very similar to Paschal Vigil Liturgy. And the day before Pentecost is considered as a fasting day.
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Offline Jonathan Gress

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Re: Lead-up to Pentecost
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2015, 10:43:21 AM »
I read somewhere that it's kind of the point that, like the Apostles, we wait the coming of the Holy Spirit with prayer, as always, but without special fasting. It's a time of quiet but confident anticipation.

Liturgically, in the EO church at least, the feast of Ascension lasts until the Friday before Pentecost. I'm not sure if the following Soul Saturday is also the forefeast of Pentecost: thematically I also have trouble seeing the connection between commemoration of the dead and the coming of the Spirit, but maybe someone has an answer.

When do OO begin the Apostles' Fast? Do they have the week of no fasting following Pentecost like we do, or do they leap straight into the fast? It's a curious time, since starting on Sunday evening we begin making prostrations again, but we also celebrate for a week. Actually in one Greek source I read that you shouldn't do prostrations during Pentecost week, but I find it hard to square this with the Kneeling prayers.

Offline minasoliman

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Re: Lead-up to Pentecost
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2015, 11:36:24 AM »
Well, speaking for Copts, we start the fast immediately the day after the feast of the Pentecost.  The fast always ends on July 12, the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.
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Offline Jonathan Gress

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Re: Lead-up to Pentecost
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2015, 12:07:19 PM »
Well, speaking for Copts, we start the fast immediately the day after the feast of the Pentecost.  The fast always ends on July 12, the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

I guess you already had a fast-free 50 days and don't need another week ;)

Offline minasoliman

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Re: Lead-up to Pentecost
« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2015, 12:26:27 PM »
True...this is the only time of the year where even Wed and Fri aren't fasted.  We treat the 50 days as 50 Sundays.
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Offline Jonathan Gress

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Re: Lead-up to Pentecost
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2015, 12:34:45 PM »
True...this is the only time of the year where even Wed and Fri aren't fasted.  We treat the 50 days as 50 Sundays.

I guess we have other fast-free periods throughout the year that you don't have, so it evens out. Fasting is a competition, of course.

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Lead-up to Pentecost
« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2015, 01:00:06 PM »
I read somewhere that it's kind of the point that, like the Apostles, we wait the coming of the Holy Spirit with prayer, as always, but without special fasting. It's a time of quiet but confident anticipation.

I would agree with this, but how is this done?  Is it left up to individuals how they want to pass those days?  Are there folk customs?  As you say:

Quote
Liturgically, in the EO church at least, the feast of Ascension lasts until the Friday before Pentecost. I'm not sure if the following Soul Saturday is also the forefeast of Pentecost: thematically I also have trouble seeing the connection between commemoration of the dead and the coming of the Spirit, but maybe someone has an answer.

It doesn't seem like Eastern liturgies have any formal preparation for Pentecost, instead (as Dominika wrote) celebrating the entire fifty days as a great feast.  In contrast, the Western traditions seem to find a balance between celebrating the Ascension during this period and preparing for Pentecost.   

Quote
When do OO begin the Apostles' Fast? Do they have the week of no fasting following Pentecost like we do, or do they leap straight into the fast?

Mina spoke for the Copts.  For Syrians/Indians, the Apostles' Fast is traditionally the thirteen days from 16-29 June (29 June-12 July), so in most years only the Wednesday/Friday fasting resumes after Pentecost, starting the week of, not the week after as among EO.  Those using the revised Julian calendar have similar issues with this fast as the EO who use that calendar.  It's possible that the fast used to start the day after Pentecost, as it does with the Copts, and got reduced centuries ago, but that's just a guess based on how the Nativity Fast developed among us, I don't have evidence to support such a claim.     

Quote
It's a curious time, since starting on Sunday evening we begin making prostrations again, but we also celebrate for a week.

In our "Kneeling Prayers", an antiphon sung during the second prayer explains this:

Quote
We, therefore, when we pray, do not kneel on the ground till the day of Pentecost, and against our enemies we sing with the divine Psalmist and Prophet David saying, "They are bowed down and fallen but we are risen and stand ready" (Ps 20.8 ).  But when in the likeness of fiery tongues the Holy Spirit appeared and was made manifest to us, we therefore kneel down in a divinely befitting manner because we are unable to bear the sight of him.

In general, we identify kneeling/prostrating with repentance, but it is not the only reason for the practice.   

Quote
Actually in one Greek source I read that you shouldn't do prostrations during Pentecost week, but I find it hard to square this with the Kneeling prayers.

Yeah.  :)
« Last Edit: May 16, 2015, 01:00:21 PM by Mor Ephrem »

Offline Jonathan Gress

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Re: Lead-up to Pentecost
« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2015, 01:08:31 PM »
No folk customs that I know of, but I may not be the best one to ask about that.

You made an interesting observation of how during the Pentecostarion, we leave preparatory fasting periods for long subsequent celebrations (well, at least this applies to Pascha and Pentecost). The Apostles' Fast could be construed as another kind of inversion: rather than merely a preparatory fast for the feast of SS Peter and Paul, it can considered a kind of celebration of the coming of the Spirit, and I've seen explanations along those lines (that it is fitting when the Spirit comes to begin fasting and living for the spirit, not the body). So we don't need a preparation for Pentecost, since we observe a Pentecost fast afterwards, not before.

Of course, this works a bit better with the Coptic custom of fasting right after Pentecost.

Offline genesisone

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Re: Lead-up to Pentecost
« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2015, 01:37:08 PM »
No folk customs that I know of, but I may not be the best one to ask about that.

You made an interesting observation of how during the Pentecostarion, we leave preparatory fasting periods for long subsequent celebrations (well, at least this applies to Pascha and Pentecost). The Apostles' Fast could be construed as another kind of inversion: rather than merely a preparatory fast for the feast of SS Peter and Paul, it can considered a kind of celebration of the coming of the Spirit, and I've seen explanations along those lines (that it is fitting when the Spirit comes to begin fasting and living for the spirit, not the body). So we don't need a preparation for Pentecost, since we observe a Pentecost fast afterwards, not before.

Of course, this works a bit better with the Coptic custom of fasting right after Pentecost.
Definitely agree that the Coptic order of 50 fast free days followed immediately by fasting seems to make more sense.

Somewhere along the line I picked up the thought that the fasting period which follows Pentecost is there for the purpose of our preparation to now go forth into the world to proclaim the Gospel as did the 120. Thus, it is fitting that this fast leads us directly to the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul.

Offline minasoliman

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Re: Lead-up to Pentecost
« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2015, 12:45:24 PM »
I wanted to add something interesting in a discussion I had with other Copts on the inbetween period.  There is a tradition a lot of parishes are adopting where they only do processions inside the Altar, as if to demonstrate Christ's ascension.

Some of our prayers also as I have noticed do mention "and sent the Paraclete" even before the Pentecost.  Some Coptic parishes chant BOTH resurrection and ascension hymns, and some only chant the Ascension hymns, which musically speaking, are not different from the resurrection hymns.

Here's the discussion on processions:

http://tasbeha.org/community/discussion/14496/feast-of-ascension/p1

And the lyrics of our hymns can be read here:
http://tasbeha.org/hymn_library/cat/96
« Last Edit: May 28, 2015, 12:51:05 PM by minasoliman »
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Re: Lead-up to Pentecost
« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2015, 08:41:06 PM »
The Sunday before Pentecost and thus after Ascension commemorates the fathers of the first ecumenical council at Nicaea.  That commemoration and the declaration that the Son is of one essence with His Father draws together the theological proclamations respective to the apodosis of Pascha, the Ascension and the descent of the Spirit at Pentecost in one day, but I think this is probably not what you're after.

Btw, one more absence has been the omission of "Exult the Lord our God and worship at his footstool for He is Holy" at Orthros.
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Offline Bob2

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Re: Lead-up to Pentecost
« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2015, 10:00:40 PM »
Do any Orthodox traditions have special customs, prayers, etc. regarding the days between the feast of the Ascension and Pentecost as RC's do?  I'm aware of post-festal periods after each of these feasts, but is there anything which intentionally prepares the Church for the feast of Pentecost?

Does the Soul Saturday before Pentecost count?

Its role seems to be different from preparation for Pentecost, but that's just my opinion.

I mostly agree with you here, but the clergy were vested in green tonight, so I would say that it is in a way a foreshadowing of Pentecost, though this is an admittedly subtle hint of preparation.