Author Topic: Lack of congregation participation in EO Divine Liturgy  (Read 521 times)

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Offline NJC

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Lack of congregation participation in EO Divine Liturgy
« on: December 31, 2017, 01:24:01 AM »
 
Hello all,

For those who may not have seen my post's in the O.O forum i am currently an EO (Greek) Orthodox convert, struggling to find his place in a very ethnic Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. However, despite their lack of knowledge or interest in Evangelism the Monastery to which i attend is building a second Chapel dedicated to St Paisios which is in all English and in which i am being trained as a Chanter. However, myself and another convert from South Africa, have seen what we are missing in our Liturgy. I have seen the congregation participation in Coptic Orthodox liturgies and it is beautiful, and my South African friend has full congregation participation in the Mission parishes he goes to when he goes home to South Africa.
In our church, we have a chanters box, and everyone else is a spectator of the liturgy, which i think is a real issue.

So my question is, is there any history of parishes increasing congregation participation, or is this just yet another cultural thing peculiar to Greeks that i'll have to endure if i decide to stay in this Archdiocese? I don't believe this is the practice of the early church, but i don't know if this is worth bringing up with the Abbot. If they don't know any other way will they change because i think it's wrong? Probably not.

Can anyone shed any light on why the EO ethnic parishes don't seem to have much congregation participation, whereas EO in Africa, and Coptic/Ethiopian Orthodox do?

Is there any way to change this? It's great we are getting English with the Greeks (finally), but is that enough?




Offline Alpo

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Re: Lack of congregation participation in EO Divine Liturgy
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2017, 06:17:48 AM »
Why do you think thank everyone else is just a spectator? I don't sing in the choir or anything but I don't see myself as just a spectator. Each and everyone attends the service to do one thing. To pray. Laymen without extra tasks just have more opportunities to concentrate on the prayer.

Admittedly I've attended Coptic liturgy only once but IIRC when the Pope visited Finland the service didn't seem to have anyhow more congregational participation than our own services have.  Some congregational chanting here and there and people moving around to venerate icons but that's what all Orthodox do.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2017, 06:25:44 AM by Alpo »
But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Leviticus 19:34

Offline Dominika

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Re: Lack of congregation participation in EO Divine Liturgy
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2018, 06:28:53 PM »
Why do you think thank everyone else is just a spectator? I don't sing in the choir or anything but I don't see myself as just a spectator. Each and everyone attends the service to do one thing. To pray. Laymen without extra tasks just have more opportunities to concentrate on the prayer.
Exactly

Some congregational chanting here and there and people moving around to venerate icons but that's what all Orthodox do.
:) So true!


So my question is, is there any history of parishes increasing congregation participation, or is this just yet another cultural thing peculiar to Greeks that i'll have to endure if i decide to stay in this Archdiocese? I don't believe this is the practice of the early church, but i don't know if this is worth bringing up with the Abbot. If they don't know any other way will they change because i think it's wrong? Probably not.

I'm pretty sure many (most) Greeks chant congregationally Hristos anesti (Paschal troparion) and Lamentations on Great Saturday Matins.

Can anyone shed any light on why the EO ethnic parishes don't seem to have much congregation participation, whereas EO in Africa, and Coptic/Ethiopian Orthodox do?

There are some traditions that have congregatioanl singing. Lemos, Rusyns, Ukrainians, some Poles, some Romanians (not all parts, but some of the service) etc. Plus in every tradition there are certain moments and hymns that everybody joins singing.
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Offline Ainnir

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Re: Lack of congregation participation in EO Divine Liturgy
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2018, 08:31:33 PM »
I've only visited three parishes from three different EO jurisdictions.  The participation was pretty even for all of them, for whatever that's worth.  By participation, I'm assuming NJC means people actually chanting most of the responses and hymns.
Is any of the above Orthodox?  I have no clue, so there's that.

Offline scamandrius

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Re: Lack of congregation participation in EO Divine Liturgy
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2018, 10:46:42 PM »

Hello all,

For those who may not have seen my post's in the O.O forum i am currently an EO (Greek) Orthodox convert, struggling to find his place in a very ethnic Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. However, despite their lack of knowledge or interest in Evangelism the Monastery to which i attend is building a second Chapel dedicated to St Paisios which is in all English and in which i am being trained as a Chanter. However, myself and another convert from South Africa, have seen what we are missing in our Liturgy. I have seen the congregation participation in Coptic Orthodox liturgies and it is beautiful, and my South African friend has full congregation participation in the Mission parishes he goes to when he goes home to South Africa.
In our church, we have a chanters box, and everyone else is a spectator of the liturgy, which i think is a real issue.

So my question is, is there any history of parishes increasing congregation participation, or is this just yet another cultural thing peculiar to Greeks that i'll have to endure if i decide to stay in this Archdiocese? I don't believe this is the practice of the early church, but i don't know if this is worth bringing up with the Abbot. If they don't know any other way will they change because i think it's wrong? Probably not.

Can anyone shed any light on why the EO ethnic parishes don't seem to have much congregation participation, whereas EO in Africa, and Coptic/Ethiopian Orthodox do?

Is there any way to change this? It's great we are getting English with the Greeks (finally), but is that enough?

Ah, the age old complaint of converts that too few people are not singing, i.e. not participating, which is bunk.  I have been to plenty of liturgies overseas and even in the USA where I did not understand every single word or know every single melody going on during the prayers and it didn't matter.  Why do converts (and I'm a convert, too) think that the people in a parish whether they be Greek, Arab, Romanian, Russian, etc. are doing it "wrong" because they're not singing everything?  Most of the music produced in the church's history was not produced for congregational singing (not even the house churches in Acts; this argument that everything back in the beginning was so simplistic needs to go the way of the dodo).  If you're being trained as a chanter, you're probably going to be exposed to people like Harmouzios Hartophylax and Petros Peloponeesos and Peter of Ephesus and James the Protopsaltis, all of whom are well established chanters and composers in the Greek Orthodox tradition.  Are you going to disregard their works because they're not "congregationally friendly"?  People can and do pray without singing.  And there is a certain freedom and peace that comes from NOT singing just as there can be from singing.  You worry about you and your job and let them worry about them. 
Da quod iubes et iube quod vis.

Offline Rohzek

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Re: Lack of congregation participation in EO Divine Liturgy
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2018, 12:15:14 AM »
It varies from parish to parish. I for one prefer parishes where the congregation chants as well. If only the choir chants, people tend to start talking during the service or play on their cell phones.
"Il ne faut imaginer Dieu ni trop bon, ni méchant. La justice est entre l'excès de la clémence et la cruauté, ainsi que les peines finies sont entre l'impunité et les peines éternelles." - Denise Diderot, Pensées philosophiques 1746

Offline FinnJames

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Re: Lack of congregation participation in EO Divine Liturgy
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2018, 07:09:53 AM »
Can anyone shed any light on why the EO ethnic parishes don't seem to have much congregation participation, whereas EO in Africa, and Coptic/Ethiopian Orthodox do?

Is there any way to change this? It's great we are getting English with the Greeks (finally), but is that enough?

Not sure what you mean by lack of congregational participation. My church doesn't need air conditioning in summer because the air moves due to everyone crossing themselves so often :). As for singing, I wish the guy who usually stands beside me and sings along with the choir in a mumbling voice would listen harder and at least try to stay in tune with them ;).

But seriously, our cantor has introduced variation, which may be what you're hoping for. Some Sundays he sings alone, some Sundays the choir sings, very occasionally there is no choir and the congregation sings the whole service with the cantor. Needless to say, there is not one of these alternatives that someone doesn't complain about, though.

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Re: Lack of congregation participation in EO Divine Liturgy
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2018, 05:02:29 PM »
Can anyone shed any light on why the EO ethnic parishes don't seem to have much congregation participation, whereas EO in Africa, and Coptic/Ethiopian Orthodox do?

Is there any way to change this? It's great we are getting English with the Greeks (finally), but is that enough?


As a Copt, I must honestly say that I believe for both OO and EO it really depends on the parish. I have been to Coptic parishes with little to no congregation participation in the chants, and others with incredibly lively participation. I haven't actually visited EO parishes during a service/Liturgy (yet), but I can't imagine that that case would be any different. :) 
I'm forever still learning. If I say something wrong, please let me know. :)