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zebu
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« on: December 19, 2005, 11:28:11 PM »

Today I visited a ROCOR church in Seattle for the Feast of Saint Nicholas(which was their parish feast day).ÂÂ  It was definitely an experience...being about 95%(or more) in Church Slavonic. Two things that I noticed and was wondering about:ÂÂ  People had these rolls that came in plastic bags. I couldn't quite figure out where they were coming from...But they crossed themselves before eating the rolls.ÂÂ  What were these rolls? Could I have had one(had I been able to figure out where they were coming from)?ÂÂ  Then, there was no sermon as far as I could tell.ÂÂ  Is this normal in ROCOR?ÂÂ  And the liturgy was almost three hours long! Is that how long a Divine Liturgy normally is in ROCOR or was it just because it was the parish feast day? And about halfway through the liturgy, I noticed something.  The right side of the church was all men(except for about 3 or 4 women) and the left was all women(except for me, who was too stupid to realize I was on the wrong side, lol), do most ROCOR churches separate the sexes like that? 
« Last Edit: December 19, 2005, 11:33:01 PM by zebu » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2005, 11:48:22 PM »

The bread you saw people eating was prosphora. People will purchase or bake some and send them into the altar with a list of names to be commemorated. The priest takes particles out of them and then sends them back out. They're no different from antidoron, really -- they're made the same way as the loaves used for the Eucharist are, just smaller. You could have one, though you usually wouldn't get one unless you purchased one, or a baba sees you without one and sticks one in your mouth while you're talking (as happened to me once).

ROCOR liturgies usually aren't that long. It's possible they did a moleben (paraklesis) after the liturgy.

Many older or more conservative ROCOR parishes will segregate the sexes, or at least try to. It's not really enforced, but those who care about such things will stand on one side of the church or the other, depending on their gender.

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zebu
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« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2005, 12:05:35 AM »

This was one of the oldest ROCOR parishes in the US actually...founded in 1931. 

Well, they also weren't even done when I left after almost three hours! They were starting a procession of some sort...then I slipped out.  And then I ran into someone I know, never thought of them as being ROCOR-type person either...
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« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2005, 12:21:14 AM »

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Well, they also weren't even done when I left after almost three hours! They were starting a procession of some sort...then I slipped out.  And then I ran into someone I know, never thought of them as being ROCOR-type person either...

Yeah, patronal feastday celebrations in the Slavic tradition can be brutal. Attended one a few years ago, at Sts. Constantine and Helen in Dallas, led by Metr. Christopher. After the liturgy, there was some hideously long moleben-type service that involved processing multiple times around the church, pouring wine on all four sides, and each side had a Gospel reading complete with lead-up, censing, prokeimenon, etc. It wouldn't have been so bad, if it weren't freaking high noon in Galveston in July.
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« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2005, 12:37:59 AM »

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The right side of the church was all men(except for about 3 or 4 women) and the left was all women(except for me, who was too stupid to realize I was on the wrong side, lol), do most ROCOR churches separate the sexes like that?   
  Actually in most Orthodox churches and Greek Catholic churches its like this, more so in Europe but still noticeable in the US.  This is normal and not just for ROCOR.  Even Roman Catholic churches in parts of Europe like in the Alps and Eastern Europe follow this practice till today.
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« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2005, 07:31:18 AM »

Today I visited a ROCOR church in Seattle for the Feast of Saint Nicholas(which was their parish feast day).ÂÂ  It was definitely an experience...being about 95%(or more) in Church Slavonic. Two things that I noticed and was wondering about:ÂÂ  People had these rolls that came in plastic bags. I couldn't quite figure out where they were coming from...But they crossed themselves before eating the rolls.ÂÂ  What were these rolls? Could I have had one(had I been able to figure out where they were coming from)?ÂÂ  Then, there was no sermon as far as I could tell.ÂÂ  Is this normal in ROCOR?ÂÂ  And the liturgy was almost three hours long! Is that how long a Divine Liturgy normally is in ROCOR or was it just because it was the parish feast day? And about halfway through the liturgy, I noticed something.ÂÂ  The right side of the church was all men(except for about 3 or 4 women) and the left was all women(except for me, who was too stupid to realize I was on the wrong side, lol), do most ROCOR churches separate the sexes like that?ÂÂ  

Don't other jurisdictions in America than the ROCOR have the mentioned things?

In Finland, I think we have prosphoras handed out to the parishioners in almost any church. However, it depends on the church if they are delivered to everyone or if you have to go and get yours from the candle seller's stand. If there are only few people present at the liturgy they often hand out the prosphoras to everynone, free of charge. I don't actually know if you have to pay for them at the candle seller's stand.

Also the sermon is occasionally skipped here, it seems to be more so in certain churches than some others. In Russia, they also skip the sermon quite often, and the place of sermon in the liturgy varies, instead of being immediately after the gospel, it can also be at the end of the liturgy or during the priests' communion if there are many priests. In Finland the sermon is pretty much always after the gospel, though.

The separation of the sexes seems to be more common here among the Finns and the "old" Russians, while the "soviet" Russians (=recent immigrants from Russia) tend to mix more freely to both sides of the church. In Russia my experience is that it seems to be pretty much mixed, but I've heard the separation exists there, too. Maybe more so in the coutryside?

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« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2005, 07:57:19 AM »

Don't other jurisdictions in America than the ROCOR have the mentioned things?
In the Greek tradition, only one large Prosforo is used for the "prosthesis" (Gk) or "proskomedia" (Slav). This prosforo has five different seals on the one loaf, recalling the five loaves. The other proforos that have been brought are cut into small cubes outside the sanctuary (usually by the sacristan) and then carried in baskets or bowls into the Sanctuary.These pieces are blessed by the priest in front of the Consecrated Gifts on the Altar after the words "Thine own of thine own we offer Thee......Especially for our most holy, most pure, most blessed, glorious Lady Theotokos ..." and during the singing of the megalynarion (usually: "It is truly meet to bless thee, the Theotokos...." ) These are then distributed to all the faithful at the end of the Liturgy. This is called "Antidoron" which means "Instead of the Gifts", and was originally given to those who did not Commune (hence the name), but now, it is given to all, and people will often carry some Antidoron to the sick or infirm at home.
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« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2005, 01:44:07 AM »

I attend a ROCOR church here in Australia, and the men and woman stand seperately ... but I don't think it's an absolute rule - I mean, some of the babushka's sit on the side with the men in their wheelchairs and such ...

And our services are generally long.  On a typical Sunday - no particular feast day - our services start at 9am with The Hours, and usually finishes by 11.30am, sometimes 12pm if there's a moleben (which often happens each week).  When I first started attending this church, I didn't understand any Russian or Slavonic, so found the service felt a bit long ... but now that I'm used to it, I always feel sad, and somewhat in shock (if that's possible) when the service is over.  I'm like, "But I'm not ready to leave church yet - how can the service be over?"  But that's just me - I love church :-)

We also can donate money or make a contribution for our prospheras at the beginning of the service at the candle stand - but there are often some prospheras left over at the end of the service which you can take for free.

I think (correct me if I'm wrong, as I'm still learning) we cross ourselves before eating the prophera because 1) it's been blessed, and we're giving thanks to God; and 2) we're remembering someone who has departed and pray for them.
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zebu
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« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2005, 04:41:27 PM »


And our services are generally long.ÂÂ  On a typical Sunday - no particular feast day - our services start at 9am with The Hours, and usually finishes by 11.30am, sometimes 12pm if there's a moleben (which often happens each week).ÂÂ  When I first started attending this church, I didn't understand any Russian or Slavonic, so found the service felt a bit long ... but now that I'm used to it, I always feel sad, and somewhat in shock (if that's possible) when the service is over.ÂÂ  I'm like, "But I'm not ready to leave church yet - how can the service be over?"ÂÂ  But that's just me - I love church :-)

That's actually about how long the services are at my OCA church...except I don't think we've ever had a moleben. And I know what you mean...I always feel "No, don't be over yet! I don't want to leave!"
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« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2005, 11:21:06 AM »

ROCOR liturgies aren't generally more than 2, 2.5 hours long.  I have attended liturgy in Seattle (BTW, above the parish hall, behind the church, is where ST. John of Shanghai and San Francisco died), and it wasn't long or hard at all.  I think you just got it on the feast day, and they probably had a molebin with krestniy hod (in Russia krestniye hodi could consist of a simple turn around the church to several hundred miles).  Might even have been an akafist.  Generally these kinds of services are only done on "Prestolniye Prazdniki" of the parish (parish feast). 
In ROCOR, sometimes they segregate, sometimes they don't.  It really isn't that big a deal, unless your in Jordanville. 
Prosforas... you can usually buy them at the candle stand, usually around 50 cents, sometimes a dollar.  Customarily you put in a list of departed names, and/or those sick and/or dear to you.  The priest commemorates these people, blesses the prosforas and sends it back out.  Russians generally cross themselves before eating it because A. it has been in the alter & blessed, B. they are praying for someone specific at that moment.
The Seattle parish, what I know of it, is very cool.  The priest, his wife, and his children are very nice, and when we were there this past summer (stayed in the apartments above the parish hall), they were very welcoming and warm. 

BTW,  you ain't seen nothing of long services until you do a service marathon in J-ville during Passion Week.  Try doing 4-5 hours for Holy Thursday Liturgy (including the Washing of the Feet rite), then 4 hours that night for the reading of the 12 gosples, then you get a break until 2PM on Friday, when you have Vinos Ploshenitse (don't know the translation), which is about 2 hours.  Then, your back again at 2AM Saturday for Pogribeniya (burial) and Utrinya (matins), which lasts until about 6AM.  THEN, back to church you go at 10AM for Holy Saturday liturgy, during which they read about a zillion epistles, and at the end (around 3PM) they have blessing of the bread, which they then give out to everyone.  (This is an old tradition going back to when on Holy Saturday Christians spent the ENTIRE DAY in church, and therefore bread would have to be passed out).  Then, at 10PM your back again for the Midnight service.  You'll be there until about... probably 3:30, 4:00AM.  After that, its a much easier schedule of Vespers & Matins & Liturgies, heavily interspersed with eating and drinking and general merry-making for the next 3 days.  Heehee, just talking about it makes me miss it.  :-D
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« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2005, 05:02:26 PM »

then you get a break until 2PM on Friday, when you have Vinos Ploshenitse (don't know the translation), which is about 2 hours.ÂÂ  Then, your back again at 2AM Saturday for Pogribeniya (burial) and Utrinya (matins), which lasts until about 6AM.ÂÂ  THEN, back to church you go at 10AM for Holy Saturday liturgy, during which they read about a zillion epistles,

We have the burial service on Friday just a few hours after that "vynos plashchanicy" service. I guess it might be difficult to get people to church in the middle of the night... Smiley

As for the Saturday morning liturgy, a Lutheran friend was visiting an Orthodox church for the first time last Pascha, and during the reading of the old testament parimias at the Saturday liturgy, about in the middle of the reading, he turned to me and whispered in my ear: "They aren't going to read through the whole Bible, are they?"
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« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2005, 04:17:40 PM »

In the Greek tradition, only one large Prosforo is used for the "prosthesis" (Gk) or "proskomedia" (Slav). This prosforo has five different seals on the one loaf, recalling the five loaves. The other proforos that have been brought are cut into small cubes outside the sanctuary (usually by the sacristan) and then carried in baskets or bowls into the Sanctuary. 

It was the older practice in the Greek Church to use 6 or 7 loaves for the preparation of the gifts, each one for a different part (one for the lamb, one for the piece commemorating the Theotokos, different loaves for commemorating the Living and Dead, etc.).  (Of course, the really ancient practice was for each person to bring bread and wine for the Liturgy, and what wasn't used would be distributed to the poor...)  I think this practice slowly fell out as fewer people brought prosfora, and as they brought less to begin with.

These pieces are blessed by the priest in front of the Consecrated Gifts on the Altar after the words "Thine own of thine own we offer Thee......Especially for our most holy, most pure, most blessed, glorious Lady Theotokos ..." and during the singing of the megalynarion (usually: "It is truly meet to bless thee, the Theotokos...." ) These are then distributed to all the faithful at the end of the Liturgy. This is called "Antidoron" which means "Instead of the Gifts", and was originally given to those who did not Commune (hence the name), but now, it is given to all, and people will often carry some Antidoron to the sick or infirm at home.   

The practice of blessing the Antidoron at this time developed when the priest stopped using all the different loaves in the Proskomedi.  The blessing that is given is instead of the blessing of the loaves that is given at the Proskomedi.  Theoretically (and I know how much theory that isn't practice gets bantered about here), if the loaf has been used in the preparation of the gifts, it doesn't need this blessing.
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« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2005, 06:00:31 PM »

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Theoretically (and I know how much theory that isn't practice gets bantered about here), if the loaf has been used in the preparation of the gifts, it doesn't need this blessing.

In the Russian-usage churches I've attended, where the holy doors were either open or low enough to see what was going on, I didn't seem to notice the priest blessing the antidoron over the eucharist the way Greek-usage churches do. If the priest did bless the antidoron at that point, (which, as you said, would be theoretically superfluous), he didn't do so in a manner obvious to the congregation, i.e. no waving of huge bowls of bread above the altar.
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« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2005, 07:00:36 PM »

Yea, if the Russians use most of the loaves, then the blessing isn't done... I guess it's just a product in the Greek Church of evolution (or whatever one wants to call it).
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« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2005, 08:34:57 PM »

In the Russian-usage churches I've attended, where the holy doors were either open or low enough to see what was going on, I didn't seem to notice the priest blessing the antidoron over the eucharist the way Greek-usage churches do.

They blessed the antidoron in this manner at the OCA church I was attending, and I've also seen this done at the same point during the liturgy in a Ukrainian Orthodox church.




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« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2005, 08:59:15 PM »

If people donated the loaves as we should on a constant and consitent basis, as they did in the early church, we could feed the poor with the blessed remnants as they did in the early church.  sadly today priests are sometimes faced with the problem of no bread to bless and must make due by going to a grocer to get a loaf for bread to serve the liturgy with.

This is not always the case, I havealso seen parishes in the US and Greece where there was so much bread  provided at the liturgy that people were given 1/4 of a Greek Style loaf to go home with at the Dismissal. The people in those [parishes understand the value of commemorating the living and the dead and making offerings unto the Lord.

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« Reply #16 on: December 24, 2005, 11:16:19 AM »

I guess the understanding of "Leitourgia" (work of the people) has been lost enough... the fact that people don't bring offering to Church in the form of the bread and wine is partially because there is a disconnect with the worship experience (why many people don't sing, or think the Liturgy is a production), and partially because people have become more comfortable offering easier things - like excess money or whatnot. 

And, of course, since people aren't forced to make bread for themselves anyway (thank you, supermarkets and preservatives) they don't have occasion often times to make it.
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« Reply #17 on: December 25, 2005, 03:24:38 PM »

Well every time I try to make prosphora something goes sour. The dough I make is perfect but the baking part of it is really what makes it bad. Usually my prosphora turns out either rock hard or not completely cooked on the inside and looking fine on the outside.

Does anyone know what the regular temperature is (F) to make a loaf of prosphora and for how many minutes? I read some say 25 minutes other say an hour.

...and I work in a bakery...but  don't do the baking so I wouldn't really know  Shocked hehe 

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« Reply #18 on: December 25, 2005, 06:29:19 PM »

Timos,

Perhaps you may find the answers you seek here - www.prosphora.org - The Holy Tradition of Prosphora Baking
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« Reply #19 on: December 26, 2005, 01:43:32 AM »

thnx Arystarcus. its an excellent site! I never thought someone would actually put up a site dedicated for the sole purpose of everything to do with prosphora.
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« Reply #20 on: December 26, 2005, 02:46:36 AM »

thnx Arystarcus. its an excellent site! I never thought someone would actually put up a site dedicated for the sole purpose of everything to do with prosphora.

Probably everything you have ever thought in your life is in some way or another on the internet. That's why they invented search engines Wink
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« Reply #21 on: December 26, 2005, 02:48:05 AM »

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Usually my prosphora turns out either rock hard or not completely cooked on the inside and looking fine on the outside.

Not to worry! You stand firmly and comfortably in the great and noble Russian tradition. Personally, I prefer them to be slightly undercooked. Mmm, dough!
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« Reply #22 on: December 26, 2005, 12:16:21 PM »

lol thats funny. The last time I brought my prosphora to church it was actually cooked well, only it had a little hole on the side. the priest thought that was so funny he showed to some of the parishoners.
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