Author Topic: Why is the eagle, two-headed?  (Read 5796 times)

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Offline Armando

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Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« on: February 25, 2006, 11:36:37 AM »
I read somewhere that the Byzantine (and nowadays the flag of the Orthodox Church)
has a two-headed eagle (that I knew) and that one head looks towards New Rome and the
other towards Elder Rome. Is this true?

I have expressed many times in the past that Rome and Constantinople might be in communion without
even realising. (Since the anathema of Cerularius was directed to Humbert and not the Western Church and
the anathema of Humbert had no power at all since the Pope had died and hence he had lost his authority as
Cardinal!)
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is now a woman, but I am still a child...
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2006, 01:48:37 PM »
Actually, the double-headed eagle symbolized the one body of Christ which was united yet led by the two parts: church and empire (government).  It represented the ideal of the Roman Empire, that the Empire was steered by God through the Emperor and the Church.
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
Met. Meletios of Nikopolis & Preveza, from his ordination.

Offline Cyprian

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2006, 08:48:50 PM »
I've read that it originally just symbolized the city of Constantinople looking toward both sides of the Bosphorus (although of course it picked up other meanings later)
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2006, 08:55:22 PM »
I'd like to see that source... I find many of the points of Roman history to be quite fascinating...
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
Met. Meletios of Nikopolis & Preveza, from his ordination.

Offline Cyprian

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2006, 05:17:14 PM »
I'd like to see that source... I find many of the points of Roman history to be quite fascinating...
No problem, I'll try to dig it up on the weekend (I'm not at home right now)  :)
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Offline Cyprian

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2006, 09:21:08 PM »
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to track down the written source, but there's an internet site that talks about it here http://flagspot.net/flags/gr_byz.html.  The symbol itself seems to be of unknown antiquity, and to have had various symbolisms, Church and State, East and West, etc. throughout the Roman era.
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Offline Nektarios

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2006, 12:13:05 AM »
Like my tattoo? <---- avatar ;D

Offline Νεκτάριος

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2006, 12:19:35 AM »
Whoa, that's something to be proud of.  How drunk were you at the time you did that?

Offline Nektarios

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2006, 12:35:00 AM »
Not drunk i dont drink.  In support of the monks of Esphigmenou, and a physical statement of my faith to the true church

Offline GiC

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2006, 12:47:59 AM »
Not drunk i dont drink.  In support of the monks of Esphigmenou, and a physical statement of my faith to the true church

I think I would have gone with the 'I was drunk off my [backside] and don't really remember it' excuse...not that it's a bad tattoo, but still ;)
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Offline GiC

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2006, 12:51:31 AM »
also, what's this 'Νεκτάριος' and 'Nektarios' BS? Y'all are going to really confuse me (and I doubt I'll be the only one)  ;)
« Last Edit: March 17, 2006, 12:52:04 AM by greekischristian »
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Offline Bizzlebin

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2006, 01:02:15 AM »
I was confused too for a moment there :P
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Offline Νεκτάριος

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2006, 01:13:21 AM »
Its very simple, just refer to me as the cool Netkarios.  See, no confusion - we all agree.  

Offline Νεκτάριος

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2006, 01:14:08 AM »
Or just refer to me as the Nektarios that has actually been to Esphigmenou and doesn't support their cause.  

Offline GiC

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2006, 01:29:58 AM »
[quote author=Νεκτάριος link=topic=8298.msg111967#msg111967 date=1142572401]
we all agree. ÂÂ
[/quote]

I thought we agreed not to do that  ;D
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Offline Psalti Boy

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2006, 02:42:46 AM »
Like my tattoo? <---- avatar ;D

Could that tattoo be considered as deforming the temple?  Or is it OK because it has the 2 headed eagle?  Just curious, not looking to criticize.  I don't have the ----- to get a tattoo.  I'm not good with pain.

Offline Nacho

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2006, 04:15:22 AM »
Nice! What a sick looking tat! I envy you... 8)
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Offline Nektarios

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2006, 09:37:23 PM »
ORTHODOXY OR DEATH!

Offline EkhristosAnesti

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2006, 01:04:22 PM »
Can anyone confirm whether or not the symbol in question existed in the pre-Chalcedonian Church?
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Offline Αριστοκλής

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2006, 01:48:29 PM »
Can anyone confirm whether or not the symbol in question existed in the pre-Chalcedonian Church?

I do not think so --- meaning it's not that old, not that confirmation is not possible.

Try: http://www.flags-of-the-world.net/flags/gr_byz.html
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Offline EkhristosAnesti

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #20 on: June 24, 2006, 02:16:19 PM »
Hmmm...as I was refilling the candles in the altar of my parish today, I accidently bumped one of them, and in my effort to prevent that one from falling, I consequently bumped my head on the main procession cross. As I grabbed the procession cross to prevent that from falling also, I noticed a particular detail that had never drawn my attention...it had the symbol of the double-headed eagle. I took a shot of it on my phone:

http://img185.imageshack.us/my.php?image=92ic.jpg

I know that my parish tends to purchase alot of its liturgical items (censers etc.) from a local Greek Orthodox store, due to location and price, so I guess therefore that I can just attribute the existence of this symbol within my local Coptic parish to human error.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2006, 02:19:14 PM by EkhristosAnesti »
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #21 on: June 24, 2006, 04:08:54 PM »
Even if it did exist in the pre-Chalcedonian Church, I doubt the OO Churches would want it seen in their buildings, considering that it is a symbol that supports the kind of actions done by the Emperor in support of the Church in the 5th century, actions which directly affected y'all.
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Offline DavidH

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #22 on: June 24, 2006, 04:34:45 PM »
Hmmm...as I was refilling the candles in the altar of my parish today, I accidently bumped one of them, and in my effort to prevent that one from falling, I consequently bumped my head on the main procession cross. As I grabbed the procession cross to prevent that from falling also, I noticed a particular detail that had never drawn my attention...it had the symbol of the double-headed eagle. I took a shot of it on my phone:

http://img185.imageshack.us/my.php?image=92ic.jpg

I know that my parish tends to purchase alot of its liturgical items (censers etc.) from a local Greek Orthodox store, due to location and price, so I guess therefore that I can just attribute the existence of this symbol within my local Coptic parish to human error.

   Does the Lord usually need to go to such lengths to get your attention? :-)

Offline EkhristosAnesti

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2006, 05:34:46 PM »
Even if it did exist in the pre-Chalcedonian Church, I doubt the OO Churches would want it seen in their buildings, considering that it is a symbol that supports the kind of actions done by the Emperor in support of the Church in the 5th century, actions which directly affected y'all.

No, not necessarily. I think you're falsely inferring some sort of a general position on the relationship between Church and State from a particular response to a particular incident. Either that, or your interpretation of the symbol as one that supports the actions of Marcion, Justinian etc. is simply not one shared by the OO Church. I mean, if the symbol represents, as you said in your initial post, that God generally steers the Church through both religious and state bodies and figures, then we would have no problem with that per se. However, just as heads of the Church have been known to apostatise (e.g. Nestorius), so too, have heads of the State (e.g. Julian). For us OO's, it's not the fact that Marcion et al interfered with Church matters per se, but rather that they interfered to the detriment of Church unity and The Faith for the sake of their own political agendas. Political leaders are not immune from rebellion to God and His inspired guidance.
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Offline EkhristosAnesti

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #24 on: June 24, 2006, 05:38:04 PM »
  ÃƒÆ’‚ Does the Lord usually need to go to such lengths to get your attention? :-)

It could have been alot worse. The coals for the censer were heating up next to the procession cross.

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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #25 on: June 24, 2006, 05:44:54 PM »
I think you're falsely inferring some sort of a general position on the relationship between Church and State from a particular response to a particular incident. Either that, or your interpretation of the symbol as one that supports the actions of Marcion, Justinian etc. is simply not one shared by the OO Church.
....or, perhaps it was none of these and they were simply joking.....

btw, it's not a Cross in the photo, it's a fan.
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Offline EkhristosAnesti

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #26 on: June 24, 2006, 05:48:13 PM »
....or, perhaps it was none of these and they were simply joking.....

Huh?

Quote
btw, it's not a Cross in the photo, it's a fan.

ozgeorge, did you forget the fact that it was your Church that styled this cross, before mocking it?  ;)
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #27 on: June 24, 2006, 05:52:45 PM »
ozgeorge, did you forget the fact that it was your Church that styled this cross, before mocking it?  ;)
I'm not mocking it. It's a fan.
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #28 on: June 24, 2006, 05:58:40 PM »
http://www.easternchristiansupply.biz/products.cgi/c37/c121
The round pendant with the Seraphim is the fan. The Deacons or Acolytes fan the Gifts with them during the Liturgy.
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Offline EkhristosAnesti

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #29 on: June 24, 2006, 06:01:36 PM »
Ah, I see. Got ya. Well, we don't fan anything with them (at lease not in my parish); we only use them during processions.
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Offline pensateomnia

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #30 on: June 24, 2006, 06:05:34 PM »
I'm not mocking it. It's a fan.

As ozgeorge has pointed out, the photo shows a standard Orthodox ceremonial fan, which, in the early Church, was used to keep bugs away from the bread and wine. Nowadays, they are simply carried in processions, especially the Great Entrance, and they almost always have an Icon of the Seraphim on them, since the Seraphim are said to be the angelic order that ministers to the very Throne of God in heavenly worship.

P.S. Now that we've determined that this is probably a very minor (and accidental) case of EO influence on OO liturgical praxis, I must ask: How does the OO Church justify/explain the historical origins of its policy (canonical and liturgical) for marriage? I ask because the Orthodox marriage rite itself was not developed until the 8th century, and the Church did not allow for ecclesiastical divorce and remarriage until even later. However, from what I have been able to tell, the OO Churches have a very similar rite and also the same canonical policies. This seems to be a clear example of EO practices being adopted by the OO Church many centuries after Chalcedon. Very interesting, no?
« Last Edit: June 24, 2006, 06:11:03 PM by pensateomnia »
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Offline EkhristosAnesti

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #31 on: June 24, 2006, 06:23:39 PM »
As ozgeorge has pointed out, the photo shows a standard Orthodox ceremonial fan, which, in the early Church, was used to keep bugs away from the bread and wine.

Interesting, I was unaware of that.

Quote
P.S. Now that we've determined that this is probably a very minor (and accidental) case of EO influence on OO liturgical praxis,


I hardly see how this represents a case of EO influence on OO liturgical praxis on any level. As I stated in my previous post, my local parish tends to purchase alot of its items from a local Greek Orthodox store because it's economic and efficient to do so, and because generally there's no real difference in the liturgical items we use. I don't see how this evidences influence on our praxis, which would remain the same, regardless of where we bought our liturgical items from.

Quote
How does the OO Church justify/explain the historical origins of its policy (canonical and liturgical) for marriage? I ask because the Orthodox marriage rite itself was not developed until the 8th century, and the Church did not allow for ecclesiastical divorce and remarriage until even later. However, from what I have been able to tell, the OO Churches have a very similar rite and also the same canonical policies.

I'm not too sure about the history of the liturgical marriage rite; I will look into it for you. As far as canonical policies on divorce are concerned, you will find that our Church is much more stringent than yours. It simply does not permit divorce unless for Biblically grounded reasons. It has refused to exercise economy in this area.

Quote
This seems to be a clear example of EO practices being adopted by the OO Church many centuries after Chalcedon. Very interesting, no?

Highly unlikely; but it also begs the question i.e. it delves into the whole "who took what from who" question (a question most significantly debated with respect to many issues - the origin of the omonogenes hymn is one issue that comes to mind).
« Last Edit: June 24, 2006, 06:25:25 PM by EkhristosAnesti »
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #32 on: June 24, 2006, 06:41:53 PM »
I hardly see how this represents a case of EO influence on OO liturgical praxis on any level. As I stated in my previous post, my local parish tends to purchase alot of its items from a local Greek Orthodox store because it's economic and efficient to do so, and because generally there's no real difference in the liturgical items we use. I don't see how this evidences influence on our praxis, which would remain the same, regardless of where we bought our liturgical items from.

The Coptic Church actuallly did use fans in the Liturgy made of ostrich or peacock feathers. Egypt is a hot country teeming with insects. They are rarely seen in modern Coptic Churches, but perhaps the ceremonial fan recalls this. The fan was the mark of the Deacon. The 16th century Coptic Saint Barsonophios explains the role of the Deacon as: "He is like the Cherubim, shouting with praise and fanning over the awesome Mysteries just like those in Heaven fan with their wings. And remember that those wings indicate the ascension of the mind away from the heavy earthlies to the heavenlies. He chants within his innerself the praise of triumph to the majestic glory of our Lord..."
Come on EA, you should know this. It's on Tasbeha.org.  ;)
« Last Edit: June 24, 2006, 06:49:16 PM by ozgeorge »
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Offline pensateomnia

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #33 on: June 24, 2006, 06:44:57 PM »
I hardly see how this represents a case of EO influence on OO liturgical praxis on any level. As I stated in my previous post, my local parish tends to purchase alot of its items from a local Greek Orthodox store because it's economic and efficient to do so, and because generally there's no real difference in the liturgical items we use. I don't see how this evidences influence on our praxis, which would remain the same, regardless of where we bought our liturgical items from.

That's all I meant by "very minor influence," i.e. your parish buys EO stuff, which has EO symbols on it and those EO symbols are used in your liturgical sevices. However, why the Coptic rites in general now only use the fans for processions and not for other more ancient things is an interesting question. That is, why do the Copts now use Byzantine-style metal fans, and these only in processions without waving them about (another Byzantine adaptation), instead of in the manner Saint Barsonophios describes even as recently as the 16th century?

Quote
I'm not too sure about the history of the liturgical marriage rite; I will look into it for you.

Have you read the EO one? Before doing any detailed research in manuscripts/history, I wonder just how similar the rites are as of now.

Quote
As far as canonical policies on divorce are concerned, you will find that our Church is much more stringent than yours. It simply does not permit divorce unless for Biblically grounded reasons. It has refused to exercise economy in this area.

Only adultery and death? Not abandonment or infertility?

At any rate, the Coptic Church does allow for ecclesiastical re-marriage, doesn't it? (Last time the Coptic policies on re-marriage were described to me, they were play-by-play out of the Byzantine modifications of the 9th and 10th century.) This is significant because remarriage was absolutely forbidden by the ancient Church except in the case of widowhood. The EO Church didn't allow for re-marriage in other cases until the 9th century, and it only made the concession because of very specific political and historical pressures (even so it caused a major schism within the Byzantine Church, because many people thought it was totally unacceptable to change something so obviously mandated by Scripture, canon law and the early Fathers!).

Quote
Highly unlikely; but it also begs the question i.e. it delves into the whole "who took what from who" question

Unless there is some particular controversy in the history of the Coptic Church that caused it to radically change its ancient canonical practice (by allowing for ecclesiastical remarriage), I don't see how it's unlikely or even much of a question. We know when and where and why the Byzantine Church changed its policies. Why did the Coptic?
« Last Edit: June 24, 2006, 06:49:01 PM by pensateomnia »
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Offline Timos

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #34 on: June 24, 2006, 11:51:00 PM »
btw, the Coptic church might not use the fans anymore, but the Syrians and Armenians do, and they have bells attached to them and "shake" them with a horizontal twist of the wrist. I believe the bells represent the holy spirit at the high points of Armenian and Syrian worship bt I'm not so sure.

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #35 on: June 25, 2006, 12:27:52 AM »
That is, why do the Copts now use Byzantine-style metal fans, and these only in processions without waving them about (another Byzantine adaptation),
Actually, in the Cathedral and larger Churches of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese here in Australia, the fans are still "waved" over the Gifts as well as carried in procession. The Deacons and/or Acolytes hold them at an angle at the north and south sides of the Holy Table during the Eucharistic Prayer and rhythmically raise and lower them. At the ROCOR liturgy I attended in Sydney, the Deacons did the same.
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Offline EkhristosAnesti

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #36 on: June 25, 2006, 08:20:44 AM »
Come on EA, you should know this.

The practise St. Bosphorous describes is one I am familiar with. I am also familiar with the fact that ostrich/peacock feathers were often used to effect this practise. Today, we use linen cloths to exercise this practise, during the Reconciliation Prayer at the point in the Liturgy where the priest begins his response saying, "axion ke dikeon, axion ke dikeon, alithos ghar khen omethmi, axion ke dikeon" ("Right and worthy, right and worthy, truly indeed, it is right and worthy" - in reference to the act of giving thanks to the Lord)).

What I was unfamiliar with was a) the idea that this was called "fanning", b) the idea that “fanning” had the ancient purpose of keeping insects away (St. Bosphorous merely speaks of its symbolic purpose — one I was already familiar with), and c) the fact those flamboyant metallic “crosses” used during processions were “fans”, or that fans were used during processions in any event. When you referred to them as fans, I thought you were poking fun at the design; I didn't know there were in fact items that were officially known as "liturgical fans".
« Last Edit: June 25, 2006, 08:21:51 AM by EkhristosAnesti »
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #37 on: June 25, 2006, 08:41:42 AM »
Today, we use linen cloths to exercise this practise, during the Reconciliation Prayer at the point in the Liturgy where the priest begins his response saying, "axion ke dikeon, axion ke dikeon, alithos ghar khen omethmi, axion ke dikeon" ("Right and worthy, right and worthy, truly indeed, it is right and worthy" - in reference to the act of giving thanks to the Lord)).
Our Priests also fan using one of the three red cloths which cover the Holy Gifts. The Bread has one cover, the chalice has another, and a large cloth called the "Aer" covers them both. During the recitation of the Creed, the priest shakes the Aer over the gifts to fan the air (Greek: "aer") above them them, and then folds it into a triangle, and as we recite the section of the Creed which refers to the Holy Spirit, the Priest holds the folded red Aer in his hand an quivers it over the gifts in a circular fashion to represent the Flame and Dove of the Holy Spirit.
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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #38 on: June 25, 2006, 08:52:24 AM »
That's all I meant by "very minor influence," i.e. your parish buys EO stuff, which has EO symbols on it and those EO symbols are used in your liturgical sevices.

I need to stress a couple of points against what some may improperly infer from the above statement.

1) Of all the “stuff” we buy, this is the only item I know of that happens to have an “EO symbol” on it.

2) When I inquired into the matter with a priest and deacon a short while ago, they were both taken back by it (after I explained to them what the symbol meant - since they were apparently unaware of its meaning), and the church does not plan on retaining these items (despite the fact they were ridiculously expensive). Use of such items in our parishes is not a practise we endorse nor plan to assume. We are not being “influenced” in any way; it was an error of judgment on part of the purchaser, and mere ignorance and carelessness on behalf of everyone else, and we plan to rectify the situation.

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However, why the Coptic rites in general now only use the fans for processions and not for other more ancient things is an interesting question. That is, why do the Copts now use Byzantine-style metal fans, and these only in processions without waving them about (another Byzantine adaptation), instead of in the manner Saint Barsonophios describes even as recently as the 16th century?

As I explained to ozgeorge in my previous post, "fans" are in fact being used in the manner St. Barsonophios describes, in fulfillment of the symbolic purpose that St. Barsonophios attributes to the act. We (according to my own personal experience) simply use linen cloths to effect this practise.

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Have you read the EO one?

No I haven’t. Maybe you can link me to an online copy of the text (if such a copy exists) and I can make my own personal comparison.

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Only adultery and death?

Adultery, death and infidelity. There’s no compromise.

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At any rate, the Coptic Church does allow for ecclesiastical re-marriage, doesn't it?


Yes. The earliest document I am aware of discussing the canon law of the Church on such matters is a thirteenth century document known as “awlad al-asal” (“The Children of Honey”). It explains the fact that a second marriage, although permitted by the Church, is not recommended, and in fact discouraged according to the understanding that a second marriage is less honourable than the first. This document in fact quotes St. Basil in support of this proposition: “If irrational turtle-doves are not inclined to re-marry, how is it that rational human beings can? It is not desirable for them to do so. With regards to clergy, it is absolutely unacceptable!” There are a few other specific circumstances and situations in which exceptions to the general permissability of a second marriage are made.

The document goes on to say: “Regarding a third marriage, it is unacceptable under any circumstance; we do not even consider it to be legal.”

Another canonical policy of the Church with respect to marriage, one I indicated in a previous thread, is the fact we do not allow for our faithful to marry others outside of the OO Church, regardless of whether or not they were baptised in the name of the Holy Trinity. The only exception I know of, as I pointed out in that other thread, is with respect to Copts marrying EO’s.

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We know when and where and why the Byzantine Church changed its policies. Why did the Coptic?

I don’t know why as of yet; i'll look into it though. Nonetheless, I just think the “because the Byzantines did it” conclusion makes an unwarranted assumption from silence. Your Church was, from our perspective at the time, tainted as being Nestorian, and tensions between us were high due to the persecutions we experienced under Chalcedonian rule; in light of this, it is highly implausible to assume, in the absence of any evidence, that we would wish to adopt certain practises just to conform with your Church, unless there were some substantial underlying reason to do so.

The only instance I know of where anything Byzantine was intentionally adopted post-Chalcedon, was during the reign of Pope St. Cyril IV. This Saint was very ecumenically-minded and he had contemplated a re-union with your Church in his day. Certain hymns, such as “E-Aghapy”, were consequently incorporated into the Church to help ease any potential transition process. The Coptic Church’s rendering of "E-Aghapy" in particular can be heard here if you're interested: http://tasbeha.org/media/index.php?s=Songs%2FCoptic%2FDavid_Ensmble%2FCoptic_Melodies%2Ftrack9.mp3
« Last Edit: June 25, 2006, 10:48:55 AM by EkhristosAnesti »
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Offline EkhristosAnesti

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #39 on: June 25, 2006, 09:12:41 AM »
Our Priests also fan using one of the three red cloths which cover the Holy Gifts.

At this point in the Liturgy our priests' hands (the left and the right) are actually covered by linen cloths signifying the Seraphim who covers his eyes and feet with his wings due to the imperceptible glory of God.

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During the recitation of the Creed, the priest shakes the Aer over the gifts to fan the air (Greek: "aer") above them them, and then folds it into a triangle, and as we recite the section of the Creed which refers to the Holy Spirit, the Priest holds the folded red Aer in his hand an quivers it over the gifts in a circular fashion to represent the Flame and Dove of the Holy Spirit.

Very interesting. During our recitation of the creed, the priest washes his hands before the congregation as a symbolic caution and warning against those who plan to partake of the Eucharist unprepared and unworthily. He shakes the water from his hands as if to declare his innocence of the consequences that will be befall those who approach the Holy Sacrament unprepared and unworthily.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2006, 11:36:42 AM by EkhristosAnesti »
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Offline Timos

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #40 on: June 25, 2006, 07:58:07 PM »
The only instance I know of where anything Byzantine was intentionally adopted post-Chalcedon, was during the reign of Pope St. Cyril IV. This Saint was very ecumenically-minded and he had contemplated a re-union with your Church in his day. Certain hymns, such as “E-Aghapy”, were consequently incorporated into the Church to help ease any potential transition process.

EA, I don't think that "H Agapi" is really a hymn. AFAIK, this is what the priest says to the people after bread and wine are consecrated during (byzantine) liturgy, like a longer form of "peace be with you all."

As far as other byzantine adoptions, what about the iconostasis and the general coptic church design? These things were also originally from byzantine influence. Most if not all other OO churches (Syrian Armenian Ethiopian) are iconostasis-less and their churches have their own architectural style. The only way to tell the coptic architecture apart from byzantine architecture is from small things like the curve of the dome*, and if any crosses are visible on the church. *- Coptic domes tend to be shaped like bee-hives whereas byzantine domes are more evenly rounded.These are just small things which don't really have any bearing on faith and what-not but its interesting to observe.

 

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #41 on: June 26, 2006, 12:28:37 AM »
Actually many of the domes in Lebanon, Syria , and Palestine also have bell towers with the beehive type dome---perhaps it is a middle east practice rather than just coptic.
St Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church in Austin TX is a good example of this. I have also seen this type of dome advertised in a dome selling catalog and the churches listed using that type were Syrian Orthodox and Antiochian Orthodox.

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Offline EkhristosAnesti

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #42 on: June 26, 2006, 12:58:43 AM »
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EA, I don't think that "H Agapi" is really a hymn. AFAIK, this is what the priest says to the people after bread and wine are consecrated during (byzantine) liturgy, like a longer form of "peace be with you all."

I guess 'hymn' was the wrong term, since it is not technically a praise to God. In the Coptic Church it is chanted on two occasions: 1) before the Patriarch, and 2) as an introduction to the anaphora in our Gregorian Liturgy (i.e. the Liturgy according to St. Gregory the Great).

That said, I think it’s a beautiful chant, and I’m glad we “borrowed” it from you guys.

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As far as other byzantine adoptions, what about the iconostasis

There is undoubtedly Byzantine influence on the design of our iconstasis, particularly in relation to the three doors. However, this is a pre-Chalcedonian feature of the Church, so it’s not really a very relevant observation to the discussion at hand.

Furthermore, our iconstasis has certain unique features reflecting our own tradition, such as the Ostrich egg that hangs from the top of the royal door.

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and the general coptic church design?

Our architects were very selective in the designs they adopted. For example, the only general Church design we incorporated was the “ship” design. We never adopted the Byzantine cruciform or circular designs; according to Butler, we were simply never very interested in them.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2006, 12:59:11 AM by EkhristosAnesti »
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Offline EkhristosAnesti

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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #43 on: June 26, 2006, 07:09:16 AM »
pensateomnia,

I located an online copy of the EO marriage rite from the goarch.org website. Our services seem more dissimilar than they are similar.

General differences include: the hymns and their underlying themes and hence their purpose, the general structure of the liturgy, the nature and themes of the prayers, the Scripture readings.

Peculiar differences: In the Coptic rite, 1) the priest ties the couple’s rings in a red silk cloth throughout the service, 2) the couple are anointed with chrism, 3) the groom is clothed with a priestly vestment, and a special spiritual vestment prayer is conducted for this purpose, 3) there is no “dance of Isaiah”.

Similarities: both the Byzantine and Coptic rite involve an initial procession and a crowning ceremony. However, these seem to be conducted in different ways, and apparently for different purposes. 
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Re: Why is the eagle, two-headed?
« Reply #44 on: June 26, 2006, 10:04:26 AM »
EA, a Coptic person I know recently told me that the COC is planning or wants to put the vows (a western idea) in the Coptic wedding ceremony. I guess that would make it nice. I've been to Greek and Coptic weddings where the procession down the aisle was with the traditional organ tune "Here comes..."  rather than a chant by chanters or clergy but never with vows. If this is true, it will be ineresting to see how things turn out.