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Author Topic: Subdeacons, the Little Ektenia and the Ambo prayer  (Read 3223 times) Average Rating: 0
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Arystarcus
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« on: March 08, 2006, 01:17:32 AM »

I went to an Antiochian church this past Sunday and it was the first time I had been in an Antiochian church since before I 'doxed and became accustomed to the liturgy.

At this liturgy after the first and second antiphons, the subdeacon intoned the Little Ektenia's while standing facing the Royal Doors just as a deacon would, except of course he was not raising up his orarion.

I was unaware that a subdeacon could do this - is this an Antiochian thing??  Huh

I thought that a subdeacon assisted the bishop and when a bishop was not present, then they basically serve as an altar server.

Also, at the ambo prayer everybody in the church said it out loud with the priest. I've never seen or heard of this being done - is this also an Antiochian practice?

Finally, as it was Forgiveness Sunday, the asking of forgiveness began immediately after the end of the liturgy, so there was not an opportunity to venerate the cross (there was no separate "forgiveness Vespers" service - so I am not quite sure what to call this). After everyone had finished, the priest said "due to time constraints, there would be no veneration of the cross, only a simple blessing" and he just blessed everyone with his hand and that was that.

Is the veneration of the cross something that can be just skipped over?

Is it a "necessary thing" to venerate the cross it at the end of every Liturgy and/or Vespers?

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« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2006, 01:35:13 AM »

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Is the veneration of the cross something that can be just skipped over?

In Greek practice, yes.  
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« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2006, 02:34:24 AM »

I went to an Antiochian church this past Sunday and it was the first time I had been in an Antiochian church since before I 'doxed and became accustomed to the liturgy.

At this liturgy after the first and second antiphons, the subdeacon intoned the Little Ektenia's while standing facing the Royal Doors just as a deacon would, except of course he was not raising up his orarion.

I was unaware that a subdeacon could do this - is this an Antiochian thing??  Huh

I thought that a subdeacon assisted the bishop and when a bishop was not present, then they basically serve as an altar server.

Also, at the ambo prayer everybody in the church said it out loud with the priest. I've never seen or heard of this being done - is this also an Antiochian practice?

Finally, as it was Forgiveness Sunday, the asking of forgiveness began immediately after the end of the liturgy, so there was not an opportunity to venerate the cross (there was no separate "forgiveness Vespers" service - so I am not quite sure what to call this). After everyone had finished, the priest said "due to time constraints, there would be no veneration of the cross, only a simple blessing" and he just blessed everyone with his hand and that was that.

Is the veneration of the cross something that can be just skipped over?

Is it a "necessary thing" to venerate the cross it at the end of every Liturgy and/or Vespers?



I also go to an Antiochian church out of necessity (the closest Greek church is too far).  They pretty much do as they please.  I've seen a subdeacon giving the sermon from in front of the Royal Doors, and doing things that a Deacon is supposed to be doing.  I've also had an Antiochian priest tell me that it was his perogative to have women walk through the sanctuary by the altar, so they wouldn't have to walk ten feet over and come in through the church hall instead.  Like I said, they do as they please.
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« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2006, 07:26:09 AM »

I went to an Antiochian church this past Sunday and it was the first time I had been in an Antiochian church since before I 'doxed and became accustomed to the liturgy.

At this liturgy after the first and second antiphons, the subdeacon intoned the Little Ektenia's while standing facing the Royal Doors just as a deacon would, except of course he was not raising up his orarion.

I was unaware that a subdeacon could do this - is this an Antiochian thing??  Huh

I thought that a subdeacon assisted the bishop and when a bishop was not present, then they basically serve as an altar server.

Also, at the ambo prayer everybody in the church said it out loud with the priest. I've never seen or heard of this being done - is this also an Antiochian practice?

Finally, as it was Forgiveness Sunday, the asking of forgiveness began immediately after the end of the liturgy, so there was not an opportunity to venerate the cross (there was no separate "forgiveness Vespers" service - so I am not quite sure what to call this). After everyone had finished, the priest said "due to time constraints, there would be no veneration of the cross, only a simple blessing" and he just blessed everyone with his hand and that was that.

Is the veneration of the cross something that can be just skipped over?

Is it a "necessary thing" to venerate the cross it at the end of every Liturgy and/or Vespers?  

In the parishes, because of the disconnect that can often happen from the bishop (who may only show up once a year, if that) you will often find priests that take liberties with the typical practice.  As for the subdeacons, the Antiochians and the OCA have more subdeacons than the GOA does, and the Antiochians use them for more than the others; but I have heard of a Greek-church deacon doing the petitions (actually, in England).  The whole practice of using the subdeacons is changing before our eyes, as "dispensation" is being used constantly amongst the AOA and OCA to have more subdeacons who are young men in the parishes.

As far as the Cross blessing - on a purely technical level, only the Bishop should be blessing with the Cross; the priests should bless with their Right hand and should leave the Cross on the altar.  But commonly, it is acceptable to have the priests bless with the Cross.  Thus, the answer to your question is yes, the veneration of the Cross can be skipped over, but whether or not it is skipped depends on the tradition of that jurisdiction.

I personally have never heard the Behind the Ambon prayer read aloud by the congregation; I have heard in a couple of places where the people say "Amen" to a few of the lines in the prayer as the Priest continues to read, but that's about it.
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« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2006, 07:27:07 AM »

I also go to an Antiochian church out of necessity (the closest Greek church is too far).  They pretty much do as they please.  I've seen a subdeacon giving the sermon from in front of the Royal Doors, and doing things that a Deacon is supposed to be doing.  I've also had an Antiochian priest tell me that it was his perogative to have women walk through the sanctuary by the altar, so they wouldn't have to walk ten feet over and come in through the church hall instead.  Like I said, they do as they please.  


It's like my Liturgics professor likes to say: It's like we have a Pope in every parish nowadays.
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« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2006, 04:10:36 PM »

I remember in OCA parishes that the Prayer before Communion is recited by the priest and the people at the same time, which is when the priest is receivng the Holy Gifts.  

I also remember when I was in the Franciscans and taking summer courses for my Masters in Liturgical Studies at Notre Dame, when I returned to our community house, I had alot of problems with our Superior wanting to do new and different things in the Liturgy.  As radical as Notre Dame was the professors reminded us that if we wanted to experiment, it should be with the liturgical books as they are given us. "They have enough new and different things to do, without creating your own."
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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2006, 04:59:09 PM »

The Antiochian Liturgicon notes that in the absence of a deacon  a subdeacon may recite the  ektanias prior to the little entrance.  The rest done after the little entrance must be done by the priest in the absence of a deacon.  The footnotes in the Liturgicon note that this was an ancient practice but also emphasizes that subdeacons may only do those ektanias in the absence of a Deacon.
The Antiochian Liturgicon was translated with footnotes by His Grace Bishop Basil of the Antiochian Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America and is published by the Archdiocese.

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« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2006, 11:07:40 PM »

In the parishes, because of the disconnect that can often happen from the bishop (who may only show up once a year, if that) you will often find priests that take liberties with the typical practice.

It's like my Liturgics professor likes to say: It's like we have a Pope in every parish nowadays.

It's interesting to note that these sorts of things happen in Orthodoxy, as people comment about how the Divine Liturgy is the same at every Orthodox church and any variations are due to cultural factors and "small t" traditions; when, in fact some priests do fiddle with the liturgy to conform it to their own ideal.

I personally have never heard the Behind the Ambon prayer read aloud by the congregation; I have heard in a couple of places where the people say "Amen" to a few of the lines in the prayer as the Priest continues to read, but that's about it.

I had never seen this before either and thought it a bit odd, perhaps it is an isolated thing that is happening in this specific church.

What would you call it, a liturgical abuse or just a variation and if it is the latter, is it an acceptable one?

The Antiochian Liturgicon notes that in the absence of a deacon  a subdeacon may recite the  ektanias prior to the little entrance.  The rest done after the little entrance must be done by the priest in the absence of a deacon.  The footnotes in the Liturgicon note that this was an ancient practice but also emphasizes that subdeacons may only do those ektanias in the absence of a Deacon.

Thanks for informing me that this is acceptable within the Antiochian tradition. It's interesting to learn that this is based upon an older tradition.



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« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2006, 11:43:12 PM »

I emailed an Antiochian priest friend and he said that he couldn't find the note in the Liturgikon about Subdeacons. He did say, however, Thomas' comments are in the Priest's guide of the Antiochian Archdiocese.

As far as the use of Subdeacons doing Litanies, as far as I have researched it is a North american Antiochian thing. I'm not sure why it was started, but if the purpose was to encourage more deacons in Antiochian parishes, I believe it has worked.

In regards to the prayer behind the Ambon, ya got me.

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« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2006, 02:03:29 AM »

As far as the use of Subdeacons doing Litanies, as far as I have researched it is a North american Antiochian thing. I'm not sure why it was started, but if the purpose was to encourage more deacons in Antiochian parishes, I believe it has worked.  

Well, to supplement this comment, my schoolmate who goes by Red Deacon here is a Deacon from England, who spent a considerable amount of time as a subdeacon, and is a spiritual child of Bp. KALLISTOS.  If I remember correctly, he said that while in England (in the Greek Archdiocese) he as a subdeacon would read the initial litanies.
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« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2006, 05:26:42 PM »

As far as the use of Subdeacons doing Litanies, as far as I have researched it is a North American Antiochian thing. I'm not sure why it was started, but if the purpose was to encourage more deacons in Antiochian parishes, I believe it has worked.
The current usage of the Subdeacon in the Self Ruled Antiochian Archdiocese of North America was a practice brought over from the middle east. It was very common until recently to see Subdeacons over there serving as deacons in all aspects. It was part of the training for becoming a priest and allowed for the young man to find a wife before being ordained to the Deaconate. There is much that can be said about the practice here in this country, both good and bad, and I think there have been other threads that have discussed this.
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In regards to the prayer behind the Ambon, ya got me.

Basil

The prayer behind the Ambon being said by the people with the priest is not just an isolated practice of this parish. My memory is fuzzy about the details on how this got started but it came out of a discussion at some clergy meeting and really is only done in a few parishes now.
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« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2006, 02:41:40 AM »

 Wink Could this be construed as an impediment to union with the RC?  Like the ordination of women in the PE Church aka Anglican, or the celibacy issue in the RC? Grin
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« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2006, 07:49:58 PM »

Greetings in Christ!

I am an Antiochian Sub-Deacon and my understanding that the local Antiochian Bishop is the only one that should give a special blessing to allow Sub-Deacons to intone the Small Litanies. According to the Antiochian Priest's Guide , Sub-Deacons are permitted to intone the Small Litanies at the beginning of the Liturgy.  The purpose of this practice is to prepare Sub-Deacons to become Deacons, Priests or Bishops.

According to Orthodox Canon, we (Orthodox Faithful) are not allowed to venerate any objects after receiving the Holy Communion. Venerating the Cross is a Russian practice not Greek, or Antiochian.  In the Middle East (Alexandria, Jerusalem and Antioch) a the end of each Liturgy people receive the Blessed Bread without venerating the Cross or even kissing the hand of the priest.

 

In Christ,

SBK
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« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2006, 08:09:47 PM »

Greetings in Christ!

I am an Antiochian Sub-Deacon and my understanding that the local Antiochian Bishop is the only one that should give a special blessing to allow Sub-Deacons to intone the Small Litanies. According to the Antiochian Priest's Guide , Sub-Deacons are permitted to intone the Small Litanies at the beginning of the Liturgy.  The purpose of this practice is to prepare Sub-Deacons to become Deacons, Priests or Bishops.

According to Orthodox Canon, we are not allowed to venerate any objects after receiving the Holy Communion. Venerating the Cross is a Russian practice not Greek, or Antiochian.  In the Middle East (Alexandria, Jerusalem and Antioch) a the end of each Liturgy people receive the Blessed Bread without venerating the Cross or even kissing the hand of the priest.

 

In Christ,

SBK


When you say: 'According to Orthodox Canon, we are not allowed to venerate any objects after receiving the Holy Communion.', do you mean sub-deacons are not allowed to venerate any objects, or all Orthodox faithful?  I never saw the veneration of the Cross after Liturgy on the way out until I started going to an Antiochian Church.  I know in the Greek Church I have never seen it done.
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« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2006, 08:15:23 PM »

Hi,

I was referring to Orthodox Faithful not to Sub-Deacons.


In Christ,

SBDK
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« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2006, 12:37:23 AM »

you should say "according to Orthodox tradition" and not "Orthodox canon" - cause I haven't seen the canon yet that forbids kissing anything after communion, but I know well of the tradition.
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« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2006, 02:05:29 AM »

I am sure it is a canon.
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« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2006, 09:15:04 AM »

I am sure it is a canon.

Well then, please produce it.
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« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2006, 11:23:35 PM »

I have read in "pious books" that one should not kiss the priest's hand, cross, icons  etc. after having Holy Communion because one has "become Holy"  I believe this was discussed in an older thread. (It is not a canon, but a pious tradition)

Back to subdeacons. It makes sense that it was used in the Middle East before marriage for practice and carried over here. By the way, if you look at the statistics, it has been very successful in creating deacons in most parishes in the AOA in North America.

Finally, and maybe this should be a new thread.  In regards to kissing the cross at the end of Liturgy. This has been my experience in several parishes.

Russian - cross venerated
Greek - priest distributes antidoran and people kiss his hand
Antiochian - Some priests hold the cross for veneration, some distribute antidoran like the Greeks and others hold the cross in the left hand and distribute the antidoran in the right (as per the rubrics in several Antiochian books)

I am interested to know what Antiochian priests do in Lebanon and Syria. (and if there is anyone that knows what they do in Palestine/Israel, that would be interesting as well.)

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« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2006, 06:54:56 PM »

In regards to the prayer behind the ambo, are you sure it was that and not during the consecration? During the consecration sometimes, the priest will say aloud "and make this your precious Body of Amen...precious blood of christ Amen....changing by your Holy Spirit- Amen Amen Amen. The altar boys say the amens and the congregation follows suite.

Today we had a hierarchical liturgy. It was so much work! I had to carry the triple candle and the double candle and keep walking about the solea, the bishops throne, facing the entire congregation which was somewhat nerve-racking, and the altar.

then the procession of icons happened twice.
then one of the altar servers who has been serving at the parish for 20 years finally was tonsured a reader. And then there was a memorial to top it off!

The priest almost had a hear attack couple times because he was so worried about doing everything properly.
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« Reply #20 on: March 13, 2006, 12:33:13 AM »

I don't know why people have such anxiety when bishops serve... of course, my bishop is low maitenance, so it's never a problem.  (I'm saying this tongue-in-cheek; I've served with quite a number of different bishops, and each handles the celebration differently.)

Timos,
I don't the reference was to the Amens of the Anaphora, but really to the Behind-the-Amvon prayer.  I think I've heard once or twice of it being read aloud congregationally (whether formally so or not), but never heard it myself.
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« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2006, 01:01:04 AM »

what's an ambon? Is that the same as a pulpit? In our church this prayer is read facing the icon of Christ.
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« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2006, 06:19:27 AM »

Yes, the Amvon/Ambon is the pulpit, although in ancient days it would have had low sides and been directly in front of the Royal Dooors.  More was done from the Amvon in those days.  Often now the prayer is read in front of the icon of Christ, but if I remember correctly, I don't think the prayer is directed at Christ, but at the whole Trinity (I may be wrong in my recollection).
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« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2006, 08:53:46 AM »

Russian - cross venerated
Greek - priest distributes antidoran and people kiss his hand
Antiochian - Some priests hold the cross for veneration, some distribute antidoran like the Greeks and others hold the cross in the left hand and distribute the antidoran in the right (as per the rubrics in several Antiochian books)

Just to add to this (so as to fill the list out a little more). In the Romanian church we do not venerate the cross, either. At the end of the Liturgy, the priest blesses us and anoints us with myron (sp?) on the forehead in the sign of the cross. And, yes, this is the same oil used in chrismation before anyone asks me if I'm sure it's not just olive oil (it's happened before). The deacon generally distributes the antidoron. From the sounds of the reactions I get from other Orthodox to this, it must be a peculiarly Romanian tradition.

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« Reply #24 on: March 15, 2006, 08:48:28 AM »

I think it is a strictly Romanian tradition - which I'm interested in (topic for another thread).
Do the serbs do something different at the end, or one of the practices mentioned above?
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« Reply #25 on: March 15, 2006, 11:57:16 AM »

Wow, then that is like getting rechrismated every time you attend liturgy!

unless the tradition clearly says that only the *first* time you get it, its considered chrismation in Orthodox faith.

In that case, converts from other churches converting via re-chrismation (if they have been chrismated before) means that the chrismation is null. So then re-baptism would be the only thing left to do.
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« Reply #26 on: March 15, 2006, 01:59:16 PM »

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Often now the prayer is read in front of the icon of Christ, but if I remember correctly, I don't think the prayer is directed at Christ, but at the whole Trinity (I may be wrong in my recollection).

In the Greek tradition. The Russians read it from the middle of the church, directly facing the royal doors.
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« Reply #27 on: March 16, 2006, 08:58:42 AM »

In the Greek tradition. The Russians read it from the middle of the church, directly facing the royal doors.

There's many Greek priests now doing it this way - because reading it in front of the icon is wrong.  I know that our Teleturgics professor in seminary is teaching this as the way to do it.
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« Reply #28 on: March 16, 2006, 09:47:26 AM »

Wow, then that is like getting rechrismated every time you attend liturgy!

unless the tradition clearly says that only the *first* time you get it, its considered chrismation in Orthodox faith.

In that case, converts from other churches converting via re-chrismation (if they have been chrismated before) means that the chrismation is null. So then re-baptism would be the only thing left to do.

Not really. We don't have a Chrismation every time as we're only annointed on the forehead and the words used are just those of a simple blessing. Unless you want to argue that I'm being rebaptised every time a priest sprinkles me with holy water? That would be roughly equivalent as the only thing that is the same is the substance used. Neither the form of the sacrament nor the intent are the same.

James
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We owe greater gratitude to those who humble us, wrong us, and douse us with venom, than to those who nurse us with honour and sweet words, or feed us with tasty food and confections, for bile is the best medicine for our soul. - Elder Paisios of Mount Athos
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