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Author Topic: Liturgy Comemoration of Earthly Authorities a Dangerous Innovation?  (Read 1726 times) Average Rating: 0
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orth_christian2000
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« on: May 16, 2006, 02:50:41 AM »

Hey everybody,

Was talking to a friend of mine who identifies himself as a True Genuine Orthodox.  He told me to day that we (for those who are New Calendar Orthodox) modernists have added a dangerous innovation in praying for our earthly authorities, ie.presidents, prime ministers, governments, because the Antichrist will be voted into power, will be a world ruler.  So I was under the impression that it's wrong because any political ruler, seemingly good, just may be the Antichrist, so we are wrong to pray for "motherlands", we are wrong to pray for presidents, armies and anything of this nature. 

Now, I'm sure that in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, there was not mention of the U.S President, or the Canadian Prime Minister, for example.  Is it therefore a dangerous innovation to hear these figures prayed for in the liturgy? 

I'd like to hear what you guys think.  I'd especially like to hear from True Orthodox, but "Fake" Orthodox like me can also give me their input. 

Thanks in advance, guys.
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« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2006, 03:00:28 AM »

Well, I am guessing that in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, they mentioned the Emperor, King, Tsar etc..

I don't think it's dangerous to pray for any person. We are not praying for these people to keep power, or to rule the world. We are simply asking God to have mercy on them. And that also means to guide them on the right path.
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2006, 03:07:50 AM »

Andrew, dear brother in Christ,

This is exactly what I was suggesting to him--that it was never wrong to pray for any person, so I don't understand how it would be wrong to pray for the enlightenment of those who rule over us, but this friend of mine did not share the same view.  Moreover, and I don't know, this may be a heretical stance, but am I wrong to suggest that there was a progression from the liturgy of St. James to the liturgy of St. Basil and from the liturgy of St. Basil to the liturgy of St. John Chrysostomos?  I mean, the meat, the essence, the truth that is expressed in the first is still expressed in the last, but it evolved--right?  Now, if the Church is still the Church, and the Holy Spirit is still guiding that Church, is it wrong for the Church hierarchs to add new litanies, new prayer requests, say for political persons (if there was no mention of political authorities in the ancient liturgies of our faith).  If it is a heretical innovation, then let us humbly submit to the correction of our brothers, and reject it?  But if it's a legitimate growth within the Church, is it really a bad thing?
I think you can see why I'm perplexed about this issue. 

Yours in Christ,
Theodore (Ted)
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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2006, 04:07:16 AM »

Was talking to a friend of mine who identifies himself as a True Genuine Orthodox.  He told me to day that we (for those who are New Calendar Orthodox) modernists have added a dangerous innovation in praying for our earthly authorities, ie.presidents, prime ministers, governments, because the Antichrist will be voted into power, will be a world ruler.  So I was under the impression that it's wrong because any political ruler, seemingly good, just may be the Antichrist, so we are wrong to pray for "motherlands", we are wrong to pray for presidents, armies and anything of this nature. 
Firstly, regarding the Antichrist, how do you know he will be a "civil" ruler rather than a "religious" one? What is this assumption based on? There is no evidence in Scripture that he will be a purely "civil" authority, in fact, quite the opposite is true- Scripture tells us that he will be "worshipped", that he will perform "miracles" and will set himself up in the Temple as "god". How do you know that he won't be a false bishop? Should we therefore not pray for our bishops?
Secondly, prayers offered for the Emperor and the armies have always been a part of Orthodox worship.
Thirdly, don't our civil authorities need our prayers? We are not "commemorating" them, we are praying for them. And looking at all politicians (either currently in power or not)  in the US and Australia, they need all the prayers they can get!
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2006, 11:44:47 AM »

My first reaction was so what, it's always been done and especially by the Orthodox all over the world who mostly pray for the "civil authorities"  But then I began to wonder what was the practice under Communism say in the USSR?  Or for that matter the anti-communist ROCOR in Germany during WW II?
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2006, 12:10:37 PM »

ozgeorge,

How do I know the Antichrist will be a civil ruler?  I don't.  But then again, I wasn't the one suggesting it.  Like I said, this is what a friend of mine told me.  I don't know enough to say what the Antichrist will be, I just know he will come, he will seem good, and then show his true colours. 

You say that praying for the emperor was always part of Orthodox worship--cool.  This is what I figured, but I wanted to ask you guys, because you guys know your stuff.  I mean, I had actually pointed this friend of mine to St. Paul's words about respecting those who, by God's allowance, have authority over us.  Certainly, I said that when the laws of the land conflict with the commandments of God, then the latter take precedence--most certainly. 

And as for civil authorities needing our prayers, I wholeheartedly agree, that politicians are human, and like all of us, they need all the prayers they can get.

berg,
You bring up a good question.  To be honest, when he was talking, the only thing that came to my mind was Russia's "Old Believers", who believed that the Tsar (forget which one) was the Antichrist, and later argued that the Antichrist was Russia itself (the motherland) when that Tsar had reposed.  I mean, from the second I heard the argument, it didn't seem Orthodox, but I figured that someone who refers to themselves as "Genuine", surely, he'd know what he's talking about?  And this is why I posed the question on the board, to see how "genuine" an Orthodox position it is, to say that we must not pray for politicians in our liturgies.
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2006, 12:57:37 PM »

I mean, from the second I heard the argument, it didn't seem Orthodox, but I figured that someone who refers to themselves as "Genuine", surely, he'd know what he's talking about?ÂÂ  And this is why I posed the question on the board, to see how "genuine" an Orthodox position it is, to say that we must not pray for politicians in our liturgies.

Well, someone who claims to be "genuine" or "true" Orthodox likely belongs to a schismatic group (I assume you know that, right?). In general, one must be very careful when digesting information from such groups. Sometimes it is very good (and includes things oft-ignored), but most of the time it is quite full of misstatements, half-truths and propaganda.

As far as the general development of Liturgy: The Church's services, including its eucharistic liturgies, have evolved considerably over time. The largest single influence on later developments in the liturgical services was the Great Church of Constantinople. Once the Byzantine Empire was in full swing, every local church began to imitate the worship celebrated in the church of Hagia Sophia. For example, we now sing the hymn "Only begotten Son and Word of God," which, according to Tradition, was composed and inserted in the Liturgy by the Emperor Justinian in 535.

there was a progression from the liturgy of St. James to the liturgy of St. Basil and from the liturgy of St. Basil to the liturgy of St. John Chrysostomos?ÂÂ  I mean, the meat, the essence, the truth that is expressed in the first is still expressed in the last, but it evolved--right?

Yes, it evolved, but not in that exact way. In the early Church, there were many different families of eucharistic liturgies. Not everyone celebrated the same service. In fact, most local churches had their own liturgical practice, which, although quite similar, varied depending on the Bishop. If you want to read some of these different liturgies, check out the Didache, the writings of St. Hippolytus of Rome and the "Euchologion of Serapion." In general, what you will find are various different versions of the anaphora (the Eucharistic prayer), which, especially in the early Church, constituted THE eucharistic liturgy per se. Most of these anaphora texts are quite similar, even to the point of containing the same basic structure and phrases (think of the similarities and differences between St. John's and St. Basil's anaphora). St. Basil's longer anaphora is based on the long-standing liturgical tradition in Cappadocia (not neccessarily on St. James, which represents an entirely different family of liturgical traditions); and Saint John Chrysostom's anaphora matches the earliest evidence of such things from the Church of Antioch.

Here's something of particular note: In the fourth century and before, the Divine Liturgy began when the Bishop entered the Church (St. John Chrysostom describes this). The Bishop would then bless the people and then the readings would start (from the OT, from the Epistles, from the Gospel, etc.). So, where did we get our current practice of singing antiphons and so forth in the beginning of the Liturgy?

Once again, from the influence of the Great Church of Constantinople. During the time of St. John Chrysostom (and for a long, long time thereafter), the liturgical services took place all over the City and would often include many processions and special hymns. This tradition is sometimes called the "Stational" Liturgy because people would go from one station to another in the course of a liturgical celebration.

So, say it was the feast of Martyr X. Everyone would gather at one place (probably the court outside of Hagia Sophia, which happened to be right next to the Imperial chambers) and everyone would go on a procession, chanting hymns, antiphonal responses, litanies, etc. until they got to the special church dedicated to the memory of Martyr X. St. John Chrysostom even talks of leading one such procession right into the midst of the Hippodrome (which was also rather near Agia Sophia). He says something like: "If those people won't come to divine worship, we'll bring divine worship to them!"

In about the tenth century, elements of this processional liturgy were incorporated into the original Constantinopolitan Divine Liturgy.ÂÂ  Thus, we now start with the litanies, the antiphons, et al.

The Church and Her worship are not stagnant, but alive and dynamic! If you want to learn more about this, a good introductory work is Fr. Alkiviadis Calivas' Aspects of Orthodox Worship (Essays in Theology and Liturgy, Vol. 3.), Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2003.
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2006, 01:31:39 PM »

pensa,

Thank-you for that thorough reply! I appreciate.  Certainly, I'm cautious, and I don't just believe what people put forth as Orthodox simply because--we may all very well present our wrong views as Orthodox.  I really need to do some reading into liturgics, because i usually tend to study dogmatics, and teachings, positions on certain spiritual issues, but i don't know much about the rubrics of liturgy.  Thanks for the suggested book.

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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2006, 02:26:38 PM »

Well, someone who claims to be "genuine" or "true" Orthodox likely belongs to a schismatic group (I assume you know that, right?).
For instance, I believe that the notorious Bishop Gregory of Denver actually identifies himself with the "Genuine Orthodox Church in America."
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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2006, 04:26:49 PM »

The leaders of the various nations need our prayers even more than most, to allow the Spirit to guide them in ways pleasing to Him, and not in their own direction.  We are commanded to pray for and love our enemies - here is an opportunity.

Now, if one wants to debate divine rights to rule, or forms of government and Orthodoxy, an argument can be made; but that has little to do with the debate at hand.
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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2006, 11:19:01 PM »

In regards to commemorating civil rulers, my comments are as follows:

1) The True Genuine Greek Orthodox, are one of the several groups we call "Old Calender Greeks". If one looks at the Prayer Book printed by the "Old Calender" HOCNA Holy Transfiguration Monastery (see page 90 of this book) they commemorate the civil authority of the country.  The same occurs in "New Calendar" Greek service books.

2) Under the Turkish occupation, all Greek Orthodox commemorated the Sultan. (and this was before the splits in the Greek Orthodox Church in the early 20th century)

So, this is not an innovation.

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« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2006, 10:47:49 AM »

Thank-you all for your  replies.

As for how genuine someone is in their Orthodoxy, and how "true", I'll leave that to someone else to decide--I just personal know myself better than to claim I am "genuine" or "true".  Whole other topic, and really didn't mean for it to be the point of discussion. 

Like Cleveland, Ozgeorge, Basil, I agree that I have always understood that there are prayers for civil authorities.  It seems my friend (the one who I had initially had the conversation with) just chose not to see this, or didn't know about this.

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« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2006, 11:47:38 AM »

No, it was what he was falsely taught, which is why the "genunine" or "true" schismatics are anything but...They don't teach truth and pull themselves as far as they can from the Church.
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