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Author Topic: Layperson Performing Services  (Read 3058 times) Average Rating: 0
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Psalti Boy
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« on: June 04, 2006, 10:51:22 PM »

I have often read that the male head of the household i.e.: the father/husband is also the spiritual father for the family and has a responsibility to nurture the faith of the family. 

If that is true, does that mean that he can conduct services in his home, for his family when they can't get to an Orthodox church, or if there is no Orthodox church nearby?

I know that a layperson can conduct services, leaving out the priest's parts.  But in the situations referenced above or other instances is it permissable for a layperson conduct a service, including the priest's parts?

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Tikhon29605
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« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2006, 06:12:12 AM »

I don't think its appropriate for laymen to perform parts of the services that are assigned to priest from the Divine Liturgy. However, in the home services which are designed to be performed entirely by lay people (such as Morning Prayers and Evening Prayers), a layman can , of course, perform the entire service, including reading the Epistle and Gospel for the day if he so chooses. There is also a Slavic custom of the Obednitsa (the Reader Service) when a priest is not available to celebrate the Divine Liturgy on Sunday. This entire service can be led by a reader. Hope this helps.
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« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2006, 07:38:12 AM »

No, it's not permissable for a layperson to read the priest's parts, any more than it would be possible for a layperson to offer the Eucharist without being being given the blesing of the Holy Spirit to do so in Ordination.
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« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2006, 12:26:44 PM »

Psalti Boy, what exactly do you mean by the "priest's parts"?
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Elisha
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« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2006, 01:13:08 PM »

It has been the custom for around 20 years for my dad (a layperson) to always say the "For Thine is the Kingdom...." part of the Lord's Prayer while praying before dinner.  I have no idea on the appropriateness of this; someone feel free to educate me if they know what is appropriate.  He also leads a non-prayerbook food blessing prayer before we say the Lord's Prayer, but it has rather standard verbiage after so many years.  I know there are set prayers to say before each meal of the day from prayerbooks, but many of them (for the lay person's parts) don't seem to address anything about actually blessing the food...which seems weird to me.
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Psalti Boy
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« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2006, 01:50:14 PM »

Psalti Boy, what exactly do you mean by the "priest's parts"?

When looking at the text in the service book >Priest: . . . . . . . . .
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Psalti Boy
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« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2006, 01:54:52 PM »

I don't think its appropriate for laymen to perform parts of the services that are assigned to priest from the Divine Liturgy.
There is also a Slavic custom of the Obednitsa (the Reader Service) when a priest is not available to celebrate the Divine Liturgy on Sunday. This entire service can be led by a reader. Hope this helps.

So, what does one do if the community you live in has no orthodox church and the closest one is a long distance drive, or if they do not have a car to get there?


This reader service, does it include the Priest's parts?
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2006, 01:59:23 PM »

When looking at the text in the service book >Priest: . . . . . . . . .
I'm sorry.  That doesn't really tell me much, because I don't have a great knowledge of the service books.
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« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2006, 02:44:43 PM »

Elisha,

In the strictest interpretation only a priest should say "For thine is the kingdom...", a layperson should say "Through the prayers of our holy fathers..."  But I commonly see both EOs and ECs saying this as well as "Christ our God bless the food and drink of your servants..."  I don't think it is a big deal.  Especially since in other Eastern traditions everyone prays the "For thine is the kingdom..." together.  And for grace at meals what sense does it make to say "Through the prayers of our holy fathers...?

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« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2006, 03:15:31 PM »

"For Thine is the Kingdom...." part of the Lord's Prayer while praying before dinner.  I have no idea on the appropriateness of this; someone feel free to educate me if they know what is appropriate.

was he raised protestant? I had no idea NOT to say it until I listened through a few services, and I still hear it in my head to myself during the liturgy.  It's what I was taught as a child, and it is hard to break the habit.
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« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2006, 04:38:50 PM »

Elisha,

In the strictest interpretation only a priest should say "For thine is the kingdom...", a layperson should say "Through the prayers of our holy fathers..."ÂÂ  But I commonly see both EOs and ECs saying this as well as "Christ our God bless the food and drink of your servants..."ÂÂ  I don't think it is a big deal.ÂÂ  Especially since in other Eastern traditions everyone prays the "For thine is the kingdom..." together.ÂÂ  And for grace at meals what sense does it make to say "Through the prayers of our holy fathers...?

Fr. Deacon Lance

My thoughts exactly.
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« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2006, 04:46:22 PM »

"For Thine is the Kingdom...." part of the Lord's Prayer while praying before dinner.ÂÂ  I have no idea on the appropriateness of this; someone feel free to educate me if they know what is appropriate.

was he raised protestant? I had no idea NOT to say it until I listened through a few services, and I still hear it in my head to myself during the liturgy.ÂÂ  It's what I was taught as a child, and it is hard to break the habit.

Yes, he was raised Lutheran (Missouri Synod).ÂÂ  He got involved with the campus crusade folk way back when so to speak when he came out to SoCal to finish up his Masters at UCLA.ÂÂ  I was 12 when we converted to the Orthodox Church under the Antiochians from the "EOC" (Evangelical Orthodox Church).ÂÂ  I think a lot of the learning many former EOCers was only in the past 5-10 years gotten to be more traditionally Orthodox, as most of the members stayed isolated in their virtually all convert parishes and the Antiochian bishops were way too laissez-faire in the early years after '87.  I felt that I started learning a lot more once I moved out of the house in '95 and started going to an OCA parish and visiting other parishes.
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« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2006, 04:48:43 PM »

In the strictest interpretation only a priest should say "For thine is the kingdom...", a layperson should say "Through the prayers of our holy fathers..."

"Through the prayers..." is also substituted for "Blessed is the Kingdom," "Glory to the holy, consubstantial and undivided Trinity," and other "openers" that the priests do.  I actually just say "Glory...Now and Ever..." in the place of "For thine..."

Quote
But I commonly see both EOs and ECs saying this as well as "Christ our God bless the food and drink of your servants..."

Yeah.  I first saw a subdeacon do this, and have seen many different folks do it since.  There is, however, an idea of the priesthood of all believers within the Church--laymen have been known to baptize in extreme emergency cases those who were at that moment dying--in the sense that the family is a "little church," and since it's a family meal around the family table and there's no ordained priest to defer to, the head of the family would be the one to ask for a blessing.
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« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2006, 04:54:00 PM »

"Through the prayers..." is also substituted for "Blessed is the Kingdom," "Glory to the holy, consubstantial and undivided Trinity," and other "openers" that the priests do.ÂÂ  I actually just say "Glory...Now and Ever..." in the place of "For thine..."
I was kinda aware of that, so thanks for the reinforcement/reminder.

Yeah.ÂÂ  I first saw a subdeacon do this, and have seen many different folks do it since.ÂÂ  There is, however, an idea of the priesthood of all believers within the Church--laymen have been known to baptize in extreme emergency cases those who were at that moment dying--in the sense that the family is a "little church," and since it's a family meal around the family table and there's no ordained priest to defer to, the head of the family would be the one to ask for a blessing.
Thanks - I like the rationalization.
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Tikhon29605
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« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2006, 09:26:57 PM »

The Reader's Service (the Obednitsa) does NOT include parts for the priest because if a priest were available, the Reader's Service would not be offered. The Divine Liturgy would be celebrated if the priest were available. Take for instance a mission situation. There is a small local group of Orthodox Christians with no priest. The bishop sends a visiting priest to them to celebrate the Divine Liturgy once a month. What do they do on the other 3 Sundays of the month that the priest cannot come? The have the Reader's Service.
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« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2006, 08:53:06 AM »

Thank you all for your responses and explainations.  I just got a copy of the reader service PM'd to me by Νικολάος Διάκονος which I find very helpful.  http://pages.prodigy.net/frjohnwhiteford/horologion.htm

Any other sources for the reader service (English or Greek) would be appreciated.

Thank you all again.
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« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2006, 01:22:40 AM »

There was a recommendation I read from a Russian cleric which said that if a family is away from a church, it is adviseable for them to read the service books as a way of keeping the liturgy fresh in your head and heart. This is done not in the manner of actually conducting the service, but reading it to yourself.

Bp. John of Shanghai and San Francisco would give his altar boys the service books to follow along during the actual services, so in this there is nothing wrong. In a way if you are reading the service books at home you are in a way following along with a liturgy that is happening somewhere else at the time.

However, trying to conduct the service by reading the priest's prayers is a different story. You obviously can't consecrate the eucharist, you can't dispense a blessing (i.e. during the dismissal), and there are pastoral prayers that the priest reads where he is petitioning God on behalf of his flock, and only he with his ordination can take on that role and responsibility.
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Thomas
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« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2006, 01:53:06 AM »

On Sundays and  Feast Days, my family reads together the office of the Typica at the direction of our priest.  The 50+ miles one way makes weekday visits limited, the Typika helps us to preserve the sanctity of the feast. We make most Sunday services.

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Thomas
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« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2006, 11:40:19 AM »

On Sundays andÂÂ  Feast Days, my family reads together the office of the ATypica at the direction of our priest.ÂÂ  The 50+ miles one way makes weekday visits limited, the Typika helps us to preserve the sanctity of the feast. We make most Sunday services.

In Christ,
Thomas

That's the problem we have, 50+ miles one way for the Greek church.  Although an Antiochian parish is closer, we just don't feel comfortable there and no longer attend there.  And I know some of you will say what's the difference, and you may be right but if I'm not comfortable going to church I'd rather not go at all.  So now we travel 100+ miles for at least all the major feasts.
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« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2006, 09:16:30 AM »

What makes you uncomfortable about attending the other parish?
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« Reply #20 on: June 22, 2006, 12:02:00 PM »

What makes you uncomfortable about attending the other parish?
Many things which I really would rather not discuss in a public forum.
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« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2006, 02:55:16 PM »

The only context I've heard "For Thine..." being read by a layman in is, of course, when reading the scripture, since part of "For Thine" is there (sans Trinitarian formula).

As for food blessings, I've always been told that it is appropriate for the head of household to ask for God's blessings on the food; anyway, when there's no one there, isn't that what you're doing anyway?
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« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2007, 02:03:00 PM »

I have often read that the male head of the household i.e.: the father/husband is also the spiritual father for the family and has a responsibility to nurture the faith of the family. 

A ROCOR priest argues this in a book.... A Man is His Faith is the name of the book, I believe.  Written by the Reverend Father Alexey Young.  He goes into further detail....
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« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2007, 02:13:16 PM »

I use this resource quite often:

http://www.myriobiblos.gr/texts/english/prayerbook/main.htm

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« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2007, 12:55:07 AM »

If you live very far from an Orthodox parish to participate in the Divine Liturgy, why not chant one of the Akathist services with your family?  This is one service that can be lead by a layperson.
Even among Orthodox who can participate in service, chanting Akathists is a known practice among the Eastern Slavs, especially during Lent.
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