Re: Lengthy Church Services.
- Do we have a common understanding of what is lengthy or short services? How long is too long and how short is too short. Without having a common
understanding of this how can we have a debate discussion on this topic. So I would like to know whether we can come to a common understanding about this?
What will be a commonly acceptable length for a Holy Eucharistic
Liturgy? Once we have that we may be able to think what we can do to contain the liturgy within that time frame without compromising the underlying principle of the our worship.
God bless you.
- The length of church service may be a perception according to some readers. But most of the people know what a long service means in that particular context.
This perception may be due the inability to understand and comprehend the prayers and the symbolic rituals associated with the service. Especially it is harder for people with limited language proficiency and who cant participate church worships regularly.
I think it is the pastoral responsibility to look into what are essential, non-essential, unnecessary parts of any worship service which prolong the services unnecessary. We have a wealth of talented and skilled priests and bishops who can come up with good ideas. They may need tools and guidance to be effective and relevant in modern times.
One hour for Sunday Liturgy! I found this interesting quote, It is perfectly possible to celebrate the Byzantine Liturgy, and to preach a short sermon, in an hour; and in 1943 the Patriarch of Constantinople laid down that in parishes under his jurisdiction the Sunday Liturgy should not last an hour and a half. (Bishop Kallistos Ware (1963). The Orthodox Church: Faith and Worship, Penguin Books, New York, pp: 273)
Not a bad idea to look into.
~Abraham Chirckal, Davenport, Iowa
- Dear Respected Metropolitan Mar Nicholovos and other brothers and sisters in Christ -
My response to Thirumeni's question on if we have a common understanding on length of the service, the answer is a simple no. To expand, I would ask, do we quantify or qualify it? I think there are several dependencies on this matter. An example of this, is from the response from someone here who had presumed that everyone who had responded prefers "long services". Are our services long? As it has been pointed out, the Arabic/Coptic and Amharic or Eritrean/Ge'ez liturgies are several hours to almost half a day long (or perhaps half a day short? Who decides?)
I sincerely appreciate E.S. John Uncle's well-thought and literally painstakingly put reply. I am thankful he did take the time despite his difficulties because he really put things in perspective.
I think the heart of the matter is what are we gaining from the experience of Divine Liturgy? What is our purpose for attending? We tend to focus on our Church's issues and tend to heap praises on the Coptic and Ethiopian communities for their discipline and rigor not withstanding their own issues that are similar to our own. How much do we put into our own discipline and development of our relationship with Christ? I can say with all honesty, I don't put nearly enough. Again, I say there is a tendency from people to criticize the Church without understanding what they are actually criticizing. I am by no means proficient in the symbolism and mysteries of the Holy Qurbana but I've found that each time I "discover" something through the experience, it is like finding a gem and cavern. This discovery should not be just a Sunday task, but daily. We are fortunate to have so much more access to this than we did just 10 years ago. Once we have a better understanding of ourselves, then only can we come to a common understanding.
Joseph George, St. Gregorios, Washington, DC
- Dear Nicholovas Thirumeni,
Continuing in Mr. E.S John's footstep "How much we waste the time of true worshipers by inducting birthday and wedding day prayers and choir and other weeds and sports and camping and picnic announcements. ..."
Could you and the Synod please prayerfully guide our priests to know what is essential and issue a kalpana telling them to not to be cutting on the essential
Two examples :
1. They cut Old Testament readings which is read as a prelude and to foreshadow the gospel and life in Christ
2. They cut the 'Bhoovilashesesham'
No wonder why the Gospel is not preached or cannot be lived. Instead, we have time to go on for birthday and anniversary prayers and eating in basement.
George Varghese, Calgary, Canada
- - In IndianOrthodox@yahoogroups.com, "Abraham" <chirackal@...> wrote:
>> One hour for Sunday Liturgy! I found this interesting quote, "It is perfectly possible to celebrate the Byzantine Liturgy, and to preach a short sermon, in an hour; and in 1943 the Patriarch of Constantinople laid down that in parishes under his jurisdiction the Sunday Liturgy should not last an hour and a half."Our public celebration of the Holy Eucharist including a short sermon of 10 minutes will never exceed more than one hour.
After reading most of the arguments posted here, I think the whole problem is with the activities before and after the public celebration of the H.Q.
1. Preparatory service ( Tuyobo ) - Usually this is done by the Clergy and as such no need for the laity to be concerned about it.
2. Morning, 3rd Hour and Noon worship - Most of the Laity will not be in Church for this service and as such it does not affect them at all. Few years ago, H.G Geevarughese Mor Osthathios Thirumeni of blessed memory; made it compulsory to have evening prayers ( vespers ) in every parish in Niranam Diocese. Obviously there is a need for these prayers to be done by the clergy who are celebrating the Holy Eucharist. Allow them to do what they are supposed to do.
3. Holy Confession/Husoyo - Church is not forcing any one. Those who want to do this only need to come early.
4. Old Testament Reading - People who do not want to hear it can skip that too.
POST HOLY EUCHARIST
1.Holy Communion Same like Holy confession, those who need to receive it need to stay back after the Public celebration of the H.Q. At present many parishes do this holding all worshippers. This was not the way it was done in the past.
2.Sermon Most sermons are repeated every year giving no new knowledge to worshippers. This can be done at the end of the H.Q after allowing those who do not want to hear it leave.
3.Concluding Prayer This was done in the past by Priest and an Altar assistant after all regular worshippers left the church. Some parishes now do it immediately after the Public celebration of the H.Q, holding the laity hostage to it.
4.Prayer of intercession Again not necessary for everyone to attend. Some members migrated from Mar Thoma church have no interest in this service. Why do we want to force it on them.
5.Birthday/Marriage Anniversary Prayers Same like Holy confession and Holy Communion, this too need not be attended by all worshippers.
6.Memorial prayers for Departed Again the whole congregation is taken hostage in some parishes for this prayer.
7.Announcements Allow the option to worshippers to leave if they do not want to hear it.
8.Kaimuthu / Offertory Most big parishes do not have this function. Place an offertory box in the church where people could put their offerings.
9.Any other public meetings All public meetings should be conducted after disbursing the worshippers. Once the Priest bless the congregation with " Go in peace... " there should be no more activities disturbing the peace and blessing people got from the Holy Eucharist.
Once we take out all these non-essential services, our H.Q liturgy is less than one hour on a Sunday. If any worshippers are being taken hostage for activities of no interest to them, I think they need to take it up with their local parish priest rather than blaming the whole liturgy for it.
Ronnie Daniel, Toronto
- Dear Brethren,
As of the present scenario, we have just one day i.e Sunday or Friday
(in Middle East) to spend in the Church with our Lord other than
festivals. If we can't spend at least 2-3 hours then there is no point
in boasting to be an Orthodox Christian. We should never forget that our well being is the result of the hours spend by our ancestors with Lord.
We can spend hours at parties, entertainment shows, matches or movies
even if that falls on Sundays but we can't for our Lord who is keeping
us alive to see and enjoy this beautiful world. There are churches where everything finishes in half-an-hour or less than that, just try to visit once, you don't even feel like you attended a Holy Service or mass.
So my opinion is that each and every prayer as usual should be
conducted, everyone should try to reach as early as possible and
everyone should receive the Holy Qurbana because we shouldn't be a
spectator, we should be a participant.