Are we departing from the Syrian Orthodox traditions?
- Dear moderators
The very word tradition is looked down upon by many! What are traditions in the Syrian Orthodox Church? It is the sum and substance of oral transmission of Christian doctrines and customs. Tradition includes long cherished belief, custom or practices which were entrusted to us by our Holy Church Fathers.
However, many of our clergy and faithful are gradually departing from our tradition. For example, on the New Year day, Holy Mass is conducted at 00.00 hours (midnight) as if the day begins at 00.000 hours. That is the IST, but for the Syrian Orthodox Church the day begins at 6.00 p.m. (IST). The current practice is identical to the Protestant Church.
Moreover, the New Year day is also the 8th day after the birth of Jesus Christ, which is the feast of circumcision. Added to that we commemorate the Holy Church Fathers Mor Basil, the Great of Caesarea (A.D. 329-279) and Mor Gregorius of Nyssa (A.D.335-394), the younger brother of Mor Basil. However, the New Year gets prominence and the other important events are brushed away or pass unnoticed.
The faith and tradition of the Syrian Orthodox Church are to be upheld by this forum.
Let us discuss the matter and be on guard of our traditions.
Fr. Dr. Mani Rajan
- Achen raises a very important point. Now a days very few of
us (both clergy and the faithful) even tries to make an attempt to follow our rich traditions and various aspects of our faith such as Service timings, Holy Qurbana, Confession, fasting, daily prayers during regular days and during the lent etc. etc.
I see two aspects to this deterioration. One is the lack of
knowledge among the faithful and up to an extend among the clergy.
Achen correctly points out that the church day starts at 6PM (I believe it is actually Sundown rather than a specific time in the clock and all Jewish festivals begin at Sundown).
How many of us know what are our fasting days?
And what kinds of food items are prohibited during fasting?
Which songs need to be sung during various services in the church?
And which are the correct tunes for these songs?
As someone has pointed out in one of the internet forums, the tunes of our Holy Qurbana songs will depend on the preference of Rock Star of the youngsters in the gayaka sangham.
I feel internet can play a very important role in imparting
knowledge related to our faith. We should have a centralized repository for all components of our faith. As a Church we should have just one Qurbana Kramam per language. When individuals or individual churches want to use the Qurbana books in their fund raising efforts, let them print this same book in different styles and sell it, rather than inventing their own versions of Qurbana Kramams.
As a Church we should have just one schedule for all our fasting days and the prohibited food item list should be published in an easily accessible location.
We should have a complete list of all our prayers and songs and this should be made available thru the internet.
The second aspect of this deterioration is we give no importance
to the components of our faith. In many of our churches, the Holy Qurbanas are conducted in a very casual manner. What percentage of our Achens and Thirumenis abstain from the prohibited food items
during the fasting days? I am not even asking what percentage as far as the faithful are considered.
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