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Re: Pending tonsuring as reader

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  • John Congdon
    Seconding what Reader Michael has said, with a few additional notes. When I was tonsured, there was no reader s phelonion; the Bishop didn t have one with him.
    Message 1 of 10 , Dec 10, 2004
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      Seconding what Reader Michael has said, with a few additional notes.

      When I was tonsured, there was no reader's phelonion; the Bishop
      didn't have one with him. When one of my friends was tonsured about
      a year later by the same bishop, the archdeacon (imported for the
      occasion) threw one over his (my friend's) head, almost as an
      afterthought. I got the impression that he (the archdeacon) had
      brought it with him and that the Bishop didn't usually use one.

      You should know that it appears to be the current practice in most
      places to only use the reader's phelonion at the tonsuring service,
      although I do not know when the practice of using it every time came
      to an end. Reader Michael, any thoughts? (I believe this is your
      field.)

      Another interesting point is that the expression "to tonsure someone
      a reader" is not technically correct. The tonsure is what is
      sometimes called the "clerical tonsure" and is a necessary
      preliminary to ordination; this is what "sets apart" someone for
      service in the church. This is similar to monastic tonsure,
      althought the monastic tonsure does not set one aside for clerical
      service; a monk is still a layman unless otherwise ordained. You
      become a reader at the prayer that the Bishop says after the tonsure
      and the vesting ("God almighty, elect this thy servant, sanctify him,
      and grant unto him, in wisdom and understanding, to practise the
      study and reading of thy divine words [etc].") and before he gives
      you the book to read.

      In any event, congratulations! Whether you remain a reader or
      advance to higher degrees, may all your service be to the glory of
      God and the building up of his people!

      In Christ,
      Subdeacon John

      --- In orthodox-readers@yahoogroups.com, "Reader Michael Bishop"
      <Arch@R...> wrote:
      > I've served in both OCA and Antiochian jurisdictions when men were
      tonsured as Readers and I have seen no differences between the two.
      What Stephen wrote below is what I have seen in every case except for
      the Reader phelonion. We did not use one when I was tonsured a
      Reader. That could had been because the Bishop did not bring one
      with him.
      >
      > In my case, immediately after I was tonsured a Reader, Yaroslav was
      ordained a Subdeacon and I was vested as a Subdeacon. We both now
      have the right to wear the Subdeacon's orarion whenever we serve. As
      this was happening, the late Bishop Basil was also present and he
      commented, "Gee, I did not know that you could make a Bishop a
      Subdeacon."
      >
      > Reader Michael
      >
      >
      > Reader Michael Bishop
      > 570 St Mary St
      > Baltimore MD 21201-1936
      > 410-225-7743
      >
      > Personal e-mail address: Reader@M...
      > Web sites: http://www.ReaderMichael.com and http://www.Michael-
      Bishop.com
      >
      >
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: Stephen Parsons
      > To: orthodox-readers@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Thursday 09 December 2004 15:03
      > Subject: Re: [orthodox-readers] Pending tonsuring as reader
      >
      >
      > Michael wrote:
      >
      > > I was hoping that
      > > someone could describe in some detail what will actually happen
      > > during the tonsuring service - i.e. the order of the service,
      what
      > > will be expected of me, etc.
      >
      > Here's what happened with me a few years back (with pictures!).
      The
      > service starts with the bishop in the center of the nave and you
      back in
      > the altar in your cassock. At the appropriate time, they bring
      you out
      > and stand you in front of the royal doors facing the bishop, and
      they
      > guide you in making three prostrations, taking a step toward the
      bishop
      > between each one. (Preparing for first prostration:
      > http://pages.prodigy.net/arimath1/tonsure2.jpg ) Then when you're
      > standing before the bishop, he says the prayers and does the
      actual
      > hair-cutting. (Tonsuring:
      http://pages.prodigy.net/arimath1/tonsure3.jpg
      > ) You're handed a sticharion, which you present before the bishop
      to get
      > his blessing to serve, and you vest. Atop that, they put
      a "reader's
      > phelonion" on you (basically a truncated phelonion that just
      covers your
      > torso), the bishop hands you the Epistle book, picks a spot,
      turns you
      > around, and commands "read". (First official reading:
      > http://pages.prodigy.net/arimath1/tonsure4.jpg ) You read until
      he says
      > to stop, then they take the phelonion off, turn you back around,
      and the
      > bishop finishes the tonsuring service. (Finishing:
      > http://pages.prodigy.net/arimath1/tonsure5.jpg ) Finally you go
      back and
      > do whatever you're supposed to be doing at that point while the
      larger
      > service gets underway. There may be other details in there I've
      > forgotten; what I've written here is mostly narrative to explain
      the
      > photos, plus a little extra I remembered.
      >
      > > I don't know if
      > > it makes a difference in rubrics for the service between
      > > jurisdictions, but I attend an Antiochian parish;
      >
      > I don't know either. Mine was with the OCA's Archbishop Dmitri.
      >
      > > in addition, is
      > > there anything specific that I need to do to prepare myself for
      the
      > > service? My main concern to is to fulfill everything that is
      > > expected of me, and not to make an embarassment of myself
      before the
      > > bishop ;)
      >
      > No doubt he's performed the service many, many times, and if
      something
      > could go wrong, he's already seen it. Whatever servers he's
      brought with
      > him (subdeacons, etc.) should be able to guide you through. A
      couple
      > tips though: Make sure you can do the prostrations without
      stepping on
      > your cassock (which applies anytime really); being 'guided' down
      and up
      > restricts your ability to manage where your hem falls, such as
      under
      > your heels. Be able to read impromptu; you'll probably be
      nervous, but
      > you'll get through it. Remember to kiss the bishop's hand when
      you're
      > getting his blessing to serve with the sticharion, even if his
      hand is
      > hidden so far off the edge that you can't see it there. And don't
      > necessarily expect the bishop to give you the blessing to finish
      serving
      > and to remove your sticharion at the end; any priest there can do
      it.
      > Oh, and when the bishop asks you your name at the beginning, he
      wants
      > your Christian/baptismal name.
      >
      > > I would appreciate your prayers, specifically that God
      > > may guide me in service to the Church.
      >
      > Congratulations in advance, Michael, and many years!
      >
      > -- Stephen in NC (Rdr Joseph)
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • James Morgan
      Someone once referred to the shortened phelonion as the holy donut ..... Rdr. James Olympia, WA ... From: Reader Michael Bishop
      Message 2 of 10 , Dec 10, 2004
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        Someone once referred to the 'shortened phelonion' as the 'holy donut'.....

        Rdr. James
        Olympia, WA

        -----Original Message-----
        From: Reader Michael Bishop [mailto:Arch@...]
        Sent: Thursday, December 09, 2004 7:55 PM
        To: orthodox-readers@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [orthodox-readers] Pending tonsuring as reader


        I've served in both OCA and Antiochian jurisdictions when men were tonsured
        as Readers and I have seen no differences between the two. What Stephen
        wrote below is what I have seen in every case except for the Reader
        phelonion. We did not use one when I was tonsured a Reader. That could had
        been because the Bishop did not bring one with him.

        In my case, immediately after I was tonsured a Reader, Yaroslav was ordained
        a Subdeacon and I was vested as a Subdeacon. We both now have the right to
        wear the Subdeacon's orarion whenever we serve. As this was happening, the
        late Bishop Basil was also present and he commented, "Gee, I did not know
        that you could make a Bishop a Subdeacon."

        Reader Michael
      • Alex Vallens
        ... You also neglected to mention the tonsure at the baptism. So, yes, when one is set apart to any new status in the church, whether it be monastic,
        Message 3 of 10 , Dec 10, 2004
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          On Dec 10, 2004, at 10:17 AM, John Congdon wrote:

          > Another interesting point is that the expression "to tonsure someone
          > a reader" is not technically correct. The tonsure is what is
          > sometimes called the "clerical tonsure" and is a necessary
          > preliminary to ordination; this is what "sets apart" someone for
          > service in the church. This is similar to monastic tonsure,
          > althought the monastic tonsure does not set one aside for clerical
          > service; a monk is still a layman unless otherwise ordained. You
          > become a reader at the prayer that the Bishop says after the tonsure
          > and the vesting ("God almighty, elect this thy servant, sanctify him,
          > and grant unto him, in wisdom and understanding, to practise the
          > study and reading of thy divine words [etc].") and before he gives
          > you the book to read.

          You also neglected to mention the tonsure at the baptism. So, yes, when
          one is "set apart" to any new status in the church, whether it be
          monastic, clerical, or at baptism, we offer snips of our hair back to
          God to show that we recognize that our whole being, even our body, is
          not our own, but belongs to the Lord.

          The reason that we say the reader is tonsured and not ordained is
          because this is the only order where an act other than the laying on of
          hands is prescribed as the act of ordination. As we know, the order of
          Reader (in modern Russian practice no different than "taper bearer") is
          the first order in the Holy Orders, the Holy Priesthood. Therefore
          being made a Reader has become synonymous with being "set apart" into
          Holy Orders, and thus we have the term "tonsured Reader."

          With love in Christ,
          Reader Alexander

          P.S. The order that I have seen done, which is followed by Metropolitan
          Herman and Bishop Tikhon of South Canaan here at St. Tikhon's, is:
          1. After the final exclamation at 6th hour, the candidate exits the
          Holy Altar (wearing a cassock) escorted by subdeacons, bows toward the
          east before the closed Holy Doors, turns and bows to the west (to
          receive blessing from Bishop).
          2. The subdeacons escort the candidate to the Bishop who has already
          been vested and stands on the Episcopal Ambon in the center of the
          church. The subdeacons help the candidate prostrate before the Bishop.
          3. The Bishop reads a prayer over the candidate and then tonsures
          (clips the hair of) the candidate in the sign of the cross.
          4. The Bishop then vests the candidate with the reader's Phelonion,
          opens the Epistle book to a random reading, gives it to the candidate
          and has him read until he tells him to stop.
          5. After the reading the Bishop says another prayer and vests the
          candidate in Stikharion.
          6. The Bishop concludes with an exhortation and any personal words he
          wishes to add.

          See pictures of a tonsuring here:
          <http://www.transfigcathedral.org/gallery/BTAug01/index.shtml>.

          Notes:
          It is not uncommon for the new Reader now to hold the bowl and pour the
          water over the Bishop's hands for the washing, which should be done
          immediately.

          Since he has technically been elevated to the order of Taper-bearer,
          the new Reader should be given the candle and he should stand before
          the icon of the Theotokos on the Soleas if there is enough room, or at
          the foot of the Soleas if there isn't, for the duration of the
          Hierarchical Liturgy. He would reenter the Sanctuary just prior to the
          Little and Great Entrances to participate in the processions; at the
          processions he would return to his place before the icon of the
          Theotokos. However, due to a lack of manpower and space, this is rarely
          done.

          At communion the new Reader should receive with the laity, but first,
          together with all other clergy of the minor orders. He should remain
          vested in his Stikharion, since, as Bishop Tikhon of the West states,
          the Stikharion, not cassock, is the proper "sign" of his office.

          After the dismissal the Bishop will be unvested in the Sanctuary. You
          should receive a blessing from HIM to unvest at this time. It is not
          proper to ask a blessing from a Priest AT ANY TIME a Bishop is present.
          A Priest is only an extension, a representative, a vicar if you will,
          of the Bishop. The Priest has no authority outside of that which the
          Bishop has given him. Thus, whenever a Bishop is present, it would make
          no logical sense to seek a blessing from anyone but the Bishop.
          Remember, the Liturgy was served under the Bishop's authority...

          During the tonsuring you may notice that similarly to a Priest you are
          tonsured and attached to a particular church. This is important to
          note; it is not proper for a Reader to simply float from parish to
          parish on a whim. Rather, it should be his practice to secure a
          blessing from his Rector/Dean to travel to or visit another parish, and
          it might be advisable to bring a letter stating who you are and under
          whose authority you were tonsured. Although most likely overkill, such
          concern is good practice, since it'll certainly help to avoid awkward
          situations of "who are you, and what do you want?" Besides, it makes a
          lot of sense according to standard Orthodox ecclesiology.
        • Stephen Parsons
          ... Indeed, as I recall reader and taper-bearer was used in the prayers at my tonsuring. ... It s been a few years back now, so I may have confused the order
          Message 4 of 10 , Dec 10, 2004
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            Alex Vallens wrote:

            > As we know, the order of
            > Reader (in modern Russian practice no different than "taper bearer") is
            > the first order in the Holy Orders, the Holy Priesthood.

            Indeed, as I recall "reader and taper-bearer" was used in the prayers at
            my tonsuring.

            > P.S. The order that I have seen done, [...]
            > 4. The Bishop then vests the candidate with the reader's Phelonion,
            > opens the Epistle book to a random reading, gives it to the candidate
            > and has him read until he tells him to stop.
            > 5. After the reading the Bishop says another prayer and vests the
            > candidate in Stikharion.

            It's been a few years back now, so I may have confused the order of
            these two steps. In my photo with the "reader's phelonion" on, I can't
            see what's on underneath it, whether sticharion already or just cassock.
            Thanks for the correction.

            > After the dismissal the Bishop will be unvested in the Sanctuary. You
            > should receive a blessing from HIM to unvest at this time. It is not
            > proper to ask a blessing from a Priest AT ANY TIME a Bishop is present.

            That's what I would have thought too, but I was told at some point
            during the service to go to any priest there. Nevertheless, I actually
            sought out the bishop for the blessing to unvest at that time, but for
            whatever reason--he was busy or distracted or whatever--I didn't receive
            it from him and had to go to one of the priests anyhow.

            -- Stephen in NC (Rdr Joseph)
          • Stephen Parsons
            BTW for those interested, I just found that there was a short discussion of the reader s phelonion on the typikon Yahoo! Group exactly a year ago, starting
            Message 5 of 10 , Dec 10, 2004
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              BTW for those interested, I just found that there was a short discussion
              of the "reader's phelonion" on the "typikon" Yahoo! Group exactly a year
              ago, starting around message #11090.
              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/typikon/messages
              It was also (very briefly) mentioned on the "ustav" Yahoo! Group in
              August of 2001.

              -- Stephen in NC (Rdr Joseph)
            • Reader Michael Bishop
              Unfortunately I donot know when the practice ended of using the small phelonion for Readers. Maybe one day I will run across it. I m curious. Maybe Fr.
              Message 6 of 10 , Dec 10, 2004
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                Unfortunately I donot know when the practice ended of using the small phelonion for Readers. Maybe one day I will run across it. I'm curious. Maybe Fr. James knows, or Fr. John Shaw. Subdeacon Sergius Miller might also know. They all are much more knowledgeable than I.

                Reader Michael


                Reader Michael Bishop
                570 St Mary St
                Baltimore MD 21201-1936
                410-225-7743

                Personal e-mail address: Reader@...
                Web sites: http://www.ReaderMichael.com and http://www.Michael-Bishop.com


                ----- Original Message -----
                From: John Congdon
                To: orthodox-readers@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Friday 10 December 2004 10:17
                Subject: [orthodox-readers] Re: Pending tonsuring as reader



                Seconding what Reader Michael has said, with a few additional notes.

                When I was tonsured, there was no reader's phelonion; the Bishop
                didn't have one with him. When one of my friends was tonsured about
                a year later by the same bishop, the archdeacon (imported for the
                occasion) threw one over his (my friend's) head, almost as an
                afterthought. I got the impression that he (the archdeacon) had
                brought it with him and that the Bishop didn't usually use one.

                You should know that it appears to be the current practice in most
                places to only use the reader's phelonion at the tonsuring service,
                although I do not know when the practice of using it every time came
                to an end. Reader Michael, any thoughts? (I believe this is your
                field.)

                Another interesting point is that the expression "to tonsure someone
                a reader" is not technically correct. The tonsure is what is
                sometimes called the "clerical tonsure" and is a necessary
                preliminary to ordination; this is what "sets apart" someone for
                service in the church. This is similar to monastic tonsure,
                althought the monastic tonsure does not set one aside for clerical
                service; a monk is still a layman unless otherwise ordained. You
                become a reader at the prayer that the Bishop says after the tonsure
                and the vesting ("God almighty, elect this thy servant, sanctify him,
                and grant unto him, in wisdom and understanding, to practise the
                study and reading of thy divine words [etc].") and before he gives
                you the book to read.

                In any event, congratulations! Whether you remain a reader or
                advance to higher degrees, may all your service be to the glory of
                God and the building up of his people!

                In Christ,
                Subdeacon John

                --- In orthodox-readers@yahoogroups.com, "Reader Michael Bishop"
                <Arch@R...> wrote:
                > I've served in both OCA and Antiochian jurisdictions when men were
                tonsured as Readers and I have seen no differences between the two.
                What Stephen wrote below is what I have seen in every case except for
                the Reader phelonion. We did not use one when I was tonsured a
                Reader. That could had been because the Bishop did not bring one
                with him.
                >
                > In my case, immediately after I was tonsured a Reader, Yaroslav was
                ordained a Subdeacon and I was vested as a Subdeacon. We both now
                have the right to wear the Subdeacon's orarion whenever we serve. As
                this was happening, the late Bishop Basil was also present and he
                commented, "Gee, I did not know that you could make a Bishop a
                Subdeacon."
                >
                > Reader Michael
                >
                >
                > Reader Michael Bishop
                > 570 St Mary St
                > Baltimore MD 21201-1936
                > 410-225-7743
                >
                > Personal e-mail address: Reader@M...
                > Web sites: http://www.ReaderMichael.com and http://www.Michael-
                Bishop.com
                >
                >
                > ----- Original Message -----
                > From: Stephen Parsons
                > To: orthodox-readers@yahoogroups.com
                > Sent: Thursday 09 December 2004 15:03
                > Subject: Re: [orthodox-readers] Pending tonsuring as reader
                >
                >
                > Michael wrote:
                >
                > > I was hoping that
                > > someone could describe in some detail what will actually happen
                > > during the tonsuring service - i.e. the order of the service,
                what
                > > will be expected of me, etc.
                >
                > Here's what happened with me a few years back (with pictures!).
                The
                > service starts with the bishop in the center of the nave and you
                back in
                > the altar in your cassock. At the appropriate time, they bring
                you out
                > and stand you in front of the royal doors facing the bishop, and
                they
                > guide you in making three prostrations, taking a step toward the
                bishop
                > between each one. (Preparing for first prostration:
                > http://pages.prodigy.net/arimath1/tonsure2.jpg ) Then when you're
                > standing before the bishop, he says the prayers and does the
                actual
                > hair-cutting. (Tonsuring:
                http://pages.prodigy.net/arimath1/tonsure3.jpg
                > ) You're handed a sticharion, which you present before the bishop
                to get
                > his blessing to serve, and you vest. Atop that, they put
                a "reader's
                > phelonion" on you (basically a truncated phelonion that just
                covers your
                > torso), the bishop hands you the Epistle book, picks a spot,
                turns you
                > around, and commands "read". (First official reading:
                > http://pages.prodigy.net/arimath1/tonsure4.jpg ) You read until
                he says
                > to stop, then they take the phelonion off, turn you back around,
                and the
                > bishop finishes the tonsuring service. (Finishing:
                > http://pages.prodigy.net/arimath1/tonsure5.jpg ) Finally you go
                back and
                > do whatever you're supposed to be doing at that point while the
                larger
                > service gets underway. There may be other details in there I've
                > forgotten; what I've written here is mostly narrative to explain
                the
                > photos, plus a little extra I remembered.
                >
                > > I don't know if
                > > it makes a difference in rubrics for the service between
                > > jurisdictions, but I attend an Antiochian parish;
                >
                > I don't know either. Mine was with the OCA's Archbishop Dmitri.
                >
                > > in addition, is
                > > there anything specific that I need to do to prepare myself for
                the
                > > service? My main concern to is to fulfill everything that is
                > > expected of me, and not to make an embarassment of myself
                before the
                > > bishop ;)
                >
                > No doubt he's performed the service many, many times, and if
                something
                > could go wrong, he's already seen it. Whatever servers he's
                brought with
                > him (subdeacons, etc.) should be able to guide you through. A
                couple
                > tips though: Make sure you can do the prostrations without
                stepping on
                > your cassock (which applies anytime really); being 'guided' down
                and up
                > restricts your ability to manage where your hem falls, such as
                under
                > your heels. Be able to read impromptu; you'll probably be
                nervous, but
                > you'll get through it. Remember to kiss the bishop's hand when
                you're
                > getting his blessing to serve with the sticharion, even if his
                hand is
                > hidden so far off the edge that you can't see it there. And don't
                > necessarily expect the bishop to give you the blessing to finish
                serving
                > and to remove your sticharion at the end; any priest there can do
                it.
                > Oh, and when the bishop asks you your name at the beginning, he
                wants
                > your Christian/baptismal name.
                >
                > > I would appreciate your prayers, specifically that God
                > > may guide me in service to the Church.
                >
                > Congratulations in advance, Michael, and many years!
                >
                > -- Stephen in NC (Rdr Joseph)
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





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