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Re: [orthodox-readers] Greetings, & choir directors

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  • Reader Michael J. Bishop
    Subdeacon Tikhon raises some interesting issues. I m a tonsured Reader and I also have been vested with the Subdeacon s orarion by a bishop. I was not
    Message 1 of 13 , May 30, 2002
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      Subdeacon Tikhon raises some interesting issues. I'm a tonsured Reader and I
      also have been vested with the Subdeacon's orarion by a bishop. I was not
      ordained a Subdeacon, probably because I am not married and once ordained in
      the Russian tradition (also according to the canons), one cannot marry.

      A few years ago on another list I mentioned that I wear my cassock from the
      time I leave home in the morning until the time I return home. Somebody asked
      if this were inappropriate and somebody came up with some rules, one of which
      said that a Reader should wear his cassock only during the services. However,
      this apparently is not the rule that several bishops whom I know impose.

      Monday I was at a monastery most of the day and I was in cassock all day.
      Nobody told me that it was inappropriate for me to wear my cassock. In fact,
      one priest told me that I am supposed to be in my cassock there. He also said
      that I am supposed to be in cassock if I attend any church related function,
      including the local Greek festivals, etc.

      My former Bishop saw me in cassock at a church where the President of the
      United States spoke. This definitely was not a religious activity and,
      frankly, I did not expect to see the Bishop there. No comment was made about
      the cassock but one of the priests of the parish invited to come back again on
      a regular Sunday and serve with them. My Bishop teased him about trying to
      steal one of his people. Privately the Bishop told me that he has no problem
      with my serving there.

      The fact that I am a seminary graduate and my function in the Church might
      also be factors. I am expected to assume roles now that I was not expected to
      assume 15 years ago, although I was a tonsured Reader then. In fact, I was a
      tonsured Reader several months before I finally owned a cassock and then it
      was a Roman Catholic style which was my cassock until half way through my
      first year in the seminary. By the end of my first year, I had a Greek style
      and a Polish style cassock. Now I own five cassocks, including one gray which
      I wear during Pascha season. I discussed this with my former priest before I
      had it made and he told me not to get white because it will get dirty too
      easily. So I chose gray. My Bishop saw me in it last year. This year I wore
      the black.

      The last two years I attended the pilgrimage at St. Tikhon Monastery on
      Memorial Day and I wore my cassock both years. I have photographs of me in it
      there. In one photograph a group of us is with a Bishop.

      There was a woman in my neighborhood who was trying to get me to take her out
      to dinner. I had absolutely no interest in this woman. In fact, I'm not sure
      that I want to be seen with her, especially since cassocks are not
      bullet-proof. One day I had parked my van a couple of blocks from my
      apartment and was walking home in my cassock when somebody up the street, in
      front of this woman, asked me, "Are you a priest?" I replied that I am a
      minor clergy. This woman has not spoken to me since that time and I'm not
      complaining, especially since a few months later her apartment was raided by
      the police and weapons, ammunition, and drug stuff were found there.

      Reader Michael


      "Glen M. Thurman" wrote:

      > Reader John,
      >
      > Christ is Risen! Welcome to the list.
      >
      > > I'm also very intrigued by the whole "vesting" discussion that went
      > > on a few months ago. I, too, had never realized the implications of
      > > the Sticharion to a Reader (partly because there were no Readers in
      > > any of the parishes I grew up in.) I'm glad I read through those
      > > messages, becase this Sunday will be the first "normal" Liturgy since
      > > my tonsuring and I hadn't thought of any of those issues. I'll
      > > report back as to what our custom turns out to be.
      >
      > I was also surprised to read the "vesting" discussion. The only time I've
      > ever see a reader vest in an Antiochian parish is if he's serving. Our
      > reader typically wears an exorasson only while at services. I typically on
      > wear my cassock, sticharion, & orarion while serving. There are only a few
      > occasions when I wear my cassock outside of services (bishop's visit,
      > serving at another parish, etc.)
      >
      > I find it very interesting that people are describing a wide variety of
      > practice in terms of vesting/non vesting (both for services and not). I
      > wonder if there actually is any authoritative understanding of what
      > readers/subdeacons should be doing.
      >
      > In Christ,
      > Subdeacon Tikhon
      > SS Peter & Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church
      > Topeka, KS
      >
      >
      > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
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      >
      > To learn more about reader services, see:
      > http://pages.prodigy.net/frjohnwhiteford/horologion.htm
      >
      > To access this lists archives, go to:
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/orthodox-readers
      >
      >
      > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/

      --
      Reader Michael J. Bishop
      12 E Read St
      Baltimore MD 21202-2459
      410-752-7270 voice
      410-752-7362 fax/modem

      Personal web site: http://www.Michael-Bishop.com and
      http://www.ReaderMichael.com

      E-mail for personal messages: Reader@... or
      Arch@...
      E-mail for lists: ReaderMichael@...

      Baltimore Orthodox web site: http://www.BaltimoreOrthodox.org
      Washington Orthodox web site: http://www.WashingtonOrthodox.org
    • Timothy Copple
      ... From: psaltisuk To: Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2002 4:53 PM Subject: [orthodox-readers] Re:
      Message 2 of 13 , May 30, 2002
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        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "psaltisuk" <ivanmoody@...>
        To: <orthodox-readers@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2002 4:53 PM
        Subject: [orthodox-readers] Re: Greetings, & choir directors

        Since we are sharing.... :-)

        I was tonsured a reader in 1998, and have read the epistle only a handful of
        times. Basically, we have a sub-deacon who is usually serving with the
        priest, while both tonsured readers along with some others do most of the
        chanting. Thus, since he doesn't do a whole lot, he tends to do the Epistles
        readings, we usually do the psalms and OT readings. Only problem with that
        is that it gives me and the other reader very few touches on the ball, so to
        speak, and so I'm sure there are some things about just reading the Epistle
        that I don't know how to do very well.

        There are certain things which are in Western notation, (like I've seen "He
        who was suspended from the tree" like this) with the notation "Chant like
        reading the Epistle." Thus, I know there are certain ways to chant it but we
        have never been taught them nor would we have much opportunity to practice
        it. Only when the sub-deacon is not there do we do this. Actually, this
        Sunday will be such a time since the priest is going to be out of town, we
        will be doing a Typika, and the sub-deacon will be reading the Gospel, which
        leaves the Epistle to me or the other reader.

        Anyway, our church has a choir director, and the priest's wife serves as a
        back up. The only time I've lead a liturgy (which is about the only time we
        have a "choir" going) is when there are not many people there, and then I
        usually just start singing and others join in. So, I don't have much to
        offer with insight into that question, but most of my duties revolve around
        making sure we do the services right and in a proper manner, organizing the
        chanters, and I do sing in the choir as well, bass. Thus, I'm rarely ever
        (though I have done it before) helping in the sanctuary or reading the
        Epistle.

        Also, on the note of the vesting to receive communion, I have asked my
        priest about it and some others who have been around, and none of them
        seemed to know what I was talking about, or recall readers doing such. Not
        saying it doesn't happen, obviously it does, but apparently it is a practice
        not done much around here or in our archdiocese.


        Rdr. Timothy Copple
      • Alex Vallens
        ... Indeed He is Risen! ... I m a tonsured Reader, choir member, Altar Sacristan, and I ve directed the Slavonic choir at our parish on occassion when the
        Message 3 of 13 , May 30, 2002
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          johnmblack wrote:

          > Greetings to you all, and Christ is risen!

          Indeed He is Risen!

          > Are any of you here share duties as a Reader and as the choir
          > director in your parish? I'd like some (both philosophical and
          > logistical) commentary on how the roles fit together in everyday
          > parish life. For example, I know a bona fide Reader should read the
          > Epistle whenever present, as opposed to a layman, but of course that
          > would be difficult with my involvement in the choir.

          I'm a tonsured Reader, choir member, Altar Sacristan, and I've directed the
          Slavonic choir at our parish on occassion when the choir director was in
          Russia. On a regular basis, I balance choir singing duites with Altar
          serving and reading duties. This is not always an easy task.

          When directing the choir, that was my primary and only duty at the
          service. I deferred to someone else to read, even someone not tonsured.
          When I try to do too much, I must remind myself that The Church adjusts
          to the needs of a particular community. An example, consider in some
          churches that don't have a Winding Sheet (Epitaphios, Plashanitza), the
          Antimension is used instead. Therefore, I believe it reasonable that if
          the most qualified choir director is the only tonsured Reader, he will
          direct the choir and someone else will read.

          Naturally, if you are much more talented than I, and can balance reading
          the Epistle with directing the choir, that's great, but I'm speaking on
          behalf of those less able to read and direct the singing of the
          Prokeimenon and Alleluia. :-)

          > Also, I get the impression from some friends of mine who are Readers
          > elsewhere in the diocese or region that Readers should take on
          > responsibilities assisting the clergy in services. (Perhaps that's
          > more due to local situations, where a Reader started out as an altar
          > boy; I don't know.) :-)

          I certainly began as an Altar server, but that has no bearing on my
          reading and singing. Again, my first duty is where I'm needed most. I
          primarily read when and wherever other Readers are absent (which, at our
          church, ends up being most of the time besides Liturgy, where instead we
          have a weekly rotation of all tonsured Readers who wish to do so), sing
          whenever there are not enough basses and/or tenors, and finally serve
          otherwise. I ended up being the head Reader, despite being the youngest,
          because I was the only one that came to services consistently, and
          therefore tend to have reading as a first priority. Singing is my next
          most-important responsibility, as our choir director, the priest's wife
          (Matushka, Presbytera) requests my presence. I enjoy singing, but tend
          to do it Sunday under obedience to her (yes, that's right, obedience to
          the Priest's wife) as it can become laborsome, not necessarily
          spiritually edifying, on Sundays. Altar serving, even as head Altar
          server and Sacristan, is my last responsibility, as we tend to have
          others who can do this. On a weekday, I may need to help at the
          Entrances, but again, it's a matter of necessity. Simply speaking, I
          concentrate on my first job at hand as much as I need to in order to
          make the service run as smoothly, correctly, and spiritually edefying
          for the faithful as possible. That, I believe, is my responsibility.

          > I'm also very intrigued by the whole "vesting" discussion that went
          > on a few months ago. I, too, had never realized the implications of
          > the Sticharion to a Reader (partly because there were no Readers in
          > any of the parishes I grew up in.) I'm glad I read through those
          > messages, becase this Sunday will be the first "normal" Liturgy since
          > my tonsuring and I hadn't thought of any of those issues. I'll
          > report back as to what our custom turns out to be.

          Ever since I was a simple Altar server I have always seen the reader,
          tonsured or not (male, of course), wear a Stikharion. However, it was
          not until well after becoming a Reader that I learned of the cassock and
          Stikharion. The signifigance of the Stikharion is clear, as this is the
          garment that the Bishop blesses the Reader to wear at his tonsuring. As
          such, it is reasonable to conclude that it should be worn whenever
          participating (i.e. performing the duties to which he is ordained) in
          the Divine services, and whenever receiving communion. This is
          comparable to priests and deacons required to wear, at the bear minimum,
          stoles (oraria or epitrachelia) and cuffs when doing the same.
          Furthermore, the cassock is the sign of the clergy. Although our bishop
          disagrees with this assesment, the canons state that ALL clergy must
          wear simple attire and proper liturgical dress (read: cassocks and
          vestments when appropriate). Therefore, I ALWAYS wear my cassock
          whenever in church, usually when on church grounds, and typically at
          church functions. Our bishop hasn't caught me on this regard, and has
          furthermore blessed me to wear the skufia outside of the Divine
          services, unless outdoors. Be forewarned, however, as your mileage may
          vary by individual community and jurisdiction.

          I hope this was not too boring, and at least partly helpful.

          Christ is Risen!
          Indeed He is Risen!

          With love in Our Risen Lord,
          Reader Alexander Vallens
          (Alex)
        • Theophan
          Reader Timothy Copple wrote, « ... the notation Chant like reading the Epistle. Thus, I know there are certain ways to chant it but we have never been
          Message 4 of 13 , May 31, 2002
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            Reader Timothy Copple wrote, « ... the notation "Chant like reading the
            Epistle." Thus, I know there are certain ways to chant it but we have never
            been taught them... »

            I'm curious about this, too. In our little mission parish, and in at least
            one other place I've been, the Epistle is chanted with a slowly rising pitch
            as it progresses. That is, the chanter starts chanting in the usual style
            but in a fairly low pitch, and then several times through the reading,
            raises that pitch by a half-step, so by the end of the reading, he is
            chanting in a considerably higher pitch than he began. I think I have
            gathered that this is the practice in many places in the ROCOR, and I think
            I've been told that it is the practice at the Jordanville monastery, but I
            may be wrong.

            On a few occasions, there has been no one to read the Epistle but me, though
            I am a lay member, so with the priest's blessing, I chanted the Epistle, but
            I never had tried chanting the way I just described, and somehow was afraid
            I would mess it up, and I've simply chanted the Epistle the way I chant
            other things in church.

            So I'm curious, too, is one way strongly to be preferred over others? Or is
            it just up to the priest, or the reader, or the Jurisdiction? (I'm in the
            ROCOR.)

            If I need to do it again, one day, I certainly will try to do it the other
            way if that's what I should do.

            Thanks!

            Theophan Dort
          • johnmblack
            ... Unfortunately I haven t been told any specific rules. What are those bishop s opinions? (I m just asking out of curiosity, to see what the opinion of the
            Message 5 of 13 , May 31, 2002
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              --- In orthodox-readers@y..., "Reader Michael J. Bishop"
              <Reader.Michael2@v...> wrote:
              > [...]
              > somebody came up with some rules, one of which
              > said that a Reader should wear his cassock only
              > during the services. However, this apparently
              > is not the rule that several bishops whom I know
              > impose.

              Unfortunately I haven't been told any specific rules.
              What are those bishop's opinions? (I'm just asking
              out of curiosity, to see what the opinion of the
              average Orthodox bishop is. I know ultimately it's
              what _my_ bishop thinks that matters, :-) but I'd
              still like to know.)

              > Monday I was at a monastery most of the day and I
              > was in cassock all day. Nobody told me that it
              > was inappropriate for me to wear my cassock. In
              > fact, one priest told me that I am supposed to be
              > in my cassock there. He also said that I am
              > supposed to be in cassock if I attend any church
              > related function, including the local Greek
              > festivals, etc.

              I agree wholeheartedly. It's interesting to note
              that in ancient times, cassock-like garments were
              even worn by the laity. For those of us who have
              been ordained/tonsured/blessed into service, it is
              our permanent liturgical garment, and we should wear
              it for any Orthodox liturgical function, home or
              away. As for church-sponsored social events, I
              suppose it's more of a grey area, but ask yourself:
              "Am I (or could I be perceived as) representing the
              Church in any way?" Obviously, if you came to
              church to do painting or yard work, that's different.
              On the flip side, I'm not so sure about wearing it
              totally outside of church (like all day at home, etc.)
              That seems a bit weird. :-) But that's just me.

              > My former Bishop saw me in cassock at a church
              > where the President of the United States spoke.
              > This definitely was not a religious activity and,

              But it was in an Orthodox church, right? Then you did
              the right thing. I guess a general rule of thumb
              would be "any time you are participating in any
              liturgical function, or on church grounds for any
              church-sponsored event."

              > [...] Now I own five cassocks, including one gray
              > which I wear during Pascha season. I discussed
              > this with my former priest before I had it made and
              > he told me not to get white because it will get dirty
              > too easily. So I chose gray. My Bishop saw me in it
              > last year. This year I wore the black.

              I was under the impression that the custom of colored
              cassocks for married clergy only applied to the rank of
              Priest. What have other people experienced in this
              regard?

              -j

              Rdr John M. Black
              johnmblack@...
            • johnmblack
              ... The styles of chanting vary from culture to culture as much as the music traditions do. For example, the custom of reading the Epistle in chromatic
              Message 6 of 13 , May 31, 2002
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                --- "Timothy Copple" <Timothy@r...> wrote:
                > There are certain things which are in Western
                > notation, (like I've seen "He who was suspended
                > from the tree" like this) with the notation
                > "Chant like reading the Epistle." Thus, I know
                > there are certain ways to chant it but we have
                > never been taught them nor would we have much
                > opportunity to practice it.

                The styles of chanting vary from culture to
                culture as much as the music traditions do. For
                example, the custom of reading the Epistle in
                chromatic fashion is a particularly Russian
                custom, and even then I think it only began in the
                17-1800s with the influence of the western music
                academia. (I could be wrong on that -- anyone
                know for sure?)

                Regardless of the particular [musical] style used
                for chanting various things, I think the style of
                chanting depends on what is being read -- almost
                like a "hierarchy". Chanting for OT readings and
                Psalms should be the least stylized (or simplest.)
                The Epistle and Prokeimenae should be more
                stylized, and then the Gospel should be the most
                stylized.

                Some people I've talked to about this also feel
                that chanting in general should be less stylized
                during Great Lent.

                Thoughts?

                Rdr John
              • Timothy Copple
                ... From: johnmblack To: Sent: Friday, May 31, 2002 11:11 AM Subject: [orthodox-readers] Chanting
                Message 7 of 13 , May 31, 2002
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                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "johnmblack" <johnmblack@...>
                  To: <orthodox-readers@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Friday, May 31, 2002 11:11 AM
                  Subject: [orthodox-readers] Chanting styles


                  > --- "Timothy Copple" <Timothy@r...> wrote:
                  > > There are certain things which are in Western
                  > > notation, (like I've seen "He who was suspended
                  > > from the tree" like this) with the notation
                  > > "Chant like reading the Epistle." Thus, I know
                  > > there are certain ways to chant it but we have
                  > > never been taught them nor would we have much
                  > > opportunity to practice it.
                  >
                  > The styles of chanting vary from culture to
                  > culture as much as the music traditions do. For
                  > example, the custom of reading the Epistle in
                  > chromatic fashion is a particularly Russian
                  > custom, and even then I think it only began in the
                  > 17-1800s with the influence of the western music
                  > academia. (I could be wrong on that -- anyone
                  > know for sure?)

                  Yes, I would gather. The music I've seen in our (Antiochian) archdiocese
                  that indicates "Chant like the Epistle" is not in the chromatic fashion
                  (moving gradually higher and higher), though I have heard that several
                  times. I've also heard it done where it goes up, and then somewhere
                  mid-point, it begins to go back down. Personally, I find that style very
                  distracting to me. It builds a tension in me that grows with each step up
                  and I find it very difficult to really pay attention to the words, more so
                  than normal. That's just me, however. Thus, I would probably only use that
                  style if told to by a bishop or priest specifically. I would, however, like
                  to learn the style for my own archdiocese, but that is one of the things we
                  don't do here. Our sub-deacon who usually reads the Epistle, does so without
                  chanting, in a spoken voice. However, he is one of the few in our
                  archdiocese who I've seen do that, most chant in some fashion. Thus,
                  whenever I read it, I usually plain chant it as I do other text.

                  However, if I took that music which says to "Chant like an Epistle", I could
                  probably use that as a basis for learning how to do it in that fashion. So
                  maybe I will practice a bit tomorrow since there is a high likelihood that I
                  will be reading it Sunday.

                  >
                  > Regardless of the particular [musical] style used
                  > for chanting various things, I think the style of
                  > chanting depends on what is being read -- almost
                  > like a "hierarchy". Chanting for OT readings and
                  > Psalms should be the least stylized (or simplest.)
                  > The Epistle and Prokeimenae should be more
                  > stylized, and then the Gospel should be the most
                  > stylized.

                  I've gathered that. We simply speak the OT and Psalm readings, so that is
                  fairly simple. Then as I said above, I've used a plain chant for Epistle
                  readings, trying not to make it too fancy so as not to end up approaching
                  the way our priest reads the Gospel.

                  >
                  > Some people I've talked to about this also feel
                  > that chanting in general should be less stylized
                  > during Great Lent.

                  That I haven't heard before, but it would seem to fit if one had the degrees
                  down to do it. Much to eventually learn here. :-)


                  Rdr. Timothy Copple
                • Reader Michael J. Bishop
                  Christ is risen! Thank you, Reader Alexander, for your explanation. My priest told me that since I am a tonsured Reader, I should wear my cassock at any
                  Message 8 of 13 , Jun 1, 2002
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                    Christ is risen!

                    Thank you, Reader Alexander, for your explanation. My priest told me that
                    since I am a tonsured Reader, I should wear my cassock at any church function.
                    I have been doing this in my former jurisdiction and my bishop has seen me in
                    cassock at banquets, presidential speech, picnics, etc. Every year I try to
                    attend the pilgrimage at St. Tikhon Monastery and I wear my cassock and the
                    abbott and rector saw me there the last two years in cassock and this year he
                    personally greeted me with "Christ is risen" as he was heading in the opposite
                    direction.

                    If I am not serving, I do not vest to receive Communion. My bishop has seen me
                    with the skufia outside and has not said anything yet. I generally put my
                    cassock on before I leave home and take it off when I arrive home. One reason
                    that I do this is to remind people that God is. If I can help turn one person
                    around, it would be well worth the less than minimum effort that I make. Last
                    week I took a big bag of clothes to church for shipment to Russia because my
                    neighbor across the street has seen me in cassock and when I approached her in
                    cassock and requested that she donate anything that does not sell in her yard
                    sale to the church, she was delighted to do so.

                    Reader Michael

                    Alex Vallens wrote:

                    > jEver since I was a simple Altar server I have always seen the reader,
                    > tonsured or not (male, of course), wear a Stikharion. However, it was
                    > not until well after becoming a Reader that I learned of the cassock and
                    > Stikharion. The signifigance of the Stikharion is clear, as this is the
                    > garment that the Bishop blesses the Reader to wear at his tonsuring. As
                    > such, it is reasonable to conclude that it should be worn whenever
                    > participating (i.e. performing the duties to which he is ordained) in
                    > the Divine services, and whenever receiving communion. This is
                    > comparable to priests and deacons required to wear, at the bear minimum,
                    > stoles (oraria or epitrachelia) and cuffs when doing the same.
                    > Furthermore, the cassock is the sign of the clergy. Although our bishop
                    > disagrees with this assesment, the canons state that ALL clergy must
                    > wear simple attire and proper liturgical dress (read: cassocks and
                    > vestments when appropriate). Therefore, I ALWAYS wear my cassock
                    > whenever in church, usually when on church grounds, and typically at
                    > church functions. Our bishop hasn't caught me on this regard, and has
                    > furthermore blessed me to wear the skufia outside of the Divine
                    > services, unless outdoors. Be forewarned, however, as your mileage may
                    > vary by individual community and jurisdiction.
                    >
                    > I hope this was not too boring, and at least partly helpful.
                    >
                    > Christ is Risen!
                    > Indeed He is Risen!
                    >
                    > With love in Our Risen Lord,
                    > Reader Alexander Vallens
                    > (Alex)
                    >
                    > -

                    --
                    Reader Michael J. Bishop
                    12 E Read St
                    Baltimore MD 21202-2459
                    410-752-7270 voice
                    410-752-7362 fax/modem

                    Personal web site: http://www.Michael-Bishop.com and
                    http://www.ReaderMichael.com

                    E-mail for personal messages: Reader@... or
                    Arch@...
                    E-mail for lists: ReaderMichael@...

                    Baltimore Orthodox web site: http://www.BaltimoreOrthodox.org
                    Washington Orthodox web site: http://www.WashingtonOrthodox.org
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