Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

A Resume of My Questions

Expand Messages
  • Antonio Palad
    Apparently my first email was too long, too rambling and – I’m sure – not very easy to read. However, I’d appreciate it if I could get at least some
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 1, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      Apparently my first email was too long, too rambling and – I’m sure – not very easy to read. However, I’d appreciate it if I could get at least some feedback from this list, and so:

      I now present here the gist of my most important questions and concerns:

      1) What place does Scripture – especially psalmody – really have in contemporary Orthodox worship? Are the psalms really chanted or recited still, AT LEAST PARTIALLY? (This is also what I basically meant when I asked if any Orthodox temples and monasteries outside of Athos and the Priested Old Believer communities still celebrated the liturgy of the hours “completely”, down to the last rubric and the last word of prayer and song.)

      2) What is the prospects for Orthodox worship in the future? Is reform in the shape of curtailment and simplification all but certain, or are there communities prepared to show that the Byzantine liturgy – both divine office and liturgy of the hours – in all its richness and complexity, is still practicable in this day and age? In another weblist I’ve just read an Orthodox monk of ROCOR affirm that, yes, the ancient liturgical traditions can still be completely celebrated even in our day and age even in some urban settings, but that it will be by people sent by God i.e it’s not for everyone. (Obviously!) I’ve also read Archbishop Chrysostom of Etna boast that in his jurisdiction, there are no “reformed” fasts, no abbreviated services. I wonder what he means.

      3) Finally, a question not fully articulated, but lurking behind the things I previously wrote: There is no doubting the beauty and grandeur of the Byzantine liturgy, especially in its poetry and theological depth. Just reading the texts of the Byzantine liturgy makes my heart jump with a mysterious joy that I could never feel when reading contemporary Western liturgical texts. Still: can they really make up for the practical absence of the Psalter from the actual celebration of so many services? I am aware that Tradition is the Word of God, that the golden sentences of the service books encase the pearl of great price that is Tradition, and that Scripture forms but part of the whole that is Tradition. Still, the Psalter is the unparalleled prayer book of Christian tradition, and to suppress it is to silence much of what we have to say to God, and more importantly, much of what God has to say to us.

      Let me repeat that, in asking about “completeness”, I do not mean to judge people.

      I do not mean to say that celebrating everything there is in the typika or in the service books is the royal road, the right way, for everyone. I myself think that some simplification is necessary – but not being Orthodox, I dare not write about my ideas here. At the same time, I recognize that worship is the most urgent need for our wounded and sinful world, and that people who have the courage to be athletes for God, carrying out rounds of unceasing prayer in their combat against evil, are needed more than ever. If ever there was a time when some monks and select faithful were needed to worship as the monks and faithful of the lost Orthodox empires did, don’t you think that time is now, when evil has grown to such unimaginable proportions?

      However, I do not mean to say that services in which – from the point of view of the typika -- many things are omitted or passed over or abbreviated are, simply for that reason, somehow lacking in spiritual depth or power before the throne of God. After all, God looks at the heart, not at the number of words, and was it not Christ himself who cautioned us against prayer that is vain and with many useless words?

      I dare not condemn anyone who longs for a 75-minute Divine Liturgy or a 30-minute Orthros, when my daily work means that I could barely bring myself to attend 30-minute daily Mass (I’m Catholic, please remember)

      I have no doubt at all that the Byzantine liturgy, even when much abbreviated, retains its power to glorify God, edify angels and sanctify men… so long, of course, that the cutting is done not out of capriciousness or arbitrariness, but with the proper blessing from a hierarch or a spiritual father or elder.

      In asking about “completeness” I am asking about but one, non-judgmental, neutral thing, namely, whether anybody – anybody – still follows the rigorous demands of the typika down to the last letter. I am not here to probe minds and judge hearts, to canonize some and condemn others. I am not here to ask whether the typika are followed out of legalism or out of an austere love for the Risen Christ.

      I am just asking if it is still possible to do such a thing as to actually carry out the daily round of services and to scrupulously follow the typika with barely an omission. That is all.

      I hope that I have made myself sufficiently clear.

      A sinner
      Carlos

      Send instant messages to your online friends http://uk.messenger.yahoo.com

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Fr. John R. Shaw
      ... JRS: In a good many parishes, especially in Russia today, the Psalter is indeed recited in full as prescribed, according to Kathisma divisions. There is
      Message 2 of 4 , Mar 1, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        Antonio Palad wrote:

        > 1) Are the psalms really chanted or recited still, AT LEAST PARTIALLY?

        JRS: In a good many parishes, especially in Russia today, the Psalter is indeed recited in full
        as prescribed, according to Kathisma divisions.

        There is also a tradition of *singing* the Psalter at Matins, which still is current among the
        "Pomortsi" Old Believers: including the ROCOR Old Rite parish in Erie, PA.

        At the Divine Liturgy, a special place for the Psalter is at the 3 antiphons. However, the
        Prokeimena and Alleluiatic Verses are excerpts from the Psalter, and the Communion Verse
        can be repeated as many times as needed, alternating with other verses from the same
        Psalm.

        > 2) What is the prospects for Orthodox worship in the future?

        JRS: The same as in the present.

        > I’ve also read Archbishop Chrysostom of Etna boast that in his jurisdiction, there are no
        “reformed” fasts, no abbreviated services. I wonder what he means.

        JRS: It would be uncharitable towards "Etna", for me to comment on that.

        > 3) Can [the beauty and grandeur of the Byzantine liturgy] really make up for the practical
        absence of the Psalter from the actual celebration of so many services?

        JRS: The "practical absence of the Psalter" is something I believe you are mistaken about.
        Even in "minimal" observances, there are still texts from the Psalter everywhere.

        In Christ
        Fr. John R. Shaw
      • Maria Armstrong
        We read the appointed kathismas on weekday services. We also read the appointed Psalm at the Communion hymn in between the sing verse. maria. On Wed, 1 Mar
        Message 3 of 4 , Mar 1, 2006
        • 0 Attachment
          We read the appointed kathismas on weekday services.
          We also read the appointed Psalm at the Communion hymn in between the
          sing verse.
          maria.

          On Wed, 1 Mar 2006 07:59:24 -0500 "Fr. John R. Shaw" <vrevjrs@...>
          writes:

          Antonio Palad wrote:

          > 1) Are the psalms really chanted or recited still, AT LEAST
          PARTIALLY?

          JRS: In a good many parishes, especially in Russia today, the Psalter is
          indeed recited in full
          as prescribed, according to Kathisma divisions.

          There is also a tradition of *singing* the Psalter at Matins, which still
          is current among the
          "Pomortsi" Old Believers: including the ROCOR Old Rite parish in Erie,
          PA.

          At the Divine Liturgy, a special place for the Psalter is at the 3
          antiphons. However, the
          Prokeimena and Alleluiatic Verses are excerpts from the Psalter, and the
          Communion Verse
          can be repeated as many times as needed, alternating with other verses
          from the same
          Psalm.



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Philip Silouan Thompson
          ... Here at St Silouan s, we try to read the full Vespers kathisma every weeknight and both Matins kathismata in the morning, so we go through the whole
          Message 4 of 4 , Mar 1, 2006
          • 0 Attachment
            Antonio Palad wrote:
            > What place does Scripture – especially psalmody – really have in
            > contemporary Orthodox worship?

            Here at St Silouan's, we try to read the full Vespers kathisma every
            weeknight and both Matins kathismata in the morning, so we go through
            the whole Psalter every week. But in practice, at daily Vespers our
            priest will often have us omit the kathisma, and at Sunday Matins I
            often abbreviate the kathismata to a single stasis each. Part of that
            is a time constraint: Sunday Matins starts at 8am and I need to hand
            the reins over to the choir right at 9:30 for the Doxology and
            Liturgy. So I abbreviate the Psalter readings and skip repetitions in
            the canons as needed to fit as much as possible in those 90 minutes.
            Balance is an ongoing judgment call that tries to ensure we hear as
            much of the Psalter *and* as much of the day's hymns as possible.

            But aside from the systematic cover-to-cover reading of the Psalms,
            the prayers and refrains of all our services are thoroughly laced
            with quotes and allusions to the Psalms. If a person took a
            highlighter and went through the text of a Matins or Liturgy service
            marking all the Psalter bits (and other Bible quotes), his pages
            would be colorful indeed.

            > Are the psalms really chanted or recited still, AT LEAST PARTIALLY?
            > (This is also what I basically meant when I asked if any Orthodox
            > temples and monasteries outside of Athos...

            At three of the four monasteries I usually visit, the services are
            celebrated fully, including all the kathismata. Part of the joyful
            ascetic struggle at these monasteries is standing in church for five
            hours a night. (The fourth monastery consists of two monks, and they
            still serve as many services as their health and work permits.)

            > What is the prospects for Orthodox worship in the future? Is reform
            > in the shape of curtailment and simplification all but certain, or
            > are there communities prepared to show that the Byzantine liturgy –
            > both divine office and liturgy of the hours – in all its richness
            > and complexity, is still practicable in this day and age?

            It'd be hard to generalize, and I'm skeptical about observed trends
            in the Church - our lives are so short (and history so long) that
            what looks to us like a significant trend may well turn out to be a
            mere blip that only lasts a few decades.

            I expect we'll continue to see parishes with varying practices, and
            monasteries maintaining the full cycle of services they've received.
            Historically there have always been different practices in parishes
            and monasteries, so that's nothing new.

            > In another weblist I’ve just read an Orthodox monk of ROCOR affirm
            > that, yes, the ancient liturgical traditions can still be
            > completely celebrated even in our day and age even in some urban
            > settings, but that it will be by people sent by God i.e it’s not
            > for everyone. (Obviously!)

            Well, I can tell you there were about four people at Matins this
            morning. (Well, four visible, plus Christ and all the saints and
            angels...) Some weekdays there are a dozen of us, sometimes just a
            cantor or two. Committing to be there every day is definitely not for
            everybody. A friend of a friend in another parish complained that
            there were too many services, making people feel guilty for missing
            some. That person was missing the point: You come to worship when you
            can and as you choose, and nobody's taking attendance.

            Completeness is an ideal we work toward, omitting as little as
            possible. We experience the full cycle of daily services when we're
            at monasteries, but here at our parish we don't ordinarily serve
            daily Compline or the Hours. For us, daily Matins, Vespers, and a few
            Liturgies a week are as full a schedule as we can manage, and we do
            them as fully as we can.

            In Christ,

            Reader Silouan
          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.