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Re: Greek ways

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  • stephen_r1937
    ... Stephan in Ottawa, I have been attending a Greek parish for almost three years now. It took me about a year to become familiar enough with Greek Orthros
    Message 1 of 6 , Sep 12, 2006
      --- In ustav@yahoogroups.com, "stephanlh" <stephanlh@...> wrote:
      >
      > On a recent trip to a traditionalist Orthodox church of Greek origin,
      > the cantor was trying to explain to me the differences between Greek
      > and Russian matins. Even in the traditionalist Greek churches, they
      > seem to have moved things about. He said they sing all the irmoi in a
      > row towards the end. I found the whole explanation confusing. Can
      > anyone set me right on the why, where and how of the matter?
      > Thanks...Stephan in Ottawa
      >
      Stephan in Ottawa, I have been attending a Greek parish for almost
      three years now. It took me about a year to become familiar enough
      with Greek Orthros not to be wondering "Now what is going on?"

      The place to start is with the Mattins Gospel. On Sundays (but not on
      feasts!) it is moved to a position after Ode 8 of the Canon. Well,
      that's not quite right either. The Katavasiae of the Canon are not
      sung at the end of each Ode, but are bunched together after Ode 8. And
      in parish use, they are the only part of the Canon that is actually
      sung. The Irmosy and their following troparia are simply omitted. So
      the Canon actually begins with the Synaxarion and the Kontakion and
      Ikos, which are read "after the first six Odes"--but those odes are
      omitted. The next thing is the series of Katavasiae for odes 1 through
      8. Then the Gospel is read, preceded by "Let everything that has
      breath" or "Let every breath" (how to translate it is now being
      debated in the Typikon list), but not by the Mattis prokeimenon, which
      has been sung back where you would expect it, and thereby separated
      from the Gospel reading. After the reading of the Gospel comes Psalm
      50, transferred from its original place so it can be sung as the
      people go up to venerate the Gospel book.

      Apparently this change reflects a custom whereby the Patriarch of
      Constantinople arrived in church on Sunday morning during the Canon,
      not during the "Lord, I cry" psalms. We now begin Mattins at 08:15,
      and many people arrive only toward the end of the service, so many
      hear the morning Gospel who would miss it if it were read in the
      earlier position.

      Once the ceremonies surrounding the Gospel reading are finished, the
      Ninth Ode is sung (with "More honorable" on Sundays), and from this
      point on things occur more or less as you would expect.

      My first impression was that someone had written each constituent part
      of Mattins on a separate card, thrown away about a third of them, and
      shuffled the remaining deck.

      Another thing: as a rule of thumb, I would say that those elements
      that Russians tend to abridge will usually be done punctiliously by
      the Greeks (the Gradual Antiphons, for example), while those that
      Russians do in full the Greeks will often shorten or omit (the
      Polyeleos, for example). This is only a rough description, but it is
      of some assistance in preparing for the unfamiliar.

      Now I am used to it, and no longer bewildered. It continues to seem a
      bit odd that Psalm 50 comes so late, but I know where to expect it.
      And the abridgement of the service does still seem a bit excessive.
      There are compensations. The Dogmatikon is sung to a more solemn
      melody than the preceding stichera, comparable to the Znamenny melody,
      to accompany the Entrance. The appointed prosomoea (podobny) are all
      sung to their proper melodies--what Russian parish does that? The
      exapostilaria are sung to absolutely lovely melodies of their own and
      not treated as though they were troparia of Tone 3. My parish is quite
      traditonal (no organ, no harmonic choir), so what I hear is Byzantine
      chant. And it is a fine parish in many other ways, constantly
      reminding one of the Orthodox understanding of things, and
      strengthening us in our lives in a very unorthodox world. So I go with
      the flow, and now that I have got my bearings I find Orthros quite
      prayerful, abridgements and rearrangements notwithstanding.

      Many (not all) of what will strike you as oddities are prescribed in
      the "Great Church" Typicon; monasteries still follow the Sabaite
      Typicon. If you were to attend servicesfrom time to time at the
      traditionalist Greek church you mention, you would after a while find
      it all less confusing.
    • stephanlh
      Dear Stephen, Thank you for your explanation. That helps a lot. Another reader of this refered me to the Festal Menion, particularly the comments of Ware in
      Message 2 of 6 , Sep 14, 2006
        Dear Stephen,


        Thank you for your explanation. That helps a lot. Another reader of
        this refered me to the Festal Menion, particularly the comments of
        Ware in the preface and in the explanation of the word Typicon in
        the glossary of terms in the back.

        You are probably right about the idea if I were to go more often I
        would get to know it. Actually this past weekend I went again to
        another Greek church as I was visiting my father in Peterborough,
        Ontario. It is also a very traditional and very loving community
        despite the fact they follow the secular calendar. The chants were
        all done in a very prayerful and devout way without an organ or any
        modernization. The only big problem for me was it was all in Greek
        (whereas the Divine Liturgy was about 50%, 50%). It was also
        interesting to note that a few parishioners actually like to come
        early for Matins and sing along.

        God bless...Stephan


        --- In ustav@yahoogroups.com, "stephen_r1937" <stephen_r1937@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > --- In ustav@yahoogroups.com, "stephanlh" <stephanlh@> wrote:
        > >
        > > On a recent trip to a traditionalist Orthodox church of Greek
        origin,
        > > the cantor was trying to explain to me the differences between
        Greek
        > > and Russian matins. Even in the traditionalist Greek churches,
        they
        > > seem to have moved things about. He said they sing all the irmoi
        in a
        > > row towards the end. I found the whole explanation confusing.
        Can
        > > anyone set me right on the why, where and how of the matter?
        > > Thanks...Stephan in Ottawa
        > >
        > Stephan in Ottawa, I have been attending a Greek parish for almost
        > three years now. It took me about a year to become familiar enough
        > with Greek Orthros not to be wondering "Now what is going on?"
        >
        > The place to start is with the Mattins Gospel. On Sundays (but not
        on
        > feasts!) it is moved to a position after Ode 8 of the Canon. Well,
        > that's not quite right either. The Katavasiae of the Canon are not
        > sung at the end of each Ode, but are bunched together after Ode 8.
        And
        > in parish use, they are the only part of the Canon that is actually
        > sung. The Irmosy and their following troparia are simply omitted.
        So
        > the Canon actually begins with the Synaxarion and the Kontakion and
        > Ikos, which are read "after the first six Odes"--but those odes are
        > omitted. The next thing is the series of Katavasiae for odes 1
        through
        > 8. Then the Gospel is read, preceded by "Let everything that has
        > breath" or "Let every breath" (how to translate it is now being
        > debated in the Typikon list), but not by the Mattis prokeimenon,
        which
        > has been sung back where you would expect it, and thereby separated
        > from the Gospel reading. After the reading of the Gospel comes
        Psalm
        > 50, transferred from its original place so it can be sung as the
        > people go up to venerate the Gospel book.
        >
        > Apparently this change reflects a custom whereby the Patriarch of
        > Constantinople arrived in church on Sunday morning during the
        Canon,
        > not during the "Lord, I cry" psalms. We now begin Mattins at 08:15,
        > and many people arrive only toward the end of the service, so many
        > hear the morning Gospel who would miss it if it were read in the
        > earlier position.
        >
        > Once the ceremonies surrounding the Gospel reading are finished,
        the
        > Ninth Ode is sung (with "More honorable" on Sundays), and from this
        > point on things occur more or less as you would expect.
        >
        > My first impression was that someone had written each constituent
        part
        > of Mattins on a separate card, thrown away about a third of them,
        and
        > shuffled the remaining deck.
        >
        > Another thing: as a rule of thumb, I would say that those elements
        > that Russians tend to abridge will usually be done punctiliously by
        > the Greeks (the Gradual Antiphons, for example), while those that
        > Russians do in full the Greeks will often shorten or omit (the
        > Polyeleos, for example). This is only a rough description, but it
        is
        > of some assistance in preparing for the unfamiliar.
        >
        > Now I am used to it, and no longer bewildered. It continues to
        seem a
        > bit odd that Psalm 50 comes so late, but I know where to expect it.
        > And the abridgement of the service does still seem a bit excessive.
        > There are compensations. The Dogmatikon is sung to a more solemn
        > melody than the preceding stichera, comparable to the Znamenny
        melody,
        > to accompany the Entrance. The appointed prosomoea (podobny) are
        all
        > sung to their proper melodies--what Russian parish does that? The
        > exapostilaria are sung to absolutely lovely melodies of their own
        and
        > not treated as though they were troparia of Tone 3. My parish is
        quite
        > traditonal (no organ, no harmonic choir), so what I hear is
        Byzantine
        > chant. And it is a fine parish in many other ways, constantly
        > reminding one of the Orthodox understanding of things, and
        > strengthening us in our lives in a very unorthodox world. So I go
        with
        > the flow, and now that I have got my bearings I find Orthros quite
        > prayerful, abridgements and rearrangements notwithstanding.
        >
        > Many (not all) of what will strike you as oddities are prescribed
        in
        > the "Great Church" Typicon; monasteries still follow the Sabaite
        > Typicon. If you were to attend servicesfrom time to time at the
        > traditionalist Greek church you mention, you would after a while
        find
        > it all less confusing.
        >
      • stephen_r1937
        Dear Stephan, Yes, the Festal Menaion gives a good, concise discussion; I should have mentioned it myself. The web site of Saint Gregory Palamas Monastery has
        Message 3 of 6 , Sep 14, 2006
          Dear Stephan,

          Yes, the Festal Menaion gives a good, concise discussion; I should
          have mentioned it myself.

          The web site of Saint Gregory Palamas Monastery has a link for
          downloading the propers for Orthros for current and upcoming Sundays &
          feasts, either in English (Fr Seraphim Dedes' translation) or with
          English & Greek in parallel columns. If you get the latter, print it
          out, punch it an put it in one of the term-paper binders, you will
          have the Greeks texts for any Sunday you chose to go. There is also a
          download for the Ordinary, at least the beginning of Mattins before
          "The Lord is God," in similar format. The parishes you mention
          probably use the Holy Transfiguration tranlation, so you may not have
          the same English if you go to a parish that uses English; I like to
          have these; it's helpful to read them in advance of the service.

          Stephen

          --- In ustav@yahoogroups.com, "stephanlh" <stephanlh@...> wrote:
          >
          > Dear Stephen,
          >
          >
          > Thank you for your explanation. That helps a lot. Another reader of
          > this refered me to the Festal Menion, particularly the comments of
          > Ware in the preface and in the explanation of the word Typicon in
          > the glossary of terms in the back.
          >
          > You are probably right about the idea if I were to go more often I
          > would get to know it. Actually this past weekend I went again to
          > another Greek church as I was visiting my father in Peterborough,
          > Ontario. It is also a very traditional and very loving community
          > despite the fact they follow the secular calendar. The chants were
          > all done in a very prayerful and devout way without an organ or any
          > modernization. The only big problem for me was it was all in Greek
          > (whereas the Divine Liturgy was about 50%, 50%). It was also
          > interesting to note that a few parishioners actually like to come
          > early for Matins and sing along.
          >
        • stephanlh
          Dear Stephan...Thank you for your help. This brings me to another question (may be I should stop asking questions)...But if these monks from St. Gregory s
          Message 4 of 6 , Sep 18, 2006
            Dear Stephan...Thank you for your help. This brings me to another
            question (may be I should stop asking questions)...But if these
            monks from St. Gregory's Monastery originally came from Mount Athos,
            should they not be celebrating and promoting the Athnoite typicon
            which I believe is the traditional arrangement of St.
            Sabas...Thanks...Stephan in Ottawa


            --- In ustav@yahoogroups.com, "stephen_r1937" <stephen_r1937@...>
            wrote:
            >
            > Dear Stephan,
            >
            > Yes, the Festal Menaion gives a good, concise discussion; I should
            > have mentioned it myself.
            >
            > The web site of Saint Gregory Palamas Monastery has a link for
            > downloading the propers for Orthros for current and upcoming
            Sundays &
            > feasts, either in English (Fr Seraphim Dedes' translation) or with
            > English & Greek in parallel columns. If you get the latter, print
            it
            > out, punch it an put it in one of the term-paper binders, you will
            > have the Greeks texts for any Sunday you chose to go. There is
            also a
            > download for the Ordinary, at least the beginning of Mattins before
            > "The Lord is God," in similar format. The parishes you mention
            > probably use the Holy Transfiguration tranlation, so you may not
            have
            > the same English if you go to a parish that uses English; I like to
            > have these; it's helpful to read them in advance of the service.
            >
            > Stephen
            >
            > --- In ustav@yahoogroups.com, "stephanlh" <stephanlh@> wrote:
            > >
            > > Dear Stephen,
            > >
            > >
            > > Thank you for your explanation. That helps a lot. Another reader
            of
            > > this refered me to the Festal Menion, particularly the comments
            of
            > > Ware in the preface and in the explanation of the word Typicon
            in
            > > the glossary of terms in the back.
            > >
            > > You are probably right about the idea if I were to go more often
            I
            > > would get to know it. Actually this past weekend I went again to
            > > another Greek church as I was visiting my father in
            Peterborough,
            > > Ontario. It is also a very traditional and very loving community
            > > despite the fact they follow the secular calendar. The chants
            were
            > > all done in a very prayerful and devout way without an organ or
            any
            > > modernization. The only big problem for me was it was all in
            Greek
            > > (whereas the Divine Liturgy was about 50%, 50%). It was also
            > > interesting to note that a few parishioners actually like to
            come
            > > early for Matins and sing along.
            > >
            >
          • stephen_r1937
            ... In all probability they do just that (I haven t been there). But these Mattins pages are done in conjunction with GOA and are intended for parish use, so
            Message 5 of 6 , Sep 18, 2006
              --- In ustav@yahoogroups.com, "stephanlh" <stephanlh@...> wrote:
              >
              > Dear Stephan...Thank you for your help. This brings me to another
              > question (may be I should stop asking questions)...But if these
              > monks from St. Gregory's Monastery originally came from Mount Athos,
              > should they not be celebrating and promoting the Athnoite typicon
              > which I believe is the traditional arrangement of St.
              > Sabas...Thanks...Stephan in Ottawa
              >
              In all probability they do just that (I haven't been there). But these
              Mattins pages are done in conjunction with GOA and are intended for
              parish use, so they are according to the Great Church Typikon and
              parish custom.

              Stephen
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