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I went to a Byzantine service tody #124075
07/25/04 09:40 PM
07/25/04 09:40 PM
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OurLadyOfSorrows Offline OP
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All I can say is:


WOW, THAT WAS DIFFERENT!!!!


I have some questions.....

1. Why is everything sung, even the Gospel?
2. Why leven bread and not unleaven?
3. What is the significance of the basket of bread at the end of the service?
4. Why was the priest seperated from us and his back to us?


These are just a few.... I don't want to post so many at once. Thank you.

Re: I went to a Byzantine service tody #124076
07/25/04 10:49 PM
07/25/04 10:49 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by OurLadyOfSorrows:
All I can say is:


WOW, THAT WAS DIFFERENT!!!!


I have some questions.....

1. Why is everything sung, even the Gospel?
2. Why leven bread and not unleaven?
3. What is the significance of the basket of bread at the end of the service?
4. Why was the priest seperated from us and his back to us?


These are just a few.... I don't want to post so many at once. Thank you.
Dear OLOS,

I will try to answer your first question. Why is everything sung, even the Gospel?

Because that is the way it was, is now, and always will be. Actually to me it is a taste of heaven where all, with the heavenly choirs of angels, will worship, praise, and adore before the throne of God for all eternity.

Are you glad you went?

Mary Jo

Re: I went to a Byzantine service tody #124077
07/25/04 10:58 PM
07/25/04 10:58 PM
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OurLadyOfSorrows Offline OP
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I'm sorry Mary Jo, but I'm not sure how to take your response.....


Maybe there is a particular reason behind it, similar to what I have learned about signing the cross differently?

Am I glad I went? Of course I am.

Re: I went to a Byzantine service tody #124078
07/25/04 11:49 PM
07/25/04 11:49 PM
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I will try to answer these questions, but we know there are truly a lot of experts on here that can give a more detailed answer!

1. Why is everything sung, even the Gospel?

First when we sing we are praying twice. Mary Jo is correct in that we join in with all the choirs of heaven praising God. We believe that when we walk through the doors of our churches we are no longer on earths time, but God's alone. Archbishop Raya always said that the Word vibrates, it resonates within us when it is chanted. It becomes a total part of our being, it's every note. Many times in Scripture it refers to man giving supplication to God in melody. You also noticed there were no instruments in the church, God gave us voices and we give them back to him, they are our instruments. All for his honor and glory.

2. Why leven bread and not unleaven?
We have levend bread because of the Ressuretion. The Roman and Byzantine Churches have different deposits of faith, although it is one in the same. The West looks more to the Crucifixion while the East looks more to Ressurection.

3. What is the significance of the basket of bread at the end of the service?
The basket if bread is a shared meal so to speak. It is of the same loaf as the Lamb, the Eucharist is from. Except it is not consecrated, it is blessed. At St. Georges, Fr. Frank will pass the bread over the Chalice after it has been consecrated, asking Jesus to bless it. So this allows everyone to share whether Catholic or Protestant, since again it is blessed and not consecrated. You exalt the Cross and then receive the bread.

4. Why was the priest seperated from us and his back to us?
The altar of the Byzantine Church follows the instructions in Livitcus. Jewish people will come to the churches and recognize it instantly. He is in what we would consider like the Holy of Holies. Only the priest, deacon, and altar servers are allowed there. But, altar servers depend on a particular parish, technically they should not be back their either. The Iconostasis is a veil in a sence, it helps us to understand that we truly don't understand the mystery that is taking place.
So we don't see it as "divided." The priest faces east because Jesus said he will return from there.

We have not changed much from 2000 years ago. The Liturgies we celebrate are from the third century, but in reality they are just reorganization of the Liturgy of St. James the Apostle. St. James Liturgy is celebrated everyday in monasteries. So we really don't change, and the things we did change are being returned. Pope John Paul II and Vatican II have been very clear on the necessity for us to return to who we are as Eastern Churches.

Hope this helps, like I said the experts will weigh in more heavilly later. biggrin

Pani Rose

Re: I went to a Byzantine service tody #124079
07/26/04 12:02 AM
07/26/04 12:02 AM
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West Coast
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Actually OLOS
I think it was the same in the West for quite awhile, excepting the signing with the cross in a different manner.
Stephanos I

Re: I went to a Byzantine service tody #124080
07/26/04 12:06 AM
07/26/04 12:06 AM
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Hi,

I don't know how to make your comment about what you said "wow that was different". It sounds almost condescending to me. Correct me if I'm mistaken, sometimes I take the comments the wrong way.

But nevertheless, I'll answer the best of my ability to your questions.

1) Everything is sung to give glory to G-d. It's like saying your prayer twice. Even in the Latin Church, the Mass used to be all sung, including the Gospel...that's changed because of Vatican II. Besides, it's something we've done for thousands of years. Besides, the angels do it in Heaven at all times, they speak to G-d in a song.

2) The bread is leaven because it represents the Risen Christ. In the Byzantine Churches, the emphasis is on the Resurrection. Hence on Sundays, standing is encouraged since it represents the Resurrection and kneeling shouldn't be done.

The leaven bread is just as valid as non-leaven bread in the Latin Church.

3) The Basket of Bread is what you call antidorion. It's a "left over" Prosphora (bread) of which the priest cuts out the center of a piece of bread that's normally baked by one of the parishoners. The priest cuts out the center of the bread called "The Lamb". The Lamb is used for consecration, for Holy Communion. The remaining of the bread is not consecrated, so it was used for distribution of bread after Communion and/or after Liturgy. The antidorion represents our breaking of the bread, meaning our Christian fellowship. The Lamb isn't the only thing that's cut out of the bread. The priest also cuts out portions of the bread representing Theotokos (Mother of God) and all the people in the Church. So therefore, small square cubes of bread represents the people. So, it's like having the entire Church onto the Diskos (paten) and brought to the Altar during the Great Entrance. Each pieces of bread that's on the Diskos will be consecrated. It is a sign that Christ is in our Midst and we will be One with Christ in Holy Communion.

I hope it helps you understand what antidorion is for. People think it's consecrated and is Holy Communion, but it's not. Also, eating the bread after Communion is a way to make sure that there's NO remnant of Body of Christ that's left in your mouth or teeth (like it's purifying your mouth) before you go eat after Liturgy.

4) Your question has two parts, so I'll answer in two parts.

4A: Why is the priest separated from the rest of us. Because the area where the priest is at represents Heaven, and the Royal Doors represents the Gate of Heaven of which Christ comes through to proclaim the Gospel and to give Himself to us through Communion. Even in the Latin Church (mainly pre-Vatican II), there was a separation between the people and the priest, divided by the Communion Rail. This area is like "Holy of Holies".

4B: Why is the priest facing back from us? Because the priest represents the people. He pleads to G-d on our behalf. Not only the priest represents Christ ("persona-Christi"), but he also represents People. The priest is like our mediator between Christ and the People. Even in the Latin Church (again mostly pre-Vatican II), the priests used to have his back from his people facing the Altar, facing G-d.

We ALL should be facing G-d together, turing Eastward.

Vatican II did not affect our Byzantine Churches liturgically. But it did help us get some proper respect from the Latin Church that's deserved to us. Because we are equal, no other Churches (Eastern and Western) are greater than the other.

I hope my answers help. And if you have any more questions, ask away. That's what this forum is for. Also, I'm glad you enjoyed your first visit to the Byzantine Church.

G-d bless,

SPDundas
Deaf Byzantine

Re: I went to a Byzantine service tody #124081
07/26/04 12:34 AM
07/26/04 12:34 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by OurLadyOfSorrows:
I'm sorry Mary Jo, but I'm not sure how to take your response.....


Maybe there is a particular reason behind it, similar to what I have learned about signing the cross differently?

Am I glad I went? Of course I am.
-------------------------------------------
OLOS,

I had typed quite a bit in response to this all along thinking my answers lacked the wisdom and understanding needed to answer you. Finally I gave up, deleted it, and went back to the forum and found all I had tried to say said by Pani Rose and others [thanks be to God]

I asked you whether you were glad you went, not because I thought you weren't, but because I do respect how your feelings were and how the atmosphere seemed to you. Experiencing the mystery and awe of the Divine Liturgy is very important, so personal reactions do matter. I am sure there will be more, as Pani Rose says, "experts" answering you sooner or later. Now it is probably mainly nightowls living on the East coast and those of us evening owls in the West coast.

Porter.

Re: I went to a Byzantine service tody #124082
07/26/04 02:22 AM
07/26/04 02:22 AM
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Sung Gospel - actually the Gospel is supposed to be sung at the Roman Mass as well (your chances of hearing this done in practice are not great, except maybe at a Latin High Mass); the sacramentary even gives musical notation for the purpose. The reason is that the proclamation of the Word of God is simultaneously the praise of God; hence, the Church sings the Gospel.
Incognitus

Re: I went to a Byzantine service tody #124083
07/26/04 03:29 AM
07/26/04 03:29 AM
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Glasgow, Scotland
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OLOS,

I somehow get the feeling that the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom has 'touched 'you.

My first experience left me with a lot of questions too - and slowly they are being answered and even more I am starting to understand what is behind the answers.

What no-one has said so far is that not that long ago [ the days imediately before Vatican II ] Mass was celebrated by the Priest with his back to the congregation and really there was very little active participation but the congregation - other than in prayer [ yes I know - a very important part of it smile ]

In the Byzantine Churches people do not sit back [ or stand wink ] and let the Choir and clergy do everything - they sing/chant , they participate fully and with such joy that you know that they believe they they are truly joining with the Priest in this wonderful Celebration of Christ's Resurrection - and this is what it is on every Sunday - the day He rose again for us.

Remember Mary Jo's comment
Quote
Because that is the way it was, is now, and always will be. Actually to me it is a taste of heaven where all, with the heavenly choirs of angels, will worship, praise, and adore before the throne of God for all eternity
She is expressing the timelessness of the Liturgy - this is what also speaks to me - and remember also no one 'fiddles' with the Liturgy , the words are not changed at the whim of the Priest , there are no alterations just to try and include 'modern' ideas . This is The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom as it has been celebrated/served in times past and will continue to be celebrated/served in the future.

By the way spdundas thank you for that post biggrin - I think the best I have ever seen from you

Anhelyna --the ever increasingly eastward tilted Latin biggrin

Re: I went to a Byzantine service tody #124084
07/26/04 11:40 AM
07/26/04 11:40 AM
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Irondale,AL
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Actually, we are all facing East when we worship. All of us are looking for the return of Christ.

See everything about the church, it's architecture the direction it faces which is east, the domes, everything has a meaning, nothing is done without reason.

For example, here is an excellent artile from St. Ellias in Cananda on the placement of Lamb and Particles from Prosphora, and why they are placed that way in what is termed the "Proskomidia" or Office of Preparation
http://www.saintelias.com/Liturgy_elia/Proskomidia_elia/Proskomidia_elia.htm

So anything you see and anything you see being done has a very definate purpose and reason behind it.
Pani Rose

Re: I went to a Byzantine service tody #124085
07/26/04 11:48 AM
07/26/04 11:48 AM
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Dear OLOS:

Don't be bashful about posting a boatload of questions. As you can see, most of us LOVE to talk about our Rite. wink smile

Yours,

hal

Re: I went to a Byzantine service tody #124086
07/26/04 01:58 PM
07/26/04 01:58 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Halychanyn:
Dear OLOS:

Don't be bashful about posting a boatload of questions. As you can see, most of us LOVE to talk about our Rite. wink smile

Yours,

hal
Echoing that one - well the only way you will learn is by asking questions biggrin

And even those of us who are not EC but have fallen in love with Eastern spirtuality and praxis can burble on too biggrin

Anhelyna

Re: I went to a Byzantine service tody #124087
07/26/04 03:02 PM
07/26/04 03:02 PM
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Our Lady's Slave of Love and others,

Your answers(so far) to OLOS's questions have so blessed and informed ME. biggrin I have learned so much. I cannot tell you the joy I feel. This is, indeed, THE place to learn. Good job....


God Bless each and everyone of you.

very gratefully, smile

Mary Jo aka Porter

Re: I went to a Byzantine service tody #124088
07/27/04 07:04 AM
07/27/04 07:04 AM
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SLAVA ISUSU CHRISTU!

Our Lady of Sorrows wrote:"Why was the priest seperated from us and his back to us?"

OLOS, when I'm "giving tours" of my church during our "festivals", I explain to our visitors that the ikonostas (ikon screen/wall) is used as a teaching tool. The ikonostas teaches the Faitful the various Feast Days celebrated in our Church.

It also serves as a "bridge". Everything "behind" the ikonostas, where the priest is, represents Heaven and everything "in front" of the ikonostas, where the people are, represents "this world". The only way for the people of "this world" to get to "heaven" is to follow the teachings and use as role models those saints and holy people who are on the ikonostas.

JMHO....

Hope this helps....

mark


the ikon writer
Re: I went to a Byzantine service tody #124089
07/27/04 10:21 AM
07/27/04 10:21 AM
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Also, another word about the antideron, it was a throw back to the days, (actually, not too long ago), when one fasted from mid-night before before receiving Holy Communion. In the days before coffee and doughnuts, people would be hungry. So the priest blessed little dinner rolls to be passed out to the congregation to give them strength on their journey back home. Some would take this home to their sick relatives too.

The French had this custom also. They called it "au bon pain" the good or holy bread. The Franciscans distribute little dinner rolls on the feast of St. Anthony.

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