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Pre-Vatican II Eastern Catholic preparation for communion #376781 03/04/12 11:58 AM
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Otsheylnik Offline OP
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Prior to the revision of certain Latin tendencies at Vatican II, how did Eastern Catholics (particularly Ruthenians and melkites) prepare for communion?

I am imagining the whole 3 canons and Akathist, Jordanville prayer book style preparation was not in vogue even amongst the Carpatho-Rusyns, but does anybody know what (if any) prayers were said? I am assuming fasting was from midnight as per normal usage.

Also what was the normal frequency of Communion amongst Melkites and Ruthenians?

Re: Pre-Vatican II Eastern Catholic preparation for communion [Re: Otsheylnik] #376788 03/04/12 02:58 PM
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Otsheylnik, I dont believe the Jordanville prayerbook was considered (the Monastery did not begin until 1935 with the cornerstone placed for the construction of the church in 1947), I seem to recall the "first" Jordanville Prayer book was originally published in the 1960's but correct me if I am in error. Considering the amount of publications available to Ruthenian Greek Catholics, I do not think the Jordanville prayer book would have been in wide use especially considering the atmosphere between various churches in those years.

There were many prayerbooks issued for the American Greek Catholic (Ruthenian) Church (some printed in Europe, some in the United States) One major book (still very popular but, out of print), is "My Prayer Book" (Moj Molitvennik) issued from Braddock, PA (Slavonic and English) in 1944. There were numerous prayers for all occassions including the Liturgy and Tropars, etc. Further back is the Malyi Izbornik Cerkovnyi (Slavonic) printed in Uzhorod in 1924, Malyj Chlib Dusi (Slavonic) printed in Uzhorod 1925, a full Liturgikon (Slavonic) printed in Braddock, PA in 1962, there also was a "Childrens Prayer Book for American Children of the Greek Catholic faith, I believe this was printed in the 1940's but would have to double check my record, this prayer book was in English with the Liturgy portion in English/Slavonic, "Nebesnaja Manna" (Heavenly Manna), a Practical Prayer Book of Devotions for Greek Rite Catholics, 1928, printed by the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great in Uniontown, PA, the Malyi Zbornik "Small Prayer Book" which was printed pre-1900 and fully in Church Slavonic letters and a number of other specialized prayer books for specific services (Paraklis, etc) printed mostly out of Mckeesport and Braddock, PA. My favorite is the Main Services of Holy Week and Glorious Resurrection in English and Slavonic printed in 1950. A very unique publication was the Book of Psalms of King David, published by the Greek Catholic Union (Homestead, PA) in English/Slavonic Cyrillic letter and, Church Slavonic lettering in 1921.

As for frequency, I suppose it depends what time period we speak of and what the local custom of the area/church was. For some elderly even today they will not receive Holy Communion without going to confession first and some others adhere to the once a year Holy Communion/Confession obligation. Possibly others who are more skilled and experienced with this portion of your inquiry than I can assist you with your question on usage.


Re: Pre-Vatican II Eastern Catholic preparation for communion [Re: JEK] #376815 03/04/12 07:03 PM
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As a tangent, let me add that the Eastern Catholic practice probably wasn't far off the Latin practice of the day.

It was in the 1950s that the midnight fast was cut for us to three hours and the requirement for confession before each and every Holy Communion was changed. My grandparents couldn't understand what was going on and what they were teaching us because they'd lived their whole lives with the older practices. Later things were changed to a one-hour fast, but today that even seems to be lost because I frequently see people heading to Holy Communion chewing gum and young children eating cereal or other snacks before receiving.

Today it seems the general practice where I live is to have people confess twice a year--during Advent and Lent--and that during a communal penance service with private confession to follow--if they still have the attitude that this is necessary. There are also many who don't bother to confess from year to year.

Bob

Last edited by theophan; 03/04/12 07:04 PM.
Re: Pre-Vatican II Eastern Catholic preparation for communion [Re: theophan] #376821 03/04/12 07:50 PM
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Thanks theophan,

I agree also, it appears confession is down to Easter and Christmas (of course there is always confessions at 3 to 3:30 pm on Saturday afternoon but, unforuntately, the few times I went it was either just myself or, one other person.

General confession (i.e. everyone in a group with a one shot prayer of absolution) thankfully has not taken hold here but it has in other churches (mostly the Orthodox in the area from my experience). Mostly though its a pennance service at Christmas and Easter, once in the morning and once at night for those who work. I am not positive anymore of the fasting requirement but still adhere (or try outside of having to take allergy medications at times) to go without from the time I get up until I receive.

There are also other times during the year when seminars or days of reflection are held when confessions are offered such as a men's retreat that was held yesterday.

Re: Pre-Vatican II Eastern Catholic preparation for communion [Re: theophan] #376858 03/05/12 05:48 AM
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Otsheylnik Offline OP
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<div style="display:none">
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Originally Posted by theophan
As a tangent, let me add that the Eastern Catholic practice probably wasn't far off the Latin practice of the day.


This is more what I meant - by referring to a Jordanville kind of approach, I wasn't referring to that Prayer Book Specifically, but more wondering that Russian kind of preparation was ever envisaged (ie reading lots of canons and akathists). From what you say, it was never envisaged then that people would confess every time they communed?

Re: Pre-Vatican II Eastern Catholic preparation for communion [Re: Otsheylnik] #376859 03/05/12 05:58 AM
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Otsheylnik: My sincere apologies if I misunderstood what you were trying to express. I can only speak for my experiences and my own background and family, the answer is most defnately no, while there was the fasting aspect and possibly reading a prayer (keep in mind, years ago most went to confession prior to communion and therefore had to say a prayer or two anyway), I saw people in private prayer before Holy Communion was distributed but, the practices of the Orthodox church (the bread and wine after, reading from a prayer book numerous prayers of thanksgiving), no, I cannot say I experienced that, private individual prayer yes with some following their prayer book of a limited prayer of thanksgiving and again, after Liturgy staying to pray privately, but, not in the sense of what I saw while I sanng Liturgically for many years in the strict Orthodox parishes (i.e. Synod) of reciting many prayers prior, and after receiving Holy Communion.

Re: Pre-Vatican II Eastern Catholic preparation for communion [Re: Otsheylnik] #376895 03/05/12 09:56 PM
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Dear JEK, it's ok, I don't think you misunderstood I was just clarifying. You're a wealth of information; I'd like to obtain some of the prayerbooks you mentioned in your first post; if you know of some sources please PM me.

Re: Pre-Vatican II Eastern Catholic preparation for communion [Re: Otsheylnik] #376917 03/06/12 03:20 AM
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Dear Otsheylnik: No problem at all and thank you for your very kind comments, I will have to check around and will PM you, most of these prayerbooks are long out of print "however" since I am a genealogist and know many elderly people, many times they will offer me their prayer books (or, after they pass their families will) to keep for passing on so others may continue to use them. I will check and get back to you on what I can russle up as they say. grin

Re: Pre-Vatican II Eastern Catholic preparation for communion [Re: Otsheylnik] #376939 03/06/12 01:50 PM
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Let me clarify. Up until the time of Pope St. Pius X, confession and the midnight fast before every Holy Communion seem to have been the norm for Catholics as well as Orthodox Christians. Catholics began the loosening under this latter Pope and it continued throughout the 20th century.

As far as my limited experience of Orthodox Christian practice in OCA and Greek parishes, I'd been told that Communion preparation was to be done before one arrived at the DL in the morning--possibly after returning home from Vespers the evening before; and the Thanksgiving prayers were to be taken, again, at home after DL unless one stayed to pray them in church.

Bob

Last edited by theophan; 03/06/12 01:55 PM.
Re: Pre-Vatican II Eastern Catholic preparation for communion [Re: JEK] #377025 03/07/12 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by JEK
Otsheylnik, I dont believe the Jordanville prayerbook was considered (the Monastery did not begin until 1935 with the cornerstone placed for the construction of the church in 1947), I seem to recall the "first" Jordanville Prayer book was originally published in the 1960's but correct me if I am in error. Considering the amount of publications available to Ruthenian Greek Catholics, I do not think the Jordanville prayer book would have been in wide use especially considering the atmosphere between various churches in those years.

There were many prayerbooks issued for the American Greek Catholic (Ruthenian) Church (some printed in Europe, some in the United States) One major book (still very popular but, out of print), is "My Prayer Book" (Moj Molitvennik) issued from Braddock, PA (Slavonic and English) in 1944. There were numerous prayers for all occassions including the Liturgy and Tropars, etc. Further back is the Malyi Izbornik Cerkovnyi (Slavonic) printed in Uzhorod in 1924, Malyj Chlib Dusi (Slavonic) printed in Uzhorod 1925, a full Liturgikon (Slavonic) printed in Braddock, PA in 1962, there also was a "Childrens Prayer Book for American Children of the Greek Catholic faith, I believe this was printed in the 1940's but would have to double check my record, this prayer book was in English with the Liturgy portion in English/Slavonic, "Nebesnaja Manna" (Heavenly Manna), a Practical Prayer Book of Devotions for Greek Rite Catholics, 1928, printed by the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great in Uniontown, PA, the Malyi Zbornik "Small Prayer Book" which was printed pre-1900 and fully in Church Slavonic letters and a number of other specialized prayer books for specific services (Paraklis, etc) printed mostly out of Mckeesport and Braddock, PA. My favorite is the Main Services of Holy Week and Glorious Resurrection in English and Slavonic printed in 1950. A very unique publication was the Book of Psalms of King David, published by the Greek Catholic Union (Homestead, PA) in English/Slavonic Cyrillic letter and, Church Slavonic lettering in 1921.

As for frequency, I suppose it depends what time period we speak of and what the local custom of the area/church was. For some elderly even today they will not receive Holy Communion without going to confession first and some others adhere to the once a year Holy Communion/Confession obligation. Possibly others who are more skilled and experienced with this portion of your inquiry than I can assist you with your question on usage.



I would just add from my memory starting with the earlier years in ACROD that their prayerbook, "Key To Heaven", first published during the war in English and Slavonic mirrored those mentioned by JEK. As we followed the Greek Catholic norms of the day it is fair to say that 'Easter' duty for the faithful was going to confession and receiving Communion once a year during Lent as the norm for adults. School children had confessions and Communion Sundays on several occasions during the year. It was rare for anyone to receive Communion on a non-Lenten Sunday. There were two or three women, the old 'Rosary Ladies' who went to daily Liturgy and received Communion with frequency - they were regarded by many as being 'Catholic' as they had siblings who stayed with the Greek Catholic faction after the split! (One of those ladies I fondly remember was the grandmother, of blessed memory, of Bishop Michael of the OCA. She was a very pious woman who came to 'mass' and vespers every day while she was able.)

The Lenten Mission was the 'big' event for confession. I suppose that way one didn't have to face the pastor! Saturday afternoons in Lent were spent by my dad in the Church for hours and Holy Saturday afternoon was for the stragglers who didn't make it during Lent!

Things started to change in the 1970's as the writings of several noted theologians of the Metropolia regarding the sacraments and frequent communion started to take hold in both the now-OCA and ACROD (with the encouragement of the late Bishop John (Martin). It is my understanding that these writings greatly influenced several prominent priests in the BCC as frequent communion there seems to have increased in the same period.

Anyway, the norm today in most OCA and ACROD parishes is for there to be significant numbers of communicants on Sundays. The penitential practices vary from parish to parish, but I believe that they are more stringent to this day in the OCA, but again, it depends on the parish.


Last edited by DMD; 03/07/12 03:11 PM.
Re: Pre-Vatican II Eastern Catholic preparation for communion [Re: DMD] #377029 03/07/12 03:41 PM
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DMD, yes, I agree, ACROD (which I have always been fond of, sang in the Johnstown Cathedral many times and have a distant relative who is a priest in ACROD) took many practices, customs, etc., with them when they changed (and a credit to the EP that they were not forced to give them up immediately, it was wise policy respecting the new members) as the majority of the parishes were Greek Catholic, the prayer book "Chlib Dusi", printed in 1949 and authored by Alexander Duchnovic (in English and Slavoic latin letters) was very popular no doubt in many ACROD parishes as in others with a majority make up (such as a number of MP churches) of those from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire regions. Many of the churches I have sang in with ACROD have still retained their original Greek Catholic beginnings, the Vichna Lampada, the baldachio over the altar, etc.

I agree it also appears frequent communion began to take hold in the later 1970's and early 1980's to the point now where it is not looked upon as something odd any longer (I recall in one relatives church (Orthodox MP) years ago if someone was going to confession and communion the comment would be "oh they must have done something bad) as it was not the once a year confession/communion practice. And yes, again, I assume it all depends upon the particular church, the people in that church, their custom, the jurisdiction, etc. I cannot speak for the practice today in the OCA, ROCOR, MP, GOARCH as I do not attend these churches.

Thank you for your comments DMD!

Re: Pre-Vatican II Eastern Catholic preparation for communion [Re: Otsheylnik] #377149 03/08/12 07:03 PM
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Before the school mergers, we walked to grade school and passed the church. On first Fridays all the children were expected to go to Confession on the way home. On first Saturdays we attended Liturgy and received Communion.

As stated above, Communion was rare, mostly after making a Confession --until the mid 60's when frequent Communion became the norm. In the 50's the people would line up kneeling in a row on the step in front of the iconostas. Later that changed to a two by two procession. When the transition from Slavonic to English began (in the 50's) we didn't recite the full Communion Prayer.

Fr Deacon Paul

Re: Pre-Vatican II Eastern Catholic preparation for communion [Re: Paul B] #377155 03/08/12 08:54 PM
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Fr. Deacon:

Are you speaking of the communion prayer (O, Lord I believe and profess...)?

Re: Pre-Vatican II Eastern Catholic preparation for communion [Re: theophan] #377163 03/08/12 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by theophan
As a tangent, let me add that the Eastern Catholic practice probably wasn't far off the Latin practice of the day.

It was in the 1950s that the midnight fast was cut for us to three hours and the requirement for confession before each and every Holy Communion was changed. My grandparents couldn't understand what was going on and what they were teaching us because they'd lived their whole lives with the older practices. Later things were changed to a one-hour fast, but today that even seems to be lost because I frequently see people heading to Holy Communion chewing gum and young children eating cereal or other snacks before receiving.

Today it seems the general practice where I live is to have people confess twice a year--during Advent and Lent--and that during a communal penance service with private confession to follow--if they still have the attitude that this is necessary. There are also many who don't bother to confess from year to year.

Bob


I remember my RC friends when I was a little girl and how they went to confession so often, and how much I (and my mother) used to admire that. Now, I admire the Russian Orthodox who confess at services before taking Holy Communion.

Re: Pre-Vatican II Eastern Catholic preparation for communion [Re: Otsheylnik] #377164 03/08/12 10:50 PM
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Yes. I was less than 10 at the time so my understanding may be wrong, but the priest would recite a very short prayer by himself (not with the people). My guess now is that he probably just used the last part "O God, be merciful to me a sinner; O Lord cleanse me of my sins and have mercy on me. O Lord, forgive me for I have sinned without number.
Our pastor was hospitalized for a while; during that period the nuns came for our summer catechism classes. It was then that they instructed the people on the Communion Prayer and when Father returned it was implemented.
At least, that's the way I remember it happening.


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