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Hello,

I’m posting so help with some clarifications; I’m new to the forum so I don’t know if I’m posting in the correct place.

I recently visited a small Ruthenian Parish in NC and it was a bit odd for me. I have been to several Ruthenian Parishes over the years but never seen what I saw. First, the preparation was done in the back of the church, publicly. It wasn’t a special feast day or anything like that so I asked a parishioner and he said this was done every week. Now, I think it’s beautiful that it’s done every week but first why was it done in back? Then another odd thing was the liturgy started in the middle of the nave. “Blessed is the Kingdom” was done in the middle of the church, not in front of the altar or in the sanctuary with the gospel book sitting on a podium with the faithful gathered around the celebrant. Then the Gospel was processed from the middle of the church through the royal doors. After the readings and Homily the Priest then went back to the back of the church to then process up the gifts. I found this strange, given I had never seen the Divine Liturgy Celebrated like this. Is this normal in Passaic? Am I missing some traditions that I should know about? I’m hoping someone here could explain to me what was going on.

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I have never seen this done whether in Orthodox or Eastern Catholic parishes. However the Gospel being processed form the middle of the church to the altar is a more ancient practice, but I've never of people gathering around the celebrant. That's more a modern day Roman Catholic weekday mass thing.

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How ancient? Because, everything I was ever taught about why we do what we do in liturgy is symbolic. The Gospel and the Gifts being brought from the sanctuary into the Naive, is Christs descension from Heaven to Earth. Using the theological logic I was taught, what I saw would be almost be a form Arianism. (FYI I'm not saying it is, it's just a perspective). Instead of Christ being given from heaven the gifts and gospel are among the people and are being elevated (Arianism). The symbolic changes affect the entire meaning of what we are doing. Again, I could be wrong and I probably am. I'm not a theologian or a liturgist I'm just looking answers. Which is why I'm here!

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Well it used to be that the Entrances were actual entrances. As the people wold sing the antiphons, the clergy would process into the church with the Gospel, or the Gifts, which at that time were kept in a seperate building. I don't know how ancient, but eventually it became impractical to do this. However it is why the bishop enters the sanctuary after the Little Entrance.

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Well that makes since, however what do the modern rubrics say? I didn't know that was that much latitude when it came to liturgical practice. Especially in the Slavic Traditions. Did the Slavs ever practice liturgy this way? It's just strange to see a slavic church not doing slavic things, trying to be like ancient Greek Christians that their inheriters don't even practice anymore. Now I know there is variation in liturgy to liturgy for church to church, even parish to parish. However, it's just odd to see a completely different Divine Liturgy in a sister church.

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Even the Slavs did it in ancient times. The modern rubrics say for the clergy to bow 3 times before the altar, take the Gospel and process into the nave and then say the prayer of the little entrance. I don't know why that particular church did that. As I said, ive never seen this sort of thing done in Orthodox or Eastern Catholic parishes. Which church was it?

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This reminds me of the New Skete restored Liturgy.

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I don't know about the particular parish mentioned, but some of the outreaches are semi-dependent on visiting clergy. Did the congregation indicate that this was the norm?

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It's Sts Cyril and Methodius in NC. The celebrant was the pastor of the parish, and the church is setup intentionally for this practice. The Preparation Table is in back, and everyone acted as if this was normal.

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Originally Posted by Eastern4Life
How ancient? Because, everything I was ever taught about why we do what we do in liturgy is symbolic. The Gospel and the Gifts being brought from the sanctuary into the Naive, is Christs descension from Heaven to Earth. Using the theological logic I was taught, what I saw would be almost be a form Arianism. (FYI I'm not saying it is, it's just a perspective). Instead of Christ being given from heaven the gifts and gospel are among the people and are being elevated (Arianism). The symbolic changes affect the entire meaning of what we are doing. Again, I could be wrong and I probably am. I'm not a theologian or a liturgist I'm just looking answers. Which is why I'm here!

You were taught wrong unfortunately. The symbolic stuff was slapped on later after we kept doing things that were once practical necessities, like going to get the Gosepl Book or gifts from the separate buildings in which they were kept. What you saw isn't common now but was once the way it was done and has been revived in a couple places, St Vlad's, New Skete.


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St Vlads and New Skete are Orthodox. I didn't know this was a Catholic revival too. Speaking to practicality. Is it practical to do liturgy so different than from parish to parish? It still seems odd.

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Originally Posted by Eastern4Life
St Vlads and New Skete are Orthodox. I didn't know this was a Catholic revival too. Speaking to practicality. Is it practical to do liturgy so different than from parish to parish? It still seems odd.

So? And New Skete was Byzantine Catholic for many years. As to practicality, I would thin the small size of the building may have had an influence. Better to have the Prothesis in the back than squeeze it into a small altar area and have no room.


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I'd agree with you if there wasn't also a Prothesis beside the altar. I thought it strange so I looked behind the Iconostas. Yes New Skete were, past tense BC, but not any longer. They were received by the Orthodox. The comparison is similar to the Episcopalian or Lutherans liturgical changes can be adopted into Roman Mass, simply because they used to be Catholic. Frankly, even given the historical context of the liturgical practice, (practices that were changed for a reason), how a loan parish can blatantly ignore rubrics, is unfathomable.

To be honest we need to stop as Greek Catholic believing the Orthodox are the end-all be-all of the Eastern Expression of the Faith. We as Greek Catholics have a unique expression of the faith that is Eastern and Catholic. It's a fullness of the Eastern Expression that in my opinion is greater. We need to as a group stop playing second fiddle to the Latins and having a self imposed inferiority complex when it comes to the Orthodox. Lets simply be US and stop looking for approval among other groups whom have their own traditions.


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