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Joined: Mar 2020
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Hello everyone! As many of you probably know, a majority of churches now stream their liturgies. I have really enjoyed seeing other churches and listening to their priests etc. But one thing I noticed and am honestly shocked about is how my parish has been doing them “wrong”! I’m a cradle Ruthenian byzantine catholic, and I’ve never attended a Byzantine church other than my home parish, aside from funerals. At my parish, we speak the Epistle reading & the gospel as well as the Creed (I believe in one...) I never knew those were supposed to chanted! And this past Sunday as a lot of churches are now open for limited public services, I see parishioners standing during the consecration...which in my parish we kneel for. Upon further research I see this the “correct” way to hold a Divine Liturgy. I was wondering if anyone has had a similar experience to mine. I think it’s very interesting how each of our parishes has their own traditions and way of doing things!

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Welcome, Ruthenianbyz513!

It is customary to chant the Epistle, Gospel and Creed. But it also not wrong to recite them. I know of parishes - both Byzantine Catholic and Orthodox that recite them.

As far as kneeling vs standing, Byzantines would generally stand on Sundays per the Council of Nicea. In the Christian East kneeling is a sign of penance, and penance on Sundays (a little "Pascha") would not be correct. But the Western custom of kneeling represents humility, and there is nothing wrong about that.

I know parishes where some people stand and others kneel. And everyone respects one another for their choice.

Prayers,

John

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Christ is in our midst!!

Ruthenianbyz513:

May I add to our Administrator's remarks?

I am a Latin with direct experience of the change-over that occurred after the Vatican Council of 1963-1965. My take away from that time is to be cautious about being too rigid about liturgical practice and forcing changes on people. Let me explain.

At the time, every priest was his own liturgist and every Liturgy was his own "show." Many tried to outdo each other. It caused a lot of lay people a lot of pain and heartache. Practices that they had been taught were sacred and actions in the altar area that had been done with reverence were overnight discarded. Many walked away. I had experience with people who had walked away and taken their whole family with them: when Grandma is scandalized or criticized for her continuing to hold to older practices in her personal life, the family follows when she walks away. It got hairy when Grandma died and the priest would not bury her without a full on conference with the whole family. Had this happen a number of times and it was never a good thing. Each time we got Grandma buried and the rest of the family never darkened the church door again.

The Lord warned us about causing "one of these little ones to fall." I think--my own observation--it is best to be gentle with people and not insist on practices like kneeling or standing. If someone wants to kneel when one ought to stand or to pray the rosary rather than the Jesus Prayer, I can't see the harm. These people are still coming to Liturgy regularly. Isn't that something to be encouraged?

It may be that your priest is wise enough not to rock the boat in your parish. If people are used to doing things a certain way and it is not against the Deposit of the Faith, it may be best to let things go. Maybe it's a matter of picking one's fights.

Just some random thoughts.

Bob

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Weighing in nearly one month later:

As a convert from the West, one of the many beauties of Orthodoxy is its "unity of the faith" which is largely (but, unfortuneately, not always) uncoupled from uniformity of practice.

Priests and parishes err grievously when then confuse their personal or collective small "t" traditions with the Great Tradition.

Epistle and/or Gospel plain read or chanted? How many languages? What is the length of the passage?

Frankly, I would consider it abusive to intone the Gospel for the Sunday of the Blind Man in more the one language....or even in one language without some notation that there is economia for those who need to sit because of the length of that passage.

And honestly, such a notation should not be needed.


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