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I just spoke with an Orthodox priest concenring their ascension services and I was wondering if they consider it a Holy Day of Obligation like the west does. He told me that they do not have this same concept and that attendance is something everybody should do who is able, but it is notmandatory or sinful to miss for some reason.
I found this interesting since on my other post people were criticizing the western church for movingthe day to sunday to make it easier for people to attend. I understand the criticism, but then what of the fact that we actually require all people to go to Holy Days of Obligation and in the Orthodox Church it is not considered sinful to miss one?
It does not bother me that the Orthodox believe differently, and I am not trying to disrespect them, I am just curious as to how their view of attedning Holy Days and Sundays compares with the West, and if I got accurate information from the priest.

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Within Orthodoxy there is no juridical thinking and a "Day of Obligation" is foreign.

However, that being said, it is also looked at as people who are able are expected to attend. Rather than a juridical act that forces a person to attend it is more of a "How could you not attend!" And as always, if there is not a "valid" reason it is something to discuss with your father confessor.

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In Orthodoxy we always assume that everyone wants to attend out of his own free will to worship the Trinity. If someone is not present he/she will have a good reason and we as the ones who are present are obligated to pray for the people absent with a good cause (St. Basil Liturgy).

For the question if I was absent without a good cause - I would have to settle that with my confessor and spirtual adviser.

And for the question of transferring feast days: that is simply foreign to the Orthodox typicon. Feasts are celebrated on their days when they fall. To the extrem that it would be possible to have Pascha and the Feast of the Annunciation at the same day.

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In all my years of Orthodoxy, I have never heard that it is actually 'sinful', per se, to miss church services.

As far as feast days not being moved, all I can say is thank goodness for handfuls of the older women in most Greek Orthodox parishes, or the Priest would be celebrating alone...and this in parishes which can have as many as five hundred families officially singed up as members.

The only feast day which generates a decent amount of people outside of Holy Week and Christmas eve, no matter what day it falls on is the Dormition/Assumption of the Virgin Mary on August 15th. This was traditionally a HUGE, huge holy day in Greece, so I guess the importance of it was handed down through the generations.

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I feel sorry for the people of the Latin Church because they seem to have lost so much of the tradition of fasts and feasts. We fast for 40 days during Lent and then celebrate Easter for 40 days until the Ascension. There's a wondeful symmetry! Then we have 10 days of when we don't call upon the Holy Spirit, remembering how forlorn the Apostles must felt between the Ascension and Pentecost.

We have a wonderful calendar that sprinkled with Sundays named after the Gospel reading of the day or commemorating important events. The idea of relegating a Sunday to the counting of "ordinary time" inspires pity in me. How can any Sunday, on which we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be considred in the least ordinary?

When I look at the calendars distributed at RC churches, I am aghast at all those empty squares on which no saints are mentioned. I just don't understand the mentality that leaves the parishioners bereft of all the many role models that have come down to us over the centuries. It seems as though their names disappeared just when people got access to the internet and all the information anyone could want on who these saints were and what they did to earn a place on the calendar.

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well the reason i am asking is because I have an orthodox friend who invited me to take a fun trip on thursday because it is a trip we take yearly and this is the first day we have both not been working for a while since wanting to go on the trip. so in his mind it is a wonderful way to celebrate the day, and he is not necessarily someone who goes to church every week or holyday anyway, but he does love the church and the calendar in many ways.
My question is if I am sinning or encouraging him to sin by going on the trip with him, or if since the orthodox do not view the days of obligation as we do if I should just leave it betwen im and God? Maybe having a really unique and fun trip is a good reson for him not to go. Maybe it lifts his spirits. I was hoping someone who is orthodox can help me understand what I should do. I asked him if he wanted to wait till after Divine Liturgy to leave, but I do not think he would have gone anyway, and he wants to leave early enough to beat traffic. I also think that since he is not regularly attending, I should not worry so much about this one day, and just try to encourage him as a friend to be as active in his church as he can be. But by going on a trip with him on a holy day am I setting a bad example, or is it none of my business since I am Catholic and do not really understand and am not responsible for the choices of an orthodox Christian?

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Hi Searching,

I think that you are being a wonderful Christian thinking about your friend, and being considerate of the holy day.

However, from what you have said, it seems that he is someone that would not have gone to church *anyway*, and since you did offer to allow him the time to go to the Liturgy, but he does not want to, I think that you should allow your conscience to be clear and just go on the trip.

We can gently encourage others to be more religious and observant, (which you have already done), but we cannot force them if they don't want to.

God bless you,
Alice

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At our parish, during the Great Entrance of Divine Liturgy of a great feast, our priest commemorates, along with those present, those absent "for honorable causes." Being absent for less than an honorable cause, in my mind, is putting something else before our obligation to God and would qualify as matter to discuss with one's confessor. In the West, if it truly becomes impossible to assist at Mass, then the obligation ceases. I have known a few people who suffer from scruples because of this.


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