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Originally Posted by tjm199
Please do us all a favor and write down the proper greetings and responses and when to say them. I do not remember "Christos Posredi Nas!" for some reason. We need to put them down in writing for everyone to refer to.
Christos Posredi Nas! (Christ is in our midst)
I jest i budet! (He is and ever shall be)

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Originally Posted by Recluse
Originally Posted by A Simple Sinner
The nuance being that they are actually there. Choirs are choirs - that is like looking for an enthusiastic young conservative at GOP HQ. Are all the grandkids who aren't there as interested?

Sure, there will always be folks who are drawn to it for a variety of reasons - and I don't begrudge them that. There comes a point where it is useful and wise to recognize where your personal tastes and proclivities begin and end.
I do not understand your point? Are you saying that Church Slavonic should be phased out in the Ruthenian Catholic Church?

I really have no idea how you got that out of what I wrote. You are bringing "water to the well" on that reading of my comments and perhaps that is coloring what you are seeing.

My simple enough point is that when you say "I see the teenagers really take to it" That is of course an observation of the teenagers who ARE THERE. You expect to find a lot of, oh, I dunno, Pat Benetar fans at a Pat Benetar concert. It isn't exactly an unbiased sample.

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I think Simple Sinner's point is well made. In our parish, we have a lot of younger folks of Carpatho background who are dating non Byzantines, and although they show up at the Festival and perhaps at Christmas and Pascha, aren't there at any other time. What's happening, and what can we do to change it?

We do mostly English, with some Slavonic thrown in, so I don't think it's the Slavonic that sends them away. Maybe it's the 'strangeness' of the ethnic liturgy that is so different from Western churchiness, or perhaps even the fact that as young people "church" is just a "whatever..." to them.

But that doesn't give us leave to just ignore the problem of not only bringing in new people, but also of retaining our own. If the whole thing were in Slavonic, I suspect that both visitors and the younger folks would just 'sample' and then head out the doors. "Beauty" is fine, and it may attract some folks. But, we have to get beyond 'beauty' as our sole advertisement, otherwise we are in competitiion with the symphony or the theater. And we're supposed to be a Christian community/church.

Blessings to All!

Dr John

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Originally Posted by Dr John
I think Simple Sinner's point is well made. In our parish, we have a lot of younger folks of Carpatho background who are dating non Byzantines, and although they show up at the Festival and perhaps at Christmas and Pascha, aren't there at any other time. What's happening, and what can we do to change it?

We do mostly English, with some Slavonic thrown in, so I don't think it's the Slavonic that sends them away. Maybe it's the 'strangeness' of the ethnic liturgy that is so different from Western churchiness, or perhaps even the fact that as young people "church" is just a "whatever..." to them.

But that doesn't give us leave to just ignore the problem of not only bringing in new people, but also of retaining our own. If the whole thing were in Slavonic, I suspect that both visitors and the younger folks would just 'sample' and then head out the doors. "Beauty" is fine, and it may attract some folks. But, we have to get beyond 'beauty' as our sole advertisement, otherwise we are in competitiion with the symphony or the theater. And we're supposed to be a Christian community/church.

Blessings to All!

Dr John

Well, Dr. John, If fallen away parishioners, and the gum chewing younger crowd (whom many I've seen have the attention span of a housefly) are scared away by the venerable traditions of the Eastern church, let them go elsewhere to find their nirvana. It just proves how shallow their faith and sense of tradition is to begin with.

The beauty and tradition of the Eastern church is just fine as it is. It should not have to "conform" to American ideas. After all, it was around long before America was. It "is what it is" for a reason. Take it or leave it.

I hope more take it!


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Etnick,

Dr. John isn't suggesting we abandon our venerable traditions. He is suggesting we have been doing something wrong, which is either true and we need to correct it or it is false and Eastern Christianity is just too damn hard for most in a Western culture and has a limited appeal and we need to accept that. I suspect it is a little of both.

Fr. Deacon Lance


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Well, I don't know what to say other than that maybe the glory days of the Byzantine tradition in the U.S. may be behind us.

Maybe another big wave of immigration from the old country is needed. One hundred plus years of presence here seems to not have done enough to spread the good news of the Byzantine faith to a Western Christian dominated country. confused

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Originally Posted by Etnick
Well, Dr. John, If fallen away parishioners, and the gum chewing younger crowd (whom many I've seen have the attention span of a housefly) are scared away by the venerable traditions of the Eastern church, let them go elsewhere to find their nirvana. It just proves how shallow their faith and sense of tradition is to begin with....

Because Christ didn't die for the half-wits with short attention spans that don't appreciate the things you did? They can go push a rope? Come to Jesus Christ - the savior of the world, present on our altars, ready to commune with you! - on our terms and couched in our ethnic preservationist preferences? "Go ye therefore and teach and passively hope to attract some nations with how your nation made these truths sacrosanct!"??

I have enough to answer for when "the day comes" - I am not adding that to the list.

Originally Posted by Etnick
Maybe another big wave of immigration from the old country is needed. One hundred plus years of presence here seems to not have done enough to spread the good news of the Byzantine faith to a Western Christian dominated country. confused

Or maybe we need to wonder about the slavish adherence to "ours" and what it did to create parochial enclaves (let alone the infighting that divided us how many times over?)

Where are all the Greek Catholic grandkids?

If the solution really is that we need to "import more cause it hasn't taken in the west yet" just hang it up and throw in the towel now. Little secret? With Pizza Hut in Istanbul and Mcdonalds and Starbucks in Mockba, we are all in the West now.

13 years ago in Pittsburgh I saw that ethno-catering was a lot like impoverished aristocracy living off the last of the wine cellar - they could drink well every night, but the last bottle was in sight. Trips to all the ethnic festivals and clubs and visiting various and sundry parishes, time and time and time again I saw folks older than my parents with bouffants in all shades of Lady Clarol talking about "our people's ways" - what I did not see? "our people under 25"

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Originally Posted by A Simple Sinner
Originally Posted by Etnick
Well, Dr. John, If fallen away parishioners, and the gum chewing younger crowd (whom many I've seen have the attention span of a housefly) are scared away by the venerable traditions of the Eastern church, let them go elsewhere to find their nirvana. It just proves how shallow their faith and sense of tradition is to begin with....

Because Christ didn't die for the half-wits with short attention spans that don't appreciate the things you did? They can go push a rope? Come to Jesus Christ - the savior of the world, present on our altars, ready to commune with you! - on our terms and couched in our ethnic preservationist preferences? "Go ye therefore and teach and passively hope to attract some nations with how your nation made these truths sacrosanct!"??

I have enough to answer for when "the day comes" - I am not adding that to the list.

Where are all the Greek Catholic grandkids?

Probably at the local Roman Catholic Church, (like my Greek Catholic Niece and Nephew, who I am Godfather to frown ) or at the mall, or at Starbucks. wink

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Are you cool with that?

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If people are not ready to become 19th Century Muscovites or 20th century Tridentine Latins, do we just say: too bad - go to the Evangelicals?

The Evangelicals don't have a single answer for this problem, which I would describe as how do you cater to the moving minimum. Business Week had an article about a related topic a few years back. In it was the following about one of the largest and most popular evangelical churches in the country

Quote
To reach these untapped masses, savvy leaders are creating Sunday Schools that look like Disney World and church caf�s with the appeal of Starbucks. Although most hold strict religious views, they scrap staid hymns in favor of multimedia worship and tailor a panoply of services to meet all kinds of consumer needs, from divorce counseling to help for parents of autistic kids. Like Osteen, many offer an upbeat message intertwined with a religious one. To make newcomers feel at home, some do away with standard religious symbolism -- even basics like crosses and pews -- and design churches to look more like modern entertainment halls than traditional places of worship.

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_21/b3934001_mz001.htm

The issue is where is the tipping point of abandoning who you are in order to reach those that are not among you? What exactly is acceptable? Obviously I posted what I consider the extreme, but maybe even that extreme will shift and move even further to reach some new minimum that is necessary in order to pull in those from contemporary society.

My own parish uses some Slavonic, similar to what some others have said here - usually one hymn a week, alternating responses when repeated, most greetings along with English, and often multiple or special hymns on major feast days. I am not Rusyn or cradle Orthodox, and I myself like the amount of Slavonic we use because of just my own personal preference (I think it is a beatiful language and some hymns just sound really good in Slavonic) and I think it is an authentic piece of the tradition of the church that is worth maintaining in some form.

I do however agree that the church has a mission to reach those outside its own walls and pronounce the gospel. I think it is exceedingly difficult for Eastern churches in this country to do that for a number of reasons; consumerism, the weirdness factor, individualism, anti authoritarianism, latent gnosticism, etc., etc. I think all contribute to making it hard for us to make a huge dent in society. Different churches/jurisdictions have different answers for how to spread out and grow. I don't know that there is a single correct answer.

My own parish (I've only been in it two years) has some of the problems I think Simple Sinner is talking about. In a lot of ways I think it can be somewhat insular, parochial, given to nursing past grievances and divisions (personal ones, not what happened in the 30's), resting on the laurels of what past generations did to found the church as an excuse for not really contributing anything now, a fair amount of nominalism and people happy to exist on the periphery of the church, education that could really use improvement, a bunch of Chreasters, and so on and so forth. I could make a huge list. There's a lot good in it too, don't get me wrong.

I think what we need is inner evangelization and a re-kindling of the Gospel spirit within. To my mind that means a good deal of re-enforcement of the traditional aspects of the liturgy and general piety and church behavior. In essence not watering down, but building up such things. Whether that is in English or Slavonic. What I also think is needed are the things Evangelicals often offer outside the worship service that we don't - Bible studies, fellowship, support and so on. The things that make a real community, and not just some place that people come together once a week.

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Originally Posted by A Simple Sinner
I really have no idea how you got that out of what I wrote.
I am sorry. I did not understand your post.
Originally Posted by A Simple Sinner
My simple enough point is that when you say "I see the teenagers really take to it" That is of course an observation of the teenagers who ARE THERE.

That is true. But I have also witnessed protestants teenagers who were completey captivated when they attended their first Divine Liturgy--Church Slavonic and all! And they kept comin back!
Originally Posted by A Simple Sinner
You expect to find a lot of, oh, I dunno, Pat Benetar fans at a Pat Benetar concert.
I was never a big Benatar fan. grin

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Originally Posted by AMM
The issue is where is the tipping point of abandoning who you are in order to reach those that are not among you?
Indeed.
Originally Posted by AMM
I do however agree that the church has a mission to reach those outside its own walls and pronounce the gospel. I think it is exceedingly difficult for Eastern churches in this country to do that for a number of reasons; consumerism, the weirdness factor, individualism, anti authoritarianism, latent gnosticism, etc., etc.
Yes.
Originally Posted by AMM
I think what we need is inner evangelization and a re-kindling of the Gospel spirit within. To my mind that means a good deal of re-enforcement of the traditional aspects of the liturgy and general piety and church behavior. In essence not watering down, but building up such things. Whether that is in English or Slavonic. What I also think is needed are the things Evangelicals often offer outside the worship service that we don't - Bible studies, fellowship, support and so on. The things that make a real community, and not just some place that people come together once a week.
Amen, my brother in Christ! I could not have stated it better myself! smile

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Christos Posredi Nas! (Christ is in our midst)
I jest i budet! (He is and ever shall be)

Dr. John---I owe you an apology for the rather lengthy post I sent the other day. As I said, just out of the hospital and the meds don't just affect muscles, they really do a number on the emotions. So, please accept my apology if I said anything that offended you in any way. I think we most likely agree more than we disagree.

BUT--and you knew there had to be a big but---I still feel we are simplifying the problem by taking it down to English versus Slavonic. And I still feel we must maintain our traditions (which include using the vernacular, in whichever country we happen to be) without abandoning a forward looking evangelization.

There is a magic or mystique to Slavonic. As many have said in this forum and this thread, some songs just sound better in Slavonic. People who are used to one certain type of Christian worship come into a Byzantine church, experience with their entire senses the Eastern Catholic way of of worship and are deeply impressed. It's not just the way the priest and deacons dress, it's the incense, the physical movements and seeing people really throw themselves into their worship. And, yes, it's Slavonic in my church.

The more we water down our past and forget our heritage, the more reason we give someone to go elsewhere. Including our own Byzantine Catholics. I'm the youngest of six kids. How many of us attend a Byzantine Church? Two or three. The rest attend RC churches or don't attend at all. Why? One doesn't believe in God at all. Sooner or later she'll come around. It's only a matter of time in my opinion. Others find it more convenient to attend an RC church, regardless of how close a Byzantine Church may be. That's their decision. We all had the same parents, the same upbringing, the same experiences. Why do some maintain and other's don't? Boy, if I could answer that question, I'd be rich beyond my wildest dreams since it would mean I have the ability to get into someone's head. I don't have that ability.

I think people make too much of the difficulty of Slavonic and that's why they tend to try to move it aside or diminish it. It's not that hard. Anyone with a minimum of intelligence can learn three or four sentences in Slavonic. Take the main Easter hymn--"Christ is risen from the dead. By death he conquered death. And to those in the graves, he granted life." How long is that? In English. How long would it take someone to learn it in English, especially if it is written down for them? No time at all.

Now translate--"Christos voskrese iz mertvych. Smertiju smert' poprov. i suschim vo hrobich zivot darovav." Most of the words are pronounced exactly as spelled. Some differrences--suscim, zivot. (I can't figure out how to get diacritical marks, if somene can help me, let me know. I'm a Mac person though, so PC apps won't do.)

And if someone did mispronounce those few words---would it matter? Would everyone in the church turn around and scream "Get out of here, you heathen!" No. No one would even notice, most likely. During Resurrection services we sang the hymns in English. I sang quietly to myself in Slavonic, as I do most of the time I attend Liturgy. My nine year old asked me what I was singing and I explained it was the same thing he was, just in another language.

Now, you have to understand, this was really the first time my son attended a Divine Liturgy like this. It's a long story, but the Byzantine mission I attend was just started in October 2005. So we have been attending a Lutheran church since we wanted him to have a religious upbringing (plus my wife is the paid organist) and I just can't bear to attend the two RC churches in our area. One is a round courthouse type building and the other one looks like a middle school gymnasium without the basketball hoops against the ceiling. No cross or crucifix inside the sanctuary, no pews, just padded chairs that hook together.

I had been telling him about the service--a procession around the church, knocking on the door, etc. My wife (raised United Church of Christ), my son and I attended both Friday night services and Resurrection services. So I was telling him about the vigil at the grave, candlelit processions, etc. He was mesmerized. He couldn't wait to go. And he was not disappointed. With the exception that since we don't have or own church, we don't have a vigil at the grave. He really wanted to do that with me. He now informs me he wants to attend Liturgy Saturday nights with me. When I asked him why--he said it's so different and so beautiful than what he is used to. The Lutheran service is boring to him, he said. This captured him--incense, clothing, etc. He keeps asking me why the priest is doing what he is doing, what is the deacon doing, etc.

My wife is a musician and picks up on music easily. He takes after her (piano, clarinet, guitar) and was belting out the songs lustily within a few minutes on both nights. He reads music and knew the guy behind us was flat and slow. But he was polite about it.

But back to Slavonic. He wanted to know what I was singing. I told him and went through it word by word. How long did it take him to get it? About three times. Yes, I know kids pick up things quickly. But any adult can also pick them up quickly--maybe we print it out phonetically. How many lines is it? Yet, how important is it to the entire meaning of Easter? And this is one of those hymns that just sound better in Slavonic.

We start easily--the greetings. Why do we do them? When do we do them? What's the significance of them. Then we move on. How hard would it be to sing The Thrice Holy Hymn" (Svjaty Boze, Svaty Kr'ipkij, Svjaty Bezsmertny, pomiluj nas. Cut me a break--it's eight words long and three of them are the same word!) Then "Holy, Holy, Holy." Maybe we move on up to "The Father, the Son and The Holy Spirit." And then, maybe even the Our Father. Which sounds so incredible in Slavonic.

I am teaching my son Slavonic slowly. Each night we end prayers with "Hospodi, pomiluj."And we make the sign of the cross, right shoulder first.

Oh, by the way, Dr. John. Is that another thing we should abandon? The way we make the sign of the cross? It's the way everyone did it for, oh, something like well over 1200 years. In your e-mail I responded to so emotionally, you talked (and have since) about being transparent in both language and other ways in order to attract new people. We can change to English, we can change many things about the Liturgy, so why no that too? It's more in line with what everyone else does. People expect it left shoulder first. It throws people to see it right shoulder first. But where does that slippery slope I mentioned start? With small changes that might seem insignificant at first, but multiply. And forgetting our past and our traditions, the things that make us "us" are the first step on that slippery slope. At least in my opinion.

This is already going on long enough. Please accept my apology if I said anything that offended you. But I feel strongly that if we forget our past, if we turn our backs on centuries of history we truly are going to see the death of our church. People want something different. Not too different, I agree. So Liturgies only in Slavonic are out, more is the pity. But just enough Slavonic or other languages to pique the curiosity, to arouse the "what are they doing and why" in everyone? I think that's the way back. Along with getting my brothers and sisters back into the pews, of course!

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Tim - off topic - sort of -ish

go to your menu bar . Click on the wee flag [ mine has a Union Jack to show it's a Brit keyboard ] on the drop down menu go to Show Character Palette - you should find what you want there - given any degree of luck biggrin

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Brother TJM - Tim - no apologies necessary at all! I hope that the medications are now over and that you're feeling yourself again.

I (too?) have an inclination to go on and on in posts about issues that mean something. After the reading, writing, editing and re-editing, I end up chastising myself for 3 hours of time that is now gone forever.

I very much enjoyed learning of your personal and family's history. It's is clear that people from historial places and times developed liturgies and ways-of-living that addressed their real concrete needs, as well as their cultural values. Like your wife, I too was an organist at both RC and Episcopal parishes and I LOVE nothing more than gradually opening up the (pipe) ranks and by the last verse both the organ and singers (and trumpeters when I could get them for descants!) would take the roof off the church and rattle the stained glass as the cross and banners and the clergy processed down the aisle. (I once played in a place where the organist controlled the bells, and when the ushers opened the big doors you could hear them in the background. I'm still getting goosebumps!)

It was a true "laos ergezei", the liturgy of people acting.

And this has got to be the ultimate goal: the whole parish has got to get frustrated waiting for the next parochial celebration. It should be that good.

Using other languages is fine, as long as it harmonizes with this desire. It serves a wonderful purpose in connecting the parish with the founders and the ancestors. But it should never get in the way of the parish having an emotional (dare I say: theatrical level) experience of the praying community. We should use all the "arts" to enhance the experience of the community. (I recall a photo of an OCA priest in a procession with other clergy and the bishop, and he had a phelonion containing flowers, trees, animals, etc. - it looked WAAAAY out of place in this procession of expensive brocades. But it didn't take a rocket scientist to realize that it had been made by the children of the priest's parish. And I thought: WOW! He's got the kids really involved, and he's got the loving commitment to share it outside their parish church. Bless him and his people!)

I think it's good that your son is getting the chance to pray in different communities. Being musically inclined, he is probably most comfortable praying where there is good music. Chances are, he'll never become a Quaker. ("What? It's over?") So, when there is 'good' music, and I'm not talking about nasal NASCAR-speed cantors or priest, it is a worshipful and artistic experience. And folks come back to pray.

Certainly, people make choices. I've been to services (Episcopal) organized by the teenagers, where the music was like AC/DC and MegaDeath, with a little Alice Cooper thrown in. It was like being in a nightclub - with a Gospel reading by the pastor and a communion service. I suppose that some teens would like it and continue to come back. For me, it was an 'interesting' experience - not likely to draw me back. The same can be said of other 'typologies' of liturgical celebration. Each individual is going to uncover some liturgical community where he/she can pray, and will go back because of the joy of the worshipping experience.

There are times when I recall the old Latin low Mass. You got into the pew, you pulled out your rosary, you stood/knelt/sat as appropriate and then went to communion and it was over. The shortest one I remembered - worker chapel in downtown Boston, was 17 minutes from start to finish so people could get to their jobs but still attend Mass. Certainly one type of liturgy.

I also recall Our Lady of Kazan in Boston, with Fr. Mowatt (of happy memory), where at Pascha we started with the lamentations at 10:30 and then went through Paschal Matins, the Liturgy, anointings, etc. followed by the blessing of baskets. We ended at 3:45 a.m. (The good father brought out a thermos of Manhattans for the choir - 4 people - one ethnic Russian, one high school Russian teacher, one DP from somewhere in East Europe and a Greek-American Jesuit scholastic.) I slept for two days. There were 4 Russsians in a congregation of about 25 for the service.

My main point is: liturgy must come from the people it is serving. Imposing stuff is neither a good nor potentially fruitful idea. But neither is pointing to footnotes on page 276 of the "Typikon of the Great Church of Constantinople".

Interesting enough, apropos Pope Benedict's visit, I recall as a student in the Munich-Freising Archdiocese, being surprised by the way the Germans conducted liturgy. At the time of Luther and the Protestants, the protestants celebrated services in German and with magnificent music. (Bach. Is there anything better?)

The Catholics responded by having 'hymn-lets' - auf deutsch - that paralleled the various Latin elements of the Mass. The priest said the 'official' words in a low voice and the congregation, accompanied by pipe organ, sang the German equivalents. The music was really good and the Germans, as they are wont to do, sang lustily. Liturgically, they beat the reformers at their own game. (Don't tell your Lutheran wife! No dinner or clean clothes for you!!)

I hope that we can find ways to make the Constantinopolitan liturgics and spirituality a viable option for Americans, especially the young ones.

Blessings to All!

Dr John


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