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We used to do the 3rd hour, but have recently switched to Matins. I don't know if it is a permanent switch, nor do I know the reasons for the change. We generally have Great Vespers before a Feast, but not on Saturdays.


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We alternate between third hour and matins. Come to think of it, I'm not sure what happens on 5th Sunday . . .

We're ruthenian, but there aren't many ruthenians in the parish.

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Where can I find this "Liturgical Instruction"? I would like to see it, and to be able to refer to it.

It is available through Eastern Christian Publications. [ecpubs.com] But there should be a copy in the rectory of your parish.

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Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
Originally Posted by Lech Lecha
and requests from the deacon that the congregation recite some of the priestly prayers. Is this a common Melkite practice in line with their Bishops and practice, or something unique to this parish or area?

I don't know about your preceding point but this last one seems to be the implementation of the new revised Melkite Liturgy which has provision for lay people to offer the petitions of the Ektene and join the priest in praying the Prayer of Thanksgiving after Communion. It was discussed here:
https://www.byzcath.org/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/345413/1

Thank you very much for posting this!

We join with the priest for the Prayer of Thanksgiving at our Melkite mission, and this caused quite a stir when we had a visiting Ruthenian priest fill in when our priest was away at a conference. He gave a stern lecture to us about not taking over "the role of the priest", and none of us knew what he was talking about; we were just doing what had been told to us by our regular priest.

Up until now that incident bothered me quite a bit whenever I've thought about it, and I didn't know who was correct in this instance. Now I know the source of the confusion, and it puts my mind at ease to know that it is a difference between the two Churches, and not an error being committed by our local mission.

Peace and God bless!

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Let's just say it is unprecedented, and one would have to look at the practice of the Antiochian Orthodox Church and the ancient Liturgicons of both Churches to see what the authentic practice really is.

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Originally Posted by StuartK
Let's just say it is unprecedented, and one would have to look at the practice of the Antiochian Orthodox Church and the ancient Liturgicons of both Churches to see what the authentic practice really is.

I'm not as strict as some when it comes to "authentic practice", at least not when it comes to little things like Prayers of Thanksgiving. It's not much different from the changes that have been occuring in the Byzantine tradition for centuries, and certainly much smaller than the adoption of the Byzantine Liturgical tradition by the Melkite Church just under a thousand years ago. blush

At anyrate, I'm just glad to know that it's not something our local priest made up; I had assumed that it was since I'd not heard of this general "experiment".

Peace and God bless!

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The key question is whether this is actually Melkite practice in the Middle East, or whether it is something "invented" for the English translation. If it is, then something has been innovated for one part of the Melkite Church, introducing a rather substantial division in Melkite liturgical practice. Moreover, if the Antiochian Orthodox don't do it, either here or in the Middle East, then it is flouting the letter and spirit of the Liturgical Instruction, which directed Eastern Catholics to work closely with their Orthodox counterpart Churches to eliminate differences in liturgical usage.

Certainly the RDL has driven such a wedge between Ruthenian Catholic and Carpatho-Rusyn practice (to say nothing of what is done by Ruthenians here and Carpatho-Rusyn Catholics in Ukraine and Slovakia); it would be tragic to repeat that error in the Melkite Church.

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Originally Posted by Ghosty
We join with the priest for the Prayer of Thanksgiving at our Melkite mission, and this caused quite a stir when we had a visiting Ruthenian priest fill in when our priest was away at a conference. He gave a stern lecture to us about not taking over "the role of the priest", and none of us knew what he was talking about; we were just doing what had been told to us by our regular priest.

Up until now that incident bothered me quite a bit whenever I've thought about it, and I didn't know who was correct in this instance. Now I know the source of the confusion, and it puts my mind at ease to know that it is a difference between the two Churches, and not an error being committed by our local mission.

Peace and God bless!


Wow, I have never heard of this. I find myself uncomfortable with this to the Nth degree, and I must agree with your visiting Rusyn priest. Liturgical innovations are insidious pathogens that although starting small, will eventually kill the entire organism. Look at the fiasco with the RDL with the BCC, and the problems in America with the "Orthodox-Lite", for lack of a better word, Churches.

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A couple of links:

In response to an earlier request: The Liturgical Instruction for the Eastern Churches from the Vatican website [vatican.va]

Perhaps Fr. Titus Fulcher's [byzantineramblings.blogspot.com] critique of the new Melkite practice re: lay petitions might be of interest (from his larger critique of the Final Draft of the Melkite DL revision):

Quote
This also brings to the fore the question of the legitimacy of some of the options themselves. Here and there options are presented that obviously reflect the spirit of the Roman Church's post-Vatican II ‘people’s participation’. For example, the Ektene after the homily presents an option in which ‘readers’ chosen from the laity stand in the “middle aisle” facing each other and offer petitions from a large collection at the end of the volume. (The text is silent whether additional ‘made up’ petitions are allowed.) In short, a practice is being introduced that is a direct copy of the Roman Novus Ordo practice of "general intercessions" after the homily – a practice that is, to my knowledge, without precedent in the Byzantine Tradition.

AFAIK, he's correct about it being without precedent.

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On the other hand, the Melkites have also supposedly allowed minor clerics to perform the ektenie in the absence of a deacon... so it's not entirely without precedent in the Melkite church.

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Originally Posted by DTBrown


Thank you, and also to StuartK, for the info.

I did a quick look-through and couldn't find anything that specifically addressed Great Vespers, but I'll look again.

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The Liturgical Instruction should not be viewed as a handbook for the celebration of the liturgy (in the manner of, e.g., the Ordo Celebrationis). It is not a book of rubrics, but provides principles and guidelines for the restoration of the full Eastern Christian liturgical traditions in the various Eastern Catholic Churches.

There are two main points to the Instruction. The first is the imperative to restore the fullness of authentic Eastern liturgy, which also implies the restoration of the fullness of Eastern spiritual, theological, doctrinal and disciplinary traditions as well. The second it to eliminate all substantive differences between the liturgy of the Eastern Catholic Churches and their counterpart Churches in the different Orthodox communions.

The Instruction mentions the Liturgy of the Hours only insofar as it notes the importance of the Hours in the liturgical and spiritual life of the Eastern Churches, and that where liturgical celebration of the Hours, particularly Orthros and Vespers, has fallen into abeyance, it should be restored. To encourage this, the Instruction indicates that attendance at Great Vespers on Saturday evening should be considered to fulfill the "Sunday obligation" of the faithful.

With regard to the innovative practices included in the revised Melkite liturgy (which are not mandatory, thank goodness), the Instruction would (a) have us examine whether the practice of having the faithful either join with the priest in the prayer of thanksgiving, or of leading the litanies, is an authentic organic development of the Eastern Churches or an unwarranted expropriation of a practice of the Latin Church (i.e., a latinization); and (b) whether this development would created an unwarranted distinction between the liturgy of the Melkite Church and its counterpart, the Antiochian Orthodox Church.

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Don't forget that Antioch has every right to her own liturgical tradition, which may differ slightly in its realisation from from that of other Byzantine Churches--although Antioch follows the Byzantine rite.

Largely, the Antiochian Orthodox and the Melkite Greek-Catholic Churches are in liturgical synchrony. Most of the families of the faithful are interrelated.

If you find sub-deacons empowered through synodal decree within the Melkite Church, you will find a similar expression of oikonomia within our sister (Antiochian) Orthodox Church.

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If you find sub-deacons empowered through synodal decree within the Melkite Church, you will find a similar expression of oikonomia within our sister (Antiochian) Orthodox Church.

Is this a statement of fact, or a speculation? I can easily verify whether that is the case in the AOA here in the U.S.

Also, in the United States, at least, provisions made for "extraordinary" situations have a troubling way of becoming all too ordinary. The classic example is the Latin Church's provision for using laymen as "extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist", which was meant to cover such situations as bringing the Sacrament to the sick and shut-in, or when the sheer number of communicants is so large that it would not be practical for the priest and deacon to distribute it all themselves. Yet as other will attest, lay ministers of the Eucharist are employed routinely even when the size of the congregation is small and a priest and deacon are present. In fact, it is not unusual for those two worthies to sit out the distribution of communion and allow the EEMs to do it entirely by themselves.

So I would still be leery of allowing the laity to "assist" the presbyter in saying the prayer of thanksgiving, or to recite the petitions of any litany. Simply put, there is no reason for them to do so.

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Originally Posted by StuartK
To encourage this, the Instruction indicates that attendance at Great Vespers on Saturday evening should be considered to fulfill the "Sunday obligation" of the faithful.

This is one of the things I was looking for and couldn't find. Is it possible the online version is different than the version you have access to?


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