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I have noticed that many different Priests serve the Divine Liturgy very differently. My question is are there any parts of the liturgical praxis of the Church that the Priest is not obliged to do, e.g. what is the bare minimum required to celebrate the Divine Liturgy? Do the preparatory prayers have to be said before every DL? Should the Priest be saying all the canonical hours of the Divine Office? Can certain parts or litanies of the DL be omitted? And if these omissions, changes, options, etc. are not allowed are these actions sinful or are they simply an incomplete expression of our liturgical patrimony? Thanks!!

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Depending on which jurisdiction one belongs to, yes certain abbreviations are allowed or have been made normative.


My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.
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Nobody--absolutely nobody--celebrates all of the services in their entirety as presented in the liturgical books. Not even monasteries. Various omissions and abbreviations have always been allowed for pastoral reasons, the minima being prescribed more by custom than by law. Basically, each community is encouraged to do as much as it can, over and above the minimum; to prescribe maxima (do this and no more) is NOT part of the Tradition.

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Originally Posted by StuartK
Nobody--absolutely nobody--celebrates all of the services in their entirety as presented in the liturgical books. Not even monasteries. Various omissions and abbreviations have always been allowed for pastoral reasons, the minima being prescribed more by custom than by law. Basically, each community is encouraged to do as much as it can, over and above the minimum; to prescribe maxima (do this and no more) is NOT part of the Tradition.

It very much depends on the service.

Divine Liturgy: No excuse for not doing everything in the books. A full Liturgy - all 3 Antiphons, Alleluia verses, all Litanies, Ps 33 - can easily be done in 90 minutes, or less. I've been to 'truncated' Liturgies that have taken nearly that long, but with lots of drawn out singing.

Vespers: I'd put Vespers in the same category with the Divine Liturgy. If you're serving Vespers it's not that difficult to do everything, including repeating stichera where appropriate. It can be a bit more complicated to organise than a Divine Liturgy, but not all that difficult.

Vigil / Orthros: I'm fairly au fait with our services, but shudder when I have to prepare for Orthros (other than for Pascha, which is all written out for you). I can understand the many cuts made to Orthros. I love 'full' services, but as a chanter I can well appreciate a simplified Orthros. This is the one service where nearly everyone takes shortcuts, even if it's to use simpler melodies to cut down the time / make it easier to sing.

Other Horologia Services: As these are rarely taken outside monasteries, I don't have much to say, other than many communities have their own local custom as to how these are taken (in church vs. in cell, etc.).

Mysteries: Again, no excuse to cut. The full funeral services aren't that difficult to learn, and are much better spiritually for the people than the usual "Requiem Mass Liturgy".

The problem with a 'minimum' is that it nearly always becomes the new 'maximum'. If the books say 'X' do 'X', or as much of 'X' as you can manage. NEVER settle for 'close enough'. As for books put into the hands of the people which cut out parts of services... This is the one instance I can be persuaded to burn books.

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Actually, in ROCOR they do all the services. I have not seen any liturgies or vigils or vespers services being abreviated.

Which monasteries shorten their services besides St Tikhons?

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I've been to a number of Russian (MP and ROCOR) Vigils. Standard abbreviations appear to include:
Selected verses of Ps. 103
After the first two verses of Ps. 140 skip straight to the stichera
Various shortcuts in Orthros, including in the Canon (although the Hexapsalmos remains intact)

I'd be a more specific, but I'm still not an Orthros expert and it's been a while since I've attended a ROCOR/MP service.

Regardless, it's still better than what you'll find in most EC parishes.

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That is true.

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Greeks tend to leave out all antiphon verses, seldom do the Third Antiphon, frequently omit the Litany of Supplication. Others omit at least one Angel of Peace litany.

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And Russians tend to omit nothing in the Divine Liturgy.

Shall we deduce from these two examples the Russians are more ... capable than the Greeks?

Just because some people take shortcuts should we all follow? Why not follow the example of those who don't omit things?

If no one did things properly you might have an argument, but this is not the case. If some can do things properly, why can't we all?

It often boils down to the spirit not even being willing, never mind the weakness of the flesh.

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I always liked it when the services were as long as possible.

I guess I am one of those people who like things the way they are supposed to be, not the way they are out of some sort of laziness or frailty of the human condition.

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It does depend a bit on what you mean by omit. Russians read almost everything in a vigil, and rarely sing stichera and the canons according to the correct melodies. A typical New Rite parish vigil is around 2 hours. A good choir director can easily push it out to 3.5 hours. The Old Rite Sunday vigils are usually 4.5 hours+ (there are readings from the Fathers between the kathismata, and they don't shy away from the long melodies, even though they read much of the service, as per the Council of the 100 Chapters). Prior to Liturgy, Priested Old Believers will also say all of the Hours (including the Midnight), so the Sunday morning part starts at around 6 AM, and they finish around 12:30.

From what I understand in Greece, they sing a fuller version of Orthros than we may find here, and that too, starts around 6AM and goes for three hours.

Anyway, there are shortcuts that are taken in every parish practice. If we were to say the All-night Vigil in full, melodies and readings included, we could easily go 9PM to sunrise, or longer.

As for Liturgy, I wonder how many parishes take the Third Antiphon in full at all? It's one of those parts that gets sliced and diced pretty badly. There isn't even a consensus on what is said here. Is it the Apolytikion with(out) psalm verses? If yes, which psalm or verses? Or if it is a psalm, what is the refrain? The Apolytikion, or the refrain from the 2nd Antiphon. Do we say the Typical Psalms? How? To What melody, or are they read? As for the Beatitudes, do we sing them straight through, use the refrain, or the troparia from the canon? If the Beatitudes are sung, how do you make sense of the entrance verse and troparia sung after then Little entrance? These are the conclusion of the old form of the Antiphon.

I just want to highlight that there are a multitude of ways that things can be done, and that the Liturgy is in flux at all times. It's not a museum piece.

In Christ,
Adam

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Actually, in ROCOR they do all the services. I have not seen any liturgies or vigils or vespers services being abreviated.

I've been to ROCOR services where at Matins the Kathismata and the Canons were abbreviated. St. John Maximovich actually came up with a parochial schema for the abbreviation of the Second and Third Kathisma for Sunday Matins according to the tone of the week:
which is what we follow as well at our mission.

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I've never heard a Russian parish--including St. Alexander Nevsky, the ROCOR cathedral in Paris--sing all the Polyeleos verses during festal Orthros.

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Examples of doublespeak: "We do all THREE antiphons". In fact you do three ABBREVIATED antiphons. Or "We do COMPLETE Vespers". Does that include the COMPLETE first kathisma or just the scattering of verses that made the cut?

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When the Russians abbreviate, they do the COMPLETE abbreviation. grin

As an aside, if you watch archived videos of the Christmas Midnight Liturgy from Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow, you will see their version of an express All-Night Vigil. I think it may actually include less than Fr. Grigassy's version of the same...

Fr. David

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